SMX Sydney was running last week, we were lucky too – the location was within spitting distance of our offices. Inside the Sofitel was good food, good service but the distinct absence of anything to drink – if you know what I mean. The attendees were a healthy mix of agencies, businesses and analytics firms, though I did spot the occasional lone wolf as well. The programme is broken into “tracks” of different eMarketing disciplines, and so I began with paid search.
The first genuine surprise was learning that some of the most disciplined campaigns turn off googles “optimise adverts by click” feature. If you take the “optimise by clicks” feature at face value, it should only run adverts which deliver strong click-through rates, which seems to be true – but is this really a good thing? Qualified adverts should only appeal to those likely to buy, if you are selling B2B products wholesale you don’t want end users clicking on your adverts, only business owners. You achieve this with very specific ad copy, ad copy that will have a lower click-through rate over all. Unfortunately Google bumps you over to the “optimise by clicks” every 30 days automatically, so its somewhat painful run an optimal campaign – somewhat sad in itself.
Remarketing is surely the most neglected strategy in paid search. Tagging visitors to a website with cookies and then showing them specific display advertisements based on the content they viewed has almost limitless possibilities. One given was to tag purchases, then show display advertising thanking them for their purchase and offering a discount on their next. Another was pushing out improvements to your business – especially resolutions to any common grievances or complaints customers have had, checkout counter improvements as an example. Remarketing can be a form of reputation management if executed skilfully enough.
SEO and SEM are often treated rather distinctly by agencies – there’s a notable absence of strategic crossover between the two. A little exploration into the mechanics of the “quality score” in Google Adwords will show you adwords is reading title tags, headers (H1, H2, H3…), content, landing page speed and more – the bread and butter of SEO. In execution a keyword in adwords should appear both the ad copy and in the tags on its designated landing page – difficult to do, but powerful if pulled off well. Even more interesting is the relationship between the two, you can’t get there with separate SEO and SEM strategies – you need a meta strategy. A search strategy.
The eMetrics seminar – where the air should have been thick with statistics and regression analysis, was a letdown. Either the presenters were unable to really tap into the science of data analysis, or unwilling to. Still, there were some insights – the use of flow charts to illustrate segment audiences (how one actually executes this was left for the audience to guess at) and the use of spearman’s rank correlation to bind two metrics together. Say, time on site to revenue: if the two are positively linked work to have your customers linger longer. If they were negatively correlated try to streamline your website, and so on. The execution here was non-existant as well, i’d start with SPSS or some other mathematics program – and a degree in statistics, if you’ve got one.