2011 to be "web design year"

Google and Bing will offer app search before the year is out
Smartphone users likely already feel the pull of their respective app store/marketplace as much as if not more than a traditional search engine like Google - when they have a particular need. That, according to Adam Bunn, director of search at Greenlight, is a new frontier for search: the idea that instead of finding a website that will be able to answer your question right now, you’ll go and find an app and install that app because it will answer the question, and questions like it, again and again, in a more usable way.
Display marketing to mirror search characteristics
Google’s acquisition of Double Click, Yahoo Right Media Exchange, and Direct Response; and MSN bringing its exchange to the forefront - as well as offering similar display programs and formats to search advertisers - is bringing a very search-like feel what we all once knew as traditional display marketing.
The Ad Exchanges specifically have been pivotal to this evolution, providing real-time bidding and optimization. It is making advertisers and brands rethink their display strategy and investment – and ask the question, does display have a new lease of life?
Google versus Bing – competition will hot up
Among other things Greenlight expects:
  • Bing to imitate Google Instant Preview and introduce image previews of sites, with some additional functionality over the Google implementation such as the ability to zoom or “grab and scroll” the preview with the mouse to take a closer look before selecting which site is of interest;
  • Google to introduce a feature similar to Bing’s “Recent Searches” only called “Recent Pages”. It will list the viewers five most recently clicked on search results for easier recollection later on. Data pertaining to how often a site is revisited when in the respective user’s recent pages list will be fed into the algorithm.
“Expect this amidst a continued advertising push by Bing throughout the year,” adds Bunn.
Yahoo’s “Rich ads in Search” proposition will take off
Yahoo has launched its ‘Rich Ads in Search’ (RAIS) proposition. In summary, RAIS are designed to deeply engage the target audience through images, videos and multiple direct links to the respective site. Unlike Google, Yahoo is offering permanent real-estate. You buy full inventory over a fixed period of time and are charged on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
RAIS is focused on branded search. It aims to highlight a respective brand even further, incorporate its video assets and extends its search functionality including site links and a search function in the ad as well.
The proposition is expected to increase click through rates (CTRs) significantly for brand owners. It aims to take back some of the control/brand visibility lost from affiliates and competitors.
Massive growth in the contextual PPC model
With the success of Google’s Content Network - now rebranded the Display Network - many publisher sites and shopping aggregators are following with similar paid for listings models, offering their real estate at a price. Although very early stages, none of them have quite mastered a ‘quality score’ of some type making the payment model very much a fixed cost per click (CPC) but still split by vertical.
For advertisers, this is another advertising option that in most cases is a cheaper option. With CPC’s being relatively low it helps spread the risk, so all an advertiser’s budget isn’t just spent with Google. But it does not quite offer the same amount of reach as advertising via one of the search engines or Google’s contextual network.
That said it’s an interesting proposition and one which many advertisers (especially retail and travel) are already exploiting. So far the biggest selling points are the competitive CPCs some of these publisher sites are offering, almost undercutting the search engines. Are they offering something different? And do they have a real chance of cutting into Google’s monopoly of the contextual space? Greenlight thinks so.
Instant Previews here to stay, making 2011 “web design year”
With the introduction of Google Instant Previews, search engine users now get to see a site before they arrive at it. This means they will be making important decisions before the site has any chance to engage the viewer with the strength of its content or functionality.
Although Instant Previews usually contain a few highlighted snippets of text as well as the overall screen-grab, those snippets are barely noticeable at present making the previews basically entirely graphical. Consequently if a site design is not up to scratch, it will start to see click through rates (CTRs) dropping, which will have knock on effects on the site’s rankings too.
In addition, CTR optimization will become its own semi-discipline built around the arrival of Instant Previews and incorporating competitor analysis, title and meta description optimization, to offer a rounded and compelling package to top ranking sites.
Pre-targeting, re-targeting, re-marketing
Personalized re-targeting, is the channel that allows advertisers to re-engage with lost customers via personalized banners across the Internet. Some of the biggest players in this market include Criteo, Struq, My Things Media and adGENIE.
Even the search engines are giving it a go with Google’s Remarketing or Yahoo Smart Ads. Personalized retargeting is quite a unique proposition and twist to display in some ways, to the point whereby dynamic personalized retargeting has been proven to drive increased CTRs and conversion rates from what is considered the typical 0.005% for traditional display versus personalized re-targeting which normally starts off around 0.8% CTR and has been known to reach as high as 5% CTR.