Archive for the ‘search engine’ tag
We thought that the Internet would bring with it a whole wave of new media disruption. We were unprepared for just how massive the disruption has been.
You needn’t look any farther than this one staggering statistic to understand the change that has been afoot in the past short while: Google‘s advertising revenue is larger than that of the entire print industry’s revenue. In the past short while, we have seen the rise in new ways for advertisers to connect with consumers like never before. You can’t throw a marketer down a flight of stairs these days without hearing the terms, real-time bidding, big data, retargeting and native advertising tumbling off of their tongues. It has become so pervasive that it’s beginning to make social media, mobile marketing and plain-old digital advertising seem somewhat antiquated. With this, we’re seeing an increasing amount of media budgets shifting from traditional channels to digital advertising. So, where do you, the business leader, place those ad dollars? Do you spend them with the latest and greatest shiny object? Do you stick to your traditional guns? Do you sprinkle it around in the hopes of hitting the jackpot on the advertising table of roulette?
It is time to create a media model that transcends these divergent ways that consumers are connecting brands.
What if we tossed away the terms we have used to date? What if we forgot all about traditional media, social media, mobile marketing, banner ads, QR codes and more and simplified the media creation process by simply asking if the media is active or passive? Passive media is any form of media where the consumer can’t physically do anything with it, except for consume it (newspaper, television, radio, etc…). Active media is any form of media where the consumer can physically engage with it (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc…). But there’s a hook to this (there is always a hook, isn’t there?). We can’t just look at one aspect of the experience to see whether it is active or passive, we have to look at all four quadrants to find true equilibrium that will drive success.
Quadrant #1: The Consumer. When is the consumer active or passive with the media channel? Do all consumers want to tweet, share, chat and create when they are engrossed in a TV show late in the evening, or are they most comfortable sitting back and watching the drama unfold? We live in a world where television broadcasters are pushing at a feverish pace to make what was a very passive media channel (sitting back and watching) into an active one (adding widgets, encouraging tweeting and more). Understanding how the consumer best connects to the media is core to understanding what type of advertising they will best engage with. So yes, you can tell TV show viewers to follow along on Facebook, but how many of them simply want to watch the TV show and go to bed?
Quadrant #2: The Media. How do you think Google – as a search engine – would be performing if the sole form of revenue was driven by banner advertising on the search results and not the contextually relevant format of AdWords? In fact, banner advertising is a very simplistic and non-active type of media. Online publishers replicated the print model by creating these little boxes that resided on web pages that had content on them back in the mid-nineties. The model was simplistic: "we have content on a web page, why not put an ad next to it like we do with magazines and newspaper?" While banner advertising still generates billions of dollars in media advertising, the truth is that it is a very passive advertising format that was simply copy and pasted over to the a very active new media (the Web). We could talk about how "interactive" these banner ads are (or were promised to be), but the analytics don’t lie: banner ads couldn’t perform any worse. Over 99% of banner ads fail to generate any kind of click. They are passive forms of media that are pasted into very active digital channels.
Quadrant #3: The Channel. Are you the same person on Google as you are on Facebook as you are when you are reading this post on Harvard Business Review? Digital consumers are not only different, but are both passive and active in the digital platform depending on which channels they are using. When you are doing a search on Google, you have a very different intent and mindset than when you’re on Facebook and connecting to friends or catching up with acquaintances. It becomes abundantly clear that you’re also in a dramatically different media mindset as you read these words than when you’re creating a board on Pinterest. Understanding how these channels operate and which types of advertising matches the consumer’s intent is critical to building a successful advertising campaign.
Quadrant #4: The Platform. Is the platform an active or passive one? Think about digital books as a medium. Do readers really want links, embedded video, extended audio interviews, sharing capabilities and more? Will they, intuitively, turn what has traditionally been a very passive medium into an active one, simply because book publishers feel they are competing for attention with everyone from YouTube to Twitter? As we watch the "smartening" of the television, it will be interesting to see just how many viewers truly deep dive into the myriad of new ways that television is hoping the viewers will. Most newer televisions are Internet enabled, but what is the true number of households that actually connect their TV sets to the Internet and engage with channels like Netflix and beyond? According to eMarketer, nearly one quarter of US households now have a TV connected to the Internet, so we’re about to find out just how active this typically passive platform can become.
It’s not a zero sum game when it comes to active and passive media.
As with all things, understanding the quadrants and then matching your marketing to best meet the needs of the consumer will be paramount for success. That being said, it is not a zero sum game, and the ways that consumers engage with different forms of media is not an absolute. While some will claim that Twitter is useless unless you’re constantly tweeting and retweeting, there is a large user base that is simply interested in following celebrities (these people are very passive in an active channel). And, for every person who watches The Voice while building up a hearty Doritos stain on their jammies, there is a ever-growing segment that will tweet, share, chat and follow every move that that Team Usher makes (these people are very active in a passive channel). So, instead of worrying about social media marketing, mobile marketing and more, why not sit back as ask yourself these questions: when are our consumers active or passive with our brand? Is our advertising active when they’re active and passive when they’re passive? Are the channels that we’re advertising on active when the consumers are active or passive when they are passive and more? And, lastly, is the platform – in and of itself – a predominantly active or passive one? From there, you can truly start to better understand what a proper advertising mix can look like and you will also be better at defining which opportunities could potentially work against the others that are woefully flawed.
Active media. Passive media. Active consumers. Passive consumers. The world of media continues to change.
The above posting is my twice-monthly column for the Harvard Business Review. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here:
It’s not just about the views anymore.
There are two strikingly new(ish) things happening on YouTube that could very well position it to be one of the most interesting developments in how television (and eve movie-like) content gets consumed and monetized. At this moment, marketers have one of the most compelling platforms to better understand which of their messages resonate. Prior to jumping into the two new(ish) developments that are worthy of your attention, it is still somewhat fascinating to note how few brands leverage YouTube to better understand their consumers. Simple multivariate testing is one way: posting different television ads on YouTube and seeing which one gets more views, ratings, shares and more. Search is another fascinating domain. YouTube remains the second largest search engine (after their parent company, Google). From tutorials to product demos and reviews, it’s amazing how few brands actually leverage the channel to extend their brand narrative and give consumers more in-depth understanding of their products and services. Without question, there are countless other imaginative and innovative ways that brands can use YouTube, sadly we’re still seeing a vast majority of brands simply pumping and dumping their videos on YouTube as if it is one big and free receptacle for all things video. The prevailing attitude still seems to be, "hey, just post it to YouTube as well… it’s free!" as some kind of after-thought.
Two new developments on YouTube to pay attention to:
- TrueView. TrueView is YouTube’s way of understanding how consumers feel about the pre-roll video ads that happen before a video starts. You may have noticed that some of these ads now feature a button that allows consumers to click and skip an ad after five seconds. There is little doubt that regular YouTubers lament the day that the company started running pre-roll ads on videos. Now, with TrueView, YouTube can have a better understanding of which ads get zapped and which ads work. It’s interesting to note that TrueView forces brands to not simply run their 30 second TV spots on YouTube, and that the brands who are getting the most efficacy out of TrueView know that they have less than five seconds to keep the viewer from zapping them. The business model for TrueView is also similar to that of Google AdWords. If a consumer clicks the "skip this ad" button, the advertiser does not pay. You can well imagine that Google will soon be kicking off advertisers who don’t get the full view in a bid to create a better consumer experience. Much like AdWords has matured as a performance-based marketing engine, you can see a time – in the not too distant future – where TrueView offers the same type of performance and analytics to TV ads. Just think about that: TV ads may get better and more relevant over time if advertisers are forced to create content that actually performs.
- Paid channels. YouTube is planning to allow video makers to charge a monthly subscription fee on channels. Don’t panic, everything you’re seeing for free will remain the way it has always been, but giving the video makers an opportunity to charge for access to certain types of content creates a fascinating new layer to the YouTube story. If you look at some of the massive success that mobile app developers have with the freemium model, you can see how compelling of a business model this could be for YouTube. Take, for instance, Joan Rivers. Currently, she is building an audience for her new video podcast, In Bed With Joan. In theory, she could produce 4 episodes a week and offer up only one of them for free as a compelling and consistent ongoing show, but for her more adoring fans, she could charge a monthly fee of five dollars for access to the other three episodes. Brands could use these paid channels to offer heavy users more personal and in-depth content that is worthy of being paid for.
The new, new media model.
Both of these YouTube business strategies help pave the way for business leaders to better understand the true dynamics of digital media. We started off in the raw terrain of selling advertising online much in the same way that traditional media was bought and sold. Now, close to fifteen years after the first paid banner ad appeared, we are still at the very early stages of seeing how digital can actually transform and improve upon the old model. Whether it is turning a TV ad into a performance-based marketing engine or allowing brands to create their own paid subscription channels to see if consumers would actually pay to be connected to said brand, we could well be entering into a entirely new domain for how video content and advertising is produced, consumed and engaged with… across multiple consumer experiences (think YouTube on traditional TVs, Apple TV models, computers screens, tablets and smartphones). Ultimately, this means that media could be shedding its reliance on advertising as the sole income earner.
The one screen world never felt closer.
You thought the human brain was complex? With its ability to retrieve stored memories from years past and forge connections from seemingly disparate topics, it truly seems like the brain is a miraculous organ that rules our everyday lives. But what about the Google brain? Just as intricate and just as ever-changing as a human’s brain, the Google search engine works to make associations, recommendations, and analysis based upon your search phrases.
However, the question remains: how does Google understand what we want from it? When we ask it a question, how do those millions of results show up for us effortlessly, ranked in terms of relevancy and authority? Every one of us takes this process for granted so in this infographic, we’ll look at the inner mechanics of the Google search engine that produces the results you see on your screen and the process by which your website gets indexed.
Embed This Infographic On Your Site:
<a href="http://www.verticalmeasures.com/search-optimization/how-google-understands-you-infographic"><img title="How Google Understands You [INFOGRAPHIC]" src="http://www.verticalmeasures.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/How-Google-Understands-You1.jpg" alt="How Google Understands You [INFOGRAPHIC]" width="670" height="4417" /></a><br /><a href="http://www.verticalmeasures.com/search-optimization/how-google-understands-you-infographic">Infographic</a> by <a href="http://www.verticalmeasures.com">Vertical Measures</a>
What Google is to the web, Graph Search is to your social network on Facebook. Graph Search, which will appear on the top of every Facebook page, enables people to find information through the filter of their friends in relation to four pillars—people, places, photos and interests. With Graph Search, people type in what they’re looking to find, not just by name but also by category or simple phrase.
Whether you are a Page, place, group, app or game, you and the content you share can appear in search results according to the information you have shared and the connections you have.
Some examples of queries could be:
- People who like volleyball and live in my city
- Jazz clubs in Seattle that my friends like
- Photos of my friends before 1998
- Favorite TV shows of my friends who like The Walking Dead
Currently Graph Search is in a limited beta, and there are no details on when it will be widely released. It’s intended to launch as an iterative product that will improve and evolve as user feedback is collected.
Search Is Serious Business
While some of those queries may seem superfluous (who cares about old photos?), Graph Search isn’t something to be taken lightly. Facebook’s inherent value is its data. No other product, service or website knows as much about you as Facebook does, and that information is powerful.
When I traveled to a new city and wanted to find a good restaurant, I’d turn to a cumbersome combination of Yelp, Foursquare, Google Maps and TripAdvisor. However useful that information may ultimately be, it rarely connected with my social graph. With Graph Search, I can simply search for “Restaurants in Cleveland that my friends like” and, presuming they’ve actually Liked any Cleveland restaurants, I’m provided with options I can trust.
This type of searching becomes even more important as consumers trust brands less and less and consequently depend on friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers to recommend movies to see, restaurants to visits, hotels to stay at, products to buy and more. It is now the fans that are marketing for brands, whether the brands like it or not.
What Graph Search Means for Brands
If you weren’t concerned about your brand’s social footprint, you have cause for concern now. Graph Search puts the onus on brands to connect with the right types of fans (another reason buying Likes is a scam) on its Page and give its fans reasons to interact with its content on an ongoing basis. By increasing engagement metrics, which signals to Facebook that a Page is relevant, a brand stands to benefit in Graph Search results.
Here are four essential concepts to keep in mind:
- Make sure your Facebook Page is up-to-date with all relevant information, especially location (particularly for restaurants, clubs, theaters, etc.). Also, make sure your brand or business is categorized correctly.
- While a high fan count can signal interest, Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm rewards relevance. It’s not about how many fans you have; it’s about how many of them are engaging with your content. Try to acquire fans who are right for your brand because they are the ones who will comment, Like and share and often have friends who would be equally interested.
- Strong connections are important not only for engagement but also because, per Facebook, “results are ordered based on a user’s relationships with his or her friends, so it’s not just the number of fans or users but also the strength of those connections that are important.” This means that fostering a tight-knit community that has shared interests will boost your ranking in search results.
- Consistent engagement means consistent content. Make sure your brand has a content plan mapped out and the skills and manpower necessary to keep the conversation going.
- Currently there’s no paid placement. The only way to have your brand appear in results is to make sure it appears relevant to Facebook.
Head over to Facebook Studio to read Facebook’s take on how Graph Search can help people discover your business.
The fact that Facebook has created a search engine for Facebook content doesn’t mean that all content is public. On the contrary, all content that is currently private will remain private, to the degree determined by each user’s privacy settings. Facebook has already released a video covering some of the privacy concerns.
The beta launch is just the first step, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admits that this is a project that will evolve over the next few years. Just as the News Feed was the first step toward Brand Pages, Graph Search has a world of possibilities ahead of it.
Currently Graph Search is in beta. The best course of action for brands this early on is to make sure that their Pages are up-to-date and consistently creating content that audiences want to engage with and share.
*Additional reporting from Luke Dringoli
Search marketing, both organic and paid, is extremely important to digital marketers that want to increase their presence online. A seemingly endless number of users are out there searching for your brand, products, services, etc., using search engines such as Google and Bing. Because of this, there is a major opportunity for your brand to use search marketing to expand your audience and market share. But the question arises: are you doing everything you can to be found by these search engines?
It’s not enough in today’s competitive landscape to simply have a static brand site. In order to outrank your competitors, you must be committed to steady content and a strong social media presence. Organic and paid search should also be working in lockstep to maximize efficiencies, discover valuable user search habits and inform call-to-action messaging that can be used in content development.
Just as important, search marketing should always be grounded in keyword research. Keyword research should be not a one-off project but something that is done regularly, as users have altered their search behaviors over time, searching for new keyword combinations, longer keyword phrases, etc. This should simply be a core aspect of every content-development initiative your brand takes part in.
In this e-book you’ll learn the steps necessary to create an effective search-marketing strategy that will help your brand rise to the top.
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Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
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Do you live and breath social media marketing? Every day. 24/7. Or manage a team that does? Join us for SMX Social Media Marketing, the only conference for social media marketing professional that delivers cutting edge paid, earned and owned social media tactics. Growing fans/followers your focus?…
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In a recent announcement, Google stated that they plan to begin penalizing websites that receive a high number of valid copyright removal notices. On Friday morning, Amit Singhal, who is a Google Fellow and the Senior VP of Engineering, posted the following regarding the algorithm update: “Starting next week, we will begin taking into account [...]