According to ComScore in November 2010, the top 10 web properties in Canada (in order) were: MSN, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikimedia Foundation, eBay, Ask Network, Sympatico, Apple and Yellow Pages Group.
Out of this group 9 of these properties existed back in 2001. Facebook was the only one that did not exist, so for Facebook, we go back to 2006.
Here is the visual of Canada’s Top 10 Web Properties from 10-years ago:
Facebook – Note 2006 is the first image
Finally, some very popular Canadian websites that are due an honorable mention:
The Weather Network
Images are screencaps taken from WayBack Machine.
In a posting done by Jeff Jarvis on December 30 titled “9 Remarkable Stats on Google“, Jeff did a very good job of highlighting some interesting stats on Google.
I spent a lot of my time in 2007 working with a number of people from the Google organization in my role with Yellow Pages Group and for as much as we hear Google as the corporate entity, like every successful company in the world, it is the people behind the company that make it truly remarkable.
Anyway, thanks to Jeff for compiling such a list, here are the ones that I found most interesting and I have included a CDN perspective:
- Google controls 65.1% of all searches in the U.S. at the end of 2007 and 86% of all searches in the UK, according to measurement company Hitwise. (For Canada, at least in terms of unique visitors and according to ComScore Media Metrix, November 2007, Google had 87.9% reach, MSN had 46.5%, Ask had 31.4% and Yahoo had 28.1% – this is not the same as searches, but gives you an idea of where Google is within the Canadian market specifically)
- Google earned $15 billion revenue and $6.4 billion profit in 2007, a profit margin of 26.9%. Its revenue was up 57% in the last quarter of 2007 over 2006, says Yahoo Finance. As of late 2007, its stock was up 53% in a year. The company has a market capitalization of $207.6 billion. (As of close of market today – Google’s valuation is 214.36B)
- Google employed almost 16,000 people at the end of 2007, a 50% increase over the year before. (I have been to their offices in Mountain View and New York, they have an incredible culture. I only worry about the employees whose first job is with Google – they are going to be spoiled for life)
- Google became the No. 1 brand in the world in 2007, according to Millward Brown Brandz Top 100. (here is the link to this report – the ranking is on page 10. Google is valued at 66.4B, GE at 61.9B, Microsoft at 54.9B, Coco Cola at 44.1B and China Mobile at 41.2B. The top Canadian firm on the list is the Royal Bank of Canada (#39) valued at 13.6B
- Google controls 79% of the pay-per-click ad market, according to RimmKaufman. It controls 40% of all online advertising, according to web site HipMojo.
“We don’t have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference.”
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
In discussions with small business owners, when asked, what method of tracking do you use to measure your new sales, the most common response is “I ask my consumers where they heard about me”. Usually the second part of the conversation goes this way – “word of mouth is my best form of advertising” and “I tried many forms of advertising, none have worked for me”.
For this particular post I want to focus on two areas:
1) How word-of-mouth (WOM) needs support
2) How to leverage in-store questions and online traffic
I am a very strong believer in WOM and the incredible growth it can generate. That being said, WOM often takes more credit away from supporting advertising vehicles, giving the impression to a SME that their advertising is not working.
A typical conversation with a new customer may go like this:
Bus Owner: Thanks for coming in. How did you happen to hear about our store?
Customer: A friend recommended you
Bus Owner: That’s great, if you liked the service today, please tell your friends
The above dialogue is good, however, what if the conversation was slightly changed:
Bus Owner: Thanks for coming in. Can I ask you two questions about how you come to our store today?
Bus Owner: How did you hear about out store?
Customer: From a friend
Bus Owner: Thanks, how did you get our address?
Customer: From your website? From my friend? From the Yellow Pages?
Bus Owner: That’s great, if you liked the service today, please tell your friends about us and have them visit my website, Yellow Pages ad, etc. for my store details.
Of course the exact questions can be changed and tailored, but the main point is that in most cases WOM is supported by another medium that connects the buyer and the seller. People will refer people they like to people they trust, however, those same people will usually not know all the details about your business. WOM can accelerate your sales when you have a support mechanism behind it and you incorporate it into your WOM strategy.
In-Store Questions and Online Traffic
Continuing with the example above and examining customers who indicated they used the Internet to find your address, we need to examine our web analytics. The first question I usually get is, should I ask customers how they found me on the web? I advise against asking any questions about how people found you on the web. The reason is that there is a lot of confusion among web users – so the typical response is Google – even if they used MSN, Yahoo or something else. This gives the illusion that all web traffic is generated from Google – which is not the case. As a business owner, if you have a good analytics package – all you need to know from your customers is whether they saw your website. Once you have a in-store count you can cross-reference this with your web analytics to find out what is and is not working online.
As a side-note I want to share a quick story. I helped a auto dealer in Calgary with their tracking and customer acquisition strategies. Calgary has two major newspaper dailies – the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun. We started by creating a baseline, by spending one month asking customers how they came to stop by the dealership. Of the two newspaper dailies what we found was that 25% came from paper 1 and 15% came from paper 2. Here is where it gets interesting – this particular dealership had not advertised in paper 2 for a couple of years, yet 15% of new customers said they found the dealership there. Here is my take on this non-scientific survey – when asked, some customers will simply answer what comes to their mind first as opposed to what is actual. Not because they are dishonest, just that they most likely don’t care and will answer to shut you up. The same thing is happening on the web – I bet I could take 10 people who use Yahoo Search as their primary engine and half of them, when asked quickly, would probably say Google. My point is that only relying on asking people how they found you on the web can be misleading, whereas this potential misleading information does not exist with web analytics.
Here are some stats from my mom’s business, The Bra Lady. What we have learned over the past 4-years of tracking results is that WOM is by far her #1 way of generating new business with the Internet as her primary support mechanism to WOM. What we have also found is that many people are referred to her business, but use search engines and directories to find her web address. Probably 80% of her new clients indicate that Internet played a role. NOTE: this may be high and in her particular situation makes a lot of sense – because she is a home based business. However, when I worked with Auto Dealers – this number was about the same and dentists were up there as well.
On a monthly basis we compare the number of referrals who indicate the Internet was a source of them finding her to her actual analytics – we use Google Analytics to understand better exactly how these people ending up finding her.
Here is the aggregate view:
In the above you will notice that the top three referrers of traffic are Google, YellowPages.ca, and Direct. Examining just the top three referrers, typically I would examine further both the traffic from YellowPages.ca and Google.
What I notice is the majority of keywords from Google are good quality. You will notice that keyword #20 – the one that references ebay is not considered a good keyword, however, this is the nature of search engines. It is important when examining search engine traffic to look at the keywords to get a accurate picture. The conclusion is that Google is generating good traffic.
What I notice is that the top referring URL from yellowpages.ca is the merchant page that was built for her business by YPG – this is good – it supports the decision to have the website URL located on this page. If I continue to examine further I see that users were searching using keywords we anticipated and specifically in Calgary. What I like about directory traffic is that people don’t surf directories. They go there for a purpose – usually to find something in particular – so the traffic generated here is high-quality.
This is pretty self-explanatory.
You will notice that we are also showing other top referrers in Facebook and CalgaryPlus.ca. I did a posting back in July of this year – Facebook – Can Local Business Florish in Social Networking? and its potential impact on local business – watch for this. For those of you interested – here is an article I posted back in 2005 on the strength of media companies and front-page placement – Power of Front Page Placement.
In conclusion – I would challenge any SME to dig a little deeper in 2008 in terms of their tracking and understanding of customers. Also I would encourage you to not presuppose answers as to where online traffic might come from. In Canada – we are continually bombarded with US news and information about the Internet, which sometimes gives us a US perspective on traffic as opposed to a CDN perspective on traffic. Build your measurement criteria, find the tools to track and examine them monthly – this will generate great results for your business in 2008.
Currently at the Kelsey Conference in LA and had an enjoyable time listening to Chamath Palihapitiya, VP Product Marketing and Operations for Facebook. He was speaking about facebook and its product with respect to advertising – I am currently doing some testing and will have a future post on my findings with respect to their ad platform from a Canadian perspective.
Anyway, here were some of the stats regarding the growth of facebook.com that I found very interesting and impressive:
55 million active users (usage in the last 30-days)
250,000 new users a day
doubling every 6-months
over 50% of users are returning everyday
70+ billion page views per month
end of 2007 – 1 trillion page views per year
40+ page views per user per day
Is your website enabled to be seen on a cellular phone? Are you using Google Adwords to promote your business? If you answered yes to both questions your business may already be displayed as part of Google’s Mobile Ad strategy. I came across a posting by Michael Blumenthal called Google Intros Search Ads on Google Mobile Search in which a letter was sent from Google indicating their short-term strategy for mobile ads and the criteria to be displayed. Here is a copy of that letter:
We are happy to announce a new feature that will allow you to easily reach additional qualified customers who are searching
Google from their mobile phones.
In the next few days, your search ads will be eligible to run on Google Mobile Search pages (like they currently do on Google.com).
We are offering this feature – and any resulting clicks – for free through November 18, so you can experiment with the rapidly growing mobile platform while still reaching qualified customers.
Each ad’s eligibility will be determined by its landing page and only ads with landing pages that can be adapted for viewing on mobile browsers will be shown. You can monitor each ad’s performance via a special performance tracking page within your account called “Performance Data: Search Ads on Google Mobile Search.”
Again, you will not be charged for clicks on these ads until November 19, at which time we will begin charging the usual CPC prices. And as always, you may opt-out of this feature at any time.
We hope you find this new feature helpful and profitable, and we urge you to learn more about it at our AdWords Help Center:
Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.
The Google AdWords Team
If you fit the current criteria that you may already be taking advantage of this medium. Considering the growth of mobile and the mobile applications it is probably a good time to consider ensuring that your business can be viewed on a mobile phone. Not sure where to start – two suggestions; 1) find a design company that specializes in WAP, WML, and XHTML MP or 2) if you want to consider the process yourself, I suggest that you start by reading, Creating Web Content for Mobile Phone Browsers.
Here are some highlights from an article in January of this year titled – Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users – which explores how large this industry has already become. The point to these stats, if you are a local business, is that your customers are either using or will be using mobile as a means to learn and connect with your business. Ensure that you are ready to take advantage of this opportunity.
* Worldwide there are about 800 million registered automobiles
* Today there are 1.3 billion fixed landline phones in the world
* Today there are about 1.5 billion TV sets in use in the world . (TV is often shared, especially in Asia where families are also large. So you might easily have 6 or even 10 watching the same TV show. The reach of TV is much beyond the 1.5 billion sets in use.)
* Today 1.4 Billion people carry at least one credit card.
* In most countries it is illegal for under 18 year olds to have credit cards
* There are about 850 million PCs
* In total over 750 million people access internet content via a mobile phone today
* About the total PC population or about 850 million people, access the web via a computer.
* During 2007 the first cross-over from PC to Mobile phones will happen, with more users accessing via phone than PC.
* The total shipped PDA population is about 85 million, most which are replacements.
* Thre are 85 Million iPod in use
* DVD recorders/ PVR shipments are under 100 million.
* Camcorders, are under 100 million total shipped (many as replacements).
* Gaming consoles have shipped near 200 million units, out of which 150 million are second generation (PS2/Xbox) or newer.
* The (stand-alone) digital camera has achieved shipments of near 300 million.
* There are 2.7 billion Mobile phones shipped (technically 2.7 billion in January, not December). They sold 950 million phones last year and the total worldwide mobile subscriber base grew from 2.1 billion to 2.7 billion.
* Phones are replaced every 18 months (and this is still shrinking)
* USA has reached 75% penetration for mobile phones
* The Western European average per capita penetration for mobile phones is already 110%
* Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Israel have penetration rates at about 140%
* China adds 6 million phones every month, India adds 7 million phones every month.
* Finland, Norway, Denmark and Portugal – each countries with 120% or more penetration rates – Mobilephones are less than 6 million units total.
* SMS Messaging Is Biggest Data App On Planet
* On the internet there are about 1.5 billion e-mail boxes, maintained by about 800 million people.
* 1.8 billion people are doing SMS texting.
* Last year over 42% of Americans were active in SMS already
* E-mail is opened in 24 hours and replied to in 48 hours.
* SMS is read within 15 minutes on average and responded within 60 minutes.
* 65% of e-mail is spam, less than 10% of SMS is spam.
* In South Korea five separate credit card services are available on the three mobile networks
* In South Korea almost 100% of credit card based point-of-purchase sites accept payment via mobile phone credit (and charge) cards
* Two years from launch almost 10% of South Korean phone users watch digital broadcast TV on their phones
* The Pop Idol formats have earned a windfall of over 700 million dollars out of text messaging votes
* In 2005 already half of all phones sold were cameraphones so cameraphones outsell digital cameras by more than 4 to 1 .
* There are 3.2 Billion to 3.8 Billion radio users.
* 73% of the population now uses the mobile phone as their portable clock.
* 2.7 Billion phones in active use. There is a subscription for 40% of the planet’s population.
* The mobile telecoms industry earned 725 Billion dollars last year.
* Global music industry earns 16% of its revenues from mobile phones (mostly ringing tones);
* Videogaming earns 14% of its global revenues from mobile.
* Mobile telecom growth in dollar terms, from 2005 to 2006, was 105 billion dollars.
Back on July 5, I posted Google Maps Advertising: How to do it and does it work and I wanted to share some early results.
Using thebralady.ca as the destination site and running both a regular adwords campaign as well as a local business ad campaign combined with conversion tracking when a user lands on the Maps page I have been surprised at the early results of this campaign.
So what have I discovered?
CTR (click thru rate): the CTR for the map advertising is outperforming that of the regular search ad by well over 50%.
Conversion Rate: This is the biggest surprise, the conversion rate on the clicks from the maps advertising is twice (that’s correct – 2 times) that of clicks coming from the search network.
Going into this campaign, I had no expectations, I did suspect however that maps may not be as successful. I am surprised by the results. What this suggests to me is that users are starting to learn the behavior of finding local businesses on maps and if the results continue, could potentially be a powerful tool in local advertising.
I will keep you posted on developments.
Online buyers in Canada are taking full advantage of the Web, scouring customer reviews and community sites for help making educated purchasing decisions, according to a new study by JC Williams Group (via Globe and Mail).
Around 38 percent of Canadian online buyers comparison shop, an increase of four percent from last year. Shoppers also trust peer reviews more than any other source: 60 percent called reviews by other customers their most trust source, while newspapers or magazines garnered only 31 percent of shopper confidence.
Right now the fastest growing media site in Canada is facebook, currently with 3M registered users.
Some top comparison sites in Canada include Shop To It, Price Canada and Price Grabber to name a few. For a complete list – please refer to Linda Bustos’s Post called – Canadian Comparison Shopping Roundup – this will give you the 411 on the comparison shopping in Canada. If you are still interested in learning more about Comparison Shopping in General – check out the Comparison Shopping Engine Strategies blog written by Scot Wingo the CEO of ChannelAdvisor.com.
More businesses in Canada need to get their product inventories online. I think there is a great opportunity for businesses to drive more sales using comparison engines (most of which will take your inventory for free) as another means of marketing. Even if you don’t sell the products online, having your inventory available online is critical. However, the main key is to do it right, meaning, don’t just slap up products you would like to carry or have access to it a catalogue – make sure that what you list is available in your store. If it is not available, remove it.
Would you ever tell a prospective customer over the phone that you had a product in stock, when you don’t? You would have one irate customer on your hands if they drove down to your store and realized that you lied to them on the phone. The same rule applies on the web – promote what you have and remove it when you don’t. If you are interested in a tool that allows you to get your inventory online – check our DriveIt.
Do you have other solutions that can help get inventory online for Canadian businesses? If so, please let them in the comments section – thanks.
Although this does not affect small businesses in a direct manner, I wanted to share with all my readers a new public relations strategy used by corporations in their fight with unions. I think we will start to see an all out war online of unions and corporations pleading their case for public sympathy in their case. From a corporate standpoint this is a good strategy as it gives the opportunity to present the facts without the emotional involvement that many unions try to bring to the negiotation table. That being said, this converse is also the same for the unions and in fact could gain some support amoung the non-unionized workforce.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but here is a summary of this Coco-Cola’s fight:
Coca-Cola Counters Critics With Search Ads – read the full article at MediaPost.
FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS, Coca-Cola’s public relations department has battled charges that the company is responsible for improper anti-union tactics in bottling plants in Colombia. Now, the company has started using another tool in its public relations arsenal: search engine marketing.
Last week, a U.S. federal court dismissed a claim filed by Sinaltrainal, a Colombian labor union, stating that the accusations were too vague. Since 2001, some union activists have charged in court that Coca-Cola conspired to intimidate–and in some cases, assassinate–union leaders in Colombia. Coca-Cola always denied the charges, but the anti-Coke campaign gained traction at U.S. colleges. Around a dozen colleges–including New York University–banned the sale and marketing of the beverage company’s products.
To get the word out about its court victory, Coca-Cola purchased keyword ads on terms related to the controversy, including “Killer Coke”–a phrase contained in the url of the protesters’ Web site, KillerCoke.org. The ad copy reads: “Coke Lawsuit Dismissed: Suit against Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia dismissed. Read more,” and users who click on the link are taken to a Coke Web site with more information. The ad also appears on political sites that have discussed the issue, including some sites that virulently attacked the company, such as DemocraticUnderground.com.
Read the rest of this article by Shankar Gupta with MediaPost.