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Optimization - MarketingRev - Tech News for Marketers

Archive for the 'Optimization' Category


November 19th

LotusJump Automates SEO Tasks for Marketers

Christopher Kenton

For many marketers, search engine optimization is one of those items on your todo list that seems to roll over every cycle and never get addressed. Unless you have a heavy-hitting marketing budget and SEO is critical to keeping your pipeline full, chances are your online traffic isn’t well optimized. It’s like yardwork. It’s something you know needs to get done, but there’s always something else more important to do at the moment.

So I was intrigued when I saw what LotusJump is doing. They offer a $99/month on-demand service that tees up SEO tasks for someone on your team to execute. It’s an interesting position. They’re not providing an SEO service per se–which would be a whole lot more than $99/month. Instead, they’re automating the messy legwork that prevents most marketers from getting SEO done on their own, such as:

  • Identifying directories where your site can be listed
  • Finding places where you can submit articles with links back to your site
  • Finding existing articles and blog posts where you can write comments, and link back to your site
  • Finding competitive backlink opportunities, where your keyword competitors are already linked

It’s a pretty simple concept. If you had all of these opportunities teed up and ready to execute with the click of a mouse, you could farm out the work to people on your team to get it done–and everyone would be the smarter about SEO and your marketing strategy.

So I asked LotusJump for a demo account to see how easy it is. And yes, it is easy. Once you subscribe, you simply enter your web site domain and a list of three keywords or keyword phrases around which you want to optimize. Within minutes, your task list starts to fill with the directories and sites to which you might want to submit your own web site and articles. Most of these directories and sites are indexed in LotusJump’s database, and they have explicit step-by-step instructions for how to submit to each directory, so even an intern could pick up some slack. Within hours, or at least over night, the buzz links and competitive backlinks opportunities start coming in. These are collected as LotusJump scans the Web to find content related to your keywords, and your keyword competitors, that you can leverage by submitting your own comments or posts with links back to your site.

The interface is easy to use, and has basic workflow features for viewing and managing your task list. It’s hard to imagine how it wouldn’t be worth $99/month if you’re one of the many marketers who neither has the budget for outsourcing SEO, or the time to manage in-house SEO tasks. I don’t yet know how the net results would compare to outsourced SEO since we just ran through the setup, but if you’re doing nothing now, it’s not hard to benchmark. Just take a snapshot of your traffic today, run LotusJump for a month, and compare your traffic then.

I definitely like the concept, and I think it’s an interesting market position that likely has a critical mass of prospects. I’m thinking of asking LotusJump to keep our demo account open for a couple of months so we can benchmark traffic and report back on results.

Category: Optimization, marketing automation | 13 Comments »

October 28th

Nuconomy: Site Analytics for the Social Web?

Alex

Measuring the Social Web has long been a royal pain, what with Flash, AJAX, RSS feeds, and other slivers of content mashed and remixed into a trail that even Sherlock Holmes might have trouble parsing. NuConomy, an ambitious Site Analytics startup launched in 2006, aims to restore some analytical rigor to the Social Web. TechCrunch and others have blogged it already but it merits a look.  The company opened up for public use today a suite of free analytics tools. If they can deliver on what they promise, then Nuconomy could set a new standard in Web analytics and offer a killer challenge for Google Analytics, not to mention Omniture and others. Here’s a rundown of what it promises, which is a lot. (P.S. – typo on the F.A.Q.. page, marketing team)

-proactive analytics automates the tedious chores of slicing and dicing data and building customized reports.
-promises an “intelligent” data mining engine to continually monitor every aspect of site traffic and user behaviors and automatically highlight the most important things to make businesses better. (data can be retrieved onsite or via email/RSS feed)
-promises to catch formerly elusive but critical data like changes in commenting trends for a particular segment of viewers, etc
-says that companies without dedicated site analyst geeks can now fire its analyst geeks and be unfraid (sorry, analysts)
-claims its metrics measure the social elements of digital media, including Flash, AJAX, and Silverlight applications, along with page views, uniques, and other traditional analytics
-combines and packages multiple flavors of insights into real world behavior on the web (comments, ratings, video plays, sharing links, purchases)
-allows “publishers, advertisers, and business executives to finally see the people behind the numbers (???) and measure the engagement, or lack thereof, in order to cultivate relationships and brand interactions, optimize social media programs, and better monetize ads and e-commerce offerings.” A mouthful but it means mo’ money.
-Builds rich behavioral profiles, or interest maps, for each user by tracking site-level activity for individuals (would be interested in hearing more about how they plan to do this)– such as who is posting comments on bikes or sharing music recommendations with friends.
-This level of detail gives publishers a deeper understanding of user behavior so they can optimize their sites and marketing messages for different audience segments, even different individuals (I find this hard to believe – I regularly move between four computers – how would it work?)
-“features a two-way API that dynamically changes sites based on current metrics and insights, including the ability to show ads or push specific content relevant to a user’s interests.”
-easy to use with plug-ins for tracking users and traffic in WordPress, Movable Type, Community Server, and dasBlog
-partners include Technorati, Microsoft, Six Apart, Pioneer, Kaltura, and Federated Media. (heckuva partner list).
-register for free.

Video analytics and actions spurred by ineractions with widgets are other things NuConomy is offering. It’s a whole lotta package for free. If anyone out there is using it and already has an opinion, feel free to post.

Category: Analytics, Optimization, Personalization, Syndication, social media | 3 Comments »

January 17th

WHIM 2: Offermatica’s Matt Roche

Christopher Kenton

It’s already week two with What’s Happening In Marketing, and this week we’re visiting Matt Roche, CEO of Offermatica. Offermatica is one of the world’s leading optimization companies, offering technologies that help businesses dynamically test and deliver content that resonates most with customers online. As you’ll hear from Matt there are different types of optimization strategies, from multi-variate testing to behavioral targeting and beyond,  but the goal is always the same–to listen to your customers and deliver content that’s most relevant to their interests.

This is a critical area of technology that marketers must understand, and Matt is as incisive and insightful in explaining the technology as any expert in the field. Offermatica also has a great set of resources on its site to explain optimization in more detail.

Once again, hats off to Miner Productions for a great job on video.

Category: Analytics, Optimization | 3 Comments »

July 17th

Loomia Signs Deal to Provide Personalization for WSJ

Christopher Kenton

LoomiaLoomia is one of a number of fast-moving companies in the ultra-hot marketing technology sector known variously as Optimization and/or Personalization. The companies in this complex sector have differing approaches and technologies, but the concept is to analyze traffic and user behavior on your Web site and to use the data as a real-time input for dynamically tuning the content on your site to better serve and retain users. There are a number of tangents and angles off this central concept that different companies specialize in. Loomia’s specialty is providing product and content recommendations based on both explicit user preferences like ratings and implicit preferences based on where users go on your site, what they spend time on, and what they buy.

Loomia has a great graphic on their site that demonstrates their process, which they’ve given permission for me to post here to better explain what they do.

This space is continuing to heat up due to the effectiveness of optimization technology for tuning content to help user find things they want. It relies on the “wisdom of the crowds” to understand what people are interested in and to constantly tune content accoringly, rather than relying on the subjective opinion of an expert or editor which can only be updated in time-consuming content management cycles. Many companies are claiming substantial increases in time-on-site, conversions and close rates for online sales by using optimization, personalization and recommendations technology. Loomia claims an algorithm advantage over competitors like Aggregate Knowledge and Baynote by being able to drive personalization and optimization on a much smaller sampling of data, meaning faster time to relevant recommendations for users.

The big win announced by Loomia yesterday is a deal with the Wall Street Journal to provide content recommendations for WSJ readers based on preferences of other readers.

Recommendations provided by Loomia will appear in a module next to WSJ.com articles, under the header “People Who Read This…Also Read These Stories.” These recommended articles are based on a user’s current reading as well as their past behaviors around related content on WSJ.com, such as time spent or printing an article. These behaviors are matched against other users who share similar interests, generating article suggestions that are more relevant and personalized.   

The full release is available on Loomia’s press page.

Category: Optimization, Personalization | 1 Comment »

July 4th

Optimization Firm Maxymiser Revs Up Acquisitions

Christopher Kenton

Maxymiser is a fast-moving company in a marketing technology sector that is rapidly becoming one of the most important fronts in Web marketing–a segment nominally defined as Optimization.  Optimization is basically the process of changing the contents of Web site or Web page to make it more accessible to users and search engines. That’s the short story.

The longer story is that Optimization includes a wide variety of functions and approaches. Optimization can be manual or automated. It can be based on multi-variate testing (the process of trying different things to see what works the best) or behavioral heuristics (watching what people do and changing to fit behavior). It can focus on search engine optimization, or user experience. It can deliver dynamic landing pages, or change site navigation and search results. The list goes on. Which is why this space is getting so hot. Many companies are seeing great opportunities to fine tune traffic flow and user experience by shaping their sites to better fit their users, and there are many ways to skin that cat.

Maxymiser is a European company, headquartered in London. (So we should probably call it Optimisation, right?) The focus on multi-variate testing routines to improve click-through and conversion. The concept will be familiar to marketers with DM experience–you never just ship out a campaign, you create control groups and test many different variables to narrow in on the campaign components that will deliver the best results. That process has been developing on the Web for years, with tools that help marketers create, test and compare web pages with different designs, different messaging and different offers. It’s finally hitting prime time with powerful tools that automate multi-variate testing, and in some cases leverage powerful algorithms to statistically narrow down the options to the most likely top performers. Other companies in this space include Offermatica,  Kefta, Memetrics, Sitespect and Optimost–and even Google Website Optimizer.

The news with Maxymiser is that they’ve acquired a Web development company based in Ukraine, which will become a services arm for the growing company. This follows a similar pattern with other companies in the space, and in fact, a broader trend in marketing technology at large. Vendors with promising technologies are finding significant bottlenecks in selling into marketing organizations, because most companies don’t have a strong marketing engineering group–they have an IT department that has a lot of priorities that don’t include serving their marketing team. By adding services capabilities, vendors can provide a more complete outsourced solution that doesn’t require heavy lifting by their customer’s IT group–especially when their technologies are Web-based. It’s an interesting hybrid between services agency and technology vendor that is emerging throughout the marketing technology industry.

The acquisition brings Maxymiser’s European team up to 80, including 15 analysts and online marketing specialists, and will allow Maxymiser to acclerate their Website testing and optimization (sorry, optimisation), specifically in the areas of personalization (darn, personalisation) and behavioural targetting.

Maxymiser’s CEO, Bill Dobbie, gave a canned comment in their press release, stating:

Our clients face increasing stress on their development resource. Maxymiser Services will soak up this pressure by providing clients with value added development and analytical capabilities allowing their businesses to benefit from optimisation and personalisation technologies.

Watch for more coverage on optimization and optimisation players in this space.

Category: Optimization | 5 Comments »