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Monthly Archives: January 2020

How Dubsmash revived itself as #2 to TikTok

January 31, 2020 No Comments

Lip-syncing app Dubsmash was on the brink of death. After a brief moment of virality in 2015 alongside Vine (R.I.P), Dubsmash was bleeding users faster than it could recruit them. The app let you choose an audio track like a rap song or movie quote and shoot a video of you pretending to say the words. But there was nowhere in the app to post the videos. It was a creation tool like Hipstamatic, not a network like Instagram. There’s a reason we’re only using one of those today.

So in 2017 Dubsmash‘s three executives burned down the 30-person company and rebuilt something social from the ashes with the rest of the $ 15.4 million it’d raised from Lowercase Capital and Index Ventures. They ditched its Berlin headquarters and resettled in Brooklyn, closer to the one demographic still pushing Dubsmashes to the Instagram Explore page: African-American teenagers posting dances and lip-syncs to indie hip-hop songs on the rise.

Dubsmash stretched its funding to rehire a whole new team of 15. They spent a year coding a new version of Dubsmash centered around Following and Trending feeds, desperately trying to match the core features of Musically, which by then had been bought by China’s ByteDance. It’s got chat but still lacks the augmented reality filters, cut transitions, and photo slideshows of TikTok. But Dubsmash has the critical remix option for soundtracking your clip with the audio of any other video that sets it apart from Instagram and Snapchat.

“We realized to build a great product, we needed a depth of expertise that we just didn’t have access to in Berlin” Dubsmash co-founder and CEO Jonas Druppel tells me. “It was a risky move and we felt the weight of it acutely.  But we also knew there was no other way forward, given the scale and pace of the other players in the market.”

Few social apps have ever pulled off a real comeback. Even Snapchat had only lost 5 million of its 191 million users before it started growing again. But in the case of Dubsmash, its biggest competitor was also its savior.

The pre-relaunch version of Dubsmash

In August 2018, ByteDance merged Musically into TikTok to form a micro-entertainment phenomenon. Instead of haphazardly sharing auto-biographical Stories shot with little forethought, people began storyboarding skits and practicing dances. The resulting videos were denser and more compelling than content on Snapchat and Instagram. The new Dubsmash, launched two months later, rode along with the surge of interest in short-form video like a Lilliputian in a giant’s shirt pocket. The momentum helped Dubsmash raise a secret round of funding last year to keep up the chase.

Now Dubsmash has 1 billion video views per month.

Dubsmash rebuilt its app and revived its usage

“The turnaround that we executed hasn’t been done in recent memory by a consumer app in such a competitive marketplace. Most of them fade to oblivion or shut down” Dubsmash co-founder and President Suchit Dash tells me. “By moving the company to the United States, hiring a brand new all-star team & relaunching the product, we gave this company & product a second life. Through that journey, we obsessed only on one metric: retention.”

Now the app has pulled 27% of the US short-form video market share by installs, second only to TikTok’s 59%, according to AppAnnie. Sensor Tower tells TechCrunch that TikTok has about 3X as many US lifetime installs as Dubsmash, and 11X more between when Musically became TikTok in August 2018 and now.

In terms of active users outside of TikTok, Dubsmash has 73% of the US market, compared to just 23% on Triller, 3.6% on Firework, and an embarrassing 0% on Facebook’s Lasso. And while Triller began surpassing Dubsmash in downloads per month in October, Dubsmash has 3X as many active users and saw 38% more first-time downloads in 2018 than 2019. Dubsmash now sees 30% retention after a month, and 30% of its daily users are creating content.

It’s that stellar rate of participation that’s brought Dubsmash back to life. It also attracted a previously unannounced round of $ 6.75 million in the Spring of 2019, largely from existing investors. While TikTok’s superstars and huge visibility could be scaring some users away from shooting videos while a long-tail of recent downloaders watch passively, Dubsmash has managed to make people feel comfortable on camera.

“Dubsmash is ground zero for culture creation in America—it’s where  the newest,  most popular hip-hop and dance challenges on the Internet originate” Dash declares.  “Members of the community are developing content that will make them the superstars of tomorrow.”

Being #2 might not be so bad, given how mobile video viewing is growing massively thanks to better cameras, bigger screens, faster networks, and cheaper data. Right now, Dubsmash doesn’t make any money. It hopes to one day generate revenue while helping its creators earn a living too, perhaps through ad revenue shares, tipping, subscriptions, merchandise, or offline meetups.

One advantage of not being TikTok is that the app feels less crowded by semi-pro creators and influencers. That gives users the vibe that they’re more likely to hit the Trending or Explore page on Dubsmash. The Trending page is dominated by hot new songs and flashy dances, even if they’re shot with a lower production quality that feels accessible.

Dubsmash tries to stoke that sense of opportunity by making Explore about discovering accounts and all the content they’ve made rather than specific videos. While popular clips might have tens of thousands of views rather than the hundred-thousand or multi-million counts on TikTok’s top content, there’s enough visibility to make shooting Dubsmashes worth it.

TikTok has already taken notice. Shown in a leak of its moderation guidelines from Netzpolitik, the company’s policy is to downrank the visibility of any video referencing or including a watermark from direct competitors including Dubsmash, Triller, Lasso, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. That keeps Dubsmash videos, which you can save to your camera roll, from going viral on TikTok and luring users away.

TikTok’s content moderation guidelines show it downranks content featuring the watermarks of competitors like Dubsmash

TikTok also continues to aggressively buy users via ads on competing apps like Facebook thanks to the billions in funding raked in by its parent ByteDance. In contast, Dash says Dubsmash has never spent a dollar on user acquisition, influencer marketing, or any other source of growth. That makes it achieving even half to a third of as many installs as TikTok in the US an impressive fete.

Why would creators choose Dubsmash over TikTok? Dash clinically explains that its a “decoupled audio and video platform that enables producers and tastemakers to upload fresh, original tracks that are utilized by creators and  influencers alike” but that it’s also about “Its role as a welcoming home for a community that’s underrepresented on social platforms.”

If Dubsmash keeps growing, though, it will encounter the inevitable content moderation problems that come with scale. It’s already doing a solid job of requiring users to sign up with their birthdate to watch or post videos, and it blocks those under 13. Only users who follow each other can chat.

Any piece of content that’s flagged by users is hidden from the network until it passes a review by its human moderation team that works around the clock, and it does proactive takedowns too. However, brigading and malicious takedown reports could be used by trolls to silence their enemies. Dubsmash is working off of a common sense model of what’s allowed rather than firm guidelines, which will be tough to keep consistent at scale.

“Being a social media app in 2020 means you need to take greater responsibility for the well being of the community” says Dash. “We decided upon relaunch to take a strict perspective. Our goal is to be intentional and proactive early, and invest in safety and healthy growth rather than growth at all costs. This may not be the most popular approach amongst the market, but we believe this is the most effective way to build a social platform.”

Dubsmash proves that short-form video is so compelling to teens that the market can sustain multiple apps. That will have to be the case given Instagram is preparing to release its TikTok clone Reels, and Vine’s co-founder Dom Hofmann just launched his successor Byte. The breakdown could look like:

  • TikTok: A slightly longer-form combo of comedy, dance, and absurdity
  • Dubsmash: Mid-length dance and music videos with a diverse community
  • Byte: Super short-form comedy featuring slightly older ex-Vine stars
  • Triller: Mid-length life blogging clips from Hollywood celebrities
  • Instagram Reels: International influencers making videos for a mainstream audience

Perhaps we’ll eventually see consolidation in the market, with giants like TikTok and Instagram acquiring smaller players to grow their content network effect with more fodder for remixes. But fragmentation could breed creativity. Different tools and audiences beg for different types of videos. Make something special, and there’s an app out there to enter your into pop culture cannon.

For more on the short-form video wars and the future of micro-entertainment, read:


Social – TechCrunch


The 8 Best Smartwatches (2020): Apple Watch, Samsung, Wear OS

January 31, 2020 No Comments

Which smartwatch should you buy? From the Apple Watch to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, here are our favorites.
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7 Facebook Video Advertising Benefits For eCommerce Businesses

January 30, 2020 No Comments

Facebook is a great platform for promoting business. Having many benefits, Facebook Video Advertising needs to be an inseparable part of your digital marketing.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020

January 30, 2020 No Comments

The internet has transformed the way we view and experience the world. Nowadays, we use it for virtually everything, from making a phone call to paying off our credit card bill. Smartphones have revolutionized how we shop and do business. With them, we can interact and socialize with people from around the world using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on. 

From personal experience, I can tell you that I would have never guessed that my smartphone would become a priority for me. I remember thinking that Blackberry pin-to-pin messaging was a disease. Now, I can spend hours upon hours browsing idly through my Instagram feed. Well, the joke’s on me, right? 

The same goes for businesses. Most were limited to operating from a storefront or office, and they could only rely on printed or TV ads, and local networking to get customers. Today, however, the world is any business’ oyster. And digital marketing is the magic wand that makes it possible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. 

Digital marketers are facing new challenges every year. The interaction between businesses and prospects or customers is evolving as new devices, apps, and social media platforms become available. 

The end of the decade brought the time, to sum up, what this ever-changing industry has in store for 2020. 

Here are three marketing trends to keep an eye on this year. 

1. Paid voice search

Voice search advertising has been on most marketers’ radars for a while now. However, the use of smart speakers and voice assistants has gained momentum in the last couple of years. 

So, adopting digital marketing strategies to increase your businesses’ presence in voice searches will soon become a necessity:

And don’t forget about the benefits of paid voice search for local businesses and ecommerce sites:

  • 75% of people who own a smart speaker perform a search for a local business weekly and 53% of them do it every day.
  • More than 20% of voice-based orders are for groceries.
  • Voice-based purchases are expected to increment to $ 40 billion in 2022.

Source for the above-mentioned stats: QuoraCreative

But how can your business take advantage of this new advertising niche?

By establishing a solid strategy for voice engine optimization. To get ahead of the game, you need to understand how your audience asks questions. Check out the details below.

  • Adapt the tone of your written content: Question words are widespread among search queries. That is, How, When, Who, Where, When, and Why. Most people use question-based keywords when implementing voice search. So, adding these words to your written content can put you in the spotlight quickly.
  • Focus on long-tail keywords: When asking smart speakers and voice assistant questions, users tend to speak naturally. That’s why voice searches tend to be more specific. Instead of using “cheap hotel in Vermont,” a person would search for “What is the cheapest four-star hotel in Vermont?” – using long-tail keywords will allow you to rank better for voice searches.
  • Use Schema Markup: This lets you contextualize your content and helps search engines understand exactly what your content is about.

Guy Sheetrit, CEO and Co-founder of Over the Top SEO, predicted the increasing importance of voice searches last year. 

When asked about SEO trends for the near future in an interview for Brandwatch, he mentioned that,

“The combined growth of voice search and the ability of Google to deliver a specific answer to a search query… is going to have a significant impact on how much exposure your website gets.” 

This has been slowly but surely turned into a reality. And the ever-growing popularity of smart speakers will just make it more prevalent as time goes by.

2. Interactive content

We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King”. And yes, informative blog posts, killer copy, or social media posts should continue to be key parts of your content marketing strategy. However, they are slowly being outpaced by interactive content. And it makes sense. 

In a world where we are bombarded by information right, left, and center, audiences have become more and more demanding about the type of content they’re willing to consume. They expect content to be engaging, relevant, and accessible via any device they use. And they expect this 100% of the time.

I asked Shreetit about the impact of interactive content to which he said,

“If you’re not optimizing your digital marketing strategy with interactive content, then you’re already losing customers.”

He asserted,

“For any business to succeed in 2020, it needs to keep up with what users are craving. And interactive content is one of the most innovative ways to consume information.”

We’ve been using interactive content for a while. Think about online quizzes, surveys, and social games.

However, as technology advances, so does the way users want to experience the world. Investing time and money on incorporating interactive formats to your digital marketing strategy can have tremendous payoffs. To do so, include some interactive infographics, white papers, case studies, or ebooks.

But why is interactive content a trend for the start of the new decade? Why should you invest in interactive content now?

  • For starters, it’s proven to positively impact KPIs. Interactive content helps increase brand awareness and its connection with users by way of branded experiences.
  • Because it is immersive. Prospects engaging with a brand through interactive content tend to spend more time on a business’s website. 
  • It also increases page views, boosting engaging metrics, increasing time on site, and decreasing bounce rates.

Not sold on it just yet? Check out these figures:

  • Interactive content generates double the conversions when compared to passive content.
  • Over 90% of B2B prospects prefer interactive content over static content.
  • It is 93% more effective than static content.

In the era 2.0, where the average users’ attention span is eight seconds or less, keeping potential customers engaged may seem like a herculean task. Consumers are exposed to so much branded content that it can be nearly impossible to stand out from your competitors.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Planning and implementing an interactive content strategy can help you cross that bridge, effectively closing the gap between traffic to your site and conversions.

3. TikTok advertising

TikTok is not new. However, its increasing popularity is. It was launched into the international market in 2017 and last year it took over musical.ly. A smart move that eased its way into the American teen and tween market.

But what exactly is this social app about?

The concept is rather simple. Users can create short videos and edit them to add filters, effects, and other features. They can then share them on TikTok’s platform or other social media.

And believe me, this single concept has taken the social-media-sphere by storm:

The outreach potential for this app is enormous. If you want to benefit from what TikTok has to offer, I suggest you consider the following tactics.

Create a brand TikTok account

If you create a brand account, you can take advantage of hashtag challenges. These are hugely popular within the platform and will give you a chance to leverage user-generated content. This type of content has become invaluable in today’s marketing world and it’s a nearly foolproof way to reach your audience. Not to mention TikTok’s format has a huge potential for virality. Another way to increase your brand’s presence is by utilizing branded lenses. They are the equivalent of Snapchat or Instagram’s 3D filters. With TikTok, your brand can also create posts with 2D and Augmented Reality (AR). These filters bring a significant level of user engagement by letting your audience actively interact with your products.

Partner with an influencer – someone who already has an established audience 

In this case, you need to make sure their demographic and type of content coincide with your target audience and brand. You also must evaluate their engagement metrics to ensure a successful partnership. 

Use its paid advertising features

TikTok introduced its biddable ads feature earlier this year and it currently only has one ad type – the in-feed video ad. The platform allows you to target these ads by age, gender, and geographic location (to state level). And, the developer has stated that more granular segmentation will be available soon. You can also create customized audiences by manually adding a CRM list, and whitelist or blacklist specific audiences as well.“As soon as I realized the potential TikTok had, I knew it was an app that could add enormous value to any marketing strategy” Shared Guy. “I wouldn’t be surprised if TikTok changes the digital marketing world entirely and end ups displacing Snapchat.”He also said it was a sure-shot way to gain some track within the teenager and college-age demographic. If they’re your target audience, this is your shortcut to boost your exposure. 

To sum it all up…

Keeping up with the ever-evolving digital marketing industry is no easy feat. Things tend to change at the drop of a hat. However, if you stay up-to-date with trends and follow what the experts are buzzing about, you can stay on top of your business’ digital marketing strategy. Adapting it to the shifting online environment to benefit your brand is key to stay ahead of your competitors.

Pius Boachie is the founder of DigitiMatic, an inbound marketing agency.

The post Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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San Francisco Joins the Move to Ban Cars From a Major Street

January 30, 2020 No Comments

New York has cleared Times Square and 14th Street, while Oslo is banishing drivers from its city center.
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Google Ads Target CPA Bidding: Benefits & Drawbacks

January 29, 2020 No Comments

Target CPA offers benefits by streamlining the bidding process. That said, it can fail to hit goals if historical conversion data is limited. Find out more.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Word of advice on exactly what to expect from SEO in 2020

January 28, 2020 No Comments

Between 2010-2015 the SEO industry went from being seen as a shady backroom box of tricks to a leading and essential marketing channel, driven by data, trends and user behavior statistics.

With ongoing changes Google kept SEO agencies, freelancers and internal teams on their toes by releasing update after update to hone and shape not only what they want search results to look like, but how they want us to act and work within them. This included the once-famed Penguin Update, aimed at webspam and link building practices, supposedly impacted around 0.1% of searches when originally launched, but went on to shape the importance of positive link building, utilization of tools and data and birthed job roles around SEO content strategy while strengthening the importance of content marketing.

Long term with the development of RankBrain and (perceived) closer to real-time algorithm changes, more core updates on a regular basis and the journey through ‘Content is King’ to UX – SEO has become theorized in some sense, with many of us having our own opinions and approaches to the same end result.

As we’ve reached 2020 we have in some parts see new developments from Google slow down, with the company’s focus seemingly on updating reporting suites and core updates that offer little more than ‘an improvement to search results’. We’re no longer beholden to the next big Penguin or Panda updates, but more to the inner workings of Google and sporadic updates to its Search Quality Guidelines – with this in mind, what exactly can we expect from SEO in 2020? Adhering to Google guidelines becomes harder, or easier?

We all know how SEO works and many of us will have specialisms or approaches to SEO we feel get results quicker, but with vague updates and unannounced tweaks to algorithms, is it becoming harder to adhere to Google’s guidelines?

Certainly, the unpredictability is a factor at times – with the recent updates to search guidelines on YMYL and E-A-T being announced, there’s a perception the goalposts are moving ever so slightly, every so often.

This means that if you’re scoring just inside the post on Monday, you might be wide of the mark by a fraction on Tuesday. For websites where the SEO team is at the mercy of web development or other factors outside of their control, this can prove a challenge.

Of course, any SEO agency or specialist worth their weight in gold will be able to outline and approach any issues with a solution in hand.

The flipside to this is, however, is that we all have a clear idea of what a good website looks like and what is going to rank page 1 for chosen keywords. With guideline updates, an industry that shares knowledge like no other and a focus on developing strategies that are future proof, there is no reason for every update to send SEO campaigns spiraling.

In 2020, we predict that the next wave of guidelines will be released, and our prediction is these again will be focusing on trust and authority – not a million miles away from where we’ve been for the last few years.

Actioning and adhering to search quality guidelines

Google Search Quality Guidelines regularly update – these guidelines reflect how Google wants you to work within a website and the process the search engine’s algorithm will take to evaluate the relevance of the website for keyword usage.

These guidelines take into account:

  • E-A-T – The Expert, Authority, Trust of the website in relation to the target subject
  • Page Quality – How the page is laid out, how it works and whether it has the user’s best interests at heart
  • Needs Met – Factors around whether the page ANSWERS the needs of the query

The page quality is assessed to identify where the text is placed, the wording used, content used and the quality of the content.

Google’s most recent updates put E-A-T elements at the heart of the Page Quality section of its guidelines, based on industry and type of product.

The blanket approach, and the actions needed to adhere to (or in fact exceed) Google guidelines are that the page should be “more specific than the query, but would still be helpful for many or most users because” the company is reputable in the area.

Top nine factors content managers should audit for on-page SEO

Element to Optimise Definition
Landing Page URL URL of the landing page (after the website name)
Meta Title This is the blue link that shows in Google
Meta Description The text that shows under the blue link in search results – to draw a user to click
Heading 1 Tag A title that shows at the top of a page
Heading 2 / 3 Tags Additional titles which are placed within the content of a page
Content The physical content on the page needs to meet particular criteria
Keyword Density The percentage of keywords to total text ratio on a page
Images The size, name, and title of an image on the page
Internal Links Links which point to other pages on the website

Dependence on technical SEO reduced but is still important

Technical SEO has been on the rise for a number of years but the buzz behind it has somewhat plateaued in the last 12 months or so – although it is still essential to audit from a technical perspective regularly. Traditionally, technical SEO would include web structure, speed, hosting and so on – with JSON, mark up and structured tagging following on from this.

Across client bases we’ve seen the need for technical SEO regularly drop by just under 50%, with wider-ranging audits, working with web development on new site builds and regular crawls on health being the norm.  Working in this way allows for time to be split effectively across multiple areas of SEO and better use of budget. Education on the technical aspects client-side also means SEO agencies and professionals can focus time elsewhere.

Within semi-regular technical SEO audits, there are some core elements to check, all of which will help identify issues and improve the technical performance of a website, without impacting the day-to-day of search marketing.

Top eight factors you should audit for technical SEO

Element to Optimise Definition
Web structure and URL Structure Essentially the folders in use website is built
HTTPS/SSL Security for customers or users visiting the site
HTML Build Code-behind core elements of a website
CSS / Javascript Code behind the theme and functionality of a site
Schema / JSON Code that allows websites to send additional information to search engines
Server Speed The speed in which servers respond to requests from users
Sitemaps/Robots Used by Google to crawl websites
Accessibility Are all pages able to be found

2020 and beyond

As always, Google is likely to throw a couple of curveballs – However, the SEO industry is coming of age again and it’s no longer an area of expertise that “anybody” can have a go at. There’s a need to understand the market of your clients, their customers, their collateral and the demands of Google to achieve success. Following clear structure, regular audits and systematic approaches will allow all of the above to be achieved.

Keith Hodges, Head of Search at POLARIS, is an SEO expert with over eight years’ experience in the industry. 

The post Word of advice on exactly what to expect from SEO in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Google Product Search and Learning about New Product Lines

January 28, 2020 No Comments

It’s interesting seeing patents from Google that focus on ecommerce topics. The last one I recall had Google distinguishing between products and accessories for those products in search results. I wrote about it in Ranking Search Results and Product Queries.

New Product Lines in Product Search

A new patent from Google is about when new products appear in existing product lines, like a laptop that comes with more Ram or a bigger hard drive, or a camera with a zoom lens that it didn’t have before.

This patent is about determining in product search whether a query is looking for a particular product line, from within a specific brand.

Searchers frequently search for products offered for sale. Google is trying to understand the intent behind shopping-related search queries.

For Google to be able to do that well, it has to understand different aspects of product categories. This can include such things as:

  • Whether a product as an association with a brand
  • Whether a product is in a specific product line

The patent tells us it is essential to detect terms designating product lines from within product queries from searchers.

That includes associating detected product line terms along with their corresponding brands, to let Google keep up with new product lines and retiring product lines soon after changes occur.

Under the new Google patent is a process aimed at determining product lines from product search queries:

  • A product query might be classified to identify a product category
  • A brand may be identified for the product query
  • The brand may be chosen from a list of known brands for the product category

Unknown Product Lines

The patent tells us that unknown product line terms may be identified within a product query.

A metric may indicate how well the unknown product line terms correspond to an actual product line within the brand.

The metric may be compared to a specified threshold. The unknown product line terms may be designated as a new product line of the brand if the metric compares to the specified threshold.

A product search may be performed using the product query. Product search results may be returned according to the product search.

This product lines patent can be found at:

Detecting product lines within product search queries
Inventors: Ritendra Datta
Assignee: GOOGLE LLC
US Patent: 10,394,816
Granted: August 27, 2019
Filed: December 27, 2012

Abstract

Systems and methods can determine product lines product searches.

One or more computing devices can receive a product query of search terms. The product query may be classified to identify a product category. A brand may be identified for the product query. The brand may be selected from a list of known brands for the product category.

One or more unknown product line terms may be identified within the product query. A metric may be computed to indicate how well the unknown product line terms correspond to an actual product line within the brand. The metric may be compared to a specified threshold. The unknown product line terms may be designated as a new product line of the brand if the metric favorably compares to the specified threshold. A product search may be performed on the product query. Product search results may be returned according to the product search.

High Precision Query Classifiers

This patent shows Google trying to identify new products and product lines, so it can distinguish them from older product lines.

Interestingly, Google is looking at search queries to identify products and product lines. As the patent tells us:

Product lines associated with product brands may be determined from analyzing the received product search queries.

The patent refers to a “high-precision query classifier,” which is the first time I have seen that mentioned anywhere at all.

How does a “high precision query classifier” work?

As described in this patent:

  • A search query may be automatically mapped to a product category
  • A list of known brands within the product category may be used to identify terms within the product query specifying the product brand
  • Similarly, a list of known category attributes may be used to identify terms within the product query specifying attributes of the product being searched
  • Attributes of Products

    Product Attributes

    The patent provides some examples of attributes for products:

  • A number of megapixels for digital cameras
  • An amount of RAM memory for laptop computers
  • A number of cylinders for a motor vehicle

Product Query Forms

We are told that the forms that a product query may take may vary a bit, but we are provided with some examples.

A product query could take the form “[B] [PL] [A].”

In such a query form, one or more terms [B] may indicate a brand that is a known brand within a list of known product brands, and one or more terms [A] may indicate attributes that are known attributes of the category. One or more unknown terms [PL] may then be identified as a potential new product line. Such an identification may be strengthened where [PL] is in a form associated with product lines. The identification may also be strengthened where [PL] is found with brand [B] frequently over time within various product queries. The identification may be further strengthened where the terms [PL] are infrequently, or never, found with brands other than the brand [B] throughout many product queries over time.

A metric is calculated by comparing what might be the attributes of products from a new product line, with attributes of a actual product line associated with a brand.

This metric may consider the number of unique product queries containing the terms [PL] having the correct structure and/or category along with the extent to which [B] dominates among every query that has a brand preceding [PL].

Why would Google be looking at Queries to learn about new product lines from brands instead of from product pages that describe the attributes of products?

Identifying Product Lines

How this identification process may work:

  • Software for product line resolution may identify product lines associated with brands for product categories determined by the query classifier
  • Product line resolution may use a category attribute dictionary and a product brand dictionary to establish pairings between brands and product lines
  • The product query and the determined brands and product lines may then be provided to a product search engine
  • The product search engine may then provide search results to the searcher
  • The query classifier may map the product query to a product category
  • Product line resolution can use product category information with the category attribute dictionary and the product brand dictionary to identify terms from the product query about specific product lines relate to product lines
  • The unknown terms identified by the product line resolution module for a category may be fed back into the category attribute dictionary as attributes for that category
  • Each identified product line may also be related to a particular brand listed in the product brand dictionary
  • The product brand dictionary can provide a list of known brands within various product categories
  • The known brands may be used to determine and resolve terms associated with product lines within each brand
  • The product line terms may then be used to identify a potential new product line

The identification of a new product line may be strengthened:

  • When unknown terms information is in a form associated with product lines
  • Where the unknown terms are found with a brand frequently over time within various product queries
  • Where the unknown terms are infrequently, or never, found with brands other than the brand identified throughout many products queries over time

Identifying When Unknown Terms Maybe in a form associated with product lines

Here are some observations about the form of product lines:

  • Product line terms generally start with a letter
  • Product lines generally contain few or no numbers (differentiating product line terms from model numbers or serial numbers
  • Product lines may be related to a category or a brand (One brand may generally have single word product lines while a second brand may use two word product lines where the first word relates to performance and the second word is a three-digit number

These kinds of patterns or forms about product lines could be used to associate unknown terms within a product query as product line terms.

Using a Category Attribute Dictionary to Resolve Product Line Terms within Product Queries

The category attribute dictionary can provide a dictionary of attributes associated with various product categories and brands.

Terms from the category attribute dictionary may be used to resolving product line terms within the product query.

When unknown terms are often found within product queries along with brand information, those unknown terms could be seen as product line terms associated with a specific brand. When known attribute terms are found in the category attribute dictionary to be consistent with brand [B] or the category associated with the product query by the query classifier.

Product Query Processing

The patent includes this flowchart to describe the process behind the product search patent:

Where does Google Learn about product lines?

The patent doesn’t mention product schema, or merchant product feeds. It does tell us that it is getting a lot of information about product lines from searcher’s queries.

Google also collects information about products and product attributes from web sites that sell those products, in addition to looking at product queries, as described in this patent.

Collecting such information from site owners may be the starting source of much information found in the product and category dictionaries and product attribute categories that are mentioned in this patent.

The process of updating information about products and product lines from product queries from searchers is a way to crowdsource information about products from searchers and get an idea of how much interest there might be in specific products.

It is quite possible that Google can learn a lot about products from product data feeds that merchants submit to Google. Google is trying to get merchants to submit product feeds even if they don’t use paid product search, to make those products visible in more places on Google in Surfaces across Google as described on this Google Support page: Show your products on Surfaces Across Google.

We saw that Google is using product feed information to help it distinguish between product pages and accessory pages for those products as I wrote about in the blog post I linked to at the start of this post.

Google also describes product markup on their developers page Product. Google tells site owners that they should include that markup for their products because:

Product markup enables a badge on the image in mobile image search results, which can encourage more users to click your content.

By collecting information about products from product feeds, Product Schema, product web pages, and product queries from searchers Google is collecting a lot of data about products, which could enable it to be pretty good at providing answers to product queries, and to understand when new product lines are launched.


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Kidtech startup SuperAwesome raises $17M, with strategic investment from Microsoft’s M12 venture fund

January 28, 2020 No Comments

Kidtech startup SuperAwesome has raised an additional $ 17 million in funding, which includes a new strategic investment from Microsoft’s venture fund, M12. Others participating in the round include existing investors Mayfair Equity, Hoxton Ventures and Ibis, along with other angels.

To date, SuperAwesome has raised $ 37 million in outside investment.

SuperAwesome has been tapping into the need for more kid-friendly technology on the web that’s now used just as much by younger children as it is by adults.

“Historically the internet was designed to be used by adults, but now over 40% of new users are kids,” said SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins. “We’re in the middle of a structural shift in the composition of the internet that requires investment in privacy and kidtech to support children. This is as big a transition as mobile was for the desktop internet,” he noted.

The company’s platform includes products for kid-safe advertising, social engagement tools, authentication and parental controls. The breadth of this lineup has attracted big-name kids’ brands as customers, including Activision, Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, Cartoon Network, Spin Master, Nintendo, Bandai, WB, Shopkins maker Moose Toys, WPP, Omnicom, Dentsu, Niantic and Wildworks, among others.

Today, the company has more than 300 customers in total.

SuperAwesome’s technology has arrived at a critical time for many working in the kids’ app space, as governments are newly enacting and enforcing a range of kids’ privacy laws like COPPA (the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) and GDPR-K in the E.U., as well as other laws in major markets like China, Brazil and India. In the U.S., for example, the FTC has slapped apps like Musical.ly (now TikTok) and YouTube with record fines for violations of children’s privacy regulations.

These changes have been a boon to SuperAwesome, which is now fully profitable and powering more than 12 billion kids’ digital transactions per month. Last year, the company pulled in $ 55 million in revenue and is on track for $ 80 to $ 90 million in revenue in 2020, Collins told TechCrunch.

SuperAwesome and Microsoft aren’t yet talking in detail about how the two companies will be teaming up, following the strategic investment. One thing being discussed by the two, however, are the opportunities around family identity, we’re told. In addition, Microsoft today is focused on both privacy and kids across its products — for example, with its web browser as well as with its educational efforts involving Minecraft, among other things.

“After we spent time with the M12 team and folks in Microsoft, it was clear we shared the same vision of where the internet is going: more kids and more privacy,” Collins said.

“We are proud to welcome the SuperAwesome team to the M12 portfolio. Dylan has cultivated a mission-driven team dedicated to keeping the internet safer for kids—a critical priority for digital-first generations,” said Nagraj Kashyap, Microsoft corporate vice president and global head of M12, in a statement about the funding. “Given Microsoft’s footprint in the identity management space, we’re excited to explore opportunities for partnership with SuperAwesome as well,” Kashyap added.


Social – TechCrunch


Probe of the Kobe Bryant Crash Will Examine If Fog Played a Role

January 28, 2020 No Comments

The helicopter was flying under “special visual flight rules” that allow pilots to fly through low-visibility conditions.
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