By: Doug Pace – Bayshore Solutions Executive Team

My Experience at SMX West in Santa Clara, California – Day Two

On my second day in California, I found myself starting to be assimilated into the lifestyle – a backpack for my laptop sounds like a good idea… I am wondering why I wear suits to work and I find myself with a new found respect for Google. The day was a mixed result of search engine basics and the demonstration of extremely advanced techniques. My second day at SMX West was filled  with some really interesting Online Marketing discussions and presentations.

Keynote – Dr. Peter Norvig – Director of Research, Google

As the director of research for Google, Dr. Norvig is responsible for leading the culture and process of creating new ideas. He spent some time discussing Google’s 20% research program where employees can use 20% of their time working on projects that are sourced by the employee. He disclosed that most of the time it is more of a teamwork function where employees are soliciting each other to work on their projects and inevitably the coolest projects gets the most volunteers. After projects are brought to a beta version, they are presented to a committee for commercialization and only a few are selected for the formal research process.


Bing Cashback

The Bing Cashback session was spearheaded by Meagan Rochelle from Microsoft. She recapped that Bing’s strategy revolved around Travel, Health, Local, and Shopping. They have studied the main influencers in the shopping process and they include (in order) Search Engines, Email, Coupon sites, Comparison sites and Auctions. Cashback’s biggest challenge is that they are still trying to educate the audience on their program and how it works. In short, the advertiser offers a percentage of the purchase price as an incentive to the consumer. The seller only pays on completed sales and there is no chance of click fraud. 100% of the offer is paid out to the user and the payment is made by Microsoft directly to the user.

Cashback currently has over 1,200 active merchants, 44 million offers, and have paid out over $100 million. Cashback users are heavy shoppers and they have data to prove that Bing leads the search industry for search to conversion in apparel, electronics, and home décor. The average cashback percentage is 10%.

In order to optimize for Cashback, they encouraged to use the highest percent rebate possible, consistently review your orders and edit your percentage, integrate your Cashback campaigns with display and offline advertising, and look for opportunities to capitalize on Bing marketing promotions. Overall Cashback traffic to client sites grew by over 500% over the last year.


Search Meets Display

The basic premise for this session was “Does a relationship exist between search and display advertising?” The answer is yes, although it is not a direct response relationship – 27% of users that saw a display ad did a related search within 30 days. This relationship presents the quandary that through display advertising, advertisers can influence search volume and trends. In fact, display has been shown to increase search volume by 45% and a user is twice as likely to make a transaction if exposed to both search and display advertising.

A few advanced strategies were shared in this session:
• Search Retargeting – This is the ability to tag a browser based on a used search phrase. This phrase is then used to display ads to the user to target them back to your website.

• Site Retargeting – This strategy involves users that have clicked on your display ad and did not convert on your site. You can display offers via a tracking pixel to encourage a return purchase.

• Social Retargeting – This strategy identifies a browser and its search history. When the user logs into their social network profile, their top friends are identified and the user’s search history is matched with their friends. Their friends are marked when they log into the social platform and display ads are delivered after they leave the platform.

The last presenter brought forth the concept of “viewthrough” which is the inherent influence a display ad has on purchases. This ignores clickthrough on the ad and only takes into account the effect the image leaves with the user. They shared a campaign that was focused on having consumers tune into a television show. In partnership with Nielsen, they identified 2 user groups and only exposed the ad to one group. The group that was exposed to the ad showed a 55% increase in viewership opposed to the group that did not.


Facebook Advertising

This session focused on the fact that Facebook advertising could be targeted and normally caught the consumer very early in the buying process. Most of the discussion focused on the basics – the ads could be segmented by profile information, connections, affinity groups and the ability to target friends. The advertising market in Facebook is not yet saturated and still has high ROI.

A study on what type of ads resonated with consumers was shown within the presentation. The ads included printable coupons, special deals and contests. The presenters reminded the audience that Facebook ads are dangerous because you are “interrupting” your audience from having fun.


That’s all for Part Two. Check back tomorrow for Part Three.


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