Eli Goodman will be giving the Opening Keynote at SearchFest 2012, which will be held February 24, 2012 at The Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living.

Here is a link to my Bio, Pic, and column history on Search Engine Watch: https://searchenginewatch.com/author/1841/eli-goodman

2) If a layman were to ask you how to measure the effectiveness of a particular social media effort, how would you respond to him/her?

Social media, which now accounts for about 1 out of every 5 minutes spent online, is emerging as an extremely important marketing channel for brands. However, brands often feel that the fluidity and seemingly uncontrolled nature of the medium means it is difficult to measure. So they often rely purely on counting fans or followers to determine whether or not their efforts are successful, but that does not even begin to measure the impact of their efforts.

comScore has developed a new social measurement product called Social Essentials, which aims to demystify social media measurement. It enables us to measure earned media brand impressions as they occur throughout Facebook among both brand fans and their friends. These brand exposures are translated into quantifiable and familiar audience measurement metrics, including reach/frequency, demographics, etc.

Once we understand who is seeing these brand impressions and how frequently, we can also determine the value of these exposures. How much more likely are brand fans to visit the brand’s website, or conduct a search on the brand’s trademark? What about their friends? Are their behaviors influenced by brand exposures coming by way of their friends? All of these questions, which once seemed too difficult to grasp, can now be answered and understood in a way that advertisers are already familiar with.

3) You’ve written some blog posts where you show ComScore search charts for (among other things) Fantasy Football. If you were a business interested in reaching the Fantasy Football demographic, what sorts of actionable insights can be taken from one of your search trend charts.

The first notable insight is that timing is everything. The average Fantasy Football (FF) fan comes out of the woodwork and uses search for FF purposes for a very small window each year, August – October. There might be light activity at other times, but these peak months dwarf all others. If I were planning to reach this audience en masse, I would put together a robust search retargeting campaign to deliver my message to FF searchers both on SERPs and via display on the FF content websites they visit. The frequency of relevant exposures through both search and display would enhance my effectiveness by orders of magnitude, delivering both direct response and latent response actions (visits to my site, FF subscriptions, products sold, etc)

The second insight is really about the demographics of FF searchers. It wasn’t included in my column, but it is possible to analyze the demographics of searchers, segmented according to the search terms they use. Using this type of data, you are able target FF searchers at off-peak times throughout the year to drive awareness and branding of your products. Although FF participants only show up in search at very specific times of the year, it isn’t as if they disappear from the Internet all-together. Knowing who they are and knowing where they spend their off-peak FF time online will allow for ongoing impact at a much lower cost than in-season.

4) Clearly, universal search is here to stay. How should a business establish its own priority list for the facets of universal search that will likely lead to their best ROI?

I would start by segmenting my search clickthroughs into 2 buckets: Those that came through text only SERP links, and those that came via Universal/Blended SERP links. From there you can begin to get an idea of the assets you are currently delivering in each bucket, understanding the associated clickthrough rates and eventual conversions. If you have universal assets that qualify for both Paid and Organic, you should further segment those as well.

Once I better understand how the Universal vs. Non-Universal results are converting, I can begin to prioritize the Universal results and determine which strategies will deliver the best ROI.

Which ones work best? What is my competition doing? Are there any studies out there that analyze the effectives of a particular type of universal result over another? Does Google Instant impact searcher behavior when the search is presented with universal images? (Yes, in fact…once they see a universal result fly across the dynamic results they stop typing…its like rubbernecking at an accident on the highway, people just can’t help themselves)

How do my search results that contain video/image thumbnails perform? Maybe the volume is much lower than another Universal result I deliver, but the conversion rate is much higher.

How rich should my result creative be? Although there’s a rather complicated one that I may be particularly proud of, it is usually the simple one that pulls in the most clickthroughs.

It is these kinds of scenarios that a sophisticated search marketer will be running through in order to enhance ROI. Define your results into manageable (and related) buckets, define the success metrics you want, and prioritize from there.

5) Infographics seem to be the latest linkbait trend (and I’m sure something else will replace it shortly). Can any lasting value for these efforts be quantified for the businesses that perpetuate them?

We live in an era of Big Data (both businesses and individuals, we all love numbers…thanks Malcolm Gladwell!), and anything that can visually present data in a compelling way definitely has value. As for value related to search optimization, the easy way to say it is that the search algorithms value clickthroughs more than any other factor when it comes to determining relevancy of a search link to a searcher, so if it impacts your clickthrough rates and algorithmic scores, it absolutely will have lasting value.

6) Many people seeing you speak at SearchFest will be smaller, localized businesses. How can they best cut through the plethora of data & tools to find a few actionable processes that they can use to help grow their revenue?

The free tools from Google and Bing are your best friends. They are free and have great flexibility to allow for local targeting. Any type of competitive intelligence, even if it is taking an hour and running a bunch of different searches on your keywords to see how everyone in your local space is ranking and what messages they are delivering can be quite valuable.

But once you get beyond the things you can do for free with manageable time investment, if you want more you’ll have to consider some type of agency/intelligence/tools. There are agencies that specialize in local search, as well as tool vendors set up in that fashion. TopSEOs.com is a good resource for agency evaluation at a local level (or any level for that matter), and a Google search can easily lead you to some inexpensive intelligence tool vendors that could meet some of your basic needs.

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