Search marketers have been pondering the influence of social on search for, well, a long time. Personality traits help marketers that are targeting ads and campaigns to understand social graphs based on human characteristics. The concept of tracking individual characteristics is not new, but how influential are those social signals when it comes to search engine marketing (SEM)?
PRNewswire.com gets nearly 4 million page views and 2.5 unique users monthly, according to Sandy Azzollini, director of online content and community at PR Newswire. She said the United Business Media (UBM) company uses Crowd Factory for its technology that shows the distribution loop of press releases through social sharing buttons. Now through analytics and a dashboard, the platform highlights the social clout of specific people who share content -- with their consent, of course. The dashboard provides a visual representation of the sharer's "social reach."
Crowd Factory this week introduced Advanced Analytics to measure reach and social campaigns. The analytics module in Crowd Factory will roll out for PR Newswire this year. It will allow its clients to monitor the number behind sharing across channels in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Azzollini said it will help business-to-business (B2B) customers who are more reluctant to explore social campaigns "put their toe in the water" to monitor how their content is shared.
Monitoring influence in social isn't new. Nielsen acquired BuzzMetrics in 2007. Then platforms such as Klout emerged as tools to monitor buzz. A variety of SEMs platform providers, such as Marin Software, began providing data from campaigns on social networks like Facebook. For many search platforms, the probable next move will be to step into monitoring social media buzz.
Crowd Factory's CEO Sanjay Dholakia describes the company's suite of applications as tools that automated word-of-mouth marketing across social channels. He calls the suite an "Omniture for social." Not only does the platform provide the ability to create WOM through a series of applications, but the technology gives marketers data tracking, which answers the questions "what's the return on investment" and "how effective is the campaign."
The platform now includes a half-dozen new social metrics that brands can use to track social sharing in real-time, including social reach, social impressions, click-back rate and more. With approval from the social network user, the new platform tool will identify the specific person sharing the content.
So, what's the impact of social on search marketing? Come to the Search Insider Summit in Park City, Utah Dec. 7 through 10 to find out. The agenda has not been posted, but I can tell you that aimClear Founder Marty Weintraub will teach attendees techniques for mapping search to social, mashing organic and paid social media tactics to leverage the data, and will provide tips on social media targets augmented by search.