Reading Between the Keywords

Marta Strickland of Organic has a terrific article in AdAge on the looming intersection of semantic web and marketing. The article’s title What Can Semantic Web – or Web 3.0 – Can Do for Marketers? was bound to raise some hackles: our Utopian semantically-rich online future meets marketers flogging their wares online. Strickland introduces the concept of 3.0 and uncovering meaning behind the data, and contemplates what semantic capability could mean for making ads relevant and metrics meaningful.
The value of understanding meaning as well as words is becoming ever clearer. Marketers looking to understand how far buzz is resonating as well as where to place campaigns are all too familiar with the limitations of simple keyword matching. And any web user who has searched for Pink the singer versus Victoria’s Secret Pink lingerie versus breast cancer Pink can relate to their keyword pain.
How might Web 3.0 change this? Google AdWords currently places ads primarily based on a keyword approach. How long will it be before AdWords or other prominent ad networks develop or partner for semantic capability, ensuring marketers know which “Pink” they’re getting?
Today there’s still some confusion about which online marketing tactics are resonating, and how best to measure their ROI. Marketers are still learning where they can and can’t play successfully online. Strickland poses the right question at the end: anyone promising to bring semantic benefit to your business should be able to readily explain how their technology will make your ads more relevant and your metrics more meaningful. Bridging the disconnect with ad-weary consumers and helping marketers measure their results will help marketers better target their onlne effortsóalways important, but vital in a downturn.

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