Search Gold in Dem Dar iHollywood Hills

Today’s column will give you a sense of deja vu if you read through the notes I took while at iHollywood July 19-20, but I did a lot of organizing, editing, and analysis to provide context for all these points, so it still may be worth skimming the list. And if it’s new to you, be happy you didn’t read it in its raw form before (if you do want the originals, check this search via the Rollyo custom search box).

As per the usual notice, it continues in the extended entry, and it was originally published in MediaPost. As per an unusual notice, this is appearing on the blog the same day it came out in MediaPost, so I’m on time for once.

Search Gold in Dem Dar iHollywood Hills

WHEN AN IHOLLYWOOD FORUM EVENT can spend a day and a half
covering search engine marketing, a single column can’t cover all the
highlights. Last week, I
discussed how important it is for consumers to discover video rather than just
search for it. This week, I’ll go much broader, offering fourteen search-themed
insights from a number of speakers and panels.

To make the attributions
easier, company names are listed with each takeaway, and the speakers are
credited by name at the end.

1) Search planning is starting earlier. Google is talking to movie
studios now about marketing films coming out next May.

2) Branding lives. Showtime said branding,
awareness, and driving tune-in are critical for them. They need to rank high in
natural results, and high rankings in paid results offer other positive effects
for the brand.

3) Paid search builds brands before SEO kicks
in
. Showtime said that many of its shows are generic
terms ("Weeds," "Meadowlands," "Dexter"), so as it works on optimization, it
buys search ads when news of the show breaks.

4) Latency matters. When Showtime runs campaigns for
subscriber acquisition, it will target customers who are in the process of
moving. Some of those responses happen weeks later. One way the company tracks
these responses is by offering rebates through the ad.

5) Search research creates entire businesses.
Fox said it saw that the most popular gaming search term
was "cheats," so it created a site around that. Without advertising, it ramped
up to reach 2 million unique visitors in a year and a half.

6) Previous campaigns inform the future. Showtime
not only uses search results from one season to inform future seasons, but
search volume can impact which characters and actors are featured and
promoted.

7) Online influences offline. Google and Nielsen surveyed
moviegoers and found that the Web was right behind TV and word-of-mouth for
providing the most information about films, and online was on par with TV for
the level of influence. About one-third of moviegoers were searching for films
online. Google also noted that an outdated study showed a strong correlation
between search volume and box office results. (Presumably, "Snakes on a Plane"
phenomena — all buzz and no box office — are the exception.)

8) Sync search with offline campaigns. Showtime
coordinates its paid search campaigns around offline campaigns such as TV
commercials to capitalize on the extra traffic.

9) Awareness precedes search. Yahoo said search
works best once consumers are aware of what they’re looking for. Most of the
awareness will happen offline, though Yahoo also plays a role in the awareness
created online, which drives search, leads people to a given site, and then to
an action that usually happens offline, such as watching a TV show. Yahoo’s goal
is to be a platform that drives awareness.

10) Search bolsters online display advertising. SEMDirector discussed the
arbitrage model with search, in which publishers will pay for search ads to
increase their site’s pageviews and ad impressions. This is a much more
sophisticated view of search’s role, rather than just looking at the market
share of paid search compared to rich media. Yahoo mentioned how display can
drive search, and search can ramp up display impressions.

11) Search engines are the new Web browsers. It’s
now ingrained for people to enter Web site URLs into search engines. If people
go to a search engine and see 10 different choices, NBC said a company needs to
present itself as the best option.

12) Pay attention to off-site SEO. NBC said 40%
of search engine optimization is on-site, 60% off-site (such as with link
development). Blog outreach is one way NBC fosters the link building.

13) Video and image search are just starting to become
viable for consumers.
Blinkx compared technology that indexes videos’
metadata to reading the title of a book and saying you read the whole book.
Today Blinkx can identify written words within videos, such as street signs.
Facial recognition is one of the next big hurdles.

14) Not all searches are created equal. Yahoo
compared two types of searches that happen after a TV show airs. One is to catch
up — the searcher missed the episode but wants to joint the water-cooler
chatter. The other searcher saw the show and wants to go deeper, potentially to
participate in some way. It’s an example of how similar searches can express
needs for very different types of content. The onus is ultimately on marketers
to meet those needs, though search engines are working on that too.

Focusing on any one of these nuggets can help you get more out of
search. Thanks to all of the speakers for providing so much gold to mine:

Marc Esper, vice president of search, NBC Universal; Federico
Grosso, senior vice president of business development, Blinkx; Robert Hayes,
senior vice president/general manager-digital media, Showtime; Jyri Kidwell,
entertainment category director – search marketing, Yahoo; James Lamberti,
senior vice president search & media, comScore Networks; Bill Macaitis, vice
president of online marketing, Fox Interactive Media; Adam Stewart, vertical
director of media & entertainment, Google; and Dema Zlotin, founder &
vice president of strategic services, SEMDirector.