Live from San Diego: Online Marketing Summit

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Kent Lewis with SEMpdx and Anvil Media, Inc. reporting live (more or less) from San Diego at Online Marketing Summit today and tomorrow as the on location reporter for Search Marketing Standard. I’ll be providing session recaps at least once a day now that I’m here. I arrived after the morning keynote, but was able to catch the first breakout sessions of the day.

For starters, I chose to see Portland’s own Web analytics guru, Eric Peterson with Web Analytics De-mystified do his thing. His session, KPIs in a Web 2.0 World, was targeted primarily at advanced analytics professionals and larger companies, as he discussed high-end tools and services likely out-of-reach for most businesses. Peterson outlined the differences between the Web 1.0 and 2.0 world of Web analytics, which boiled down to the fact that page views are less relevant (think AJAX) and quantitative data alone doesn’t tell us enough about visitor engagement. Furthermore, he discussed the sites now have a growing number of constituents, including spiders and feed readers. He presented RAMP as the recommended process for developing a Web 2.0 strategy: Resources, Analysis, Multivariate testing and Process. Incidentally, Peterson shared that only 8 percent of companies have any process in place for Web analytics, based on his research. He also discussed the importance of developing and measuring KPIs for C-level executives on down, consisting of averages, rates, percentages and ratios that describe how visitors help satisfy your core business objectives. Examples of Web 2.0 KPIs include RIA usage rates and cost per use, widget interaction rates, video visitor to viewer ratio and social network subscription and comment rates. Peterson predicted that Web 3.0 analytics will focus on mobile devices, which will include browser view and interaction rates. He concluded the presentation by recommended that everyone get started by developing a strategic roadmap: what is measured, how and why? Overall, Peterson presented a comprehensive and inspiring presentation on Web 2.0 analytics.

The next session, Five Media Strategies Anyone Can Use to Improve Your Media Campaign with Jason Shulman, Chief Revenue Officer at [x+1]. Shulman kicked of the presentation with a few statistics that emphasized the continued growth of online ad spending, despite fears of a recession. One particularly interesting statistic outlined PPC was the number one tactic marketers say will get more than 5 percent budget increases in 2008 with 32 percent. He then discussed the role optimization plays across the marketing mix, including Web site, keywords, landing pages and various marketing channels. Shulman then explained that analytics addresses three fundamental elements of the business: maximize revenue, lower cost and manage compliance. In a reference to affiliate marketing, he displayed a media yield curve, which essentially indicates that 20 percent of impressions generate 90 percent of conversions. For those of us not familiar with big budget display advertising, Shulman outlined the ad campaign optimization process: remarketing, contextually relevant, birds of a feather and mass media, each of which is less targeted than the previous and generally increase in cost. An interesting point relating to multivariate testing worth noting: often landing pages with the lowest conversions are deleted, whereas in some cases they may generate the highest value customers. If you manage to conversion level, I don’t see this as an issue, but if you use other metrics, it’s worth keeping in mind. Shulman then walked through the 5 steps (using AOL’s TMZ as an example) which includes: set goals and success metrics, determine what to track, leverage your existing data, monitor how campaign fits in the larger marketing mix and establish conversion attributes that make sense. I’d spend more time outlining each step in detail, but they are fairly self-explanatory and it’s lunchtime. I will leave you with this: there was an interesting audience discussion on the issue of “the last cookie” where the lead source that placed the most recent cookie gets credit for the visitor…which doesn’t accurately reflect how the impact of the entire marketing mix. What’s in your cookie cache?

The last breakout session of the day featured Myra Norton, CEO Community Analytics. Her session, Social Networking Success: How Human Behavior has Changed the Way We Communicate to our Customers took a step back from the data and focused on outreach strategies based on human behavior. Norton opened up with a rather detailed story about her previous teaching experience at Temple, where she learned that identifying and connecting with the leader in a group (her classroom) was critical in order to move her agenda forward (teaching). This concept applies to social media networks and online communities as well. The purpose of a network is to filter too much information (or not enough) via credible sources and personal relationships in order to make a decision. Her concept is “traits to trust” where marketers identify market leaders and influencers and create a connection. Norton displayed a Venn diagram for social networks with the following two axis: celebrity vs. advisor and unverifiable vs. verifiable. MySpace is high on celebrity and unverifiable, where LinkedIn is high on advisor and verifiable. A handy way to categorize the social media universe. She also featured an interesting quote from Jim Stengel, CMO of Proctor & Gamble, “Time is the most precious asset right now. If we can be worth their engagement, that’s the highest benchmark for advertising.” Norton shared a Visio-like map of trusted relationships of two women and the 200 other women they influenced across the country…of which virtually none were on their original contact list. The underlying benefit of mapping out the network included expanding influencer network, improving products and services and develop a position of thought leadership among community. Norton’s parting thought: social networking is not a campaign: it’s about building and maintaining relationships.

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