If there’s any question in your mind whether social media is merely a passing trend or a major consideration in any internet marketing campaign, wonder no longer.
Last month, more than 200 major advertising and market research executive representatives attended the sold out Industry Leader Forum – “Transforming Research. Are You Listening” – held by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF). The ARF, a leading Research Transformation initiative, will
enable members to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-changing, consumer-driven world.
The event, which took place in New York on Oct 29, focused primarily on methods of tracking the ubiquitous online discussions of brands, companies, products and services that numerous social media web sites and platforms host. Bob Barocci, President and CEO of The ARF, shed some light on several of the newer terms being used by advertising researchers, such as ‘listening pipes’, ‘storytelling’, ‘inspiration’, ‘content masters’ (referring to millennials), ‘consumer backyard’ and ‘brand backyard’.
Case histories of “listening” in action were presented by General Mills, MTV, Sony Electronics, and Unilever. Obama pollster Joel Benenson, revealed how public perceptions were gathered in the president-elect’s leading-edge electoral campaign.
The Arf’s Research Transformation Council are:
- Joel Benenson – Founding Partner & President, Benenson Strategy Group – Co-Founder, iModerate, & pollster for Barack Obama
- Jonathan Carson – President, International, Nielsen Online
- Kim Dedeker – VP, External Capability Leadership-Global Consumer & Market Knowledge, Procter & Gamble
- Jeff Flemings – SVP, Renaissance Planning, VivaKi
- Gayle Fuguitt – VP, Consumer Insights, General Mills
- Stephen Kim – Senior Director, Microsoft Branded Experiences and Entertainment, Microsoft Advertising
- Michael Perman – Senior Director, Levi Strauss
- Eric Salama – Chairman and CEO, Kantar
- Patti Wakeling – Senior Manager, Media Insights, Unilever
Pete Blackshaw, the Executive Vice President of the Digital Strategic Services group at Nielsen Online gave a presentation on the “Six Signals of Listening to the Unprompted Voice of the Consumer.“. Pete is a recognized expert in interactive marketing, word of mouth, and consumer understanding, and originally coined the term consumer-generated media (CGM). See Pete’s summary of the highlights from October’s event in his video below.
The ARF’s next Forum will be a one day workshop from 8:00AM to 6:00PM on January 27, 2009 at Bently Reserve, San Francisco. Confirmed speakers include:
- Kim Dedeker (Proctor & Gamble)
- Joel Benenson (Benenson Strategy Group)
- Michael Perman (Levi Strauss)
- Pete Blackshaw (Nielsen Online)
Very exciting stuff!
I just discovered The Poetic Prophet (AKA The SEO Rapper). Here he is rapping about how web standards and proper design can affect the ranking and conversion of pages on your site. Visit the Poetic Prophet’s YouTube page. You know you want to.
Yesterday, Google launched SearchWiki, the biggest news in Web 2.0 since sliced Wikipedia. Once logged into your google account, SearchWiki allows you move search results up or out of Google’s index, for your own personalized results on return visits to the Goog. As well as allowing users to edit, reorder, and remove search results to their liking, SearchWiki allows public commenting on search results, letting others know their opinions on individual web sites [Insert scary music here]. Google’s reasoning here is to make it easier for you to find the results that best suit our needs, with these custom indexed results stored in your Google Account.
Well, for those of us with hearts already 100% dedicated to Google, we’ll now have to find other parts of ourselves to dedicate to our beloved search behemoth.
Of course, these pseudo-bookmarked, tailored search results fit nicely into our relatively recent, present day social-media-heavy virtual existence. In the same vein as Del.icio.us, Stumbleupon, Digg, Sphinn, Reddit, Technorati, and countless others, Google now allows us to share our thoughts amongst each other – on the good, bad, and the ugly of all the sites in the Interverse. But wait. Google tells us that
The changes you make only affect your own searches. Well, we’ll see how long until Google revises that statement, because
once if those changes did affect public indexing, we might never have to leave Google for online bookmarking or social-networking communities at all. The comments you leave however, will be public.
I don’t know how I’d feel if Google did incorporate the voting system into their results. Actually, I think I do. Personally, I prefer to surf recommendation engines such as StumbleUpon, or other social networking sites such as Digg when I feel like browsing social media. The way I see it, the thing that sets the internet apart from all other forms of media is that the “hits” don’t necessarily prevail in search engines; instead, the Long Tail of media, including the “misses”, have as much of a chance of producing results in the SERPs – as long as the results are relevant. Granted, “relevant” results – while being based on indexing algorithms – do rely on some forms of indirect user input. One site linking to another, for example, counts as a vote in the eyes of Google’s Pagerank algorithm. I just don’t know if I’m ready to welcome the fact wholeheartedly that ‘what mainstream internet deems to be the best results’ could affect my Google experience in such a direct way. In any case, for now at least, the changes we make only affect our own searches.
So Google, you still do it for me, but…
As Googey-baby states:
SearchWiki also is a great way to share your insights with other searchers. You can see how the community has collectively edited the search results by clicking on the ‘See all notes for this SearchWiki’ link.
I don’t remember ever seeing an online
grafitti feedback system that wasn’t chalk full of gorilla marketing. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Yesterday evening, Google announced the release of their Search-based Keyword Tool (beta) (SBKT), a nice little addition to their ever expanding suite of free internet marketing and keyword research applications. Google’s SBKT suggests terms that are semantically related to the content of any provided URL – ones that aren’t currently part of an AdWords campaign associated with that particular site.
If you don’t run an AdWords campaign on the website that you’re doing KW research for, the tool can still come in handy by providing you with a list of related terms; similar to Google’s regular Keyword Tool, but with somewhat broader, yet highly relevant results. If, however, you are logged into your AdWords account when you perform the search, SBKT will display only the keywords that you aren’t already advertising for.
For each keyword or keyphrase displayed in the results, columns representing monthly search volume, competition, and suggested bids are offered, as they are in some of Google’s other tools. Some extremely valuable information is offered in the data column that displays what percentage of time you’re showing up in search ad spots for the AdWords campaign you’re running.
SEOs will be glad to know that Google says the Search-based Keyword Tool doesn’t generate keyword ideas from AdWords accounts associated with any websites, and that data is derived from
aggregated and anonymous Google search data from Google users in several different countries.
Comments, as usual, are welcomed. Let us know what you think of Google’s Search-based Keyword Tool!
Until this week, the closest Google has ever come to publishing anything on recommended Search Engine Optimization practices has been the well known and rather vague Google Webmaster Guidelines. Just the fact that they used the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none term ‘webmaster’ hints at the rather limited potential value of the document to anyone that’s been involved with the industry for say, a few days. The guidelines are a great starting point for someone new to web development, but aside from advice and hints posted by Matt Cutts on his and others’ blogs, the public hasn’t ever had any Googficial (How’s that for a word – Come on Oxford and Websters, I dare you) documentation on how to get better website visibility in Google.
2 days ago, however, Google’s SEO Starter Guide appeared on the Official Google Webmaster (shudder – there’s that word again) Central Blog. Now in terms of the information value in the guide, I’d say it’s a step up from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, but not by much. New to SEO or web development and need a reliable source of information on how to make your site more search engine friendly? Need information you can trust, since you are new to the game? Well here it is. Which brings me to the real value of these guidelines as far as SEOs and Internet marketers go.
Trust. We know that having the experience with the basic SEO practices outlined in the SEO Starter guide and far beyond is what really makes the difference in a competent Internet Marketing professional, and if there is even a single piece of information in this guide that you aren’t familiar with, you might want to reassess your worth to your clients. However, the basics of SEO, now officially outlined by Google in their guide, will help to take some of the mystery out of SEO for business owners when wondering whether what they’re paying for is actually worth it. Nothing in this guide is new to us, except that Google has finally put it’s stamp of approval of the most basic of SEO principals that we’ve all been using for a long time; and they finally refer to it as SEO as well. Potential clients often want to understand what basic steps you’re taking to help their internet presence in exchange for their hard earned money. Just the fact that Google has official documentation on the basics of SEO is a step in the right direction. Thanks Google.
By now it’s widely known that Barrack Obama’s superior internet marketing campaign surpassed McCain’s online strategy by fostering an efficient online community early on. Both of the campaigns took advantage of online behavioral targeting, using cookies set on visitors browsers to track what types of sites they visited, and displaying targeted ads to them on subsequent visits. BarackObama.com’s much higher traffic was complemented by social media platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Wikis to Organize Volunteers, as well as reaching to various demographics with text messaging for younger voters, and succinct emails to older ones.
Obama’s web team not only raised incredible sums in $30 and $50 increments, but also maximized their fund raising efforts by running multivariate conversion tests to optimize donations and minimize bounce rates.
Obama’s Donations page utilized free Google Website Optimizer to test the most successful of a variation of t-shirt gifts on donations of $30 or more – and on the site’s home page, displayed variations of campaign images, in order to measure bounce rates.
It seems Political Campaign Internet marketing change is here to stay!
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