The Portability of Content: Implications on Usage, SEO and Tracking

ipod-touch1Last week, I moderated several sessions on Emerging Trends at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit. A couple of the sessions were about measuring social media. That same morning announcements were made regarding the deals Twitter had struck with Microsoft Bing and with Google. With Microsoft Bing also announcing a deal with FaceBook. The gist of the deals, is that now your tweets or status updates can be found on the search engines.

I think of this as a behavior changer in several ways. First off, people will start optimizing their tweets for real time search on the engines. This may lead to a whole new level of search engine spamming. How will Google and Microsoft deal with the increase in hashtag/trending topic spam?  Who is already building the tools to optimize Tweets for trending topics and hashtags? Will these irrelevant tweets train search users that this content is not worth clicking on?

The other question it opens up is that if you publish content on your site, then push it out over Twitter and FaceBook and someone finds it on Bing doing a search – where should the credit for the referrer to your website go to. Will it be credited as a search referral, a Twitter or Facebook referral?

If you want credit to go to your content creation team and to find out which “channel” was responsible for the ultimate referral, content teams are going to have to be trained to ensure that they are using tracking urls on their Tweets. Scott Calisse from MTV Networks shared how his team created a custom tool using Bit.ly and Google Docs that the content team could insert their original url and the tool would spit out customized links for them to copy and paste with all the proper tracking codes in place for each channel (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). How will you train your content teams to remember to always do this? Scott shared with us that even if the team doesn’t do it today, they can still sort it out organically, but with this new Google/Bing integration that won’t be the same.

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This evolution in the portability of content just reinforces the trend those of at the eMetrics summit heard about from Darren Mauro of NPR.org. He shared with us how they are seeing an ever growing demand for being able to download podcasts as opposed to listening to them live or streaming online. People like to engage with the content they want, when they want it; just like DVR usage on TV. Of course that makes tracking it and understanding its usage and engagement infinitely more difficult.

I’m really curious what do you think the implications of these deals will be. Please share in the comments or link to posts you have below.

Please share if you think others would benefit.