• 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, according to research by E-consultancy and vertical search specialist Convera.

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.

Eighty per cent of internet professionals surveyed as part of the research are already using industry or sector-specific RSS feeds, and more than half of them (54%) have personalised homepages, according to the Vertical Search Report 2008, produced by E-consultancy in association with Convera.

Linus Gregoriadis, Head of Research at E-consultancy, said: “Publishers are working hard to maximise their digital revenues at a time of shifting advertising budgets. Trends in digital marketing are leading towards a fragmentation of the online landscape and ‘atomisation’ of content. Content owners have a great opportunity to increase visibility for their content through the effective use of feeds, widgets and toolbars.

“The level of uptake for feeds and customised homepages is very high among this early-adopter audience but this kind of online behaviour 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 half of respondents (53%) said that faster access to desired information is a ‘major benefit’ of vertical search. Exactly half of the respondents say that the focus on their business interests and workflow is a major advantage.

However, those publishers wishing to have their own search engine face a challenge because professionals are typically happy with the results they are getting from Google and other popular search engines.

More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) believe that popular search engines are either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ at delivering relevant and useful results.

Gregoriadis added: “Publishers have an opportunity to gain search market share by establishing themselves as the definitive search engine within a particular niche or sector. The challenge for publishers is to disrupt this habitual use of popular search engines by producing a search tool which is better – and is perceived to be better - than generic search engines.”

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.

The three biggest advantages of having a vertical search feature on their properties are the ability to ‘improve brand by becoming an authority website’, the potential to ‘keep users on-site’ and the ‘potential to monetise through advertising’.

“Vertical search helps advertisers connect to their customers, thereby increasing the publisher’s revenue stream,” said Patrick Condo, CEO of Convera.

According to the findings, search toolbars for vertical professional sector would be widely used by survey respondents, with 29% saying they would ‘definitely’ use one and a further 51% saying they would probably use one.

The three biggest disadvantages of vertical search in the eyes of the publisher community are: ‘hassle of support and maintenance’, the danger of ‘pointing website users to competitors’ and ‘resource issues’.

Contact

Journalists and bloggers can email or call Linus Gregoriadis for a complimentary copy of the report and / or further information.

The full report is available at:

http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/vertical-search-report-2008/

Linus Gregoriadis, Head of Research, E-consultancy
(e: linus@e-consultancy.com t: 020 7681 4051 / 07956 564713)

About E-consultancy
E-consultancy is an online publisher of best practice internet marketing reports, research and how-to guides. E-consultancy, named Publisher of the Year at the 2006 AOP Awards, also organises regular events, including roundtables and Supplier Showcases, where six suppliers pitch to an audience of pre-qualified buyers at a Central London venue. E-consultancy has 60,000 registered users and more than 145,000 unique users sessions per month (audited by ABC Electronic). It is popular among internet professionals because of its time-saving advice and insight. www.e-consultancy.com/about/.

About Convera
Convera is the leading provider of vertical search services for publishers. Convera enables publishers to generate additional revenue by creating customized search applications for specialist audiences under their own brand.

Convera vertical search applications can combine publisher proprietary content with an editorially vetted best of the Web for specific professional audiences, providing an authoritative and comprehensive search experience. Many of the world’s largest publishers are working with Convera to accelerate their e-publishing strategies, meet growing online revenue goals and build loyal online professional communities.

http://www.convera.com/

Published on: 12:00AM on 5th December 2007