OCT 23, 2007 6:00pm ET

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2007 ISA for Web Analytics

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Web analytics monitors and analyzes a multitude of behaviors and interdependencies that help Web sites change dynamically as the information dictates.

Solution Implementer: Procter & Gamble

Solution Provider: SEMDirector

Business Pain

Procter & Gamble (P&G) was looking to drive traffic to its Web sites by leveraging paid and organic search advertising on Google, Yahoo!, MSN and other major search engines. The company’s goal was to drive significant new, unique visitors from search to its sites in one year.

Successful Solution

For implementing the program outlined above, P&G deployed a technology-based solution that manages both paid and organic search in a scalable way. The most innovative aspect is the technology used to drive the organic search results is accounts for 95 percent of the company’s online traffic gain.

The technology, titled SEMDirector: Organic Insight, takes data from these three sources:

  • The site itself. Every two weeks, the technology automatically crawls every page of the company’s Web sites and audits them for compliance with the metrics used to establish rankings. A report is provided that tells the interactive marketing managers what specific issues will lead to higher ranking.
  • The search engines. The system automatically analyzes where the site is ranked on each of the search engines for each of the keywords that searchers use to find particular brands. For example, where does an osteoporosis drug rank on the term “osteoporosis” on Google, Yahoo and MSN, and how does this change over time?
  • The Web analytics technology. The company leveraged a third-party technology to monitor and measure activity on the site to analyze traffic driven to each of the sites and to the company overall.

The system then provides the brand managers and interactive marketing managers with a dashboard on how their organic search programs are working.

The implementation of SEMDirector: Organic Insight began in May of 2006 and was completed for 40 brands in June. The system went live for 40 of the 600+ brands on July 1 and is in use today.

Innovation

In the past, managing organic search has been done largely through the use of manual labor - physically checking each site page for content issues necessary to drive search engine ranking. The concept of automating this auditing process is unique in that it allows large organizations to manage their natural search advertisements on the search engines.

Also, the ability to directly measure the interplay between changes on the site, changes in ranking on the engines and changes in traffic is now possible. To simplify the communication around the audit conducted on the site, SEMDirector developed a single 0 to 100 audit score (SEMDirector: Audit Score) that represents how well optimized the site is for ranking on the search engines - 100 is excellent, and 0 is poor. SEMDirector found that there is a .6 correlation between changes in the audit score and changes in average rank for the keywords being optimized on the engine. This means that the CPG company can now estimate that if the audit score improves by 10 points, from 69 to 79 for example, they can expect a four position improvement in average rank for the company’s keywords.

Quantifiable Results

Driving increased traffic was the only metric of success for the SEMDirector: Organic Insight product at the start of the program. By end of May 2007, the program has driven a 200 percent increase in unique incremental visitors to the 40 sites now using the technology since July 2007. Certain brands, such as the osteoporosis drug referenced above, have leveraged this technology to impact a startup paid search program that was piloted in Q1 2007 to promote the drug. High-level results from the osteoporosis drug program included:

  • 60 percent increase in traffic to the osteoporosis drug’s site through augmenting organic search traffic with paid search traffic,
  • 85 percent reduction in the cost per acquisition of traffic, and
  • 10 percent increase in the quality of the traffic driven to the site as measured by the specific interaction searchers had with the site (e.g., page views, sample requests, etc.).

Overall, the program has been highly effective and results are very quantifiable.

Qualitative Results

The use of the SEMDirector: Organic Insight technology has created a language to discuss results of paid and organic search within a very large organization. Brand managers discuss their SEMDirector: Audit Score as a shorthand way of describing their Web sites’ optimization work.

Also, this technology is a simple way to get visibility into the effectiveness of online advertising in an organization that traditionally has relied almost exclusively on print, radio and TV advertising.

Lastly, the analysis of the search engine results provides the brand managers with insight into competitive ranking like never before, allowing them to more finely understand and tune their reaction to competitor changes in online advertising.

Sustainability

Because the technology is offered as software as a service (SaaS), constant additional value is delivered. First of all, changes are addressed to the sophistication of the analysis conducted on what drives rank as the search engines themselves change their algorithms and offerings; and secondly, the breadth of the interactive marketing channels that can be monitored and measured through the systems are continually updated.

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