I came across a few nifty keyword research tools that Microsoft is experimenting with in adCenter Labs. What is adCenter Labs anyway? It appears to be a place where Microsoft beta tests tools that they might eventually make available for general use. In their About Us page, Microsoft describes adCenter Labs as a place that includes over 100 researchers, analysts and developers, all of which cultivate exciting technologies in the areas of paid search, behavior targeting, contextual advertising, social network analysis, and image/video mining.
Furthermore they also point out that the tools shown are not yet in production but rather are demos or prototypes of tools that they might include as production adCenter tools in the future. Additionally, the tools do not provide or display conclusive results; rather, they are designed to produce anecdotal information that might indicate a trend or behavior that seems pertinent to an individual advertiser. Finally, the information and results presented are based on a sampling of real audience data, and are designed only to demonstrate a proof of concept.
While they have quite a handful of tools in the works, I have evaluated the following: Keyword Forecast, Seasonal Keyword Forecast, Keyword Mutation Detection, and Keyword Group Detection.
The keyword Forecast tool provides a monthly historical trend and impression count view with prediction. You enter a keyword, phrase or even a series of both separated by semi-colon and are presented with a graphical view of a year’s worth of data along with two months of future prediction. In the example below, I conducted a search for “home theatre systems.”
You can also opt to view the results in text format.
I would assume when they say “with prediction” they are referring to the data that is highlighted in gold. Therefore they must be a couple of months behind in “actual” data seeing that the last date that is not highlighted is March 2007 and the report starts with April of last year.
Seasonal Keyword Forecast
The Seasonal Forecast tool would be useful for items that come and go with the seasons such as “Mothers Day gifts,” “tax services” or even “Christmas gifts.” I used “xBox” as an example which produced the chart below.
This chart is not as pretty as the one used in the Keyword Forecast tool. It is also difficult to see the date ranges but then again, these tools are in beta. If the date ranges run in order (i.e. 01/03, 02/03, etc.) then it is pretty obvious from this chart that xBoxes generate the most search volume right around Christmas. That is obvious of course but might not be so obvious with other search phrases such as “wedding gowns” or “college search.”
Keyword Mutation Detection
The Keyword Mutation Detection tool allows you to discover frequent misspellings or alternate spellings of a particular keyword or phrase. I used the example of “cemetery” which is misspelled quite often.
Knowing common or alternate spellings of keywords or phrases you are targeting might help you to include them in your search marketing strategy and capture traffic from them.
Keyword Group Detection
Finally, the Keyword Group Detection tool will find similarities for specific keywords or phrases. Back to our original example dealing with home theatre, here is what we get.
Common misspellings are also included in the detected word groups.
So there you have it. Nothing revolutionary or something that is not currently available in other keyword research tools. They are free however unlike other tools on the market such as Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker. If you use adCenter, most likely these tools will be available in the not to distant future.
Additional projects Microsoft is working on include:
- Content Categorization Engine – displays the categories most related to a webpage, including the degree of confidence that a category relates to the page.
- Demographic Prediction – predict a user’s age, gender, or other demographic information, based on his or her online behavior.
- Detecting Online Commercial Intention – detect your customers’ intention to purchase products or acquire information.
- Search Result Clustering – cluster a set of documents such as search results, into semantically related groups in real time.
- Search Funnels – helps to visualize and analyze your customers’ search behaviors.
- Sensitive Webpage Detecting – helps you determine whether a webpage contains content that might be considered sensitive by general public. For example, content about porn, terrorism, or crime.
- Social Video – allows you to share personal videos, view or add comments to videos that others have shared.
- Video Hyperlink – an interactive video tool provides more information about objects in a video when you click on them.