Why You Need to Know About Google Instant

Last week Google launched a new product, Google Instant, in the United States and it is slowly rolling out in Canada. Soon it will be a mainstay on Google.ca.

Why is this important?

Because we think it is going to change the way people search online.

What is Google Instant?

With Google Instant search results appear instantly as you type. Traditionally, when you use Google to search, you type in your words, press ‘Search’ or hit ‘Enter’ on your keyboard and you are automatically directed to a page with the results. But with Google Instant, as soon as you begin typing in your search query , Google will no longer wait for the Search button to be pressed but instead immediately start searching based on the characters being typed. Results will immediately start showing up on the results page. Even instantly after only typing 1 letter. For example, typing the letter ‘e’ immediately brings up Ebay.

How does Google Instant work exactly?

Let’s pretend you are interested in learning more about the Vancouver Canucks. You start typing in Vancouver Canucks and Google will immediately start showing results for Vancouver Canucks instantly on the page. But perhaps as you are searching you spot Vancouver Canucks Roberto Luongo in the search listing and this interests you. So you scroll down and select article that catches your eye. What started as a generic search for Vancouver Canucks has now evolved into a more specific search about the Vancouver Cancuks and Roberto Luongo.

Here is a short video from the official Google Blog to explain how Google Instant works.

Why should marketers and advertisers care about Google Instant?

Now people will be adapting their searches as they search. For example, you could search Vancouver Canucks and Google will start searching. But maybe as the search is evolving you see something about Roberto Luongo in the search listing so you end your search Vancouver Canucks Roberto Luongo because you want to learn more. As a marketer, if my keywords were just Vancouver Canucks I have now lost out on the opportunity to capture the attention of that potential customer. But in the traditional form of Google, Vancouver Canucks Roberto Luongo might appear on page 3 of Google. Now the searching is being refined and users will be swayed to explore more detail. That page that might have appeared on page 3 (and received very few clicks) is now on page 1.

Also worth noting: Google Instant will have an impact on online advertising as well. Before now, it was straightforward to measure an ad impression — the user ran a query, and your ad either showed up on the page or it didn’t. But because of the constantly updating nature of Google Instant, ads will now often appear for a fraction of a second. To account for this Google is changing the way it measures impressions (it only counts if the user hits the ‘Enter’ key to complete their query, looks at the page for over three seconds, or they click on a link from the results page). But Google is also warning advertisers to expect some fluctuations:

With this change, you might notice some fluctuations in AdWords impression volume and traffic for organic keywords. For example, you may find that certain keywords receive significantly more or fewer impressions moving forward.

How Can you view it today?

When you are on the home page of www.google.ca click on the www.google.com button on the bottom right of the search field. Enter a search and experience Google Instant.

The feature will only initially be available in English through Google.com, and users will have to have the latest web browsers installed: Chrome 5, Firefox 3, Safari 5 or Internet Explorer 8. Users will have the ability to turn the feature on and off.

We’ll update you as it becomes more of a mainstay in Canada.

Please contact your account executive to learn more about Spring’s digital team. We’d be happy to share with you some of our most recent successful case studies.

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