Day 1 of SES NY: More than just Barry Diller!
- February 28, 2006
- by Richard Gregory
The first day of the SES show in New York has historically been the quietest day, since the full-on exhibition hasn’t yet started. That said, Monday saw the highest level of attendees I’ve ever seen at an SES event. Throughout the day the majority of the sessions were held in rooms with avid search enthusiasts standing wherever they could find a space. The next few days promise to be a logistical challenge for the Hilton.
Anyway, let’s cut to the chase – the Barry Diller interview.
The day started with Danny Sullivan attempting to interview Diller. As Danny hit him with question after question, Barry seemed keen to stick to a prepared script and blatantly avoided directly answering most of Danny’s questions. For example, when asked what he thought of the competition, Barry started off on a tirade about a new feature set at Ask.com. He was there to say what he wanted to say and nothing else. This made on the on-stage chemistry non-existent. So what did Barry talk about? To save time – and a quickly flattening laptop battery – I’ve simply bullet pointed the key topics:
How will Ask succeed?
- Needs to differentiate and be an alternative
- Thoughts on MSN incentive – prefers more long-term slow-burn approach. Would like to attract people through functionality – “if the product is good and worthy, something happens.”
Thoughts on the competition:
- Need to deal with their own legacy first
- Too much bias on Google for market share
- Market shares do not often stay above 30%
- No mention of Yahoo
- Ask’s motto is to “be evil” (joke)
- Mantras are a little over-rated
- Ask.com does R&D in China
- Companies should obey the country’s rules – If they clash with your business…don’t go there.
- Not asked for data by US Department of Justice
- Would have resisted it
- Take peoples’ information seriously
- Will provide it if it gives a good user experience
- Definite synergies in their own properties
How is search different?
- Not a passive channel
- Too many acronyms!
- Doesn’t understand technology but ideas
- 1992 epiphany seeing a screen being used differently at QVC
- Initially saw the threat of disintermediation from search then looked at how it could be embraced.
- Search will be everywhere
- “It doesn’t matter what the screen is”
- Will not be bandwidth or distribution constrained
- The devices need to be created first…maybe 2-3 years away.
The audience were then given a live demo of the “new-look” ask.com which definitely does feel a lot slicker and user friendly, but in light of all Barry’s comments about the need to “differentiate to succeed” there is little unique with the new Ask.com. The differences are mainly subtle:
- More choices on home page (“search on speed dial”)
- Little differentiation apart from directions (including walking) and aerial view rather than satellite shots for higher resolution.
You can download the interview here.
Other sessions from Day 1
So that was the keynote over. I then opted for the following mixture of sessions for my first day.
Multichannel Metrics – This session focused primarily on the use of analytics for creating campaign dashboards based on KPIs that are relevant for different sectors and different audiences (from the actual campaign manager to the company CEO). The session didn’t really have any new info for Latitude, but did highlight the shift in focus as companies now put greater emphasis on improved accuracy of reporting through developing an analytics strategy – something Latitude responded to more than a year ago by creating the role of Search Integration Consultant.
Searcher Behaviour – This session was definitely more valuable and I’ll be giving a more detailed review of the session when I get back to the UK. For now the key highlights were Alan Rimm Kaufman’s use of Markovian Modelling to better analyse campaign data. I vaguely recognised the formulas from my college days so I’m going to have to get myself back up to speed. Gord Hotchkiss then announced the results of the second round of results from Enquiro’s eye tracking study to see if the same Golden Triangle applied to MSN and Yahoo, as it did to Google. The findings we’re very enlightening, although potentially damning for MSN. I’m going to tap Gord up for a copy of the presentation since it’s not available on the SES site yet.
(Typing fast now before my laptop runs out of juice!)
Search Head or Tail – This session could have been created by Latitude since it focussed on all the key points that Latitude have said about deeper buying over the last few years. Kevin Lee (did-it.com) gave an excellent presentation on how to manage the tail of keywords while Harrison Magun ( A R Search) got onto our favourite topic of statistical validity. The golden question? How many clicks to wait for before making a change to a keyword group…the answer is based on your conversion rate.
Clicks required based on conversion rate to deliver a 90% accurate decision:
- 1% – 25000
- 2% – 14000
- 3% – 9000
- 4% – 7000
- 5% – 5000
- 10% – 2500
The other session of the day looked at how demographics are being used to refine campaigns, and clearly the focus of this session was on MSN AdCentre tools. However, Dana Todd made the excellent point that the majority of this data is acquired through techniques we used to call spyware and now called behavioural marketing! I’ll have more on this session later in the week.0 Comments