SEM is a peculiar field, because it strands between the high-tech world of targeting algorithms and the old-fashioned world of human grunt work. Most of us in the industry are more comfortable talking about the high-tech aspects of SEM than we are about the generally low-tech roles that humans play in it, but I'd argue that it's very often the human element that makes the difference between a winning and a failing search campaign.
Over the last decade marketers have come to accept that search is a channel primarily suited to direct response. Especially in paid search, those investing in search marketing campaigns are generally measuring success based on explicit return-on-investment goals. But more and more marketers are finding out that measuring search as a stand-alone direct response channel does not tell the whole story. They are finding value intrinsic in search campaigns, like its ability to move brand perceptions, which are not accounted for in their old ROI models.
I talked previously about environmental cueing and reinforcement. Here, cues in our environment (the ubiquitous toolbar search box, for example) trigger a habit, and the expected outcome (the delivery of relevant results) reinforces the habit. This creates a sustaining cycle. But there's one other aspect of habits that we should look at. We tend to develop habits as strings of events. One environment cue might trigger a series of actions. The classic example is those who need a cigarette when they have a drink.
Back on Dec. 4 of last year, I listened in on a press call hosted by Google's Marissa Mayer, who discussed the 2007 Google Zeitgeist, and how marketers can better use Google Trends to measure search buzz. Mayer spoke of Google Trends as a "political oracle," in which user search trends can potentially predict the outcome of major political elections. Considering this interesting assertion, I was tempted to compare the Democratic candidates' search popularity in Google Trends in order to predict the outcome of last week's heated primaries in my previous column. Instead, the post-primary analysis appears to be much …
When the research analysts at Hitwise, Nielsen, and Compete release their monthly search engine rankings, you can sometimes feel their pain in covering the same story over and over again. Check out Jeremy Crane's latest post on Compete's blog where he tries to lighten things up by talking about his wife's birthday (happy belated, Mrs. C.!) and laments in the headline, "Microhoo gets boring." I feel your pain, Jeremy. That's why we'll mix it up a little this week and focus on eight search-related startups
As I've mentioned previously in this column, acquiring and retaining talented people is one of the biggest long-term problems the SEM industry has. In my view, while automation is crucial, so are people, and employees -- whether they work for in-house teams or at agencies -- have to be paid fairly and treated well, or they'll walk across the street to a competitor.
Search Insider David Berkowitz recently wrote about the Samsung See'N'Search, which uses the program guide of your cable or satellite dish along with the closed caption metadata to suggest existing Internet content related to the TV show and allow viewers to browse the Web on their TV screen. This really got me thinking. This product is both an invention and an innovation. It is an unprecedented solution that also builds upon the foundation of search.
Let's imagine that my ongoing series about the forming of habits has so captured your curiosity that you want to find out more. You're reading this column from your computer. You make the decision to find more information about breaking a habit. Now, let's slow down time and look at the steps. There, in the upper left of your browser, is the Google toolbar. Or maybe you have the Google sidebar in the lower right of your window. Whatever the shortcut, you don't suddenly stop and think, "Gee, for this search what would be the optimal search engine to use?" …
Having just shed 1,000 employees in an attempt to trim costs and with a possible Microsoft acquisition casting a shadow over Sunnyvale, it would be hard to fault Yahoo for just trying to keep its various business units fully operational. But Yahoo's not taking the lumps handed to it by the market lying down. Showing great resilience, Yahoo is pressing ahead with a series of innovative initiatives designed to improve user-experience across its properties and create compelling opportunities for the online media ecosystem.While the scope of these various projects is diverse, they can all be tied together under Yahoo's continual …
How much control do consumers need, anyway? That's the most profound question that strikes me the more I hear about Yahoo's latest "open search" initiative, described in some detail on the Yahoo Search Blog. So far, it's just the teaser release, the equivalent of those "Cloverfield" trailers where you see everyone running for their lives but the monster's totally out of sight. The story's gradually coming together, though some versions of it differ.