Call it a Tipping Point. Call it an Inflection Point. Call it Epochal (whatever that means). The gist is, things are going to change -- and they're going to change in a big, big way!
Indeed, fellow search geeks, it's not a matter of if your attribution model is broken, but how badly it's broken. There simply is no such thing as a perfect model. Sure, some are better than others, and that will be the focus of this column.
Optify recently released its 2012 B2B marketing Benchmark Report. While reading the executive summary, two apparently conflicting points jumped out at me: "Google is the single most important referring domain to B2B websites, responsible for over 36% of all visits." And: "Paid search usage showed a constant decline among B2B marketers in 2012. Over 10% of companies in the report discontinued their paid search campaigns during 2012." OK, what gives? How can search be the single most important referrer of traffic, yet fail so miserably as a marketing channel that many B2B marketers have thrown in the towel?
Even prior to clicking the little blue magnifying glass, searching for keywords like "cheap escort" or "riding stripper" conjure unmistakably N(ot)SFW results pages and links that demand an eradication of browser history. PPC ads are roundly avoided in deference to Google's simple banned advertising policy, but should they be?
"This is a really underutilized segmentation technique." An industry colleague shared that sentiment with me recently, when he and I were discussing the types of analyses made possible by cohort analysis using Web analytics data. Cohort analysis is a popular way to segment volumes of data to make more sense of the identified trends. In a purely Web analytics, visitor-focused context, cohort analysis means grouping visitors who demonstrate similar behaviors during a specified time period.
Last week I forecast that Facebook would become irrelevant. Some of you disagreed. Thank you, SI readers. As you so often do, you challenged me to give this idea a little more thought.
Consumer mobility is rewriting the rules to digital advertising. Advertisers have to connect with a consumer constituency that moves fluidly from desktop/laptop to tablet to smartphone to television screen. This connectivity continuum transcends time and space restrictions, making marketing communications a 24/7, all-device battlefield. Recognizing this burgeoning paradigm shift, Google last week launched Enhanced Campaigns for AdWords in an attempt to accelerate the adoption of mobile search advertising
According to PEW, 27% of us are looking to wean ourselves off the Facebook habit. This is not particularly surprising. While Facebook can be incredibly distracting, it's not really relevant to our lives. It has never been woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities. It's more like an awkward, albeit entertaining, interlude jammed into the long list of stuff we have to do today. That list represents our life. Facebook represents the stuff that lies on the periphery.
One key way innovation occurs is when we translate or synthesize prior common knowledge into something new. Common knowledge is based on the past. Though we don't always acknowledge it, some of our "new" things are not new, and were previously documented 5, 10, 50, 100, or a 1,000 years ago.
In June I gave a eulogy for free Google Product Search. In that column, I asked some serious questions about what the new Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) meant for marketers, and what retailers would need to do to prepare for the change. Now that time has passed and the craziness of Q4 is over, it's a good time to really see what initial results look like and what PLAs mean for marketers.