Money WadBit Torrent search engines, image search engines, artificial intelligence systems, clustering engines, recommendation search engines, & metasearch are all example of viable alternatives to Google. Each has its own unique place in the marketing mix.

This SES San Jose session’s Moderator, Andrew Goodman, founded Page-Zero Media, a ROI-driven online marketing agency. I’ve interacted with him online before but never seen him in person and it was well worth the wait. The first speaker up was Sage Lewis who runs SageRock.com, an online marketing company.

Facts: There is more media to buy than ever. However there is not more budget and more options mean more risk. Sage offered some alternatives that’s he’s experimented with.

  • Paying Bloggers to post (not for search engine rankings). Might work for using these networks to create buzz, but not for targeted niches.
  • Ask.com: Good, cheap traffic.
  • SuperPages.com: Great for a localized campaign…it converts.
  • Facebook Business Solutions: Great because of the demographic targeting.
  • Quigo: Great for targeting very specific local newspapers & magazines.

3 quick tips:

  • Buy alternative advertising through referral.
  • Be absolutely clear about your goals and time frame.
  • Allocate 10-25% of your online budget to testing.

The next speaker was Jay Sears, an EVP at ContextWeb, creators of the online advertising exchange ADSDAQ, responsible for product development & developing strategic relationships.

  • Demand generation vs. Demand Fulfillment: Search is at the bottom of the funnel.
  • There are 50 times more ad inventory and opportunity with content based ads than with search (impressions, not time). Content advertising is often approached incorrectly because it’s lumped in with search advertising.
  • Targeting content: Implicit interest, Go wide.
  • Targeting Search: Explicit interest, Go Deep.
  • Keywords. Ad copy – go wide – you are implying interest, building interest.
  • 10 Billion Dollar Battle for the Display Market. Portals and the “P” word (content based platforms). Branded sites create Extended Networks. Ad Networks on every possible specialty. Bigger portal growth is flat / stagnant and that’s why platforms are being created.

What marketers want:

  • Solutions with Scale & control;
  • Make the long tail addressable;
  • Content is a High Value Common Denominator;
  • Solutions for Big & Small, Buyer & Seller.

Trends:

  • Display / Content Advertising is the Next Battleground;
  • Innovation In Self-Service;
  • Buyers and Sellers Become Traders.

The next panelist to speak was Jonathan Ewert, General Manager of LookSmart Advertising Networks, an online advertising and technology company.

Jonathan discussed search advertising in an evolving marketplace. What’s happening? Fewer search engines drive higher prices which drives the need to diversify ad spend which has created a need for search advertising networks that interact with each other, to offer cost effective reach and the potential for great return.

  • Search advertising networks leverage traffic from keyword and contextual searches on the Internet outside of proprietary traffic on the major search engines.
  • Search Advertising Networks: Distributed Traffic, Varying Query Volume, Medium Price Competition.

What advertisers want:

  • Easy (Simple to buy and optimize through an API);
  • Fast (Hourly updates and rapid response times);
  • Flexible (Plenty of targeting, tracking and reporting options);
  • Competitive (Broad Reach at a low price)
  • Effective (Solid Results and ROI).

The session’s next speaker, Dustin Kwan, is a Product Manager from Ask Sponsored Listings

He believes Ask can expand a marketer’s reach because much of Ask’s audience don’t use one or more of the Big 3 Engines. Ask has much lower CPC’s and CPA’s than Google / Yahoo / MSN. He then illustrated how Ask’s dynamic insertion codes work. The Ask team will help you find undervalued, underutilized keywords.

The final speaker was Mary Berk, the Director of Network Quality for Microsoft.

Cycle of trust: A robust marketplace driven by end user engagement. When users get engaged, the reach is further and advertisers & publishers get engaged resulting in a dynamic, robust marketplace.

She then gave examples of how AdCenter is working well for advertisers in various niches. She is very positive about her competitors, especially Google and recommends that advertisers try all of them. Different engines provide different CPA’s, different traffic and audience types, different publisher types and different quality levels.

Search Is More Than Google (Believe It Or Not)
Most search marketers are tuned into the “big three,” Google, Yahoo and MSN. This session offered cool and idiosyncratic alternatives to the mainstream. Thanks to Andrew Goodman for putting together this interesting panel.

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide.