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June 21, 2007

Search Marketing in Poland

Central Europe is a very attractive market for western companies, which can find here an emerging market, develop their business, create crucial contacts and get profitable agreements. However, to achieve this one needs to reach his new contracting parties apace and at little cost. Crucial contribution to achieve all of these can be made through search engines and search engine marketing adjusted to Polish proceeding conditions.

The popularity of different search engines among Polish internauts The popularity of search engines in Poland is frequently measured. Recent information can be found on different web sites such as ranking.pl or Megapanel PBI/Gemius. The analysis confirms that Polish people use not only global but also local search tools. The very recent research (from May 2007) shows distinctly that the most popular search engine is Google.

The popularity of search engines in Poland (according to domain) compares the domains which drive the most visits on Polish websites. The comparison of search engines according to most popular search engines that are used, show very similar results. In Poland there is a local version of Google which improves in ranking of popularity since it appeared (e.g. in 2004 the popularity was estimated at 42%, a year after more than 69%, while now it is more than 86%).

The second place (receded from the first one) belongs to Onet Szukaj (Onet Search), very similar to WP which occupies the third place (it uses the technology of Netsprint.pl) and gained its popularity through long time of being present at the market. These search engines are parts of important portals (www.onet.pl and www.wp.pl accordingly) from which Polish Internet began, and which offer to their visitors, through many years of their development, several services (email, chat rooms, instant messaging, news etc.). Among the internauts who use these search engines are both very loyal users and those who are just real beginners. The fourth in the ranking is Interia.pl – the search engine which is the part of well a known Polish portal which uses Google technology. These are followed by MSN, Szukacz.pl, Yahoo, Gooru, Altavista and others… but because of a rudimentary market share, are showed here only to present a complete data. Summing this up, when planning SEO / SEM activities in search engines used by Polish internauts, there are three which are worth to pay attention to:

Google.pl, – Onet Szukaj, – WP / Netsprint.

The way of using search engines by Polish internauts The tendencies observed in the way search engines are used in Poland overlap with those of international users. The Polish use search engines much more often, more effectively and frequently. They not only make more accurate and detailed queries but also perceive the listings as a reliable information not just random combination of links. They are able to notice the differences between organic listings and sponsored links, which they are (surprisingly?) willing to click since it is one out of two (beside button) most popular (and well tolerated) ways of online advertising. According to Gemius (2006) 82% of search engines’ users click on paid links. Polish internauts, as well as international ones, concentrate on the first three pages of searching results and usually they click on top three links. The research of Visual attention to Online Search Engine Results illustrates these observations in details.

How long a statistical Polish internaut spends on searching on Internet? According to the research of Gemius (held in December 2006) the average user uses Google (since it is the most popular search engine) about 5 hours, 5 minutes and 39 seconds monthly. However, this time is not only spent on searching but also on using mailbox on gmail.com, Google Maps, or services such as blogger.com. On average the internauts spend 3 hours 2 minutes and 29 seconds on the search engine’s website. In comparison, Onet search engine is used 32 minutes and 47 seconds monthly, WP search engine 21 minutes and 58 seconds, while Szukacz.pl is used only 5 minutes and 26 seconds a month. Taking into consideration the average duration of page view internauts use Google similarly to other search engines, however the number of page views per user is different. Google search engine has here predominance. On average there are 101.18 page views monthly, while for the second Onet and fourth Interia it is just 18.27 and 17.83 accordingly.

The most popular keywords in Poland It is well known what Polish internauts use to search through the Internet and how they do it, the only question is what they generally look for. The most popular keywords in search engines are regularly updated – e.g. in case of Onet on a weekly basis. The most popular subjects searched for in polish search engines are erotica, entertainment (for example, surnames of popular stars, music files, funny videos, etc.), season entries – connected with current events in the country, or information such as weather, train timetable, loans, work and… search engines! Car related phrases and tourism are very popular as well.

The use of search engine optimization and search engine marketing in Poland More than 75% of Polish companies (a poll made by Bluerank) use search engine optimization (web positioning and optimization) to improve the visibility of company website at the search engine ranking pages. In addition, half of the examined companies have executed advertising campaigns (PPC) with the use of sponsored links on Polish and international search engines. Polish experts claim that the budget use for this kind of advertising reaches 20% since SEM is the leader of e-marketing. It is because of low costs and efficiency but first of all, perceived by common internauts as practical and useful (according to Gemius actually 29% of all users like paid links and click on them).

The most competitive branches in Poland when talking about SEM activity are finance, tourism, car industry, IT, entertainment, healthcare, real estate and e-commerce. Because of this competitiveness the costs of advertising are much higher than in the less popular areas. The cost of promotion is changing also because of the time period. During festive time, such as the second half of December, the costs increase because of huge popularity of sponsored links, especially in the retail area. Tourism has its ‘raise and fall’ depending on season. The holiday time is very crucial (June-August), New Years Eve, as well as winter holidays (February). Finances are in good condition through the whole year (there is always competition) but taking into consideration IT there is minor stagnation between II and III term, so it means the sponsored links might be cheaper at that time. There is a great dependence not only according to the branch but also country, habits of a certain community and calendar of events.

Advertising opportunities in Polish search engines The most diverted offer of search engine advertising in Polish Internet has Netsprint.pl/WP, which offers to advertisers not only PPC campaigns and banners but also very recent “phone link” (pay-per-call solution) and many others – unusual ways of advertising on the search engine results pages with the content modified according to requirements of the campaign. A very good example is the action called “AIDS search engine protection“. Netsprint is a quite flexible partner in this kind of negotiation, in contrast to Google.pl which is constrained to follow strict rules of the corporation and not to come forth obligatory limitation in the field of SEM.

The great advantage of Polish Google (in comparison with the other already mentioned here search engines) is large simplicity of usage – not only for internauts searching through the Internet but also for advertisers who conduct PPC campaigns. The administration panel is comprehensible, intuitive in use and useful. It gives a wide range of possibilities in setting up the advertising campaign – especially while targeting. Netsprint’s panel is the least useful but there is a possibility to get free pieces of advice from search engine’s consultants.

Google does not offer all of the ways of advertising which is used for example in USA. Polish SEM activity with the use of this search engine is mainly focused on AdWords. AdSense is not so popular – mainly because there is not enough websites and unsatisfactory quality of them in the Google network. In Poland, there are not only popular and worth reading newspapers, magazines or professional bulletins, but also different private, “hobby like” websites with low popularity and high risk of fraud clicks, which expose advertisers on incidental expenses.

The advantage of search engine of Onet (in comparison with WP) is an advanced possibility to target ads and well described user profile. According to the data from a search engine – among the total of 11 million of Polish internauts, 650.000 use exclusively Onet (Megapanel PBI/Gemius research from 2006/2007). A very unique feature of this portal is a section called Onet.eu, which is intended to visit by Polish people who live in the United Kingdom. In case this is an interesting target group, it is worth to take into consideration contextual advertising there through OnetKontekst.

Search engines and SEM in Poland – predictions for the future For a few years now Polish search engines have been trying to follow the example of American companies and developed markets of Western Europe. When improving local search engines and ways of SEM advertising, Polish people follow the best practices of Google in the range of searching and advertising products. This trend should remain and hopefully soon in Poland there will be a lot of high budget campaigns in search engines. However, even today we can observe constant, increasing need for Polish SEM agencies’ services among foreign companies. Those SEM agencies are familiar with the specific character of Polish market, they are relatively cheap and have all the competencies needed to promote foreign brands, products and services in search engines in Poland.

Author:  Maciej Galecki (LinkedIn profile) is the CEO of Bluerank – Polish SEM agency specializing in search engine optimization and paid listings campaigns for worldwide customers concentrating on the activity in the Eastern Europe. She invites Polish speaking readers to comment on this article on her company’s SEM & SEO blog.

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