Buzz Friday for September 14, 2007
Should you design an exclusive site for the iPhone?

Predictive analytics

crystalball.jpgI stumbled across a couple of interesting tools today (via Steve Rubel) on the Microsoft Ad Center lab site. These are in beta, but from what I see there are some interesting implications for marketers. Microsoft is using their extensive search and traffic data (terabytes of 1's and 0's) to help predict user profiles and behaviors.

Demographics prediction - This tool allows you to enter a URL or search query and it will tell you what the demographic (sex and age) breakdown is. Major trends are highlighted in the search results. Here are some examples from social media:

  • Twitter - Male oriented (58%) <18 (25%)
  • Facebook - Female oriented (60%) 18-24 (63%)
  • MySpace - Female oriented (60%) 18-24 (37%)
  • Bebo - Female (71%) <18 (39%)

Commercial intent - This is a type of research I've not seen before, but I think is very valuable. This predictive analysis ventures to show how purchase-ready users are when visiting certain websites or using certain search queries. Try out your site and compare with your competitors. Check your keyword buys against this search as well. The results are broken down into three categories 1) non-commercial, 2) commercial-informational and 3) commercial-transactional. Here are some example sites and search terms with their respective results:


  • Apple.com - 41% commercial
  • Bestbuy.com - 57% commercial
  • Target.com - 44% commercial
  • "phone" - 86% commercial
  • "recipes" - 7% commercial
  • "tape" - 78% commercial

These services are in beta and should only be used for secondary research and trend analysis, but I think this clearly shows where all of this search data we generate can help marketers eliminate waste. I'd love to get your opinion on how accurate the data looks. From what I can tell it's pretty impressive and I've already gleaned some insights for customers and future posts.

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