To decrease wasted ROI, real-time analytics can help

Online marketers have invested heavily into sophisticated SEM and SEO techniques to drive traffic to their sites, and most are adept at creating and optimizing landing pages for a good percent of our audience. But there’s not enough time in the day to create a custom landing page for every paid search term, and no one can control where a customer lands via organic search.

Surges in new search behavior, called “micro-trends,” can appear in a matter of hours or even minutes — for example, the impact of Michael Jackson’s tragic death on music sales or searches for snow blowers during a blizzard. Marketers that want to maximize their search ROI must do more to capture the analytics opportunity of this dynamic search behavior. This requires moving to a real-time analytics model — analyzing individuals’ immediate behavior when searching, browsing and clicking to deliver highly-relevant content at every minute.

Real-time analytics technologies allow retail sites to capture visitors’ immediate behavior to deliver in-the-minute personalized product suggestions on any page — responding to the individual search terms and reducing the number of custom landing pages needed. What’s more, real-time analytics help marketers capitalize on search microtrends by dynamically adapting the products presented throughout the shopping cycle to the surging interest.

Here’s an example of real-time analytics in action. When a searcher looks for “Ryobi drill” and clicks a paid or organic search link to get to your site, he should see results for the five leading drills you sell — not just land on a generalized category page for drills, hardware or tools. If the landing page is direct-to-product, which can be as much as 40% of some site-traffic, the consumer should be presented with recommendations related to his search term.

Traditional analytics packages are fundamental and necessary for developing a SEO and SEM budget. But to maximize your investment in SEO and SEM, show your customers exactly the products they want in real-time.

If you give consumers what they want, sales move only in one direction: up.

This article originally ran as part of the December 14, 2009 Technique, “Unleash the power of search and analytics.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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