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Adobe Seminar September 29 2011

I went to the Adobe seminar on Search hosted at the Soho Hotel in, surprise surprise, Soho. What a venue by the way, great looking place. There was some networking to start with and I met quite a few of the movers and shakers in the industry, which was great. We were then shown into the sumptious cinema for the main event.

There was an introduction to the whole event by Neil Morgan, (Senior Director Digital Marketing, Adobe EMEA) and he explained the morning had been devoted to clients and the afternoon session was devoted to agencies.

What Neil explained was that Adobe is well know for the creative suite of software about 15 at the moment, but since it bought Omniture in 2009 for an eye watering $1.8 Billion they have moved firmly into the search and analytics markets. The combination of creating content and delivering then measuring the results seems to be their current mission. The brands that currently use Omniture reads like a who’s who of the biggest companies in the world, BBC, Oracle, Nike to name a few.

Neil went on to introduce Jeremy Spiller (MD of white hat media and senior trainer for Econsultancy) who gave a wide overview of the way in which data is being used currently and what we should expect in the future. Jeremy’s voice sounds a bit like Barry White so his words seemed to carry even more weight in the confines of the cinema.  It was a great insight into the ideas that data and then action is an old way of reacting to events, the whole process has to have information gleaned from the ‘data’and intelligence focused on the information to then employ intelligent actions. One slide I particularly enjoyed read:

“Data is not information, information is not intelligence, information is not always useful”

I suppose we can all take away the idea that without making the data useful and informative it’s very hard to utilise it in an intelligent way. The mass of information that we are bombarded with on a daliy basis can be overwhelming to say the least.

Jeremy went on to explain that the way that people arrive at a purchase can be a very varied road, buyers making numerous ‘touch points’ on their search.  One might start with a Google search but then ask a question on Twitter and then watch a video of the product on Youtube and so for a marketer it’s hard to know which site to attribute the sale to?  Jeremy also explained that the way that we search is changing as well, that people are inputting txt speak into search engines to save on space on their smart phones.

Attribution is going to be an area that is ever expanding, how do your customers get to you and on which devices do they arrive?  It’s seems to be invertible that the desktop PC won’t be the number one point of access to the internet in the future. Jeremy had a slide predicting that devices (tablets and Smart Phones) would over take desktops by as early as 2013, although these are estimates.

The talk then moved onto the relationship between Paid search and organic search and where these two sources working in synergy or where they cannibalistic to each others objectives? A few simple examples where thrown up for us to see the way a SERPS page was displaying for keywords such as ‘Apple’ and ‘windows’. Below is the results you get from entering ‘windows’ into Google  (you too can try this at home!)

You can see that all the organic results relate to Microsoft Windows and all the paid results relate to window companies like Zenith. It’s interesting to see the overlap of products and the confusion that can arise. Apparently users stay on a SERPS page for about 7 seconds and either go back and refine their search or move forward from the results.

Jeremy went on to tell an anicdote about a client in a Telecoms company that had 19 different brand managers all wanting to target the same key phrases and how this showed the disjointed approach that some companies had it graphically highlighted that one part of the company can end up competing against another part of the same company.

One of the key points I took away was to be a futurist and learn from the past, obviously there is the data of the past to work from and plan for the future. An interesting statistic was that only 24% of business websites were optimised for devices leaving the majority unprepared for what’s around the corner.

Jeremy finished with some predictions that were soon to be upon us, like the convergance of the internet onto TV and the steady march of geo location technology. We all move about and depend on our smart phones more and more and will see the rise of the QR codes maybe playing videos of products you scan in the store? He also mentioned the mobile technology that allows you to pay using your smartphone wirelessly. It all seems to be coming to a shop near you anytime soon.

The final part of the seminar was dedicated to Search metrics and was presented by Dr Horst Joepen CEO of Search Metrics, a very smartly dressed man who gave an insightful and enlightening overview of his analytics product and how it interfaces with the Adobe Omniture software to give quite stunning insights into both paid and organic keyword performance.

I must now raise my hands and admit that things got quite technical quite quickly and although I understood the principles involved it’s hard to judge the software without trying it, which I will do in the near future. The basic overview is that using this software can give you insights into where your competitors are bidding on the same keywords that you are and where you overlap. There are a multitude of other features that you can dig into but I will leave you to search out and try these.

We were given a demonstration of the software and how you can manage both your paid and organic campaigns under one roof. The ability to really gauge what your competitors are doing in terms of keywords is what really shone through.

“90% of clicks go into organic results and 90% of budget goes into paid search”

I suppose what I really took away from the whole afternoon is that the raw data the we have at our finger tips is ever expanding and it’s knowing how to use and formulate that data into actions that see results is the key. The world of search is ever changing and it’s moving onto devices at a quickening rate. So if your clients haven’t thought about how this will effect their business they should do sharpish because if they don’t you can be sure that their competitors are.

Keeping up to date with the ever ending advances in the way that we search seems half the battle, but it’s what I love about this industry, you adapt and develop, “always be in beta” as Jeremy said. Just keep on testing people!

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