Monthly Archives: May 2020

Sony’s ZV-1 compact camera zooms in on vloggers

May 26, 2020 No Comments

Sony has taken aim at the suddenly enormous market of people who want to self-produce high-quality video with a minimum of setup. Its ZV-1 mutates the versatile RX100 series into a selfie video machine, and it could be the all-in-one solution many a vlogger has been searching for.

The new camera is very much based on the highly successful and acclaimed RX100, which over the years has grown in both price and capabilities but remains something the user is behind, rather than in front of. The ZV-1 rethinks the camera for people who need to work the other way round.

The 1″, 20-megapixel sensor and 24-70mm equivalent, F/1.8-2.8 lens are borrowed from the RX100, meaning image quality should be excellent (though vloggers may want a wider-angle lens). But the camera has been customized with an eye to selfie-style operation.

That means the electronic viewfinder is gone, but there’s now a fully articulating touchscreen display. A powerful new microphone array takes up a large portion of the camera’s top plate, and the ZV-1 comes with a wind baffle or deadcat that attaches to the top hot shoe, giving the camera a flamboyant look.

Image Credits: Sony

A huge new dedicated record button is placed for perfect operation by a left hand holding the camera from the front, and the zoom dial should be thumbable from there, as well. A new “background defocus mode” uses the widest possible aperture, naturally narrowing the depth of field with no need for all the AI rigmarole found on smartphones — and it’s smart enough to switch focus to the product a vlogger is being paid to promote when they hold it up close.

All told, this could be a convincing works-out-of-the-box solution for people who may be juggling a panoply of hardware from multiple generations to get the same thing done. The proven RX100 image quality and reliability, combined with ergonomic tweaks to make it more selfie-friendly, might entice people thinking of putting together more complex setups.

At $ 800, or $ 750 if you order in the next month, it’s certainly more expensive than an entry-level setup, but probably cheaper (and definitely easier) than getting a mirrorless, lens, mic and other accessories you might need to match it.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Extra Crunch Live: Join Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg for a live Q&A today at 2pm EDT/11am PDT

May 26, 2020 No Comments

As the leader of a publicly traded corporation with 135,000 employees, Verizon Communications CEO Hans Vestberg has a unique perspective on the state of the world.

When he appears today on Extra Crunch Live, our virtual speaker series for Extra Crunch members, we’ll ask him about this extraordinary moment in history and his plans for seeing the company through a black swan event that’s reshaping the global economy.

The discussion starts at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT/9 p.m. GMT. You can find the full details below.

Vestberg served as president and CEO at Ericsson for six years and joined Verizon as its CTO and president of Global Networks in 2017 before stepping into the CEO role a little more than a year later. (Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Verizon).

We’ll talk to Vestberg about his tactics for managing a company at scale through a crisis and will check in on the company’s 5G rollout, a platform inflection point that should change the landscape for founders and entrepreneurs. Verizon recently acquired BlueJeans, which competes directly with Zoom and WebEx, so we’ll also ask Vestberg about the company’s forward-looking investment strategy.

Extra Crunch members are encouraged to ask their own questions during the Zoom call, so please come prepared. If you’re not already a member, sign up on the cheap right here.

You can also check out the full Extra Crunch Live schedule here.

See you soon!

Enterprise – TechCrunch

Create Google Display Countdown Ads Using Rules: Getting Creative With Ad Customizers

May 26, 2020 No Comments

Want to create urgency to purchase with your display ads? With a little creativity, you can create countdown ads even though it’s not a default option!

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

Top three marketing trends for the COVID-19 era

May 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The COVID-19 era dramatically impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust. 
  • If you want to stay on top of whats going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. 
  • Founder and CEO of  Teknicks, Nick Chasinov, shares three marketing trends that can help businesses meet consumer demand and capitalize on the industry dynamics.

Today, marketing shifts happen without warning and seemingly overnight. The novel coronavirus caused the initial wave, and now the industry is impacted by the surf. People under stay-at-home orders are spending more time online, leading to Facebook traffic spikes, Google search adjustments, and the rise in popularity of social channels like TikTok. The COVID-19 era impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust. 

Before the internet, changes in the marketing space occurred at a glacial pace. Marketers would develop best practices for the rare emergence of a new channel and stick to them for a long time. For example, TV induced the creation of video commercials in the late 1940s, but those advertisements remained mostly unchanged for decades. 

However, the most successful marketing campaigns of all time leveraged new innovative marketing strategies. If you want to stay on top of whats going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. Here are three marketing trends that apply during the COVID-19 era: 

1. Featured snippets

Search evolves quickly, and thats made even more evident by how were searching amid the COVID-19 era. People have specific questions they want answers for, such as Can I freeze milk? or Does X restaurant deliver?”. Because of this, featured snippets — boxed search results that appear at the top of the screen — are extremely coveted. 

These spots provide instantaneous answers to user queries, and they provide more than a twofold increase in click-through rate, which means more traffic and potential leads than the piece that ranks in the coveted number-one position on the SERPs. Additionally, in a 2019 search algorithm update, Google announced that it would prioritize high-quality educational, authoritative, and trustworthy content over traditional SEO factors like keyword density. Marketing and advertising professionals need to be aware of how this trend will impact the industry moving forward. 

If you want to land a featured snippet, create content that answers very specific questions relevant to your audience (especially questions for which the current featured snippet is held by a low-authority webpage). Definitions, tables, step-by-step types, and lists are the four most common types of featured snippets. If youre wondering what people are looking for right now, check out current coronavirus-related search trends. 

2. Mobile optimization

While quarantined, more and more people are turning to home delivery, video games, online shopping, and social media. Despite the economic downturn, retail jumped 34%, and large companies like Amazon are hiring more employees in order to keep up. The coronavirus is having a huge impact on ecommerce. 

There are more mobile browsers than ever before, yet desktop conversion rates are almost double what they are on mobile platforms. Current events and Googles 2018 decision to make site speed a factor in page rank underscore the urgency of a lightning-fast browsing experience. A site that takes just one second longer to load can reduce conversions by 7%, while sub-second load times boost conversion by 15% to 30%.

Now is the time to invest in a new mobile website built with user-friendly formats. Progressive web apps, for example, can give your brands website app-like speed, instant logins, and seamless page transitions. PWAs speed up the purchasing process when used in conjunction with accelerated mobile pages and server-side rendering. Not only will your customers have a better mobile experience, but theyll also have a more pleasant time shopping. 

2. Shoppable social

Since everyone began practising social distancing, social media has seen a huge uptick in traffic. In particular, Instagram has been buzzing with new trends like Dalgona coffee, house party, fitness videos, and more. If youre a marketer for a small to midsize brand, you should consider creating shoppable posts to meet people where they are. 

A few years ago, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms began enabling consumers to make in-app purchases by clicking a call to action in a post. In-app purchases allow social media users to buy products theyre interested in without ever leaving their feeds. 

Marketers were initially sceptical about the strategy, but these posts are here to stay. One study showed that 72% of Instagram users have purchased something on the platform. This marketing technology trend is the lifeblood of influencers who monetize their personal styles and promote other brands. Next time you post a flat lay to Instagram, tag products from the share screen. Your customers will appreciate the easy access, and youll be able to collect data on your buyers, which you can use to create other targeted shoppable social posts. 

If youre not sure where to focus your marketing efforts amidst the COVID-19 era, start with one of these three trends. Its time to meet consumer demand and capitalize on the growing momentum of these marketing methods.

Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of  Teknicks, a research-based internet marketing agency certified by Google in Analytics, Tag Manager, and a Google Premier AdWords partner.

The post Top three marketing trends for the COVID-19 era appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

Google Ads Audience-Based Campaign Restructure Case Study

May 25, 2020 No Comments

Learn a new Google Ads campaign strategy focused on audience segmentation and how to leverage the segments to drive efficiency.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

What are PBNs and should you use them?

May 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are a huge part of the SEO industry and whilst getting backlinks is still a key driver in the Google search algorithm, PBNs will always be the source of debate and interest amongst SEO practitioners. 
  • PBNs have different uses and interpretations but can be used to point links to your site, sell links, or just simply add your home page links on them.
  • Will you get penalized if you use PBNs? Should you consider using it? Read on to find out what experts and Tudor Lodge Consultants say.

Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are a huge part of the SEO industry and whilst getting backlinks is still a key driver in the Google search algorithm, PBNs will always be the source of debate and interest amongst SEO practitioners. 

If you have ever bought a domain or run a website that ranks on Google, you are probably accustomed to getting emails from PBNs on a daily basis and they will tend to offer you a list of links that you can buy. The emails you receive will typically be called:

  • “High Quality Guest Posting”
  • “Guest Posting Service”
  • “High DA Quality Sites” 

But should you be paying to add these links to your website? And what is the damage?

Content created in collaboration with Tudor Lodge Consultants.

What Are PBNs?

PBNs are very simply blogs or old websites with domains that have expired, but still, have a lot of value due to gaining thousands of historical backlinks.  

Anyone can buy these domains once they expire or sometimes they are bought via an online auction.

But it is the ability to use this expired site, maybe re-design it, add some fresh content, and then start adding or selling links from this site to boost your SEO rankings or for commercial gain.  


XYZ.com suddenly expires but has generated thousands of backlinks over the years. Now the site is available to buy, I will redesign it, add some new content, and start pointing links to my own sites and then start selling the links to other people too. 


Source: Growtraffic.com  

People will sell links on PBNs anywhere from $ 10 to $ 1,000 per link and when you are looking to justify or scale your SEO spend, it is easily measurable to know what you get for $ 1,000, $ 5,000 or $ 10,000.

Equally, a PBN can just be a news site or blog that purposely sells links for income. 

Prior to 2014, buying links from PBNs was a quick and highly successful way to rank any website, in any industry across finance, money, fashion, insurance – you name it. 

However, over the last few years, Google has started to penalize any PBN site and who they link to, considering this a quick gaming of the system and anti-Google guidelines. Get on the wrong side of Google and you are looking at a serious penalty in your rankings or total blacklisting altogether. Wake up one morning with a penalty and your business model changes overnight. 

Different uses of PBNs

PBNs have different uses and interpretations, but can be used in the following ways: 

1. Point links to your site

Take an expired domain, set up a new website and start writing articles and include links to your own websites.  

2. Sell links

You can sell links to other SEO companies or practitioners – however, this is considered malpractice and anti-Google guidelines. 

3. Just add them to your homepage

You can purchase multiple PBN sites, re-design them and just add your links on every homepage (which is considered the highest trust flow). 

Will my website improve if I use PBNs?

In the world of grey hat or black hat SEO, using PBNs can theoretically improve your website’s search results.  

Certainly in the short-term, an influx of links from websites with high DAs will give you an instant boost. 

For many SEO businesses and online companies, PBNs is the way they conduct an SEO strategy and essentially do business.

If they can stay clear of penalties, PBNs are attributed to ranking some of the top search positions on Google – certainly for industries that attract shady techniques such as loans, web hosting, casinos and pornography. 

Will I get penalized if I use PBNs?

If you are using PBNs to acquire links, you are walking on a constant tightrope and risk of getting penalized by Google. You may not be automatically downgraded – but all it takes is one Google update or algorithm shift for this to change overnight. 

Presumably, if you did nothing but by links from PBNs for years and years, at some point, you will face a penalty and then need to look at removing them to restore your rankings. 

In some respect, more experienced SEOs are able to balance PBNs with a clean approach – and this might include creating natural content, a strong user experience, generating clean and natural links and also doing regular link disavows. 

PBNs run a risk of a Google penalty

Source: DP TECH Group

What the experts say

Seb Atkinson, Head of SEO at Know Your Money explains,

“PBNs are seen as a quickfire way to buy links and boost your rankings – but this is very much an old technique and today is likely to attract penalization. Your best approach is to create unique, interesting content that provides real insight into a topic, making it genuinely link-worthy so people can naturally link back to it.”

Ian Sims, Director of Badger Loans commented,

Working in the payday and short term loan space, I am inundated daily by emails with people offering me links from PBNs. I tend to stay clear of this because although it might give me a quick boost in rankings, a potential penalty could be very costly for our business. I get annoyed when I see other sites ranking on page 1 and they have clearly used this approach – but I know that their success may be short-lived.”

Andrew Speer, Consultant for Fund Ourselves explains,

I have worked in SEO for almost a decade and originally PBNs were a proven source of link-building and the status quo. It wasn’t until algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin that started to reward clean content and link-building and with this PBNs have gone out of favour with Google, despite still being used by tonnes of people across the US and the world. But if you were to start learning about SEO today, this is something that you would stay clear of for sure.”


There is an argument that using PBNs as part of your link building strategy could be successful for more experienced SEOs. 

But in reality, Google is known to changing their goalposts and revelling in such a high-risk strategy is unlikely to go down well with investors, clients and business partners. 

It may not be if you get a Google penalty, but when.  

Our conclusion? Stay away from PBNs.

 The “will I get penalized” section suggests PBNs could be used by experienced SEOs but the conclusion doesn’t really support this. 

Maybe the main downside of PBNs could be highlighted more, for example, you will always have a risk of a penalty on your site as Google is known to move the goalposts over time. This could be a risk that your investors/clients/business partners are not comfortable with.

The post What are PBNs and should you use them? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

30 Best Memorial Day Sales of 2020: Tech, Headphones, TVs, and More

May 25, 2020 No Comments

This long weekend, you can save on everything from headphones to an iPad.
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How Data Science Can Improve PPC Performance

May 23, 2020 No Comments

This will look at the concept of data science, the tools and knowledge you need to make it work, some common PPC issues, and how data science can help fix them.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

Facebook’s Workplace, now with 5M paying users, adds drop-in video Rooms and more

May 23, 2020 No Comments

One of the biggest technology takeaways of the last couple of months has been that organizations need confident, wide-ranging digital strategies to stay afloat, and Facebook — in its wider bid to build products to serve businesses — is taking note. In the same week that the social network doubled down on business tools for small and medium enterprises with Shops, it is also sharpening its focus on larger enterprises and how they might use its platform.

Today, Facebook announced a number of new products coming to Workplace, its enterprise-focused chat and video platform, including Workplace versions of Rooms (its Houseparty video drop-in clone), Work Groups (a feature it launched on Facebook itself last October to create informal Groups for co-workers), more tools to make video conversations more interactive and enhanced tools for its Portal video hardware.

Alongside all that, Facebook also announced the general availability of Oculus for Business, an enterprise-focused version of its virtual reality headset and platform that plays on how spatial computing is starting to get adopted in a business setting, particularly in training and collaboration projects. It said that there are now more than 400 independent software vendors contributing products to the effort.

The new products are coming at a time when Facebook is focusing how its platform can be a natural tool for consumers who are already using it, to migrate to use it more for work purposes too.

This is something that Mark Zuckerberg has also been teasing out, with his own announcements and discussion today about moving more of Facebook’s staff to remote work. “This is all about a feeling of presence,” he said during his Live video, aimed at staff but broadcast publicly. “As we use these tools for work as well and eat our own dog food, we’ll advance the technology.”

Facebook is also responding to what is going on in the wider working world. Video conferencing and other communications services for remote teams are booming, a direct result of people having to work from home to fall in line with current COVID-19 social distancing measures.

That shift has led to a huge surge of usage and interest in communications tools like Zoom, Teams and Skype (from Microsoft) and Hangouts and Meet (Google’s video offerings).

Facebook itself has been no stranger to that trend: Workplace now has 5 million paying users (and millions more using it for free) — up by 2 million to the end of March. (For some, but not direct, comparison, Slack says it has 12 million daily users and more than 119,000 paying customers, which include many more individual users; Microsoft’s Teams most recent numbers from March are 44 million daily users, but it doesn’t break out which of those are paying.)

Interestingly, that number doesn’t include April or the first part of May, arguably the peak of measures for people to shelter in place in countries outside of Asia (where many put in measures earlier).

“We will see the impact of COVID-19 a few weeks from now,” Julien Codorniou, VP for Workplace, said in an interview. He added that he doesn’t think that the softened economy, and subsequent layoffs for some large employers, will have had an impact on growth, despite Facebook’s customer list including big players from the hospitality and retail sectors (Walmart, Virgin Atlantic and Booking.com are among its many customers in those sectors).

“Usage has stayed the same,” he said. “They know they will have to go back to work at some point and they have to keep their [employee] community engaged. Workplace became mission-critical overnight.”

The new features getting launched today are interesting in part because they are not necessarily so much about expanding the Workplace ecosystem with more links to outside apps — that was one strategy that Workplace has chased in previous iterations to keep up with Slack and enhance its toolset — as it is about enhancing the Facebook-native set of features that it would like people to use. It might speak to Facebook accepting that its strongest play is to accentuate its social features rather than try to position itself as an all-in-one productivity platform (which might come naturally as a result; or might not).

Work Groups — basically smaller groups you could create on Facebook to chat directly to your colleagues outside of your wider circle of friends — was an odd one to launch outside of Workplace, but Codorniou said it was very intentional: the idea was to give a wider set of Facebook users a taste of how they might use Facebook in a work context, and to hopefully drive more usage of Facebook as a result.

The fact that the Rooms feature is now coming to Workplace itself will be one way to entice more of those users — there are now 20 million (yes, that’s right: the power of Facebook scale) — to migrate their usage to Workplace to take up other tools on offer there. For those on Workplace already, it’s another way to boost engagement on the platform.

Rooms are also an import from the consumer side of the business. Rooms was Facebook’s informal attempt to bring in a bit of the spontaneity of other apps like Houseparty (which is a part of Epic Games), but tapping into the social graph that you already have on Facebook. It’s a relatively new feature, only getting launched at the end of April, so it’s interesting to see it making such a quick appearance on Workplace. (Live took significantly longer to get imported.)

The key element of Rooms that will stand out for Workplace users is that those who are on Workplace already can use it to create links that others can use to drop in, even if they’re not a part of the user’s Workplace group or on Facebook itself. Like Zoom or the others, essentially it’s a URL link that will let anyone with a camera, a microphone, a browser and a connection link in.

The tools that Facebook is adding to enhance how Workplace users are able to work with video, meanwhile, will also potentially improve engagement on the platform, but also more simply, give it needed parity with the other tools that have proven popular — necessary if Facebook hopes to get more traction with its native tools, even as it continues to offer integrations with the likes of Zoom.

Live Producer lets the host of a video live event start polls, share their screens and see “health” metrics to gauge responses to what they are saying. Q&A follows the same idea, a Slide-like system to queue, triage and select questions without the questions being necessarily visible to everyone watching. Lastly, the addition of captions will be especially welcome in international teams when you might not always be speaking to people fluent in whatever language you’re using. It’s starting first with live captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.

Social – TechCrunch

Google highlights accessible locations with new Maps feature

May 23, 2020 No Comments

Google has announced a new, welcome and no doubt long-asked-for feature to its Maps app: wheelchair accessibility info. Businesses and points of interest featuring accessible entrances, bathrooms and other features will now be prominently marked as such.

Millions, of course, require such accommodations as ramps or automatic doors, from people with limited mobility to people with strollers or other conveyances. Google has been collecting information on locations’ accessibility for a couple years, and this new setting puts it front and center.

The company showed off the feature in a blog post for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. To turn it on, users can go to the “Settings” section of the Maps app, then “Accessibility settings,” then toggle on “Accessible places.”

This will cause any locations searched for or tapped on to display a small wheelchair icon if they have accessible facilities. Drilling down into the details where you find the address and hours will show exactly what’s available. Unfortunately it doesn’t indicate the location of those resources (helpful if someone is trying to figure out where to get dropped off, for instance), but knowing there’s an accessible entrance or restroom at all is a start.

The information isn’t automatically created or sourced from blueprints or anything — like so much on Google, it comes from you, the user. Any registered user can note the presence of accessible facilities the way they’d note things like in-store pickup or quick service. Just go to “About” in a location’s description and hit the “Describe this place” button at the bottom.

Mobile – TechCrunch