Google Instant Search

September 8, 2010

Today Google announced Google Instant, which dynamically streams search results as users type in queries.   According to the announcement, this new feature will be across all Google users within the next few days.

As we have been testing queries on Instant Search, we have made the following observations:

1.)  Increase in Impressions, and potentially lower Quality Score on Broad Terms.  According to Google’s Help Section, they will consider an Impression any time anywhere on the Search Results Page (obviously including ads) or after 3 seconds.  We think this specific side-effect of the feature will be a negative for advertisers.

2.) Increased quality and volume on tail terms.  We think this feature will encourage users to type in more words per query, since they basically get a ‘preview’ of the Search Results, we think they’ll realise that they’ll need to give Google more information to get a better results- so more words within a query = more tail terms.  Also, within the tail, there is a decent amount of queries that have 7,8,9+ words long – we think once users get to 4 or 5, Google will be offering up intelligent suggestions where these types of users may not need to use as many words as they previously had.

3.) Google favors brands.  Try typing in one letter and let Google offer suggestions.  What you’ll see in most cases is that Google is suggesting brands: amazon, aple for A, best buy and bank of america for B.  Even if there are other queries starting with that letter that may get more traffic, Google has most likely made the conclusion that searches containing brands get a higher CTR than non-brand searches.

We look forward to watching this feature develop and get more traction and will report back with any data as it comes available.