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SES Magazine Toronto 2012

  1. 1. Sneak Preview SES Toronto June 11–13, June 2012 Download the SES mobile app. Breaking Out of the “+1” Mindset Canada is Losing the Digital Innovation Race. How Can It Become More Competitive? 6 The Impact of US Internet Laws on Canadian Site Owners 9 Make Your Client-Agency Relationship Work 10 The State of Google+, One Year Later 12
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  3. 3. contents Follow SES at COVER STORY COLUMNS 6 BREAKING OUT OF 9 BEYOND THE BORDER 12 THE STATE OF GOOGLE+, THE “+1” MINDSET The Impact of US Internet Laws ONE YEAR LATER Canada Is Losing the Digital on Canadian Site Owners Google Hasn’t Yet Carved Their Niche Innovation Race. How Can It in Social, but Do They Even Need To? Become More Competitive? 10 MAKE YOUR CLIENT-AGENCY RELATIONSHIP WORK 14 THE CONVERSION CONFERENCE INFORMATION Three Considerations When OPTIMIZATION LIFE CYCLE Choosing a Partner Which Advice Should You Follow, and 3 SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS Which Should You Avoid, in Structuring 11 DOING FORENSICS ON FRUIT SALAD Your Optimization Program? 16 SAMPLE SESSIONS The Challenge of Developing AT SES TORONTO Practical, Client-Friendly Strategies in the Unpredictable Social Media Environment June 2012 Cover art via ShutterstockHow ClickZ Academy Can Work for YouWorkshops, Online and In-House Courses, and Recorded Sessions Suit Every Schedule and Knowledge Levelby Paul FeganS ES conferences are a great place to Also, a large number of practitioners are self- learn about the digital marketing taught. Formal training to provide a solid Onsite Training Workshops industry, but how do you get the foundation and clarify industry best prac- SES Toronto—Weds., June 13 most out of them if you are new to tices is vital in this environment. Hyatt Regency Torontothe business? To help you maximize your Since pre-conference workshops aretime at SES, ClickZ Academy offers work- not convenient for everyone, ClickZ Acad-shops on the Monday preceding every con- emy offers a suite of online courses. With 8:00am–12:00pm ference. Running in the morning and after- a library of over 40 e-learning modules, it •• Online Marketing Foundation—SEOnoon, these four-hour workshops provide a covers every aspect of digital marketing. •• Email Marketing:thorough introduction to the various ele- The foundation course discusses the various Driving 51% Engagementments of digital marketing, and are included disciplines at an introductory level; the fivein the SES All-Access Pass. specialist courses explore social media, paid 1:00pm–5:00pm ClickZ and SES are both part of Inci- search, SEO, web analytics, and email. You •• Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo)sive Media. ClickZ is the largest resource can take the courses at any place that has Marketingof interactive marketing news, information, Internet access, and at your own pace. You •• Link Building to Get Rankings!commentary, advice, opinion, research, and can purchase modules individually or in bulk.reference in the world, online or off. With At the end of a course and after success-over 400,000 visitors a month, it has become ful completion of an assessment, you will Registeran indispensable tool for marketers. ClickZ receive a certificate and be able to networkAcademy’s faculty are drawn from the pool of through the ClickZ alumni group on Linked­In.ClickZ contributors and SES presenters. The Membership in this group will show in yourinstructors are the same industry experts LinkedIn profile, so anyone searching for youwho shape our conference program and con- will see that you have been formally trainedtribute articles to SES Magazine and ClickZ. in online marketing. At one end of the spectrum are individu-Sharpen Your Skills with e-Learning als working for small to medium-size busi-and In-House Classes nesses who want to fine-tune their skills orIn this constantly evolving business, keepingup with recent developments can be difficult. continues on page 15
  4. 4. staff about SES Matt McGowan MD, North America Welcome to the Toronto issue of SES Magazine. This issue features a roster of Canadian writers, several of whom will be speaking at the SES Toronto Conference & Showcase. SES Mike Grehan Toronto, to be held on June 11–13 at the Hyatt Regency, will consist of three days of break- Global VP, Content through sessions covering search, social, mobile, and display, and will include these Canada- Sharon Morabito specific sessions: Head of Events, Americas •• Made in Canada: Marketing Online Worldwide Program Development •• Conquering the Growing Canadian Affiliate Marketing IndustryConference Program manager Laura Roth Conference Producer Anna Lee In addition to bringing back the very popular Meet the Experts Roundtable Forum, we’re Operations inaugurating the SES Eliminator Quiz, a networking event in which participants will compete Operations Manager Kim Kiedaisch to see who is the savviest marketer while enjoying an informal pub atmosphere. Registration Associate Charisse Rosales See pages 16–17 for sample sessions. ClickZ & Search Engine Watch To make the most of your time in Toronto, be sure to download the SES Toronto app. The Executive Editor, ClickZ Anna Maria Virzi most up-to-date agenda can also be found on the conference website, Director, SEW Jonathan Allen And don’t forget these upcoming events: Senior Editor, News Kate Kaye Staff Writer Christopher Heine •• SES San Francisco, August 13–17, Moscone West ( Copy Editor Caitlin Rossman •• SES Hong Kong, September 10–12, The Mira Hong Kong ( Asia Desk Editor Adaline Lau •• SES Berlin, October 10–11, Kosmos Berlin ( Sales & Marketing •• SES Chicago, Hyatt Regency ( Sales Directors Andrew Katz Elaine Mershon SES Toronto will provide a singular opportunity to learn actionable strategies and mingle Elaine Romeo with over 1,000 C-level executives, directors, marketers, and engineers from leading brands Peter Westerholm Account Executive Elizabeth Huston such as Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and Bell Canada. See you there! Director, Client Services JoAnn Simonelli Best regards, Marketing Director Angela Man Marketing Manager Amy Xu Mike Grehan, Chair Matt McGowan Marketing Associate Ploy Tangtrakul SES Advisory Board Chair Managing Director, Web Designer Rebecca Holz Global VP, Content North America Incisive Media Incisive Media Online Operations manager Louise Laberge Online Operations associate Aleksey Gershin Magazine SES ADVISORY BOARD Editor Dawn Cavalieri Comprised of both industry thought leaders and real-world practitioners, the SES advisory Contributors Julie Batten board brings together top players in the field of interactive media and search. The team works Dave Davies Paul Fegan to deliver continually cutting-edge search techniques, more integrated and relevant content, Andrew Goodman and professional development resources to SES attendees. Jim Hedger Miranda Miller Mike Grehan, Chair Bryan Eisenberg Jon Myers Garry Przyklenk Global VP Content Bestselling Author Head of Account SES/Search Engine Watch/ Management Corporate ClickZ Yahoo! UK & Ireland Chief Executive Tim Weller Jonathan Allen Paul Fegan Lee Odden Group Managing Director James Hanbury Director Head of e-Learning CEO SearchEngineWatch Incisive Media TopRank Online Marketing Matthew Bailey Andrew Goodman Giovanni Rodriguez President President Digital and Social SES: Volume 6, Issue 3 | June 2012 Site Logic Marketing Page Zero Media Strategy, Deloitte © 2012 Incisive Media plc Consulting LLPTo subscribe, contribute, or view past issues, visit Chris Boggs Bill Hunt Laura Director, SEO, Rosetta President Conference Program Back Azimuth Consulting & Training Manager SES Conference & ExpoTo advertise, contact sales at sales@sesconference.comor +1 (212) 457-4993. Mikel Chertudi Aaron Kahlow Crispin Sheridan Sr. Director, Online & Chairman & Founder, Sr. Director of SearchComments? Want to unsubscribe? E-mail us at Demand Marketing Online Marketing SummiT Marketing Adobe SAP Eddie Choi Anne F. KennedyIncisive Media, U.S. Incisive Media, head office Managing Director International Search55 Broad Street, 22nd fl. 28-29 Haymarket House Frontiers Digital StrategistNew York, NY 10004-2501 London SW1Y 4RX, UK Beyond Ink USAtel +1 (646) 736-1888 tel +44 (0)20 7316 9609fax +1 (646) 390-6612 fax +44 (0)20 7930 2238
  5. 5. sponsors & Download the app or visit exhibitors Sponsor Showcase Hours: Monday, June 11, 10:00am–6:30pm | Tuesday, June 12, 10:00am–3:00pmPLATINUM SPONSOR EXHIBITORSGoogle Engage with Agencies Table 4Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people www.adleads.comaround the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by AdLeads is the industry’s first self-serve mobile signup ad platform.Stanford PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is With AdLeads, businesses of all sizes can run ads on top iPhone,a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted iPad, and Android apps. They only pay when someone signs up toadvertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measur- hear from them—and never for wasted clicks or impressions. Hun-able results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. dreds of businesses and agencies like children’s publisher Paper HatGoogle is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout Press, Brooklyn-based restaurant Nita Nita, and Australian mobilethe Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www. marketing agency Mobile Marketers have used AdLeads to get customers and grow their businesses.GOLD SPONSOR ClickZ Academy and Recruitment Table 10Bing www.clickzacademy.comSponsored Sessions ClickZ helps develop the careers of professional marketers, through its education program or its recruitment web site. ThisSearch advertising with Microsoft helps you efficiently reach your builds on its position as the largest resource of interactive market-next best customer—within your budget and with the support you ing news, information, commentary, advice, opinion, research, andneed to get started and optimized and measure your results. reference in the world, online or off. From search to social, technol- ogy to trends, our coverage is expert, exclusive, and in-depth.SILVER SPONSOR gShift Labs Web Presence Optimizer™The Search Agency Table 7Table 5 gShift Labs’ industry leading SEO software system, Web PresenceThe Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines Optimizer™ (WPO), helps marketers and agencies more efficientlyhigh-tech and high-touch online marketing strategies to deliver and effectively monitor and report on SEO campaigns. gShift’snew customers and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. Ser- patent-pending WPO software provides insight into an entire webvices include paid search, SEO, landing page optimization, display presence—website, blogs, press releases, social media and analyt-media, social media, and affiliate program management. As the ics—by reporting organic rank data, backlinks, social signals, andlargest and fastest-growing independent search marketing agency competitive intelligence, all of which contribute to the goal of rank-in the US (Advertising Age May 2012), and among Deloitte’s 2011 ing higher organically in the search engines.Technology Fast 500, The Search Agency is now bringing over a The fundamentals of SEO still matter; however, SEO in 2012 isdecade of experience and expertise to Canada. Founded in 2002, The about social signals (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+,Search Agency has grown to more than 200 employees worldwide and Pinterest) and fresh content (blogs and press releases).with Canadian headquarters in Toronto, and additional offices in Los Track, manage, measure, and report web presence analyticsAngeles, San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, Tampa, London, data all in one place using gShift’s SEO monitoring and reportingSydney, and Bangalore. For more information, go to http://www. software. Organizations of all sizes benefit by reducing the and resources required to analyze and improve organic search optimization. gShift Labs can be contacted at 1-866-743-5960, by emailing, or by visiting • SES   3
  6. 6. sponsors & exhibitors SES Toronto | June 11–13, 2012Marin Software Reprise MediaTable 1 Table www.reprisemedia.comMarin Software is a leading provider of online advertising man- Reprise Media Canada is a full-service search marketing agency.agement solutions, offering an integrated platform for managing Our core business is based on search engine marketing (pay-per-search, display, and social marketing. The company provides solu- click), search engine optimization (SEO), and social media market-tions for advertisers and agencies of all sizes, enabling them to ing. Reprise Media Canada offers best-in-class search marketingimprove financial performance, save time, and make better deci- strategies employed by a team of industry-recognized talents andsions. Marin Enterprise, the company’s flagship product, addresses applies an agenda of innovation to produce breakthrough results forthe needs of online marketers spending at least $100,000 per our clients. Come see us at Table 3 on June 11/12!month on biddable media. Marin Professional delivers the samepower and ease of use as Marin Enterprise, through an application Search Engine People Inc.designed for marketers spending less than $100,000 per month on Table 2paid search. Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices worldwide, www.searchenginepeople.comMarin’s technology powers marketing campaigns for over 850 cus- Search Engine People Inc. is one of Canada’s oldest and mosttomers managing more than $2.5 billion of annualized ad spend in respected search agencies. Since 2001, SEP has helped a wide rangemore than 160 countries. of clients (from Fortune 500 to small and medium-size companies) secure business from the web. SEP is a Google Adwords Qualified9th sphere Company and Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador, and is Micro-Track Sponsor soft adExcellence certified. The company was also named one of “Top 25 Up-and-Coming Canadian IT Companies” by the Branham9th sphere is a full-service web design and Internet marketing solu- Group in 2006.tions provider, focused on delivering a strong ROI for our clients. SEP’s services include search engine optimization (SEO), paidSince 1997, they have put their award-winning expertise to work, search management (PPC), social media marketing (SMM), onlineearning recognition for effectiveness in design, development, and reputation management, usability, and more. Whether you’re look-marketing results–driven websites. 9th sphere is proud to offer top ing to compete in an ultra-competitive space, or to dramaticallyindustry experts, state-of-the-art technology, and exceptional cus- increase your local presence, SEP can help.tomer care that produces smart and powerful website solutions and Stop by our booth and talk to our knowledgeable experts.real results for a wide variety of businesses. This ultimately pro- Get Found™! vides a solid service value from which clients prosper. Learn aboutthe 9th sphere Advantage at SEMPO Canada Table 8NVI Solutions www.sempo.caSponsored Session SEMPO is the largest nonprofit trade organization in the world, serving the search and digital marketing industry and marketingNVI is a full-service digital marketing agency. We leverage our professionals engaged in it.internal tools, our broad and diversified experience, and the larg- Whether you are a search or social marketing professional orest bilingual staff of experts in the country to serve our customers. use search and social as part of your profession, SEMPO providesNVI is known for its resourcefulness and business ability to execute the programs and resources to help you succeed.strategic plans that are performance-centric. Our activities center on education, networking, and research. To NVI relies on the ingenuity of its web marketing strategies and support our educational mission, we provide a professional webi-the collective energy of its employees to offer the best return on nar series, 101 webinar series, and quarterly education programs.investment to its customers. Our local groups provide opportunities to network throughout the world, and we also conduct the industry’s most respected research.Page Zero Media We provide members with discounts to training programs andReception Sponsor industry events, and a robust job Learn more at / Page Zero Media is a full service digital marketing agency focus-ing especially on paid search (SEM), display advertising, and other SEMRushforms of effective audience targeting. Led by founder and president Badge Booklet SponsorAndrew Goodman, the company is headquartered in Toronto, Can- www.semrush.comada. Clients include Postmedia Digital, Canon, Direct Energy, Wave SEMRush provides users with invaluable competitive intelligence—Accounting, and Page Zero is a Google AdWords Certified tracking the top 95 million keywords and 42 million domains.Agency. SEMRush data currently includes 10 of the most popular regional4  SES • June 2012 {Toronto}
  7. 7. product & service guide Table #s on right.Affiliate & Performance-Based Internet Associations Organic Search Marketing Search Marketing Software Marketing Solutions Society of Internet gShift Labs Web gShift Labs WebThe Search Agency............................. 5 Professionals.................................... 9 Presence Optimizer™.....................7 Presence Optimizer™.....................7Training Business Pros..................... 6 9th sphere................................ Sponsor Marin Software....................................1 Link Building NVI Solutions.......................... Sponsor SEMRush.................................. SponsorDisplay Advertising Search Engine People Inc................ 2 Page Zero Media................... SponsorMarin Software....................................1 SEMRush.................................. Sponsor Reprise Media...................................... 3 Specialized Search EnginesPage Zero Media................... Sponsor The Search Agency............................. 5 (Multimedia, Mobile, Shopping, Local Search Marketing Search Engine People Inc................ 2 International, etc.) General Search Engines Services & Directories Bing............................................ SponsorBing............................................ Sponsor Bing............................................ Sponsor Pay-Per Click Networks & Management Services Training Courses & CertificationInteractive Marketing Agencies Marketing Optimization NVI Solutions.......................... Sponsor in Search Marketing 9th sphere................................ Sponsor Solutions Search Engine People Inc................ 2 ClickZ Academy and Marin Software....................................1 Recruitment..................................... 10Interactive Marketing Training Business Pros..................... 6 Search Marketing Agencies Training Business Pros..................... 6Associations & Publications 9th sphere................................ SponsorSEMPO Canada................................... 8 Mobile & Rich Media NVI Solutions.......................... Sponsor Web Analytics Advertising Solutions page Zero Media................... Sponsor gShift Labs Web AdLeads.................................................. 4 Reprise Media...................................... 3 Presence Optimizer™.....................7 The Search Agency............................. 5 Reprise Media...................................... 3 SEMRush.................................. SponsorGoogle databases, as well as US Bing, and returns extensive met- As part of our 14th anniversary celebrations, attendees of therics relative to both organic and paid traffic (both AdWords and SES Show who sign up at will be eligible toAdSense), as well as backlink info. receive a discount of 50% for the first year of Professional Member- SEMRush can reveal just what keywords your competitors are ship dues.ranking for, what campaigns they’re running, what their budget For more information and to become a member, visit www.looks like, and what kind of traffic they generate. Thus, it can pro- all the ammo one needs to effectively optimize, run impactful Contact: Max Haroon, President, tel (416) 891-4937 (info@campaigns, and increase overall traffic and revenue. of Internet Professionals (SIP) Training Business ProsTable 9 Table www.trainingbusinesspros.comThe Society of Internet Professionals (SIP) is an international not- Training Business Pros is Canada’s leading internet market-for-profit association based in Canada. Since 1997, SIP has upheld ing training company offering over 100 intensive business train-professional standards for Internet professionals. Our ongoing ing opportunities throughout North America every year. Our cli-activities include spearheading strategic partnerships, offering edu- ents have exploded their sales in the millions and trainees havecational programs, and running networking events. increased their personal market value exponentially. Becoming a professional member of SIP and abiding by our Since 2007, Training Business Pros has helped over 22 thousandProfessional Code of Ethics gives you instant credibility and com- businesses adopt and adapt internet marketing and social mediapetitive advantage in the marketplace. You gain access to exclusive strategies. Whether you are a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, itmembers-only information, privileges, and offers, and you secure a is essential to get valuable information fast in order to get massiveplace in a network of serious individuals and organizations focused results within a short period of time.on success through excellence. Visit Table #6 to claim your free introductory training. Take the first step today by signing up for a free SIP Associate Or learn live from our CEO, Paul Tobey, on stage June 12th atMembership (no dues). Join 10,000 SIP Associates who benefit from 2:35 pm to 2:55 pm.Affinity Programs and stay informed of upcoming events and valu- You will learn how 20 minutes a day can dramatically boost yourable offers via our monthly newsletter for FREE. rankings and how the social media wheel can be the secret sauce to your back-linking strategy. • SES   5
  8. 8. focus COVER STORYBreaking Out of the “+1” MindsetCanada is Losing the Digital Innovation Race. How Can It Become More Competitive?by Andrew GoodmanC anada has weathered the economic Unfortunately, many of the traits that less, and would dissent from this obvious downturn better than any other G7 help entrepreneurs feel relatively accepted point. In their view, because more of us have nation. With a high level of eco- in the US aren’t baked into Canadian culture. broadband, use Facebook, send text mes- nomic, cultural, and technological As a result, it’s harder to develop a critical sages, etc., we’re more digitally savvy thandevelopment and a favorable trading rela- mass of digitally savvy companies, tech tal- other countries, including the US. Sure—buttionship and cultural integration with the US, ent, investors, and other elements that cre- that’s like saying that buying a cute new gymit can hardly be described as hurting. Since ate clusters of innovation and dynamism. If bag makes you a fashion pioneer. It’s nice tonothing’s terribly broken, creating a sense of you massage the data enough (as Richard enjoy what’s made available to you, but iturgency around living up to our true poten- Florida does), you can refer to the broader doesn’t compare at all with, say, investing intial is hard. region around the Greater Toronto Area a company that grows into a global fashion Some of us feel a constant urge to do bet- as a creative cluster. However, this region label. (On that note, kudos to Lululemon, ater; most of us do not. The most likely way to is punching well below its weight when it wildly successful Canadian brand that is onepropagate this feeling is to deliberately and comes to the je ne sais quoi of creating great of the exceptions that prove the rule.)systematically push one’s peers to improve. growth companies. This ultimately causes Canadians, all too often, like to partici-That’s how it is in organized sports. That’s relative backwardness in a whole range of pate in the excitement of advanced trendshow it is at SES conferences. And that’s how interrelated realms, from soft skills needed and taste the fruits of others’ innovation,Canadians ought to behave when it comes to staff up fast-growing startups, to con- but wouldn’t have a clue how to spearheadto technological innovation and business sumer expectations of online retailers. The anything. Nor do they quite understand whycompetitiveness. commonality is expectations and standards: you would need or want to. That’s the kind of unless they’re raised, they stay too low—if mindset that develops during a century andCaution Rather Than Competition there are any at all. a half of living in a branch-plant economy.Canadian caution is dangerously close to an A November 11 article from IBM (cit-insidious disease: complacency. For over a The e-Commerce Lag ing Forrester research) notes that Canada iscentury, we’ve contentedly enjoyed the ben- Where do Canadians shop when we do buy behind the US in e-commerce spending, andefits of our “+1” relationship with the pow- online? One of our largest homegrown growing more slowly. The percentages—5.4%erful innovator to the south. We’ve sat back retailers—Canadian Tire, which absorbed of total retail sales in Canada versus 6.0% inand waited while dynamic enterprises and apparel and sporting-goods giant Forzani the US—make the two countries seem fairlyinnovations were created in the US. Instead Group, forming a retail empire of a decent close, but 6% of $3.2 trillion is immense com-of competing, our businesses have often size—only recently relaunched its website pared to 5.4% of $370 billion. Since ad spends,dawdled, watched, and withered as compa- with the capacity to order items online. The website infrastructure, and consulting timenies like Target, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot company had taken a two-year hiatus from don’t make economic sense below a certainmoved in and took over. e-commerce, reverting to a website that size, a chicken-egg problem sets in: custom- In high technology, the decline of a sin- offered information about products avail- ers aren’t served as well, research isn’t done,gle leader like Research in Motion (RIM) is able in physical stores, and various episodic ads and content aren’t crafted well, check-enough to throw the entire country into a microsites (see article in The Globe and outs don’t work as they should, and so on.panic. Without the Blackberry, what have we Mail). Frankly, management is living in The domestic Canadian e-commerce marketgiven the world? Sidney Crosby and maple the same time warp that many other top poses a huge challenge for all but the largestsyrup? (Ok, a few other things, like insulin managers of large Canadian enterprises are players. This makes it all the more frustrat-and the telephone.) in. Slow growth in a high-growth area like ing that those large players, at least, don’t The situation isn’t that bad. But it is a e-commerce is unacceptable if Canadian- recognize the need for urgency and invest-function of a complacent culture that others’ owned companies want to survive; it opens ment. Instead of comparing themselves tosuccesses (the successes of bold, non-Cana- up the playing field to US companies that are their peers, they should compare themselvesdian tall poppies) are claimed as one’s own as good at plugging in their existing, highly to strong players around the globe.long as it’s convenient, with very little done optimized create an atmosphere that fosters innova- Retail may not be the only measure of the Weak, Unprofitable Onlinetion—until it becomes painfully obvious that health of a nation, but online retail is surely Marketing Strategiesa single flagship high-tech success story isn’t the bellwether for the state of a digital nation. Only a handful of Canadian retail web-going to cut it. Here again, average Canadians couldn’t care site owners and managers know the key6  SES • June 2012 {Toronto}
  9. 9. COVER STORY focusto reaching the big leagues: after testing (citing research by the Council of Canadian new telecommunications equipment jobsand optimizing your model, you can power Academies). in Atlantic Canada. This attitude has alsoyour way into the top-grossing elite largely resulted in the bankruptcy of companiesthrough an aggressive, targeted online mar- Unfortunately, many (like Mitel) that could have become globalketing spend. That’s no sales pitch; that’s how of the traits that help leaders and precursors of other successfulthe math works. Many businesses appear to companies.forget the enormous cost of the infrastruc- entrepreneurs feelture and overhead that get them to the table. relatively accepted in What We Can DoOnce they are at that already expensive table, the US aren’t baked into If government won’t make the right moves,the investment is wasted if the resulting Canadian culture. As how can Canadian companies improve onrevenue remains pitifully low because the our own? We must leave behind the old +1method for actually getting new customers a result, it’s harder to instincts and the peer pressure to do justis “hope, pray, and DIY on-page SEO.” develop a critical mass of well enough. Here are some suggestions: Winning online businesses have grow- digitally savvy companies,ing revenues (and, to be sure, marketing tech talent, investors, •• void the grand narratives. Coverage Aspends) that eventually reduce overhead of traditional monopoly sectors suchand infrastructure costs to manageable (ide- and other elements as financial, mining, and telecom­ally, trivial) proportions. Losing ones build that create clusters of munications dominates the Canadiana large infrastructure and do nothing with innovation and dynamism. business media, and only obviousit. Since only a few companies are getting it successes are deemed noteworthy. Inright, there is a very small pool of exemplars Certainly, government has played a terms of trends in advertising and digitalto show the way, and wishful thinking sub- role in allowing Canadian companies to culture, little insight or encouragementstitutes for action. be weakened, largely through inaction and is to be found in traditional media. We don’t find a Canadian company on the misappropriation of subsidy funds. All gov- Look for validation elsewhere: in yourInternet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide (as of late ernments sit on and distribute—in the aggre- peer group, at industry events, amongApril 2012), which ranks B2C retailers in the gate—large pools of business development your customers, and yes, even in otherUS and Canada based on online sales, until capital and research funding, and Canada is countries.number 152: The Shopping Channel, owned no exception. Yet funds often trickle out toby Rogers Media. Lululemon Athletica is laggard players or subsidize the operations •• Quit scoffing at data. Yes, our clients’ at 229 now—for them, the sky’s the limit. of established, noninnovating companies. customers really do buy pecans,ALDO Group (shoes) and Mountain Equip- Powerhouses like RIM return far more to switchplates, furniture, dishwasherment Co-Op (outdoor gear) deserve props the economy (in the form of jobs, spinoffs, parts, soil remediation equipment, andat 390 and 395, respectively. Unfortunately, R&D, and tax revenues) than any breaks and paella pans, online. Canadians—evenmany Canadian entrepreneurs—to say noth- incentives they receive. A business colum- those making digital marketing theiring of large retailers—aren’t aiming at mak- nist recently described the high-ROI govern- career through formal certificationing lists like this; many haven’t even heard ment incentives that help create blockbust- courses—have a nasty habit ofof them. ers like RIM as “federal largesse.” Largesse? assuming that because people like them To Research in Motion? I think we got our “would never click on that” or “wouldGovernment’s Share of Blame money’s worth. never buy something like that online,” Canada is falling behind in the global innova- The lack of similar “largesse” to identi- it’s helpful or insightful to share this tion race because “Canadian business itself fiable, very tall poppies has led to repeated preconceived notion. The easy work… choose[s] deliberately not to pursue busi- missed opportunities and the lack of role is to hop onto the coattails of some ness strategies that rely on innovation, as models and good jobs in manufacturing, large, hip brand and recommend very there [are] easier ways of making profits.” So R&D, and software. The denial of incentives gradual approaches to budgeting the argue Marcel Côté, founding partner of stra- to high-tech firm Mitel in the early 1980s is a marketing spend, despite the millions tegic management consulting firm SECOR, salient example (see Donald J. Savoie’s 2009 in sunk costs (infrastructure, office and Robert Miller, engineer at École Poly- book I’m from Bouctouche, Me: Roots Matter); technique de Montréal, in a recent report the deal would have created thousands of continues on page 8 • SES   7
  10. 10. focus COVER STORYBreaking Out of the “+1” Mindset continued from page 7 to reach the next level. You do have to Canadians should at have the entrepreneurial, 24-7 mindset. least be benchmarking space, website buildout, etc.) that make the operation wildly unprofitable on •• Embrace digital jobs as normal. If ordinary themselves against the the whole (though seemingly cautious Canadians don’t become conversant Internet Retailer’s Top when only the variable costs are taken with the leading edge of technology 500 rather than the into account). Do the hard work, and and digital enterprise, the best minds semi-successful company stop dismissing what is in fact real will continue to drain away due to a consumer behavior screaming for lack of both opportunity and peers. Our down the street. The real granular analysis. industry needs to be normalized and problem, of course, is that valued as simply a part of the economy. the comfort level of doing •• Know the role models. Many young Today we’re still seen as representing “just so well” is tempting. Canadians I’ve encountered in formal either of two extremes—taking insane business courses were not aware of risks and living in a cardboard box, or The driven minority, Techcrunch, Yelp, Zappos, and many lucking into lottery-like wealth—as though, seek to have other mainstays of digital business if the profession is worth discussing culture. This is inexcusable. The best only for its financial upside, not for its something more impressive students are the self-taught exceptions. substance. Until people get it, it’ll be up than “+1” engraved on There’s no guarantee that these self- to us to evangelize the merits of things their tombstones. starters will get great jobs out of the like search and display advertising gate, but over time, they usually prevail. (better targeting), online procurement levels of success far ahead of what is needed (reducing friction in the economy), and to maintain a great lifestyle. •• Look for smart partners and communities. all of that good stuff. Yes, it was obvious The driven minority, though, seek to Canada is full of half-baked digital in 1999, but that doesn’t mean people have something more impressive than “+1” companies that go nowhere, fueled by are quite comfortable with it yet. engraved on their tombstones. If and when family money and vanity investments. they do succeed, you can bet that the aver- Dumb money loses out to savvy, skill, age Canadian and the creators of grand nar- and passion. Conclusion ratives will be only too happy to take partial Not everyone is going to create the next credit … not to mention taxing the bejeesus •• Risk your own money. Funding at the Radian6. The Internet Retailer’s Top 500 is out of them. appropriate stage can be an important pretty rarefied territory and represents more accelerator, but the founders of success than the vast majority of startups— Andrew Goodman is founder companies like FreshBooks, Acquisio, let alone well-known, established retailers— and President of Toronto-based PlentyofFish, and HomeStars put in can attain. However, Canadians should at Page Zero Media, a full-service their own money, perhaps with the least be benchmarking themselves against marketing agency founded in support of family and friends, before these success stories rather than the semi- 2000. He is also co-founder of they did formal fundraising. It’s not successful company down the street. The, an award-winning always possible to bootstrap, but real problem, of course, is that the comfort industry commentary site, and author of Winning companies like these prove that you level of doing “just so well” is tempting. It Results with Google AdWords. don’t have to raise huge sums of money may even seem irrational to want to reach a Don’t miss these Sesssions at SES Toronto: •• Made in Canada: Marketing Online Worldwide—Monday, June 11, 2:00pm–3:00pm Register •• Conquering the Growing Canadian Affiliate Marketing Industry—Tuesday, June 12, 3:00pm–4:00pm 8  SES • June 2012 {Toronto}
  11. 11. MARKETING INSIGHTS focusBeyond the BorderThe Impact of US Laws on Canadian Site Owners by Dave DaviesI f you live and work in Canada, you may in mind that since you don’t own your .com websites across Canada passed through the think of the Internet as a free space in domain, the US government could confiscate US at one point or another. Net neutrality which to share ideas, sell products, and it, however unlikely that may be. legislation would have an influence on these interact with others, with no restrictions paths.other than those imposed by the Canadian SOPA and PIPAgovernment for the protection of its people. You’d be wrong to think that the Stop Online Data SecurityIt’s reasonable to believe that if you com- Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act Many of us collect data on our sites; many ofply with these laws, you will maintain the (PIPA) would not affect your Canadian busi- us store this data on our servers. Under thehealth of your website. Unfortunately, this ness. If you use or provide resources (or, let’s law, the US government can seize or reviewisn’t entirely the case. The United States gov- be honest, are believed to provide resources) this data at any time if your site is hosted aternment has significant power over how the that are deemed unacceptable by the US gov- a US hosting facility.Internet functions, right down to how you ernment, your site could be blocked, your You may ask, “But I’m not storing any-use your domain name and how the 1s and 0s search traffic eliminated, and more. Although thing illegal, so who cares?” Your clientson which your site travels are treated. neither bill has passed, similar legislation may. If you’re a lawyer or doctor, or if you probably will. store any other information on your server Domain Name Ownership “I’m not worried. I don’t run an illegal that may be deemed confidential, you may be Many people don’t realize that they don’t actu- torrent site,” you may say. The laws as they violating the law in hosting it in an environ- ally own their own domain names; they rent were drafted apply to any copyright infringe- ment that is subject to seizure. them. It’s a subtle difference, but when com- ment and designate the website owner as the bined with the fact that the US government culpable party. For example, if you operate a What You Can Do owns and controls the .com top-level domain forum and one of its members posts content The purpose of this article isn’t to scare you. (TLD), it brings up a whole new set of con- from, say, a movie script, your site could be I’ve done business primarily in the US and cerns, as the owners of discovered. blocked and search engine traffic eliminated. hosted the Beanstalk site there since the was a Canadian-owned online This would be a big punishment for adding a company was formed, and I haven’t had any gambling site. In February, the US Depart- forum to your site in hopes of engaging visi- issues stemming from these laws. That said, ment of Justice and Homeland Security tors. While I’m not stating that the US gov- it’s extremely important to understand and Investigations seized the domain name, ernment would go to this extreme every time, monitor the direction that legislation is tak- while a US federal grand jury charged its four a law like SOPA or PIPA could make your site ing and the potential impact, and to safe- owners with conducting an illegal sports a target, however innocent your intentions. guard yourself against litigation, embarrass- gambling site and conspiracy to commit ment, reduced or eliminated traffic, slower money laundering. The indictment alleges Net Neutrality Legislation speeds for your visitors, etc. Knowing what’s that Bodog moved at least $100 million from While I hold the unpopular opinion that happening and how it affects your website offshore accounts to bettors in Maryland. ISPs have a right to charge what they like will help you react quickly.“Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and for their bandwidth and that the free market For example, if network neutrality legis- federal law prohibits bookmakers from flout- should sort out what this means, there is no lation fails and ISPs are given more freedom ing that law simply because they are located doubt that US rules and regulations regard- in how they charge for bandwidth, ensuring outside the country,” stated US attorney Rod ing net neutrality would have a major impact that you’re hosted on a network with priority J. Rosenstein (quoted by USA Today). on Canadian site owners. The speed of your should be step one. And you might as well As this case shows, the US government site is dependent on the speed of the Inter- buy that .ca domain as a backup. After all, can seize any .com site regardless of the loca- net between your web host and the visitor. If just because you’re being paranoid doesn’t tion of the business operation or its hosting your visitors are in the US or if your site is mean you’re wrong. provider. This principle of government own- hosted there, you would be affected. ership is logical for country-based domains You may point out, “My site is hosted Dave Davies is CEO of Bean­ talk s (such as .ca), where the issuing government in Canada and my clients are in Canada.” SEO Services, an organic SEO can take control of a domain rented by one of Unless your clients are in close proximity to firm in Victoria, BC. He wrote the its citizens, but .com is the Internet go-to for your host, your data is going to take various second edition of SitePoint’s s countless non-US businesses. You may think, routes between the site and visitors. Many Kit and hosts a weekly radio“That’s OK. I don’t run a poker site.” Just bear tests I ran from my office in Victoria, BC, to show on Webmaster Radio. • SES   9
  12. 12. focus MARKETING INSIGHTSMake Your Client-Agency Relationship WorkThree Considerations When Choosing a Partner by Julie BattenS earching for a new digital agency is for in an agency, and consistently apply that ensure that projects are delivered within a lot like searching for a mate: you as a filter when evaluating potential part- budget and timelines. They should also be spend a lot of time seeing other peo- ners. It is critical that you choose an agency able to demonstrate that they have sufficient ple (the RFP process); you eventually based on a realistic evaluation of your needs resources in place to deliver on multiple con-narrow it down to a handful of prospects (the and whether their core competencies align current work streams.short-list); and eventually you think you’ve with these. If you’re looking for a digitalfound “the one” (the winning agency). After agency that can offer innovative solutions Does the Agency Play Well with Others?much wooing and negotiation, you agree to to engage your audience, don’t let yourself Relationship Buster: Most clients have mul-move in together (onboarding), and the real get wooed by a flashy creative presentation tiple agency partners—typically, at least a“getting to know each other” officially begins unless you’re sure that they have the chops creative/offline agency and a media agency (the client-agency relationship). to deliver on the technology side. Alterna- in addition to their digital agency. Clients The first couple of months are usu- tively, if you already have a skilled IT team sometimes assume that all partners will ally pretty blissful: both parties are filled in house and really need a strong strategic work towards a common goal and that inte- with hope and positivity about the excit- and creative shop, be sure that they can bring gration will naturally take place. However, ing adventures (programs/tactics) to come. their creative A-game. some agencies tend toward a protective or But you inevitably find out things that you even combative nature when working with didn’t know before and that you may not Have a clear understanding other agencies, creating a host of problems like. Things get a bit bumpy, and you start of what you need and when interdependencies are present between to become disenfranchised with your part- both agencies’ initiatives. what you’re looking ner. Gradually everything starts to unravel—all of a sudden a year has gone by and for in an agency, and Relationship Saver: Prospective partners needyou’re threatening to break up if your mate consistently apply that as to be able to demonstrate the ability to get(agency) doesn’t get his or her act together! a filter when evaluating along with others. Your agency should be It doesn’t have to be this way. There is able to point to specific examples of how they potential partners. It isa way to maintain the honeymoon period have worked with other agency partners inindefinitely. It really starts with choosing the critical that you choose an a harmonious and mutually beneficial way.right partner in the first place. Onboarding a agency based on a realistic They should demonstrate the ability to take anew agency is a huge investment, so make evaluation of your needs. leadership role in coordinating cross-agencysure that the agency you choose is going to collaboration and integration, and have anwork out in the long term. Ask the following Does the Agency Have the established process for helping to define andquestions about a prospective agency before Proven Ability to Deliver? document roles and responsibilities amongmaking your decision: Relationship Buster: Clients sometimes under- agency partners. estimate the importance of delivery in digi-Do the Agency’s Skills Closely tal programs. It is easy to get distracted by There are many other factors to take intoAlign to Your Needs? cutting-edge solutions and fail to consider consideration when choosing a new digitalRelationship Buster: While this may seem whether these programs can realistically be agency partner, but avoiding the pitfallsobvious, often client-agency relationships deployed on time, on budget, and at a high- above should increase your chances of a longfail due to mismatches between the cli- quality level. and successful union. Happy hunting!ents’ needs and the agencies’ competen-cies. Agencies do a good job of downplaying Relationship Saver: Verify agencies’ track Julie Batten is VP strategy,their weaknesses and selling their strengths, records in deploying similar solutions in a digital media, at Klicksometimes giving clients distorted represen- timely and efficient manner. They should be Health, focused on onlinetations of their capabilities. Clients can also able to provide case studies of similar work media and digital. Shebecome enamored of specific strengths that successfully delivered for other clients, and brings a wealth of experi-aren’t even top priorities for the firms. clearly articulate their process for taking ence in search marketing, a high-level solution/strategy to detailed digital media, and all facets of digital strat-Relationship Saver: Have a clear understand- tactical implementation plans. Strong proj- egy to bear, helping Klick’s clients developing of what you need and what you’re looking ect management competence is critical to innovative digital solutions.10  SES • June 2012 {Toronto}
  13. 13. SOCIAL INTEGRATION focusDoing Forensics on Fruit SaladThe Challenge of Developing Practical, Client-Friendly Strategies in the Unpredictable Social Media Environmentby Jim HedgerS ocial media is public relations. Social beginning to understand the fuller implica- From studying how media is inclusionary. Social media tions of UGC on search and the web. Facebook alters user is necessary to compete with your Many of the sessions at SES Toronto will competitors. Social media is today’s address social media measurement, engage- behaviors to findingbig thing. ment, and techniques. Each of the speakers correlations between social Social media is also tomorrow’s next big addressing social media has developed his signals and search enginething. More appropriately, some form of or her own techniques and tactics based on placements, social mediasocial media application is tomorrow’s next personal experience and shared knowledge.big thing. Yesterday’s appears to have been Each of them will say that every social media has dominated searchPinterest, which is threatening to displace experience is unique. Each will maintain that marketing discourse byFoursquare as the mayor of forgotten places. the very best social media experience is one becoming a more popularAs digital marketing experts, we are calling that promotes authenticity and earnest con- form of public directory.on our clients to invest increasing amounts nection over marketing and promotion.of time, staff, and money in an area that is As the digital marketing environment To say that you understandevolving too quickly for us to fully under- changes, so must the priorities of digital the impact of socialstand. The benefits of increased traffic are marketers and the clients we serve. Whileobvious, but the return on investment on a it’s always about driving good traffic, the media on search wouldwide spread of social media profiles can be digital marketing landscape is transforming be a vaguely worded lie.somewhat harder to quantify. more rapidly than ever before. Social media is continuously extending frontiers, and new marketers when trying to convince smallThe Changes in Social Media areas are expanding as rapidly as UGC can be businesses and corporate clients that bud-With over one-third of the adult population created and user intent can be ascertained geting time and money for social media isusing Facebook, Canadians constitute one of and harnessed. important.the largest national social media footprints To say that social has had an impact To be authentic in the truest sense, cli-in the world. Being early adopters, Canadian on search would be an understatement; for ents would do the work in house. However,Internet users became amazingly social search marketers, this shift has not been in-house SEO/SMM is often impractical foramazingly quickly. Unfortunately, many, if subtle. Moving away from its fascination the smaller businesses that make up thenot most, Canadian businesses have not kept with search, SEO has for the last two years vast majority of clients. This means thatup. This isn’t just because Canadian compa- focused on social. From studying how Face- the service must be either outsourced to anies don’t fully grasp the social part of the book alters user behaviors to finding cor- third party or performed by a digital market-medium; it’s also because the budgeting and relations between social signals and search ing agency. It is a huge challenge for digi-planning necessary to create an effective engine placements, social media has domi- tal markers to help clients be authentic in asocial media presence is daunting on paper nated search marketing discourse by becom- constantly evolving environment that nonewithout a clear understanding of benefits. ing a more popular form of public directory. of us fully grasp. Social media applications have existed To say that you understand the impact of Digital marketers face a number of otherfor almost as long as the commercial web. social media on search would be a vaguely issues when guiding clients in the socialEarly social media applications such as worded lie. Nobody understands exactly how sphere. It is really difficult to know whetherClassmates and Friendster acted as basic social meshes with search. Witness Google+. the plethora of random information linkingconnectors. They weren’t great for commu- to clients’ websites is beneficial or detrimen-nication among users, but they provided an Getting Clients to Be Social tal. We have to push our clients into activelyideal foundation on which all subsequent Trying to figure out how to integrate social participating in an arena that they don’tsocial media applications could build. Web into search is akin to integrating apples with fully understand, or we have to try to recre-2.0, which came on the scene in 2003, was oranges, kiwis, strawberries, grapes, cottage ate their voices ourselves, and authenticitya breakthrough that allowed users to inter- cheese, and bananas. It’s easy to spot, iden- is very hard to engender in the second- oract with websites and with each other. This tify, and describe the effects of an apple; it’s third-party voice. Lastly, we have to quan-was the dawn of the user-generated content not as easy to do forensics on fruit salad. tify a return on investment that translates to(UGC) era. Nearly ten years later, we’re just This creates yet another problem for digital continues on page 13 • SES   11
  14. 14. focus SOCIAL MEDIAThe State of Google+, One Year LaterGoogle Hasn’t Yet Carved Their Niche in Social, but Do They Even Need To?by Miranda MillerA s the first birthday of Google’s latest anticipation around the launch. In the weeks services under one umbrella. They said that   baby draws near, the organic search following, however, Google+ would struggle this would be better for users. Many dis-    and paid advertising behemoth con- to connect with brands; their brands, in turn, agreed, some agencies threatened to inves-     tinues to struggle to find their would struggle to connect with a user base tigate, and users protested, yet perhaps theniche in social. A year ago, Google+ was just worth marketing to within the Google+ widest-ranging and most important changea rumor; Google would deny the existence of network. in Google’s policies went off as planned ona social project until the very day it launched April late June. Google doesn’t need to seek Also in January, a month marked by a In that year, they’ve launched, expanded, out partners, who offer flurry of announcements from the searchexperimented, and redesigned the service, services users might opt giant, Google changed the sign-up processincurring the verbal wrath of competitors for many of their services. Those signing onFacebook and Twitter on a number of occa- into, to share data back and for a Gmail or YouTube account were auto-sions. It’s been a whirlwind for Google+ and forth. They already have matically assigned a Google+ account. Prom-all fifteen of its loyal users. the data; they’re collecting inent markers appeared in the navigation bar I kid. To be fair, there is a small but dedi- it from millions of websites every time users visited a Google property,cated group of core users in the Google+ net- urging them to check out their notificationswork. Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Vic Gundotra, and user actions. on the social network.and the rest of the crew have become old Whereas Facebook’s datapros at dodging questions about the num- Why Engagement Is Incidentalber of actual active users, but we can safely pool shows more intent Only Google knows how effective this was atassume that it’s nowhere near Facebook’s on the part of users, actually getting people to the site, although850 million. Does it need to be? Google reigns supreme in I suspect that user engagement was only the low-intent market. a secondary goal at best. In response to aGoogle’s Busy Year scathing article ticking off theWhat Google has accomplished with Google+ As Google began integrating brand Page “mounting minuses” at Google+, I wrote anin under a year is nothing short of amazing. results in seemingly dominant positions in article explaining why low user counts andJune 2011 saw the launch of Google+ as a the organic search listings, other compa- engagement might not matter to network. Over the summer, tech jour- nies began to cry foul. Hot on the heels of Facebook has had to find outside partners,nalists and analysts were positively wooed, that development, Google made their latest nurture (and invest heavily in) the app envi-keeping a watchful eye on every indicator foray into social search, Google Search Plus ronment, and build out their ecosystem over(precise or not) of increasing traffic and Your World (SPY World, anyone?), in early a period of years in order to gain access touser activity on Google+. The Washington January. Twitter, for one, lost it quite pub- the type and depth of user data they need toPost even announced in August that “Google licly, announcing, “We’re concerned that as a power their advertisement business. GooglePlus could be the fastest-growing site in result of Google’s changes, finding this infor- is transitioning the other way: from anhistory.” In all of history! Well, as long as mation will be much harder for everyone. We advertising and data powerhouse to a socialwe’ve had websites, anyway. (The original think that’s bad for people, publishers, news platform. They already have an incrediblecomScore report noted that it was the fast- organizations and Twitter users.” Their con- reach, largely through their DoubleClick adest site to reach 25 million unique visits. In cern stemmed partly from the possibility network and dozens of properties.what can only be described as a bizarre game that Google might have been abusing their They don’t need to seek out partners, whoof cyberjournalism, this report morphed into dominance in their core industry, search, to offer services users might opt into, to shareReuters’ claim that Google+ “attracted 25 excel in the realm of social, largely Twitter’s data back and forth. They already have themillion users” and The Washington Post’s and Facebook’s territory to that point. The data; they’re collecting it from millions ofassertion that “Google has 25 million old grumblings of antitrust resurfaced, only websites and user actions, often without theusers.”) to peter out again within a few months. users’ explicit knowledge that they’re being Google+ launched business Pages on Later in January, Google again stunned tracked at the time. Whereas Facebook’sNovember 7. Pages were already popu- users and analysts with the announcement data pool shows more intent on the part oflar on Facebook, and since Google+ hadn’t of an amalgamated privacy policy, one that users—they liked something, they sharedincluded them at the start, there was a lot of would bring user data from all 60+ of their something else—Google reigns supreme in12  SES • June 2012 {Toronto}
  15. 15. SOCIAL MEDIA focusthe low-intent market. They know when and working group aims to define first and third and all manner of things are being shared, orwhere you check your email on your Android. parties. Advertisers will not be satisfied withovershared, on the front end of Google+, theThey know the types of videos you search for poorly targeted paid search and display ads, real action occurs behind the scenes. Googleand watch on YouTube. so Google and other ad companies need the doesn’t really need you hanging out on the This is a fantastic thing for advertisers. data. However, users need their privacy. Google+ site all day long; they just need youFor users … not so much. Yet users sign up to have an account and do everything youfor Google accounts in droves, opting into Conclusion would normally do on the web in the courseGoogle+ without a second thought. Track- What we are seeing in the current online of a day—and don’t mind if they tag alonging goes beyond the actions users take while advertising environment is a precarious while you do it.signed in to a Google service; interacting balancing act, with Google perched square Google VP Bradley Horowitz said it bestwith a +1 button on a website, for example, in the middle, teetering from side to side. in September when he proclaimed thatcould set a cookie allowing tracking over all Everyone in the industry and even in the “Google+ is Google itself.” Indeed.Google properties for a period of time. mainstream media has their eyes on Google+. The efforts of the W3C Tracking Protec- Google has certainly given us plenty to talk A staff writer with Search En-tion Working Group will have huge ramifi- about: Hangouts with Obama, seemingly gine Watch, Miranda Miller co-cations for the online advertising industry, constant updates and new features, and even ordinates the annual Translit-especially for Google. If users click a +1 a recent redesign, complete with new naviga- eracy Conference for Ontariosocial icon, is that really an interaction with tion and profile pages. educators, manages a smallGoogle? Have they really indicated the intent We can’t forget, though, that Google+ is number of social media cam-to share data with Google for the next 24, 36, just one cog in the wheel that drives Google’s paigns through an agency, and serves on the Ca-or 48 hours, from every website they visit 44% stake in the $486 billion global adver- nadian Hemophilia Society’s Advisory Board forthat might show Google ads? These ques- tising market (see report by ZenithOpti- their Code Rouge awareness project.tions have no answers right now, but the media). While slick photos, funny updates,Doing Forensics on Fruit Salad continued from page 11 the big three, we still end up chasing clients social media learning curve. By sticking to convince them to monitor and maintain to the most trafficked social networks andcommon sense better than to the dollars and their social networks. We do recommend deploying assets in secondary ones as neces-cents that our clients’ creditors understand. secondary social networks such as LinkedIn, sary, my company believes that we’ve found In practice, my firm generally limits our Pinterest, and Foursquare as they apply to a balance our clients can live with.recommendations to the big three of Face- clients and as clients can afford our training SES Toronto will provide a valuablebook, Twitter, and Google+, placing other and application rates. forum for Canadian practitioners to dis-social networks into an “advisably optional” We know that we are missing traffic, but cuss the problems inherent in social mediacategory. Our clients have enough difficulty we balance this drawback by being practical. marketing.wrapping their heads around Facebook and In cases where we have to act as social mediaTwitter without worrying about other net- coordinators for our small to medium-sized Jim Hedger is a founding part-works. We include Google+ in the mix only business clients, exposing them to only the ner of the Toronto-basedbecause of the “rel=author” support, and big three limits our need to bill for out-of- search and social media mar-because we believe that Google actively control charges for allotted work time. It keting agency, Digital Alwaysfavors websites associated with Google+ also helps to ease clients into expanding Media. He has an extensiveprofiles. their own social media participation and background in SEO dating to Training businesses to promote their interaction. the late 1990s. He leads the SEO and content cre-ideas and images on Facebook and Google+ ation teams at Digital Always relatively easy, and teaching them Twit- Conclusionter behaviors and etiquette is only slightly Digital marketing professionals have to makeharder. Even though we limit our advice to a lot of choices as we steer clients along the • SES   13
  16. 16. focus CONVERSION & ROIThe Conversion Optimization Life CycleWhich Advice Should You Follow, and Which Should You Avoid, in Structuring Your Optimization Program?by Garry PrzyklenkC onversion optimization has been 4. Test product and service recommendations. across the rest of your site may com- around for a while, but its benefits The art of the upsell is best exhibited by promise new visitors’ trust and result are hard to ignore. These include e-commerce giants such as Apple, Ama- in higher abandonment. reduced cost of acquisition through zon, GoDaddy, and Dell. If you’re able todigital marketing, increased customer satis- measure cart abandonment on your site, 3. Tip to avoid: Add trust marks to your land-faction and retention, increased average rev- you’re ready to start testing product and ing pages. While I certainly can attestenue per order, and improved search engine service recommendations to increase to the conversion lift that trust marksrankings. In order to reap the rewards of an your average revenue per order. can provide on an e-commerce site,optimization program, you need to know landing pages are somewhat different.where to start, what to avoid, and how to 5. Evaluate pathways from top entry pages. In most cases, getting visitors to clickdevelop your program for long-term success. Entry pages to your site are a bit harder on links deeper in your site to privacy to optimize because referred traffic statements and certificates can be aGetting Started through search or other websites isn’t more powerful way to convert skepticalDo-it-yourself small business owners, digital always continuous or predictable, but prospects.marketers, and web analysts tend to inherit it’s usually free. Measure common path-a lot of excess baggage, so focusing on only ways from entry pages to determine 4. Tip to avoid: Boost your brand with tes-one or two sore spots on a website is often how content can be changed to reduce timonials and client logos. In B2B cam-difficult. Consider these top five places to bounce rate; you may just improve your paigns, association with large-scalestart: search rankings at the same time. brands with which you do business can boost conversion, especially for start- 1. Optimize paid search landing pages. Look- Growing the Base ups, but do your due diligence by seek- ing for big impact right away? Optimize Once you’ve started building quick wins ing written approval for logo usage and those paid search landing pages and in your conversion optimization program, recommendations. The last thing you start counting the money you save on you’ll want to maintain that momentum and want is conflict with a long-term lucra- search marketing immediately. Vary expand your effort to other areas of your site. tive client. your value proposition, urgency, pricing, Unfortunately, many marketers fall into the product mix, and form length. trap of overoptimizing based on bad advice, 5. Tip to avoid: Incentivize your prospects so try to avoid or at least question the fol- with freebies, calls for urgency, and pro- 2. Examine internal search results pages. lowing five optimization tips that can hurt motions. While these tactics can elicit Searches performed on your website conversion rates: a strong positive reaction among first- often yield the best (and cheapest) way time visitors, they can have very unde- to judge the voice of the customer. 1. Tip to avoid: Keep your copy short, sharp, sirable effects on lead quality. Many These searchers are committed visi- concise. It’s hard to argue that trimming visitors are conditioned to perform tors who probably aren’t finding what the overall content on a landing page microconversions such as lead forms they want intuitively. Look at queries would be anything but successful for without reading anything else on a with no results, top queries that should most campaigns, as it reduces the prob- landing page. Don’t be afraid to lose a be satisfied through navigation, and ability that a landing page will over- few cheapskates on your landing pages perhaps synonyms you didn’t consider whelm a prospect. However, providing who would otherwise sacrifice your when writing creative. less information may hurt overall con- profitability. version rates over time or, worse still, 3. Enhance your help sections. Areas on a lower average revenue per order. Planning for the Future website dedicated to helping people are Now that you’re well on your way to optimi- most often frequented by loyal custom- 2. Tip to avoid: Remove or de-emphasize zation nirvana, you’ll want to expand your ers who would rather solve problems primary and secondary navigation from program beyond online impact and start on their own than cost you money by the template of your landing page. Fewer leveraging your online success for dramatic calling or emailing support staff. Help escape routes make prospects more cross-channel maturity. Here are five things them help you by optimizing help docs, likely to continue along your chosen to consider when bridging conversion opti- downloads, and public service messages. path. However, a lack of consistency mization to business process optimization:14  SES • June 2012 {Toronto}