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July 25, 2007

Comments

Josh Gordon

Great article and I like how it fed the concept of behavioral targeting right into the B to B world.

The biggest growth area in the past few years has been search, which B to B publishers have struggled to monetize against search giants like Google etc. But the next wave could play to our strengths.

In some ways "search' is really "behavior targeting 1.0." Search? Behavior? You bet. If you type a topic into a search engine chances are you are very interested in that topic. But these emerging technologies take this beyond just interest. When visitor behavior is tracked across our websites "level of interest" as well as specific parameters of that interest will emerge. Marketers will pay for that.

But the key words as far as monetizing this came in the sentence before, "across our websites." Much of the battle for behavioral targeting will be fought on our turf, on our webistes. Sorry Google, this when behavioral targeting hits, this time, we B to B publishers will want to keep the money.

Josh Gordon

Smarter Media Sales.com

Andy Black

How do you drive traffic to vertical search websites?

Publishers are have a challenging time - they know that their traditional print based advertising revenues are declining and that they must create an integrated business across print, online and events ("the power of three") that transitions advertising revenue across these areas.

The fundamental issue is to drive their print readers as traffic to the online sites and then keep them there doing regular searches. B2B and STM publishers should ask their audience "do you use Google for work related searches?" If they do, the publisher needs to take action.

If you don't have traffic, you won't make money.

For publishers the race is on...consumer search engines such as Google are commoditising online advertising revenues to levels that will not support the publishers revenue transition from print to an integrated mix of print/online and events.

A growing number of publishers are now actively working with Convera to evolve vertical search services for distinct professional communities that will allow them to transition revenues, extend their brands and provide a better search experience. The publisher can also use the search logs to identify trends their community are interested in - this will support the editorial function and assist the selection of new events,seminars, email newsletters to further serve the needs of their users.

Specialist B2B and STM publishers who serve narrow (but affluent, stable and influential) communities are actually well positioned in this asymmetric online world. The key is to combine an online and offline strategy to drive site traffic and therefore online advertising and/or subscription revenues.

Most specialist publishers have excellent demographic profiles of their users - names, addresses, email address, company name, job title etc via the print subscriptions and events they have attended. (This information can also be used to enhance behaviorial targeting for PPC and CPA ads.)

In a recent focus groups test comparing vertical search results against Google - over 70% of those tested said the vertical search results were better than Google.

The following continual processes will drive traffic:

Regular adverts in their print titles about the vertical site
Links built from email newsletters to the new site
Community involvement in the site development
Customised search toolbars installed on the users desktop
SEO - vertical site appears prominently in Google, Yahoo etc
Blogs - targeted into the community influencing channels
Online PR - press releases on service enhancements etc
Promotional banner ads - that point to the new site
Direct mail - describing the benefits of the new vertical site
Magazine inserts - incentives to use new vertical site
Downloads - vertical site can be used to download whitepapers, conference and event presentations etc
Editorial - create exclusive high value content for the site
RSS - allow distribution of editorial content
please refer to the attached schematic at the bottom of the page

And then as the traffic grows they can:

Sell CPM display ads, tenancies and sponsorships
Create a valuable PPC network using behaviorial targeting
Integrate a social network - and get additional revenues
Create informative podcasts - and get additional revenues
Create workflow widgets
....and perhaps the eventual killer application, integrate essential workflow tools via API's and software as a service (SaaS).

The integration of workflow tools is absolutely key and it is interesting that many B2B and STM publishers are acquiring niche databases and datasets to facilitate this future potential. But it all starts with a vertical search strategy.......

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