Monthly Archives: February 2019
Whenever I speak to Nonprofits (which is something I love to do), I always evangelize the importance of leveraging all of the online technology companies which offer “in-kind” services, especially Google Grants. However, for marketers in today’s world, Google Grants is simply not enough. Identifying with potential donors, volunteers and simple awareness has evolved way beyond the search engines and into our Facebook and Twitter feeds as we all crave instant news, gossip and basic information. In this post, I will discuss not only the steps that have already been taken by Facebook, but also how much more they need to do to fulfill their obligation to assist those organizations in need.
What Facebook needs to Learn from Google
In the early months of 2002, Google relaunched its AdWords platform with a new cost-per-click (CPC) pricing model that made it increasingly more popular and successful with both large and smaller companies. It was this achievement that opened the eyes of both the Google founders and other Google executives, to provide the same opportunity for Nonprofits by giving them free ads on Google.com. In essence, they believed that the Adwords platform would enable non-profits too reach a much larger audience and connect with the people who were searching for information about their specific cause or programs. As you will see below, it has grown by leaps and bounds….
Recent screenshot from the new Google Grants Blog:
Why Facebook Doesn’t Understand the Opportunity
After seeing the success of Google grants for the past 13 years, you would think Facebook would have a Nonprofit plan already in place to offer Free advertising to Nonprofits. However, it appears that even though they have made attempts to achieve this, it was simply not enough. According to the great article by AdWeek entitled: “Nonprofits Rely Heavily on Social Media to Raise Awareness“, author Kimberlee Morrison mentions that the social media presence is growing significantly for nonprofits. She goes on to say: “The report shows an increase of 29 percent in Facebook fans across all verticals and a 25 percent increase in Twitter followers. What’s more, there are big increases in sharing and likes from sources outside the follower base, so it would be wise for nonprofits to play to that strength on social sites if their aim is attracting a wider user base.”
How Facebook Failed in its First Attempt
Back on November 15, 2015, The Nonprofit Times published an interesting article entitled “$ 2 Million In Facebook Ads Going To Nonprofits” in which Facebook announced in partnership with ActionSprout, that they will distribute $ 2 million in Facebook Ads credits during the holiday season. These Facebook Ads credits (up to $ 1,500 each) will be given out to roughly two-thousand nonprofits. According to author Andy Segedin, he states that “…according Drew Bernard, CEO and co-founder. Organizations will receive credit allotments of $ 600, $ 900, $ 1,200 or $ 1,500 that will be granted from December through February. All applicants will be set up with a free ActionSprout account, Bernard said.“
The article goes on to say: “Bernard hopes that the credit giveaway will help organizations post more and better content on Facebook. The company plans to publish key findings based off of the distribution and use of the credits, but will not move forward with any follow-up efforts until information is gathered. “This is a test to see what we can learn, and with what we learn we’ll all go back to the drawing board and see if there’s something we should do next with this”.
If you are interested in hearing more about the “key findings” of this test, your going to have to wait a little while and also give them your email address. (Not very Philanthropic)
If you can tell by my tone, I am somewhat disappointed by Facebook’s lack of initiative with their efforts to help Nonprofits. In my opinion, they offer a much stronger platform than Google Adwords based on their “intense” targeting as well as their “ripe and persuasive audience”. I am also quite shocked that they could not follow in the footsteps of Google’s 13 years of supporting Nonprofits with their Google Grants Programs. To end insultr to injury, I am also dumbfounded that they not only had to partner with another company but also label their efforts as a test to limited number of Nonprofits for just a couple month. What’s the point of a test, when you know Nonprofits could only benefit from the Free Advertising.
You almost get the sense that this was for the benefit for everyone else, except for the Nonprofit which needs it the most.
On Wednesday morning, the former Trump fixer will appear before the House Oversight Committee to share everything he knows about Trump’s business practices.
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Going through the hiring process is hard enough for traditional advertising fields. Getting the right candidate is crucial and can make or break entire departments. The process is even more difficult for a rapidly evolving and growing field like paid media, a field that demands specific skills and abilities that aren’t often easily reflected in […]
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VMware already had two flavors of Kubernetes, a fully managed cloud product and an enterprise version with all of the components such as registry and network pre-selected by VMware. What this new version does is provide a completely open version of Kubernetes where the customer can choose all of the components, giving a flexible option for those who want it, according to Scott Buchanan, senior director of product marketing for cloud native apps at VMware.
Buchanan said that the new product comes directly from the approach that Heptio had taken to selling Kuberentes prior to the acquisition . “We’re introducing a new offering called VMware Essential PKS, and that offering is a packaging of the approach that Heptio took to market and that gained a lot of traction, and that approach is a natural complement to the other Kubernetes products in the VMware portfolio,” he explained.
Buchanan acknowledged that a large part of the market is going to go for the fully managed or fully configured approaches, but there is a subset of buyers that will want more choice in their Kubernetes implementation.
“Larger enterprises with more complex infrastructure want to have a very customized approach to how they build out their architecture They don’t want to be integrated. They just want a foundation on which to build because the organizations are larger and more complex and they’re also more likely to have an internal DevOps or SREOps team to operate the platform on a day-to-day basis,” he explained.
While these organizations want flexibility, they also require more of a more consultative approach to the sale. Heptio had a 40-person field service engineering team that came over in the acquisition, and VMware is in the process of scaling that team. These folks consult with the customer and help them select the different components that make up a Kubernetes installation to fit the needs of each organization.
Buchanan, who also came over in the acquisition, says that being part of VMware (which is part of the Dell family of companies) means they have several layers of sales with VMware, Pivotal and Dell all selling the product.
Heptio is the Kubernetes startup founded by Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, the two men who helped develop the technology while they were at Google. Heptio was founded in 2016 and raised $ 33.5 million prior to the acquisition, according to Crunchbase data.
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In today’s world, there is rarely a PPC Marketing Strategy that does not include or even toy with the notion of creating either a Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads campaign(s) at some point in the strategy life-cycle. Because of this, marketers are developing and testing different audience segments based on interests, household income, marital status, exercise habits, etc… Frankly, it has changed the landscape of online marketing as we know it. In this post, I will talk about the importance of leveraging the targeting abilities within Facebook Ads and how it can benefit your next Google display campaign.
Facebook Ad’s Demographic Targeting Abilities
The targeting abilities in both Google Display and Facebook Ads are similar with regard to Demographics and Topics/Placement. However, truth be told, Facebook is just far more superior to marketers based on their the deeper targeting options and more precise segmentation abilities. So without further ado, lets talk about the similarities and how marketers can harness what they have learned from Facebook and apply to Google.
As you can see from the screenshot below ↓, Google Display provides similar demographic targeting options as compared to Facebook. They allow marketers to choose Genders, Ages and even Parental Status. However, there is one major “elephant in the room” here that skews all of this and that is the dreadful UNKNOWN that we see in all of our data reports. These unknowns are basically people that Google can not identify to be associated with any or all of the targeted options selected. (In Facebook, they have the same problem). The common issue is that not all people want to disclose their information to the platforms, hence making it more of a “ballpark” than a “hole in one”
The Fuzziness with Google Topics Targeting
In Google Display, we have the ability to select specific topics and/or placements where we want to advertise our display banners and text ads. In the screenshot below ↓, I have provided a small example of how we can target the topic(s) of Coffee & Tea. But here’s the catch. In Google, we have an INTENT problem with our ability to choose specific audiences based on these very generalized topics. Meaning, the Coffee and Tea audience found in Google could be anything from Coffee Market Financials to the Health Benefits of Green Tea, but NOT specifically the Coffee and Tea drinkers. It is this little dilemma that forces marketers to add another layer of targeting to try and “hone in” on their preferred audience. That extra layer is called Placement targeting, but there are some extra steps that are needed to get the most out of it.
Extra Effort needed with Google Placement Targeting
Placement Targeting is the closest thing to to Facebook Ads in terms of reaching specific brands or interests that possess a higher level of intent to make a purchase. However, there are some common issues with placement targeting that marketers need to know before they start spending their ad dollars.
- The partnering websites in this network are common Adsense customers. They can vary from being very authoritative and prominent like (CNN, Nytimes, etc..) all the way to suspicious arbitrage sites where all they do is drive up impressions and cost (yes, they still exist)
- Marketers are often missing out on potential site partners because Google’s own search engine is not up to date on listing all of them (meaning, there are great sites that are a part of the Adsense network that are not listed in their directory). This hiccup forces marketers to do their own research to find those sites and they need to be added manually.
The targeting abilities within Facebook Ads have become an absolute “game changer” in the PPC marketing world. It has made such an impact that it’s starting to question Google’s own targeting abilities within the display network. The FBA platform allows advertisers to reach those avid Coffee and Tea drinkers by targeting everything from certain Brands, Flavors, Keurig Cups, Brewing types, etc… However, simply eliminating Display from their strategy is not a wise choice, considering the missed opportunities in reaching that additional audience. If there is one take-away from this article, it is to take what they have learned from Facebook Ads and apply them to their display campaigns.
I’ll be upfront. My goal here is to persuade you that you should be using Facebook Messenger marketing and chatbots as part of your marketing strategy. This isn’t a sales pitch. This isn’t an infomercial. This is hard-hitting marketing intel. Whether you’re a PPC specialist, an SEO, a CMO, or just a curious bystander, I […]
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Circle makes a fantastic screen time management tool and today the company announced a round of funding to help fuel its growth. The $ 20 million Series B included participation from Netgear and T-Mobile, along with Third Kind Venture Capital and follow-on investments from Relay Ventures and other Series A participants.
With this round of funding, Circle has raised more than $ 30 million to date, including a Series A from 2017.
According to the company, Circle intends to use the funds to expand its product offering and form new partnerships with hardware makers and mobile carriers.
The timing is perfect. Parents are increasingly looking at ways to make sure children and teenagers do not become addicted to screens.
Circle works different from other solutions attempting to limit screen time. It’s hardware based and sits plugged into a home’s network. It allows an administrator, like a parent, to easily restrict the amount of time a device, such as an iPhone owned by a child, is able to access the local network. It’s easy and that’s the point.
Circle sits in a small, but growing field of services attempting to give parents the ability to limit their child’s screen time. Some of these solutions, like Apple’s, sit in the cloud. And though Apple’s works well, it is limited to iOS and Mac OS devices. Others, like those on Netgear’s Orbi products, offer a similar network-wide net, but are much harder to use than Circle.
In my household we use tools like Circle. The lure of the screen is just too great and these solutions, when used in combination with traditional parenting, ensure my children stare into the real world — at least for a few minutes a day.
JFrog, the popular DevOps startup now valued at more than $ 1 billion after raising $ 165 million last October, is making a move to expand the tools and services it provides to developers on its software operations platform: it has acquired Shippable, a cloud-based continuous integration and delivery platform (CI/CD) that developers use to ship code and deliver app and microservices updates, and plans to integrate it into its Enterprise+ platform.
Terms of the deal — JFrog’s fifth acquisition — are not being disclosed, said Shlomi Ben Haim, JFrog’s co-founder and CEO, in an interview. From what I understand, though, it was in the ballpark of Shippable’s most recent valuation, which was $ 42.6 million back in 2014 when it raised $ 8 million, according to PitchBook data. (And that was the last time it raised money.)
Shippable employees are joining JFrog and plan to release the first integrations with Enterprise+ this coming summer, and a full integration by Q3 of this year.
Shippable, founded in 2013, made its name early on as a provider of a containerized continuous integration and delivery platform based on Docker containers, but as Kubernetes has overtaken Docker in containerized deployments, the startup had also shifted its focus beyond Docker containers.
The acquisition speaks to the consolidation that is afoot in the world of DevOps, where developers and organizations are looking for more end-to-end toolkits, not just to help develop, update and run their apps and microservices, but to provide security and more — or at least, makers of DevOps tools hope they will be, as they themselves look to grow their margins and business.
As more organizations run ever more of their operations as apps and microservices, DevOps have risen in prominence and are offered both toolkits from standalone businesses as well as those whose infrastructure is touched and used by DevOps tools. That means a company like JFrog has an expanding pool of competitors that include not just the likes of Docker, Sonatype and GitLab, but also AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Azure and “the Red Hats of the world,” in the words of Ben Haim.
For Shippable customers, the integration will give them access to security, binary management and other enterprise development tools.
“We’re thrilled to join the JFrog family and further the vision around Liquid Software,” said Avi Cavale, founder and CEO of Shippable, in a statement. “Shippable users and customers have long enjoyed our next-generation technology, but now will have access to leading security, binary management and other high-powered enterprise tools in the end-to-end JFrog Platform. This is truly exciting, as the combined forces of JFrog and Shippable can make full DevOps automation from code to production a reality.”
On the part of JFrog, the company will be using Shippable to provide a native CI/CD tool directly within JFrog.
“Before most of our users would use Jenkins, Circle CI and other CI/CD automation tools,” Ben Haim said. “But what you are starting to see in the wider market is a gradual consolidation of CI tools into code repository.”
He emphasized that this will not mean any changes for developers who are already happy using Jenkins or other integrations: just that it will now be offering a native solution that will be offered alongside these (presumably both with easier functionality and with competitive pricing).
JFrog today has 5,000 paying customers, up from 4,500 in October, including “most of the Fortune 500,” with marquee customers including the likes of Apple and Adobe, but also banks, healthcare organizations and insurance companies — “conservative businesses,” said Ben Haim, that are also now realizing the importance of using DevOps.
At the ripe old age of 20, Google is synonymous with internet search. The famous Silicon Valley brand long ago became a verb.
Google Chrome remains the most popular web browser, leading on most mobile and desktop devices with more than 60 percent share across both platforms. It’s four times more popular than rival browsers.
In the U.S. alone, Google raked in about $ 34 billion in ad dollars tied to its dominant internet search business, per eMarketer.
With all its success and R&D spent to improve its search capabilities, it is surprising what a poor job Google and its core video offering, YouTube, do in two key areas of top importance to advertisers around the globe: search personalization and brand safety.
Just this week, YouTube once again became a shining example of what advertisers are desperately trying to fix: avoiding ad placements next to brand-inappropriate or dangerous content.
Google’s brand safety assurance is not fully baked yet
YouTube’s latest brand-safety debacle was sparked by a 20-minute video that has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times since Sunday.
Blogger Matt Watson said the comments sections on some YouTube posts that featured videos of girls performing things like gymnastics and yoga were being exploited by a “soft-core pedophilia ring.”
The videos were being time-stamped with minors in compromising positions and ads from companies like Disney and Nestle were being served up next to them. Unfortunately, YouTube’s recommendation engine was collecting and serving up more similar videos with associated ads being viewed and interacted with by pedophiles.
The outrage and furor over Watson’s discovery has caused major advertisers like AT&T, Disney, Epic Games and Nestle to pull advertising from YouTube as a result.
In response, earlier this week, YouTube has removed more than 400 channels amidst its latest child exploitation crisis.
However, significant brand damage and revenue loss for YouTube has been inflicted. A lack of faith in Google’s search algorithms and its brand-safety assurance is in the spotlight again following similar incidents that have occurred since 2017.
Brand safety concerns on YouTube
Following these well-publicized crises like YouTube’s most recent one, advertisers have grown increasingly concerned about ads appearing in brand-safe environments, especially on social-media platforms such as Google’s YouTube and Facebook.
A survey of more than 300 advertising decision-makers conducted by Oath, a Verizon company, last spring found that 99 percent of advertisers are concerned with their ads appearing in brand-safe environments. And 58 percent of them were more concerned than previous year.
A more recent study conducted by Teads found that “brand safety is keeping CMOs up at night.” Eight in 10 said that they’re more concerned with avoiding placement of ads next to brand-inappropriate content than ever before. It’s an issue that’s weighing heavily on the global digital ad industry that is now valued at more than $ 628 billion.
Ad platforms’ responses to protect brands
In response to advertisers’ concerns, major ad platforms have been adding more safeguards to avoid embarrassing and ineffective ad placements next to inappropriate content.
For example, Facebook rolled out new capabilities to exclude advertisements from predetermined categories such as conflict, gambling, guns, immigration, religion and tragedy. Google Ads offers some limiting functionality, but it is not as granular as what Facebook offers advertisers today.
Last month, new third-party software solutions from Integral Ad Science (IAS) and DoubleVerify were released to give YouTube advertisers more assurance that their video ads will appear next to brand-suitable content. This type of software is designed to reduce incidents of ads from tech giants, retailers, government agencies and media companies running alongside YouTube channels promoting controversial topics such as conspiracy theories, Nazis, North Korean propaganda and white nationalists, a trend reported on by CNN last April.
Tech giants like Google turn to artificial intelligence to improve ad effectiveness
The new software from IAS and DoubleVerify to improve brand-safety assurance on YouTube incorporates machine learning to create models for determining ad appropriateness.
Similarly, last year, Google launched new features with machine-learning technology – including a new service called AdSense auto ads that helps publishers improve monetization and ad placement. Google claims the relatively new feature ensures that ads will be displayed when they’re likely to perform and provide a good user experience.
Publishers who participated in the beta saw and average lift of 10 percent with revenue increasing ranging between five to 15 percent.
However, the personalization capabilities from Google to improve ad efficiency are not as good as they should be for publishers or advertisers.
How does current Google Ads personalization stack up?
As an example for the latter, I’ll cite a story about a good friend’s recent experience with Google Ads. A small business owner, he runs a local plumbing business in Milwaukee. He spent hundreds of dollars on an ad campaign a few months back to increase incoming business leads using Google Ads.
Google’s auto-generated keywords for the campaign it scraped from his landing page were not relevant, especially in terms of geo-targeting for a local plumbing business. His website traffic went way up, but he did not gain one qualified sales lead as a result of the campaign. It was a dismal failure for him.
How much will deep learning improve it?
Many industry experts view deep learning as the Holy Grail for “changing the game for both advertisers and consumers.” According to a ClickZ story by Daniel Surmacz: “Deep learning is changing the way we think about effectiveness. It’s the most promising field of AI-based research found in Google Translate and Tesla self-driving cars.”
Without an ability for machine learning AI-powered platforms to “think on their feet” like human neural networks, many don’t have the same speed and efficiency-drivers that deep learning provides. It’s simply not possible for machine-learning AI engines to act like personal shoppers and cross-sell relevant items to consumers without deep learning’s more highly advanced algorithms.
Unless Google improves its personalization and brand-safety capabilities, it stands to lose more market share to others, most notably Amazon.
The share of new ad dollars has been on the decline for the longtime duopoly of Google and Facebook compared to two years ago. Amazon, a master of personalization and controller of its own walled garden, has emerged as a search advertising powerhouse and it’s on track to generate more than $ 10 billion in ad revenues over the next year.
Gary Burtka is vice president of US operations at RTB House, a global company that provides retargeting technology for global brands worldwide. Its North American headquarters are based in New York City.