Search Insider Sneak Peek: The Three-for-One Keynote

First published November 19, 2009 in Mediapost’s Search Insider

Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Analytics Evangelist, will be kicking off the Search Insider Summit in just two weeks. I had the opportunity to chat with Avinash last week about what might be in store. As anyone who has heard him before would agree, it won’t be-sugar coated, it will be colorful and it will probably wrench your perspective on things you took for granted at least 180 degrees. Here are the three basic themes he’ll be covering:

The Gold in the Long Tail

Avinash believers there is unmined search gold lying in the long tail of many campaigns. The secret is how to find it in an effective manner.  I’ve talked before about how longtail strategies must factor in the cost of administering the campaign, which can be a challenge as you expand into large numbers of low-traffic phrases. Chris Anderson’s Long Tail theory assumes frictionless markets where there is no or very low “inventory management” costs, such as digital music (iTunes) or print on demand bookstores (Amazon). In theory, this should apply to search but, in practice, effective management of search campaigns requires significant investments of time. You have to create copy, manage bid caps and, optimally, tweak landing pages, all of which quickly erode the ROI of long-tail phrases, so I’ll be very interested to see how Avinash recommends getting around this challenge. I’m sure if anyone can find the efficiencies of long tail management, Avinash Kaushik can.

Attribution Redefined

For the past three Search Insider Summits, attribution has been high on the list of discussion topics. Avinash thinks much of the thinking around attribution is askew (his term was not nearly as polite). All search marketers are struggling with attribution models for clients with longer sales cycles; often these models are little more than a marginally educated guess.  I believe simply crunching numbers cannot solve the convoluted challenge of attribution. The solution lies in a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. This, by the way, is the topic for another panel later in the day, “Balancing Hard Data & Real People.”  Avinash, despite his reputation as the analytics expert, always drops the numbers into a context that keeps human behavior firmly in focus.

Search Data Insights

The third topic that Avinash will be covering is how to take the massive set of consumer intent signals that lie within the search data and leverage it to not only improve your search strategies, but every aspect of your business. We chatted briefly on the phone about how unfortunate it is that search teams are often separated from much of the day-to-day running of a company. Typically, search marketers and their vast resources of campaign and competitive intelligence are not even connected to the other marketing teams. Avinash will show how the “database of intentions” can be effectively mined to provide unprecedented insight into the hearts, minds and needs of your market.

Any one of these topics is worthy of a keynote slot, but at the Search Insider Summit, you’ll be getting all three! See you there in just two weeks!

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