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Interview with Keith Wilson

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in search marketing.

Like most people, I don’t really utilize the specifics of my degree.  I have a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and started my career working with Accounting, Order, and Inventory management systems sales and implementation for the perishables industry.  In the early 2000’s, our focus was web enabling these processes for large retailers.  My interest in the web eventually took me to the marketing side of the business at United Online, focusing on customer acquisition. Since 2003, I have been focused on optimizing customer acquisition programs and media buying processes for online businesses.  Search marketing is a significant piece of that puzzle.



You were recently named the Vice President of Business Intelligence.  Can you please tell us a little more about the Business Intelligence Group and your new role in the organization?

The primary function of the BI group is to enhance our analytics, standardize our processes based on the latest evidence, and provide thought leadership in the ever-changing marketplace.

Why is the BI function so important?

Organizationally, we believe there is always a better way of doing something.  The formation of the BI group reinforces that principle by dedicating resources to improving our analytical processes and proactively understanding the impacts of broader industry changes by applying the principles of evidence-based marketing.

What are your goals in this role?

Our aim is to make clients more informed and improve outcomes across all our campaigns.  Better insight leads to better decisions and better results.

On this note, you were involved in a recent TSA study [2] tracking the effects of Google’s switch from “Sponsored Links” to “Ads” on click-through rate. In your opinion, why did searchers click on a higher percentage of ads after Google made the switch? What prompted the double-digit increase in CTR?

The key takeaway is that the change made on Google is not materially impacting our clients in a negative way.  We referenced a study by Prof. Edelman, which suggested the potential for a large negative impact to CTR as a result of identifying search listings as “paid advertisements”.   We plan on doing an additional 30-day analysis as follow up to the article that tracks the impact based on a larger data set.

What are some of your interests outside of the office?

Big shocker for those that know me… The data shows that I can be found at a golf course working on my game or playing a quick nine holes with my 4 year old son Kemper.  I plan to invest more of my time figuring out how not to lose to him at games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.

About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [8]