Monthly Archives: February 2019
Don’t get me wrong, Google Grants is an amazing “in-kind” gift for those qualified 501(c)(3) Nonprofits (especially for those who are utilizing it efficiently). However, times have changed since it’s inception in 2003 and considering the multi-device environment that we live in, Google should consider adapting their Mobile Network as a viable option for Google Grantees. Maybe call it (GrantsMobile)?
In this post, I will discuss the reasons why Google should revamp their Grants program to be more mobile app friendly.
Nonprofits have been “Going Mobile” for a while
The idea that Nonprofits have become “less savvy” as compared to “For-Profit” organizations is simply not true. Even though nonprofits may not have the big advertising budgets as do for-profit companies, they are savvy enough to “fish where the fish are” in trying to increase awareness, volunteerism and most importantly fundraising. In a Capterra Nonprofit Technology Blog article published back in 2014 entitled “The Essential Guide to Going Mobile for Nonprofits“, author Leah Readings talks about the importance for Nonprofits to be more mobile because it creates a wider range of communication between the organization and its members. Readings also states “Allowing for online donation pages or portals, or donation apps, makes it much easier for your members to donate—when all they have to do is click a few buttons in order to make a donation, giving becomes easier, and in turn will encourage more people to give.“
Need more convincing? In a 2013 article from InternetRetailer.com entitled “Mobile donations triple in 2012” (which was also mentioned in the Capterra article) the author goes on to quote from a fundraising technology and services provider Frontstream (formerly Artez Interactive) which states “nonprofits that offer mobile web sites, apps or both for taking donations generate up to 123% more individual donations per campaign than organizations that don’t.“
Why Google Mobile is Ripe for Nonprofits:
If you have ever done any mobile advertising within Google Adwords (formerly AdMob), you know that the system is pretty robust and is considered one of the best platforms to promote Apps on both Google Play and the iTunes store. Moreover, advertisers can easily track engagements and downloads back to their specific audience that they are targeting. The costs are also much more affordable than traditional $ 1-2 CPC offered to Google Grants accounts which can only run on Google.com.
Here are the Mobile App Promotion Campaigns by Google Adwords:
Universal App Campaigns:
AdWords create ads for your Android app in a variety of auto-generated formats to show across the Search, Display and YouTube Networks.
- Ads are generated for you based on creative text you enter, as well as your app details in the Play Store (e.g. your icon and images). These ads can appear on all available networks
- Add an optional YouTube video link for your ads to show on YouTube as well.
Mobile app installs
Increase app downloads with ads sending people directly to app stores to download your app.
- Available for Search Network, Display Network, and YouTube
- Ad formats include standard, image and video app install ads
Mobile app engagement
Re-engage your existing users with ads that deep link to specific screens within your mobile app. Mobile app engagement campaigns are a great choice if you’re focused on finding folks interested in your app content, getting people who have installed your app to try your app again, or to open your app and take a specific action. These types of ads allow flexibility for counting conversions, bidding and targeting.
- Available for Search Network and Display Network campaigns
- Ad formats include standard and image app engagement ads
A lot has changed since 2003 with the birth of Google Grants and Google needs to continue to be socially responsible and catch up to their own standards of the online world that they helped create. Nonprofits are now, more than ever, relying on the internet to drive awareness, volunteerism and fundraising. For Nonprofits, as well as everyone else for that matter, are getting their information from Facebook, Twitter, TV, Radio and (still Google) using laptops, tablets and mobile devices and it’s time for Google Grants to adapt to this new world.
When does “delete” really mean delete? Not always, or even at all, if you’re Twitter .
Twitter retains direct messages for years, including messages you and others have deleted, but also data sent to and from accounts that have been deactivated and suspended, according to security researcher Karan Saini.
Saini found years-old messages in a file from an archive of his data obtained through the website from accounts that were no longer on Twitter. He also reported a similar bug, found a year earlier but not disclosed until now, that allowed him to use a since-deprecated API to retrieve direct messages even after a message was deleted from both the sender and the recipient — though, the bug wasn’t able to retrieve messages from suspended accounts.
Saini told TechCrunch that he had “concerns” that the data was retained by Twitter for so long.
But, in our tests, we could recover direct messages from years ago — including old messages that had since been lost to suspended or deleted accounts. By downloading your account’s data, it’s possible to download all of the data Twitter stores on you.
Saini says this is a “functional bug” rather than a security flaw, but argued that the bug allows anyone a “clear bypass” of Twitter mechanisms to prevent accessed to suspended or deactivated accounts.
But it’s also a privacy matter, and a reminder that “delete” doesn’t mean delete — especially with your direct messages. That can open up users, particularly high-risk accounts like journalist and activists, to government data demands that call for data from years earlier.
That’s despite Twitter’s claim that once an account has been deactivated, there is “a very brief period in which we may be able to access account information, including tweets,” to law enforcement.
A Twitter spokesperson said the company was “looking into this further to ensure we have considered the entire scope of the issue.”
Retaining direct messages for years may put the company in a legal grey area ground amid Europe’s new data protection laws, which allows users to demand that a company deletes their data.
Neil Brown, a telecoms, tech and internet lawyer at U.K. law firm Decoded Legal, said there’s “no formality at all” to how a user can ask for their data to be deleted. Any request from a user to delete their data that’s directly communicated to the company “is a valid exercise” of a user’s rights, he said.
Companies can be fined up to four percent of their annual turnover for violating GDPR rules.
“A delete button is perhaps a different matter, as it is not obvious that ‘delete’ means the same as ‘exercise my right of erasure’,” said Brown. Given that there’s no case law yet under the new General Data Protection Regulation regime, it will be up to the courts to decide, he said.
When asked if Twitter thinks that consent to retain direct messages is withdrawn when a message or account is deleted, Twitter’s spokesperson had “nothing further” to add.
ChargedUp, a U.K. startup that offers a mobile charging network that takes inspiration from bike sharing, has closed £1.2 million in seed investment. Leading the round is Sir John Hegarty’s fund The Garage, and the ex-Innocent Smoothie founders fund JamJar. The funding will be used to grow the offering across the U.K. and for international expansion.
Founded by Hugo Tilmouth, Charlie Baron, Hakeem Buge and Forrest Skerman Stevenson, ChargedUp has set out to solve the dead mobile phone battery problem with a charging network. However, rather than offer fixed charging points, the team has developed a solution that lets you rent a mobile charging pack from one destination and return it at a different location if needed. That way, mobile phone use remains mobile.
“It’s annoying and inconvenient to be out and about with a dying phone battery,” says CEO Hugo Tilmouth. We’ve all been there and I was inspired to do something about it through my own experiences. I was at a cricket match at London’s Lord’s Cricket Ground and waiting for a call for a last round interview with a large tech firm, and was running very low on charge! I ended up having to leave the cricket ground, buy a power bank and then rode a Boris Bike home and the light bulb went off in my head! Why not combine the flexibility of the sharing economy with the need of a ‘ChargedUp’ phone!”
The solution was to create multiple distribution points across a city, located in the venues where people spend most of their time. This includes cafes, bars and restaurants. “Our solution uses an app to enable users to find the nearest stations, unlock a sharable power bank and then return it to any station in the network and only pay for the time they use. Our goal is to be never five minutes from a charge,” adds Tilmouth.
In the next six months, ChargedUp says it will expand its network of over 250 vending stations in London’s bars, cafes and restaurants across to other large metropolitan areas in the U.K. Last month, the young startup partnered with Marks & Spencer to trial the platform in its central London stores. If the trial is successful, ChargedUp says it could lead to providing its phone-charging solution to all M&S customers by the end of 2019.
“Since launch we have delivered over 1 million minutes of charge across the network, and our customers love the service,” says Tilmouth. “Like the sharing scooter and bike companies, we operate a time-based model. We simply charge our users a simple price of 50p per 30 mins to charge their phones. We also make revenue from the advertising space both on our batteries and within our app.”
With regards to competition, Tilmouth says ChargedUp’s most direct competitor is the charging lockers found in some public spaces, such as ChargeBox. “We do not see this as a viable alternative to ChargedUp as users are forced to lock their phones away preventing them from using them while it charges. They are also prone to theft and damage. We are also differentiated by our use of green energy offsetting throughout the network,” he says.
Meanwhile, in a statement, investor Sir John Hegarty talks up the revenue opportunities beyond rentals, which includes advertising, rewards and loyalty. “At its simplest, ChargedUp addresses a massive need in the market, mobile devices running out of power. But more than that, ChargedUp provides advertisers with a powerful medium that connects directly with their audience at point of purchase,” he says.
Prior to today’s seed round, ChargedUp received investment from Telefonica via the Wayra accelerator and Brent Hoberman’s Founders Factory.
Oleg Shchgolev, CEO and Co-founder of SEMrush, also created SEOquake that was released in 2006. SEOquake was the inspiration to creating something more complex. Then SEMrush was born with the help of his partner, Dimitri Melnikov.
Today, SEMrush has 10 years in the market with 500 employees, revenues close to 100 million, and about 2 million users worldwide.
I had the pleasure to interview Oleg, including some questions beyond Search.
KT: What type of inspiration, vision, and loyalty did you see in Dmitri Melnikov that made you want to go in business with him?
OS: First and foremost, Dima is my friend. Second, he is a SEMrush co-founder; he’s been here right from the very beginning. We have always believed in the product that we’ve been working on and I totally admire him as my friend, my colleague, and co-founder.
We make most decisions together as CEO & co-CEO. Our temperaments are mutually reinforcing and this contributes greatly in allowing us to make balanced and informed decisions.
KT: How is your relationship with your partner Dmitri Melnikov?
OS: I’ve known Dmitri for more than 30 years. We grew up in the same neighborhood; we started programming together and over time our friendship expanded into a business partnership. We’ve gone through lots of ups and downs together.
KT: To be successful in the tech industry do you consider a person has to go to college or can they be self-taught?
OS: Formal education greatly enhances discipline and concentration, helps you socialize and find the right and important people — to network, if you like.
But a lot of leaders I know are self-taught. Back when I was a student, people had pretty much no idea what SEO was, or how important (and complicated) it would become over the years. Students should be aware that their knowledge gets outdated fast. They need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to continuing self-education.
The IT industry is developing extremely quickly. That’s not to say that college education is not needed at all (it definitely doesn’t hurt to learn some basic stuff in college), but other than that…like I said, I don’t deem formal training to be absolutely essential. With all the online courses and workshops, it’s possible to study everything remotely.
KT: Does SEMrush have corporate social responsibility initiatives? Such as giving scholarships for people that dream with tech careers? Or any other?
OS: At the moment, we work closely with American and European universities and give students the opportunity to explore SEMrush. While learning digital marketing, they familiarize themselves with our tools and work on their projects with the help of SEMrush. Representatives of our company give a lot of master-classes to students, providing them with the insights about digital marketing.
We organize a lot of meetups, roundtables and conferences on digital marketing and agile. We always welcome other IT companies to take part in such events. Lots of lectures, a great deal of useful insight, plenty of opportunities for networking — these are just a few reasons to come by our events.
On a different note, we certainly care about ecological sustainability. We are going to implement waste separation in all our offices and we encourage our employees to cycle to work to reduce CO2 emission.
It goes without saying that we give people the opportunity to work with us on paid internships. Pretty often, former interns become our full-time employees. We have plans for a large project on how to help novice specialists find work in the digital sphere, but we won’t reveal the details yet
KT: Where is SEMrush headed in the next 5 years?
OS: We are definitely going to add more features to SEMrush, while enhancing our content tools, along with local SEO and traffic analytics (Competitive Intelligence 2.0). We want to ensure that we remain the leading digital marketing software.
As for strategic plans, we are going to strengthen our global brand. At the moment we’re working diligently to enter emerging markets such as China — right now, we are updating our databases to cover Baidu data.
We’ll also introduce tools that help figure out how to rank better on Amazon and optimize for voice search.
This is just a minor part of what is coming. There are a lot of other things we are working on, but we’ll keep them quiet for a while! Hint: 2019 is going to be a big year for us.
KT: What are your biggest pain points as SEO thought-leader? What additional support/buy-in do you think most companies struggle with to get on board? Does this result in limiting their growth opportunities?
OS: SEO is multidimensional and its development is extremely rapid. 5 years ago we couldn’t even imagine that image search or voice search would be everywhere. Such technological growth involves non-stop education and creative thinking, both from my side as a thought-leader and from the side of companies trying to get on board.
One more indispensable thing to get on board successfully is to have some unique feature, to understand your uniqueness and, crucially, to communicate that knowledge to your audience. Such an environment of extrinsic value, created for your customers, will also help build strong and long-term relationships with them and will directly affect customer retention.
KT: What will impact the traditional SEO from Voice search devices in the coming years?
OS: The share of voice searches is growing, along with the amount of voice-activated smart speakers. Naturally, voice searches are different from the searches that are typed — the former are longer and the wording is different — more conversational.
Voice search is about questions, prepositions, and comparisons – the same as with featured snippets . If it’s not an informational query, people are likely to search for location-based info.
Backlinko’s study claims that 40.7% of answers come from the featured snippet. Our SEO clients are putting more and more emphasis on this feature. Questions, prepositions, and comparisons dominate featured snippet results. A whopping 52% of questions have featured snippets.
KT: Can we get a dashboard or report on voice search?
OS: There’s no single dashboard or report on voice search in SEMrush (at least for now) but some of our tools help find solutions for voice search optimization. For instance, featured snippet checks or mobile devices optimization — this contributes to voice search ranking.
KT: What’s the most popular SEMrush feature and why?
OS: Everyone loves us for Keywords Research tools, but there is so much more to SEMrush.
KT: What’s a feature of SEMrush that is less utilized and why?
OS: The features that are available in the Admin Mode only =)
KT: What is diversity like in the tech industry? Do you think there is gender bias in the tech industry?
OS: Judging by what the media says, there are indeed a lot of problems with diversity in the tech industry. In SEMrush we want our company to be equally welcoming to people of any race or gender. About half of SEMrush C-level employees are women and we believe they are awesome specialists who help make SEMrush an industry-leading company.
My favorite answer is the last one because I am an advocate for equality and inclusivity.
In my conversation with Oleg I also learned that SEMrush’s headquarters is now in Boston.
To summarize the success of SEMrush, it is based on a great communication within its talented partners, a great culture of inclusivity, and the amazing people that work there.
TikTok is testing a new ad product: a sponsored video ad that directs users to the advertiser’s website. The test was spotted in the U.S. TikTok app, where a video labeled “Sponsored” from the bike retailer Specialized is showing up in the main feed, along with a blue “Lean More” button that directs users to tap to get more information.
Presumably, this button could be customized to send users to the advertiser’s website or any other web address, but for the time being it only opened the Specialized Bikes (@specializedbikes) profile page within the TikTok app.
However, the profile page itself also sported a few new features, including what appeared to be a tweaked version of the verified account badge.
Below the @specializedbikes username was “Specialized Bikes Page” and a blue checkmark (see below). On other social networks, checkmarks like this usually indicate a user whose account has gone through a verification process of some kind.
Typical TikTok user profiles don’t look like this — they generally only include the username. In some cases, we’ve seen them sport other labels like “popular creator” or “Official Account” — but these have been tagged with a yellowish-orange checkmark, not a blue one.
In addition, a pop-up banner overlay appeared at the bottom of the profile page, which directed users to “Go to Website” followed by another blue “Learn More” button.
Oddly, this pop-up banner didn’t show up all the time, and the “Learn More” button didn’t work — it only re-opened the retailer’s profile page.
As for the video itself, it features a Valentine’s Day heart that you can send to a crush, and, of course, some bikes.
The music backing the clip is Breakbot’s “By Your Side,” but is labeled “Promoted Music.” Weirdly, when you tap on the “Promoted Music” you’re not taken to the soundbite on TikTok like usual, but instead get an error message saying “Ad videos currently do not support this feature.”
Rolling through TikTok and got an ad from Specialized Bikes that just takes you to their profile when you tap “Learn more” but then brings up “video ads do not support this feature” when you tap on the promoted music track. pic.twitter.com/hBmedThVON
— Jeff Higgins (The Cool One) (@ItsJeffHiggins) February 14, 2019
The glitches indicate this video ad unit is still very much in the process of being tested, and not a publicly available ad product at this time.
TikTok parent ByteDance only just began to experiment with advertising in the U.S. and U.K. in January.
So far, public tests have only included an app launch pre-roll ad. But according to a leaked pitch deck published by Digiday, there are four TikTok ad products in the works: a brand takeover, an in-feed native video ad, a hashtag challenge and a Snapchat-style 2D lens filter for photos; 3D and AR lens were listed as “coming soon.”
TikTok previously worked with GUESS on a hashtag challenge last year, and has more recently been running app launch pre-roll ads for companies like GrubHub, Disney’s Kingdom Hearts and others. However, a native video ad hadn’t yet been spotted in the wild until now.
According to estimates from Sensor Tower, TikTok has grown to nearly 800 million lifetime installs, not counting Android in China. Factoring that in, it’s fair to say the app has topped 1 billion downloads. As of last July, TikTok claimed to have more than 500 million monthly active users worldwide, excluding the 100 million users it gained from acquiring Musical.ly.
That’s a massive user base, and attractive to advertisers. Plus, native video ads like the one seen in testing would allow brands to participate in the community, instead of interrupting the experience the way video pre-rolls do.
TikTok and Specialized declined to comment.
Social science has an image problem—too many findings don’t hold up. A new project will crank through 30,000 studies to try to identify red flags.
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Have you ever heard this one? A Financial Planner and PPC Marketer walk into a bar… Probably not. However, the strategy that they would advise their clients on would be quite similar. If there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification… and a lot of it. Startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.
Setting Realistic Expectations:
As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!
Separation of Brand vs. Non-Brand:
It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.
- Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
- Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
- More continuous visibility.
- Expectations are set to branding only.
- Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
- Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
- High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
- Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.
Monetize Everything Under the Sun
This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.
Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.
Instagram confirmed today that an issue has been causing some accounts’ follower numbers to change. Users began noticing the bug about 10 hours ago and the drastic drop in followers caused some to wonder if Instagram was culling inactive and fake accounts, as part of its fight against spam.
We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.
— Instagram (@instagram) February 13, 2019
“We’re aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people right now. We’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible,” the company said on Twitter.
why did I just lose over half a million followers @instagram wyd sis
— James Charles (@jamescharles) February 13, 2019
so I just lost like 4K on Instagram and it unfollowed like 100 people within a matter of minutes? what’s going on
like I’m not mad about my follower count cause I’d rather have less spam followers and better engagement but like why is it unfollowing people?!
— stephanie duran (@ItsSteephh) February 13, 2019
INSTAGRAM FOLLOWER CULL
Last night Instagram removed inactive / bot accounts from all accounts, globally.
I’ve woken up to an inbox full of messages from concerned people / influences and brands who have in some cases, lost millions of followers while they were asleep! pic.twitter.com/ItUXqqmwQT
— Steve Bartlett (@stevebartlettsc) February 13, 2019
The Instagram bug comes a few hours after a Twitter bug messed with the Like count on tweets, causing users to wonder if accounts were being suspended en masse or if they were just very bad at tweeting.
In an astonishing indictment, the DoJ details how Monica Witt allegedly turned on her former counterintelligence colleagues.
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