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ComScore Media Metrix launches competitive search marketing service

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Reston, Va.-based ComScore Media Metrix, the digital media measurement division of ComScore Networks, last Thursday announced the launch of Competitive Search Marketing Reports. The new service enables agencies, publishers and online marketers to compare the effectiveness of their online search campaigns with those of their competitors.

“It’s the ability to understand who these people are, how big the market is, and how a marketer is faring relative to competitors,” said James Lamberti, senior VP of ComScore Networks.

The new reports will become part of the company’s qSearch product suite and be sold on a Web-based subscription model.

Early industry reaction has been positive. “It is definitely among tools worthy of consideration,” said Peter DeLegge, Internet marketing communications manager at Motorola. DeLegge said such a service provides valuable information for managers of search engine marketing.

“It does seem to be pretty valuable in terms of competitive intelligence,” he said. “It’s very valuable for benchmarking.” However, DeLegge cautioned the new service doesn’t provide all the answers. “Search marketing is much more than just achieving a high click-through rate,” he said. “It’s important, but it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.”

Statistics measured in the Competitive Search Marketing Reports include sponsored ad impressions, sponsored click-through rate, number of click-throughs and percent of total click-throughs from sponsored ads, as well as click-throughs from natural search.

The service can also divine which search engines are preferred for sponsored ad campaigns. ComScore already tracks the major engines in terms of market share and puts out a monthly report regarding each engine’s share of market for searches conducted.

Lamberti said the knowledge derived from the new competitive reports will help marketers better evaluate their campaigns, helping them decide about increasing or decreasing their spending. “There’s knowledge of exactly how many people you are reaching with your campaign,” he said. “It’s what I can bring back to my CMO and say, ‘Here is the number of people we’re reaching, and here’s where else they are on the Internet.’ ”

To illustrate the depth of the reports, ComScore analyzed search campaigns conducted by the most-visited online travel sites: CheapTickets.com, Expedia, Orbitz.com and Travelocity.com.

It found two-thirds (66%) of the total click-throughs to the sites were generated by sponsored ads. Orbitz.com and CheapTickets.com led the group, with each receiving 72% of click-throughs from sponsored ads. Despite that, Travelocity that had the highest click-through rate—6.5%—compared with the 4%-to-5% click-through rate of the other three.

In addition, Yahoo! turned out to be the preferred search engine for sponsored ads among the travel agency sites in April, getting almost 44% of the sponsored ads placed by those sites. However, Google garnered higher sponsored click-through rates than Yahoo!

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