Ian Harris

Photo of I. Harris
Current Workplace
Search Laboratory Ltd
Current Role
My Mathematics Success Story is...

I studied Operational Research at Lancaster University. The course was highly mathematics-based but centered on using mathematics for business problems. It covered statistics in some detail. My company is a digital marketing agency, www.searchlaboratory.com. We optimize pay per click campaigns, perform SEO, online display advertising, social media campaigns and other online advertising. It may not sound it, but much of this is highly mathematical. Pay per click campaigns, for example, involve large numbers of keywords (10,000+ in a normal campaign), each of which has a probability of converting from a search to a click and a click to an order. That probability is unknown and sampling is required. Sample sizes can be small so we need to do a lot of clever pooling and associating to calculate our statistically best estimate for the conversion rate. Using this conversion rate, we can calculate our most profitable bid price for all keywords within the client’s budget. It is mathematically difficult with one keyword, but across thousands it is a huge task. We do this in multiple languages, and the key to this is separating the mathematics from the linguistics as above. The other services we provide also involve maximizing a client’s marketing budget to deliver optimal results. The nature of digital marketing is that much data are now available to marketers so we can really start to understand the statistics behind what we are doing. Our Mantra at Search Laboratory is that we take marketing campaigns, understand the mathematics behind them, and then use a blend of mathematics and creativity to create optimal campaigns.

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