October 02, 2008
Event Presentation

New Research Reveals What’s Working in Search: Teleseminar Transcript, Slides, MP3

SUMMARY: Every year, MarketingSherpa spends months finding the best available research and information on search marketing, including our own survey of working search marketers, for a Search Marketing Benchmark Guide.

Here is a transcript and a recorded version of a teleseminar on the Guide and slides of benchmarks and advice collected from the best minds in the industry.
Among the more interesting points from this year’s Search Marketing Benchmark Guide:
- Why flexible budgets are becoming more common for PPC
- The quantifiable value of SEO
- How hiring trends are changing for search marketing professionals
- How challenges and best practices for search analytics are changing

Also, new this year, learn how mobile devices are changing
the behavior of searchers. Additionally, we'll show you
with an Enquiro eyetracking study how Chinese searchers on
Google China and Baidu differ.

Click here for a download of PowerPoint slides: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/tele/SMBMG9885.pdf

Click here to listen to the audio: http://www.MarketingSherpa.com/tele/Search08_Tele.mp3
(Time: 44:59)

Presented by: Stefan Tornquist, Research Director, MarketingSherpa, and Tim McAtee, Senior Analyst, MarketingSherpa.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Hello, everyone. This is Stefan Tornquist, the research director at Marketing Sherpa. And I’d like to welcome you to Search Engine Marketing 2008-2009, insights from this year’s search marketing benchmark guide.

Today, I’m joined from Chicago by Tim McAtee, our senior analyst and the lead researcher on this year’s search marketing benchmark guide. Hello, Tim.

TIM McATEE: Hello, Stefan.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: So, why don’t we start with slide number two. And tell us a little bit about where this year’s data came from.

TIM McATEE: Sure. Well, we really try to cast the net wide here when we do these benchmark guides. So we included over 50 sources of best of and partner data. We did a survey of 1,928 of our Sherpa search marketers. And we included eyetracking charts, looking at the effects on search users of personalization of search results, how search in China differs, including Google versus Baidu, which is the biggest Chinese search engine. And we did multiple branding studies, showing that on-click search inventory, if used correctly, can positively affect brand metrics. Additionally, we have lots of real-life examples submitted by marketers that can help anyone improve their search marketing.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Fantastic. So let’s jump right in and talk about the business of search. We’re now on slide number four. It appears that looking at this, most are using budgets in a way we would describe as inflexible. And can you explain to us why that’s really a big mistake in search?

TIM McATEE: Sure. Well, if you look at this, according to our survey, almost half report that they have too-small budgets that are used up early in the month, leaving the account dark for the remainder of the month. And what marketers have done to combat this problem is to dictate levels of efficiency that must be met, rather than levels of budget that must be spent. The budget itself is elastic and expands or contracts, depending on the volume available at the efficiency level desired.

So, in effect what this is, is just you are letting demand dictate how much you spend, but only spending up to a certain level of efficiency rather than dictating that you’re going to spend ‘x’ number of dollars, but not necessarily taking into account how many people are actually searching for the keywords that you’re buying.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: And, theoretically, if you are expending your budget early in the month; unless you have a conversion rate of 100%, there are almost inevitably going to be improvements that you can make to your search campaign to spread out over the month, but also to get a higher quality of search response from your program based on keywords and different types of targeting, I would think.

TIM McATEE: Yeah, definitely. I mean, ideally, you want to have a little bit of money left over at the end of the month and keep everything as efficient as possible, and then just ratchet up just a tiny bit at a time, decreasing your efficiency just to hit the actual amount of response and number of conversions that are possible efficiently.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: All right. Well, let’s keep talking about money and move on to slide number six. What this slide says is that most people aren’t budgeting for viral. And that sort of reminds me of how people don’t budget for email, that these are tactics that can be immensely efficient, but they’re inexpensive, or at least perceived as inexpensive. And that sort of hurts them at budget time. What do you think?

TIM McATEE: Yeah, absolutely. I think that one of the sort of weird quirks of marketing is that where the money goes, so goes the attention. And people just worry about the marketing channels that have the potential to have kind of drastic consequences, should they fail. With viral, there is no drastic consequence if it fails, simply because there’s no money really put on the table. You’re not buying a Super Bowl spot or something. So, as a result, these channels that are really the most efficient and should be given the most attention because of their inherent efficiency often languish.

A great way to make sure that they do get the attention they deserve is to purposely put them in the budget and actually allocate some dollars, so that there’s some skin in the game.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: And, it should be noted that, in a couple of different pieces of research that we’ve fielded in the last few months, the interest in viral marketing for 2008, late 2008 and 2009 is quite high. It has been for several years, but we really see a spike which, at least so far, we’re attributing to the languishing economy that people are looking for very efficient ways to make a splash. So there’s certainly going to be a lot of competition for attention. And those who spend enough to really create a quality product and create a great strategy around it are going to be the beneficiaries.

Okay, let’s move on to slide number eight. Now, this is a new look at a question that we explored last year. We did a fairly extensive study on the challenges in attracting and keeping search engine marketing related staff. And at the time, it really presented quite a challenge. Now looking at these numbers, Tim, it looks like things have eased up a bit.

TIM McATEE: Yeah. And, if I can actually correct you, Stefan, this is slide six, Keeping SEM Staff Less Difficult.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Yes, thank you Tim.

TIM McATEE: According to the marketers’ survey year over year… 2007 versus 2008: we see that hiring and keeping SCM staff just isn’t as difficult this year as it was in 2007. And, while high-quality SCM pros are still somewhat hard to come by, more of them are sticking around longer. Average salaries are even dropping in some niches, such as PPC specialists. The supply of PPC specialists is finally catching up with the demand for them, as all the entry-level workers over the last three years finally find themselves hitting their stride. As we look at staffing, we have to remember that this industry’s only been around for a few years. I mean, Google is only a decade old. So, as the industry itself matures, more and more skilled people are coming into it. And it is sort of norming out a bit, which is a good thing, I think, for the industry as a whole; maybe not so good for somebody to go find a huge salary next year.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: I know that we looked at regional differences. Anything interesting there?

TIM McATEE: You know, I don’t recall.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: I know in previous years, we’ve seen, not surprisingly, the highest ends of the market being in the New York and San Francisco areas, with sort of a discount between ten and even thirty percent in the regions like the Northwest and Atlanta, so forth. My suspicion is that that’s going to continue, but be lessened somewhat as the industry normalizes.

So let’s move on and take a look at our next section. And this looks at some of the tactical issues in search — where are clicks coming from, keyword search length, and so forth. Now we’re on slide number eight (I knew we’d get here sooner or later). So you’re telling me that 54% of search phrases are more than three words. As a marketer: So what? Why does that matter to me?

TIM McATEE: Well, if you actually look at the distribution of how many searches are out there based on how many words long they are, and you also look at the distribution of where marketers are putting their money, what you’re seeing is that almost 50% of searches are one or two words, and that same trend tends to follow in dollars spent.

But, the interesting thing is that, if you actually pay attention to the way people convert and use the search engines, what they’re likely to do is: start out with a simple search, such as “MP3 player”. So, they get the search engine results page, see that there are multiple brands of MP3 players, and then from that, refine their search. And, maybe when they first made the search, they didn’t realize just how many MP3 brands were out there. But then, once they do the search, they realize that they’re really just interested in, let’s say, Apple iPods, at which point they refine their search, do three- or four-word search, such as, “Apple iPod in Chicago for sale”.

So, once they do that, they’ve massively narrowed the field and get much more relevant search results. And those relevant search results result in much higher likelihood to click and much higher likelihood to convert after the click.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Well, that all makes sense. So speaking of clicks, let’s move on to slide number nine. Organic clicks are still dominating. And again, why do I care? First, why don’t you explain this chart to us?

TIM McATEE: Okay. So, this is kind of a funky chart. I mean, part of why I really like this chart is just because it really demonstrates just how many more clicks over on the right are coming from natural search results, as opposed to paid search results on the left. And this search industry is pretty hung up, I find, on paid search, mostly because it’s easier to directly affect. I can go out. I can buy this. I can do this. So there’s some control over it.

But what this shows is that it’s really, really important to put just as much time and effort into SEO and making sure that everything is lined up, you’re getting high-quality words in your pages, you’re coming up on all the relevant keywords, and you’re really doing well on natural searches. Because that’s when people are clicking.

The other side of this is that-- We’ve split this out here between everyone versus business decision makers. And you see that the difference here is actually somewhat slight between everyone versus business decision makers. But the business decision makers actually seem to be less likely than everyone else to click on paid searches in Google. And, the thing to remember there is, I mean, these are generally the most important people to target. So, the fact that they’re going to natural search really says that you need to pay attention to that.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: For sure. Now, why is there a difference in MSN versus the other two?

TIM McATEE: Well, MSN actually was short of inventory for a while. So, they were serving up a lot of search engine result pages without any paid links. So they’re actually kind of artificially below the other two engines.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Oh, I see. That’s interesting. Okay, so, let’s move on to our next slide, slide number ten. Targeting Early Always Worth the Effort — I’m sure most of the people on the call would agree with that in general. But can we zone in on a few of these tactics that people may not have used?

TIM McATEE: Yeah, absolutely. Right off the bat here, we see that most of the people who rated the targeting tactics here, who had actually done them, rated them overwhelmingly positively. I think it is pretty safe to say that these are all potentially great ideas. They can, of course, be done poorly. But, if done right, they should work. So, let me actually get into kind of what each of these is, really quickly.

Geo-targeting is any time when you’re restricting who’s seeing your search ad based on where they are physically in the world. So, this makes a lot of sense for anybody who’s got local brick and mortar stores or someone who just really isn’t interested in getting business from specific areas. So, a business that doesn’t ship overseas can exclude anyone who is in a different country.

And at the same time, I’m in Chicago. I think you’re in Rhode Island right now. If we search for something like a dry cleaner or a local pizza guy, I don’t want to see Rhode Island and you don’t want to see Chicago. So, just by doing this, you’re making sure that there’s a much more relevant set of search listings which, in the end, is going to increase the relevance for the user and the efficiency of your search buy.

So, geo-targeting is definitely a big one. The only downside of that is that the there is a ton of competition on bid prices locally. And, it may actually make sense to incur more waste sometimes. So that’s something that everybody needs to test.

With behavioral targeting, let’s say I’m writing to someone in GMail, talking about how excited I am about shopping for a new car this weekend. Suddenly, a search link comes up on the side of the email saying, “Go buy this car.” So, that’s just a really good way to match a relevant ad to an action without having to actually wait for someone to search for it. So, it’s a simple behavior as opposed to an active search.

With contextual, that would be sort of similar, but let’s say I’m on a car site. And the AdSense ad is advertising automobile ads. It’s just a content fit in context, so hence, contextual targeting. Demographic targeting, this is more of an exclusionary method of targeting, where you’re just saying if I’m, I don't know, selling baby diapers, I only want to be selling it to people who are likely to have a newborn child. I mean, there are a lot of ways to do that. It’s getting easier, I think, on a lot of these networks, where there is more demographic information that’s tied to specific users. So, for example, the Yahoos of the world can do that sort of thing pretty well.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: To some extent, although it should be noted that they don’t necessarily have demographic information about everyone. Like MSN, they’ve got a sample of people, about which they have demographic information. Then, they reverse engineer what the sites are, and so forth. But it certainly is advancing. Anyway. Sorry to interrupt.

TIM McATEE: Sure. So and then with day parting and week parting, again, that’s just making sure that your search ads show up only during the specific times in the day or week when people are converting better. It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily want to day part or week part based on when the volume is coming in. You want to day part or week part based on when the conversion is coming in. If four people come in, and they all convert, that’s a great time to do it, even if it’s low numbers. You’re only paying for the clicks. Watch your conversion when you’re doing that.

And then, the last one here, testing different search engines, this is just expanding your search program and making sure that you are getting into some of these smaller niches. And, just like day parting and week parting, you want to target highly converting places, even if the volume’s a little bit low. And it’s really up to the individual marketer to decide whether that volume is worth it. And, in some cases, it’s just volume can be so low that it’s not necessarily worth it. But, I think for advertising on Business.com or an e-commerce site, maybe getting into some of the shopping engines and not just relying solely on Google, that can be a great way to expand your volume efficiently.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: That’s absolutely right. We’ve heard both, horror stories and tremendous success stories of people working with, for example, the second-tier search engines (those that have a tiny fraction of the market, and therefore have a much lower price point). Marketers who have successfully tested and really kept on testing have tended to find success there. But it’s not like with the top-tier where you can simply turn the key on a campaign and get high-quality clicks in the door.

By the same token, those B-to-B companies who have worked with Business.coms and geo-specs, and all of those companies which are bringing in highly relevant traffic, generally speaking, we hear very good reports.

So, let’s take a look at our next slide. Where did you get these underused metrics? Where did we come up with these categories?

TIM McATEE: This was actually an open end in our survey where we got at least hundreds, if not thousands of people who went through and just typed in, “Hey, these are the things that I think we could do a better job of incorporating into our metrics.” I actually went through and hand-coded everything in this entry. I’m intimately familiar with this.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: In other words, you were going to show us this chart whether it was interesting or not.

TIM McATEE: Yeah. I think in terms of human hours, this is definitely the most valuable one here. But what we found is, conversion and ROI are huge. And, I think getting back to just sort of the simple thinking about efficiency versus volume of clicks, in order to really get at efficiency over volume, you really do need to figure out what these things are worth. And, in order to get at that, you need conversions. You need KPIs. You need your return-on-investment calculations.

And then, additionally (and this is a really important thing), there’s this whole subsection here of softer qualitative metrics where you’ve got things like click path analysis, lifetime visitor value, latent conversions, time spent on the site, and especially the bounce rate off of your landing page and its design. These are all areas where you’ve got someone to your site. And you really need to understand what they’re doing on the site. Just because they don’t convert at that exact moment doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing of value is happening. And, this is especially true for people who have very long purchase cycles or the norm is repeat visits. Imagine if a Chevy.com visitor was only counted if they converted.

So, for a site like this, you really want to see are they looking at videos? Are they looking at store locators? What are they doing? I think that really lends a lot of interesting insight into what specific keywords are worth in terms of branding and education value, as well as just how valuable your overall campaign is.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: That’s very good advice. So, going from this question of what’s underused, on the next slide, you’re showing us how the different analytics programs are used. And, for those who may remember, back in November of 2005, Google bought this little analytics company called Urchin. And, since then, their free package has come to dominate the market because, essentially, it’s free and it’s good enough.

Now, Tim, the impression that I’ve gotten is that the small and mid-market companies, they’ve really adopted analytics because this offering was available to them, and it sort of leaves the higher-end packages for the bigger players. Is that what you’re seeing? Is that oversimplifying? And how are things changing?

TIM McATEE: Well, from just a simple economic standpoint, free is a really hard price to compete with. From an analytics standpoint, one of the things that I’ve heard a lot, just in analytics, is that we have way more data than we have insight. And so, I think, right now people are still trying to figure out just kind of the basics of this stuff. They’re still just trying to figure out what’s the time spent, what are my conversions?

So for that, Google is absolutely good enough, as you said. And, they continue to invest a lot of money into improving it. And, I have to give them some analytics props. They’re doing a really good job with that.

That said, I think that, the big guys, Omniture and Coremetrics in particular, really just have amazing, amazing software programs. I think for the really truly serious, big websites, where your financials kind of live and die on your website, they really need to be investing, not only in the software, but in the analytical personnel and firepower to really take advantage of these tools. I think, in my experience working in analytics, these tools are really underutilized in a lot of cases, just because people don’t have the know-how to use it, or there simply isn’t that sort of culture of, I guess just really good use and understanding of analytics, just that incorporates all the different media and really brings it all together and gets some useful stuff out of it.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: And what you’re describing feeds very nicely into this next slide, talking about what the priorities are for an analytics program.

TIM McATEE: I guess you could call this, how Google analytics reverse engineers it. I have no doubt that the guys over there -- they’re very smart. They probably figured this out for themselves, that the things that people care about most are accuracy and usable implementation. And, just to elaborate a little bit on what this chart is that we’re looking at, we’ve got, on a scale of one to six, we’re looking at the averages of where people rated, one being the most important, six being the least important.

So, accuracy just is paramount. Google’s really good at making sure that you’ve got census-level data that’s feeding in, and it’s easy to implement, which is their second key there. So ease of implementation is just huge, that if it’s too difficult to actually figure out what the heck’s happening, people just won’t do it. And then third, ability to handle complexity, I mean, this is sort of one of the things where it’s a-- I guess it’s kind of a good to have, where everybody wants to-- They really want to do the sort of cool, big reporting and have these incredibly complex stats. But I’m not sure-- Especially, you can see the difference here on price. I’m not sure anybody wants to pay for it if their budgets are a little bit smaller, so. You do notice that price is actually number two for those with less than $10K of SEM budget.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: That’s $2K per month, right?

TIM McATEE: Yes. So and then, way down at the bottom is ability to integrate with offline media. I mean, that’s really the strongest, I guess, argument for going with one of the more complicated software packages, is that they are much more able to integrate lots of databases and lots of data and kick out some pretty sophisticated reporting.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Yeah, absolutely. So let’s move into our last section, the expansion of search. And we’ve got some fun slides in here. After that, we’ll be taking a few of your questions. So we’re now on slide 16. And this addresses one of the big questions that’s really been going back and forth between the search engines themselves and agencies, and, of course, the big brands, which is, does search have a brand effect? This is a chart that really requires some explanation. Tim?

TIM McATEE: Yeah. Well, if you’re familiar with a dynamic logic or insight express brand effectiveness study-- I think a lot of people who have worked in online advertising have seen these over the years. But what they do is, they go through and they compare a simultaneously collected control and exposed group, so that exposure to the advertising is really the only variable in between these two groups. And, then they attribute any difference between the control and exposed to the advertising, since there’s actually no other difference between the two.

So, this chart in particular, this was a brand effectiveness study done looking just at search engine results pages. And, it was conducted by Enquiro for a major cell phone manufacturer. This particular question is actually looking at the likeability of the brand. So, they’ve actually asked, which of the following brands do you like best? Which do you like least? What we’re seeing is that the brand came in at 49% liked for control, but then increased, from 53% to 68% to 77% with multiple and all these different levels of exposure.

So someone who just saw a side-sponsored link with just kind of a short...(inaudible) stashed off on the side, right there, that bumped it up a little bit there from 49% to 53%. When the generic keyword or the branded keyword was in the top organic spot, we saw a massive jump there from 49% all the way up to 68% or 74% when it was in the top-sponsored as opposed to the side-sponsored. But the top-sponsored and the top organic, it jumped all the way up to 77% and 72%.

So, the point being that, just being there on the page is definitely going to have some effects on the way people perceive your brand. Being in the top natural spot is huge. I think it’s kind of omission if you’re not there. If someone is to search for, say, cars, and your car brand doesn’t come up, I guess that just says something about your brand, that you haven’t optimized your search. So it really has to be there.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: As you look at the shift, year over year, as we look at the price point at which people conduct the search has gone down and down and down. A few years ago, perhaps people were searching when they were looking for a product of over $500 dollars to look at comparisons, cars, furniture, big stereo equipment. These days, that barrier is lower and lower. A search is simply part of just about any buying experience, even if it takes place offline. Even though some of the most recent data about car searches, for example, is now a couple of years old, at the time, it was, if I remember correctly, over 50%, maybe even approaching 60% or 70%, there was an online component to that search.

These days, I would suspect that that number is approaching-- has even exceeded the percentage of people who have Internet connections. You’ve got people going to the library to do searches about these. So, the role of search is getting to be just about ubiquitous. And as Tim’s saying, it’s absolutely incumbent upon any brand to appear in the natural search results, at least for your brand name, and preferably for any branded product terms.

Okay, off the soapbox. Tim, do you want to go on to slide number 16? There are a couple of concepts here. There’s a concept of mobile search and mainstream. So, how are we defining both of those?

TIM McATEE: Sure. Well, just really quickly, what we’re looking at here is, looking at usage frequency of mobile search among the different types of search that Google offers. So you’ve got 4-1-1, which is the actual voice, dial 4-1-1, “Hello. Can I get,” whatever, SMS, which is text messaging (you text to, I think it’s G-O-O-G-L-E), which would be a Web-based mobile browser search.

Now, according to Nielsen, there are actually 46 million Americans performing searches or performed searches last year. So, that number is just skyrocketing right now. So, I mean, considering that that number was zero, it’s probably going to approach the one-third mark fairly quickly here. I would say that definitely counts as mobile search going mainstream.

And what that’s attributable to is much faster mobile data networks, and a pretty massive influx of smart phones into the marketplace in the last year or two. So, if we’re just looking at the usage frequency here, we see that lap is getting far more searches per searcher compared to voice searches. So the implication is that as the mobile Internet simply turns into the Internet, mobile search is going to become the norm.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Yeah, I absolutely agree, both as an analyst and an iPhone user.

TIM McATEE: Aficionado I think is the term.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Right. Although I’m still a PC guy. Anyway. When the interface makes it easy for people to use the mobile Internet as they would at home, they do. The figures show that new iPhone buyers, they were already early adopters. And they were about twice as likely to use the mobile Internet as the standard. And, I think it was a comparison between roughly 17% of all people with the capability were using it, and then 30% were-- of these new iPhone buyers were on their old device. Their usage went up north of 90% when they started using the iPhone because the platform is quite specifically built around this idea. And it’s very successful at doing it. And the iPhone isn’t the only one; we see competitive touch-screen versions and easy interfaces coming online all the time, so. I would be shocked if, within a very few years, the U.S. mobile market isn’t starting to look a lot more like Europe and Asia.

TIM McATEE: Absolutely agree.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Speaking of Asia, why don’t we move onto slide number 17, and take a look at some very interesting heatmaps comparing how the Chinese market looks at search results pages.

TIM McATEE: This is another really great piece of research by our friends over at Enquiro. In order to better understand how Chinese search engine users differ from their Western counterparts, they conducted an eyetracking study that allowed them to track the scan patterns and clicks of native Chinese speakers when using Google China and Baidu, the biggest search engine in China.

As you can see in these heatmaps, the scan patterns differ dramatically across the three different versions. And, as of the latter half of 2008, China’s going to have more Internet users than America, making it increasingly important to understand this massive market and market to them actively.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: No question. We have a question about these, but I’ll save that for just a minute. If you all could go to slide number 18, we wanted to let you know that there’s an offer of $100 dollars off, those of you who have attended this Web session, $100 dollars off the search marketing benchmark guide from which all of this great data comes. And, I should point out that, even though we’ve looked at, I don't know, 15 or 16 different slides or charts from that report, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Tim, and the whole research team, have outdone themselves in collecting some very useful and illuminating data, and a lot of it. I think the book comes in pretty close to 300 pages, so. Definitely a great value per dollar.

So with that said, let’s jump into some of your questions. The first one actually has to do with that last slide we discussed, and asks, given the number of Chinese dialects (I mean, there are hundreds of them) do marketers need to take that into consideration when conducting Chinese language campaigns?

TIM McATEE: This is a pretty common misunderstanding, one that actually I, up until couple years ago, shared myself. And, the thing is, the Chinese language has a pictorial rather than a phonetic alphabet. So, what that means is that while spoken Chinese varies dramatically from place to place, written Chinese doesn’t really differ all that much. So that makes it a whole lot easier for search marketers where unlike, say, with Europe, you can actually use a single alphabet, single spelling of a word for the entire area of China despite all the different dialects.

The way the actual written alphabet is sort of split up, they use traditional Chinese, which is the sort of fancy stylized calligraphy. They use a simplified version of it, which is sort of the standard, I guess, among computer users. And the nice thing about that is that it is pretty much understood by every Chinese speaker, or at least reader. And then there’s Pinyin, which is the phonetic spelling in Roman characters of Chinese words.

So unless you are specifically targeting, say, Hong Kong, you might want to use Pinyin. But, for the majority of the time that you’re actually doing search marketing in Chinese, you would definitely want to stick with the simplified Chinese alphabet.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Okay, thanks. Here’s a good one. There’s a lot of talk about key performance indicators and conversion metrics. What really matters?

TIM McATEE: Well, everyone is going to differ slightly. But the key is to really map out your own purchase funnel. And when we saw back there on the underused metrics, the big ones are these sort of middle-of-the-road, middle-of-the-purchase-funnel softer metrics, and the bottom funnel, I don't know, kind of odder metrics where people are actually committing some sort of action, but not necessarily converting, so things like time spent on the site finding a store locator, things of that nature.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Last question — with this growth in mobile search, do I need to create landing pages for all of these mobile searchers? Or can I just use my website?

TIM McATEE: Well, this is kind of an area of contention, I think. But I think the overall answer is yes, in the sense that you should definitely be factoring in mobile search and mobile users. There is going to be just a lot more browsing of the Internet on mobile phones, pretty soon, if not already. I mean, I think usage is growing so fast. One of the things is, if you’re looking at, say your Nokia chocolate bar phone versus an iPhone or a BlackBerry, I mean, they all process and view the Internet differently, just as different browsers will actually display the same page differently. And the reason why is because they do themselves all use different browsers.

So, the iPhone uses a stripped down version of Apple’s Safari browser. I think any Mac users that have tried using Safari on their computers notice that it doesn’t always display as well as, say, Firefox or Internet Explorer. On the iPhone, while it does do a far superior job to some of the other browsers, it still can’t do Flash. So, if you navigate to a Flash website on your iPhone, all you get is a little icon that says, “Can’t display this.”

And, on a BlackBerry, they use a Flash-based browser that basically just goes through and strips out anything that it’s not going to be able to display very easily. And then, the smaller screen, like Nokia chunky phones, they really just strip it down. They just take just the straight text without any of the other information.

So, the point is, without getting overly technical here, I think the best practice is to talk to your technology team about making sure that your pages are coded in such a way that they’re going to look good no matter what browser they’re displayed on. You really need to add in some code, so that, whether it’s being viewed on Internet Explorer or an old dial-up, say, AOL or any browser, it should be coded in such a way that it’s going to come up and look good.

STEFAN TORNQUIST: Okay. Well Tim, thank you very much for sharing the findings of this year’s Search Marketing Benchmark Survey all coming from the Search Marketing Benchmark Report. It’s been very illuminating. And thank you all for attending. Have a great day.


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