Friday’s Fodder Folder Clear Out

After almost 2 months of blogging, I’m started to get a system. Usually, when I see items of interest come through my inbox or have interesting conversations, I file them away for a future blog post in a folder called Blog Fodder. Well, the folder is overflowing, and I don’t have time to do full posts, but I did want to pass them along, so I’m cleaning house today.

More Search Research

The Daves (Williams and Berkowitz) and the rest of the gang over at 360i and SearchIgnite released a study looking at the value of multiple clicks on a search ad. This is an interesting indicator of the complexity of the search interaction in a purchase life cycle, something that needs a lot more light shone upon it. I remember Greg Sterling and I talking at one point at a SES session about the messy and twisting nature of a consumer’s online path in a purchase cycle. I’m happy to say that research companies are starting to focus on this Gordian knot (and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t named after me).

ComScore is one of those jumping on board with a recently announced study to look at the influence of online research on offline purchase. The value here is huge, just never quantified that well (or at all) and the ComScore study should be a step in the right direction. I’m hoping to chat with VP James Lamberti more about the study next week. If I’m able, I’ll drop a few tidbits about what they’re looking at.

OMD and Yahoo also released a study looking at this, called the Long and Winding Road. Speaking of Greg Sterling, he’s got a look at the study on his blog, with links to the press release and a few columns. Not sure how publicly available the study is. If you’re interested, perhaps contact your friendly neighborhood Yahoo rep. Fascinating reading!

The Bulls of SEM

Sapna Satagopan from JupiterResearch is bullish on the future of SEM, saying as the number and size of companies moving into search continues to increase, it will drive SEM outsourcing. At first glance, this seems to contradict the findings from the annual SEMPO survey, which indicates that more companies are bringing this in house. Steven Rappaport, a writer who’s currently working on an online advertising field guide for ARF, asked about this in a conversation this week. I explained that the two seeming different viewpoints are two stages in the same cycle. As companies dedicate more attention and budget to search, they do want to gain control in-house, so they are looking for search expertise to bring on board. While these new “directors of search” oversee search activities, they look for experts in specific areas to outsource to. It’s not really efficient for companies to set up an entire search marketing division in-house, and many companies realize this after going down this road for awhile.

Long Tail and other Musings

Cory Treffiletti wrote a column on the Long Tail model of business that has been exploited expertly by Amazon, eMusic, iTunes and the king of long tails, eBay. This is an idea I’ll have to come back to, as it has fascinating implications for retail. But until then, consider, an internet etail model doesn’t have any of the physical limitations of a traditional store. With virtual inventory, provided by direct suppliers, the store, or site, simply acts as the connector. And with expert use of search, the primary connection vehicle, it becomes possible for an online story to carry everything, but with the inventory infinitely segmentable. This brings about the idea of a mega-online shopping site, which is close to what eBay and Amazon have become. Tie this in with smarter shopping search tools and the social networking WOM power of a MySpace, and you’ve got a convergence model that’s mind blowing in its implications.

Tom Hespos takes a stab at a favorite subject of mine, the transference of control over brand messaging from the advertiser to the consumer.

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