theEword 2010 Wrap: the year in SEO and Social Media

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Manchester
Google The world's most popular search engine changed dramatically in the latter half of 2010 with the introduction of Google Instant. This innovation means search results are displayed from the first letter typed, and can change with every letter thereafter. The search giant took this a step further in November with Instant Previews, giving searchers the option to view a screenshot of a page. Although this could reduce clickthrough rate, Instant itself has actually registered an increase in impressions and lower cost-per-click.

In other news, Google began working on such futuristic innovations as driverless cars and instantly-translating phones. However, it wasn't all rosy, as problems plagued their Street View mapping service, including accidental data capture and complaints of privacy breaches. The company rounded up the year with the annual Google Zeitgeist report.

Pay Per Click UK marketers spent a record amount on pay per click campaigns this year, according to figures from IABUK. The overall online adspend increased by 10 per cent, with £2 billion spent in the first six months of the year. Of this, 60 per cent was spent on PPC marketing and other paid search ads, with display and banner ads contributing 20 per cent.

Google rolled out branded keywords in 2010, allowing third parties to bid on company trademarks. This led to a landmark court case in October, which saw Marks and Spencer taken to court for buying Interflora as a keyword, thus 'piggybacking' on the florist's reputation. In January, PPC research revealed that Google AdWords accounts for 3 of every 4 paid ads on the web.

Social Media Needless to say, it has been a good year for Facebook,culminating in CEO Mark Zuckerberg being named Time's person of the year. Unfortunately, research revealed that social media marketing is half as likely to be trusted as ads on content sources such as news websites.

Meanwhile, Twitter went from strength to strength with the addition of Promoted Tweets, a new layout, and the number of users surpassing 145 million. The site has also found itself at the centre of several huge news stories and scandals this year, although both Twitter and Facebook remain tight-lipped with regards to integrating content from the two sites. In July, theEword published the Manchester Twitter Report, examining the effects and successes of social media marketing in the local area.

Meanwhile, MySpace had a revamp. Nobody seemed to notice.

Mobile 2010 was, without a doubt, Apple's year.Between the launches of the iPhone 4 and the iPad, other releases such as Samsung's Galaxy tab went relatively unnoticed. The success of iPad magazines and newspapers has given many display advertisers cause for celebration or pause for thought, while the app store did a roaring trade despite some apps collecting user data. Android faced similar charges in October, while sales of handsets and apps also improved.

An estimated 51 per cent of mobile users now make purchases online with their devices, although Apple is hoping to tempt more with the launch of iAd, a service for marketers to create in-app ads with rich media and GPS targeting. Meanwhile Google, which accounts for 98 per cent of all mobile browser searches, offers mobile marketing through a dedicated branch of AdWords. As 2010 draws to a close amid rumours of an iPad 2, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was named person of the year by the Financial Times.