Webinar hosted by Avinash Kaushik on Tuesday, October 6th, RSVP today

Attracting the right customers to your website will help you finish off 2009 strong and charge ahead in 2010. Few marketers realize that there is free data available, which is easy to access and can help you better target your advertising.

Please join us to discuss where to find this data and how to utilize it to make educated decisions and develop a sound targeting strategy.

Avinash Kaushik will lead a discussion to share ways for “Using Data to Better Connect with Your Customers.” You'll learn how to find and use data from Google Trends for Websites, Insights for Search, and Ad Planner. Avinash will offer tips for using this data to focus on your most relevant audiences and maximize your return-on-investment immediately. And you'll walk away knowing how to make the most relevant decisions to drive your business forward.

Date & Time
Tuesday, October 6th 2009
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST / 10:00 am – 11:30 am PST
Register Here

Recognizing that it's tough for businesses and marketers to stay ahead of the ever-changing digital environment, we've partnered with The Wharton School to launch Fast.Forward., a site full of content from leading industry experts -- including Dave Balter, CEO & Founder of BzzAgent, Jeff Bell, Venture Partner of NCT Venture Partners, and even our own CEO, Eric Schmidt.

You can read all about it on our YouTube Biz Blog.

If you or your company will be attending next week's Annual Summit, we would love to see you there! Google will be speaking at the following sessions, and we encourage you to join us and continue our dialogue on this blog forum there.

1. Online to Store Roundtable: Ways to Successfully Quantify Online Media Investment on In-Store Sales
Tuesday 9/22/09, 4:15 - 4:45 PM PT (Table #3 in Islander F)
Moderated by: Michael Feldman, Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Google, and Jeff Haddox, Direct Marketing Analyst at Pier 1 Imports

As consumers increasingly go online to research and shop, helping to grow online-influenced retail sales, the majority of sales today continue to come from brick-and-mortar stores. Our roundtable discussion highlights the critical need for multi-channel retailers to quantify the impact of online media investment on in-store sales. We will review a Google case study with Pier 1 Imports, who successfully ran geographically-targeted test and control experiments and saw a 300% return on their online investment; we will share best practices and recommendations on how retailers can attribute their online presence to in-store bottom line.

2. Growing Pains: Is Profitable Global eCommerce Expansion a Myth or Reality
Wednesday 9/23/09, 3:00 PM PT (Track #3 in Islander H)
Moderated by: Jim Okamura, Senior Partner at J.C. Williams Group

Chris O'Neill, our Retail Director at Google, will be giving an introduction to this session led by Jim Okamura from the J.C. Williams Group. Chris will offer his perspectives on global expansion and digital media and share some of our experiences from working globally. Chris will also highlight specific product innovations that will be relevant as businesses move towards globalization in a relatively "flat world." Full description of the rest of the session can be found here.

The government’s Cash for Clunkers program taught us that when incented, consumers will buy.

The program generated nearly 700,000 new car sales, and dealers turned in vouchers totaling $2.88 Billion. Prepare yourselves to take advantage of the Cash for Appliances program!

Congress has authorized $300M in rebates for energy efficient appliances. Rebates will range between $50 and $200 and will vary by state.

Consumers have already started searching! Using Google Insights for Search, we see that search interest in 'cash for appliances' and 'appliance rebate' have upticked over the last weeks.

The appliances rebates will be available in late fall. Now is the time to incorporate this program into your marketing and position yourself to capture the sales.

Cash for Appliances Online Marketing Tips:

1. Get in the game early. Consumers are already searching for Cash for Appliances. Other advertisers will be there in time for the program’s launch.

2. Create a Cash for Appliances Search campaign to capture consumer interest. Add Cash for Appliances keywords. Add “cash for” and “rebate” terms to all product lines.

3. Create relevant ad text. Start now with “coming soon” copy. Adjust copy as the program is launched and continue with post-event special offers.

4. Take users to a landing page with Energy Star Appliances. Provide details on the Cash for Appliances process. Call out Energy Star approval. Allow users to search for qualifying appliances

5. Contextually target Display ads to reach users who are researching the program.

Consumers are still cautious, but are responsive to incentives. Act now to reap the benefits of the Cash for Appliances program!

With 86% of consumers planning to shop for the upcoming holiday season, we spoke with them to see if they've already gotten an early start. The results are startling - consumers are shopping earlier than ever this year.

According to the latest data from a Google/OTX survey, 44% of shoppers have already started their holiday shopping and researching. In taking a look at query volume using Google Insights for Search, we see that search interest in 'christmas gift' has upticked sharply over recent weeks, demonstrating this increased research activity.

Consumers are not just researching, many have already begun purchasing. In fact, over a third of respondents (36%) said they have already begun making holiday purchases. This demonstrates that consumer are not waiting for the traditional kick off to the season, many are already spending time online researching gift ideas and heading into the store or to your site to make that special purchase.

With consumers already getting into the holiday spirit, is your business reaching them?

Source: Google/OTX Conumser Pulse Check 2009. Data is from week of August 24, 2009.

“Call me, anytime. Call me, call me, any day or night. Call me!” implored Blondie. But, nowadays, cell phones are used for so much more than just calling. According to comScore, more than 63 million people in the US use the mobile internet, with 35% of those people accessing the mobile internet daily, which is more than double the figure from last year. [1]

This exciting growth presents a golden opportunity for retailers both big and small, national and local, to reach out to their potential customers no matter where they are searching. Many of the larger ecommerce players have mastered the mobile experience for their users, but we’d like to provide you with a few observations to ensure that you’re making the most of your mobile presence no matter the size of your retail venture:

1) MAKE IT EASY TO USE: You don’t need to have an iphone or android app to be effective with ecommerce online. In fact, comScore estimates that only 12% of the cell phone population in the US uses smartphones currently. So, the goal is to create an experience for your customers that is as easy and convenient to use as your regular website, no matter what type of device the user is on.

Most importantly, you must have a great landing page experience that spans device type. Easy navigation is critical. If the user is confused or frustrated, they are gone. Login and stored information (such as billing and shipping info) must also be the same over the air as online--the ecommerce experience should be seamless. Finally, use Google Analytics, a free tool, to improve your abandonment rates. GA can segment out mobile users, so you will be able to see trends and spot holes in your mobile site’s functionality.

2) MAKE IT EASY TO SAVE OR SEND SEARCHES FROM PHONE: To be able to capitalize on every transaction intention your users may have, enabling search or cart storage as well as the ability to email/sms product information to themselves is key. The nature of mobile search and ecommerce is such that many users are not able to or unwilling to pull the trigger on a transaction while on the go (say, while driving 95 down I95).

By making it simple for the user to access their saved searches when they reach their desktop, you create another chance to bring your customer to the cash register. Additionally, adding an “email it to me” or “remind me” functionality to your site not only allows the user to re-access their desired product/shopping cart information from their desktop, but it also allows you to capture their email address or phone number in one easy step for future remarketing messages.

3) MAKE IT EASY TO REACH YOU: Google has made it easy for retailers to advertise both online and on mobile devices, reaching out to searchers no matter where they're searching from. Google Mobile Ads allows you to extend your marketing campaign online via AdWords. In addition, we’ve recently launched Location Extensions, which dynamically attach your business address and phone number to your adwords ads. By providing a physical location or a linked phone number to enable a one click call, your potential customers can find you in person. The most important thing is to provide a means for the user to reach you and purchase from you, no matter if it’s online, on the phone, or in person.

As Jonathan Rosenberg, SVP of Product at Google recently said, desktop and mobile internet experiences are complementary. “Desktop ads are higher during the week…while conversely, mobile search volume soars on the weekends, when people are away from their desktop or laptops.” Creating an easy to navigate and familiar mobile internet experience is key to unlocking the millions upon millions of searches performed daily on cellular phones. Being wherever the search is happening with the right information at the right time is the ultimate goal. You wouldn’t want to miss that call, would you?

[1] comScore Press Release, "Mobile Internet Becoming A Daily Activity For Many," March 16, 2009.