Search engine marketing technology firm SEMDirector today rebranded as Covario to reflect the depth and breadth of its performance management technologies. Covario's platform enables global brands to manage not only search advertising but other interactive media, including display advertising. For the search industry, it's a wakeup call that "SEM" as a specialized service faces increasing competition from interactive advertising.
The race for a comprehensive online marketing platform includes the search engine platforms that will likely incorporate elements of recent technology acquisitions. Microsoft, for example, will leverage its investment in Aquantive's Atlas technology to improve the capabilities of MSN AdCenter. Google's recent acquisition of DoubleClick gives the search giant the ability to close the marketing loop with DART, Google AdWords, and Google Analytics in an enterprise marketing platform.
Covario enables advertisers to understand the relative effectiveness of paid search advertising, natural search optimization, and interactive advertising in a single dashboard.
“Covario,” a play on the word “covariance,” a measure of the strength of the correlation between two or more sets of random variables, reflects one of SEMDirector's competitive advantages: proprietary technology that enables marketers to make intelligent decisions in 24-7 search auctions with myriad variables. Those decisions are based on actual performance in the search engines, rather than media buyers' intuition.
Last week Russ Mann, Covario CEO, told me too many prospective clients and executives thought "SEM" referred only to paid search or PPC. Covario, along with a handful of leading search firms, offers a window into organic search performance too.
Covario focuses on designing products and solutions which bring unity and order into the interactive marketing management process. “Today interactive marketing is a fragmented discipline in which marketers work with many different vendors to develop and execute marketing programs," said Suresh Vittal, Forrester Research senior analyst. "But as the number of channels and programs grow, this situation becomes untenable.”
Forrester Research is placing its bets on the preeminence of online marketing suites to provide a single view of all marketing channels to centralize ad optimization and create an online partner ecosystem.
Covario as SEMDirector focused on building out technologies to manage paid and natural search. Covario's strategy focuses on the estimated 40 percent of online marketing budgets currently spent on display advertising.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) accidentally tipped savvy search marketers to the company name change by listing SEM Director CEO Russ Mann as CEO of Covario, Inc. in their committee rosters.
Social networkers may have seen the employees who made the switch earlier, too.