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The three pillars behind every successful content strategy

January 14, 2020 No Comments

As inbound marketing continues to be a dominant force, you’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king” more times than you can count. But getting the right message to the right person is not an easy task in a society that’s tangled in a web of digital content, and it requires a top-notch content strategy. 

A solid content strategy can help create meaningful, cohesive, engaging and sustainable content that attracts new customers and retains existing ones. Despite the importance that great content can have on your business, two of the biggest challenges for content marketers are knowing how to prioritize marketing efforts for one audience over another and communicating a content strategy effectively across teams so that everyone is on the same page.  

Content marketing is different than your typical product marketing efforts as it includes digital materials that answer specific questions and provides customers with valuable tools and information they aren’t getting anywhere else. These include: 

  • Educational articles 
  • Blogs 
  • E-books 
  • Videos 
  • Entertainment
  • Webinars 
  • Social media 
  • Graphics 

Planning a content calendar that includes every item on this list may seem daunting, but there are simple ways to get started.

The idea behind smart content planning is simple. You want to plan content in a way that is:

  1. Tied to an overarching business objective
  2. Linked directly to audience needs and desires 
  3. Can be shared in a simple and consistent format

The result is a content calendar that is more relevant to what people are searching for and is also differentiated from the competition. Today, smart content planning tools that use artificial intelligence are becoming more readily available and are making adopting this process a no-brainer.

While a Google search will yield a laundry list of best practices, the following three pillars – or fundamental building blocks – will help you create a successful content strategy that drives results. 

Plan content to meet business needs

To be truly effective, all content needs to be anchored to a clear business objective. Why? Because if it doesn’t, there’s no way for you to measurably show that it impacts the company’s growth. You may be nodding your head that yes, of course, it makes sense to plan content with the business objective in mind. But, how do we do that in a way that is meaningful and simple? 

You can start by picking an upcoming marketing initiative and stating the quantitative business goal, the intended audience and the competitive context for that initiative. Treating a business objective statement as a template that must be completed for each marketing initiative helps you to face the ambiguity and misalignment that may be bouncing around your organization. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect – the power comes from thinking about what matters most and then pressing forward with your best judgment.  

Understand your audience

Once you’ve created an objective statement, your entire team can focus on the true reason behind producing content in the first place: your audience. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of day-to-day tasks. In that moment of desperation, marketers make a choice between creating content the right way and simply getting content out the door. In reality, content is the very first glimpse of a brand that customers see and first impressions matter. Not only is content your front runner for garnering new customers, but it guides customers through every stage of the buyer journey including initial sale and retention. 

A recent survey showed that 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing. However, this is only possible when you understand your audience at a deep level so that the content you create answers the questions they have, helps them do their job more effectively, inspires, or entertains them. 

Understanding your target audience’s needs and desires requires the right tools. One way to make sure your content is helping the customer is to build – and then reference – personas when creating content. The modern marketer has access to content intelligence tools that provide key insights to help choose which topics to share, what channels to use and when to go live during the buyer journey. Using multiple data points like CRM, search data, the website traffic, and social listening can diminish false assumptions about your target audience and provide insights on: 

  • Targetable characteristics 
  • Customer journey 
  • Needs and desires 
  • Perceptions of our strengths vs. competition 
  • Content format preferences 
  • Marketing channels where our audience hangs out 
  • Past content performance

Align your team with the strategy 

We know inconsistent external messaging can lead to brand confusion, which in turn leads to a decrease in brand loyalty. The same happens with confusing internal communication. It causes internal teams to lose sight of business goals. The childhood phrase “sharing is caring” is applicable to small and large businesses. When your content strategy is shared within your organization, it will drive alignment across your company and create a stronger brand. As an added bonus, when your team members understand what you do and how you do it, it’s natural for them to see you as a leader. 

Once your team understands the “Why?” behind your content strategy, it’s important to create a central location for your content planning to live. Having all content in one spot can make your content more likely to be tied to overarching business objectives, and overall, it’s easier for all departments to align their internal activities with the overall business objectives. 

Planning effective content is hard and takes time, but don’t give up! The first step to improve your content planning process is to recognize that smarter content makes a big impact. Remember, smart content starts with an objective statement, audience insight, and a clearly communicated plan. When you take the time to research and outline your audience’s needs and desires, your content will thank you and so will your audience.

Documenting your content marketing strategy gives you the ability to communicate the importance of your content across departments, increase engagement levels with target audiences and create better alignment around customers and marketing priorities. Moving toward smart content planning can add that special ‘something’ to your organization. Let your content strategy be your competitive advantage. 

Bart Frischknecht is the vice president of product strategy at Vennli, a content intelligence platform for marketers.

The post The three pillars behind every successful content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


A visual guide for every Google Ads extension

October 5, 2019 No Comments

Sitelinks, the first Google ad extension, was introduced in 2009. They enabled advertisers to expand the total size of their text ads while also providing additional links to the advertiser’s website.

In the ten years that followed these original ad extensions, Google rolled out an additional ten manual and automated extensions and two automated-only extensions.

Manual extensions require that advertisers set them up within Google Ads before they can show up in the actual ad.

Automated extensions require no set up on the advertiser’s part – Google Ads these automatically based on system predictions of performance.

Since ad extensions only appear beneath the main body of the ad at Google’s discretion, there’s no easy way to preview an ad with the extensions included, thus it’s challenging for Google Ads managers and agencies to explain to clients what their actual ad might look like to searchers.

This inspired me to create an in-depth, fully illustrated guide of Google’s ad extensions.

What follows is a summary of this guide which includes samples of the top four ad extensions and how they appear on either mobile or desktop devices. The full guide is available here.

The importance of ad extensions

Google’s data shows that ad extensions increase CTR by as much as 15%, though, in my experience, it can often be much higher than this.

Extensionless ads are smaller and take up less space, so they tend to get fewer clicks.

Importance of Google Ads extensions

The ad on the left is what the ad preview looks like in Google’s desktop ad editor. There’s no easy way to view the ad as it might appear with extensions, as shown on the right. When looking at the ads side-by-side, the ad on the right is larger and contains more information about the business, including the street address and phone number for mobile users.

The top four ad extensions

Not every ad extension is appropriate for every advertiser. Shopping extensions, for example, can only be used to showcase products on ecommerce websites while App extensions are only appropriate for businesses who have a mobile app they want to sell or promote.

However, there are four ad extensions that are appropriate for most businesses and should absolutely be leveraged to add more information to your ads and expand the ad’s overall size. They are:

1. Sitelinks

The original ad extension, sitelinks are a powerful way to add more links to your ads. Each sitelink can contain up to 25 characters in the link text plus a two-line description totaling 140 characters per link. As with most ad extensions, Google selects which sitelinks and how many will appear with each ad and will show two to six sitelinks per ad.

Example of sitelinks Google Ads extension

 

Sitelinks with descriptions included

2. Callout extensions

Callouts are short snippets of text that can be up to 25 characters. They can be used to highlight business selling points and features (for example, “Open 24 Hours”). They appear directly beneath the ad description and above the sitelinks.

Google shows two to six callout extensions per ad, though the specific number of callouts varies based on what Google feels are the most relevant (and likely to get clicked on) callouts.

Example of callout Google Ads extensions

3. Call extensions

Call extensions allow advertisers to append a phone number to an ad without including it in the body of the ad text (in fact, your ad may get rejected if you try to include a phone number directly in the body of the ad). Phone numbers using call extensions are clickable on mobile devices, allowing users to tap on a phone icon to call the business directly (rather than clicking through to a landing page).

Example of call extensions

4. Structured snippets

A structured snippet is basically a list of products, services, or other elements that help define a company’s offerings more clearly to consumers. There are thirteen different types of structured snippets, some of which are only appropriate for specific businesses. For example, “neighborhoods” for local businesses or real estate, and “degree programs” for schools.

The above extensions are easy to create in the Google Ads interface or using the Google Ads Editor, a free desktop tool that allows advertisers to easily create and manage Google Ads accounts offline from a computer.

The complete illustrated guide to Google Ads extensions contains many more visual examples of automated and manual ad extensions (including some of the more obscure extensions). It can help provide some clarity behind how the different extensions look on both mobile and desktop devices.

The post A visual guide for every Google Ads extension appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


What Every Startup Needs to Know Before They Select a PPC Marketing Agency

July 10, 2019 No Comments

As someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part both the Startup and Digital Agency World, it pains me to witness the many recurring mistakes that are happening by bringing these two worlds together. The Agency wants the business and the Startup wants the best and smartest people to “grow their baby”. It all sounds like a “no-brainer’ right? Well, this perfect situation can sometimes be clouded by one of the most bastardized words in the client-agency relationship – Expectations. In this post, I will highlight some of the misconceptions that could, at the very least, help the next Startup as they prepare to show their product/service to the world.

How to Play the Digital Agency Game:

Don’t get me wrong. There are many highly reputable Marketing Agencies in the world that do not fit this description. On the other hand, there are some other Agencies that work on a different playing field that is not financially supportive of Startups. Most agencies take a 15% commission of Ad Spend regardless of performance or the companies financial situation. These agencies often provide a “Production Line” level level of service that question the actual time spend which leads to the overall client performance. Beware of agencies that promise GOLD and deliver pennies.

What Startups really need from an Agency:

  • 100% transparency of where and how their money is being spent.
  • Daily Direct communication with the Strategist/Marketer.
  • Less than 24 hour turn-around times for typical updates.
  • Level of ongoing Education on how the digital advertising world works.

Big Agency Regurgitation

I have witnessed many horror stories over the years from prospects/clients from either a performance or client relationship with a previous agency. The one thing that all of them had in common was the lack of achievable expectations. Situations such as poor communication, lackluster performance and just an overall bad experience have not only left a bitter taste in their mouth but also question the entire agency experience. Moreover, this feeling of being “burned” has motivated their thinking to bring the marketing “in-house” as the only alternative to reaching success. This is not a good thing….

Conference Intoxication

As a big fan of conferences, they often open your eyes to a whole new world of innovation, prosperity and vision for business owners and that’s a great thing. However, it can sometimes backfire to the point of confusion and anxiety of what to focus on first. It is very easy for Entrepreneurs to get “over-excited” about the latest bells and whistles in software, automation and analytics. They are told that once they have these tools in their toolbox, they can turn their business into a fortune 100 company instantly.

Unfortunately, a reality check is needed to bring everyone down from this “high” and re-focus on the core issue at hand which is identifying, engaging and converting with their core audiences within a sensible budget. Remember, investing in Shiny Objects make you vulnerable, not successful.

The Misunderstanding of Monetization

In some instances, both advertisers and agencies, often forget to track every interaction point and that little oversight can be an unfortunate mistake. This assumed “low-hanging” fruit for tracking things other than traditional eCommerce/Lead Gen Forms such as (below) can completely skew overall performance and future optimization which could be devastating to startups as they hunger for continual growth.

  • Contact Forms
  • Email Newsletter Signups
  • Live Chats
  • Phone Calls
  • Pageviews of a particular page can lead to

Mistrust of the Case Study

Case Studies are a great source for understanding the successes of a particular experience that allow the reader to adapt to new ideas and strategies. However, you need to be careful not put to put too much emphasis on the successes of these studies because of the substantiated factors which often lead inaccuracy. Here are some examples:

  • Geography (Some of these studies reference a specific GEO area and not the wider population)
  • Singular view and opinion. Often, these studies are done by a small group of people which may have biased opinions based on data collected.
  • Case Studies are often used as a “Toot your own horn” strategy to generate more business. (Google is pretty good at that)

Don’t Bet the Farm

I can understand the anxieties of Startups where they want to launch their business with a big bang. However, spending too much too fast (especially in the PPC marketing world) can completely ruin their chances for steady sustainable growth. It’s imperative to start testing “right out of the gate” as well as identifying the quick wins and losses. Moreover, you will need to develop strategies to generate relevent traffic and awareness through alternative methods such as Social Media, SEO and quite frankly “word of mouth”. To prove this theory, just a take a look at these screenshots from SpyFu’s Monthly Trend function.

ppc startups

Outside Opinion Overload

Yes, it’s important to get as much feedback as possible when launching a new company. However, getting advice from people who think they know certain aspects of online marketing because they read an article or attended a conference, can be a slippery slope. Taking advice and/or criticism from someone “on the outside” that completely contradicts the vision of both your business partners and hired experts can be harmful to the business. This 3rd party opinion is often made without any understanding of what it takes to implement as well as its expected outcome. Whether it’s strategies about Landing Pages, Brand vs. Non-Brand, or even simple things such as Promotions and Offers can have a negative effect on revenue if not discussed by everyone on the team.

Solution: Soak up all of the feedback you can get, discuss with your team and agree to label these new ideas as “TEST” Campaigns and analyze the heck out of them.

Forecast Projection Failures

How many times have you seen someone simply create excel formulas which magically forecast the future of online marketing revenue based on a single monetary amount. (For example, if we increase our budget from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000 we will generate an additional $ 1 million dollars.) Yeah, I wish that were all true. However, that is not the case. The math may sound great to a Venture Capitalist/Investor, but it’s just not realistic.

  • Take in account the following scenarios:
  • Market Saturation Levels
  • Seasonality Highs/Lows
  • Potential Technical issues
  • Search Engine Algorithm changes
  • Increased Competitor landscape

“Off the Mark” Target Audiences

Hate to say this, but I have witnessed startup companies that thought they new their audiences and it wasn’t until they over-spent their PPC dollars and countless Landing Page A/B test to come to that realization. Selling a product or service requires more than just a few hours of typical market research. When it comes to online marketing, either hire a PPC Consultant or purchase PPC Competitive Research Software such as SpyFu.com to see some of these invaluable competitor information:

  • Monthly Budget Trends
  • PPC and SEO Keywords
  • Top Text Ads
  • Their own PPC and SEO Competitors
  • Review monthly and seasonality trends
  • Compare up to (3) three competitors and see which terms they are all bidding on.

Here’s an example:

PPC Competitive Analysis

In Conclusion

Whether you are building a Startup company or growing an existing one, the agency experience should be a positive one. However, dealing with the “dog eat dog” agency world when it comes to trust, expectations and continual growth is unfortunate and should never happen. I hope this blog post, at the very least, has provided some insight into preventing these situations as well as learning from them. Finding the right agency partner is just as important as finding the right target audience.


PPC Marketing Consultant | Google Ads Agency


Master & Dynamic MW65 Review: $500, and Worth Every Penny

May 8, 2019 No Comments

The new wireless MW65 Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headphones take the excellent sound Master & Dynamic is known for and add active noise-canceling.
Feed: All Latest


Google Remarketing Strategies That’ll Work Every Single Time

March 24, 2019 No Comments

Google remarketing strategies can help reel back in previously lost conversions. Learn which strategies work and apply them in your campaigns today!

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Facebook Messenger Marketing and Chatbots: What Every PPC Marketer Needs to Know Right Now

February 24, 2019 No Comments

I’ll be upfront. My goal here is to persuade you that you should be using Facebook Messenger marketing and chatbots as part of your marketing strategy. This isn’t a sales pitch. This isn’t an infomercial. This is hard-hitting marketing intel. Whether you’re a PPC specialist, an SEO, a CMO, or just a curious bystander, I […]

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


What Every Startup Needs to Know Before They Select a PPC Marketing Agency

February 10, 2019 No Comments

As someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part both the Startup and Digital Agency World, it pains me to witness the many recurring mistakes that are happening by bringing these two worlds together. The Agency wants the business and the Startup wants the best and smartest people to “grow their baby”. It all sounds like a “no-brainer’ right? Well, this perfect situation can sometimes be clouded by one of the most bastardized words in the client-agency relationship – Expectations. In this post, I will highlight some of the misconceptions that could, at the very least, help the next Startup as they prepare to show their product/service to the world.

How to Play the Digital Agency Game:

Don’t get me wrong. There are many highly reputable Marketing Agencies in the world that do not fit this description. On the other hand, there are some other Agencies that work on a different playing field that is not financially supportive of Startups. Most agencies take a 15% commission of Ad Spend regardless of performance or the companies financial situation. These agencies often provide a “Production Line” level level of service that question the actual time spend which leads to the overall client performance. Beware of agencies that promise GOLD and deliver pennies.

What Startups really need from an Agency:

  • 100% transparency of where and how their money is being spent.
  • Daily Direct communication with the Strategist/Marketer.
  • Less than 24 hour turn-around times for typical updates.
  • Level of ongoing Education on how the digital advertising world works.

Big Agency Regurgitation

I have witnessed many horror stories over the years from prospects/clients from either a performance or client relationship with a previous agency. The one thing that all of them had in common was the lack of achievable expectations. Situations such as poor communication, lackluster performance and just an overall bad experience have not only left a bitter taste in their mouth but also question the entire agency experience. Moreover, this feeling of being “burned” has motivated their thinking to bring the marketing “in-house” as the only alternative to reaching success. This is not a good thing….

Conference Intoxication

As a big fan of conferences, they often open your eyes to a whole new world of innovation, prosperity and vision for business owners and that’s a great thing. However, it can sometimes backfire to the point of confusion and anxiety of what to focus on first. It is very easy for Entrepreneurs to get “over-excited” about the latest bells and whistles in software, automation and analytics. They are told that once they have these tools in their toolbox, they can turn their business into a fortune 100 company instantly.

Unfortunately, a reality check is needed to bring everyone down from this “high” and re-focus on the core issue at hand which is identifying, engaging and converting with their core audiences within a sensible budget. Remember, investing in Shiny Objects make you vulnerable, not successful.

The Misunderstanding of Monetization

In some instances, both advertisers and agencies, often forget to track every interaction point and that little oversight can be an unfortunate mistake. This assumed “low-hanging” fruit for tracking things other than traditional eCommerce/Lead Gen Forms such as (below) can completely skew overall performance and future optimization which could be devastating to startups as they hunger for continual growth.

  • Contact Forms
  • Email Newsletter Signups
  • Live Chats
  • Phone Calls
  • Pageviews of a particular page can lead to

Mistrust of the Case Study

Case Studies are a great source for understanding the successes of a particular experience that allow the reader to adapt to new ideas and strategies. However, you need to be careful not put to put too much emphasis on the successes of these studies because of the substantiated factors which often lead inaccuracy. Here are some examples:

  • Geography (Some of these studies reference a specific GEO area and not the wider population)
  • Singular view and opinion. Often, these studies are done by a small group of people which may have biased opinions based on data collected.
  • Case Studies are often used as a “Toot your own horn” strategy to generate more business. (Google is pretty good at that)

Don’t Bet the Farm

I can understand the anxieties of Startups where they want to launch their business with a big bang. However, spending too much too fast (especially in the PPC marketing world) can completely ruin their chances for steady sustainable growth. It’s imperative to start testing “right out of the gate” as well as identifying the quick wins and losses. Moreover, you will need to develop strategies to generate relevent traffic and awareness through alternative methods such as Social Media, SEO and quite frankly “word of mouth”. To prove this theory, just a take a look at these screenshots from SpyFu’s Monthly Trend function.

ppc startups

Outside Opinion Overload

Yes, it’s important to get as much feedback as possible when launching a new company. However, getting advice from people who think they know certain aspects of online marketing because they read an article or attended a conference, can be a slippery slope. Taking advice and/or criticism from someone “on the outside” that completely contradicts the vision of both your business partners and hired experts can be harmful to the business. This 3rd party opinion is often made without any understanding of what it takes to implement as well as its expected outcome. Whether it’s strategies about Landing Pages, Brand vs. Non-Brand, or even simple things such as Promotions and Offers can have a negative effect on revenue if not discussed by everyone on the team.

Solution: Soak up all of the feedback you can get, discuss with your team and agree to label these new ideas as “TEST” Campaigns and analyze the heck out of them.

Forecast Projection Failures

How many times have you seen someone simply create excel formulas which magically forecast the future of online marketing revenue based on a single monetary amount. (For example, if we increase our budget from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000 we will generate an additional $ 1 million dollars.) Yeah, I wish that were all true. However, that is not the case. The math may sound great to a Venture Capitalist/Investor, but it’s just not realistic.

  • Take in account the following scenarios:
  • Market Saturation Levels
  • Seasonality Highs/Lows
  • Potential Technical issues
  • Search Engine Algorithm changes
  • Increased Competitor landscape

“Off the Mark” Target Audiences

Hate to say this, but I have witnessed startup companies that thought they new their audiences and it wasn’t until they over-spent their PPC dollars and countless Landing Page A/B test to come to that realization. Selling a product or service requires more than just a few hours of typical market research. When it comes to online marketing, either hire a PPC Consultant or purchase PPC Competitive Research Software such as SpyFu.com to see some of these invaluable competitor information:

  • Monthly Budget Trends
  • PPC and SEO Keywords
  • Top Text Ads
  • Their own PPC and SEO Competitors
  • Review monthly and seasonality trends
  • Compare up to (3) three competitors and see which terms they are all bidding on.

Here’s an example:

PPC Competitive Analysis

In Conclusion

Whether you are building a Startup company or growing an existing one, the agency experience should be a positive one. However, dealing with the “dog eat dog” agency world when it comes to trust, expectations and continual growth is unfortunate and should never happen. I hope this blog post, at the very least, has provided some insight into preventing these situations as well as learning from them. Finding the right agency partner is just as important as finding the right target audience.


PPC Marketing Agency | Search Marketing Firm | Adwords Certified Consultant


Why we lie to ourselves every day

November 5, 2018 No Comments

Human action requires motivation, but what exactly are those motivations? Donating money to a charity might be motivated by altruism, and yet, only 1% of donations are anonymous. Donors don’t just want to be altruistic, they also want credit for that altruism plus badges to signal to others about their altruistic ways.

Worse, we aren’t even aware of our true motivations — in fact, we often strategically deceive ourselves to make our behavior appear more pure than it really is. It’s a pattern that manifests itself across all kinds of arenas, including consumption, politics, education, medicine, religion and more.

In their book Elephant in the Brain, Kevin Simler, formerly a long-time engineer at Palantir, and Robin Hanson, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University, take the most dismal parts of the dismal science of economics and weave them together into a story of humans acting badly (but believing they are great!) As the authors write in their intro, “The line between cynicism and misanthropy — between thinking ill of human motives and thinking ill of humans — is often blurry.” No kidding.

Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. Oxford University Press, 2018

The eponymous elephant in the brain is essentially our self-deception and hidden motivations regarding the actions we take in everyday life. Like the proverbial elephant in the room, this elephant in the brain is visible to those who search for it, but we often avoid looking at it lest we get discouraged at our selfish behavior.

Humans care deeply about being perceived as prosocial, but we are also locked into constant competition, over status attainment, careers, and spouses. We want to signal our community spirit, but we also want to selfishly benefit from our work. We solve for this dichotomy by creating rationalizations and excuses to do both simultaneously. We give to charity for the status as well as the altruism, much as we get a college degree to learn, but also to earn a degree which signals to employers that we will be hard workers.

The key is that we self-deceive: we don’t realize we are taking advantage of the duality of our actions. We truly believe we are being altruistic, just as much as we truly believe we are in college to learn and explore the arts and humanities. That self-deception is critical, since it lowers the cost of demonstrating our prosocial bona fides: we would be heavily cognitively taxed if we had to constantly pretend as if we cared about the environment when what we really care about is being perceived as an ethical consumer.

Elephant in the Brain is a bold yet synthetic thesis. Simler and Hanson build upon a number of research advances, such as Jonathan Haidt’s work on the righteous mind and Robert Trivers work on evolutionary psychology to undergird their thesis in the first few chapters, and then they apply that thesis to a series of other fields (ten, in fact) in relatively brief and facile chapters to describe how the elephant in the brain affects us in every sphere of human activity.

Refreshingly, far from being polemicists, the authors are quite curious and investigatory about this pattern of human behavior, and they realize they are pushing at least some of their readers into uncomfortable territory. They even begin the book by stating that “we expect the typical reader to accept roughly two-thirds of our claims about human motives and institutions.”

Yet, the book is essentially making one claim, just applied in a myriad of ways. It’s unclear to me who the reader would be who accepts only parts of the book’s premise. Either you have come around to the cynical view of humans (pre or post book), or you haven’t — there doesn’t seem to me to be a middle point between those two perspectives.

Worse, even after reading the book, I am left completely unaware of what exactly to do with the thesis now that I have read it. There is something of a lukewarm conclusion in which the authors push for us to have greater situational awareness, and a short albeit excellent section on designing better institutions to account for hidden motivations. The book’s observations ultimately don’t lead to any greater project, no path toward a more enlightened society. That’s fine, but disappointing.

Indeed, for a book that arguably strives to be optimistic, I fear its results will be nothing more than cynical fodder for Silicon Valley product designers. Don’t design products for what humans say they want, but design them to punch the buttons of their hidden motivations. Viewed in this light, Elephant in the Brain is perhaps a more academic version of the Facebook product manual.

The dismal science is dismal precisely because of this cynicism: because as a project, as a set of values, it leads pretty much nowhere. Everyone is secretly selfish and obsessed with status, and they don’t even know it. As the authors conclude in their final line, “We may be competitive social animals, self-interested and self-deceived, but we cooperated our way to the god-damned moon.” Yes we did, and it is precisely that surprise from such a dreary species that we should take solace in. There is indeed an elephant in our brain, but its influence can wax and wane — and ultimately humans hold their agency in their own hands.


Social – TechCrunch


Putting machine learning into the hands of every advertiser

July 31, 2018 No Comments


This post originally appeared on the Inside AdWords blog

The ways people get things done are constantly changing, from finding the closest coffee shop to organizing family photos. Earlier this year, we explored how machine learning is being used to improve our consumer products and help people get stuff done.

In just one hour, we’ll share how we’re helping marketers unlock more opportunities for their businesses with our largest deployment of machine learning in ads. We’ll explore how this technology works in our products and why it’s key to delivering the helpful and frictionless experiences consumers expect from brands.

Join us live today at 9am PT (12pm ET).

Deliver more relevance with responsive search ads

Consumers today are more curious, more demanding, and they expect to get things done faster because of mobile. As a result, they expect your ads to be helpful and personalized. Doing this isn’t easy, especially at scale. That’s why we’re introducing responsive search ads. Responsive search ads combine your creativity with the power of Google’s machine learning to help you deliver relevant, valuable ads.

Simply provide up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines, and Google will do the rest. By testing different combinations, Google learns which ad creative performs best for any search query. So people searching for the same thing might see different ads based on context.

We know this kind of optimization works: on average, advertisers who use Google’s machine learning to test multiple creative see up to 15 percent more clicks.1 Responsive search ads will start rolling out to advertisers over the next several months.

Maximize relevance and performance on YouTube

People watch over 1 billion hours of video on YouTube every day. And increasingly, they’re tuning in for inspiration and information on purchases large and small. For example, nearly 1 in 2 car buyers say they turn to YouTube for information before their purchase.2 And nearly 1 in 2 millennials go there for food preparation tips before deciding what ingredients to buy.3 That means it’s critical your video ads show at the right moment to the right audience.

Machine learning helps us turn that attention into results on YouTube. In the past, we’ve helped you optimize campaigns for views and impressions. Later this year, we’re rolling out Maximize lift to help you reach people who are most likely to consider your brand after seeing a video ad. This new Smart Bidding strategy is also powered by machine learning. It automatically adjusts bids at auction time to maximize the impact your video ads have on brand perception throughout the consumer journey.

Maximize lift is available now as a beta and will roll out to advertisers globally later this year.

Drive more foot traffic with Local campaigns

Whether they start their research on YouTube or Google, people still make the majority of their purchases in physical stores. In fact, mobile searches for “near me” have grown over 3X in the past two years4, and almost 80 percent of shoppers will go in store when there’s an item they want immediately.5 For many of you, that means driving foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar locations is critical—especially during key moments in the year, like in-store events or promotions.

Today we’re introducing Local campaigns: a new campaign type designed to drive store visits exclusively. Provide a few simple things—like your business locations and ad creative—and Google automatically optimizes your ads across properties to bring more customers into your store.

Show your business locations across Google properties and networks

Local campaigns will roll out to advertisers globally over the coming months.

Get the most from your Shopping campaigns

Earlier this year, we rolled out a new Shopping campaign type that optimizes performance based on your goals. These Smart Shopping campaign help you hit your revenue goals without the need to manually manage and bid to individual products. In the coming months, we’re improving them to optimize across multiple business goals.

Beyond maximize conversion value, you’ll also be able to select store visits or new customers as goals. Machine learning factors in the likelihood that a click will result in any of these outcomes and helps adjust bids accordingly.

Machine learning is also used to optimize where your Shopping ads show—on Google.com, Image Search, YouTube and millions of sites and apps across the web—and which products are featured. It takes into account a wide range of signals, like seasonal demand and pricing. Brands like GittiGidiyor, an eBay company, are using Smart Shopping campaigns to simplify how they manage their ads and deliver better results. GittiGidiyor was able to increase return on ad spend by 28 percent and drive 4 percent more sales, while saving time managing campaigns.

We’re also adding support for leading e-commerce platforms to help simplify campaign management. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to set up and manage Smart Shopping campaigns right from Shopify, in addition to Google Ads.

Tune in to see more

This is an important moment for marketers and we’re excited to be on this journey with you. Tune in at 9am PT (12pm ET) today to see it all unfold at Google Marketing Live.

For the latest news, follow the new Google Ads blog. And check out g.co/adsannouncements for more information about product updates and announcements.

1 Internal Google data.
2 Google / Kantar TNS, Auto CB Gearshift Study, US, 2017. n=312 new car buyers who watched online video.
3 Google / Ipsos, US, November 2017.
4 Internal Google data, U.S., July–Dec. 2015 vs. July–Dec. 2017.
5 Google/Ipsos, U.S., “Shopping Tracker,” Online survey, n=3,613 online Americans 13+ who shopped in the past two days, Oct.–Dec. 2017.


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