Commentary

Search Data, Baby, And Where To Find It

In the old days a brand might put about 20 people in a focus group room, provide them with alcohol and food, and try to disprove or prove what the company's marketers already thought they knew about the positioning of their products and brands in the market, or how they measure up to competitors.

These days tools give marketers that insight, supporting conversation and query analysis. The ability to add search query data provides insights into other mediums like social, Daina Middleton, Performics CEO, told Search Insider Summit attendees on Saturday in Park City, Utah.

Implement conversation and query analysis at the launch of a campaign, and the strategy can help marketers understand a variety of data points such as what people say about the product or the service, where the conversations happen, and if there's any events that link to them. Middleton points to an example from Pepsi, which monitored chatter about a tax on soda. It's a good way to find the hiccups, something marketers might not have anticipated that changes everything.

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Search data also can augment display advertising. Over at Magnetic the company's display advertising platform supported by search data retargeting sorts through a variety of tags to show how consumers move from upper funnel search to upper funnel ads, for example. That's because searchers only spend 5% of their time on engines and the reminder on sites looking at content next to display ads. Josh Shatkin-Margolis, Magnetic chief executive officer, says the model made available to display marketers the search keywords like "bankruptcy," "credit cars," "home loans," and "leases." These are terms smaller companies can't necessarily afford to buy for search ads.

Other sources of data might include the company's own advertiser and transaction level data, Kosta Skoulikaris, senior director of product management, digital advertising solutions at Experian, reminds us. But merging customer databases with the ad agency supporting the campaign isn't easy, says Edward Foster, global search director at Omnicom.

Companies also have begun to combine a variety of data and support from companies like BlueKai, along with attributes that sit on top of data sets. This provides information on how many times an action gets performed on a specific site during a certain time period, and how that might change over time.

At Omnicom, reps look past the keyword to determine what drives the sale. Tools from Microsoft provide the ability to determine the "persona" of the person searching on the keyword, Foster says. Those keywords maybe semantically hidden, so he says identifying them creates an advantage. Optimizing campaign also means using Google Trends and census data to work out where the consumers live when searching on those terms.

Foster suggests overlaying Google Trends with census data reveals fascinating insights that marketers might not have noticed. He says one of the biggest challenges is Microsoft provides data such as demographics from MSN Messenger through log-in details, but it's too small of sample size.

And while there's a lot of chatter about data being used to target consumers with ads, some search data just isn't available to marketers, Foster says, suggesting if Google provided data from Gmail or Google Talk, marketers would have access to a deep wishing well of data.

And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't share Kenshoo CMO Aaron Goldman's rap that launched day three on data:

Alright stop tracking me and listen. Don't take data without permission.

Something you shouldn't be taking this lightly, Data is keeping me up daily and nightly.

What all do you track? Yo, I don't know. I turn off the lights, And Google knows.

To the extreme, all the data you handle. Scrub it all fresh like a Yankee candle.

Dance, around the topic that looms. You know if I'm single or if I'm a groom.

Deadly, when you start tracking my family. Now you got my address? Man, that's a felony.

Love it or leave it, data's coming your way. Leverage it all and then make your pay.

If there was a cookie, yo, you'll count it. Check out my clicks while your datamart pounds it.

Search Search data. Don't Track Me. Search Search data. Don't Track Me. Search Search Data. Don't Track Me. ...

Out.

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