Social Data, Structured Data & No Data: SMX East 2013

SMX East 2013Last week I headed south to New York City to speak on a panel at SMX East. The panel, a Q & A on content marketing, was both entertaining and informative, and there were some great takeaways (thanks for the coverage Outspoken!).

At the conference, I was also able to catch a few sessions on link building, structured data, social media and even Google Glass. While each of the sessions offered valuable tips, the main takeaway for me was the focus on data.

From no data, to big data, to social data, and structured data, the topic was everywhere! And with good reason. Here are a few “data” points from the show worth noting:

No Data aka [Not Provided]

With Google’s recent shift to encrypted search, it was no surprise the topic of “not provided” came up many, many times. Search marketers are justifiably frustrated with the removal of keyword data from analytics, but the great news is all is not lost.

While Google Webmaster Tools may not have all the keyword data, features, and functionality we’d like (and that it’s certainly capable of), it does provide publishers some of that missing keyword referral data, right down to the page level. On top of that, analytics can still provide internal search data and of course, Bing and Yahoo keyword data. The key to “not provided” is looking at the other data you have.

Interested in understanding how “not provided” effects B2B marketers? Give Derek’s recent post, “The Big List of (Not Provided) Search Recommendations for B2B Marketers” a read.

Social Data

As social media has continued to grow, the ability to analyze social media data has also continued to grow. In fact, according to a Business Insider article from this morning, businesses are now moving toward creating better social media metrics.

“They’ve (businesses) realized that social media isn’t a transactional engine or sales machine, so they’re dropping half-baked indicators that gauge secondary effects, such as financial return.

Instead, the new metrics evaluate social media strategies in terms of audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations.”

At SMX, a few of my favorite takeaways about social data revolved around using the metrics available, and more importantly, understanding what those metrics mean for your business.

For example, Annalise Kaylor, Associate Creative Director at Aimclear, showed us a phenomenal way to use negative Facebook data to better understand what our audience dislikes, provide them with better updates, and create the right content.

By looking at the negative feedback data in Facebook insights, we can see which posts people are hiding and which posts are causing them to unlike the page. To me, that’s much more valuable then how many people liked your photo.

To find this data, export your insights data and open the negative feedback tab [note: x= post hidden]:

Facebook Insight Negative Feedback

Look at the type of content people are hiding (photos / links), the post topics, frequency of posts, and start identifying trends. By understanding what your audience doesn’t like, you can avoid giving them what they don’t want and focus on giving them what they do want.

I also loved Kaylor’s idea to look at your Facebook insights data for content creation. See a photo that did really well? Use it in an upcoming blog post. Is there a topic that tends to get a lot of likes, shares or comments? Use that topic in an upcoming blog post, whitepaper, etc.

While social media platforms are beginning to offer much more data and businesses are adapting better metrics, it’s important that marketers make sure we are not just looking at the data, but actually using it to improve our business.

Be sure to check out my full recap of “Top Social Tactics for Search Marketers” over at Search Engine Land for more great social information from the show.

Structured Data

Here are KoMarketing, Derek has been on the structured data bandwagon for some time, talking about its importance, how it can benefit our clients, and the role it’ll play in search going forward. Admittedly, I wasn’t nearly as excited about the topic as he was until last week.

If you aren’t familiar with structured data, it’s a way to tell the search engines what’s on your page, what’s important, and what you want them to highlight, using pieces of code/markup (See: Structured Data for Dummies over at Search Engine Journal for a nice breakdown).

There were a couple sessions on Schema and structured data and I think what got me so interested was how enthusiastic both the speakers and the audience were on the topic. On top of that, examples of companies like the NYTimes and Adobe using the markup so successfully was really cool to see.

The real takeaway however was the impact structured data is already having on search results.

Mike Arnesen Structured Data

See Mike Arnesen’s full presentation here.

Speakers noted they were seeing increased click-through-rates of 5-20% on content with markup implemented. That’s a big deal and presents a huge opportunity for businesses. We will certainly be doing more of that in the future.

Interested in learning more about structured data? See my recap of the “Structured Data Superstars” session.

Take the Data and Run

As B2B marketers, it’s our responsibility to understand what all this data means and how we can use it to improve campaigns and drive more leads and sales. While there’s a lot to digest, it’s great that we can make smart decisions and really understand what our audience wants. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here looking at my spreadsheets.

“KoMarketing is instrumental to the success of CDNetworks global search marketing efforts. The relentless attention to detail and strategic approach continues to push us toward greater results.”

William Vuong — William Vuong, Senior Marketing Manager

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