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November 9, 2011

Neuromarketing + Mega SEO — PubCon Vegas

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Welcome to PubCon Vegas 2011 coverage Day 2. This session hosts two different topics. First is about the topic of neuromarketing, second is about managing “mega” SEO. Let’s get to it!

Roger Dooley is presenting first. He is giving us an overview of neuromarketing, which he says is kind of controversial. He starts by saying that if you just ask your customers what they want, you might not be getting accurate information. Some questions like “why did you buy that?” gives answers that you just can’t trust. Traditional market research doesn’t work. Enter neuromarketing.

Neuromarketing Session PubCon

There is no mind reading, no super ads that turn consumers into drones, but we still want to get inside people’s head to see what motiveates them. Neuroscience and behavioral science are closely related.

He is showing an fMRI analysis, where it shows brain activity when a movie trailer for Avatar is being shown. One of the early neuromarketing practictioners studied Super Bowl ads with fMRI. One of the “worst” studies that showed the least amount of brain activity was GoDaddy, yet they had a huge spike in traffic. So you can’t trust that less brain activity = worse for business.

He also talks about EEG testing, which incorporates eye tracking, and using this for commercials. He is showing how the eye tracking works on a popular commercial for a car. It was a well-rated commercial and there was a correlation between the neuroscience study and the success of the commercial.

He is now talking about facial coding analysis. This concerns minor facial expressions that impact an appeal in a commercial, for instance. Automated facial analysis is part of this process.

How does all this fit together? Science is still limited on these techniques. Peer-review studies are needed for this discipline to make some ground. He says to prove this discipline, we need impact on sales.

He is switching gears to social. And now an experiment. He is giving someone 10 dollars to decide how to share the 10 dollars with a stranger. The other person can accept the split or reject it. If he rejects it, nobody gets to keep anything. The volunteer says he’ll split it in half. The other person accepts.

He says the 50/50 split is not usually that common; in a lab, only half the deals are fair. They added in a social layer, where the participants socialize first for 10 minutes before the experiment, and then the deals actually became more fair in the test.

Tips on marketing using neuroscience research:

  • Avoid money imagery if you are asking for donations. Don’t use pictures of money, for example.
  • Simple fonts convince. Hard to read font makes people think it’ll take longer to do whatever action you are asking them to do.

Derrick Wheeler from Microsoft is up. He’s talking about Mega SEO framework. He is defining “mega” SEO. People might think it means “millions of Web pages.” He says it’s the number of URLs, countries, languages, stakeholders, websites, domains, subdomains, etc.

All of this overlaps into a giant mess. He says this results in the equivalent of a big ball of knotted up Christmas lights. When he first went to Microsoft he felt overwhelmed about how to tackle SEO of this magnitude.

Derrick Wheeler PubCon

A framework is needed to make the process more efficient. There are four basic layers of SEO at Microsoft:

  • Sitewide: Crawling and indexing. Barrier reduction and prevention.
  • Subsidiary: Planning and execution. Locale indexing accuracy.
  • Site-specific: Do-it-yourselfers. Limited agency services. People looking to Microsoft for services/answers.
  • Page: Keywords, content, links, likes, code.

He is talking about the importance of tools and diversity in tools in tracking each of these four areas. He is also talking about solutions in each of these areas that provide scalable solutions. When you’re dealing with mega SEO, solutions must be scalable.

The most difficult part of SEO is getting things implemented. Especially in large corporations in mega SEO. Some never get implemented because of all the people it has to go through.

Search measurement framework is important: when you’re dealing with sites the size of Microsoft, each report can be drilled down. Mine this data. You can use this data to engage with different groups within that corporation to help those teams improve.

If you’re gonna do mega SEO, you have to find a way to identify problems within your site. Find tools that help you do this. He is talking about the Bright Edge platform that Microsoft has partnered with. This provides a platform and training to help websites gets actionable information for site owners SEO.

Search communtiy and evangalism gets the word out about SEO within the company. Microsoft threw an in-house search conference for education and it was all employees. It was a lot of value and he says costs less than sending all the employees to search conferences throughout the year.

Complex organizations sometimes make simple tasks hard. And everything they do has to be applicable on a global scale. Ask, what are things you can be doing that you can really focus on? Don’t spend all your time playing catch up.

On partnerships: Microsoft doesn’t do everything in-house; they use agencies that are on an approved vendor list. Internal partnerships are important, too, in order to get things done.

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