Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed.
Now the 37-year-old leader will be putting his inspirational demeanor and keen strategy sense to work to protect the environment and improve the government. Today at Wired25 conference, Cox finally shared more about his work advising political technology developer for progressives Acronym, and climate change-tracking satellite startup Planet Labs. He also explained more about the circumstances of his departure from the social network’s C-suite.
On how he felt leaving Facebook, Cox said, “part of the reason I was okay leaving was that after 2016 I’d spent a couple years building out a bunch of the teams that I felt were most important to sort of take the lessons that we learned through some of 2016 and start to put in place institutions that can help the company, be more responsible and be a better communicator on some of the key issues.”
LIVE: We're live with Chris Cox, former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, from our #WIRED25 summit in conversation with WIRED senior writer Lauren Goode.
Posted by WIRED on Friday, November 8, 2019
As for what specifically drove him to leave, Cox explained that, “It wasn’t something where I felt I wanted to spend another 13 years on social media. Mark and I saw things a little bit differently . . . I think we are still investigating as an industry, how do you balance protecting the privacy of people’s information and continuing to keep people safe,” Cox said.
On whether moving toward encryption was part of that, he said he thinks encryption is “great: and that “It offers an enormous amount of protection,” but noted “it certainly makes some of those things more complicated” on the privacy versus safety balance. He complemented Facebook’s efforts to build ways of catching bad actors even if they’re shielded by encryption. That includes digital literacy initiatives in Brazil and India ahead of elections, and offering forwarding systems for sending questionable information to fact checkers. “I think there are pros and cons with these systems and I’m not a hard-liner on any one of them,” Cox said, and noted that what Facebook is building is “resonant with what people want.”
Cox was asked about the major debate about whether Facebook should allow political advertising. “We think political advertising can be good and helpful. It often favors up and comers versus incumbents.” Still, on fact-checking, he said, “I’m a big fan,” even though Facebook isn’t applying that to political ads. He did note that “I think the company should investigate and is investigating micro targeting . . . if there’s hundreds of variants being run of the creative then it’s tricky to get your arms around what’s being said.” He also advocated for more context in the user interface distinguishing political ads.
Cox’s next projects
Since leaving Facebook, Cox has joined the advisory board of a group called Acronym, which is helping to build out the campaign and messaging technology stack for progressive candidates. “This is an area where my perception is that the progressives have been behind on the ability to develop and use as a team infrastructure that helps you have a good voter file, how to develop messaging — just basic politics in 2019.”
Wired’s Lauren Goode asked if he was aligning himself with progressives, taking a political stance, and whether he could do that while still at Facebook. “Absolutely not,” Cox responded. “And why is that I think when you’re in a very senior role at a platform, you have a duty to be much more neutral in your politics.”
He then came out with a bold statement enabled by his independence. “I think Trump should not be our president. The other thing I care a lot about right now is climate change and he’s not going to help us there.”
That led to Cox discussing that he’s also been working to advise San Francisco startup Planet Labs, which is using satellite imagery to track climate change. “The vision was to build these small, about shoebox-size satellites with solar panel panel wings and have a fleet of them in space, which is real-time imaging the Earth.”
With that data, Cox explained you can track wildfires, deforestation, coal power plants, methane gas and more. Then, “You can start to contribute to having a health system, where you are basically imaging the Earth every hour, and then you’re creating some public data set with tools that plug into decision makers, banks, insurance companies, policymakers, investors, journalists, students…”
Asked about big tech’s responsibility for addressing climate change, Cox said “I think at the very least it’s making a commitment to being carbon-negative.”
Acronym and Planet Labs’ work intertwines, as Cox believes climate data proves the need for someone new in the Oval Office. While Cox didn’t discuss it onstage, Wired listed him as part of Shasta Group, which is Cox’s own vehicle for contributing to these projects. Still, he’s not ready to launch a full-fledged company of his own in politics and climate. “I’m still so young at this field that I don’t have enough confidence in my own mental model of the world.”
Cox concluded that by harnessing big company’s employees and having team leaders put more attention on climate change, “I do think tech can lead.”
Don’t let your traffic sources run dry if Google has another major algorithm change. Diversify by investing in multimedia, print marketing and more.
Read more at PPCHero.com
It goes without saying that the world of SEO is becoming ever more technical, and over the past decade, webmasters, SEOs, and in-house teams have been widening their knowledge and skillsets to help their sites compete in search engine results pages.
One of these areas, which has seen the most development since its launch in 2011, is, of course, schema.org markup.
Although it has been eight years since the data schema was introduced, whether due to lack of development capability or technical knowledge, many popular brands are still to implement structured data to their websites.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at what structured data is, and the benefits that the markup can provide for websites.
A brief introduction to structured data
Put simply, structured data is a form of markup that is implemented in the code of a website and provides search engines with specific pieces of information about a page, site, or organization.
By improving the knowledge that a search engine has about a particular page or site, it can, therefore, provide users with the information that they need when conducting a search.
It also means that if a business invests in structured data throughout its site, it could enjoy higher and more relevant levels of traffic.
But how does this happen?
Structured data can enhance AMP pages
Despite structured data not being a direct ranking factor, it can, however, influence other elements of your website which are ranking factors.
In a world where a lot of searches (even the biggest part) are made through mobile devices, site speed has never been more important, especially when you consider that users will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
For this reason, many businesses have implemented Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on their site (read more about them here), which can help overcome critical mobile speed issues and improve the usability of pages.
But most people don’t realize that AMPs can actually be enhanced via structured data markup.
Google states that by implementing structured data to AMPs, they can enhance the appearance of the page in mobile search results while offering the ability to appear within rich results.
If a site gains the opportunity to appear within rich results for an important search term, the site could gain a great amount of search traffic as a result.
You can learn a little more about how structured data enhances AMP pages in this handy Google guide.
Structured data helps sites appear in Google’s Knowledge Graph
For sites that appear in highly competitive verticals, getting the edge over your competition is critical, and one way to do this is by establishing your site presence with Google and appearing in the Knowledge Graph.
Knowledge Graph cards appear on the right-hand side of search results and they provide users with functional and visual elements of your site; making it far easier for users to familiarise themselves with it.
To enable your business Knowledge Graph card, you need to add the necessary Corporate Contact markup on the homepage of your website.
Like all types of markup however, there are important guidelines and rules that you must follow, such as ensuring that markup is not blocked from crawling by robots.txt directives.
You can find more information on how to properly implement Corporate Contact markup in this Google Developers Guide.
Structured data can be vital for improving a site’s click-through rates
CTR of a website is rather important for its rankings. And according to Neil Patel, the best way to increase it is to research and use keywords, especially long-tail keywords. Serpstat can help you make deep and useful keyword research and improve your rankings as well.
Also, the whole point of structured data is to provide clean and concise parcels of information to search engines so that you can clarify the purpose of your site and its pages to quickly provide users with the accurate information that they require.
This means that by implementing well-written and relevant structured data into your pages, your site should be shown to a more relevant audience base, meaning that your click-through rates will inevitably improve.
In fact, sites that implemented structured data found that their CTRs improved by at least 10%.
How to implement structured data
We’ve already learned the meaning and value of structured data on the site. Now, we’ll explore two of the main approaches for adding schema markup to your website.
How to add Schema.org micro-markup with Schema plugin
To install, go to Plugins – Add New in the WordPress console and find “Schema.” Activate it and go to Settings.
Fill in basic information, such as the location of your About Us page, Contacts, upload your website logo.
By filling out additional information, content, knowledge graph, and search results, you can optimize your site for each of the areas.
Then, you can go to Schema – Types and add the selected schema type or publication category.
If the above-mentioned plugin doesn’t suit you, you can choose from a large number of WordPress plugins alternatives for schema markup. Here are some of them:
- All In One Schema Rich Snippets
- Schema JSON-LD Markup
- Rich Reviews
- WP SEO Structured Data Schema
- Markup (JSON-LD) structured in schema.org
How to add Schema.org markup manually
Here, you should work more with the code, but you can add your schema markup individually to any page or post.
With arbitrary schema markup, you can include several different types of markup on the same page. For example, if you have an event page, and you also want to place a feedback schema on it, you can easily do it.
Remember to follow all Google structured data guidelines while creating the code for your markup.
To use this approach, go to any post or page where you want to put the markup. Click Screen Settings at the top of the page and check the “Custom Fields” box. Now, scroll down to the “Custom Fields” settings and press “Enter new” to create a new field. Name it “Schema” and enter the code. For example, local businesses data type:
Please provide the source and a possible caption for the above image
Next, you’ll need to edit your header.php file. Open it and paste the following code before the closing </head> tag:
Thanks to these actions, your schema code will load separately with metadata. You can add any kind of custom schema markup to your WordPress website with the above-described approach.
Just remember to run your page or post in the Google structured data testing tool to check your markup for errors. This validator understands the following formats:
Using it, you can check the page in two ways:
- Copy in HTML format
- Specify a link to the page
If the site is being developed on a PC or if you need to test some options, you need to use the first method. The second one is suitable for the final verification of the finished markup. Also, here you can check the site pages when using ready-made CMS templates. They may contain some errors in markups.
For example, let’s check the Phase 5 Analytics page. After copying the URL and clicking the “Run test” button, the result of the verification appeared on the screen. There was the HTML code on the left, and markup on the right with errors if they were found.
Adding structured data to the site will not take a lot of time. This action will help improve the look of the snippet in the search engine and increase traffic to the site.
The process may seem a little technically complicated, but you’ll discover that even the option to manually add it is not as hard as you’d assume. In addition, many available plugins will make developing structured data very simple.
Inna Yatsyna is a Brand and Community Development Specialist at Serpstat. She can be found on Twitter @erin_yat.
Permitting falsehood in political advertising would work if we had a model democracy, but we don’t. Not only are candidates dishonest, but voters aren’t educated, and the media isn’t objective. And now, hyperlinks turn lies into donations and donations into louder lies. The checks don’t balance. What we face is a self-reinforcing disinformation dystopia.
That’s why if Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube don’t want to be the arbiters of truth in campaign ads, they should stop selling them. If they can’t be distributed safely, they shouldn’t be distributed at all.
No one wants historically untrustworthy social networks becoming the honesty police, deciding what’s factual enough to fly. But the alternative of allowing deception to run rampant is unacceptable. Until voter-elected officials can implement reasonable policies to preserve truth in campaign ads, the tech giants should go a step further and refuse to run them.
This problem came to a head recently when Facebook formalized its policy of allowing politicians to lie in ads and refusing to send their claims to third-party fact-checkers. “We don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny” Facebook’s VP of policy Nick Clegg wrote.
The Trump campaign was already running ads with false claims about Democrats trying to repeal the Second Amendment and weeks-long scams about a “midnight deadline” for a contest to win the one-millionth MAGA hat.
After the announcement, Trump’s campaign began running ads smearing potential opponent Joe Biden with widely debunked claims about his relationship with Ukraine. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter refused to remove the ad when asked by Biden.
In response to the policy, Elizabeth Warren is running ads claiming Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endorses Trump because it’s allowing his campaign lies. She’s continued to press Facebook on the issue, asking “you can be in the disinformation-for-profit business, or you can hold yourself to some standards.”
We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook’s ad platform to see if it’d be approved. It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook. Take a look: pic.twitter.com/7NQyThWHgO
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019
It’s easy to imagine campaign ads escalating into an arms race of dishonesty.
Campaigns could advertise increasingly untrue and defamatory claims about each other tied to urgent calls for donations. Once all sides are complicit in the misinformation, lying loses its stigma, becomes the status quo, and ceases to have consequences. Otherwise, whichever campaign misleads more aggressively will have an edge.
“In open democracies, voters rightly believe that, as a general rule, they should be able to judge what politicians say themselves.” Facebook’s Clegg writes.
But as is emblematic of Facebook’s past mistakes, it’s putting too much idealistic faith in society. If all voters were well educated and we weren’t surrounded by hyperpartisan media from Fox News to far-left Facebook Pages, maybe this hands-off approach might work. But in reality, juicy lies spread further than boring truths, and plenty of “news” outlets are financially incentivized to share sensationalism and whatever keeps their team in power.
Protecting the electorate should fall to legislators. But incumbents have few reasons to change the rules that got them their jobs. The FCC already has truth in advertising policies, but exempts campaign ads and a judge struck down a law mandating accuracy.
Granted, there have always been dishonest candidates, uninformed voters, and one-sided news outlets. But it’s all gotten worse. We’re in a post-truth era now where the spoils won through deceptive demagoguery are clear. Cable news and digitally native publications have turned distortion of facts into a huge business.
Most critically, targeted social network advertising combined with donation links create a perpetual misinformation machine. Politicians can target vulnerable demographics with frightening lies, then say only their financial contribution will let the candidate save them. A few clicks later and the candidate has the cash to buy more ads, amplifying more untruths and raising even more money. Without the friction of having to pick up the phone, mail a letter, or even type in a URL like TV ads request, the feedback loop is shorter and things spiral out of control.
Many countries including the UK, Ireland, and the EU ban or heavily restrict TV campaign ads. There’s plenty of precedent for policies keeping candidates’ money out of the most powerful communication mediums.
Campaign commercials on US television might need additional regulation as well. However, the lack of direct connections to donate buttons, microtargeting, and rapid variable testing weaken their potential for abuse. Individual networks can refuse ads for containing falsehoods as CNN recently did without the same backlash over bias that an entity as powerful as Facebook receives.
This is why the social networks should halt sales of political campaign ads now. They’re the one set of stakeholders with flexibility and that could make a united decision. You’ll never get all the politicians and media to be honest, or the public to understand, but just a few companies could set a policy that would protect democracy from the world’s . And they could do it without having to pick sides or make questionable decisions on a case-by-case basis. Just block them all from all candidates.
Facebook wrote in response to Biden’s request to block the Trump ads that “Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is.”
But banning campaign ads would still leave room for open political expression that’s subject to public scrutiny. Social networks should continue to let politicians say what they want to their own followers, barring calls for violence. Tech giants can offer a degree of freedom of speech, just not freedom of reach. Whoever wants to listen can, but they shouldn’t be able to jam misinformation into the feeds of the unsuspecting.
If the tech giants want to stop short of completely banning campaign ads, they could introduce a format designed to minimize misinformation. Politicians could be allowed to simply promote themselves with a set of stock messages, but without the option to make claims about themselves or their opponents.
Campaign ads aren’t a huge revenue driver for social apps, nor are they a high-margin business nowadays. The Trump and Clinton campaigns spent only a combined $ 81 million on 2016 election ads, a fraction of Facebook’s $ 27 billion in revenue that year. $ 284 million was spent in total on 2018 midterm election ads versus Facebook’s $ 55 billion in revenue last year, says Tech For Campaigns. Zuckerberg even said that Facebook will lose money selling political ads because of all the moderators it hires to weed out election interference by foreign parties.
Surely, there would be some unfortunate repercussions from blocking campaign ads. New candidates in local to national elections would lose a tool for reducing the lead of incumbents, some of which have already benefited from years of advertising. Some campaign ads might be pushed “underground” where they’re not properly labeled, though the major spenders could be kept under watch.
If the social apps can still offer free expression through candidates’ own accounts, aren’t reliant on politicians’ cash to survive, won’t police specific lies in their promos, and would rather let the government regulate the situation, then they should respectfully decline to sell campaign advertising. Following the law isn’t enough until the laws adapt. This will be an ongoing issue through the 2020 election, and leaving the floodgates open is irresponsible.
If a game is dangerous, you don’t eliminate the referee. You stop playing until you can play safe.
Advertising is coming full circle again. Brands realize that search and social are no longer silver bullets that will drive high volumes of sales at a low cost. Branding, funnel building and prospect nurturing are essential in a modern marketing team. Connected TV provides a bridge for the old and the new, to get the right message, to the right person, using modern targeting capabilities on a traditional medium.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Google Experiments is an A/B testing tool that is available within Google Analytics interface. This post is not about what A/B testing is, why you should conduct A/B tests and what other tools are available but really to make a case for using Google Analytics as your testing platform. I am not getting paid to write this or have any affiliation with Google. This post is in response to a question I received from a reader of my blog.
- Free –There is absolutely no cost for the Tool. You can’t beat Free, it is a great way to start with A/B testing and learn about how testing works. I strongly recommend that you try this tool before moving to more sophisticated paid tools. Additionally, if you are just trying to make a case for Testing within your organization then cost does become a barrier and this tools removes that barrier.
- Easy To Setup – Easy to use wizard allows you to choose the pages to test and setup test parameters.
- Easy Implementation – Once you are done with setting up (point 2 above) the page(s) you want to test, you have to implement some code on your site. It may sound daunting but that code is very easy to implement. Google provide you the code after your setup is done and all you have to do is stick that on your pages. Since you already have Google Analytics installed, you are already half way through. Easy setup makes it easy for you to cross the IT/development team barrier.
- Setting up Objective– If you have already defined the Goals in Google Analytics, you can use them as the objective of your test. During your setup you can pick a goal that you have already defined in Google Analytics as your desired optimization objective. If you have not defined them already then you can quickly define them while setting up your test.
- Segments – Many tools just gives you the final results based on the data of entire population or based on some predefined segments. In case of Google Experiments, you can pick Segments that you have defined in Google Analytics and see how each variation is performing for each of your segment. Since not all segments behave in similar fashion this kind of analysis helps you drive even more conversion by understanding which variation of your pages(s) work better for which segments.
This post was originally posted on http://anilbatra.com/analytics/2013/11/5-reasons-to-use-google-experiments/
Marketers and Marketing Analysts generally depend on the tools or IT department to help them pull the data for marketing purposes. There comes a time when they can’t just wait around for IT to help them data pulls and manipulations. They have to know how to do it on their own. This course is for those marketers who would like to know how to use SQL to conduct their marketing analysis.
The course uses MYSQL to show how SQL works but all the leanings and syntax are applicable to other databases as well. Sign up for SQL for Marketers and Marketing Analysts
This article goes over the very basics of getting started advertising with Google Ads for someone with little to no experience.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors that land on your website and leave before viewing a second page. You can easily determine your website’s bounce rate by setting up Google Analytics.
Now, if you’re thinking this isn’t such a big deal and that as long as they visit your website, irrespective of how long they spend on it or how many pages they view, they at least know your business exists, that’s not good enough. The longer visitors stay on your site, the more time you have to turn them into subscribers and customers. But how can you convince users to stick around longer and visit more pages?
Luckily, there are a number of easy and free ways to improve your website’s bounce rate and grow your business.
Here are five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate
1. Create content consistently
Creating content consistently is one of the best ways to keep users around longer and get them to view multiple pages. Useful, engaging content will drive traffic to your website. Once that traffic is there, they’ll stick around, keep reading, and eventually become a subscriber or customer if you have a wide array of informative blog posts for them to read. In fact, according to HubSpot, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four monthly posts.
So, create a content plan that’s consistent and offers something for everyone. Not everyone prefers written content, so include a mixture of formats such as written, video, infographics, audio recordings, and more.
Another important tip for your content: Practice effective internal linking. Relevant and useful internal links sprinkled throughout your content can guide users to more of your awesome content and keep them reading.
2. Add images and videos
Speaking of a mixture of formats, to improve your website’s bounce rate, be sure you add eye-catching images and videos to your website. Many users won’t spend a lot of time reading your website content, so you need to grab their attention with images and videos.
Add a large high-quality image or video to your homepage to grab the attention of viewers as soon as they see your site. Most websites do this while keeping everything else on the page simple, like the Panera website for example.
If you don’t have the means to hire a photographer, you can find a ton of stunning, free stock images on a site like Unsplash.
3. Speed up your site
You may not have realized it before but your website speed is important for improving your website’s bounce rate. In fact, according to Google, 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And for every extra second that your page takes to load, the probability of users bouncing dramatically increases. So, don’t make your website visitors wait.
You can use a site like GTmetrix to test the speed of your site. Not only will it tell you what your site speed is, but it’ll also give you advice for improving it. If you’re running your website on WordPress, it would also be wise to download and install some free plugins like WP Smush and W3 Total Cache to help boost the speediness of your site.
4. A/B test
As you’re attempting to improve your website’s bounce rate, don’t leave it up to chance. You should be A/B testing everything in order to determine what’s working and what’s not. You might be surprised by the small things that can cause users to abandon your website. It might even be something as simple as the color of your call-to-action button.
So, perform A/B tests, or split tests, of every aspect of your website. Does your bounce rate improve with a popup on your homepage or does it get a bigger boost on another page? Does one font convert more visitors over another? Does showing or hiding a progress bar help or hurt your bounce rate? When we say A/B test everything, we mean everything.
5. Target abandoning visitors
Did you know that over 70% of people who leave your website will never return? If you don’t start to improve your bounce rate now, that’s a lot of potential leads and customers your business is missing out on. One effective way to stop those users in their tracks and get them to stay on your website longer, and eventually convert them into subscribers or customers is by utilizing exit-intent popups.
Exit-intent popups are able to track when a user is about to leave your website and send them a targeted message at exactly the right time. Your popup can encourage website visitors to subscribe to your email list, download your lead magnet, or even offer a discount if they purchase. So, not only can exit-intent popups improve your bounce rate, but they can also boost your sales in an instant.
Got more points to share on improving bounce rates? Share them in the comments.
Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur, marketer, and CEO of Awesome Motive. He’s also the founder of WPBeginner, OptinMonster, WPForms, and MonsterInsights. Syed can be found on Twitter @syedbalkhi.
The post Five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate (and why you should) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Picking the right iPhone has become an increasingly difficult choice, but this breakdown should help you figure out whether you want an iPhone XR or another model, where to buy a case, and whether it’s a good time to purchase.
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