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Showing posts from March 7, 2016
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Where will SEO go this year?

In the world of SEO, 2015 was relatively quiet. Sure, search marketers had a plethora of algorithm updates, constantly evolving snippets, instant answers and ever-changing metrics to contend with, but SEO practitioners are used to that pace of change.However, with conversations in the first quarter of this year still swirling around ad blocking and earned versus owned media, I believe that going forward, 2016 will be a very exciting year for SEOs.Based on my own experience and client comments and feedback, I foresee a couple of major shifts occurring.1. Diversification of search boxesSearch will go far beyond Google as brands start to focus on their visibility (rankings) inside other search boxes. More and more brands are already asking questions like “Why am I not ranking #1 in Amazon?,” “Why is my business not on Google Maps?” or “Why can’t anybody find our videos on YouTube?”Others are starting to focus more on the discoverability of their content on portals like WebMD, entertainme…

Why copying campaigns between search engines misses opportunities

Each month, users conduct more than 100 billion searches on search engines globally. And every day, a portion of the searches they perform involve queries that have never been made before.Those facts are widely cited, but fewer marketers are aware that at least a third of all searches conducted are from query terms unique to each search engine, such as Bing or Google. (According to Microsoft’s, my employer’s, internal research.)Why all these unique queries?There are more than 7.3 billion people on this planet — each one of them unique. While those that are online often have popular searches, such as “Facebook” or “Craigslist,” in common, they also have millions of ways to uniquely express their needs to search engines. For example, if we both had a water pipe burst, you may search for “plumber” while I may search for “fix water leak.”Custom comScore research from December 2015 indicates that 60 million US users exclusively use Bing. Since these people have certain demographic and psyc…

Up close at SMX West 2016: Advanced audience targeting

With precise audience targeting, you can have better control over who sees your ads and improve your overall performance by developing customized messages and landing page experiences tailored for each audience.In an in-depth session at Search Engine Land’s SMX West 2016, panelists covered how to use advanced targeting techniques like remarketing lists, custom affinity lists and YouTube remarketing to help you get more bang for your advertising dollars. Below, I’ll break down what was discussed and take a look at some of the highlights of the session.Remarketing is like datingMark Irvine, a senior data scientist at WordStream, presented a great analogy of how remarketing is a lot like dating. It’s a difficult and time-consuming process to find the right one, and then you sometimes have to follow them around to get them to notice you.But in the end, the chase is worth the effort because you can find your perfect match. Below are the three key takeaways from his presentation:Get to know…

How marketers should adjust to Google’s new search ad display

One of our clients recently saw a sudden and “unexplained” increase in leads generated from their AdWords campaigns. The jump coincided with the changes to Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).This particular client was using a bid-to-position strategy, and maybe enjoying a better return on the higher positions they prize. Why would this be?Search Engine Land paid media reporter Ginny Marvin summarized the changes made to the SERPs.To sum up the main points, there are no longer any text ads in the right sidebar of Google SERPs. The number of ads shown at the tops of these pages, in line with the natural results, increased to four from three. Three ads are shown at the bottom of the page.Marvin notes that the number of text ads shown on these pages has dropped from as many as 11 to no more than seven. There are fewer ads, and they are in different places.How will these new developments change the landing page optimization strategies of search advertisers? We can speculate.Optim…

Facebook closes Atlas’s video ad-serving gap, widens sales measurement

Facebook’s ad server Atlas recently came under fire for being less of an ad server and more of a measurement tool, as documented in a recent AdExchanger article. But Facebook is cool with that criticism.“I actually don’t see that as a criticism,” said Facebook’s VP of advertising technology, Brian Boland. “When you look at what we’re focusing on doing, there’s two pieces. There’s that understanding value or measuring value piece and there’s that delivering value piece. And one of the biggest problems that we’re hearing from marketers isn’t ‘Hey, I can’t serve an ad;’ it’s ‘I’m potentially wasting millions of dollars or spend. I’m potentially missing 40% of the conversions that are happening because they’re coming from mobile.’”It helps that Facebook has shored up one of Atlas’s weaknesses in delivering value — specifically in delivering video ads across desktop and mobile — while building on its strength in measuring that value, i.e. what brands are getting in return for their ad doll…

Class action suit accuses Google of stealing “face prints” without permission

In a case called Weiss v. Google Inc., plaintiff Joseph Weiss has filed a potential class action accusing Google of stealing “face templates” from Google Photos without permission. The case was filed in Illinois Northern District Court and accuses Google of violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).BIPA regulates the collection, use, and storage of “biometric information” or “biometric identifiers,” which is defined as any personal feature unique to an individual (e.g., fingerprints, DNA). According to the complaint biometric identifiers includes “face geometry.” The law requires that any private entity (i.e., Google in this case) obtain consent from the affected individuals whose data are being collected or used.BIPA states:No private entity may collect, capture, purchase, receive through trade, or otherwise obtain a person’s or a customer’s biometric identifier or biometric information, unless it first:(1) informs the subject or the subject’s legally authorized…

Your 6-point spring cleaning content marketing checklist

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. You see, I live in Phoenix, so spring in my mind is equal to 70-degree days, lots of sunshine and spring training. However, this year, we Arizonans are cursing the El Niño gods for deciding to skip spring altogether and gift us with record-breaking 90-degree days in February.So this article is for the rest of you who are still shivering away, dreaming of cardigans, not coats, and flowers instead of flurries.This is also for those of you who are committed to your content marketing but need a nudge to turn off your under-the-desk foot heater and kick some butt with your content marketing come springtime.Below, I’ve outlined six major checkpoints for your content marketing spring cleaning that will set you up for success during the season and help you gain momentum for the rest of the year.1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Otherwise known as “Do a content audit.”Whether you publish multiple times a week or can only squeak out one article a…

MarTech Today: Facebook Messenger, new metrics for martech & “Right To Be Forgotten”

Here’s our recap of what happened in marketing technology, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.From Marketing Land:Facebook Plans To Open Messenger To Publishers At F8 In April
Mar 3, 2016 by Tim Peterson
Facebook will officially let publishers distribute content through Messenger and will announce the news at its annual developer conference in April.We Marketers Aren’t As “Automated” As We Think
Mar 4, 2016 by Scott Vaughan
Despite the promise of automation, marketers still have a ways to go. Columnist Scott Vaughan explains why we need to focus on automating the right data and eliminating the manual tasks that hold us back.Here’s Why Martech Needs Some New Metrics
Mar 3, 2016 by Barry Levine
Customer relationships are now “a movie, rather than a snapshot,” and marketers need more movie-like ways to measure what’s working.Smart Goals Roll Out To More AdWords Advertisers As Google Cuts The Eligibility Requirements In Half
Mar 3, 2016 by Greg Finn
The conversi…

DSP Trade Desk adds native ad support, with Sharethrough as first integrated SSP

Sharethrough’s visualization of how native ad components are dropped into a publisher’s specific format, using the IAB standard. In February of last year, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released its OpenRTB 2.3 standard for native ads, those high-performing ads that resemble the surrounding publisher content.Bit by bit, the standard has allowed programmatic ad platforms to include native ads. Previously, such ads were often one-off customizations designed to look like the style of a specific site or app, so they were difficult to handle at scale. Now, standardized metadata breaks the native ads into components that are served into each publisher’s format. (See visualization above.)Today, brand- and agency-focused demand side platform (DSP) The Trade Desk is announcing its support for the OpenRTB 2.3 standard, while publisher-oriented supply side platform Sharethrough is announcing that it is Trade Desk’s first integrated partner for in-feed native ads on its publishers’ sites an…

Study suggests that ‘peak content’ has been reached for brands

TrackMaven’s recent research into the state of content marketing for brands makes for some difficult reading if, like me, you’re planning a content strategy for 2016.

The study looked at the content marketing activity of almost 23,000 brands, covering a staggering 50m pieces of content across six primary channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and blogs.It turns out that the average brand publishes more than 2,000 pieces of content a year, and if 2015 is anything to go by the tide is rising, as output increased by 35% compared to the previous year.The response by readers and viewers was huge: there were a total of 75.7bn interactions. That’s truly massive engagement, but average engagement actually decreased by 17%.It seems that there’s only so much people can actually consume, process and share. As TrackMaven says:“Despite the fact that engagement continues to fall, brands are hell­bent on content and publishing.”The chart below shows the widening attention gap, b…

How to Choose the Right USB Type-C Cable [Guide]

USB Type-C cables have been more of a bane than a boon, especially after considering the fact that I scurry around to find a Type-C USB cable every time my OEM charger is not handy. This also means that I miss the good old days when I could hand over my Android phone with microUSB port to anyone and they would have the charger cable it needed. Adding to my woes is the fact that my Power bank was rendered useless since it came with a normal USB port. While some manufacturers might be bundling a USB to USB Type-C cable with the phone, Google and LG didn’t do so with my Nexus 5X.The trouble is brewingRemember the OnePlus 2 cable fiasco? A Google Engineer went on checking Type-C USB cables on Amazon to figure out which are safe and which aren’t, surprisingly the OnePlus 2 cable was found to be unsafe thus resulting in a prompt refund from OnePlus.The issue here lies in the differential power delivery, while Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X support 3A fast charging, charging with a bad cable woul…

Be There. Introducing The Bing Network.

At Bing, we’re building a platform that gives people “knowledge for doing” in a more natural, predictive and personal way. It’s the intelligence that spans not just across Microsoft products but across platforms and across partners. Bing Network connects you to the moments that matter by being in the products people use every day. What’s so unique about Bing Network?More Reach When It Matters MostBing is in places you never expected and allows you to reach unique audiences — where, when and how they want to be reached. In fact, did you know that the Bing Network includes 60 million searchers that can only be found here? A quarter of our clicks come from searches that are exclusive to the Bing Network, and that includes unique searches versus Google. That’s exclusivity that can’t be beat.With the momentum of Windows 10 and the growth of our syndication business — including partners like AOL, GumTree, The Wall Street Journal and Infospace — we’re adding more searches and clicks to our ne…

How to compete on the new Google SERP

Recent changes made to the Google SERP have taken many by surprise.Google has eliminated the sidebar ads that once appeared to the right of the results. They have also increased the number of ads allowed above the results, now showing up to four ads.This has marketers talking because, with four sponsored results, there are fewer slots available for organic results above the fold. Some queries might not have any organic results appear without the user having to scroll down.One of the main questions on everyone’s mind, is how these changes are going to affect paid and organic searchWhat marketers need to knowThe impact of the new layout on organic search will come from two main sources: changes in marketing strategy and the layout itself.First, we must explore how the changes are impacting PPC marketing.Although the new layout has increased the number of ads that appear at the top of the SERP for most queries, the removal of the sidebar ads means that there will still be less ads overa…

How to market your mobile site or app without spending a fortune on ads

Making the most of what you’ve got: email, SMS, social media, brochures, packaging, SEO and ASO and optimizing your mobile site design to make the most of them.If you want to avoid spending the majority of your project budget on advertising and public relations (PR), it is essential to start planning how you will use organic methods to promote your mobile-friendly site or app early and incorporate this strategy into your mobile design and build.There are four categories of marketing media:Paid media – i.e. advertisingEarned media – e.g. press and blog coverage (generally achieved via PR)Owned media: digital and physical – e.g. email and packagingShared media – e.g. social mediaThe previous column discussed paid media and public relations  and introduced the concept of distribution-driven development.This week, it’s the turn of shared and owned media, including search engine optimization (SEO) and app store optimization (ASO) and testing your campaign.Plus Jim Hennessey, director of co…

Gorilla Glass, Dragontrail… Too Much Ado Over Display Protection?

This article would not have been written if we had not posted a review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 last week. For, within a few minutes of putting up that story, we were deluged by queries – not about the device’s performance, display quality, camera, processor, storage or battery (the usual suspects when it comes to reader interrogation following a review), but about the protective coating on the display of the device. “Does it have Gorilla Glass?”; “Is it Dragontrail protection?” were the queries that streamed into our inboxes, evidently because that part had not been clarified in the official technical specifications of the device.This interest in the “protection” around a display is fascinating, not least because as per our experience, a majority of users any way place a screen protector of some sort over the display any way. It might be as basic as a strip of plastic or as sophisticated as tempered glass, but it is rare to see a person in India using a relatively expensive phone (…