The Google Animal House
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled “Googleâ€™s New Instant Search – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly“.Â Since then I have had more time to talk to some Google users, Google power users, and Google advertisers to get their thoughts.Â What I am hearing is that most Google users don’t think that instant search is saving them time or a very good user experience.
Google reminds me a lot of the Animal House angel and devil scene.Â The little angel represents the user experience side of Google and the devil represents the financial revenue responsibility side of Google. As long as I have known Google I have seen these two sides face off against each other, sometimes they are in harmony and a great user experience generates a lot of money, and sometimes they are not.Â Typically the “angel” wins out.
So I started to think, if most people don’t think instant search is a good user experience, then perhaps this an example of the “devil” winning out at Google?Â Could these tough economic times be allowing the “devil” to get more say?Â And if that is true, how does instant search make Google more money?Â That’s when I had the a-ha moment.Â I think it is about money!
Google’s advertisers spend a lot of money on generic keyword terms.Â These “head” terms drive the vast majority of Google’s search auction revenues.Â They are the highest priced keywords with the highest volumes.Â As you start typing in Google, instant search automatically recommends (and shows advertising for) the most likely terms.Â These recommended terms are the exact terms with the highest search volumes and the highest bid prices.
This is all a little scary to search advertisers who may make their money finding long tail terms for their clients, as customers type in these typically inexpensive keywords, Google will keep suggesting (and show advertising for) the expensive keywords along the way.Â Ka-ching! Ka-ching!
The “devil” wins.
How is your user experience been with Google Instant Search?