If there was one word on the mind of folks I talked to at SES Toronto it would be “analytics.” Interesting since this was the exact same word on the mind of search marketers at SES New York a few months ago. Luckily there were a number of smart folks that really understand analytics to help these marketers like June Li, from ClickInsight (who was nice enough to recommend Offermatica), Tom Leung from Google Website Optimizer and Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz and organizer of the great analytics shootout.
It’s no surprise that interest in analytics continues to grow in search since it is a performance-based medium. Then again, isn’t all of digital marketing? Still, with competition tougher than ever and more factors effecting performance ad side and on the landing page it seems like a natural evolution.
The problem is so very few folks are trained in how to collect, understand and act on the data. Co-presenter (and conference Chair) Andrew Goodman made one of many great points in my session Perfecting Paid Listings. Who is going to use these advanced analytic tools when so many search (and all of digital for that matter) marketers haven’t even mastered the basic tools? Hmmm, maybe the answer resides somewhere in Gord Hotchkiss’ idea of my hosting a Taguchi pub crawl where we would create an orthogonal array to examine the factor of influence on a number of different drinking establishments and variations of spirits? More likely adoption rests in Andrew’s process he outlined (and that I’ll be stealing from him for future presentations). My presentation below:
In this session almost half the audience considered themselves working for large brands that most Canadians would know. Very interesting since Gord mentioned a dynamic in the Canadian market that brands seemed late to the party and there was plenty of opportunity with low CPCs in what he referred to as the “slum” of Canadian PPC. I guess like everywhere else the sleeping giants are slowly being awakened. Gord has a few more thoughts on that long hibernation in his Search Insider column today.
The content over the two days was very strong and getting Seth Godin to keynote was a great coup. It’s an interesting time for SES both in their evolution and the evolution of the market. There were surprisingly few companies that exhibited and Google’s booth by the account of a Googler that would know was a quarter the size of the booth only two years ago. Maturation? Sophistication? Competition?
On a personal note SES Toronto marked my 2-year anniversary of speaking at SES. I was really happy that yesterday I had a chance to personally thank Chris Sherman for taking a chance two years ago on a guy from a strategic User Experience consultancy to present a case study on Searcher Behavior Research. So much has changed in Search since then and for me as well (going from UX to SEM to Optimization). What hasn’t changed is that search is the best place for marketers to understand the desires and intentions of consumers and to optimize messages and experiences that allow users to engage with your digital presence creating more value for your brand and more revenue for your business.
Next week I’ll go from North of the Border to South of the Border for SES Latino where I’ll be speaking on Targeting Spanish Search Ads By Demographics & Behavior.