Google has finally switched on it’s version of Facebook Ads and no surprise that it’s powered by it’s Google+ platform, but so far have been careful to allow users a
Joe Leech is the next speaker in interview series leading up to Conversion Conference London 2013. Joe is the User Experience Director at leading UK customer experience consultancy cxpartners. He is
Stuart is the next speaker interviewed leading up to Conversion Conference and he lives and breathes eCommerce with his role as the deputy head of eCommerce at online shoe retailer
Australia’s largest search industry event SMX Sydney returns for it’s 6th year and is running over 2 full day sessions designed to help professional internet marketers. The conference is focused on medium to experienced level marketers but they still run their SMX Boot-Camp for beginner marketers looking to improve their skill-set. There are some amazing international speakers that will be presenting so it’s guaranteed it’s an event not to be missed!
SEO Meetups have secured a 20% discount code that you code use “seomugrp” but get in quick before tickets sell out as there are some awesome speakers this year!
SMX Sydney 2013 – Day 1 Agenda – April 3rd 2013
- Optimising Humans! The Art of Data-Driven Social Marketing – Marty Weintraub
- SEO Tools of the Trade – Andre Weyher
- eCommerce SEO, How to Avoid Common Pitfalls – Jon Quinton
- Maximising Enterprise SEO – Jeremy Bolt
- Innovative SEO Techniques for Competitive Industries – Dejan Petrovic
- Successful In-House SEO – Motoko Hunt
- Schema 101: Why Structured Meta Data Matters
- Google AdWords Segmentation
- Schema 201: Real World Markup for Success
- The Analytics of Google AdWords – Philip Shaw
- From Authorship to Authority: Why Claiming Your Identity Matters – Ben Bale
- Attribution Modelling - Christian Bartens
- Google Webspam – What are they looking for? – Brian White
- Annual SMX Sydney “Future of Search” Keynote Panel – Brad Geddes & Marty Weintraub
SMX Sydney 2013 – Day 2 Agenda - April 4th 2013
- Behavioural Psychology Meets Web Marketing – Rand Fishkin
- Conversion Rate Optimisation for SEOs – Richard Baxter
- Killer Facebook PPC Tactics – Merry Morud
- Persona’s & Conversion Rate Optimisation – Jeremy Bolt
- Mining Your Search Keywords & Social Data for new Revenue Opportunities - Jon Quinton
- Getting Liked & Shared on Facebook – Marty Weintraub
- Advanced WordPress Optimisation & Security – Bastian Grimm
- YouTube & Video Optimisation – Akiva Ben-ezra
- Programmatic Optimisation – Bill Hunt
- 10 Link Building Tools, How to use them to get links – Paddy Moogan
- Mastering the 4 Crucial Ingredients for Successful Landing Pages – Dante Botha
- Link Building Post Penguin – Richard Baxter
- SEM + CRM = ROI Heaven – Mark Vozzo
- The SMX Site Clinic
Advanced AdWords Training @ SMX Sydney – Agenda - April 5th 2013
- Best Practices in PPC – Brad Geddes - Brad Geddes
- Adowrds Account Organisation - Brad Geddes
- Ad Copy Testing - Brad Geddes
- Demystifying Quality Score - Brad Geddes
- Advanced Bidding Case Studies - Brad Geddes
- Increase your Reach through the Google Display Network - Brad Geddes
- Landing Page Testing - Brad Geddes
- Time Management - Brad Geddes
SEO Marketer “Elite Workshop” - Agenda - April 5th 2013
- Advanced Keyword Modelling – Bill Hunt
- Give it up Session 1 – Bill Hunt & Rand Fishkin
- Global SEO – Motoko Hunt
- Faster Sites Win! How to Speed Your Sites Up – Bastian Grimm
- Google SPAM – Brian White
- Growing an SEO Team – Jon Quinton
- Give it up Session 2 – Bastian Grimm, Brian White, Jon Quinton, Michael King
aimClear Social Media Marketer Intensive - Agenda - April 5th 2013
- The Complete Social Media Community Managers Guide - Marty Weintraub
- The Social Media Community Managers Role - Marty Weintraub
- Timeless Tenets of Non-Gratuitous Social Behaviour - Marty Weintraub
- Hit the Ground Running - Marty Weintraub
- Content, Reputation and Hard Core Listening Hacks - Marty Weintraub
- Finding Themed Conversations - Marty Weintraub
- Dominate with Paid Organic Amplification - Marty Weintraub
- Community Crisis Management - Marty Weintraub
- Measuring Success! State of the art Social Metrics - Marty Weintraub
Are you going to SMX Sydney? SEO Meetups have secured a 20% discount code that you code use “seomugrp” but get in quick before tickets sell out as there are some awesome speakers this year!
Who are the SMX Sydney sessions design for?
- SEOs analysts & managers
- AdWords specialists
- Paid campaign managers
- Paid campaign planners & media buyers
- Web Marketing Managers
- Agency staff
- Inhouse staff (client side)
- Digital Marketing Managers
- Brand & Marketing Managers
- Digital Planners
- Web Analysts
- Web designers & developers
- Business owners
Book Now & Save!
SEO Meetups have secured a 20% discount code that you code use “seomugrp” but get in quick before tickets sell out as there are some awesome speakers this year!
To celebrate what would have been Douglas Adam’s 61st birthday Google has produced a animated Doodle. The Animated doodle includes several animated items and a great big “don’t panic” button to press. The screen then shows various small animations related his story “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”.
I noticed today that Facebook is showing an interactive widget that shows my campaign activity for my Facebook Ads. It shows a top level view of how many adverts you have, how many campaigns and even how many page likes your campaigns are producing.
You can click through on the different stats to take you through to the Adverts Manager dashboard. It’s a nice simplified reporting platform but possible suited more towards smaller campaigns.
I noticed an interesting promoted Tweet today, it seems that the twitter account @GreenSmokeCig has started running Twitter sponsored advertising across visible to Australian users promoting their electronic cigarettes. This raised alarm bells in my head as I understood that it’s illegal to advertising Tobacco products in Australia and many other countries around the world.
I checked Twitters Ad Policy and Tobacco is listed as “services and industries have legal, cultural or safety restrictions” but it seems they don’t enforce compliance just trust that their advertisers are following local legal requirements. The grey area where Twitter looks the other way is a gold mine for advertisers willing to take a bit of a risk but highlights the importance of WHO programmes such as the Tobacco Free Initiative. Is Twitter so desperate for money that they would allow continued promotion of Tobacco products? What filters are in place to ensure users under the age of 18+ are not seeing these ads?
What countries have they reached?
Because GreenSmoke is using a bit.ly link it’s possible to see what countries are generating the clicks on their campaign URL. It’s possible to see that 49% of the clicks are being generated from visitors outside of the USA which is apparently their target audience for this current campaign. I’m not sure how many of the other countries that are as accepting on the issue. Because they are a online store they are able to supply globally so it’s not a reasonable argument to say this campaign was only targeted at US audiences as the campaign was visible globally.
I’m not a lawyer and this post questions Twitter on the ethics and moral grounds of running Tobacco advertising but I think the matter needs to be further explored on if it does violation local Tobacco advertising laws. I’ve included a short piece of the TAP Act that I feel is most relevant to the Twitter promotional tweet ads. Tobacco advertising has shifted more money & resources into reaching their audience via social media over the past few years and Twitter Ads just look like an easy channel for reaching a global audience.
Australian Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Amendment Act 2012
15A Tobacco advertisements not to be published electronically (1) A person commits an offence if: (a) the person publishes something, or authorises or causes something to be published; and (b) the thing is a tobacco advertisement; and (c) the tobacco advertisement is published electronically; and (d) the tobacco advertisement is published in Australia. ComLaw Link
What do you think?
Has Twitter violated TAP Act with their promoted Tweets or just accepted payment for looking the other way? Don’t worry about Tobacco advertisers there is always an app for that…
When I first started testing ShopSense back just over 12 months ago on 11th February 2012 it seemed a better solution that Amazon Affiliate program. Amazon only has a 24 hour cookie so it can be harder for affiliates to generate revenue from so optional retail programs and revenue channels are always welcome.
The reason that I thought ShopSense was a good additional revenue channel was that ShopStyle was part of the Sugar Network and allowed visitors to browse multiple stores from the one platform. It also offered a dynamic CPC platform depending on the average conversion rates and quality of your traffic you sent to their retail partners. The main benefit was you were paid for each click you sent to their retailers which included both Australian and International retailers. You could then track your revenue daily and get paid monthly if you made the minimum balance.
Below I’ve got one of the floating banners that I have running on one of my affiliate websites I manage, you can see the banner is still running in the screenshot below. That all sounds simply enough so what went wrong?
This is sounded simply enough until I logged into check on how my campaign was doing, the first item I noticed was the revenue reports had vanished. There was also a “sign up” button that was showing inside my account dashboard. There was no notification box so I couldn’t understand what had happened and when it happened.
It wasn’t until I clicked the “sign up” button that I was taken back to the homepage where I could see the notification showing below that my account is currently closed and to contact them if I wanted to reopen it. I checked and checked again and there is no email notification that my account had been shut down at any point.
What ShopSense did Wrong!
There are several concerns I have about what happened here and all seem to raise ethical concerns on how they run their affiliate business:
- The biggest issue is they failed to notify me as an affiliate my account had been closed
- They failed to have a clear notification that your account is shutdown within your dashboard
- I’m still running my banners but I’m not collecting any revenue from ShopSense at this point
- They are still charging their retail partners like PrincessPolly for traffic I’m sending them on a CPC basis
- How many other affiliates have they screwed over by shutting down their accounts and pocketing the revenue?
I contacted them and they advise they shut down any accounts that are not logged into “inactive” after 6 months, they have now reactivated my account.
Google has continued it’s progression to kill off organic results in place of Google properties with it’s recent expanded weather widget. The previous widget shown below only pushed the organic results down 1 position but did steal a lot of traffic from weather and new websites when it was first improved to the version you see below. There was less of a reason to click through to the organic results or detailed forecast links unless you wanted more days or much more specific weather information. Within Australia we have something of a weather obsession and according to Google Keyword Tool around 823,000 search a month just for “Melbourne Weather”.
Frederic Lardinois from Techcrunch highlighted in July 2012 that Google rolled out a new interactive weather widget on Android and iOS devices, but it wasn’t until today that I saw this new weather widget expand to desktop devices. The new interactive widget is now available for all desktop search queries around weather.
What does this mean for organic?
The new expanded and improved widget now occupies around 4-5 organic results as you can see from the comparison below. The impact for news/weather websites that used to show in positions 5-8 are now no longer showing above the fold, the results just look like a giant weather widget even on a 24 inch monitor. The widget potential impact on a smaller screen device such as a laptop would be cataclysmic with likely no organic results would be shown any more.
The impact on their organic traffic will likely be extremely high as the widget appears to have been rolled out on both Google.com.au and Google.com instead of the standard phased rollout that has been done previously.
Since the visitors don’t have to visit these weather websites any more there advertising powered business models are at risk, they can no longer trust that Google will fairly show a healthy mix of organic results around weather queries.
How does the widget change search behaviour?
Using Feng-Gui.com I was able to run a quick heatmap test to show the dramatic impact on user attention with the new widget with the organic results showing below just completely ignored. The change in behaviour will mean that even if the organic results are showing in top 3 positions they will likely barely get any attention from most users.
Who are the losers in organic?
For my sample query shown above “Melbourne weather” I see the big losers that are all still technically on the first page of results sorted from low to high impact being:
Insights: TimeandDate.com have continually had to battle against Google widgets first with “local city time”, then with “sunrise/sunset times” and now with “detailed weather”. Time & Date have to ensure they have commercial partnerships and a mobile app strategy in play as Google is gunning for their traffic in a big way!
Google no longer has to worry about FTC probe into their search behaviours of favouring Google products and expect to see more of their widgets expand to occupy more organic results. Google is slowly killing off organic results in favour of their products so you can expect that this type of half-page widget will expand to Movies, Travel and any other high traffic term such as TV guides.
Twitter has announced LOLcat has been launched after a Hack Week project to raise awareness of their translate Twitter project. The Twitter community translation program allows “text strings” in the user interface to be translated.
LOL Cat Twitter Translation Direct Messages = Direct Messujs. Kthaxbye! New Message = New Messuj Home = Hum Discover = Discovr Following = Followin Who to Follow = Hoo 2 Follow Expand = Expan. kthx More = Moar View Conversation = View Conversashun Interactions = Interacshuns Mentions = Menshuns Email Notifications = Email Notificashuns View My Profile Page = View mah profile puj Language = Languuj Tweet Location = Tweet Locashun Add Location to My Tweets = Add Locashun to muh tweets Translation Center = Translashun Centr Let others find me by my email address = Let udders fin me by muh email address Forgot your password = Foargot yur password Cancel = Cancel. Kthx.
What other languages are next? It’s possible that the emergence of LOLcat language that a whole new range of Twitter languages might be coming soon. I would expect these are the more likely languages that might be added soon if Twitter stops trying to claim proprietary rights of the text strings that are translated:
- Dwarvish (Lord of the Rings)
- Elvish (Lord of the Rinds)
- Sindarin (Lord of the Rings)
- Klingon (Star Trek)
- Vulcan (Star Trek)
- Wookie (Star Wars)
- Huttese (Star Wars)
- Simlish (SimNation)
- Dothrakl (Game of Thrones)
- Fremen (Frank Herbert’s Dune)
- Vampirese (Blade)
- Parseltongue (Harry Potter)
- Na’vi (Avatar)
Try LOLCat out
You don’t have to change your language settings to test the new language you can click this link to see how it looks in the screenshot of my account below.
I noticed an interesting notification when I was playing around with one of my ”other” Google+ pages and was sharing content from the Hustler Google+ feed. I didn’t notice any notifications when I was initially sharing the page and my “other” Google+ page which I was sharing as has been set-up to be suitable for 18+ only so didn’t expect to see the message below on my feed. It was a notification that what I had shared via Hustler had violated Google+ policies, it was not something I posted just something I had shared.
While Google+ has been known to censor profile images that are deemed offensive as MG Siegler found out in the past and even Reddit has discovered a secret list of “undesirable” words you cannot use in Google+ posts, which was flagged as a “bug”. This appeared to be something bigger as what was the implications of automated filtering of content shared by a real business?
Google+ Content Policy
I know that Google+ has followed some of Facebook’s guidelines around contests & promotion policies but it’s the first time I’ve seen a shared post flagged to violation of Google+ policies. I have to admit the page sharing the content was involved in the adult industry, but the post by Hustler shown below did not contain sexually explicit material, just a girl in lingerie and a link to their website.
The bigger point of concern is Hustler is a real business and did not appear to be overly spammy with the message below was “Happy Monday Allie James getting ready for her sexy scene Anaconda Mama. Visit Hustler.com to see her in action”. I did have the option to “submit this post for review” but should it be my responsibility to appeal on behalf of Hustler so I’m able to share their content?
Compared so some many of the standard spammy and self-promotional updates brands typically offer via Google+ I don’t believe this message would be something that should trip any policy filters outside of the possible call to action that is highlighted as a violation under Google+ content policy guidelines as they “drive traffic to a commercial pornography site”?
Also the concern would be for digital marketers in the adult industry what does Google+ defines as a “commercial pornography website”? I tested with sharing Playboy.com Google+ posts which also link to their homepage and there was no filter tripped, so was it just Hustler.com that has been targeted for censorship?
Google+ is fine with the sex trade…
There are also lots of other services with Google+ such as escorts & brothels that I tested sharing their posts with links to their homepages and no content flags were shown. So Google is comfortable with links shared that promote websites focusing on prostitution and sex trade but Hustler has crossed the line? So how has Google managed to overlook the promotion of sexual services for money via it’s Google+ network but Hustler is banned from including a link to their homepage?
Why should you be concerned?
The bigger concern is that note that the policy will only stay visible to you the person who shared the post and Google will delete it in a few weeks. This does sound more like censorship by Google than anything else as it’s the people sharing the content that are being flagged.
Should you be now having to monitor your posts a month later to check back to ensure they have not been deleted because Google didn’t highlight your content violated their policies?
Remember that Google was only flagging the links to Hustler.com so any affiliate links or short URLs were fine to use when driving traffic to “commercial pornography websites”, just not links to the primary domain.
But the interesting issue is that I don’t believe that Hustler would not be alerted to the fact their post has flagged for violation, as I checked and you can see the share on the original post so everything would look normal. I’m not sure what might be the implication on their brand and it’s not clear if these types of notifications were why the shares on some of their posts are so low? Would you continue to share Hustler content if it was always going to be flagged for review? It’s likely users would shift to Playboy.com that doesn’t have the same censorship issues.
What could it be that violated Google+ policies?
I checked sharing several of their other posts that contained more racey images posted by Hustler but contained no link to their homepage and I had no warning notifications. I also shared Hustler posts that contained links to their homepage and they were also flagged with the notification.
I did a check with some of their posts that contained affiliate links via short URLs and currently it seems they were able to sneak through Google’s automated filters. The violations don’t appear to be related to the images context so should not be tripping “sexually explicit material” policy but could appear to be related to “spam” policy? Has Hustler.com just been sharing too many links to their homepage? Is it that easy to trip Google+ content policy by over promotion?
I tested sharing some softcore porn images via other Google+ pages and these didn’t trip any filters and these images were much more likely to violate Google+ content policy guidelines than Hustler every would. Is it just the Hustler.com domain that has been flagged or has Google+ censored a brand when they are doing posts that have a commercial benefit of driving visitors outside of Google+?
What does this mean for Google+ pages?
It’s too early to tell but it does seem that Google+ does have a automated filter in place and it does imply a dangerous precedent for by Google to play big brother and make their platform not a friendly place for digital marketing. It’s also possible that having a “verified” Google+ page allows businesses to push the Google+ content policies further?
It does raise a concern about how friendly Google+ might be to brands as currently it’s still a platform set-up for users and seems to restrict marketers more than encourage them by these types of issues. Have you seen anything similar before and if so what brands or pages, I want to hear about it in the comments below.
Facebook has started pushing out organic messaging to those who engage with shared content in what looks a strong attempt increase the audience of fan pages. Once you like the shared content you are encouraged with a message “Want to see more from The Sun” along with a someone intrusive popup highlighting the “Like Page” button. Looking at the source code it doesn’t appear to be an FB ad but is it a new item just for media partners as we haven’t seen it on other content we liked.