As we say hello to March and hopefully spring, let’s take some time to recap the top stories in the search industry. February started out with an 11% increase in the US search activity, between the months of December and January. Google stayed constant at 67% of the market share with Bing rising to an all-time high of 16.5% (ComScore). Below are some of the top stories for each big player.
- The largest story for Google this month is the new enhanced campaigns and the major impact they will have on mobile and desktop paid search that will roll out this summer. While a lot of details are still being uncovered, Google did release a new bidding tool for the new structure.
- The second largest story was releasing a video showing titled, “How It Feels [through Glass]” as well the #ifihadglass purchase campaign
- Google also made a variety of updates, including incorporating search funnel data in campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads tabs to make it easier for advertisers to act on. A second change is the introduction of extension ads offer to only those who have upgraded to enhanced campaigns.
- Google signed a deal with Yahoo to display its ads on selected Yahoo properties and co-branded sites. This deal is non-exclusive, so Yahoo will also continue to display ads from competitors such as Bing.
- There were also two main penalties in February regarding selling links and advertorials. Both Interflora and UK Newspapers were penalized followed up with a warning on their webmaster blog.
- Bing has also made some updates including a faster, more accurate auto suggest functionality. The speed is done through “ghosting” where Bing can serve suggestions in the main box and alternatives below which Bing claims has sped up user searches by over 16%. Suggestions are made more accurate based on two key themes- navigational queries and search history.
- Bing also announced a new Sitemap plugin which will help webmasters create two different types of XML sitemap files. One is a comprehensive sitemap of all URLs seen in sever traffic and another is dedicated to store URLs that have changed recently.
- Marissa Meyers is the center of news over at Yahoo. Early on in the month she expressed unhappiness with the current Yahoo-Microsoft deal saying she would wish the two companies would exchange more than search market share.
- Her new HR policy at Yahoo that eliminates work from home options by June 1 sparked quite a controversy. While she does give employees until the summer to make adjustments, she’s received criticism and backlash both internally and externally about this decision.
- In more search news, Yahoo has promoted Laurie Mann to run Yahoo Search and the UI Innovation.
- Launched a more personalized redesign of their homepage which is also optimized for mobile tablet.
- After January with the launch of Facebook graph, Facebook switched to ads and ecommerce. Facebook did introduce promoting your friends posts for $7, an extension of promoting your own posts which they launched in October.
- Introduced gift cards where you can load dollar amounts to stores such as Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora and Target in one reusable card. This enables gift giving right over the social network.
- Building off of the free voice calls you could make over the messenger app, announced in January, you now have the same functionality in the native IOS app.
- Wrapping up February, Facebook announced they would acquire Atlas Advertiser Suite which would add tools to compete with Google.
- Made a series of eCommerce plays in February.. The first was teaming up with American Express to allow customers to pay with hashtags. For those that sync their American express card with Twitter, users can use a hashtag to activate your account for payment.
- Announced its own Advertising API which will allow large ad agencies develop far more sophisticated campaigns like they would on Facebook and Google.
- Redesigned its search functionality which allows users to uncover older tweets. Twitter will decide which old tweets show up in search based on engagement, favorites, retweets and clicks.
- Twitter also got roped into some bad press around both Burger King and Jeep being hacked. While both brands were generally unaffected in the end, many called for Twitter to ramp up the security with dual verification.
- Google+ now allows third party developers build Google+ authentication, sharing and interaction into their services. This will allow users to log into sites using there Google+ profile similar to how they already can use Facebook and Twitter. This also means that Google now can access more information about their users and how they act on non-Google sites.
- NASA hosted an hour long Q&A with three astronauts on the International Space Station through Google+ Hangout. They welcomed questions via Google+, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook before the event as well as in real-time.
- BrightEdge announced a study that stated followers of Top 100 Brands on Google+ grew 9,400% since 2011.These top 100 brands have 20.9 million fans on Google+ up from just 222,000 in 2011. While this doesn’t compare well to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is looking more like a mainstream social network.
- Some big changes are coming to YouTube in early March including redesigned channel pages as well as a subscription guide that will follow you across YouTube. Check back here in March for a full overview.
- There are also plenty of rumors that YouTube will reveal a pay-to-view service. In addition Android Police is set to uncover a brief string of code in the most recent update for YouTube’s application that hints at a premium retail model.
What’s new at Catalyst?
- Catalyst celebrated our 15th year anniversary! Check out the pictures of the celebration on Facebook.
- Catalyst published a new eBook: Social SEO Strategies: Mastering the Art of Social SEO.
Have any questions about any of the above stories or think we missed something? Let us know in the comment section below. And be sure to check back later for an a recap each month.