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Over half of searches on Google yield zero clicks

August 23, 2019 No Comments

New data published by SparkToro’s, Rand Fishkin reveals that the troubling trend of “zero-click” searches on Google is growing.

Next steps for search marketers

Zero-click searches result in users remaining on a Google-owned property such as Google.com, Google Images, Google Maps, and YouTube rather than moving on to a third-party website from an organic search result.

Mr. Fishkin first wrote about this phenomenon last October, highlighting how millions of queries are answered directly on the search results pages using content that Google scrapes from other people’s websites.

Zero-click searches outpace organic-click searches for the first time ever

The zero-click data, reported by data intelligence platform Jumpshot, reveals that zero-click searches comprised just under 55% of all searches on Google in June 2019. This is the first time zero-click searches have exceeded organic clicks since Google’s launch 20 years ago.

Source: SparkToro

Fishkin makes an important distinction between zero-click searches which already cannibalize organic traffic to external websites versus Google sending traffic to their own properties – essentially, Google is doing both.

Fishkin notes that about six percent of queries and 12% of clicks are being funneled to Google-owned properties such as YouTube, Map’s, and Google’s own blog.

Google dominates mobile searches

The Jumpshot data referenced above only includes browser-based searches, but mobile search using Google properties is ubiquitous.

When factoring in mobile apps, Google’s total market share is a staggering 97% (including mobile and desktop searches). This number includes searches from the Google Maps, Google Search, and YouTube apps which are installed on everyone’s phone.

Source: SparkToro

The Jumpshot data reveals a clear connection with the diminishing number of organic clicks to the increasing number of zero-click searches. That is, as the percentage of zero-click searches increases, the percentage of organic clicks from search queries goes down.

Case in point

  • In Q1 2016, 54% of Google searches resulted in organic clicks. That dropped to 46% by Q2 2019.
  • In Q1 2016, 44% of Google searches resulted in zero clicks. That rose to 49.8% in Q2 2019.
  • Searches resulting in paid ad clicks have also fared better, rising from 2.1% in Q1 2016 to 4.1% in Q2 2019.

Fishkin points out that the rise in paid ad clicks is primarily due to Google’s mobile ad and instant answer strategies – with mobile paid ad clicks rising from 3.4% in January 2016 to 11.4% in June 2019.

The zero-click trend is likely being heightened by search behavior on mobile versus desktop devices. For example, users are less likely to click through to a website on their mobile device – a factor Google is capitalizing on with the rollout of ever-larger paid search ads and their “People also ask” feature which lists a series of questions and answers pulled from external websites.

Example of Google’s “People also ask” results on Google using scraped content

Search clicks on desktop devices paint a steadier picture versus mobile devices, with organic clicks comprising 66% of searches in 2019 versus 68% in 2016.

Zero-click searches on desktops rose during this time, but only slightly, comprising 34% of searches in 2016 versus 32% in 2019.

Next steps for search marketers

Marketers should continue to optimize their websites for search engines as per usual, but the key takeaway from this new data is to diversify.

The continued ubiquity of mobile devices, voice search and voice assistants, and the ever-increasing trend of platform-centered browsing and searching (for example, walled gardens like Facebook and Amazon) are creating a dilemma for content creators and business owners – that is, how do we get people to leave these walled gardens and visit our websites?

The answer to this question is different for every business, but a good first step is to diversify where you place your ads and publish your content.

Have a solid social media marketing strategy that’s tied to a robust content strategy which includes a variety of content types. For example, video, blog posts, social posts, whitepapers, webinars) and promote this content widely and often.

The rise of zero-click searches is likely going to continue and I highly recommend you read Fishkin’s entire post about this trend. His insights are data-driven and always illuminating.

The post Over half of searches on Google yield zero clicks appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Chinese space station Tiangong-2 is about to burn up over the Pacific

July 19, 2019 No Comments

Update: Deorbit complete. RIP Tiangong-2.

The final hours for China’s Tiangong-2 space station are at hand, as the eight-ton piece of hardware will fall to earth, or rather sea, some time in the next 20 hours or so in a controlled deorbit maneuver.  But unlike with its predecessor, it isn’t a mystery where this particular piece of space debris is going to fall.

Tiangong-2 is a small space station that was put into orbit in 2016 to test a number of China’s orbital technologies; it was originally planned to stay up there for two years, but as many a well-engineered piece of space kit has done, it greatly exceeded its expected lifespan and has been operational for more than a thousand days now.

Chinese Taikonauts have visited the station to perform experiments, test tools, perform orbital refueling and all that sort of thing. But it’s not nearly as well equipped as the International Space Station, nor as spacious — and that’s saying something — so they only stayed a month, and even that must have been pretty grueling.

The time has come, however, for Tiangong-2 to be deorbited and, naturally, destroyed in the process. The China National Space Administration indicated that the 18-meter-wide station and solar panels will mostly burn up during reentry, but that a small amount of debris may fall “in a safe area in the South Pacific,” specifying a rather large area that does technically include quite a bit of New Zealand (160-190°W long by 30-45°S lat).

They did not specify when exactly it would be coming down, except that it would be during July 19 Beijing time (it’s already morning there at the time of publishing). It should produce a visible streak but not anything you’ll see if you aren’t looking for it. This visualization from The Aerospace Company shows how the previous, very similar station would break up:

It’ll be different this time around but you get a general idea.

That’s much better than Tiangong-1, which stopped responding to its operators after several years and as such could not be deliberately guided into a safe reentry path. Instead it just slowly drifted down until people were pretty sure it would be reentering sometime in the following few days — and it did.

There was never any real danger that the bus-sized station would land on anyone, but it’s just fundamentally a little unnerving not knowing where the thing would be coming down.

This isn’t the last Tiangong; Tiangong-3 is planned for a 2020 launch, and will further inform the Chinese engineers and astronauts in their development of a more full-featured space station planned for a couple years down the line.

Controlled deorbit is the responsible thing to do, not to mention just plain polite, and the CNSA is doing the right thing here. All the same, Kiwis should probably carry umbrellas tomorrow.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Judge dismisses Oracle lawsuit over $10B Pentagon JEDI cloud contract

July 13, 2019 No Comments

Oracle has been complaining about the procurement process around the Pentagon’s $ 10 billion, decade-long JEDI cloud contract, even before the DoD opened requests for proposals last year. It went so far as to file a lawsuit in December, claiming a potential conflict of interest on the part of a procurement team member. Today, that case was dismissed in federal court.

In dismissing the case, Federal Claims Court Senior Judge Eric Bruggink ruled that the company had failed to prove a conflict in the procurement process, something the DOD’s own internal audits found in two separate investigations. Judge Bruggink ultimately agreed with the DoD’s findings:

We conclude as well that the contracting officer’s findings that an organizational conflict of interest does not exist and that individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement, were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the administrative record is therefore denied.

The company previously had filed a failed protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which also ruled that the procurement process was fair and didn’t favor any particular vendor. Oracle had claimed that the process was designed to favor cloud market leader AWS.

It’s worth noting that the employee in question was a former AWS employee. AWS joined the lawsuit as part of the legal process, stating at the time in the legal motion, “Oracle’s Complaint specifically alleges conflicts of interest involving AWS. Thus, AWS has direct and substantial economic interests at stake in this case, and its disposition clearly could impair those interests.”

Today’s ruling opens the door for the announcement of a winner of the $ 10 billion contract, as early as next month. The DoD previously announced that it had chosen Microsoft and Amazon as the two finalists for the winner-take-all bid.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Amazon DSP – Taking over the Programmatic World

June 1, 2019 No Comments

Amazon is continually showing that it is the only company that will consistently compete with Google and Facebook, and is already becoming a leading DSP. 41% of advertisers are using Amazon DSP, outperforming all its competitors including Google & The Trade Desk. What does that mean for your Programmatic Strategy? 

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


The Dispute Over Google’s Alleged Retaliation Intensifies

April 27, 2019 No Comments

Google executives reportedly sent emails to coworkers of an employee, challenging her claim that she was demoted.
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A Fight Over Specialized Chips Threatens an Ethereum Split

April 8, 2019 No Comments

The Ethereum community is divided over whether some chips are too powerful, pricing out small miners. The dispute also reflects heightened US-China tensions.
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Open-source communities fight over telco market

February 28, 2019 No Comments

When you think of MWC Barcelona, chances are you’re thinking about the newest smartphones and other mobile gadgets, but that’s only half the story. Actually, it’s probably far less than half the story because the majority of the business that’s done at MWC is enterprise telco business. Not too long ago, that business was all about selling expensive proprietary hardware. Today, it’s about moving all of that into software — and a lot of that software is open source.

It’s maybe no surprise then that this year, the Linux Foundation (LF) has its own booth at MWC. It’s not massive, but it’s big enough to have its own meeting space. The booth is shared by the three LF projects: the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Hyperleger and Linux Foundation Networking, the home of many of the foundational projects like ONAP and the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) that power many a modern network. And with the advent of 5G, there’s a lot of new market share to grab here.

To discuss the CNCF’s role at the event, I sat down with Dan Kohn, the executive director of the CNCF.

At MWC, the CNCF launched its testbed for comparing the performance of virtual network functions on OpenStack and what the CNCF calls cloud-native network functions, using Kubernetes (with the help of bare-metal host Packet). The project’s results — at least so far — show that the cloud-native container-based stack can handle far more network functions per second than the competing OpenStack code.

“The message that we are sending is that Kubernetes as a universal platform that runs on top of bare metal or any cloud, most of your virtual network functions can be ported over to cloud-native network functions,” Kohn said. “All of your operating support system, all of your business support system software can also run on Kubernetes on the same cluster.”

OpenStack, in case you are not familiar with it, is another massive open-source project that helps enterprises manage their own data center software infrastructure. One of OpenStack’s biggest markets has long been the telco industry. There has always been a bit of friction between the two foundations, especially now that the OpenStack Foundation has opened up its organizations to projects that aren’t directly related to the core OpenStack projects.

I asked Kohn if he is explicitly positioning the CNCF/Kubernetes stack as an OpenStack competitor. “Yes, our view is that people should be running Kubernetes on bare metal and that there’s no need for a middle layer,” he said — and that’s something the CNCF has never stated quite as explicitly before but that was always playing in the background. He also acknowledged that some of this friction stems from the fact that the CNCF and the OpenStack foundation now compete for projects.

OpenStack Foundation, unsurprisingly, doesn’t agree. “Pitting Kubernetes against OpenStack is extremely counterproductive and ignores the fact that OpenStack is already powering 5G networks, in many cases in combination with Kubernetes,” OpenStack COO Mark Collier told me. “It also reflects a lack of understanding about what OpenStack actually does, by suggesting that it’s simply a virtual machine orchestrator. That description is several years out of date. Moving away from VMs, which makes sense for many workloads, does not mean moving away from OpenStack, which manages bare metal, networking and authentication in these environments through the Ironic, Neutron and Keystone services.”

Similarly, ex-OpenStack Foundation board member (and Mirantis co-founder) Boris Renski told me that “just because containers can replace VMs, this doesn’t mean that Kubernetes replaces OpenStack. Kubernetes’ fundamental design assumes that something else is there that abstracts away low-level infrastructure, and is meant to be an application-aware container scheduler. OpenStack, on the other hand, is specifically designed to abstract away low-level infrastructure constructs like bare metal, storage, etc.”

This overall theme continued with Kohn and the CNCF taking a swipe at Kata Containers, the first project the OpenStack Foundation took on after it opened itself up to other projects. Kata Containers promises to offer a combination of the flexibility of containers with the additional security of traditional virtual machines.

“We’ve got this FUD out there around Kata and saying: telco’s will need to use Kata, a) because of the noisy neighbor problem and b) because of the security,” said Kohn. “First of all, that’s FUD and second, micro-VMs are a really interesting space.”

He believes it’s an interesting space for situations where you are running third-party code (think AWS Lambda running Firecracker) — but telcos don’t typically run that kind of code. He also argues that Kubernetes handles noisy neighbors just fine because you can constrain how many resources each container gets.

It seems both organizations have a fair argument here. On the one hand, Kubernetes may be able to handle some use cases better and provide higher throughput than OpenStack. On the other hand, OpenStack handles plenty of other use cases, too, and this is a very specific use case. What’s clear, though, is that there’s quite a bit of friction here, which is a shame.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


It’s Not Game Over: How Programmatic Can Nurture Lead Gen Wins

July 30, 2018 No Comments

Programmatic is known to be a bit confusing, so we’re having Criteo’s Ned Samuelson and Hanapin’s Bryan Gaynor take an hour to discuss the ways you can utilize programmatic to build brand awareness and create fantastic content around your product and services.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Twitter lets advertisers ‘take over’ the Explore tab

July 11, 2018 No Comments

Twitter is ready to squeeze a lot more money out of its trending topics. After minimizing its mediocre Moments feature and burying it inside the renamed Explore tab, Twitter is now starting to test Promoted Trend Spotlight ads. These put a big visual banner equipped with a GIF or image background atop Explore for the first two times you visit that day before settling back into the Trends list, with the first batch coming from Disney in the U.S.

These powerful new ad units demote organic content in Explore, which could make it less useful for getting a grip on what’s up in the world at a glance. But they could earn Twitter strong revenue by being much more eye-catching than the traditional Timeline ads that people often skip past. That could further fuel Twitter’s turnaround after it soundly beat revenue estimates in Q1 with $ 665 million. Its share price of about $ 44 is near its 52-week high, and almost 3X its low for the year.

“We are continuing to explore new ways to enhance our takeover offerings and give brands more high-impact opportunities to drive conversation and brand awareness on our platform,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The Promoted Trend Spotlight ads are bought as an add-on to the existing Promoted Trends ads that are inserted amongst the list of Twitter’s most popular topics. When tapped, they open a feed of tweets with that headline with one of the advertiser’s related tweets at the top. Back in February, AdAge reported whispers of a new visual redesign for Promoted Trends. You can view a demo of the experience below.

Anthy Price, Disney’s executive vice president for Media, provided TechCrunch with a statement, saying “The Promoted Trend Spotlight on Twitter allowed us to prominently highlight Winnie the Pooh & celebrate the launch of ticket sales for Christopher Robin while four of the characters took over major Disney handles on the platform to engage with fans.”

Historically, Twitter’s biggest problem was that people skimmed past ads. The old unfiltered Timeline trained users to pick and choose what they read, looking past anything that didn’t seem relevant, including paid marketing. But with the shift to an algorithmic Timeline and bigger focus on video, Twitter has slowly retrained users to expect relevant content in every slot. Explore’s design, with imagery at the top followed by a text list of Trends, pulls attention to where these new Spotlight ads sit. With better monetization, Twitter will now have to concentrate on building better ways to get users to open Explore instead of just their feed, notifications and DMs.


Social – TechCrunch


UK Regulators Demand Cambridge Analytica Hand Over User Data

May 6, 2018 No Comments

David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design, might finally get to see everything Cambridge Analytica knows about him.
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