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Tag Archives: online marketing

Digital Marketing News: Social Storefront, The Trust Project and Facebook’s New App

Social Content is the New Storefront [Infographic]
Regardless what others might say, social content is here to stay. Instead of heading to local storefronts, consumers are now heading to social media platforms to find what they need in the in and off-season. Social Media Today

Google tries to bring more transparency to news content with help from The Trust Project
Google has teamed up with The Trust Project that works with over 75 news organizations to determine the difference between quality and promotional content that may be plagued with misinformation. Search Engine Land

Facebook's New App Connects Creators With Video, Fans And Watch Shows
Facebook is on the hunt for new influencers and wants to see how these experts interact with their networks. Their new app will give “internet stars” a chance to publish, edit and film live video with their audiences. AdAge

Google’s Big Daddy Update: Big Changes to Google’s Infrastructure & the SERPs
Big Daddy has been on the scene since 2005 as part of infrastructure changes. And while it hasn’t always been a fan favorite, it has impacted the approach to SEO. Search Engine Journal

The State Of Subscription Video, In 5 Charts
With more and more content publishers and brands looking to video as the new frontier, many are also looking to monetize their offerings. But how well does subscription video perform in our current content landscape? Digiday

Google aims to make apps for Google Assistant more functional and discoverable
Are homes getting smarter with the help of Google? According to Google, they are making a number of updates to make it easier for third party apps to integrate and develop specific items for key users. Search Engine Land

The Huge Impact of Amazon This Holiday Season (And How Retailers Can Compete)
It’s getting even harder to compete with larger retailers during the holiday season. In fact, a new report found that shoppers expect to make at least one purchase for Amazon. Where does that leave other retailers during the holiday season? MarketingProfs

LinkedIn lets advertisers generate leads from Sponsored InMail, Dynamic Ad campaigns
As of April (no fools) LinkedIn launched their lead gen forms which let advertisers collect information through Sponsored Content Ads.Now, these options are available to members using the Sponsored InMail ad format which has enabled brands to add their own questions to the forms. MarketingLand

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! If you need more in the meantime, follow @toprank on Twitter or leave your thoughts in the comments.

The post Digital Marketing News: Social Storefront, The Trust Project and Facebook’s New App appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Left is Right & Up is Down

Probably the single best video to watch to understand the power of Google & Facebook (or even most of the major problems across society) is this following video about pleasure versus happiness.

In constantly seeking pleasure we forego happiness.

The "feed" based central aggregation networks are just like slot machines in your pocket: variable reward circuitry which self-optimizes around exploiting your flaws to eat as much attention as possible.

The above is not an accident. It is, rather, as intended:

"That means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever ... It's a social validation feedback loop ... You're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology ... [The inventors] understood this, consciously, and we did it anyway."

  • Happy? Good! Share posed photos to make your friends feel their lives are worse than your life is.
  • Outraged? Good! Click an ad.
  • Hopeless? Good. There is a product which can deliver you pleasure...if only you can...click an ad.

Using machine learning to drive rankings is ultimately an exercise in confirmation bias:

For “Should abortion be legal?” Google cited a South African news site saying, “It is not the place of government to legislate against woman’s choices.”

When asked, “Should abortion be illegal?” it promoted an answer from obscure clickbait site listland.com stating, “Abortion is murder.”

Excellent work Google in using your featured snippets to help make the world more absolutist, polarized & toxic.

The central network operators not only attempt to manipulate people at the emotional level, but the layout of the interface also sets default user patterns.

Most users tend to focus their attention on the left side of the page: "if we were to slice a maximized page down the middle, 80% of the fixations fell on the left half of the screen (even more than our previous finding of 69%). The remaining 20% of fixations were on the right half of the screen."

This behavior is even more prevalent on search results pages: "On SERPs, almost all fixations (94%) fell on the left side of the page, and 60% those fixations can be isolated to the leftmost 400px."

On mobile, obviously, the attention is focused on what is above the fold. That which is below the fold sort of doesn't even exist for a large subset of the population.

Outside of a few central monopoly attention merchant players, the ad-based web is dying.

Mashable has raised about $46 million in VC funding over the past 4 years. And they just sold for about $50 million.

Breaking even is about as good as it gets in a web controlled by the Google / Facebook duopoly. :D

Other hopeful unicorn media startups appear to have peaked as well. That BuzzFeed IPO is on hold: "Some BuzzFeed investors have become worried about the company’s performance and rising costs for expansions in areas like news and entertainment. Those frustrations were aired at a board meeting in recent weeks, in which directors took management to task, the people familiar with the situation said."

Google's Chrome web browser will soon have an ad blocker baked into it. Of course the central networks opt out of applying this feature to themselves. Facebook makes serious coin by blocking ad blockers. Google pays Adblock Plus to unblock ads on Google.com & boy are there a lot of ads there.

Format your pages like Google does their search results and they will tell you it is a piss poor user experience & a form of spam - whacking you with a penalty for it.

Of course Google isn't the only search engine doing this. Mix in ads with a double listing and sometimes there will only be 1 website listed above the fold.

I've even seen some Bing search results where organic results have a "Web" label on them - which is conveniently larger than the ad label that is on ads. That is in addition to other tricks like...

lots of ad extensions that push organics below the fold on anything with the slightest commercial intent
bolding throughout ads (title, description, URL) with much lighter bolding of organics
only showing 6 organic results on commercial searches that are likely to generate ad clicks

As bad as either of the above looks in terms of ad load or result diversity on the desktop, it is only worse on mobile.

On mobile devices organic search results can be so hard to find that people ask questions like "Are there any search engines where you don't have to literally scroll to see a result that isn't an advertisement?"

The answer is yes.

DuckDuckGo.

But other than that, it is slim pickings.

In an online ecosystem where virtually every innovation is copied or deemed spam, sustainable publishing only works if your business model is different than the central network operators.

Not only is there the aggressive horizontal ad layer for anything with a hint of commercial intent, but now the scrape layer which was first applied to travel is being spread across other categories like ecommerce.

The more of your content Google can scrape-n-displace in the search results the less reason there is to visit your website & the more ad-heavy Google can make their interface because they shagged the content from your site.

Simply look at the market caps of the big tech monopolies vs companies in adjacent markets. The aggregate trend is expressed in the stock price. And it is further expressed in the inability for the unicorn media companies to go public.

As big as Snapchat & Twitter are, nobody who invested in either IPO is sitting on a winner today.

Google is outraged anyone might question the numbers & if the current set up is reasonable:

Mr Harris described as “factually incorrect” suggestions that Google was “stealing” ad revenue from publishers, saying that two thirds of the revenues generated by online content went to its originators.

“I’ve heard lots of people say that Google and Facebook are “ruthlessly stealing” all the advertising revenue that publishers hoped to acquire through online editions,” he told the gathering.

“There is no advertising on Google News. Zero. Indeed you will rarely see advertising around news cycles in Google Search either.

Sure it is not the ad revenues they are stealing.

Rather it is the content.

Either by scraping, or by ranking proprietary formats (AMP) above other higher quality content which is not published using the proprietary format & then later attaching crappier & crappier deals to the (faux) "open source" proprietary content format.

As Google grabs the content & cuts the content creator off from the audience while attaching conditions, Google's PR hacks will tell you they want you to click through to the source:

Google spokeswoman Susan Cadrecha said the company’s goal isn’t to do the thinking for users but “to help you find relevant information quickly and easily.” She added, “We encourage users to understand the full context by clicking through to the source.”

except they are the ones adding extra duplicative layers which make it harder to do.

Google keeps extracting content from publishers & eating the value chain. Some publishers have tried to offset this by putting more ads on their own site while also getting further distribution by adopting the proprietary AMP format. Those who realized AMP was garbage in terms of monetization viewed it as a way to offer teasers to drive users to their websites.

The partial story approach is getting killed though. Either you give Google everything, or they want nothing.

That is, after all, how monopolies negotiate - ultimatums.

Those who don't give Google their full content will soon receive manual action penalty notifications

The value of news content is not zero.

Being the go-to resource for those sorts of "no money here" news topics also enables Google to be the go-to resource for searches for [auto insurance quote] and other highly commercial search terms where Google might make $50 or $100 per click.

Every month Google announces new ad features.

Economics drive everything in publishing. But you have to see how one market position enables another. Google & Facebook are not strong in China, so Toutiao - the top news app in China - is valued at about $20 billion.

Now that Yahoo! has been acquired by Verizon, they've decided to shut down their news app. Unprofitable segments are worth more as a write off than as an ongoing concern. Look for Verizon to further take AIM at shutting down additional parts of AOL & Yahoo.

Firefox recently updated to make its underlying rendering engine faster & more stable. As part of the upgrade they killed off many third party extensions, including ours. We plan to update them soon (a few days perhaps), but those who need the extensions working today may want to install something like (Comodo Dragon (or another browser based on the prior Firefox core) & install our extensions in that web browser.

As another part of the most recent Firefox update, Firefox dumped Yahoo! Search for Google search as their default search engine in a new multiyear deal where financial terms were not disclosed.

Yahoo! certainly deserved to lose that deal.

First, they signed a contract with Mozilla containing a change-of-ownership poison pill where Mozilla would still make $375 million a year from them even if they dump Yahoo!. Given what Yahoo! sold for this amounts to about 10% of the company price for the next couple years.

Second, Yahoo! overpaid for the Firefox distribution deal to where they had to make their user experience even more awful to try to get the numbers to back out.

Here is a navigational search result on Yahoo! where the requested site only appears in the right rail knowledge graph.

The "organic" result set has been removed. There's a Yahoo! News insert, a Yahoo Local insert, an ad inviting you to download Firefox (bet that has since been removed!), other search suggestions, and then graphical ads to try to get you to find office furniture or other irrelevant stuff.

Here is how awful those sorts of search results are: Yahoo! was so embarrassed at the lack of quality of their result set that they put their logo at the upper right edge of the page.

So now they'll be losing a million a day for a few years based on Marissa Mayer's fantastic Firefox deal.

And search is just another vertical they made irrelevant.

When they outsourced many verticals & then finally shut down most of the remaining ones, they only left a few key ones:

On our recent earnings call, Yahoo outlined out a plan to simplify our business and focus our effort on our four most successful content areas  – News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle. To that end, today we will begin phasing out the following Digital Magazines:  Yahoo Food, Yahoo Health, Yahoo Parenting, Yahoo Makers, Yahoo Travel, Yahoo Autos and Yahoo Real Estate.

And for the key verticals they kept, they have pages like the following, which look like a diet version of eHow

Every day they send users away to other sites with deeper content. And eventually people find one they like (like TheAthletic or Dunc'd On) & then Yahoo! stops being a habit.

Meanwhile many people get their broader general news from Facebook, Google shifted their search app to include news, Apple offers a great news app, the default new tab on Microsoft Edge browser lists a localize news feed. Any of those is a superior user experience to Yahoo!.

It is hard to see what Yahoo!'s role is going forward.

Other than the user email accounts (& whatever legal liabilities are associated with the chronic user account hacking incidents), it is hard to see what Verizon bought in Yahoo!.

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How B2B Brands are Getting Creative on Twitter with 280 Characters

Could you imagine pulling an Oreo cookie out of its sleeve to find four chocolate wafers and two layers of cream filling? Or taking home a six-pack of beer and somehow discovering 12 bottles crammed inside? It’d be discombobulating to say the least, and that’s how many of us marketers are feeling about Twitter’s recent [...]

The post How B2B Brands are Getting Creative on Twitter with 280 Characters appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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6 Best WordPress Backup Plugins Compared (100% Objective)

Imagine if one day your blog just disappeared. It’s a terrifying thought, right? You put all that work into writing amazing content and developing an audience. The last thing you want is for it all to go up in a puff of smoke because of some technical issue or hacker. But if you don’t back(...)

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How to Use Big Wins to Drive Continuous Content Marketing Performance

Like all brands or marketers, you’ve likely experienced a few content marketing campaign mishaps in your day. Despite your best efforts, sometimes a campaign just doesn’t quite reach its objective or it outright flops. And when this happens your disappointment typically spurs you into action as you work furiously to pin down exactly where you [...]

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Get Custom Advice For Boosting Your Conversions With Unbounce’s New Landing Page Analyzer

For the sake of your paid spend, your landing pages need to convert, but there are dozens of on-page factors to consider regarding your page's performance. If you've ever wished for a way to independently grade or review your pages, you're going to love the Landing Page Analyzer we've just launched.

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Call Center Optimization: How a nonprofit increased donation rate 29% with call center testing

Marketing experimentation and A/B testing are extremely powerful tools for digital marketing optimization. However, the customer-first science principles behind them don’t have to be limited to digital environments. In this article, we explore how we used the same scientific principles to improve conversion in a call center.

The post Call Center Optimization: How a nonprofit increased donation rate 29% with call center testing appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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How We’re Building a Digital Advertising & SEO Dream Team

In today’s competitive and content-saturated digital landscape, SEO is no longer a stand-alone, sure-fire way to grab audience attention in the search results. As a result, the role of a search marketer is transforming beyond the traditional walls of organic SEO and merging with the world of digital advertising — and the hunt for skilled [...]

The post How We’re Building a Digital Advertising & SEO Dream Team appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Do You Really Need Another Blog Post? Why Content Marketing Needs More Flexibility

For at least a decade, the 500-word blog post has been the atomic unit of content marketing. Marketers like Joe Pulizzi and Marcus Sheridan built their entire careers on blogging. In Joe’s case, he started the blog without a business plan or a product, and developed both after building an audience through insightful, valuable blog [...]

The post Do You Really Need Another Blog Post? Why Content Marketing Needs More Flexibility appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Digital Marketing News: Email vs. SMS, Twitter Trolls Itself and Google’s AI Wizard

Email vs. SMS: Battle of the Heavyweights [Infographic]
In a battle of email vs. SMS, who is the winner? This infographic shows the differences between the two tactics in terms of volume, engagement, preferences and effectiveness by medium. MarketingProfs

Twitter trolls itself on new 280 character limit
As you may have heard via everyone’s favorite venting platform, Twitter has increased their allotted character count to 280. While many are happy with this change, some are disappointed or even concerned that it will ruin the value of the platform. CNN Tech

Google's AI Wizard Unveils A New Twist on Neural Networks
This is a story 40 years in the making. Geoff Hinton (the man behind AI) published two new papers that offers a new twist on neural networks that enable machines to better understand the world via images and video. Wired

Study: Longer Videos Mean Higher Engagement
Even in the age of decreased attention spans, it seems that audiences prefer long-form video over short-form video. In fact, videos over 90 seconds receive 78% more shares and 74% more views. MediaPost

Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status hit 300M users, nearly 2X Snapchat
When it comes to features, it’s hard to tell the difference between Instagram Stories and Snapchat these days. Now that Instagram Stories has a solid user base, it’s time for Facebook to innovate and move away from copycatting Snapchat. TechCrunch

Facebook Registers Soaring Ad Revenues, Mobile Dominates.
Facebook experienced amazing third-quarter results with almost a 50% increase in advertising revenue. Additionally, 88% of that revenue is represented by mobile advertising. MediaPost

New Salesforce And Google Partnership Shakes Up The Cloud Race
The chocolate and peanut butter of marketing and sales analytics are finally coming together, as Google and Salesforce announce a new joint venture. Salesforce is committing to using Google’s G Suite, while Google Analytics will be fully integrated with Salesforce’s core platform. Salesforce has committed to using Google’s cloud storage as well, but will maintain multiple cloud vendors for the time being. Forbes

Older Photos and Videos Can Now Be Added to Instagram Stories
Instagram is now allowing users to add older photos from their camera rolls into their Instagram Stories. According to AdWeek, "Instagram said it will automatically suggest a new sticker to add context on when older photos or videos were taken, and users can choose to rotate, resize or remove the new sticker altogether before sharing their Stories." AdWeek

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, if you have something to share Tweet us @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen.

The post Digital Marketing News: Email vs. SMS, Twitter Trolls Itself and Google’s AI Wizard appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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