SyCara founder Fionn Downhill believes one of the barriers to adoption of search engine optimization (SEO) is the fact that the industry still needs to remove the sense of mystery about how it works. The people making the decisions to deploy the marketing strategy aren't interested in the technical side. They just want to hear about the return on investment and how to bring in more sales. "It's real complicated stuff that goes on behind the scenes," she says.
Historically there have been two preferred ways to gather information from consumers online. Either observe them like AudienceScience and BlueKai and infer something, or ask them. Now there's another way. Crowd Science, which supports research technology and services for brands with an online presence like NN and Federated Media and Time Warner, and plans to package and release the technology during the next year as free research apps.
Maybe ecommerce Web sites aren't as optimized as some retailers believe. Last week when Google introduced Commerce Search, an onsite search engine, the company launched a quick, informal Twitter poll looking for the best and the worst shopping experiences during Cyber Monday.
Facebook on Sunday began rolling out a redesign for its profiles page that emphases friends and family photos. The site will allow members to create new groups of friends or feature existing friends in lists. The company announced changes in a blog post and email to reporters, and previewed the page on the site.
Local. Need I say more? Mobile began to ramp in 2010 and will build speed in 2011, but expect local to fuel the deals and become a lucrative piece of the pie.
On-site search engines that index every word and phrase have access to a ton of data on consumers who visit Web sites they support. Some also index Twitter streams, Facebook pages and YouTube videos and Delicious bookmarks. Link-backs build audience segments and one can draw invisible dotted lines from one Web site to another, and mine the information to serve up ads or create additional content.
Marketers, especially those who spend their lives in search, will want to pay close attention in 2011 to a trend toward video and display ad platforms acting more like search marketing tools. Ad exchanges, data exchanges and demand side platforms (DSP) are all about moving toward performance-based campaigns by better targeting ads to consumer. So next year, SEMs will have the knowledge to relate better toward the new process of buying display and video ads than will display ad media buyers.