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HEALTH2.0: Vertical Search–The only way is up?

Forrester data in iHealthbeat:

Seventy percent of online consumers surveyed said they have used a Web-based search engine to find health-related information, but just 7% of online consumers surveyed said they have used a health-specific search engine, according to a survey by Forrester Research

That means that the vertical search guys have had 10% of the market in users although surely much less than 10% of the market in traffic. You can see why with the huge CPM rates for health care advertising this is indeed an interesting market for vertical search crowd like Healia, Healthline, Microsoft/Medstory, Kosmix, Praxeon et al. (Yes, I’m using those 5 as examples as they were on the panel at Health2.0 and I am just reviewing the DVD). But there are others too, like Medgle.

So will they gain any traction from this? Or will the big three (or really the big one) simply take their share back with their new tech releases…

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  1. The E-consultancy/Convera “Vertical Search Survey 2008” has just been released and reveals some very interesting information.
    CPM will be fastest-growing revenue stream for publishers in 2008
    Online revenue set to increase while print income flattens or decreases
    Content owners must ensure visibility within fragmenting digital landscape by embracing RSS, widgets and toolbars.
    Publishers see vertical search as opportunity to ‘reclaim the online community from Google’.
    The fastest-growing revenue streams for publishers in 2008 will be internet display advertising and online sponsorship.
    Some 72% of publishers are expecting an increase in income from CPM advertising next year and 67% are predicting a rise in digital sponsorship, while print revenues are more likely to flatten or decrease. Just under two thirds (64%) are expecting a rise in paid search (PPC) revenue.
    The findings come from a survey which was circulated to members of the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), American Business Media (ABM), Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) and E-consultancy’s early-adopter community of internet marketers.
    The research also highlights the need for specialist publishers to react quickly to major changes in the digital environment in order to maintain and increase their market share and visibility.
    Publishers need to adapt to maximize their digital revenues at a time of shifting advertising budgets. Trends in digital marketing are leading towards a fragmentation of the online landscape and ‘atomization’ of content. Content owners have a great opportunity to increase visibility for their content through the effective use of vertical search, feeds, widgets and toolbars.
    The level of uptake for feeds and customized homepages is very high among this early-adopter audience surveyed but this kind of online behavior will soon become more widespread among knowledge workers across a wider range of industries.”
    Some 93% of more than 500 media and internet professionals said that they would be ‘very likely’ or ‘quite likely’ to use a search engine that focused on serving their specific business or work needs.
    More than 70% of publishers perceived ‘reclaiming the online community from Google’ to be either a major benefit or a minor benefit from vertical search.
    To download a free online copy of the full report, click here http://www.convera.com/survey/

  2. anon, thanks for clearing that up – and in that spirit, I’ll note that the metrics I linked to are from neither Forrester nor comScore nor Nielsen, but a Boston-based Bill Gross enterprise called compete.com, whose aims appear to be similar – at a consumer level – to comScore/Nielsen.

  3. gjudd – I agree but that wasn’t exactly my point. The metrics that really matter to the search guys and potential advertisers are what comScore and Nielsen NetRatings show. They are directly from the horse’s mouth and show hard numbers on customer behavior/web site usage.
    The Forrester data is a only a secondary source of data based upon customer recall/opinion. Interesting – yes, basis of revenues in this market – no.

  4. anon, to the contrary – it’s easier if, as you imply, the “search guy(s)” revenues rely more on the terms of ‘sharing agreements’ than on search activity (you’re not too specific about who ‘partner sites’ might be: providers of accessed content? “Sponsors”, vs advertisers? Other?). Easier in the sense that an onlooker knows not to even waste time guessing what a given search utility might be making.
    At the same time, any tool or tools that gather decently reilable info about consumer behavior may in fact provide a window on what consumers are doing – vs what search-trepreneurs are being paid.

  5. Who cares what the Forrester data shows – I know the ad guys don’t. Pew Internet frankly has more interesting numbers and a better baseline of consumer feedback on health search anyways.
    The numbers that really matter are from comScore and Nielsen NetRatings. Then you have to untangle the various revenue sharing agreements the search guy have with partner sites. Not as easy as it sounds.

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