Jim Yu is CEO of Brightedge, now recognized as one of the de facto enterprise SEO management platforms industrywide. From a small startup on the West Coast, Brightedge has grown rapidly and now employs over 200 people.
I sat down with Jim for our Live On 65 feature to talk about the growth of Brightedge, the growth of Share—the industry conference produced annually by Brightedge in San Francisco—and what’s new and upcoming.
Mike: Here we are back Live On 65. Jim Yu from BrightEdge is our guest today. Great to have you Jim. Just a short while ago, we moved kind of from the technology and SEO into this whole realm of content and content marketing. There was one thing that I wanted to ask you. I didn’t in the previous segment. What’s your favorite feature in BrightEdge? Do you have one? Is there anything that you think this one really does a great job or wow it’s just cool?
Jim: My favorite capability in BrightEdge is the ability to connect the dots back to business impact. Our ability to pull in data from a lot of different data sets and connect it back to ROI. Connecting dots back to business performance. We call it Closed Loop, we call it BrightEdge Connect in that capability to connect it back to business impact.
Mike: It’s actually a suite of tools. There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on in there. What do you find with your audience, with the end user? Is there a feature set that they most prefer, the most popular with the end users?
Jim: Yeah. I think there’s really kind of three core things that people love about BrightEdge. I think the first is being able to connect the dots back to business value. The second is the ability to really drive their optimization program. Being able to identify, using the Data Cube, different types of demand, be able to target that, so being able to target the right demand. Last but not least is actually driving the work flow behind the optimization.
Mike: In your keynote a few weeks ago, you were very excited about the fact that there were a lot of new things that were happening inside BrightEdge. Do you want to give us the brief oversight again what it was that you were talking about? The new features, new ideas.
Jim: Absolutely. We’re launching a whole new suite of capabilities to support content performance marketing. There are three core pieces of it. First, leveraging the Data Cube. You’ve got the ability to target the right demand. We’ve got a whole new set of capabilities that we’re building around the Data Cube, around the Data Cube time machine where you can move back and forth in time, understand seasonality.
The second thing is a lot of technology around content optimization. We have the content optimizer that allows you to optimize content right at the point of creation, inside the CMS system as well as what we call our ignite campaigns that allow any content writer cross a company be able to identify what they need to do in order to drive performance from their content.
Last but not least, we’ve got the ability to close a loop and understand performance with the StoryBuilder technology that kind of sits on top of everything, connects the dots between all the different data sets so you can understand the performance of your content.
Mike: Maybe we can get just a little bit deeper into that because that’s another one of the questions that I got from the team here. We use BrightEdge with some of our clients, obviously. Some of our clients are your clients. We do have that partnership. There is quite a lot that you talk about in content marketing. What are the kinds of tips that you could give to our team here? Where they should be looking at BrightEdge to help creating, developing, and distributing content? Yeah?
Jim: Yeah. Yeah. I think the first thing is leverage, starting by targeting the right demand. I think a lot of times when you look at content creation, especially from an optimization perspective, it happens after the fact. After the marketers across an enterprise or across a brand have created content, then there’s optimization.
That’s very valuable and that’s very powerful, but I think it’s how do you invert all that? How do you start by understanding the demand? Inside BrightEdge you have the ability with our Data Cube to be able to literally map out the demand and understand how it’s changing.
One of the things that we talked about at Share is how demand is starting to change. How five years ago or even three years ago, remember Mike, when a lot of the retailers would optimize for product detail pages or category pages. Now they’re building buyer guides, they’re building seasonal guides. They’re building things that are helping people well up in the funnel.
I think it’s as you look at the future of marketing, I think a lot of it is going to be around understanding that demand and then targeting it with the right content.
Mike: I’m just gleaning a little bit because eventually I think content, they eventually get it. It’s content.
Mike: What’s the future like? What are you mapping for 2015? Where are you going?
Jim: I think there’s a lot of exciting things. I think in the content, we’re going to keep innovating on content performance marketing. I think there’s a lot of things we’re going to do around how do you drive your content programs in a way that’s going to drive performance. I think more and more around mobile. We’ve got a whole set of mobile capabilities. We’ve talked a little bit about sort of this huge changes that are happening in terms of mobile rankings right now where 12 months ago or even 12 to 18 months ago, there wasn’t as much volatility or difference between device types. Now you see major differences, up almost 70 percent ranking differences between device types.
Mobile obviously is a big change but also how the search engines are dealing with mobile is a big change. We think there’s lots of areas of innovation around that as well.
Mike: Do you see mobile as being the big focus? Again, that’s like content. People have been saying, “mobile’s going to be big.” Is it going to be big next year, do you think?
Jim: I think it’s big already. I think if you look at brands, one of the things that we’ve talked about at Share is that mobile moment when smartphone and tablet traffic exceed your desktop traffic. I think brands are seeing that starting to happen. I think the content is still catching up. I think we see in our data that on smartphones, video converts really well, engages a lot better on smartphone than other types of content. At the same time for a brand to start to do what you’re doing, for example, with video content, that’s a big shift.
I think that the marketing is catching up with the channels.
Mike: This is why I’m head of content marketing.
Jim: That’s right. That’s right.
Mike: BrightEdge started off small. You’re like one of the biggest brands out there. It looks like 2015’s going to be a great year for you. Thanks very much for coming in Jim Yu. Much appreciated.
Jim: Thank you. Thanks so much.