Other than buying an ad, the trendy way to get noticed online is content. Videos. How-tos. “Thought leader” pieces. Social media feeds everywhere. How to tell whether any of it’s paying off?
The venture-backed marketing analytics firm Conductor has upgraded its core software offering, Searchlight, to give clients a far more detailed look at whether anybody’s reading or viewing their online material, and whether the right consumer is seeing it at the right time.
While the upgrade was a technical challenge, the premise is a logical progression for Conductor, which started back in 2010 as a pure search-engine optimization company. But since then, search has gotten far more sophisticated, more diverse and more nuanced, and really calls for a different buzzword altogether — Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik calls it “web presence management.”
Searchlight’s third version includes three key new functions:
• YouTube Channel Insights, which combines a YouTube API with Conductor’s own web crawling software to tell marketers what search terms uncover their videos, how often their videos are being found and what terms users are inputting to find their videos.
“Seventy percent of our customers have YouTube channels with over 50 videos,” Besmertnik said. “They’re investing time in creating video content, yet they don’t have any understanding of how they’re performing.”
• Search Experience Tracking, which basically is catching up to all the nuances Google has added to search over the years, such as location-driven and device-specific results. By overhauling its underlying web-crawling infrastructure, Conductor now can tell clients how their content is doing in searches performed in 400 different cities and on three kinds of devices. In other words, if you’re search-engine optimized on a iPhone in Manhattan, but you’re invisible to an Android user in London looking for the same thing, the new Searchlight can tell you.
• Content mapping. Using a customers’ own analytics, the content mapping tool promises to align a client’s content with actual user intent. For instance, a lawn mower manufacturer might be generating plenty of page views on an educational essay titled “What to look for when you’re buying a new mower” page, but very few clicks on pages more directly tied to a purchase, e.g., “Comparing lawn mower options.” Besmertnik says “As you start to create more content, this will show you, are you adding the right content?”
Conductor launched this new version at its annual client conference this week. We try not to write too much about product iterations that aren’t a big strategic shift. But as Facebook, Google, and well, everyone else, tries to wring more revenue out of the online advertising environment, it’s interesting to watch some of the folks trying to keep the free marketing model alive.