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SES Chicago 2009 Day 1 – Search Analytics and Search: Where to Next?

December 8th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Analytics, Online Mkting, Recaps, SEO


Day 1 of SES Chicago 2009 was all about search, analytics, and conversion.  I posted a recap of the Jeff Jarvis keynote.

This SES Chicago recap will cover 2 of the 5 sessions from Day 1.  The 1st two sessions include “Search Analytics” and “Search: Where to Next?”.

My recaps will include some useful tidbits that I picked up during day 1 of SES Chicago.  Tweets were made from @marketwire as well as my personal handle @shinng using the hashtag #seschi and #rt2eat.  So what is the meaning of the latter hashtag?  Well, the creative marketing team @marketwire wanted to give back for the holiday season so we decided to take advantage of the Marketwire presence.  For every ReTweet of our tweets that include the hashtags #seschi #rt2eat, Marketwire will be donating $1.00 per RT for a max contribution of $500 to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

SES Chicago Session – Search Analytics

Moderator: Richard Zwicky (Enquisite)
Speakers: Jim Sterne (Web Analytics Association), Matthew Bailey (SES Advisory Board, Site Logic Marketing), Dennis Mortensen (Yahoo!)

The panel started off the session with a simple question, but it set the tone for the rest of the session.

Question: When it comes to analytics, what should you use?
Answer: Behavior

  • The goal is to optimize process.  Focus on single process and optimize it.
  • 4 Big Optimization Metrics – presentation, content, and images provided by Jim Sterne (Chairman, Web Analytics Association)
    • Behavior – what do they do
    • Attitude – how do they feel
    • Competition – how do you compare
    • Outcomes – what are the results
    • ses-chicago-search-analytics-4
  • How to prioritize analytics
    • Revenue is at risk
    • Boss asks for it
    • Does not overwhelm
    • Requires an analyst rather than being self serving
  • Not all visitors are the same.  The key is segmentation – what did the user want and expect.
  • 7 segments for search success – Presentation, images, and content provided by Matt Bailey (SES Advisory Board, SiteLogic)

    • Keyword buckets – “segments”; Sub-buckets – brand name, other terms
    • Segment acquisition
    • ses-chicago-search-analytics-1
    • Segment bounce rates
    • Segment behavior
    • ses-chicago-search-analytics-3
    • Segment content into persuasive pages, entry pages, time on page, and search
    • ses-chicago-search-analytics-2
    • Segment entry points
    • Action – do something
  • Keep analysis in context.  User behavior is different depending on the page they came from.

SES Chicago Session – Search: Where to Next?

Moderator: Simon Heseltine (AOL)
Speakers:  Eli Goodman (comScore), Justin Merickel (Efficient Frontier), Ronald Burr (WebVisible), Douglas McMillen (Microsoft Advertising)

  • The session started off talking about the changing SERPs (search engine results page).  The point?  Advertisers need to think about the new multimedia SERP that displays products because information is adding more depth into the search page.
  • The “bottled water” example
    • Image results dominate the search results
    • Concern raised regarding the user experience put out by Google, but it also shows how important it is to leverage the multimedia search results page
  • Look at local business, product extensions, and comparisons.  The benefits:
    • Creating long tail automation
    • Enabling creatives to be more specific
    • Automates significant manual efforts
    • End result: greater coverage in search results
  • The Zappos “Asics running shoes” example specifically regarding above-the-fold in Google

    • #2 in paid search results and 6 individual images from Zappos above the fold in Google
    • The Google user experience is questioned because who wants to see image results from the same company repeatedly?  On the flip side, it goes to show that leveraging this changing SERP is important.

  • Creative management is:
    • Developing feeds
    • Mapping feeds to creative template
    • Generating ad variations from creative template
    • Assigning/matching to ad groups based on feed data
    • Pushing to search engines via API
  • Is display now search like?  There are 2 big trends driving display towards search like performance
    1. Rapid expansion of auction based access to inventory
    2. Access to targeting data decoupled from media
  • When exposed to both PPC and display ads, consumers were found to be 2 times more likely to complete a transaction.
  • To get search like content, you have to retarget and use 3rd party data to do it effectively.

The speaker I was most looking forward to hear speak, Eli Goodman from comScore, ended the session.  His 3 talking points: Branding, In-Text Search, and Social Search

  • Branding - you always want to be on the short list for the consumer

    • Stat: $118 billion for branding vs $68 billion for direct response
    • As organic searches become richer, sponsored results must keep up.  Expect innovations.
    • Don’t just think about the obvious terms, but related concepts and terms, i.e. “assistive terms”
    • Think of search as the traffic driver to the brand mechanism.
    • The GE “ecoimagination” and “clean energy” example – none of their pages rank highly for the latter term in the SERPs.  Very few people actually search for the term “ecoimagination”.
    • The point: Focus on what people are searching and related terms.  GE can focus on “clean energy”, “energy saving”, “energy saving tips”
  • In-Text Search – search results that show up when you mouse-over content.  When hovering over a link, a pop over appears with a relevant link.

    • This mixes content consumption with search possibilities.
    • Value of in-text offers a way to be informative, useful,  and entertaining.
    • The most useful content increases user engagement.
    • As functionality increases, so does CTR (click through rate).
    • The Hellman’s Recipes example – when hovering over related key terms, a pop over appears with recipe ideas and ingredient lists.
  • Social Search
    • Alternative search properties such as Facebook show strong year-over-year search growth from September 2008.  The exception is MySpace.
    • Social search is the next frontier, thus social search results need to be more relevant.
    • Food for thought: think about how you trust your friends for one thing, while you trust other friends for different things.
    • Optimize content for social networks.  This presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers.
  • The guy from Microsoft Advertising specifically Bing, was too sales-y so I went in-and-out mentally.  The few tidbits that I did jot down include:

    • Bing’s upcoming mobile search will be similar to the online search user experience.
    • Stat: Mobile broadband users will reach 30% penetration in 2010
    • Now is the time to start testing and learning because mobile inventory is much cheaper for broad terms and mobile search is seeing 2-3 times higher click-through-rates.
    • Stat: In 2008, 5.2 million mobile search users, by 2013, the number will jump to 56.2 million
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