Acquisio Acquires ClickEquations & Partners With Channel Intelligence» Search Engine LandAcquisio, provider of automated tools for search, display and social advertising, has acquired the ClickEquations search marketing platform from Channel Intelligence, and announced a partnership with that firm. Acquisio plans to integrate some of the search-focused functionality currently available...21.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
On your mark, get set, GOMC!» Googles BlogProfessor registration for the 2012 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) is now open.21.12.
GOMC is a global online marketing competition open to professors and their students in any higher education institution. Professors sign up for the contest and then serve as guides and mentors to their student participants throughout the competition. Over the course of three weeks, student teams are tasked with developing and running a successful online advertising campaign for real businesses or nonprofit organizations using Google AdWords. In the process, they sharpen their advertising, consulting and data analysis skills. (Note: student registration will open on January 31, 2012 and students can only enter if their professors have signed up already and must sign up under their own professors).
After running their online advertising campaign for three weeks, students summarize their experiences in campaign reports, which they submit online. Based on the performance of the campaigns and the quality of the reports, Googlers on the GOMC team and a panel of independent academics select the winning teams.
The global winners and their professor will receive a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The regional winners (and their professor) will win a trip to local Google offices, and the social impact award winners will be able to make donations to nonprofit organizations that were part of the GOMC competition.
Last year’s challenge had 50,000 participants representing 100 countries, and this year we expect even more. For more information, visit www.google.com/onlinechallenge. Professors, here is a chance to help your students sharpen their marketing skills and make a global impact!
Posted by AJ Pascua, GOMC Team
Acquisio Acquire ClickEquations; Partner with Channel Intelligence» Search Engine WatchAcquisio have acquired ClickEquations for an undisclosed sum from Channel Intelligence and struck a strategic alliance which will see Channel Intelligence and Acquisio partnering to make an impact in the ecommerce market for large retailers. Mar...21.12.
The Mother of All End-of-Year Posts for Marketers» Bruce Clay
Audience: SEOs and Internet marketers
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
It’s the end of the year, and you can count on one thing. Or maybe ten things. Or possibly five things. You know, the list of top X – trends, memes, lessons of the past year or year to come.
Yes, content of this variety is entertaining link bait, luring us to laugh, scratch our heads and pass it along. But more importantly, these posts give us pause to evaluate our successes of the past and opportunities for the future, knowledge that ensures next year will be even better than the last.
It’s with that perspective that we bring you the top of the top lists. Just like mom was always teaching you new things, here is the mother of all end-of-the-year posts of interest to online marketers.
Organic Facebook marketing has thus far been tricky, as the standard for post quality is high on a network people consider very personal. Some of the more blatant appeals for attention often fall flat as they’re perceived as too hard-sell. However, 2011 brought on a meme that makes self-promotion on the platform more acceptable. In the spirit of ask and you shall receive, “lms,” short for “like my status,” got people comfortable with requests for like love. Other Facebook memes of the year included planking and DJ Skrillex, and trendy topics on the network included Osama Bin Laden’s death, Charlie Sheen’s wild winning wizardry, and the making of a new princess.
Staying on the pulse of trending topics is a time-tested strategy for putting out content that’s already proven to interest an audience. On Twitter, trends by location and across the globe feature prominently on a user’s home page. Hashtags allow users to classify their comments and are a staple of the vernacular. Both of these characteristics make Twitter an easy service in which to identify and jump on the bandwagon of trending topics. As Twitter looked back on its year, it saw the highest spike of tweets per second in its history, as 9,000 TPS were reporting Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement. Another top TPS-getter was Steve Jobs’ resignation.
If your organization produces video or is thinking of doing some digital dabbling in the coming year, get familiar with the most-watched videos and channels on YouTube. I don’t know that I’d want to admit to taking advice from top video views winner Rebecca Black, but marketers can be proud that an ad made the top 10 list. Volkswagen’s “The Force” commercial has all the makings of viral video gold. A top channel of the year wasExpertVillage, all informative videos answering everyday questions. By sharing your expertise you can build a reputation as helpful and gain leadership standing in online communities.
If you ever hang out in forums, you’ve likely stumbled across some unintentional humor. On Search Engine Roundtable, we find a 2011 roundup of funny forum threads. It’s nice to end the year on a light note, so enjoy the story of a poor kid who can’t get his dad to stop spamming his site. Dads do the darndest things.
Finally, we can close 2011 by looking ahead to the bright, exciting promise of 2012. Bruce’s annual SEO industry predictions will be coming to the SEO Newsletter in the new year, and with his track record, I’m very interested to peer through his crystal ball. For the broader tech industry, we turn to Mashable monarch Pete Cashmore, whose constant contact with digital culture makes him just the man to call out next year’s top tech trends. Of special note to marketers and online business are click-free social sharing, or social gestures, and HTML5. However, all the trends in the list point to a more personal and life-integrated tech experience, with seamless sharing and device interaction.
Bring it on, 2012.
Postscript: All next week we’ll be doing our own end-of-year evaluation of our liveblogging coverage from the eight search and social media marketing conferences the Bruce Clay team attended in 2011. Tuesday through Thursday here on the blog you’ll find the distilled wisdom experts shared across the country on topics including SEO, paid search, local search, social media marketing, content marketing, mobile marketing, branding, apps, conversion.
Preparing For A New Era Of B2B SEO» Search Engine LandThe end of the year is always a time for reflection on all of the work and effort of the previous 12 months. There has been a lot of talk in 2011 about the end of SEO as we know it. But the reality is that there will always be a need for strategy when [...]21.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Test your creativity with our search caption challenge» Googles BlogOur main goal at Google Search is to bring you the most relevant and useful results as quickly as possible. But, we are aware that often that is only part of your task or journey. Sometimes, you need more than simple results. You might want to learn, to discover, to be entertained or get insights.21.12.
Insights can happen when you least expect them. To improve their chances, it's good to try other things, or do things differently once in awhile. As a lifelong fan and connoisseur of New Yorker style cartoons, I always believed in the power of humor not just to entertain but to enlighten. I have tried to connect humor to everything I do (although, I have to admit, not always successfully). The best cartoonists possess great insights, which they illustrate in a clever package that we can consume in seconds and yet remember for years.
With all of this in mind, today we’re connecting Google search and cartoons through a search caption challenge. Cartoon caption contests have a long history dating back at least to the 1930s, as can be seen in this example I found from Ballyhoo magazine. For our modern version, we worked with artists like Matthew Diffee, Emily Flake, Christoph Niemann, Danny Shanahan and Jim Woodring, who created cartoons that place characters in unusual, interesting and funny situations—all with a common twist. In each cartoon, one of the characters is doing a Google search. We've left it to you to imagine what they'd be searching for at that moment, and left the caption blank for you to fill in with your answer.
To participate, go to Inside Search and submit your idea. Your caption will appear on the site, and you can share it with friends via a unique link. You can also vote on your favorite submissions and the most popular will rise to the top.
We hope this game helps you think in a way you wouldn't otherwise, and maybe get some insights. Or just have fun.
Posted by Udi Manber, VP of Engineering and Cartoons
(Cross-posted on the Inside Search blog)
The Infinite Funnel Of Search To Sale» Search Engine Land“And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, [...]21.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
The 10 questions you have to ask every PPC consultant #smb, #smallbiz» Microsoft Advertising Community Blog
Search engine advertising is half science and half art (and a quarter basic arithmetic). It takes a little time to learn and more time to get really good.
In my experience, Microsoft adCenter has an easier learning curve than, ahem, some other online advertising system. In fact, I was able to set up an initial campaign for Turbine in under an hour when I started recruiting beta testers for the site.
But still. Sometimes you just need someone else to take the weight of your shoulders. I used a site called Elance.com to recruit a part-time search engine marketing guru to set up my campaigns and optimise them.
Based on that experience, this is what you should look for when you’re recruiting:
1. Do they talk your language? Literally, do they speak English well enough to write ads and communicate with you? But also are you able to have a sensible business conversation with them without dropping into incomprehensible jargon?
2. Did they read your request for proposals? If you use a site like Elance, you will get proposals based on your initial request (which, of course, will be clear and detailed!). Look for responses that show that they actually read it. Avoid providers who just spam out boilerplate responses.
3. Did they look at your site? Does their initial response show that they actually looked at your site and understand your business? You may pay more for a good provider who does this but it’s generally worth it. (But not always. I had one UK-based company want to charge me £750 a month for managing my campaign but they completely missed the point of Turbine in their proposal. Not very impressive. )
4. Is the effort estimate reasonable? The work will very depending on your campaign and the number of ads and their complexity. But does the total hours per month sound reasonable? This is where even a little bit of personal experience with adCenter helps because you can judge how long it would take you to do the same work.
5. Is the price per hour reasonable? This is a much more basic business question. How much is it worth to have someone else do this for you. An expert may take an hour to do something that might take you three. Similarly, small changes in your campaign can save you a lot of money in wasted clicks. So price per hour isn’t the only factor. However, the price has to be reasonable in proportion to your overall ad spend, the expected value of sales and the cost of your own time. Spending about 10% of your ad budget on a consultant seems about right to me.
6. Who, exactly, is going to do the work? Beware the experienced account manager who closes the deal and then instantly hands you over to the green intern. You should know who is going to do the work and talk to them before you give them the assignment.
7. What reports will they provide? Sure, you can use the website to analyse performance but a good PPC consultant will give you a regular report with information that lets you make sensible business decisions about your campaign. Should we spend more? Target different customers? Push different products? Online advertising is an endlessly evolving experiment and the best results come from testing combined with information.
8. Do they ask sensible questions? Before you start, they should ask you practical business questions about your company and your goals and they should reflect this in the campaign design. If they don’t, you’re going to get a boilerplate campaign that may not meet your needs. As you go on, they should ask for decisions at a business level, giving you the right information to make the choice? For example, spend more or focus on better performing ads with the same budget?
9. Can you talk to other happy customers? Even if their fees are modest, you are giving the consultant the ability to spend your (much larger) advertising budget. You need to get a couple of references before you start.
10. Do they ‘get’ adCenter? You’ll find that most consultants will know all about G…, well you know who I mean. But are the experts on adCenter? You’ll probably want to run a campaign across multiple channels and you need a consultant who understands them all. From my experience, you can get significantly better positions, click-throughs and costs-per-click on adCenter so it’s important not to miss out because your consultants can’t use it.
If you are looking for a Microsoft Accredited Professional have a look at our membership directory. Signing up to adCenter to advertise on Bing is easy and can be done here. If you're new to PPC advertising you may also like this 'back to basic' series: PPC for SMB.
Search engine advertising is half science and half art (and a quarter basic arithmetic). It takes a little time to learn and more time to get really good.
Kantar Media Reports Paid Search Spend Tumbled in 2011 [Study]» Search Engine WatchDespite strong growth in display advertising for the first nine months of 2011, a tumbling market for paid search dragged overall Internet ad spending in the U.S. down 2.9 percent in the third quarter, at least according to a new report from WPP's...21.12.
Should You Do SEO and PPC Together? [Video FAQ Series]» SEO.com
SEO and PPC should be considered children of the same parent: search marketing. Their strategies should be considered together for best results.
There is some debate in the industry if running PPC and SEO can cause cannibalization of traffic; and there have been studies suggest both a positive and a negative result. You should, therefore, monitor both initiatives closely to prevent cannibalization if present.
There are some great benefits however, including:
- Shared keyword data. Data from your PPC campaigns can help you identify your best converting keywords which can be applied to your overall strategy.
- Informed content strategy. As with keyword data, converting content from PPC may also convert well for your SEO campaign.
- More comprehensive ecommerce data. Ecommerce landing pages can also be used in your PPC campaign to move visitors directly the page where they can purchase a product.
Again, if you do run PPC and SEO programs together, monitor them closely to assure positive results from both. Using both programs can enable you to share data between campaigns making both more effective.
US Gov’t Takes Baidu Off The “Notorious Markets” Black List» Search Engine LandChina has historically been the land of copyright and trademark infringement of Western software, goods and other intellectual property — and Chinese websites such as Baidu and Taobao its willing handmaidens. In February of this year the US trade authority named Baidu one of the world’s...21.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
2012 Will Bring Sponsored Ads to Your Web Facebook Feed» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
Get ready for another flood of cries from the wilds of the Internet in 2012 as Facebook introduces sponsored ads to the web version of their users’ news feeds. While many will want to make this sound like it’s the end of the social media world as we know it, it’s not nearly as distracting as it sounds.
Starting in January 2012, Facebook will gradually begin showing Sponsored Stories social ads in the main news feed of the web version of the site, a representative of the company tells us. Facebook hasn’t shown ads in the news feed since 2008, so this has big ramifications for advertisers and the user experience.
The ads will be marked “Sponsored” and a rate limit will ensure users see no more than 1 Sponsored Story in the news feed per day. They’ll only feature stories about friends or Pages that users already like. Users won’t be able to opt out of seeing Sponsored Stories in the news feed or having their activity used in them, but they will be able to ‘x’ out individual ads. The ads won’t immediately appear in the mobile news feed, though Facebook is considering the idea as we discussed earlier this month.
As marketers it is good to be prepared to take advantage of this opportunity. Facebook appears to be doing a slow roll by only showing one ad per day in a feed. Despite that restraint, it is likely that the initial backlash from the Facebook loons who cry foul about the injustice of ads in their free service that has changed their communications with people, will be loud and shrill. If the past is any indicator, however, it will also fade away in short time.
The complainers are already out. Check out a few of the comments from the TechCrunch post.
There are a few dissenting voices who see this as not such a big deal in the comments but most are off in “Facebook is evil / stupid / gonna drop my FB account / This will finally push me to Google+” land.
Of course, Google would love to see everyone have some kind of epiphany to decide that this would be the thing to get them to actually sign up and use Google+ but it won’t. I believe that in the long run Google+ will do just fine not being a Facebook killer but rather a very real alternative for the right kind of consumer. Silly thought isn’t it?
So as a marketer how do feel about these ads appearing for the first time since 2008? Is this something you want to take advantage of? As a user how do you feel about sponsored posts / stories in your feed?
Last question (I promise), is there anything inherently wrong with Facebook looking to make money on its service?
Pilgrim’s Partners: SponsoredReviews.com – Bloggers earn cash, Advertisers build buzz!
Google Retains Default Firefox Search Engine Position, Is Bing Backing Off in the Search Game?» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
Google has retained its deal to be the default search engine in Mozilla’s Firefox browser which is used by over 400 million people. The deal comes after a three week period where the previous deal had expired and there was some concern (especially in Mozilla’s accounting office and board room) as to whether a new deal would be struck.
Well, Mozilla is more than happy to report on their blog
We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.
“Under this multi-year agreement, Google Search will continue to be the default search provider for hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla.
“Mozilla has been a valuable partner to Google over the years and we look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come,” said Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President of Search, Google.
The specific terms of this commercial agreement are subject to traditional confidentiality requirements, and we’re not at liberty to disclose them.
So an obvious question for inquiring search minds is where was Micosoft’s Bing in this opportunity to grab more market share with one fell swoop than could happen just about anywhere else? Well, the Business Insider’s take is that Microsoft may have reached the point where they stop shoveling gobs of shareholder profits into the mouth of the search beast whose hunger could not be met. A dramatic way to say that maybe they are done pissing money away on search.
Last year, Google paid Mozilla about $103 million for the right to be the default search engine.
That’s chump change for Microsoft. Even if the deal was much more expensive this time around as both companies bid up the price, Microsoft blinked first.
Microsoft had no comment, but here’s one possibility: Microsoft has already reached its market share goal with Bing and is tightening the wallet to bring expenses under control.
Some of the evidence they roll out is the fact that Bing has reached its desired 30% of search market share with its Bingahoo set up, it has decreased marketing spend by 25% last quarter (YoY), it is paying lower than market wages to attract talent to Bing and they have let some serious players seek opportunities elsewhere within Microsoft where there may be more for them for the future.
If these reasons are truly the case, and it is speculation of course that they are, then are the search wars over for now?
Maybe the battleground has just shifted from actual competitive activities to the new Microsoft technique of trying to legislate competition by being a driving force of the ridiculous Fair Search movement? If that is the “strategy” that Bing has cooked up then we should all be concerned because in a word, that’s lame.
So what do you think? Is the Bing v Google battle on the wane? Is losing billions of dollars of shareholders’ money wearing on the software giant? Or is it that they are really just a software giant and not an Internet player after all? With cloud services getting the traction they currently are how long will Microsoft have a traditional software business to line the coffers?
Biggest Search Events of 2011 & Predictions for 2012» Search Engine WatchEverybody's been talking about search in 2011, but what were the events that helped to shape the search landscape of the year? We ran a poll on SEOptimise in order to find out. While the biggest search impact of 2011 might not come as much ...21.12.
Googlebot for Smartphones & Some Useful Stats» Search Engine WatchLast week Google announced that Googlebot-Mobile now crawls with a smartphone user-agent in addition to the previous feature phone users-agents. The information crawled will be used in mobile search to improve user experience. The new crawler will...21.12.
Google+ Strategy: 5 Tips to Help Marketers Get Ready for Brand Pages» Search Engine WatchWith 10 million confirmed users of Google+, and comScore reporting there were 20 million visitors to Google’s new social platform during its first 21 weeks of existence, it’s safe to say from a pure numbers perspective that Google+ is ...21.12.
UK #PPC Finance Insights - Economic Meltdown or Conversion Opportunity?» Microsoft Advertising Community Blog
The last few months (or years) have felt, financially speaking, like one of Christian evangelist, Harold Camping’s claims that “we are all doomed”.
Whilst we may do our best to ignore the increasingly disturbing financial news coming in from – well, from everywhere – for several months now, it's becoming harder to ignore, isn't it? It’s difficult to understand and every other news story seems to open with apocalyptic proclamations about the state of Europe’s finances, the global economy or our ever dwindling expendable cash. The bewilderment of the economics correspondents is frightening to watch.
It has probably never been less clear what normal individuals should do with their money and by the same token, what those in the finance sector should do to allay their fears. What is the best way to manage our search accounts in these difficult times?
Whilst the recent banking crisis has highlighted some flaws in the practices on which the economy was built, we can still learn a few things from them in regard to the management of our search accounts.
In tough times, it is best practice to minimise your risk. Modern portfolio theory (MPT) is a theory of investment which attempts to maximise portfolio expected return or equivalently minimize risk for a given level of expected return, by carefully choosing the proportions of investment of various assets.
In other words, you increase the chance of improved return on investment, while minimising your risks if you advertise your full portfolio of financial products, and optimising dependent on performance.
Green shoots in Search: Mortgage and Saving Accounts
Recent forecasting suggests that rates on savings are to remain depressed and property prices are forecast to fall. But that’s not to say that interest in those areas is dwindling.
Despite all the doom and gloom, there are some surprising areas of growth in Search advertising. The most financially astute action for individuals is to accelerate the repayment of their mortgages or move to a better deal. Economic turmoil has lead customers to think more about their savings options, with searches up 3% year on year.
Therefore, it makes sense to optimise your mortgage and Savings accounts to ensure that your ad copy has the latest and best rates advertised to capitalise on this traffic. Updating your creatives with your brands unique selling points, latest products and prices helps influence a searcher decision but building trust is also paramount. Ill feeling against the finance industry is at its highest since the great depression and using keyword like “official” helps build an element of trust between you and your potential customer.
It’s not just lending and savings rates that are driving these queries but also additional fees. In the past British consumers were considered more likely to get divorced than to change their banks, but all this is changing too. We are looking for better deal and with many banks charging a fee for their services, they are searching a number of choices before making an informed decision.
‘24% YOY increase in loan related traffic with payday loans showing the most significant rise’
Credit cards and loan accounts are seeing increased interests from a number of fronts. That’s not entirely surprising. "Stressed borrowing" is on the increase, "with more people having to borrow to help finance their spending as a consequence of the extended squeeze on their purchasing power from elevated inflation, low wage growth and tighter fiscal policy. In addition, job losses are rising".
33% of all financial searches are made for loans. Loan based products account for five out of ten of the most searched for personal finance products. On adCenter we have seen a 24% Year on year increase in loan related traffic, with payday loans seeing the most significant rise.
Conversely, there has also been an increase in loan related traffic from those looking to pay off their debt. The financial term is deleveradging, which relates to the fact that it makes more financial sense to pay off debt than to save, and loan and credit card providers advertising the best terms and conditions seeing the best conversions as a result.
January is also a peak month for Loan search traffic, after the expense of Christmas and therefore it is important that all Loan accounts are optimised before the traffic starts rolling in, taking into account those who are in financial difficulty, as well as those interested in paying off debts.
Insuring everything will be OK: home insurance searches on the rise
I’ve already spoken about minimising risk and in these tough times many are insuring themselves should the worst happen.
One sad statistic to come out during the recession is the 14% rise in burglary in England and Wales, with direct correlation between recession and spikes in burglary. In conjunction with the riots that took place all over the UK, and this year’s unpredictable weather, home insurance traffic increased 14% Year on year.
Spread your risk, increase your ROI.
Wait! Come back out of the nuclear bunker, take the tin foil hat off your head - all is not lost. Whilst the mainstream media may paint a very bleak picture of the current economic outlook, nearly all finance sub-verticals are seeing increased interest – and in some cases for not so obvious reasons.
In order to minimise risk with your finance search accounts, you need to ensure that you are optimising all accounts to show the best rates and deals and if necessary move budget from accounts that aren’t performing well to those which are far more buoyant.
Mick Hucknell was right when he said that “Money’s too tight to mention”, but it doesn’t mean that the public isn’t thinking about it every day and make the necessary changes to balance their budgets. They are searching for new deals and new products – are your search accounts ready to turn them from a searcher into a converting customer?
How I Got The Attention of One of the Top SEO Bloggers With Diet Coke» SEOmoz Blog
Posted by Sparkplug Digital
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
We've all heard stories about companies who do remarkable things for their customers that results in people talking about them. These examples include the Nordstrom's employee who accepted a return for tires, Zappos providing surprise overnight shipping, or Gary Vaynerchuk sending a Mark Sanchez jersey to a customer, even though he sells wine. Delighting customers with unexpected acts of kindness doesn't have a directly measurable ROI, but often times it leads to loyal customers and evangelists who spread a story.
I recently learned that doing remarkable and unexpected things can also get the attention of the linkerati and lead to social media mentions and even a link on one of the most popular internet marketing blogs. And all it took was Twitter and Diet Coke.
It was 9am on a Tuesday and I was getting settled into work when I decided to check Twitter. I noticed the following Tweet from one of my favorite internet marketing bloggers:
"Hmmm." I thought. "Wouldn't it be funny if someone actually delivered some Diet Coke to Ian". After a few moments of wondering how something like that would be received, I decided to do it and find out. I have been a fan of Ian Lurie's Conversation Marketing blog for years and thought it would be fun and unexpected.
I drove to the grocery store, picked up two 12 packs of Diet Coke, and went to the Portent Interactive office which happened to be 15 minutes away from my location. I walked into their entrance and was suddenly in front of several desks of Portent employees. I walked up to the first desk and told an employee that I noticed on Twitter that they were out of Diet Coke. Fortunately they pretty quickly realized it was for Ian and accepted the boxes.
I drove off laughing because I thought this was probably one of the most random things I have ever done. Within minutes I saw Ian Lurie's Tweet.
When I got back to my desk I read an email from Ian stating that I had definitely earned a link and it was one of the most brilliant displays of social media marketing he had ever seen. Later that night Ian published a post titled How Social Media Works on Conversation Marketing. I had just earned a link to my company's website from one of the most popular marketing blogs which has a domain authority of 70 and links from 1,674 domains according to SEOMoz.
Soon people I admire in the SEO community like Dr. Pete from User Effect were Tweeting about it and even Rand Fishkin noticed.
I never expected all of this to happen simply from helping someone on Twitter, but it makes perfect sense. I must have subconsciously channeled years of reading books like Seth Godin's Purple Cow about the importance of being remarkable. It really does work, in both off-line and online marketing if executed well. Here are some of my top takeaways from the experience.
Help Others Without Expectation of Reciprocation
When you help others with no expectation of receiving something back in return, good things tend to happen. People are naturally compelled to reciprocate when they have been helped, like telling their friends why they should do business with you or linking to your site. Even if you don't get a link at least you will be happier. According to a studies, people get a stronger boost in happiness from helping others rather than helping themselves.
Keep An Eye Out for Opportunities to Be Helpful in Social Media
If someone talks about a problem they are having in social media, look for ways that you can help. People frequently talk about things they need help with or problems they are having. If you are proactive and go out of your way to help them, it will almost always be appreciated. I use Tweetdeck to organize people into lists to focus on Tweets from the most relevant people.
Do Something Totally Unexpected
One secret to delighting customers is to do something nice for them that they don't expect. This makes it remarkable and worth talking about. This requires some creativity but there are several good examples for inspiration like the Southwest rapping flight attendant or Kimpton Hotels' response to a customer's request for a bed full of puppies and bathtub full of Reese's Pieces.
Keep your eyes open for opportunities to do remarkable and generous things for your customers, community, and linkerati and you might give them a story worth sharing.
5 Insightful Google Analytics Dashboards» YOUmoz
Posted by Eugen Oprea
With the new features that are released every month, Google Analytics becomes a more powerful tool for tracking conversion rates, engaged visitors, content performance and much more. Along with these new features, you can also find the ability to customize and add up to 20 dashboards to your Google Analytics account. However, I suspect that you've already tried to build your own custom dashboards and ended up staring at your screen without knowing where to start. In this article I will show you how to get started building your own dashboards and five examples of dashboards that you can implement right now on your account.
First there is one thing that I want to make clear and that's the fact that every businesses unique. My data is different than your data and even if my dashboards work for me, they might not work for your particular business. That is why I would recommend you to use my examples as starting points, to get started with building dashboards and then build your own dashboards that are customized for your business objectives and goals.
In order to be able to create you own dashboards you need to dive more into Google Analytics; you need to check you account and analyze your data. See what's working for you, what's not working and create a routine of checking your data. Then you will be able to look at dashboards and start creating your first dashboard based on your past activity. In time, you will see that instead of spending at least 10 minutes every day to check your reports, you will get the same insights by looking at your dashboards in less than one minute. Look at the reports you check every day and try to get the same insights from the dashboards you create.
Now that you know how to get started and what you need to do to discover what dashboards you will be creating, let's have a look at some examples I use daily.
1. Basic Dashboard
The first dashboard tells you at a glance how your site is performing in therms of visitors, how many times the visitors have completed your goals, what are your conversion rates, what content gets the most visits and who sends traffic to your website.
You can achieve this by adding widgets to your dashboard. They can be:
- Metrics: Display the exact value of a selected metric
- Pie Charts: Break down selected metrics by specific dimensions
- Timelines: Add a graph of one metric or two metrics compared over a selected period of time
- Tables: Display a maximum of 10 rows with data from two metrics for a specific dimension
When creating widgets you get to choose what metrics and dimensions you will be using, if you want to filter data from that widget, a title for your widget and also you can link it to a report if you would like to do that.
Back to the Basic Dashboard. It contains four metric widgets that provide you the total number of visitors that visited your site in a specific time period as well as information about how many of them converted as Engaged Visitors, Readers or Subscribers to the newsletter.
Next, you might want to check the top performing articles and how the bounce rate evolves for them.
Finally, you will interested to know how your traffic is broken down and what are the main sources that send you visitors so you can keep the level between organic, referrals, direct and campaigns traffic balanced.
2. Conversion Tracking Dashboard
Once you check the overviews, it's time to dive more into data and check specifics for each section. The most important details for you should be conversion rates and details about how visitors convert in engaged visitors, readers and subscribers over different periods of time. And not only the conversion rates, but also the numbers of visitors that converted, so you can keep tabs on how your content engages visitors and how your subscribers list grows.
For this example I have used metric and timeline widgets to show the data that you will need to look at.
3. Event Tracking Dashboard
Next, if you do not use event tracking already, you should look at its benefits and try to implement it. This example might be tailored just for me, because I use event tracking to see how many visitors click on my ads and which signup form they use to subscribe to newsletter. I consider it insightful because it helps me see how each of them performs. That is why I use pie charts to see how each of them performs compared to each other.
Based on those percentages I will be able to choose what kind of ads to display on my sidebar, their position, see who checks my social media profile, who gets on my RSS feed or what signup form performs best and gives me more subscribers.
4. Traffic Overview Dashboard
One really important element for any website is traffic and that's the reason why understanding who sends you traffic is gold.
This dashboard lets you see how well balanced your traffic is, what are the main sources that send you traffic and what keywords visitors use to get on your site. A good balance for your site should be around 50% organic traffic, 25% referral traffic, 20% direct traffic and 5% campaigns and other sources. The reason why I am saying this is because if you focus to get only one type of traffic you might end up with no traffic at all one day. Say for example that Google changes its algorithm. What will you do if your traffic is 80% from Google? You will loose 80% of your business. The same applies for referrals, which might remove the links to your site and direct traffic, which are returning visitors who will definitely not purchase your product multiple times.
Next, it's important to look at your main sources of traffic and see if you get any new entries in that list.
Also important is the organic traffic and the main keywords that people use to reach your website. This data is really helpful because you can use it to better optimize the landing pages and get higher rankings in search engines.
While we are still here, you should also add as a secondary metric, the conversion rate in the tables so you can see not only who sends you traffic, but also who sends you traffic that converts, which is a lot more valuable if you sell products and services.
In case you sell advertising and you are paid for page views, you will be fine with just traffic for now.
5. Visitors Behavior Dashboard
Finally, you need to look at your visitors and see how engaged they are with your site.
The Visitors Behavior dashboard will help you see the recency of your visitors, how many days passed since they last visited, what is the percentage of new vs returning visitors and how frequent they visit your site. Additionally, you can also add there one of your goals and track goal completions or conversion rates.
One action that you should take after looking at this data is to create advanced segments for visitors that come back frequently and repeatedly and analyze their behavior (where they come from, what pages they visit, what is the bounce rate for those pages). Use those insights to make changes on your website and try to convert more visitors to come back to your website more frequently and repeatedly.
What about you?
What dashboards have you created so far? If you haven't done that already, what stops you?
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
FedEx Driver Trashes Computer Monitor & Reputation: How Should FedEx Respond?» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
If you’ve not yet seen this YouTube video of the FedEx delivery driver throwing a shopper’s new LCD monitor over a fence, then let’s get you up to speed.
Did your jaw drop? Mine did! You can read the back story here.
The question I have for you is, how should FedEx respond to this reputation damaging incident? I’ve listed a few ideas below, but leave a comment with your thoughts.
- Fly the poor guy out to FedEx headquarters–on a FedEx plane–to receive a personal apology from the CEO and receive a new LCD TV.
- An apology from the FedEx worker responsible, perhaps with an offer to come and personally set up the new monitor.
- Bonus Idea: UPS should jump on this and send the guy a new LCD monitor, together with the message, “When It Absolutely, Positively Has to Get There….In One Piece.”
OK, over to you. What advice do you have for FedEx?
UPDATE: For those questioning, no, it’s not a hoax. Tweets from FedEx…
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Dear Congress: It’s Not OK Not To Know How Search Engines Work, Either» Search Engine LandDid watching elected representatives debate SOPA last week without understanding some fundamentals of the internet rattle your nerves? Welcome to my world of watching the same thing happen about Google and search. In September, the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust,...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Website user research and testing on the cheap» Google Webmaster CentralWebmaster level: Intermediate20.12.
As the team responsible for tens of thousands of Google’s informational web pages, the Webmaster Team is here to offer tips and advice based on their experiences as hands-on webmasters.
If you’ve never tested or analyzed usage of your website, ask yourself if you really know whether your site is useful for your target audience. If you’re unsure, why not find out? For example, did you know that on average users scroll down 5.9 times as often as they scroll up, meaning that often once page content is scrolled past, it is “lost?”(See Jakob Nielsen’s findings on scrolling, where he advises that users don’t mind scrolling, but within limits.)
Also, check your analytics—are you curious about high bounce rates from any of your pages, or very short time-on-page metrics?
First, think about your user
The start of a web project—whether it’s completely new or a revamp of an existing site—is a great time to ask questions like:
- How might users access your site—home, office, on-the-go?
- How tech-savvy are your visitors?
- How familiar are users with the subject matter of your website?
The answers to some of these questions can be valuable when making initial design decisions.
For instance, if the user is likely to be on the road, they might be short on time to find the information they need from your site, or be in a distracting environment and have a slow data connection—so a simple layout with single purpose would work best. Additionally, if you’re providing content for a less technical audience, make sure it’s not too difficult to access content—animation might provide a “wow” factor, but only if your user appreciates it and it’s not too difficult to get to the content.
Even without testing, building a basic user profile (or “persona”) can help shape your designs for the benefit of the user—this doesn’t have to be an exhaustive biography, but just some basic considerations of your user’s behavior patterns.
Testing doesn’t have to be a costly operation – friends and family can be a great resource. Some pointers:
- Sample size: Just five people can be a large enough number of users to find common problems in your layouts and navigation (see Jakob Nielsen’s article on why using a small sample size is sufficient).
- Choosing your testers: A range of different technical ability can be useful, but be sure to only focus on trends—for example, if more than 50% of your testers have the same usability issue, it’s likely a real problem—rather than individual issues encountered.
- Testing location: If possible, visit the user in their home and watch how they use the site—observe how he/she normally navigates the web when relaxed and in their natural environment. Remote testing is also a possibility if you can’t make it in person—we’ve heard that Google+ hangouts can be used effectively for this (find out more about using Google+ hangouts).
- How to test: Based on your site’s goals, define 4 or 5 simple tasks to do on your website, and let the user try to complete the tasks. Ask your testers to speak aloud so you can better understand their experiences and thought processes.
- What to test: Basic prototypes in clickable image or document format (for example, PDF) or HTML can be used to test the basic interactions, without having to build out a full site for testing. This way, you can test out different options for navigation and layouts to see how they perform before implementing them.
- What not to test: Focus on functionality rather than graphic design elements; viewpoints are often subjective. You would only get useful feedback on design from quantitative testing with large (200+) numbers of users (unless, for example, the colors you use on your site make the content unreadable, which would be good feedback!). One format for getting some useful feedback on the design can be to offer 5-6 descriptive keywords and ask your user to choose the most representative ones.
In case still you’re wondering whether it’s really worth research and testing, here are a few simple things we confirmed from actual users that we wouldn’t have known if we hadn’t sat with actual users and watched them use our pages, or analyzed our web traffic.
Wireframe of layout tested, showing “zipped”
content on the bottom left
Final page design showing anchor links in the top
and content laid out in the main body of the page
- Check your language: Headings, link and button text are what catches the user’s eye the most when scanning the page. Avoid using “Learn more…” in link text—users seem averse to clicking on a link which implies they will need to learn something. Instead, just try to use a literal description of what content the user will get behind the link—and make sure link text makes sense and is easy to understand out of context, because that is often how it will be scanned. Be mindful about language and try to make button text descriptive, inviting and interesting.
- Test pages on a slower connection: Try out your pages using different networks (for example, try browsing your website using the wifi at your local coffee shop or a friend’s house), especially if your target users are likely to be viewing your pages from a home connection that’s not as fast as your office network. We found a considerable improvement in CTR and time-on-site metrics in some cases when we made scripted animations much simpler and faster (hint: use Google’s Page Speed Online to check performance if you don’t have access to a slower Internet connection).
We’d love to hear from you in the comments: have you tried out website usability testing? If so, how did you get on, and what are your favorite simple and low-cost tricks to get the most out of it?
- How might users access your site—home, office, on-the-go?
One more present under the tree—custom video messages from Santa» Googles BlogLast Friday Santa opened up the Ho Ho Hotline and teamed up with Gmail to send personalized holiday phone calls to anyone you know who has been nice (or naughty, for that matter) in the U.S. or Canada. In just a few days Santa has made hundreds of thousands of calls to your friends, family and loved ones, and received many a message from you at his Google Voice number (855-34-SANTA).20.12.
Santa has one more surprise in store. Starting today, anyone in the world can create and send a personalized cartoon video message (in English only) from Santa to anyone you know, anywhere in the world, and share them through email and Google+. Watch our sample video below and create your own at SendaCallFromSanta.com.
The Gmail team wishes you a happy holiday!
Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Product Marketing Manager
(Cross-posted from the Gmail blog)
SearchCap: The Day In Search, December 20, 2011» Search Engine LandBelow is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: RIAA Scolds Google, Wants Search Algorithm Changed To Fight Online Piracy Saying that Google has a “special responsibility” to fight copyright...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Facebook Sponsored Stories Coming to the News Feed» Search Engine WatchFacebook is preparing to roll out Sponsored Stories in the news feed. The ads will roll out gradually beginning in January, allowing brands to reach users whose friends have interacted with their pages - for instance with a like, a comment, or ano...20.12.
Get Your Social Media House In Order For 2012» SEO.com
2011 was a big year for social media. We saw continued growth of sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as the introduction of Google+. Many businesses continued the adoption of using social media as part of their marketing strategies, and now we are seeing the the early stages of what the social graph in search results within Google and Bing look like.
2012 will be undoubtedly be another year of huge growth in social media, and if you have not embraced it in your business, or if you dipped your toes in the water and gave up, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get moving in the right direction.
Here are a few ideas to ponder as you get ready for 2012.
Invest A Proper Amount Of Time – Don't Short Change Your Efforts:
The biggest investment you will make into your social media efforts is TIME. Stop looking for the easy button when it comes to social media… there isn't one. You MUST put the time in to achieve the results you want. PERIOD!
Create Your Goals – Achieve Your Goals:
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so go into social media with a roadmap, and plan on how to achieve your goal. Do you want more followers, leads, sales, site visits, white paper downloads, likes, replies or newsletter signups? No matter what the goals are, if you do not plan for them now, you will lose your way and find yourself not getting what you want out of social media, and possibly giving up on it altogether. Sure, you may find yourself adjusting your goals along the way, and that is OK… but start somewhere.
Create A Content Calendar – Plan Your Content In Advance:
Set up a calendar and plan your content. Each month decide what type of content you will be posting. Will you be blogging, if so how many times per week? How will you engage your audience, will you maybe run a contest on your Facebook page, how about a poll, or a question of the day? How about creating a video each week? Does your company have a particular marketing message for the year that you should sync up with? In the end you want to create content that people will engage with, share with their friends, and provide value to all involved.
Side note: Keep in mind that people do not care to be advertised to… so use the simple 80/20 rule. Talk/share interesting things, or engage your audience 80% of the time, and talk about yourself (self promotion (20%) of the time.
Track And Measure Your Posts:
If you use Google Analytics on your site, use the Google Analytics URL builder tool and create campaigns. Track all links going to your site from all the social networks you post on. You can test what social sites work best, what time of day is best to post, and what type of content resonates best with your audience. Obviously you will be able to track ROI of your efforts here as well. Everything has some sort of value, whether it is a lead, a fan or follower, or an actual sale, you can attribute a dollar amount to almost any action on your website. Make your time investment in social media pay for itself!
The Best Social Media Tool Is You:
While I was at SMX in Arizona earlier this month, there were many presentations on different tools you can use for social media. Anything from automation, to tracking and engagement tools… but at the end of the day, we all agreed that the best tool is you. You, as in THE HUMAN ELEMENT. At the end of the day, I am not a fan of automation for the sake of automation. But, if you choose to automate anything, just be sure you are available to answer any replies people may leave. No one likes to follow an account that does not reply or engage.
In future posts I will break down each one of these ideas into more detail, as well as have additional information, as these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg to get you thinking about social media in 2012 and beyond.
Please leave your comments below as I would love to hear from you. And if there is anything in particular you would like me to cover in future posts about social media marketing, please leave those in the comments as well.
Until next time… Doc
Video Ads Increase In Spite of Measurement Concerns» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
The numbers come from Break Media’s “Digital Video Advertising Trends: 2012? report and overall, it shows that video advertising is on the rise. Mobile shows the most growth going from use in 39% of video ads in 2011 to an anticipated 55% in 2012.
In order to pay for the increase in video spending, 45% of advertisers are taking the money out of the online display budget while 38% expect an increase in their overall ad budget to cover the difference.
So all this confidence must come with a big reward, right? Could be, say the video advertisers, if only we had a way of measuring our success!
39% of respondents said they measure click-throughs and 38% measured actual product sales. Visits to a brand website and brand recall were also noted but in general advertisers are frustrated with the current measurement options.
Nearly half of all respondents said ROI was hard to measure and 35% said they could measure it but there wasn’t a big enough return. Interesting. We can’t verify the results and we aren’t happy with the results we can verify but we’re going to spend more next year anyway because it’s the thing to do. Sounds kinda like social media spending, doesn’t it?
The reality is, it’s a whole new marketing world. We’ve gone way beyond Whack-a-Mole banners and that’s a good thing, even if we can’t measure individual results. What you can measure is your profit margin. If your company is making more money this year than it made last year, you’re doing something right. If that something is Facebook, mobile apps, or video advertising, keep doing it and do some more. You may not be able to tell exactly which ad influenced a sale, but if the accountants are happy then you’re doing a great job.
Be the CEO of More Than Just Your Job» SEOmoz Blog
Posted by randfish
Almost two years ago, Brad Feld put up an excellent blog post called "Be the CEO of Your Job" based on an interview with Mark Pincus of Zynga by the NYTimes. I loved the concept and have tried to apply it even since before I had a name for the attitude of independence that great companies tend to grant their team. From Brad's article:
Pause and ponder the idea. Assuming you are in an entrepreneurial organization, are you being the CEO of your job? Is this culturally (and functionally) acceptable? Do you get rewarded for taking risks and succeeding (or failing) like your CEO does? If not, would you be more effective if you did?
Now, if you are the CEO of an entrepreneurial organization, do you encourage everyone in the company to be CEO of their job? Is this culturally (and functionally) acceptable? Do they get rewarded for taking risks and succeeding (or failing) like you do? If not, would they be more effective if they did?
At the Mozplex, "CEO of Your Job" has come up in a few exec meetings and several hiring discussions, too. When it does, it's always as a positive quality we're seeking, e.g. "How can we empower so-and-so to be CEO of their job?" meaning "How do we remove restrictions (imagined or real) so that so-and-so can work on this independently, execute and take pride in that accomplishment?"
But in the last few weeks, I realized that there's a nuance to the logic behind being "CEO of your job" that can cause strife and frustration if it's not well-understood by the entire team. Here's an illustration that (hopefully) says the thousand words I'd rather not type:
Owning your job is awesome. Empowering people to make decisions on their own and giving them flexibility is, too. But a danger arises when multiple people or teams are being CEOs of their job to the exclusion of the larger organization. This can happen at two-person startups or huge enterprises equally. Heck, I'm guilty of it myself! I get passionate about a particular aspect of the business at Moz (for example, this blog), and overinvest my own time in it, along with those of folks I manage or influence (which is quite a good number at this point). That pulls resources off other mission-critical projects and, potentially, hurts the company's ability to accomplish all those things that desperately need doing.
Mike King recently dropped by Seattle for our mini-Mozcation/charity bake sale (he gave a killer presentation called "What Being an Indie Rapper Taught Me About SEO"). On our walk to dinner after the event, I mentioned to him that it embarrassed me to say that, in the past few years, I've knowingly prioritized projects over SEO, social media or other inbound marketing efforts during our roadmap meetings at Moz. I know.... I complained for years about how the companies I advised as a consultant didn't put SEO first, and then, when I have the power to change things at my own organization, I put other projects first. I'm a hypocrite!
But, I'm also responsible for the success of the whole business, and sometimes that means stepping away from being CEO of just your job to seeing the bigger picture and knowing when your projects deserve to be on the backburner or even when something you're working on needs to be scrapped entirely in favor of a new direction or wholly new task. Autonomy and freedom to kick ass at your work is a great power, but also a great responsibility. If you put your job CEO-dom ahead of the broader goals, things can get messy.
p.s. Hopefully, this post can also help in-house, agency and consultant marketers who get frustrated with executives for not pushing through their agendas with the speed or passion we'd put behind it. Sometimes, especially if resource allocation is a roadblock, it might actually be the right decision (rarely, though). :-)
Study Shows ‘Social Influence’ Is Really Only ‘Social Selection’» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
I like a TV show, I “check-in” on Get Glue, that sends a message to my Facebook friends telling them I like this show. My friends then decide they should watch this show because if I like it, they’ll like it. They have been influenced by my suggestion.
Kevin Lewis, a Harvard sociology graduate student, co-authored a study about peer influence on social media networks. Speaking to Wired, Lewis stated that the results showed that “the extent to which friends’ preferences actually rub off on each other is minimal.”
The study followed 1,600 college students on Facebook, but eventually drew on the activities of 200 for the results. What they found was that many of the online friends shared an interest in the same books, movies or music. But their shared interests weren’t the result of peer influence, it was the reason people became friends in the first place.
Marketing Pilgrim’s Social Channel is proudly sponsored by Full Sail University, where you can earn your Masters of Science Degree in Internet Marketing in less than 2 years. Visit FullSail.edu for more information.
I’m a big fan of the show Supernatural. Many of my social media friends are fans, too. Why? Not because I brought them to the show, but because we came together on this common ground.
Does that mean peer influence doesn’t exist? In my case, I have one friend who came to be a fan of the show because I suggested it to her. That’s 1 in 50. Not great odds if you’re putting money into a social media sharing campaign, but it’s something.
Facebook recently got in trouble for those adds that show which of your friends “like” a brand, making it appear as if that person is actually endorsing the product. They obviously believe in the power of social influence and they’re going to court to defend it.
If the Harvard Study is right and “peer influence is virtually nonexistent,” that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the social media towel. All it means is that you may need to adjust your thinking. Instead of pushing to bring new lambs into the fold, sell to the ones you already have corralled.
RIAA Scolds Google, Wants Search Algorithm Changed To Fight Online Piracy» Search Engine LandSaying that Google has a “special responsibility” to fight copyright infringement, the RIAA has issued a report card that scolds Google for not following through on promises to fight piracy. In a report card issued Monday, the RIAA takes a look back at four promises that Google made...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
SPONSOR MESSAGE: Building Analytics Strength For Digital Dominance» Search Engine LandHow Under Armour Outscores The Competition This webcast and guide discuss: Five steps to build an online marketing roadmap How Under Armour engages visitors with customized content Syncing dynamic messages across online channels Download Now!20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
US Senators Ask FTC to Launch Formal Anti-trust Investigation into Google» Search Engine WatchTwo US senators have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch a formal anti-trust investigation into Google. Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee have written to the FTC (PDF) about their fears that Google could be abusing its dominant posi...20.12.
Google, Mozilla Renew Firefox Search Deal For 3 More Years» Search Engine LandGoogle and Mozilla have struck a deal that renews their agreement making Google the default search engine in Firefox browsers. No financial terms were announced, but Mozilla’s blog post says the agreement extends the companies’ agreement “for at least three additional...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Why You Need Google+ Business Pages For Online Reputation Management» Search Engine LandOnline reputation management is an important sector of the Internet marketing industry. At SEO Inc. we have been doing online reputation management since the service was invented, so we have really seen it all. Perhaps one of the most important values to have in order to be successful in this field...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
AskAMEE Web Search & Computational Engine Hybrid Helps You Go Green» Search Engine WatchThe AMEE global environmental intelligence platform is expanding into user-facing apps, including a new hybrid web engine that helps you track down information and get concrete calculations on your carbon footprint. The AskAMEE Engine AskAMEE ...20.12.
Last Minute Tips and Happy Holidays from Everyone at Microsoft Advertising!» Microsoft Advertising Community BlogReading blog posts is probably not top of mind amidst all the party planning, travel arrangements and last minute shopping going on this week, so you won’t see much in the way of updates here on the adCenter blog until next week, though the forums and Twitter will still be monitored through Friday. For those of you out there who’re looking for some zero hour insights to help with your holiday season PPC campaigns: check out all the great tips and advice under the “holiday and seasonal”...(read more)20.12.
Want To Speak @ SMX West? Here’s How» Search Engine LandThe agenda is live, and we’re now accepting submissions to speak at SMX West 2012, San Jose, CA on February 28-March 1. To increase the odds of being selected, be sure to read the agenda. Understand what the sessions are about. Ensure that your pitch is on target to the show’s audience and the...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Audience Messaging Launches!» Microsoft Advertising Community Blog
It’s with great excitement that Atlas officially launched Audience Messaging at the beginning of December. Audience Messaging is a brand new solution in the Media Console that enables real-time decision-making to deliver the most relevant messages to your audience.
Over the past year, we’ve been working with clients participating in the beta to continue to unlock features and capabilities for Audience Messaging, and we’ve already seen some great results that we hope to share soon.
At the very base of the solution, we’ve brought all of our long-standing targeting capabilities directly into the Media Console in a brand new, simple-to-use interface. These existing capabilities include standard audience criteria like action tag remessaging, geo location, browser type, and more. But on top of the new workflow and integration with the Media Add-in, we’ve also built additional features that are true differentiators in the marketplace. For starters, we’ve added extensive controls and flexibility for managing audiences, allowing clients to:
- Define an audience based on multiple criteria
- Place frequency caps for increased controls on the creative, placement/ad, and audience levels
- Copy audiences to make adjustments, or retain base audiences to build upon
- Share audiences to other advertisers to more closely manage messaging across campaigns
- Set priority levels on the messaging for audiences per media placement
- Assign ad weighting to messages
All of these features are designed to allow for complex messaging strategies, ensuring you have the right levers to maximize media effectiveness and optimize for consumer relevancy.
We’ve also introduced brand new audience criteria with Audience Messaging’s ProfilePlus. ProfilePlus allows Atlas clients to leverage Microsoft Audience Intelligence data for creating segments to use in their audiences across all their publishers and campaigns. Previously only available through Microsoft media buys, you can now add Microsoft Age and Gender profile data, as well as Search Remessaging* data to your audiences to use across Atlas campaigns. The addition of Microsoft data provides unique richness to your audiences that will augment relevancy for delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.
Increasingly, we’re seeing audience data being directly managed and controlled by the agency and advertiser, and Audience Messaging enables Atlas clients to more closely manage their audiences holistically. The launch of Audience Messaging represents a big milestone for Atlas, and is the first step towards bringing more audience-focused solutions to our clients.
To learn more and get started with Audience Messaging, contact your Atlas representative.
*Search Remessaging is only available in the U.S. at this time.
Got Opinion but No Camera? Illustrate Your Point of View with Xtranormal» Search Engine WatchCan you create a YouTube video to influence public opinion without a video camera? Well, four new animated videos use Xtranormal Movie Maker, which lets you to turn anything you type into a fully-animated CG movie, to promote a point of view. Fo...20.12.
What were we watching this year? Let’s rewind 2011.» Googles BlogOne hundred years into the future, when our great-grandkids look back to what was capturing the world’s imagination on YouTube in 2011, what will they make of us? Will they still be delighted by babbling babies? Will they still be “so excited” about the weekend? And will they be any closer to understanding the mystery of the space-traveling toaster pastry cat?20.12.
Check out YouTube.com/Rewind for a timeline of this year's most popular videos and events and to see what the world watched in 2011.
Today, we rewind through the videos and channels that absorbed our collective global attention this year. To compile these lists, we looked at global view counts of popular videos uploaded throughout this year, and, in some instances, we aggregated views across multiple versions of the same video. 2011 was a year of amazing new channels and new stars being discovered, awesome creativity, and of course, Rebecca Black. It was also a year of powerful news stories playing out on YouTube, as people witnessed and documented uprisings and natural disasters, touching personal moments and moments of protest.
In total, there were more than 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) playbacks on YouTube this year (yep, count ‘em, 12 zeroes). That’s about 140 views for every person on the earth. More than twice as many stars as in the Milky Way. And if I had a penny for every … OK, you get my drift, it’s a big number.
So to all of you who picked up a guitar and sang a love song, held your camera phone high above a protesting crowd, danced along to “Friday” or just forgot the webcam was on, thank you. You make YouTube what it is, and we can’t wait to hear your stories next year.
Without further ado, your most-viewed videos of 2011.
Most-viewed YouTube videos globally (excluding videos from major music labels)
- Rebecca Black - Friday (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
- Ultimate Dog Tease
- Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton)
- Talking Twin Babies - PART 2 - OFFICIAL VIDEO
- Nyan Cat [original]
- Look At Me Now - Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes (Cover by @KarminMusic)
- The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj & John Waters)
- Maria Aragon - Born This Way (Cover) by Lady Gaga
- The Force: Volkswagen Commercial
- Cat mom hugs baby kitten
- Jennifer Lopez - On The Floor ft. Pitbull
- LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock
- Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [Official Video]
- Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
- Pitbull - Give Me Everything ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer
- Pitbull - Rain Over Me ft. Marc Anthony
- Jessie J - Price Tag ft. B.o.B.
- LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
- Katy Perry - E.T. ft. Kanye West
- Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
- Zach Wahls Speaks About Family was the most-watched political video
- Japan Earthquake: Helicopter aerial view video of giant tsunami waves was the most-watched news video
- 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes! was the most watched “how-to” video
- iPhone 5 Concept Features was the most-watched science/technology video
- Immortals was the most-watched movie trailer
- Mountain Biker gets taken out by Buck was the most-watched sports video
Posted by Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager
(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)
A Few Link Building Predictions For 2012» Search Engine LandIt’s prediction time again. Before I dive into predictions for 2012, let’s take a look back at where I’ve been wrong and right over the years. I have a fairly good track record, and I like to take a few chances with these, rather than taking the easy way out with predictions like...20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
What is a Social Bookmarking Site? [Video FAQ Series]» SEO.com
Social bookmarking is a way for people to tag, share, organize, store, and search for useful links online. Instead of saving sites as bookmarks or favorites in your browser, you compile them online into a website you can reach from any computer. These bookmarks reference noteworthy links and can be private, public, or shared within a specified group.
Bookmarks are tagged for ease of search; for instance, you can tag a recipe site with "food," and bookmarks set to public can be searched by other readers. Once a site is bookmarked, the item can be voted upon with a like, thumbs up or thumbs down, or other voting criteria. Each different site has a unique community element to it, with nicknames for their users, such as a "Redditor" on Reddit.
Bookmarking can be used as a search engine optimization tool, making the website where the article appeared more visible. Some sites pass on link juice, others use noFollow attribute .Social tagging, also known as folksonomy, is a process by which users add metadata and keywords to shared content. Social bookmarking sites are often a target of spam, which makes tagging a valuable step for weeding through the poor quality content. Social bookmarking sites have helped many lesser known sites become discoverable to a larger audience, particularly when bookmarks are shared on other social media sites.
Depending on the website, you can bookmark articles, news, images, video, or other miscellaneous content. Some of the most popular social bookmarking websites are Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Xydo, and Pinterest.
Consumer Journey - The Quest for an Effective Skincare Regime» Microsoft Advertising Community Blog
As human beings we are naturally insecure. I say naturally but we are not born insecure, on the contrary; we were born fearless, pure and full of hope. We have society around us to thank for our fears and lack of confidence and as women we are lucky enough to constantly be reminded of the fact that we are indeed not perfect. We want shinier hair and we want better skin, we essentially want our best friend’s beautiful hair and Jennifer Aniston’s flawless skin. How do we help consumers make up their mind throughout their decision making process?
There is enough stimulation but a lack of navigation and direction in advertising
Now we know what we want more difficult is knowing how to achieve it. If it is true that on average Americans are exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages each on a daily basis then surely we are not lacking in stimulus, moreover we are lacking help in navigation and directions. With a myriad of products to choose from it is no wonder that the shopping shelf itself can be a very daunting an overwhelming place. Speaking from experience much of the ‘research’ and narrowing down options is done long before I enter the store.
As women we are committed to investing in our skin, not only because we want to look like that woman in that particular advertising campaign, but also because we truly believe that a healthy looking skin is a reflection of an overall good health and lifestyle. And investing we are, according to Mintel, UK women’s facial skincare market which has remained stable in an unstable financial environment saw a growth of almost 6% in 2010 reaching £930 million and is also forecasted to grow 4% year on year in 2011.
The functional & emotional drivers of the consumer journey
The latest research from Microsoft Advertising reveals what functional and emotional drivers underlie the consumer’s mindset as she travels along the consumer journey searching for an effective skincare routine.
Six stages were discovered relating to universal consumer journeys which can be applied to any category:
However the bottom describes the mindset specific to the skincare category:
- Building Angst
- Something Happens
- Agony of Deciding
- Make the Purchase
How can marketers influence women when they make purchasing decisions – the ‘why’ behind conscious and subconscious choices
From our research we found that throughout her journey the skincare consumer has either a dominant emotional or functional need and this is where marketers can start to understand how media can influence women as they make purchasing decisions
Let’s have a look at her journey:
- Pre-Trigger – Building Angst: She has trusted brands for facial skincare, but tings she reads, sees and hears slowly builds internal angst. Emotions: uncertainty and caution
- Trigger – Something Happens: Her internal angst over her skin and the need to find a solution reaches a turning point to more actively seek answers. Emotions: frustrations and concern.
- Pre Shopping – Agony of Deciding: The decision of what product and what brand to buy is made during this stage, but it is not easy, she is looking for facts, figures and evidence that a product will deliver the promise. She is still unsure and frustrated.
- In-Store – Make the Purchase: She has typically decided what to buy before she gets into store. The shopping experience is about navigating the shelf, find the product and understand differences. She is now in a more positive mood.
- Usage- Hopeful: Armed with the new product the consumer returns home hopeful it will work as promised. She feels relieved, hopeful and empowered.
- Usage – Validation: Once the product works, the consumer arrives at validation around her decision. This often triggers a share with those influential to her and in her inner circle. She feels successful and content.
- Usage – Loyalty: Once the product works, the consumer moves into a lengthy state of loyal usage. She is content.
So there you have it, a women’s quest for the most effective skin care routine is indeed a complex journey, one which we as marketers can help guide her through and make her journey less daunting and overwhelming. Here at Microsoft Advertising we are committed to going beyond the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ and explore the ‘why’ behind consumer conscious and sometimes subconscious choices.
I leave you with one final thought, to all the women out there maybe the day will come when we will indeed realize that we are all ‘naturally prefect’ just the way we are, but until then I myself will continue to search for the best solution to achieve the ‘perfect’ skin.
Do you want to know more about the females shopper path to purchase? Download the research here
Linda Liberg, Senior Research Manager EMEA at Microsoft Advertising
Year-End Review Of Your Multilingual Programs» Search Engine LandYear-end is a good time to review your programs to get them ready for the next year. Typically, this time of year things slow down due to the holidays you might have some time to focus on the recommendations below. Year-end Recap It is critical that you develop a year-end recap and send it out [...]20.12.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
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Google Creates Rich Resource for Rich Snippets» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
Everyone is looking for an edge in the search engines. We got that.
Seeking the advice of everyone and their brother who has tried to game Google’s system is one way to handle this “game”. It’s not the one we recommend by any means but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from trying.
Probably one of the most effective ways to build a sound website foundation is to follow some of the suggestions Google offers to everyone. You might say, if everyone is doing it then we all look alike so how does that help? Well, it’s simple. Not everyone does the basics well. And if Google is going to give you information in a quick 10 video series about rich snippets why not take the time and the advice and put it to good use?
Here’s the introductory video
Google does what it can to give folks a fighting chance. Of course, one of the issues with Google is that unless you are “in the know” or happen to stumble upon (literally and figuratively) the desired information you may not know it exists. In other words, Google, while getting better, is not a marketing machine.
One thing that can be said though is that the information you need from them is usually out there (at least in part) so taking a little extra time to find the right areas and tracking them could make all the difference in your SEO efforts for 2012.
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A Winning Framework for SEO Reporting» Andy Beal Marketing Pilgrim
This post was written by our SEO Channel sponsor, Link Assistant.
Inspired by an awesome talk by Vanessa Fox, Max Thomas and Marty Weintraub at SMX East (the one that took the Internet by storm), we’d like to continue the SEO reporting topic and investigate into what makes a solid modern-day SEO report.
Gone are the days when rankings were the only report filed by SEO’s. The industry has matured and clients have gotten much more SEO-savvy, which calls for some new standards in SEO reporting.
In this respect, what’s important to understand is that whether running an online or an offline business, marketing executives and business owners always keep track of at least one financial indicator – profit. In a very simplistic decision-making model, a manager would make decisions based on what impact they have on the profit. Thus, there should be proper reporting mechanisms in place that help one determine if certain steps are going to generate loss or yield extra revenue.
In economics, profit is revenue minus cost. For an online business this basically means:
Getting more quality traffic ?
at lower cost, and ?
converting this traffic into sales.
This can be applied to any traffic channel: paid advertising, email marketing, SEO, etc. Tracking paid ad channels is simple: for every dollar you spend you get N visits and a pretty stable amount of conversions. However, when it comes to SEO, things get tricky, because:
- It’s a complex Internet marketing technique that includes many activities. Each activity has its own set of key performance indicators (KPIs).
- SEO is not an exact science. Apart from some “best practices” articulated by search evangelists, there are no uniform proven manuals or “how to” guides.
- As a result, there are a lot of SEO myths. SEO marketers will always use these myths to their advantage. When they underperform, they blame the “Google dance”, “Panda update”, etc.
Nonetheless, one needs to evaluate the performance of their SEO team to make sure that every penny of their marketing budget is spent wisely (a bigger company may have its own in-house SEO department, which normally consists of link builders, copywriters and project managers, or outsource these SEO tasks to a third-party SEO services provider).
This is achieved through a proper SEO reporting framework that should be established from day one. Having proper control over an in-house SEO team is a common managerial task, but how do you go about effectively supervising an outsourced team?
We would recommend the following battle-tested and proven reporting framework that has been developed by our SEO specialists based on the reports produced by SEO PowerSuite. It enables business owners and marketing executives to supervise a full range of SEO tasks performed either by an in-house or an external SEO team.
1. STRATEGIC (or initial) REPORTS
The reports are generated before an SEO campaign begins to determine the “as is” state, set the strategy and set the goals. For long-term projects, strategic reports may be generated repeatedly when required.
- Keyword Research Report
- Competition Analysis (competitors’ backlinks and keywords)
- Website Audit Report
(1) Keywords are harvested from major keyword research tools (e.g. AdWords Keyword Tool) and from competing website (by scanning their page titles, meta tags, content and anchors). Apart from the list of keywords itself, a Keyword Report should contain answers to the following questions:
- How many additional visitors will the site get if it ranks in the top 10 for the keywords reported? (You can even calculate the potential revenue, provided you know the potential conversion rate and the average conversion value.)
- How hard is it to hit the top 10 for these particular keywords?
- Is it cost-effective to promote certain keywords (e.g. you have a limited budget and don’t have enough resources to promote the highly competitive keywords)?
All in all, a Keyword Research Report should contain information that helps to evaluate the SEO budget and the potential cost.
(2) A Competition Analysis report should uncover the SEO strategy behind your competitors’ websites, i.e. it should contain answers to the following questions:
- What keywords are the competitors promoting? Is it necessary to target the keywords that are missing from your main keywords list but are used by the competitors?
- From what websites (forums, blogs, business directories, etc.) are the competitors getting their links? What are the properties of these websites: PageRank, TLD, Alexa Rank, etc.
(3) On-page optimization covers a myriad of factors that should be accounted for. It is important to check these factors against industry standards and identify potential trouble points and elements that need to be improved.
A good Website Audit Report should provide information on different content-related issues: page titles, meta tags, keyword density, html formatting tags and such techy issues as html validation errors or broken links. It should also include website and page statistics, such as PageRank, link popularity, the number of indexed pages, etc.
- A list of keywords and/or a keyword matrix,
- Competitors’ backlink profiles and
- A list of suggested improvements to the site.
2. ONGOING WEEKLY REPORTS
These reports are used to track the SEO progress. You need them to make sure the SEO team is heading in the right direction.
- Keyword rankings report
- Competitors’ rankings report
- Link building report
(1) It is vital to track keyword rankings regularly to diagnose problems at an early stage. A decline in rankings during several weeks may indicate a problem (e.g. backlinks with respective anchors got removed or devalued).
It’s also good to compare your current keyword rankings not only against the previous check, but also against the best results ever achieved. You may also align rankings and traffic for the keywords to see if you are getting what you expected.
(2) Keep an eye on your competition. If an abnormal growth in their rankings is detected – it’s time to look into their backlink profiles and their on-page SEO again to see what they are up to and steal borrow their strategy.
(3) Link-building is the most tedious, time- and money-consuming of all SEO tasks. To keep your expenditures to the minimum, follow closely your link providers’ activities (whether it’s an in-house link building team, an outsourced company or a link brokerage).
A link building report should include: link source URL, link destination URL, anchor text, linking page’s PR, the number of external links on each linking page and the number of backlinks on each linking page (for various reasons, a page’s PR may not be supported with the respective number of backlinks).
You should also be able to re-review older reports and update them to see if the backlinks are still in place and the backlink pages have not deteriorated (have not received an unreasonable number of external links, for example).
- Current keyword rankings compared to the previous rank check,
- Current competitors’ rankings compared to the previous rank check and
- A list of links obtained during the reporting period.
3. CONTINUOUS AUTOMATIC MONITORING
It should be implemented to make sure that your website is performing well and you are continuously getting traffic from important sources.
- Automatic warning messages or alerts
Many site owners use Google Analytics. But only a surprising few are aware that this tool can send you automatic alerts based on the parameters you predefine. For example, you can get an alert if the website stops getting traffic from Google or Bing. You can then take immediate action to diagnose the problem.
There are some requirements that apply to the reporting framework as a whole:
- Eliminate duplicate reports
- Minimize the time required to generate the reports
- Schedule and generate reports automatically using SEO reporting software, whenever possible
- Generate actionable and easy-to-understand reports (those looking at them should be able to grasp the information at a glance and make the necessary decisions based on the presented information)
For instance, you can look at some SEO report samples in SEO PowerSuite to get an idea of what we mean by a clear-cut SEO report. Although SEO PowerSuite does not report one’s profit or conversion rates, its SEO reports create a solid base for ROI estimation, and, what’s really good, allow for automatic generation.
About the author:
Alesia is an SEO and an Internet marketer at Link-Assistant.Com, a major SEO software provider and the maker of SEO PowerSuite tools. Link-Assistant.Com is a group of SEO professionals with years of SEO experience. Based on their expertise, company’s four-app SEO toolset was created, setting the industry’s benchmark for technology-powered Web promotion.
The information and opinions in this post do not necessarily represent those of Marketing Pilgrim.
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