Tech news roundup: Bing, Chrome, millennials and marketing


Tech news roundup: Bing, Chrome, millennials and marketing

Ah, the holidays. The most mind-bendingly dizzy time of the year. On top of our myriad family and work obligations, there’s a whole Internet marketing industry that won’t stand still for a minute. Let’s sort through last week’s search, social, mobile and marketing news together, shall we?

Early Bing-Yahoo! post-merger ad analysis

One of the largest shifts to the searchscape in 2010 was the consolidation of the second- and third-tier search engines, the Bing-Yahoo! partnership that went into effect at the end of October. Looking at paid search metrics, cost per click and click-through rate, reveals marketers’ possible attitudes toward the Bing marketplace.

CPCs spiked following the merger of Bing and Yahoo! search ad inventory, suggesting that a high volume of advertisers eager to test the newly mixed waters drove up the price. Meanwhile, CTR took a plunge following the merger, hinting that advertisers experimented with ad match types now available to them on the new platform. Both figures gradually returned to pre-merger levels in the months that followed. The rising rate of conversions is an unreliable figure to point to Bing and Yahoo!’s competitive viability, as the holiday season generally is one of elevated conversions.

Looks like it’s still too early to gauge the uptake of advertising on the combined Bing-Yahoo! platform.

Google shakes it up with Chrome

In the meantime, Google is not content to rest on its laurels as king of the search hill. Last week, new efforts in its quest for multi-channel tech global dominance were unveiled. Google’s Chrome browser received new features, and a faster JavaScript engine and instant results in the Omnibox will be rolling out to users soon.

The Chrome Web Store opened for business, and developers are invited to submit apps. And a Chrome OS notebook pilot program for beta testing is now open. Qualified users who apply may receive a notebook to beta test the operating system and provide feedback. Of course, Chrome wasn’t the only Google product making strides last week.

Mobile on the move

The latest figure from Google’s head of the Android division puts newly activated Android phones at 300,000 per day. It’s a whopping growth spurt of five times the rate of Android phones that were being shipped at the beginning of this year. While no one device appears poised to overtake the iPhone’s position as most popular smartphone, collectively, Android phones have outsold iPhones since early 2010, leading analysts to reexamine if fragmentation is indeed a weak point of the Android mobile operating system.

At the same time as third-party handset developers find success with Android, Google has unveiled Nexus S, the next Google phone and the first to run the new version of the Android OS. Nexus S is intended to be a premium Google phone experience that strengthens the brand against the integrated and consistent competition of the iPhone. In an ad posted on YouTube, the Nexus S is marketed to the hipster crowd as a handheld computing device you can live in.

Marketing to influential youth

Does the Nexus S ad speak to you with its unusual orientation and hipster styling? It’s possible that even if you don’t own a pair of Converse and Ray Ban aviators, you relate to the carefree lifestyle associated with the millennial gen. They’re an energized consumer group with far-reaching persuasion on American consumer culture, setting trends and leading the way in hyperconnectivity.

These tech-savvy shoppers expecting convenience and excellence in online customer service and often have liberal leaning politics that can color decision making. As such, they’ve proved a challenge for business to woo. Three guidelines may help a business gain the attention of this elusive and influential group.

Not surprisingly, it boils down to publishing content in the arenas where they’re paying attention. Social media is a popular hangout, of course, and a look at the most watched YouTube videos of the year shed some light on what gets traction. An autotuned meme, a musical parody and an impressive musical performance by an unknown make up the Top 3, suggesting that a good tune goes a long way. An irritating orange and the double rainbow instant classic take the fourth and sixth ranking.

But most impressive to marketers, Old Spice’s ad campaign, arguably the best of the year, secured the fifth spot. Internet videos are a much-loved medium. Raven Tools now features YouTube monitoring and reporting to empower your online video campaigns.

How the world searched in 2010

Finally, while we’re taking notes on what’s found favor this year, we have to take a look at Google’s annual Zeitgeist ─ the most popular and fastest rising queries that capture the spirit of the year. The World Cup, the iPad and charitable causes in the wake of disasters around the world were among the high-volume queries rooted in time. This year, Google put together some fancy HTML5 visualizations for people to play around with the data. Pour yourself a glass of eggnog and enjoy!

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Arienne Holland is the Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Raven. She divides her time between outreach, writing, teaching and understanding developers. Before Raven, Arienne spent more than a decade as an editor and graphic designer for Gannett. She was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for team breaking news journalism. She likes bread, books and bourbon.

More about Arienne Holland | @RavenArienne

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