Marketers still searching for a search measurement system: SES

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NEW YORK -- Establishing a consistent measurement strategy is the key to a successful search campaign, especially considering the different metrics between paid versus organic search.

In a panel at the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo called "Web Analytics and Measuring Success," search industry executives discussed different types of measurement strategies and how to implement them. One such program is segmenting consumers who click through to a site on organic versus paid search.

"People have found that paid versus organic click-through draws different consumers," said Chris Knoch, principal consultant at Omniture Inc. "Different creative based on how a consumer is clicking through can make a big difference in conversion rates."

These conversion rates can be measured in a number of ways, including measurement firm WebTrends Inc. measurement tools.

Barry Parshall, director of product management at WebTrends was on the panel discussing the value of measurement to results.

"It is key to understand how consumers got to your site, what they did when they were there and the individual consumables that they were interested in," he said.

Google's segmentation tool is another way to track customer behavior when searching for a particular site or keyword. The system can track conversion based on searching keywords in part by determining the relevance of certain keywords.

"If you have high bounce rates on certain keywords that you are using, but people are clicking, then you have to reconsider the words," said Brett Crosby, product marketing manager at Google Analytics, Google Inc.

When it comes to customer retention, search can be a way to start a dialog in a multichannel effort.

"It's about trying to encourage customers to have more and more subsequent visits on- and offline and creating a lifetime relationship with these customers through search combined with other channels," said Akin Arikan, senior product manager at Unica Corp.'s Web analytics group.

While measurement is a key factor for most marketers trying to drive ROI, the industry does not have a standard when it comes to metrics.

"One of our struggles as an industry is that the metrics are not standardized, but the IAB [Interactive Advertising Bureau] and other organizations like it are trying to help establish a set of guidelines for this," he said.

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