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July 21, 2008

Don't Miss "Measuring Success in a 2.0 World" at SES San Jose

By Alex Cohen

by Alex Cohen, Digital Alex

Could your site perform better?  Don't your want your marketing tactics to be more measurable?  Where's the next frontier in search marketing measurement--and how do you beat your competition to it?

Chances are you answered "Yes!" to one of the above.  If so, then don't miss Jim Sterne and a stellar panel of experts for "Measuring Success in a 2.0 World" at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose (Day 2, 8/19, 11:00).

I caught up with Jim to pick his brain about his panel, his issues with the blogosphere and why having a 2 pizza rule is the secret to business success.

Alex Cohen:  Jim, what's new and exciting and different that people can expect to hear about at your session?

Jim Sterne: Video analytics - and how does that drive traffic. Not just how many people saw it and how viral it got, but where did people drop off in the middle of that video and how many people hit rewind.

Multiply that out for its virality and how well does that drive traffic? How well does people blogging about your viral thing drive search traffic? That's the holistic search ecosystem. It's how well you optimize what people say about you out there, so people will want to click through from the blog and impact your branding.

Alex Cohen: The description of your session promises that attendees will learn the the cutting edge techniques to measure success.  Where is the edge of web analytics today?

Jim Sterne: Social. How do you determine whether being talked about is improving your traffic or ranking? How do you measure the impact of social on your search efforts?

Nielsen Netratings, Comscore, Buzzmetrics and Island Data are all trying to lay claim to the industry.  [Some vendors are] looking at textual analysis: mentioned this many times, this many positive and negative

There are pockets of people doing great things, but in bad companies. Individual companies are giving it lip service. No one has mastered it. 

Alex Cohen: In addition to attending your "Measuring Success in a 2.0 World" session, how does a business get started in measuring the impact of social media on their business?

Jim Sterne: The 101 is all about the absolute basics. What are your business goals? Start there before you bother to talk about social media. If you start with a technology, you will always fail.

How are we going to use this? It's social media, it's a public discussion. My PR people should know what's going on out there... but they don't.

Go back to the beginnings of where your traffic is coming from and what they do. If they're coming from YouTube and Blogs - it's time to wake up and smell the traffic.

If visitors from video promotion on social media sites just come to my site, look at 3 things and leave, then it's not worth spending my money there.

Start by being aware of where your most valuable traffic is coming from. Where is the most profitable business coming from? Look at AOV, order size, etc.

Alex Cohen: Who are the thought leaders and notable bloggers in measuring social media?

Jim Sterne - It depends on the question.  Charlene Li can help you measure the value of a blog.  When I want to know "What is the impact of customer attitude?", I turn to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).

The favorite subject of the blogosphere is the blogosphere.  A few people are talking very loudly to each other in a corner.  The application of those thoughts to business is where it gets rockier.  Every 3rd blog I read about social media has a nugget.

I demure on questions about the best tools and point people to Forrester, Gartner, and Jupiter.

Alex Cohen: What are your thoughts on the future of paid search analytics?

Jim Sterne: It's impossible to predict.  There are enough people out there who don't know why it can't be done and are willing to invest.  More money is going to be chasing [measuring paid search].  More money will move from television. 

The bigger tools will get more sophisticated.  Corporate America won't become more sophisticated at using the tools.There's still a huge amount to learn even on the tools that we have. 

More and more people will use the low end and free tools poorly. Well, what are you doing with it? We produce reports? We're distributing them. We don't know how there being used.

The adoption curve is being layered side by side with the "take advantage of" curve, the competitive advantage curve. 

It's corporate culture. It's creating data driven organizations. It's believing in the numbers rather than the good feel. It's asking the older people to leave the room for some minutes to let us actually get some work done.

As more money falls into the online people and we can show results, the more we'll change culture. The individual can help change by showing the little wins. Finding the people who are clued in at the organization to be their ambassadors. "Wow, that's really interesting." now we have a convert who can be an ambassador for data.

It's not one tool or one report, except that how it happens. You should A report to SOME person and then they become an enthusiast. Showing how what you're pointing at in the report to business goals. You don't say "isn't it interesting that... "because we spent an extra $20K on this project, we got a 50% boost in profitability"

The problem is all predicated on the fact that organizations are too big. There is a perfect sized organization. If you're too small, you don't have enough resources. When you're too big, you're spending too much time communicating to each other that you're spending time in meetings and deleting email. Theres' this magic size company that has just enough resources, consistent vision and can really get things done.

[Amazon has a rule that] if a project gets too big that it takes more than 2 pizzas to feed them lunch, you have to break it up into smaller units.

Division of labor is often killer for issues. YOU ALL have to see the big picture. You ALL have to pull in the same direction. The best way to affect that is to impact the compensation of people. If you tie that monetary motivation to business goals directly, that gets people to focus.

Alex Cohen: In your own words, why is your session so important to SES attendees?

Jim Sterne: How to do search marketing is terrific. What matters is "Can you measure the results? Do you know what your success is?" It's great that you've learned how to do whatever, but it's how well you do something. If you don't know how to measure it, you can't improve.

Jim Sterne helped found the Web Analytics Association and produce eMetrics, the premier marketing optimization and web analytics conference.  Jim will be speaking with a panel of web measurement experts at Search Engine Strategies San Jose at the session "Measuring Success in a 2.0 World".  You can follow more of Jim's thoughts by reading the eMetrics blog and subscribing to Sterne Measures.

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