I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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21 posts categorized "Search"

October 31, 2008

The "Wikipedia Index": A Proposed Metric for Your Firm's SEO Effectiveness

Doing a little homework for our upcoming talk at the CMO Club Boston dinner, and I'm laying claim to coining a new SEO metric term: the "Wikipedia Index".

Check out "Nestle" on Google.  The firm gets the top result, and the Wikipedia entry doesn't turn up until the 8th spot.  1/8 = 0.0125.   Nice job optimizing a variety of news, UGC, and corporate subsites to keep the unwashed masses' spin on Nestle below the fold.

Now check out "Unilever" on Google.  Again, the firm gets the top result.  But the Wikipedia entry turns up in third place, for a 0.33 score on the "Wikipedia Index".  Unilever's SEO strategy has left it "vulnerable" to letting others define and describe it.  

An absolutely high "Wikipedia Index" score is arguably not good.  Taking it one step further, look at it on a relative basis:  if your "Wikipedia Index" is ~3x other major firms', you may want to have a chat with your SEO team.

October 16, 2008

Google's Incredible Reversing Falls: A Structural Take on The Ad Market

Google just announced its earnings, which beat analysts' estimates and have its price jumping again. This, amidst all the doom and gloom in the ad business. Why? I see this development at the confluence of three things happening in the ad market right now.

1) While budgets are tight;

2) what budgets exist will continue to flow to digital media because of
a) their inherently superior measurability and
b) their faster and more flexible ad unit development and deployment cycles;

3) among digital advertising channels, a search click is the closest to a purchase.

But there are limits to how far this can go that are defined by the typical structures of media plans. A while back I linked to a podcast of this terrific talk by Doug Weaver. It's worth a listen again in times like this.

Nonetheless, Google's achievement is a freak of nature. If they can pull it off again in Q4, look for the fawning to begin again. Me, I'll be looking for them to move meaningfully beyond paid search as their primary business model, and will be closely tracking developments like this.

March 25, 2008

Surf Canyon: A Publisher-Friendly Search Reformulation Alternative

A while back, I wrote a post suggesting that Google's AdSense business was less profitable than its direct search business.  Some folks I know in the business have confirmed this.  Yesterday, the New York Times carried an article about how Google is trying to keep people on Google.com longer, and making publishers and retailers mad in the process.  But what can they do about it?

Continue reading "Surf Canyon: A Publisher-Friendly Search Reformulation Alternative" »

November 19, 2007

Good Podcasts I Listened To Recently

Doug Weaver on expanding interactive advertising budgets into a new slice of traditional spending on TV.  Very thoughtful way to get insight into how fast the dam will burst.

Dana Todd and Bruce Clay on SEO.  Interesting to SEO nerds and newbies alike.  The comments about getting "theme" right were especially interesting.  At a deeper level, the ideas here are metaphorically extensible to marketing in general.

Guy Kawasaki on The Art of Innovation.  Very entertaining!

May 10, 2007

How Sad For Us All

Via my log files, this result when you Google "web application ideas"...

May 08, 2007

Google: A Contrarian Perspective

Given the preceding post describing the  hype around ad networks,  I thought a closer look at the uber-network might be useful.  What I found surprised me. 

Google reported $10.6 billion in revenue for 2006.  Of this amount, $4.2 billion came from placing ads on non-Google-owned sites.  They paid those sites' publishers $3.1 billion in "traffic acquisition costs", resulting in a gross margin from their AdSense ad network business of $1.1 billion.

In 2006, Google spent $1.2 billion on R&D, a little more than $800 million on sales and marketing, and a little less than $800 million on overhead, for total operating expenses of about $2.8 billion.

A simple allocation of this $2.8 billion to Google-as-media-firm versus Google-as-ad-network based on each's contribution to total revenue puts 40% of these operating expenses, or $1.1 billion, onto the latter.  The resulting math makes Google's ad network business a break-even proposition in 2006.

Continue reading "Google: A Contrarian Perspective" »

April 30, 2007

Video Search Part II: ScanScout

A week ago I had lunch with Waikit Lau, president and co-founder of ScanScout (http://scanscout.com).  Waikit, whom I got to know when I was at ArsDigita and he was part of the http://photo.net team a few years ago, describes ScanScout's video analysis technology like this (this is the shareable version): 

Continue reading "Video Search Part II: ScanScout" »

April 06, 2007

Update: Gotuit Media and Video Search

Recently I wrote (http://www.octavianworld.org/octavianworld/2007/02/gotuit_video_se.html) about cool stuff going on at video search service Gotuit Media, where my friend and former colleague Patrick Donovan is a senior executive. 

Patrick got in touch the other day to pass on some great news:  Gotuit is now supporting the NFL "Film Room" at Sports Illustrated's si.com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/specials/draft/2007/video/) and at the National Hockey League's video site (http://onthefly.nhl.com/index.html). 

For the NHL, Gotuit transforms what used to be a 60 minute linear viewing experience to one that can be sliced and sequenced in a variety of ways, without having to cut, splice, or otherwise edit the underlying video asset. 

Here's a review of Gotuit at latimes.com that does a good job of explaining the potential of this service: http://opinion.latimes.com/bitplayer/2007/04/gotuit_and_web_.html

Good Luck Patrick!

April 03, 2007

Kaboodle's "Help Me Choose": Another Clever Structured Collaboration Example

The social shopping service Kaboodle recently announced the availability of its "Help Me Choose" Widget.  Essentially, this allows Kaboodle users like me (my wife and I use it to maintain a shopping wish list for home and kids) to publish a poll on external properties like this blog, so friends can offer input into certain purchase decisions.   

Continue reading "Kaboodle's "Help Me Choose": Another Clever Structured Collaboration Example" »

March 13, 2007

Grokking Yahoo Answers 2.0

"Yahoo! Answers Adds Social Networking", writes Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal (nice demo video from the Yahoo! Answers team included).  With everyone trying to build an online community to grow these days, what to make of Yahoo's latest gambit?

Continue reading "Grokking Yahoo Answers 2.0" »