Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Troogle, trademarks and CPC inflation

Guest post from Alex Bainbridge, managing director, Travel UCD.

The Travel Technology Initiative’s Morning with Google travel’ took place at ABTA’s head office in London this morning. Three UK execs - Daniel Robb, Miranda Gowlland and Anna Tong - outlined their roles in Google and took part in a Q & A. Brave folk! Here are the highlights:

CPC is in substantial growth. They are nearing total coverage of queries - and as a result in Q1 08 there has been 20% CPC bid price inflation.

This inflation is not to do with anything that Google is doing but just the nature of competition. Also websites are getting better at converting visitors hence are willing to bid higher prices. However, they did mention that they know there are still queries "out there" that are under advertised but they won't say what they are (even to those companies who have account managers at Google)

Daniel Robb said it would be very wrong for him to comment about it.... however he restated that now US, UK and Ireland are aligned. The policy is a "Founders policy" (i.e. coming from the top in the US) and although could be rolled out globally, they will operate in accordance with local applicable laws. In particular, he mentioned France may be a challenge.

Robb admitted that it has hurt some relationships that they have in the travel industry however he stated that the impact varied wildly between their clients. He also mentioned that, as a result of the relevancy system incorporated into Google, that the system will naturally sort itself out over time. This has been their experience in the US.

Nothing I have seen or heard about that is either planned for meta search or selling as an agent", says Robb.

I believe him - but this then makes you wonder how Google plan to react to the threat posed by Microsoft. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have basically given up competing with Google on keyword based search.... but Microsoft will attack on the flank that Google now suggest they are not going to defend - vertical search.

An interesting and insightful morning but amazed that some of the larger UK travel brands weren't there. Don't they care about what Google are doing? Come on people - this event was tailor-made for you!

Alex Bainbridge


Richard Hartigan said...

The only part I could possibly contest is:

"... websites are getting better at converting visitors hence are willing to bid higher prices."

I would have expected a higher percentage of online shoppers conducting more searches across a wider range of travel sites, all with massively inflated prices due to fuel costs and the general economic climate to have a negative effect on conversion.

I believe that websites are willing to pay higher CPC's because of increases in volume and becuse the competition is so strong. Although I would be the first to admit that Jan was a bit OTT.

Alex said...

Hi Richard,
Thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, that is what Google said (not me!).

[This blog post is me in news mode!]

Claude said...

...mentioned France may be a challenge


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