Chance to hear from the horse’s mouth about Google Instant as Google were running seminars at AdTech in London today.
They came over as very pleased with their new baby, and were looking for assuring noises from the audience – who to be honest appeared less excited about it than Google. . .
Google seemed confident that it represents a genuine step forward in the evolution of search, and appeared hopeful that it will put further space between them and their search competitors. My impression however is that Google’s new baby – like most new babies - is a bigger deal to the parents that the rest of the world.
Asked what unintended consequences the change to Google Instant may have, they conceded that the trend towards ‘long-tail’ searches may be curtailed as people get tempted (or side-tracked?) to click a result that appears before their search term is complete.
The other big point of discussion was what Google will now count as an impression. Google conceded that impression numbers and CTRs may be impacted slightly by Google Instant. It appears that PPC ads that are shown during a search entry won’t be counted as an impression. Google’s rules are that impressions with Google Instant are based on: 1. A click being made, 2. Clicking ‘search’, ‘Enter’, or selecting a query . However, they have a 3. A three-second rule – i.e. the user stops typing and results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds. In this case the impression is counted.
Pull’s opinion is that PPC campaigns should scarcely be impacted by Google Instant. There are probably scenarios where competitors with brands that start with the same letter string may worry who comes up first – but we couldn’t think of single scenario where this was an issue. Our client Explore Adventure Travel competes with Exodus – but too many words begin with ‘Ex-‘ for that to be an issue.
Maybe a new metric will emerge – ‘how many characters before my brand becomes the first result?’ ‘Pull Digital’ becomes the third suggestion when ‘pull d’ is typed in, and first suggestion and result at: ‘pull di’. Ebay however, only requires you to type in an ‘e’.
Google US is now 100% Google Instant, but not many people seem to realise that Google Instant is only provided to those who sign-in to Google UK – about 10% of Google searchers. Google’s plan is to roll it out to all UK users soon. Surprisingly though, Google Instant is not yet running in any other markets. I guess this does give Google some useful references.
What do you think of Google Instant?