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Showing posts from April 14, 2016
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Inside the making of Taco Bell’s artifically intelligent, drunk-tolerant TacoBot

Welcome to 2016 where you can buy flowers, book a flight and order an Uber through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack.Last week Taco Bell and its agency Deutsch unveiled the TacoBot, a Siri-like version of the cashiers that take your order at its restaurants. Taco Bell built the bot for workplaces that use Slack’s messaging platform to communicate internally. Now instead of someone jotting everyone’s orders on a post-it and hoping the drive-thru attendant gets everything right, they can ask TacoBot to put in the order for them.“I’ve described TacoBot as your own personal Taco Bell butler,” said Andy McCraw, Taco Bell’s digital innovation and on demand product manager.TacoBot isn’t only a means to attracting more corporate orders for Taco Bell. It’s also a stake in the ground as it shifts beyond website forms and in-app buttons to text- and voice-based conversations.“We are at a point of switching up how we use computers,” said Deutsch’s senior VP and creative technology …

The week when digital marketing entered the Age of the Agent Layer

When the history of digital marketing is written, this week may be seen as the point when marketers went from delivering media to becoming mediators.Facebook’s launch this week of its Messenger platform and bot ecosystem did not, of course, invent the category. It builds on what WeChat, Kik, and other messaging apps have already launched successfully, and arrives shortly after Microsoft’s announcements of a smarter Cortana and a new Bot Framework.But, when a bot platform launches with a userbase of about one-seventh of the world’s population, it tilts the tipping point down into critical mass.A tipping point not just for chat bots, but also for their wiser cousins, intelligent agents like Siri, Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Now. In short, users will increasingly expect that brand interactions will employ what might be called the Agent Layer.“This is the first time we’ve seen something go from hype to reality this fast,” mobile marketer Michael Richardson told me, referring to “…

A CMO’s View: The Grammy’s team up with Intel to take the show to a whole new level

Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage This year, The Grammy’s entered into a partnership with Intel that resulted in one of the most memorable Grammy moments ever when Lady Gaga took the stage to pay tribute to David Bowie.“Artists will tell us that they intend to give the performance of their lives, a career-defining performance, and that really is the essence of a Grammy moment,” says Evan Greene who serves as CMO for The Grammy’s, “To take that, which already exists in an extraordinary manner, and then take it to the next level, it was a pretty tall order.”Greene says his team was very enthusiastic that the Intel partnership could result in such a moment for Lady Gaga’s performance.“For us, the thing that seems to resonate around the world, to hundreds of millions of people every year who watch the Grammy’s telecast, are those extraordinary music moments that happen on our stage, that frankly have never been contemplated,” says Greene.According to Greene’s team, Lady Gaga’s performance ge…

How checking your link profile can save your site

Make no bones about it: Link building is essential to the success of your site.In addition to being a ranking factor for search engines, inbound links can bring visitors to your site who might not otherwise have found you. Hence, inbound links can be both a direct and indirect source of web traffic.But, as anyone who has drunk a little too much whiskey will know, you can have too much of a good thing. There’s a fine line between having a good link profile and getting slapped with a penalty.That’s why checking your link profile can save your site — and help you to stay on track for link-building success.Read on and find out just how to do it…What is a link profile?When we in the SEO community talk about a site’s link profile, we are generally referring to the inbound links pointing to your site, as well as the characteristics of those links.According to Mark Jackson, in addition to the total number of inbound links, your site’s link profile consists of:the types of links pointing back …

Seth Godin: Nobody makes a purple cow by sticking with what’s safe

Yesterday’s over. Being different is what’s going to help you win tomorrow – not simply repeating your previous success.A century ago, Henry Ford made headlines with what seemed like an outrageous decision to double minimum wage. Instead of the standard $2.34, Ford workers would take home an unprecedented $5 for each working day.It was a great move for the brand, as its workers were suddenly able to afford its products. However, Seth Godin – the legendary marketer, author and speaker who delivered the opening keynote at ClickZ Live New York this morning – pointed out that you can’t just make one great decision and then coast on it. Because the world never stops changing.“The idea of the assembly line is that we codify the work. We figure it out step-by-step and figure out what [workers] did yesterday to make the KPIs go up and make things more efficient,” said Godin, adding that managers inevitably want more.“The challenge of that four-letter word is simple. Mass leads to average prod…

Develop free, lightweight attribution insights for your paid & organic channels

When running paid search alongside your organic SEO strategy, it’s essential to ensure you have an integrated strategy and a consistent message in the search engine results pages (SERPs). To manage this, data analysis at the keyphrase level — for search terms where both channels are active — can improve traffic and reduce inefficient paid spend.Usually, to perform this type of analysis, you’d need to spend six-figure sums for powerful attribution insight tools from Google or Adobe or the like. Personally, I prefer to roll my own for an admittedly less deep, quick insight tool focused just on channels visible on Google’s SERPs.To map paid search term data to organic, start by pulling comprehensive daily data on all keyphrases driving traffic to your site from Google’s Search Console API. I’ve written about this process before on Search Engine Land, so I won’t go over old ground.One major change to the described approach, however, is grabbing the data segmented by device. Device segment…

2016 State of Link Building Survey coverage

Link acquisition is always changing.Tactics, perceptions, and even the way search engines evaluate links are continuously evolving. Because of the ever-changing nature of link building, it’s always interesting to examine the state of the industry.Recently, my colleague Nicholas Chimonas partnered with Moz and Credo to conduct a link-building industry survey. Nicholas detailed his process and the results from the survey in an excellent post on Moz.I want to cover some of the key takeaways from this survey and offer my own insight and opinions on the current state and future of link building.Here are some quick, high-level stats on the survey participants:435 people participated in the survey.Most work at agencies (42 percent) or are in-house employees (27 percent).The majority work at companies with 1–50 employees (65 percent).A large portion work alone (33 percent) or in teams of two to five people (47 percent), with varying structures.Most spend 1–25 percent (36 percent) or 26–50  pe…

The key ingredients of mobile design and UX methodology

Mobile projects can live or die on design. This column looks at the importance of design methodology, with a blow-by-blow account of the digital design process at the UK mapping agency, Ordinance Survey (OS).While mobile development is rooted in methodologies inherited from web and software development – Waterfall or Agile; Scrum and Kanban – there is no industry-standard methodology for the design stage of your mobile project.When you consider how important design and user experience (UX) is to the success of mobile projects – it’s crazy that companies and agencies have had to develop their own procedures… and it’s understandable that too often these prove inadequate.The design and UX stage is the process by which the mobile project – or new iteration of the mobile project – goes from great idea to something the developers can get to work on.Steps in this process include:Visualization of the project – often drawn on paper as a storyboard.Testing that on the target audience, then refi…

Proposed EU-US “Privacy Shield” data transfer agreement dead in current form

As suggested by earlier leaks, European privacy regulators are rejecting the new “Privacy Shield” Data Transfer Agreement announced in February as insufficiently protective of personal data. That agreement was negotiated after court invalidation of the “Safe Harbor agreement,” which had been in place for years.As reported yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, privacy regulators have issued a non-binding opinion that argues the new Privacy Shield arrangement doesn’t do enough to protect the data of European citizens that would flow to the US. Specifically, the group doesn’t like the continued prospect of bulk data collection by US intelligence:A body representing national data-protection authorities in the EU’s 28 states said the trans-Atlantic deal, dubbed Privacy Shield, should include clearer limits on how U.S. surveillance agencies conduct bulk collection of personal information for national security purposes to ensure that the accord conforms with EU privacy law.While the group’s …

Hey RAM! How Much RAM do you Need?

I am planning to buy a Redmi Note 3. hould I go for the 2 GB / 16 GB version or the 3 GB/ 32 GB version?”“Ideally, you should go for the 3 GB / 32 GB version. You get more storage…”“The storage is not an issue. It takes a memory card. Does the RAM make a huge difference?”“Well, 3 GB is always better…”“Yes, but my friend has the Moto G (3rd generation) and her husband has the Nexus 5X. Both are running fine with 2 GB RAM. Why should I pay extra for the 3 GB version? Is there a major benefit?”That was a conversation that we had with one of our readers a few days ago. As can be understood, she was having a tough time trying to understand why anyone would recommend a phone with 3 GB RAM above one running 2 GB RAM, when “Google’s own Nexus phone” was running just fine with 2 GB.Indeed, the last two years has seen the RAM (Random Access Memory for the uninitiated) in phones increase dramatically. For a while, it had seemed to stabilise at 2 GB, with devices like the Nexus 4 and 5 deliverin…

Stop scattering chum: Use intent data to catch big fish with your marketing automation platform

Marketing automation software (MAS) is all the rage among B2B marketers. Frost & Sullivan predicted the MAS sector will expand by a whopping 300 percent from 2014 to 2020, growing to $1.9 billion. And a full 63 percent of B2B marketers invest 10 percent to 29 percent of their budgets in marketing automation.The unfortunate downside of all this growth is that marketing automation is simply not as smart as it could be. I don’t mean the concept isn’t a smart one; I mean the platform itself just isn’t smart.Many rely on user-provided keywords and user-defined lead scoring. That’s fine, as long you’ve got a really astute and well-caffeinated administrator for both your MAP (marketing automation platform) and your CRM (customer relationship management) — and I’ll bet you don’t.The MAP data conundrumSo how can you wise up your MAP? The answer is data — but probably not the data you have right now.If you’re a typical B2B company, you’re relying on your CRM and analytics data to fuel your …

7 modern ways to significantly boost blog traffic (that only rookies skip)

The first rule of content marketing is to drive traffic to your blog. From there, the idea is to convert at least some of that traffic into paying customers.The law of averages dictates that the more traffic you have, the more people you’ll convert. More conversions lead to more revenue. More revenue is good. See where I am going with this…That’s why you not only want to grow your traffic, but you want to grow it as quickly as possible to boost your online sales. Here are seven blogging strategies for doing just that.1. Talk about other important bloggersCreate a list of other important bloggers who aren’t competitors. If they’re influential in a space that’s tangential or mildly related to your vertical, make it a point to mention them in your content.For example, if you’re running a search engine optimization (SEO) company, you can mention bloggers who are influential in other aspects of online marketing, such as conversion rate optimization and copywriting. Those people aren’t dire…

MarTech Today: Google battles header bidding, the reborn Facebook Messenger & Hootsuite opens up

Here’s our daily recap of what happened in marketing technology, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.From Marketing Land:Google counters header bidding with exchange bidding for Dynamic Allocation
Apr 13, 2016 by Barry Levine
The tech giant is also opening up its First Look beta to all publishers.Watch Facebook’s CTO take a selfie in virtual reality
Apr 13, 2016 by Tim Peterson
At Facebook’s developer conference, F8, CTO Mike Schroepfer showed what Facebook could look like in virtual reality, including how to share a VR selfie.Facebook talks VR at Facebook F8 keynote
Apr 13, 2016 by Danny Sullivan
Expect discussion about Oculus and virtual reality, as Facebook’s annual developers conference starts its second day.Google takes on clickjacking
Apr 13, 2016 by Ginny Marvin
The company says it discovered the use of clickjacking in its ad network earlier this year and is taking action.WordPress 4.5 now available, adds responsive design previews, faster image loadin…

Facebook users are sharing posts more frequently but liking and commenting less

A new study from analytics firm Rival IQ analyzed more than 9,000 brands on Facebook that included more than 8.1 million posts from 2015 and the 11.5 billion associated interactions. One of the most interesting morsels that came from that mountain of data showed a significant shift in the form of engagement occurring on the network.Of the major post engagement types studies (likes, comments, shares), the only metric that saw a year-over-year increase in 2015 was shares. Share rate across all Page sizes saw a big jump in March and April and leveled off a bit throughout the remainder of the year. Likes and comments, on the other hand, saw YoY decreases and charts that show a downward line of best fit when looking at engagement rates:So why is this happening? There are a few speculations. Facebook has been systemically working since 2014 to decease spam with initiatives geared to curtail Like-baiting. These efforts to remove faux likes/comments/shares have cleaned up news feeds significa…

Is Google testing out green labels for PPC ads?

Google looks to be testing out a new colour of ‘ad’ label for its PPC ads in Europe today.I noticed this tweet in my timeline earlier today, from a user who’d noticed these green ad labels in the UK.Looks like Google is testing green Ads. Anyone else seeing this? #Adwords#ppchttp://pic.twitter.com/bX5YquqGJF— James Whitelock (@jaywhitelock) April 14, 2016It appears to be a European thing, as this user in Sweden is seeing similar results:I’m seeing all green ads in Google today. http://pic.twitter.com/eTQ0OIEjQy— Per Pettersson (@per_p) April 14, 2016At a moment, it appears to be just a chosen few users who are seeing this. Here’s a quick reminder of what the labels usually look like: So why is Google (maybe) going green?First of all, these may just be tests, and we may never see these green labels in common use.Normally, in UX testing, different colours will be tried out to determine which are most effective as calls to action. In this case though, the motives are likely to be differe…

The top 100 most expensive keywords in the UK: new research

Back in the day, around 2003, somebody asked me a question regarding paid search: “Do you know what the most expensive keyword is on Google Adwords, and how much it costs?”I made a bunch of guesses, gradually increasing the amount I thought it might be acceptable to pay every time somebody clicks on an ad. £20? No? £30? Surely not!The grand reveal was that I was horribly wrong, and that some advertisers were paying “about £70 a click” for the term ‘mesothelioma’, which is a type of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. It was immediately apparent that legal firms would spend that kind of money because they were hunting for big ticket compensation lawsuits.Roll forward to the present day and I wondered how things had changed, as Google’s revenues have grown to more than $67bn globally and keyword inflation is a big deal in a lot of sectors.The good folks at SEMrush provided me with a huge list of the most expensive keywords in five countries, and for my first piece of research I…

HTC 10 Confirmed to Come with Snapdragon 820 to India

After weeks and months of hype, teasers and leaks, HTC’s 2016 flagship smartphone, the HTC 10 was unveiled globally earlier this week, but the Indian fans were left disappointed as the Indian part of the website listed a watered down variant of the flagship, called HTC 10 Lifestyle instead of the uber-powerful variant elsewhere. Thankfully, we have now got the confirmation that the Snapdragon 820 powered HTC 10 is coming to India soon.Mr. Faisal Siddiqui, President HTC South Asia has said:We are pleased to announce that global flagship HTC 10 is coming soon to India. Stay tuned for the announcement and the availability date.And HTC India spoke to Technology Personalized to clarify that India will indeed be getting the Snapdragon 820 powered HTC 10 soon, but stopped short of mentioning the possible date of the launch. As per our sources, both HTC 10 and HTC 10 Lifestyle will be coming to India, but we aren’t sure if they will launch together or one after the other.The HTC 10 Lifestyle …

First Impressions: LG K10 and K7

Most of the OEMs ensure that they reserve the best and most appealing designs for their flagships apart from loading them up with the latest and greatest hardware. But what if some of you just wanted the looks of the flagship but some mid-range hardware will just do fine for your usage? We saw Samsung do this with their “A” series though the pricing was almost there in the string distance of their flagships and now LG takes their turn to do something similar, while also ensuring that the price is very affordable. Welcome the “K” series from LG and entering the Indian market will be the duo – K10 and the K7. We have been using the phones for a few days now and here we present our initial impressions of the two very similarly built phones.The first thing you will notice about both the phones is the striking resemblance they have with their big brother – the LG G5. Be it the contour, the rounded edges or the 2.5D curved glass. The K10 is the bigger of the two coming with a 5.3-inch scree…