Bits and Bytes for March 2, 2004

Local Search Add-on to ComScore’s qSearch

comScore Networks has introduced a local search add-on to its qSearch tracking and reporting system. Called qSearch Local, the integrated tool tracks actual consumer search queries across approximately 25 search engines.

qSearch Local categorizes and analyzes search activity in the U.S. according to local modifiers such as city and state names, Zip codes, phone numbers or the words “map” and “directions.” It can report on the number, type and search engine of origin of local searches conducted by U.S. Internet users.

comScore announced the feature at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York, where local search is being discussed as one of several major growth areas for engines and SEO firms.

“An increasing portion of the $14-plus billion in U.S. yellow pages spending is moving online, offering huge upside to Internet yellow pages providers and Web search engines alike. Local search is at the epicenter of this transition, in terms of product development, revenue growth and competition,” said James Lamberti, vice president of comScore Networks. “qSearch Local supplies search providers and industry analysts with the industry’s first objective, accurate and comprehensive understanding of competitive local search dynamics.”

Jupiter: SEM Investments Way Up in 2004

Sixty-nine percent of search marketers will spend more on SEM in 2004 than they did last year, according to a survey conducted by Jupiter Research, a division of Jupitermedia.

Marketers have already substantially upped their investment in search marketing. Jupiter analysts found the percentage of marketers purchasing more than 100 keywords has increased from 18 percent in 2003 to 47 percent this year. It’s a trend that’s been pushed along by the growth of broad and phrase matching technologies.

While the report found marketers have great faith in the search channel, it also said they’re not measuring campaigns properly. Fewer than 25 percent measure leads, either on- or offline; and only 15 percent are looking at the branding impact of their search listings. Whether they should be has been a matter of much debate, with many veterans of search insisting search should be an exclusively direct response medium.

“Marketers have incredible expectations of search, but too often don’t measure the results,” said Nate Elliott, associate analyst of Jupiter Research.

European SEM Alliance Launches

Several European search engine marketing firms have formed an alliance. Called E-SEMA (European Search Engine Marketing Alliance), the group consists of Italy’s Ad Maiora; France’s 1ère Position; Spain’s Attraczion; and Germany’s metapeople.

Since the four firms in the alliance offer closely overlapping services, the deal is ultimately more about giving clients access to regional search marketing expertise than enhancing toolsets.

“You want to have a local player who has a personal connection to the region. This deal provides [customers] access to local media, including small niche networks,” said Massimo Burgo, Ad Maiora’s San Francisco branch manager, at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York.

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