Last week, I had lunch with Mike Rynchek, President of Spyder Trap Online Marketing. We wound up talking quite a bit about social media and managing-per-objectives and impressions rather than the cost-per-conversions avenue many of us are used to. Mike was gracious enough to be interviewed on measuring results of different objectives.

Speaking of social media, 95% of this interview took place through Facebook IM.

Paul: First of all, thanks Mike for your time. In a nutshell, can you tell us about your company?

Mike: First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity. It is always a blast to get together with smart online marketers. Spyder Trap Online Marketing is a Minneapolis, Minnesota based full service online marketing agency specializing in online strategy, search engine marketing, social media, web analytics, email marketing and web development.

Paul: You brought up managing for impressions and objectives as different sorts of analytics measurement. I suppose it's not new, but you have a different spin on it. Can you explain?

Mike: What makes online marketing unique is our ability to target qualified leads, control spend and track/test results on a real time/near real time basis. Marketers don't often consider online marketing channels as a brand building tool but I would argue it is! Whether talking about orgainic/paid search, Social Media or Email marketing, these mediums are an extension of the brand. Tracking for impressions not only provides you with another metric in your analytics arsenal, it allows you the variability to test and modify individual campaigns, but also measures the total number of eyeballs who viewed your brand.

Anytime we work with a client we always start with defining their pain points and marketing objectives for not only specific initiatives or campaigns but the overall company as a whole. This allows us to work backwards in our strategy and implementation of the physical tactics. Whether this includes increasing brand awareness through impressions, increasing site traffic or increasing overall leads/conversions, defining and managing based on objectives is an essential methodology for any firm.

Paul: You had a recent client who used measuring per impressions as a non-partisan political measure. Can you explain their amendment?

Mike: Along with our partner Wingnut Advertising, Spyder Trap was charged with providing awareness of a Minnesota based clean land, air and water amendment to help restore and preserve natural resources. If passed, the amendment was funded by a small statewide sales tax.

Paul: Please briefly discuss the marketing situation and what you used in terms of online marketing tactics.

Mike: Our target demographic was the 18-30 drop off and swing voters. Wingnut and Spyder Trap was charged with not only driving awareness of the campaign but making sure voters didn't just vote for President then exit the ballot. Our goal was to simply inform and educate.

Since the only conversion occurred in the voting booth on Nov. 4th we decided to measure and market for impressions vs. clicks or even conversions. The end result was close to 70 million impressions over a three month time period leading up to the election. Impressions included deploying, online paid and non paid tactics including banner ads, social media (ex. Facbook/apps, twitter, MySpace, YouTube etc.)

Paul: The Vote Yes Minnesota measure passed too! I suppose you could say that the objective was met.

Mike: It certainly did! Even in a difficult economy Minnesota voters approved the amendment. Anytime we solve a marketing pain point or have a satisfied client we feel we did our job. This was a highly debated an passionate amendment our job was to foster that passion and to get our message in front of as many potential voters as possible. It worked, and we're more than happy to say that it passed at a 59% vote! This is a historic event, and we're proud to be a part of it.

Paul: You mentioned "real estate dominance" in that amendment. Can you explain more?

Mike: When working on projects with clients, our main objective is of course for them to own the number 1 position in Google for targeted keyword phrases. In most cases our work doesn't stop there as we generally deploy specific tactics using social media and online media (i.e. Blogging, databases, press releases) any keyword optimized searchable content that can be picked up by the search engines. This not only works as a link building initiative but also allows our clients to own the entire first page within search engine results page.

As I mentioned, our goal was not only to provide direct and targeted content but a high volume of content as well. We quickly owned page one of Google by optimizing press releases, creating and submitting articles to databases and reaching out to local bloggers. These bloggers created a high volume of content, which showed up in search engine results while also providing us with precious links. Finally we also took advantage of social media sites such as YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. As I mentioned not only is this another great way to receive additional links but they all show up within search results. (AKA Google Universal Search)  

Many don't realize that certain tweets show up in search results as does Facebook groups and fan pages. Instead most people are used to seeing videos and images from YouTube and Flickr show up in search results. So this not only drove impressions from the physical site but also ensured that we optimized for impressions viewed in Google, Yahoo and MSN search results. I like to call this SERP dominance!

Paul: You have other clients as well that you're measuring per impressions and objectives rather than per conversions. Without mentioning names, can you provide the SEG readers some information?

Mike: Measuring for impressions are generally counter intuitive to marketing managers who are generally focused on tracking ROI. I have worked with both large and small organizations who often times neglect tracking impressions for not only social media but paid media as well. I know this sounds simplistic but as marketers we must manage by objectives not conversions.

For example I work with clients who only care about the monthly volume of traffic to their site. A different strategy is deployed from someone who is looking to inform and educate about a constitutional amendment versus someone looking to sell a physical product within the ecommerce store.

Paul: You spoke about Social Media at the recent American Marketing Association (AMA-MN) event in Minneapolis. How did the audience react to measuring by impressions and objectives rather than just conversions?

Mike: Social Media is a crazy beast but not unlike any other media traditional included. There is almost always a case for using social media in some way shape or form. When asked if Social Media is right for a specific case my response was simple. Does your firm participate in Public Relations? (Generally people say of course.) My response to that is usually...  Great, Social Media is a wonderful tool to help create additional buzz for your PR efforts, only with adding impressions, and aiding in your search efforts. This is one of many possible examples but I think it does a good job demonstrating how managing by objectives can change the way people think about marketing.

Paul: Mike, thank you so much for your time, congrats with Spyder Trap and all your new ventures, and we'll talk again soon.

Mike:  Again, I appreciate the opportunity. Of course I have to throw a plug in by saying readers can learn more by visiting or by following us on Twitter at @spyder_trap. Thanks and Go Wild!  


December 4, 2008

Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.

With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.

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Search Engine Guide > Paul Jahn > Managing by Objectives and Impressions - Redefining the Face of Amendment Campaigns