Place: Predictions About Possibilities in the Near Future of PPC

Google Places

Google Places

Last year Google overhauled Place functionality backwards and forwards.

In late October 2010, they merged place results with organic results, giving ‘place-rank’-determined by reviews, maps optimization and geographical proximity to the IP of the individual who’s searching etc.-a new kind of primacy. Google’s algorithm has become more sensitive to reviews on Yelp and in other commenting forums-just for example, they now differentiate between positive and negative reviews. Add to all this ever more complex demographic data that we’re able to gather from Facebook Analytics-where there are ever more possibilities for hybridization and fusion of data. But Facebook is also a platform where place is a metric that guides our strategies.

Bottom line: many of the changes that Google made last year made place more important.
Later (last month) we learned that while Google was rolling out new place functionality: they were (or they ‘may have been’) gathering data through location-tracking feeds installed in Droid Phones.

This sort of information may later be used to create movement profiles of users. These movement profiles could then, in turn, be used to roll out geo-targeted marketing campaigns the likes of which we’ve never seen.

Here’s the skinny from the The Wall Street Journal:

Android phones collect their location every few seconds and transmit the data to Google at least several times an hour… also transmitting the name location and signal of any nearby Wi-Fi networks as well as a unique phone identifier.

How does this relate to PPC, you may ask?

Any business that has a Wi-Fi connection would benefit from a means that would enable them to reach the foot traffic passing by outside of their doors every day. Making these kinds of connections will need to be micromanaged by someone. What segment of the industry would likely be positioned to micromanage these kinds of outreach?

Answer: probably PPC’s and SEM’s-right?

Heretofore, PPC has essentially been the art of manipulating adwords campaigns to bring in larger volumes of visitors to websites. In best case scenarios, we’re the intelligence prongs of Conversion Rate Optimization strategies, extra -antennae for SEO’s optimizing code and content.

The axes that we measure success by are traffic and conversion-the number of visitors divided by number of conversions.

If X=keyword volumes for keywords relevant to the product…
And Y=the total number of conversions referred by a specific keyword divided by the total number of keywords…
Then X*Y helps to determine the investment that pump into specific keywords vs. other keywords for the same client.

We measure the performance and interplay of these factors over time.

But what if a Z axis-measuring the significance of place and proximity-were added to these equations?

Then PPC would really be launching out into the 4th dimension. And quite frankly, it looks like changes of this sort are on the horizon.

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