Bill Tancer has been hailed as the leading authority on what people are really doing online and what it means for business and society.
You want to know details about online porn behavior: who searches for what, how often, and what sites they visit after? Bill.
Or perhaps you were wondering what time of year teenage girls shop for prom dresses. Surprisingly, this is also Bill. We don’t question genius.
He’s all about data, search, and what the hell everyone from Marilyn the mom to Joe the juvenile is doing, and the implications of that behavior on buying habits and trends.
In a shining example of just how geeky he can get, I bring you this recent @billtancer tweet:
Currently the General Manager of Global Research for Experian Marketing Services and perhaps best-known for his New York Times Bestseller “Click” – to us AirPR folk Bill’s just one of the gang. As our trusted advisor and friend (and additionally my secret pro crush along with Steve Jurvetson – you won’t find THAT online) he has been an integral part of our insanity growth over the past year.
Enjoy his insights and words of wisdom. He’s like, one of the smartest people on the planet. Oh, and he will also know whether or not you have read this.
Rebekah Iliff: You’re all about search and data. So, give us the goods: how can PR pros use search behavior to create more compelling narratives around a brand?
Bill Tancer: I’ve been able to show executives and marketers how consumers search for their brands and products. This data often informs brand positioning and targeting and can also be informative in terms of crisis communications. For example, we worked with analysts around an auto-recall and found how people were searching for the information; knowing how they searched we pushed out paid ads to reinforce positive messages which offset negative messages that were showing up in the organic listings.
PR pros can learn a lot from search and educate themselves more adeptly on how products are consumed. In terms of new, emerging brands or companies, search behavior around existing, similar products can inform how we craft a PR plan.
RI: But wouldn’t you agree that PR likewise affects online behavior?
BT: Yes absolutely. A great example of this is an experience I had with Hulu. Right after they came out of beta we did analysis of who was visiting and found the #1 age demographic was 55+. I published this information and some PR folks from Hulu got angry and emailed us telling us we were wrong.
Before they launched, the site was getting traffic from search and social networks. After the PR push, where they secured stories in the New York Times and USA Today, the traffic started skewing older because of those outlets’ audience. It created this anomaly in traffic. This is a perfect example of how PR efforts can change behavior and why it’s imperative that PR targets are aligned with a products’ core audience.
Word to the wise: traditional media may not be the right way to launch emerging companies and more emphasis should be placed on niche digital outlets and social.
RI: How many times have you been interviewed do you think? (more…)