Google Instant ‘brand bias’ stokes ad cost fears

Suggestions for E from Google InstantA global SEO firm believes it has discovered a bias towards brands in Google Instant’s search suggestions, adding weight to fears that the new feature will drive up advertising costs.

Efficient Frontier found that Google Instant overwhelmingly suggested brand keywords over non-brand keywords, with 21 out of the 26 letters of the alphabet delivering a brand term as a first suggestion.

All 26 letters delivered a brand term within the first four suggestions.

Travel brands that Shah found appearing regularly in Google Instant suggestions included:

> Jetblue, first for J
> Expedia, third for E
> Kayak, third for K
> Disneyland, fourth for D
> Southwest, fourth for S

Efficient Frontier director of analytics Dr Siddharth Shah said: “Google Instant is already having an effect in the US. It going to make brand key words more expensive, increase impression volumes by 30% – 40%.”

The study also found that niche ‘long-tail’ terms were experiencing an uplift.

“In the travel vertical I have hard data showing that the long tail has become dramatically more active. Conversions went up two-fold overnight,” said Shah.

> Read more on the research on the Travolution Blog

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