Sharon Hunter


Do You Have What it Takes to Activate the Social Search Dynamic?

While at SES NY 2013, I had the opportunity to attend the Activating the Social Search Dynamic session with speakers Dan Cristo, Director of SEO Innovation at Catalyst Online, and Duane Forrester, Senior Program Manager at Bing.  While SES has come and gone, I’d like to share some remaining tidbits whose value exists in perpetuity and can help you achieve long-term campaign success.

First and foremost, successful SEO is built on two key components: relevancy and trust. Friends and family are trusted resources, and influence decision-making.  Along these lines, let’s focus on social search, your social tribe, what they are and action recommendations associated with each.

imageSocial SEO Strategy Objectives:

1. Create relationships.

  • Get to know your customer
  • Make them smile
  • Get a conversation going
  • Deepen relationships
  • Be human with your brand
  • Use interesting ways to engage people in areas that are important to them


2. Scale relationships.

  • Employees are at the heart of scaling relationships
    • For example, ESPN uses employees to represent their brand – Everyone is “name+ ESPN”
  • Use podcasts, videos , and images


What is a Social Circle or “Tribe?”

A content distribution tribeis identified by number and type of:

  • Followers
  • Loyal consumers – friends and family


Whether you’re an advertiser or social media marketer, it’s important to have a Social Circle.  Do you?  Well, do you have a:

  1. Tribe set up?
  2. Appropriate budget?
  3. Content pipeline?
  4. Vision, mission, and plan associated with your social strategy?


If you already have the above or are still in development, remember that:

  • Rankings are based on trust,
  • Trust is based on intimacy,
  • Intimacy is measured by engagement, and
  • Engagement is generated through the creation, deepening, and scaling of relationships!


That’s all fine and good, but what can you do now with your current ad campaign to align yourself with the future of social search?  Well, at Bing Search, we try to solve for imprecise results and lengthy tasks by moving from “queries” to “sessions.”  To refresh, a query is a single action by an online searcher, while a session is a collection of related search actions over time.  For example, a particular search query is “dog.”  The associated session includes, “dog beds, dog accessories, dog toys, vets near me.”

Information from these search sessions help advertisers determine where to invest. Users go through a variety of decision points as they move through the purchase process. It can take people weeks to make buying decision.  Consequently, it’s important to look at how people are using keywords and adjust your campaign based on computationally understanding user intent.

A trick I learned: Using personas to represent this process can be very effective. Microsoft creates personas for the examples they show to personalize who your customers are and their habits. For example: Linda is searching for exercise equipment. What does she plan to do with the equipment? The more we know about her intent, the better the results we can provide her. To round it all up…


Search continues to evolve:

  • New devices demand different search experiences other than links
  • The ability for these devices to feed into real-time signals helps us handle intent better, and can therefore provide a more tailored experience
  • Search is not just mobile phones or tablets, and it’s not just text entry. Anything could be a search – voice, a picture, a gesture, sound – anything! We are building the universal interface for search.


Why social matters to search:

  • Signal of topical authority
  • Real time – engines want fresh content fast
  • Integrated social signals influence click actions of searchers
  • Social signals remain as only a few of the thousands of signals for organic ranking
  • How users click on your results can impact ratings, and when we show cues like your Facebook friends with results, click rates can be impacted.


Where does SEO fit in?

  • Have good content - content is what people are looking for
  • Social - incorporate into your programs
  • User experience - do usability testing to improve your product and impress your boss
  • Link building - still important; amaze your users and they won’t be able to keep quiet about your business!


Keyword research:

  • It will always begin here
  • Match data from external sources against your own data
  • Develop “share of voice” reporting to explain success versus ranking reports
  • Back to sessions – create keyword campaigns around topics


Encourage more sharing:

  • Create lists
  • Use hooks – ego , humor
  • Participate in communities
  • Share other’s information
  • Ask questions


Build efficiencies:

  • Look for ways to streamline your time
  • Identify a customer need and fill in the blanks
  • Identify patterns so you can leverage efficiency efforts


Remember that:

  • Content is the reason – Create experiences where people are wowed by the results of the content
  • User experience is your religion - Measured based on satisfaction. Dwell time is the time you spend on the page, which is an indicator of satisfaction. A very short time = dSat.
  • Keyword research is a beacon
  • Quality is your watch word
  • Authority is your goal
  • Niche is your starting point


Are you doing everything it takes to activate the social search dynamic? 



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Recommendations For Using Paid Search Analytics and Multi-Touch Attribution Analysis at #SESNY

I had the opportunity at SES NY 2013 (check out our event posts here) to attend a session on Paid Search Analytics and Multi-Touch Attribution Analysis with speakers John Gagnon, Bing Evangelist at Microsoft, and Crispin Sheridan, Senior Director of Search Marketing at SAP. Below is an overview of the session, findings, and takeaways to help you best manage your campaign.

Attribution Management

Paid Search_Multi Touch Attribution AnalysisIt is rare that a single search leads to a conversion, as web user behavior is rarely that simple. Visitors tend to search in patterns that become more specific as they learn more about the products and services they are looking for. An effective attribution management system will properly identify those patterns, and provide the data needed to optimally position your website through each stage of the process. Applying a thoughtful attribution model will help you allocate budget to maximize your Return on Investment (ROI) from each advertising channel.

John encouraged attendees to review search traffic for causation, not correlation. For example, when you get up in the morning, you have a cup of coffee and the sun rises. The sun doesn’t rise because you drank your cup of coffee. This is a correlated relationship, not a causal relationship. Advertisers should review campaign efficacy in much the same way.

Multi-Channel Attribution Overview

Just before a purchase happens, who gets the credit? The number of touches that go into that purchase take place over a period of time. Analyzing consumer behavior is increasingly complex with multi-source data and its volume. There are multiple paths a user will take before he or she actually decides to buy.  In response, companies are using a variety of attribution models, outlined below.  I recommend advertisers peruse this list and also experiment with a variety of models to determine which one works best.

Last Click:

  • The last marketing touch garners the full credit
  • Pro: Close to purchase action, less data required
  • Con: Can be misleading

First Click:

  • The first marketing touch receives the full credit for the conversion
  • Pro: Values introducers and display tools for generating interest (prospecting)
  • Con: Can also be misleading


  • Splits credit evenly for simplicity sake
  • Value diminishes with more touches
  • Pro: Recognizes value for introducers and influencers
  • Con: Potential to be just as misleading as last or first click


  • Assigns credit on a curve
  • Requires judgment calls/guesswork
  • Few tools do it on the fly

Latency Score:

  • Every marketing touch is scored with a numeric value reflecting how many days it fell prior to the next conversion
  • Sophisticated, but tricky

Time Decay:

  • Most heavily credits the touch points that occurred nearest to the time of conversion


  • Allows you to create a hybrid of the last interaction and the first interaction models.
  • A common scenario is to assign 40% credit to the first and the last, and assign 20% credit to the interactions in the middle.

In sum, Multi-channel Attribution Analysis reveals:

  • How channel overlap impacts conversion rates
  • The true reach and frequency across touch points
  • Contribution of each action

Note: Two popular, effective tools for measuring multi-channel attribution are Google Analytics and Omniture.

Attribution Analysis Using Master Tag

Crispin shared that his company had experienced several attribution issues. The challenge is how to understand the impact of all the activities on results when there are multiple sources.  Many modern web marketing organizations rely on third-party digital marketing services such as web analytics, consumer review systems, e-commerce platforms, and ad networks to do this. These services take the form of JavaScript tags or conversion pixels on web pages to:

  • Examine Master tag across all digital touch points
  • Index touch contribution and pivot the data using Channel, Banner and Message information

This level of detail is helpful in determining where you are getting the highest ROI.  The initial results from Crispin’s data attribution analysis are listed below. The mix is ranked from high to low based on conversion rates and volume:

  1. Banner + Social media + SEM
  2. Banner + Video + SEO
  3. Microsite + SEO + Landing Page
  4. Banner + Social media
  5. Banner + SEM
  6. Banner + SEO
  7. SEM
  8. Banner + Microsite
  9. Banner

7 Recommendations for Advertisers

  1. Use multi-channel attribution analysis to measure conversion rates, true reach, and frequency across touch points.
  2. Search for causation, not correlation.
  3. Add an offline presence to compare online to offline impact.
  4. Commit to finding and executing your best attribution strategy.
  5. Drive to your most relevant attribution model(s).
  6. Ensure proper tagging structure (master tag).
  7. Apply multi-rate modeling and testing to optimize the impact of each tactic.

I hope this was helpful and look forward to your feedback.

Thank you!


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7 Bing Insights Your Business Will Want To Know About - SES NY

Greetings from SES NY 2013! I had the opportunity to attend the Meet the Experts: Roundtable Forum with Jason Dailey, Senior Director, Search Evangelist, Microsoft. There was a lot of interaction during the session. Below you will find some of the insights our expert provided!

sharon_ses ny liberty

Jason described 3 core areas evolving in the new Search paradigm: Apps, operating systems, and interaction models. The Bing Yahoo! Network is making preparations to deliver new types of information and content with the objective of answering the question: “How do we organize information in a new and compelling way for the end user?” In the future, Search will understand where we want to go and provide us with results based upon our user intent!

One of the visitors to the roundtable, who we will refer to as Mr. Tire, works for a tire retailer. Mr. Tire wanted to know more about the Bing Yahoo! network, and how he can maximize his online advertising dollar using our search engine. Jason shared with Mr. Tire that Bing is Efficient, Social, and Optimized for Windows 8. He also shared statistics on the audience of the Bing Yahoo! network. This combination of features will yield benefits to consumers looking for his business, as well as produce great ROI.  Specifically:

1. Bing is Efficient

  • Users want search results that are relevant and efficient. “What the web knows” is on the first line of search results.
  • Snapshot is “what Bing knows.” Bing organizes and surfaces more relevant content around what you want to find. If you are looking for new tires, for example, you don’t have to search for the tire store hours, products, ratings, etc. All of that information will be available to you with the search result.
  • Side bar – Find out “what people know.” Surfaces information that is on social networks. Recommendations provided by friends help users uncover information more quickly and reliably.

2. Bing is Social

  • The Bing social sidebar is inclusive: Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Linked In, Blogger, Quora, Twitter, and Kayak.
  • Bing is wiser and more informed - Bing snapshot
  • Bing it on Challenge: According to DNet - “Microsoft’s ‘Bing it on’ challenge beats Google results 2:1”

3. Bing is Optimized for Windows 8

  • Bing search app - Designed for touch
  • Search charm – Easy access to web and desktop
  • Bing powered apps - Immersive in content

4. Audience on the Bing Yahoo! Network

  • 153 Million unique searchers
  • 47.3 Million users on the Yahoo! Bing Network are NOT on Google!
  • On the Bing Yahoo! network, you connect with searchers you can’t reach elsewhere
  • Our searchers spend more than Google searchers per transaction, and 22% more than the average searcher.

Sharon_SES NY_Windows

5. “Easy” Button is Coming!

Jason added that Bing is working on an “Easy” button for users of the Bing Yahoo! Network. We have to make it easier and more efficient for advertisers to use our platforms. Microsoft’s vertical integration of assets includes Office 365, Xbox Live, Skype, Windows 8, Yahoo! Bing network, Outlook, MSN, Yammer, SkyDrive, and Microsoft.

Mr. Tire shared his concerns about CPC and messaging when he is working within a constrained environment. Jason shared that this relates to Bing’s development of new enabled ad formats such as RAIS, long ad formats, logos over brand terms, and video.

6. Understanding Intent

Search is transforming from simply keywords to understanding intent. Before a user clicks on Mr. Tire’s ad in the future, they might enter in the model of tire, or their make of car, so that when they land on his web site, the advertiser already knows exactly what the user is looking for. Once they’re on the landing page, they’re prompted to insert a maximum price. Using a filtering device, the customer is provided with specific options within the maximum price range.

7. The Move Toward Mobile

Mr. Tire also wanted to know about advertising opportunities as more people are moving toward mobile. Jason shared that advertisers need more creative ways to serve ads on mobile. Nokia City Lens is a new location-based, augmented reality service for the Windows Phone. Instead of looking for a place on a map and entering your location, Nokia City Lens looks at the world around you through your smartphone. Users can instantly see what’s around them as far as hotels, restaurants, shops, landmarks, and public transport stations visually on their phone. Simply tap to read reviews, descriptions and destination information, as well call or navigate to the location!

What do you think?  Always interested in hearing from you, and thanks!


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