Excerpts from Peter Bernstein’s article – Thanks for the quotes!

My thanks to Peter Bernstein for a great article. It’s always good to have a discussion with someone else that remembers what the taxi line was like at Comdex in 1986. Jacob Javits, not a good time.  And yes, we have both been around the block..uh..twice!

Optify Report Says Google Dominates B2B Search and Twitter Outperforms Facebook on Lead Generation


In the statement announcing the study, Doug Wheeler, CMO of Optify stated that, “Google has long proven to be the uncontested leader in the search market, and as our research shows, that authority will only continue into the foreseeable future.”

He further noted that, “With such a clear domination of search, we believe that marketers should diversify their marketing programs beyond organic search. It will come as no surprise if Google decides to monetize elements of its organic search data such as referring keywords, access to analytics or other, currently free services, leaving marketers no choice but to adhere to its terms.”

Wheeler had me with the word “monetize.” In fact, it prompted a call where I asked him for more insight on the findings. He congratulated me that my previous article was on the right track. He noted however, that Optify had hard data that the situation is “worse than you thought.” He went on to caution that the trend of an increase in “not provided” because you did not pay, and hence traffic was blocked, is laying the groundwork for what I have characterized as Google being a not insignificant (and possibly not inexpensive) tollgate on the Internet.

Back to the issues revealed by the study. Reality is that because of Google’s dominance, and the seeming lack of a disruptor, as Wheeler explained, “You are likely locked into Google as a customer and they are going to make you pay for the data.”
In short, traffic information at a high level is interesting and you need it, but the underlying data and analytics behind it are what are very valuable to marketers always on the search for more perfect data to fine-tune their efforts. And, because they are intrinsically valuable they will be something you have to pay for. You probably do so sooner rather than later.

It also means according to Wheeler that, “Because social media as we found is not great on referrals, content marketing and SEO are going to be harder work than ever before, and Google is likely to continue to adjust its algorithms.” He did say that such adjustments are not just based on locking in customers and positioning them to pay for value added, but also because the goal of business intelligence is to hopefully make tools continuously smarter and hence even more valuable for you the marketer and by extension Google.

I also wanted to share a few of Wheeler’s words of advice if you are putting together a marketing program. He said the study uncovered the fact that, “Things that bring traffic to your site are not highest converters.” Concentration does need to be on diversity with the understanding of:
What brings traffic to your site? What gets them to opt in so you can further engage them? Realization that social media may be valuable for getting awareness, and consideration, but it has yet to prove itself as a means for conversion.

Wheeler in fact stressed the fact that e-mail is the way to convert people. He said, “Use others to opt in, but convert using email. Work the funnel.”

FORBESThe industry began taking notice in 2011 when Google rolled out a consumer privacy update which discontinued access to keyword information and website analytics packages. According to a recent study by digital marketing software company Optify, more than 57 percent of websites run Google Analytics, accounting for about 30 percent of all searches and nearly 40 percent for B2B sites. What does this mean? For any user logged into Google services, the search terms they enter are excluded from the referral information. While seemingly benign at first glance, the change negatively affects thousands of sites and companies that daily rely on this data.  See the full Article

Digital Marketing BS Detector! Ever want one of these? :)

I was reviewing a post from Uri for the Optify blog on the 5 Questions every marketer should ask before running a digital marketing campaign and couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this video he included from an episode on the Adobe TV site. I started laughing – probably to keep from crying. I am sooooo guilty … I throw around buzzwords and even after 25+ years of slinging it in the tech space I still have to be reminded.  I am sure many of you wished you had your very own digital marketing bs detector.


I really wish I had one that worked on the plumber, water heater, air conditioning and electrician guys!

Digital Marketing Q & A with Matt Heinz

matt-heinzMatt Heinz started Heinz Marketing 6 years ago and is now one of the most well-known marketing gurus in Seattle. Matt and I had a chance meeting in the hallway at Market Leader one day and have stayed in touch since.  After running into each other at every marketing function in Seattle for years, we decided to do some business together and recently I had him come in and evaluate the marketing and sales processes at Optify.

As we rolled out our 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report I was very happy to have Matt request a Q & A on the report and the data that we had gathered. Here’s how Matt kicked off the article.

Report: Analyzing 62 million web site visits for B2B marketing best practices


62 million visits. 350,000 leads. More than 600 B2B sites. That’s a lot of data. Pull together a report based on what it says about marketing best practices – what channels are working, which lead sources work best, which social channels are most important, etc. – and we’re talking some seriously valuable insights for B2B companies and marketers of all shapes and sizes.

Having access to that data, of course, is the hard part. Unless you happen to operate the Web and marketing systems for those 600+ B2B companies.That’s where Optify comes in. I highly recommend downloading a copy of their 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. Lots of great best practices, some which you’d expect but plenty more that were surprising and counter-intuitive to me.

I asked Doug Wheeler, CMO for Optify, to help me dig into more detail on some of the report’s findings. See the Q & A

Google ‘Not Provided’ Study: Thanks for the discussions!

My sincere thanks to all who covered our study on the Google ‘Not Provided’ Keyword issue.  I enjoyed speaking to everyone and look forward to working together again in the future.  Great stories!

Google: ‘Not Provided’ Keyword 40% Of Referring Traffic, Marketers May Rejigger Metrics MediaPost | Laurie Sullivan | 11-13-12

The term “not provided” found in marketing analysis reports now accounts for nearly 40% of referring traffic data from organic search, up 171% since Google introduced the policy one year ago, according to a study released Tuesday. Some believe it will spur the use of ad retargeting and social media. Some 64% of companies analyzed in the study see between 30% and 50% of their traffic from Google as “(not provided),” and 81% see more than 30%, according to Optify’s report, Google (Not Provided) On the Rise.

Study: 39% of Google Search Referrers Now “Not Provided”
Search Engine Land | Barry Schwartz | 11-13-12

It is just over a year since Google began encrypting search by default for signed-in users. A new study finds that as a result, 39% search-related traffic from Google to web sites now has search terms withheld. Optify conducted a study over eleven months with 424 web sites, involving 17,143,603 visits and 7,241,093 referring keywords, to see how serious the “not provided” issue is. “Not Provided” is what Google Analytics shows in cases where Google no longer reports a search term due to encryption (other analytics programs may use other phrases).

Say Goodbye to Your Keyword Data
eMediaVitals | Rob O’Regan | 11-13-12

Google’s controversial encrypted-search feature has had a chilling effect on B2B publishers’ ability to track organic search referral terms, according to new research from Optify. Encrypted search queries, which are enabled when a user signs into a Google account, now account for almost 40% of referring traffic data to B2B sites from organic search, according to the Optify study, which examined 424 B2B websites. “This is a big deal,” said Doug Wheeler, CMO of Optify. “Eventually you’re not going to be able to measure SEO performance by keyword or understand the impact of organic search on your website traffic, engagement or conversions.”

Not Provided: Investigating the Impact of Google’s SSL Enhancement
CMSWire | Marisa Peacock | 11-13-12

Quick! Open up Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources. Click on Search and then select Organic from the drop down menu. Chances are the first item in a long list of keywords will be “not provided.” But what exactly does that mean? Recently we spoke with Doug Wheeler, Optify’s chief marketing officer for an eye-opening account of the impact that Google’s “not provided” keywords have had on referring traffic. Last October, Google announced that it would begin encrypting search queries for users who were logged in to their Google accounts. This meant that visits from organic searches no longer included information about each individual query, but instead showed “not provided” as the referring keyword.

Study: What Google’s ‘Not Provided’ Means for Brands
BizReport | Kristina Knight | 11-13-12

Just over a year ago Google changed how it identified and reported search traffic to begin using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to better identify traffic to websites. This enhancement was supposed to protect consumer identities. This, of course, has made it more difficult for some brands to create personalized web experiences because instead of finding what drew a shopper to a site, the search terms returned read “not provided.”

Measure SEO Results beyond Keyword Success as Over 30 Percent of Queries are ‘Not Provided’
Brafton | Staff | 11-13-12

For content marketers invested in creating the best SEO strategies, Google’s encryption service may be frustrating. About a year ago, Brafton reported that Google had announced enhancements in security for users, limiting its list of provided queries visitors used to land on a site. This results in masked keywords, preventing website and analytics managers from measuring organic search-to-site activity. Optify recently released a report detailing how Google’s encryption service has affected SEO for B2B marketers, resulting in some disparaging results.

Optify Study: Google’s “Not Provided” Rises to Almost 40% of Organic Traffic for B2B Sites
Marketing Vox | Staff | 11-13-12

Optify has announced the findings of its study analyzing a privacy setting introduced by Google last year that now lists referring keywords from organic search as “not provided.” As BizReports described, Google changed how it identified and reported search traffic to begin using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to better identify traffic to websites; this, ostensibly, to protect consumer identities. But it’s playing hell with personalization and targeting. The study reveals that since the inception of the privacy setting twelve months ago, the “not provided” rate (the percent of blocked referrer data from Organic search) has increased by 171% to account for almost 40% of referring keywords to B2B sites.

“Not Provided” Organic Search Results on the Rise for B2B Sites
Komarketing Associates | Staff | 11-14-12

Since the inception of Google’s defaulted SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) search for signed-in users, organic search terms returning “not provided” keyword results have risen to 39 percent; this change represents a 171 percent growth since last year. Data is according to the latest study released by Optify, which analyzed organic traffic to 424 B2B sites.

Marketers Struggle with the Growth of Google’s “Not Provided” Keywords
Econtent | Staff | 11-16-12

If it’s not your job to pour over your site’s Google Analytics results you may not have noticed that the search giant announced, just over a year ago, that it would make SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) search the default for signed-in users – and you definitely wouldn’t have realized the effect this has on your company’s SEO efforts. Optify recently took a look at what this change has meant for marketers and put its findings into a study dubbed “Google Not Provided On the Rise: The Impact of Google’s SSL Enhancement on SEO Data.”

Google ‘not provided’ Now 40% or More of B2B Organic Search Traffic

Yes, I am biased about the value of Optify and the idea that the marketing athlete in today’s B2B companies and digital marketing agencies need way better tools. However, in this instance, we are trying to just raise the flag on an issue.  We’re talking big..really big. If you are an SEO specialist, you’re already aware that your SEO data is going away…quickly. However, if you are not a specialist you might not have seen this trend.

Today, we announced the findings of a study analyzing a privacy setting introduced by Google last year, which now lists referring keywords from organic search as “not provided.” Our data suggests that this privacy setting is primarily affecting SEO professionals and point solutions in the short term, but will impact all marketers and businesses in the long term.

I also had the opportunity to brief several publications about this issue and I hope to see them “print” the story over the next hours/days.

The study shows that since the inception of this privacy setting twelve months ago, the “not provided” rate (the percent of blocked referrer data from Organic search) has increased by 171 percent to account for almost 40 percent of referring keywords to B2B sites. The trend of “not provided” is continuously increasing, and may continue to do so until the majority of organic referring data completely disappears. Marketers will still be able to measure their overall SEO performance and report on ROI, since the visit source will still be Organic Search, but will not be able to analyze what keywords contributed to that performance or report ROI on any specific SEO initiative. Since search data helps companies learn more about their targeted audience, including their preferences and behavioral history, this presents a major challenge for B2B marketers.

A summary of our key findings include:

Google “not provided” now accounts for almost 40 percent of referring traffic data from organic search, an increase of 171 percent since originally introduced a year ago
64 percent of companies analyzed in the study see 30 to 50 percent of their traffic from Google as “not provided”
81 percent of the companies analyzed in the study see over 30 percent of their traffic from Google as “not provided”
Recognized referring keywords from organic search declined by 49 percent

Optify’s study analyzed a sample set of 424 B2B websites between November 1, 2011 to October 1, 2012 to determine the percentage of visits from organic search that showed as “not provided.” A total of 17,143,603 visits to those sites from organic search, equating to an average of 1,428,634 visits per month, and a total of 7,241,093 referring keywords were tracked. The parameters of this study included only US based .com sites with 100 to 100,000 monthly visits.

From my perspective, referrer data from organic search is quickly disappearing, and I believe that soon the majority of referring keywords will be listed as “not provided”.  Fair warning, if you are a digital marketing agency providing only SEO services, it’s time to start diversifying.

Our study doesn’t leave you hanging!  We share tips about how to handle the lack of referring data and includes best practices such as creating informative, interesting, and relevant content, and amplifying the messages through social networks. To download a free copy of the report, please visit: Optify Study

Stealth Creative Drives Client Success with Optify


Today is customer success day!
SEATTLE—November 6, 2012 — Optify, the leading innovator in digital marketing software for professional B2B marketers, today announced that Stealth Creative has adopted Optify’s Digital Marketing Suite as a core technology for their agency. Stealth Creative, based in St. Louis, Missouri uses Optify to develop, execute and report on digital marketing initiatives for their clients and generate business for the firm. Optify’s digital marketing solution has helped expand the services they can offer clients and dramatically reduced reporting time to increase business efficiency.
Our goal is to provide simple, insightful and actionable tools and data for agencies just
“Their logic is simple. Stealth Creative wants the market to see their work, but think of their client. We want agencies to use our solution, but deliver superior service and reporting to their clients without Optify taking center stage in the relationship,” said Doug Wheeler, Chief Marketing Officer, Optify.
 Scroll to top