The Search Engine Strategies Toronto conference was held in Toronto, Canada on June 12-13, 2007 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. As always, it was a tightly-run event that was jam-packed with valuable information.
Here are some of the highlights from sessions I attended on Day 1:
Session: The Canadian Search Landscape
- Canadians conducted 12 billion search engine queries in 2006.
- Canadians are now conducting an average of 1.4 billion search engine queries per month.
- 80% of Canadian search queries are for Website content, 18% for images, and the balance are for video content, which is growing fast
- Depending on whose numbers you want to believe, Google currently has approximately 75-80% of the Canadian search engine query share, with Yahoo! and Microsoft evenly split over the remaining 20-25%. Expect Microsoft's share to increase as they continue to invest heavily in search.
- MSN adCenter's a 'bargain' deal for Canadian paid search advertisers because it is still relatively new and there's less competition.
- Only a small percentage of advertisers are taking advantage of the Quebec search engine advertising market; lots of great opportunities to get cheap traffic this way.
- 50% of Canadian search queries are related to finding a product or service.
- 78% of Canadians will turn to search engines to research a product or service.
- Martin Byrne from Yahoo! Search Marketing made the interesting observation that companies who have top ranking organic search results convey a "perception of [brand] leadership."
- Canadian searchers are knowledge seekers not bargain hunters.
- Canadian searchers are engaged: they are very active, will look at more brands, explore more choices, and like to build and share their expertise.
- 82% of Canadian businesses with Websites engage in online advertising, but only 36% of them use search engine advertising or search engine optimization.
- When asked why they weren't using search engine advertising, the number one reason Canadian businesses cited was "too expensive" ... which, of course, is ridiculous.
- Search engine advertising in Canada is now as large as the entire online advertising market was in 2004.
- In general, Canada is a less competitive search engine advertising market, which means there is still a great opportunity for advertisers.
Session: Search User Behaviour
- Searching from the Web browser's toolbar has increased 57% in Canada over the last year.
- Toolbar makes searchers more loyal to a specific search engine, and more engaged with that search engine; they conduct more searches.
- When it comes to having an impact on an online purchase, running search engine advertising alone can have a 20% lift, running online display advertising alone can have a 20% lift, but combining the two can have an 83% lift!
- Google image search is starting to get a significant amount of Canadian search traffic: 2% per month and growing.
- On average, a typical Canadian Website can expect to generate about 80-85% of its search traffic from organic listings versus 15-20% from search engine advertising.
- 1 in 4 searches are triggered by offline advertising. Television and print advertising aren't dead yet!
- Mainstream search engines (i.e., Google, Yahoo!, MSN) are the number one choice for B2B product or service research.
- Of those B2B researchers who want to go directly to a potential vendor's Website, 27% of them will still use a search engine to find that Website.
Stay tuned for highlights from Day 2...