Jul 22 2014

New Location Based Data More Available Than Ever Before

IP_addressAmerican’s are consuming more internet content than ever before, with some sources stating that the average adult is spending over five hours per day online. (eMarketer) This surge in internet use is due in part to the large number of mobile devices that are being used. Today’s web surfers have access to their favorite web sites, social media updates, online reviews, internet radio stations and more in the palm of their hands nearly twenty-four/seven.

Thanks to this constant connectivity, there is more data available on these users than ever before – data that reveals what users are searching, what they’re reading and what kinds of websites they visit. Targeted display companies are excited because this increase in data allows them to sell more relevant audiences to their advertisers.

But one piece of data that is being revealed has many in the tech industry especially excited. Location based advertising has long been the holy grail of online marketing. Knowing exactly where a user is helps to provide geo-targeting down to a zip code or radius – something not available in media like television and radio.

And while there are several things on a computer that indicate its location, including the latitude and longitude transmitted by most internet browsers and the mapping software on the device, never has there been a data element as important as IP address. For those of you unfamiliar with IP address, it has not always been a completely reliable location provider.

But today, thanks to the excessive use of mobile devices, 70% of adults* are using their smartphones and tablets while using the bathroom. Never before have more users revealed their accurate IP address.

Get it? IP? As in… I pee?

Gotcha! LOL

Thanks for reading.

-David

* I asked ten people if they take their phone or tablet to the bathroom and seven said they did.

Jul 19 2014

Link Building Tactics 2014

My career has taken me away from link building of late. To be honest, I was happy to get away from it. Pandas and Penguins and Hummingbirds were stressing me out on a daily basis. Heck, I had hair before link building! Even today, when people ask about buying or building links, I try my best to persuade them to simply do good marketing, asking them, “If Google didn’t exist, would you want that link? Would you pursue that tactic?” If the answer is no, then don’t do it. If the answer is yes, go for it.

For example, you’re considering building an infographic. If you’re doing it for the links, don’t bother. If you’re doing it to create great content that your customers (and potential customers) will either learn from or simply enjoy, then knock yourself out. Create content and market for the right reasons and the links will follow.

So when I ran across this survey related to link building in 2014, I had to stop and take a look. I liked it enough to get up early on a Saturday and post it here for you guys. Take a look. It’s full of great info.

Two things I’d like to point out.

#1 Infographics are considered the second most effective strategy for acquiring links. Pow! I told you!  :)

#2 Click through to the ORIGINAL ARTICLE and read the comments. That’s where the real conversation happens, and if you’re interested in link building at all, you have to read what the experts have to say.

Print

Jun 04 2014

How a Search Campaign is Like a Pandora Radio Station.

I take it for granted now, but I still remember the wonder and excitement I experienced when I first discovered Pandora Radio. The idea that I could create my very own radio station, customized to the kind of music that I liked… that was brand new territory not that long ago.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with how Pandora works, it’s actually very cool. You “seed” a radio station by starting with one song or one artist. From there, Pandora presents you with new songs that are in some way related to the original song. For example, if you start a station with Roar, by Katy Perry song, Pandora may present you with the song Here’s to Never Growing Up, by Avril Lavign.

Pandora’s algorithm reasons that you’ll like the new song because it is similar in some way. Pandora says, “here’s a song that’s musically similar to Roar called Here’s To Never Growing Up, that features pop rock qualities, a subtle use of vocal harmony, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, major key tonality and a clear focus on recording studio production.”

If you like Here’s to Never Growing Up, you click the thumbs icon to let Pandora know that it presented you with a good choice.

Next, Pandora explores other songs and artists that have musical qualities similar to Roar by presenting you with song that have “modern r&b stylings, mild rhythmic syncopation, extensive vamping, major key tonality and melodic songwriting.”

As you are presented with new song choices, you give them the thumbs up or the thumbs down. At first, you may discover that you’re using the thumbs down icon quite a bit, especially if you have very specific requirements for your station. But over time, you start to get the right mix of artists and songs and eventually, you’re pleased with nearly every song Pandora adds to your personalized radio station.

searchPandora

Let’s Translate.

The Pandora station is like your search marketing campaign and the songs are like your keywords.

You “seed” your search campaign with a list of keywords that you believe your potential customers are using to find your business. Maybe you’re a furniture store that specializes in dining room furniture so you start with keywords like dining room furniture, as well as formal dining, table set and dining room sets.

Then, as you run the campaign, you start exploring new keywords like cheap dining room furniture or even something like white kitchen tables to see how they perform.

At first, your keyword list isn’t perfect. As you watch the campaign, you remove those songs, I mean keywords, that don’t perform and you add new ones to see how they do. Over time your experiments with different keywords result in just the right mix of words that provide you with the best results.

Similar to Pandora’s algorithm that discovers and suggests new music, Google’s Keyword Planner will make keyword suggestions based on your original list of keywords.

This may help to clarify why a search campaign isn’t perfect out of the gate, and rather requires some time to ramp up to a high performance level. I’ll even go on to say that it helps clarify why a search campaign requires continued management. You never know when there’s going to be a new “song” or “artist” (translation: keyword or ad group) that may improve the quality of the “station” (translation: campaign).

So far, this analogy works great for Search Engine Marketing (PPC) campaigns, but it also works for targeted display campaigns that use keyword level data to optimize. As with PPC, we can experiment with the keywords over time to improve the performance of the campaign.

But when it comes to targeted display, the analogy extends a bit further. You see, most targeted display companies use audience segments rather than keyword level data to create their audience. That’s like having a radio station that plays pop music, and you can’t choose the artists and you really don’t even know what songs will play in that pop station. All you know is that it will play pop music. You can’t even remove the songs you don’t like. You just have to waste three and half minutes of your life while you cross your fingers that the next song will be to your liking. Talk about old technology! Doesn’t a personalized station (translation: customized audience) provide a much better user experience? You know it does!

Bottom line, technology, in this case, algorithms and experts that manage search campaigns, can truly improve the quality of the user experience – whether that’s a personalized radio station or a customized audience for a search campaign.

Finally, a quick thank you to my friend Kelly Lunsford, who came up with this awesome “Let’s Translate” analogy. When she called me to say, “David, a search campaign is just like a Pandora radio station”, I just knew I had to share that brilliant comparison with everyone. Thanks, Kelly.

And thank you for reading.

David McBee

Update.

Let’s look at programmatic targeted display a little further. When a campaign serves on multiple exchanges, it has access to nearly endless inventory. By not picking and choosing where ads appear, the campaign is allowed to draw from a nearly unlimited source of websites that are available in the real time bidding space.

Some campaign managers choose to limit that inventory to a list of acceptable or popular websites (aka a white list). This is fine, but can limit inventory and thus, delivery of ad impressions.

To compare this to Pandora would be like saying that Station A can choose from every single song in Pandora’s database and Station B can only choose from a list of approved or popular songs. While both stations have the potential to be great, Station B will always be limited. It may never be able to introduce you to that unknown song that could have turned out to be one of your favorites.

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