INBOX INSIGHTS, July 20, 2022: Behind Buzzwords, Bing vs. Google, Measurement Strategy

INBOX INSIGHTS: Behind Buzzwords, Bing vs. Google, Measurement Strategy (7/20) :: View in browser

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What Lives Underneath Buzzwords?

This morning I saw someone on Twitter mention “digital transformation” and it struck me that it’s been a while since I’ve seen the term used. It is one of my least favorite buzzwords because it’s so ambiguous.

Talkwalker Digital Transformation

Using Talkwalker, I was able to see that people are still talking about Digital Transformation. What is unsurprising is that despite the volume, it has a pattern. One that I can only guess is that once a quarter some executive says “we need a digital transformation” and then people run to Google and ask, “what is digital transformation?”.

Google Trends Digital Transformation

When you overlay the two, the pattern is almost identical, thus demonstrating my point. Combined trends digital transformation

Out of curiosity, I Googled “what is digital transformation” and I’ve got to tell you that the results are terrible. There is no one definition, which I can only imagine is confusing for someone trying not to get fired. There are plenty of lists that tell you the 4 components, the 5 success factors, and the 6 places to start. None of the results align though, it all seems like guesswork.

We’ve been debating what “digital transformation” means in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers. You should join the conversation!

What lives underneath buzzwords is actual work. The basic definition of a digital transformation is the act of bringing tools and technology into a non-technical company. Then, you’re continually adapting and improving your processes as the tools get more sophisticated. This is not new. All companies go through this.

Well, when you put it that way, what’s the big deal? Why does everyone suddenly need a digital transformation?

Here’s my two cents (because that’s why you’re here, right?). The term “digital transformation” is convenient. It sounds like a big deal, something that is going to revolutionize your business.

But in reality, companies turn to the latest shiny object to fix things that aren’t working. Customers aren’t happy? Digital Transformation. Falling behind your competitors? Digital Transformation. Massive staff turnover? Digital Transformation. Not hitting their numbers? Digital Transformation.

I know, I’m picking on digital transformation pretty hard. Substitute digital transformation for “big data” “single view of the customer” or a buzzword that I recently learned, “SoLoMo” – which means “social/local/mobile”.

Super cringy, I know. At the end of the day, it all amounts to the same thing – adapting your business to keep up with what your customers want. Skip the buzzwords. They won’t help you in the long run. Do the work of getting to the root of the issue and then fix what’s broken. Call it whatever you want but don’t feel like giving it a fancy label will turn things around.

And don’t forget about the people and processes! This is where almost all “digital transformation” goes wrong. You can’t introduce new technology into your team without getting people on board and creating the process around the tech. Well, you can. But it won’t work. Trust me.

Has your company tried to use buzzwords to fix its issues? Come tell me about it in our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers.

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this week’s episode, Katie and Chris talk about marketing measurement strategy. What is measurement strategy in the context of marketing? Why do so many marketers and especially consultancies and agencies mix up strategy, tactics, and execution when it comes to measurement? How should you think about your measurement strategy? Tune in to find out!

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Last week on So What? The Marketing Analytics and Insights Live show, we dug into what to do when SEO isn’t working for you. Catch the replay here »

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Data Diaries - Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s do a deep dive on the results from two different search engines, but not in the normal way. Both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools allow you to bulk export your data and analyze it, so let’s do an apples-to-apples comparison of these two services.

The two reports we’ll compare are queries and pages – which pages on our site earn the most traffic from each service, and which search terms earn the most traffic from each service? If you’d like to see the behind-the-scenes data processing for this, we turned it into a music video here.

Let’s start with our data summaries. How many terms are we talking about as a whole, and which terms are unique? In our dataset, we have 16,941 total terms; of those, 2,025 are unique to Bing and 14,738 are unique to Google. 178 terms are shared among both.

For terms unique to Bing, what’s the opportunity cost if we totally ignore Bing? What would that lose us?

Terms unique to Bing

It’s 6,218 impressions and 160 clicks unique to Bing.

For terms unique to Google, what does that opportunity cost look like if we were to totally ignore Google?

Terms unique to Google

That’s 287,030 impressions and 80 clicks unique to Google.

Isn’t that interesting? Even though focusing exclusively on Google would earn many more impressions, focusing on Bing would earn more actual clicks, actual traffic when we look at traffic exclusive to each platform.

Let’s dig into some of those terms. What do the terms that send us the most traffic from Bing look like?

Bing terms

Note the large number of NAs in the Google column; that indicates a search term is unique to Bing when it comes to the Trust Insights website.

Next, let’s look at the inverse, Google top terms:

Google terms

We see our brand name as the biggest driver by far of traffic from Google, which is terrific. We also see that Bing at least knows about the other terms Google sends us traffic for, though Bing does not send traffic for those terms.

Let’s turn our attention to pages on our website. Out of 1,006 pages detected by both search engines, we have 174 pages detected only by Bing and 346 detected only by Google. 486 pages were detected by both search engines.

For pages unique to Bing, what kind of exclusive impact does Bing have that Google doesn’t deliver?

Bing only pages

Bing adds 936 impressions and 9 clicks that Google does not. What about Google? What kind of exclusive impact does it deliver that Bing does not?

Google only pages

Google delivers 51,794 impressions and 5.5 clicks that Bing does not.

What do we make of all this data? What we see is that on an impression to click basis, even though Bing creates fewer search impressions for our site, it sends far more traffic per search than Google does. This syncs up with the point that many SEO folks like Rand Fishkin have made, that Google’s zero-click search results may be eating away at the traffic Google sends to our sites.

What should we do with this information? For us, it means making sure we invest just as much time in checking out and optimizing our site for Bing as it does Google. For you, it means going into Bing Webmaster Tools and seeing how your numbers compare with Google, then seeing if it makes sense to have an SEO strategy that focuses on one platform more than another.

What would that look like? Investigations by publications like Search Engine Journal have said that while both search engines look at things like content quality and inbound links, there are differences in how the two approach ranking signals. For example, Google has disclaimed that social media plays a role as a ranking factor; Bing has overtly said they take social posts into account.

Fortunately, we don’t need to choose one platform over the other exclusively. We can adopt a strategy that serves both platforms’ perspectives, and accrue as much traffic as we can from both. What we would change is perhaps some increased focus on Bing’s ranking factors and more frequent reporting/checkins with Bing Webmaster Tools.

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