Monthly Archives: May 2019
Amazon is continually showing that it is the only company that will consistently compete with Google and Facebook, and is already becoming a leading DSP. 41% of advertisers are using Amazon DSP, outperforming all its competitors including Google & The Trade Desk. What does that mean for your Programmatic Strategy?
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The new aviation player is showing off an electric, boxy, six-rotor air taxi powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
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There are plenty of travel apps for researching flights and hotels or generally organizing your trips, but indie German developer Hans Knöechel struggled to find one that could gather all his travel-related information in one place, in addition to allowing a group of friends to collaborate on the trip-planning process. So he built one for himself: Lambus, an app that lets you organize your travel documents, manage expenses, plus collaborate and chat with fellow co-travelers about the trip being planned.
Previously a senior software engineer at Appcelerator in San Jose, Knöechel came up with the idea for Lambus after being on the road a lot himself, and finding existing travel apps lacking.
“When traveling, you either use a manual folder with dozens of pages for all your information — or countless apps to display travel expenses, booking confirmations and waypoint planning. Alternatives like Google Trips, Sygic and Roadtrippers were always limited to one person and never offered all the features I needed during the trip,” he explains. “This gave me the idea for Lambus: A collaborative platform on which travel groups — in real-time — can display all the properties of the trip in an easy-to-use platform: Waypoints, travel expenses, booking documents, notes, photos and chat,” he says.
The resulting app he refers to as a “Swiss Army Knife” for travel planning.
Like TripIt and others, travel documents can be shared with Lambus by forwarding emails to a unique personal email address. The imported documents — like plane tickets or Airbnb stays — will then be made available to all group attendees automatically. This is handy for group trips where often multiple people take turns making the various reservations, but don’t have any easy way to share the information with others beyond forwarding emails or writing down information in a shared online document.
Documents can also be uploaded through an “Import PDF” feature, as an alternative to email sharing. And photos can be added by snapping a picture or importing from the phone’s Camera Roll, as well.
The photo feature is handy for saving those miscellaneous pieces of travel information — like how to access an Airbnb upon arrival, travel directions posted on an event or venue’s website, a helpful online review you saved and more. It’s also a fast way to import any other information, without having to rely on email or uploads.
In the expenses section, you can keep track of either private or group expenses by entering the amount and what it was for, and, optionally, if it’s been paid.
While largely aimed at group travel because of the collaboration and built-in chat features, the app can be used for solo trips, too.
In testing the app, we found there were a few kinks that still needed to be corrected.
The calendar, for example, didn’t include the days of the week, only the dates — which was unusual. The app also had trouble finding some points of interest — like a convention center, for example, when it was entered directly in the search box. (It came up when we searched for a “nearby place” to an existing waypoint, oddly.) This appears to be a bug.
Some parts of the German app hadn’t been localized to English, either. For instance, when viewing the detail page for a waypoint, the “On My List” section read: “Noch keine Orte in der Nähe geplant.” (Meaning: “No places planned nearby.”)
More importantly, Lambus didn’t turn imported documents into an easy-to-read itinerary, as TripIt does. The travel plan, instead, included a list of waypoints but not the dates and times, with all the details like flight numbers or hotel reservation numbers. That’s perhaps a deal-breaker in terms of dumping all other travel apps in favor of Lambus alone.
Despite its quirks, the concept here is solid and the app is nicely designed with a bright and clean look-and-feel. The app is only a couple of months old, so given a little more time, attention and a few more releases, it has the potential to become a seriously useful travel tool for group trip planning.
The name, “Lambus,” is an odd choice, we have to also note.
Knöechel says he was searching for a word that was easy to pronounce in many different languages, and settled on this — a domain name he already owned.
While Knöechel is the sole founder, Lambus is a team of seven, including mainly university friends, he says. The startup is seed-funded by the Ministry of Economics in Germany (~€120,000), and eventually has plans to generate affiliate revenue by offering hotel, flight, Airbnb and activity bookings in-app.
There is a tendency at any conference to get lost in the message. Spending several days immersed in any subject tends to do that. The purpose of such gatherings is, after all, to sell the company or technologies being featured.
Against the beautiful backdrop of the city of Barcelona last week, we got the full cloud native message at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which houses Kubernetes and related cloud native projects, had certainly honed the message along with the community who came to celebrate its five-year anniversary. The large crowds that wandered the long hallways of the Fira Gran Via conference center proved it was getting through, at least to a specific group.
Cloud native computing involves a combination of software containerization along with Kubernetes and a growing set of adjacent technologies to manage and understand those containers. It also involves the idea of breaking down applications into discrete parts known as microservices, which in turn leads to a continuous delivery model, where developers can create and deliver software more quickly and efficiently. At the center of all this is the notion of writing code once and being able to deliver it on any public cloud, or even on-prem. These approaches were front and center last week.
At five years old, many developers have embraced these concepts, but cloud native projects have reached a size and scale where they need to move beyond the early adopters and true believers and make their way deep into the enterprise. It turns out that it might be a bit harder for larger companies with hardened systems to make wholesale changes in the way they develop applications, just as it is difficult for large organizations to take on any type of substantive change.
Putting up stop signs
Just when you thought Google was done shaking things up within their Google Ads platform, they did it again with their announcement that the “Average Position” metric would be sunset later this year.
Come September, we’ll have to start relying on the existing metrics “Top Impression Share” and “Absolute Top Impression Share” instead.
The change at first glance
It seems to simply and unnecessarily turn one metric into several, adding more complexity to the already vast data pool. However, the change is actually a chance to more accurately gauge the true page position of your text ads. The Average position has long been one of the most misunderstood metrics in the Google Ads ecosystem and can be a common source of confusion between client, agency, and Google teams.
Average position is going down
Average position is often interpreted as a metric that directly denotes the actual position your ad occupied on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), but that was never actually the case. Instead, average position denoted where your ad fell relative to other ads.
To illustrate the difference, consider that an ad with an average position of two could just as often be spotted sitting at the bottom of the results page as it could be found at the second overall results spot. The latter being in immediate view of a searcher without scrolling at all, the former often forgotten or dismissed.
In these two separate instances, the ad from Joybird is just as much in average position two as the JustFab ad in the next picture.
What are these “new” metrics?
“Top Impression Share” and “Absolute Top Impression Share” are actually much closer to the perceived intent of the average position.
Absolute Top Impression Share
“Absolute Top Impression Share” is defined as “the percentage of impressions your ad has in the very first position above organic search results”. This makes it ideal for knowing when your ad will be shown to a searcher without having to scroll. This is especially crucial when dealing with limited mobile real estate.
Top Impression Share
Meanwhile, “Top Impression Share” is defined as “the percentage of impressions your ad has above organic search results”. This will still be useful when gauging how your ad is being placed in relation to competitors.
While these new prominence metrics are a breath of fresh air, the jury is still out on just how reliable they are now and how reliable they will continue to be given the continuous testing of new page experiences and vertical-specific ad units (for example, hotel campaigns in Google Ads) along with other specialized knowledge panels.
Wake me up when September ends
With these “new” impression-share-based metrics taking center-stage in place of “Average Position”, there are plenty of misconceptions left to fuel more questions as time goes on, but the move should be fairly smooth given the ample amount of time we’ve been given to make the transition to using “Top Impression Share” and “Absolute Top Impression Share”.
With the wealth of data at our fingertips, now is the perfect time for search advertisers to educate themselves and their clients on the pitfalls of vanity metrics and the importance of focusing on clean, useful data that will actually improve returns.
Blake Lucas is an SEM Coordinator at PMG.
Amazon and Walmart’s problems in India look set to continue after Narendra Modi, the biggest force to embrace the country’s politics in decades, led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a historic landslide re-election on Thursday, reaffirming his popularity in the eyes of the world’s largest democracy.
The re-election, which gives Modi’s government another five years in power, will in many ways chart the path of India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, as well as the local play of Silicon Valley companies that have grown increasingly wary of recent policy changes.
At stake is also the future of India’s internet, the second largest in the world. With more than 550 million internet users, the nation has emerged as one of the last great growth markets for Silicon Valley companies. Google, Facebook, and Amazon count India as one of their largest and fastest growing markets. And until late 2016, they enjoyed great dynamics with the Indian government.
But in recent years, New Delhi has ordered more internet shutdowns than ever before and puzzled many over crackdowns on sometimes legitimate websites. To top that, the government recently proposed a law that would require any intermediary — telecom operators, messaging apps, and social media services among others — with more than 5 million users to introduce a number of changes to how they operate in the nation. More on this shortly.
Las Vegas goes into the digging biz with Musk, GM unveils a new electric nervous system for its cars—plus the Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest of the Week.
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