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Jasper Solander

Jasper Solander

Trying to remember were you've been? Google can help.

If you opt into being tracked, Google can record where you've been through Google Maps and your Android phone. Everything is logged in an interactive map called your Timeline that's accessible through your Google account.

Your Timeline can be useful if you like to look back at where you've been. If you also use Google Photos, the photos you take on your phone will be shown in your Timeline alongside where and when they were taken.

Here's everything you need to know about using your Google Timeline:

To access your Timeline, you have to turn on Location History. It can be enabled or disabled in your Google Settings on phones running Android 2.3 or higher. When you first set up your Android phone, Google will likely ask you to turn Location History on (it's not turned on by default).

Google tracks your location through Google Maps, which also works on the iPhone and the web. You can see your Timeline from your settings in the Google Maps app on Android.

Google tracks your location through Google Maps, which also works on the iPhone and the web. You can see your Timeline from your settings in the Google Maps app on Android.

Finding your Timeline through Google Maps on the iPhone is a little more complicated. We recommend just going directly to Google's website from an iPhone or desktop computer.

Finding your Timeline through Google Maps on the iPhone is a little more complicated. We recommend just going directly to Google's website from an iPhone or desktop computer.

Using Google Maps and having Location Tracking enabled on your phone will help make Google's tracking more accurate, but that's not the only way Google tracks you. The company also uses your "search and browsing info to make your timeline."

Using Google Maps and having Location Tracking enabled on your phone will help make Google's tracking more accurate, but that's not the only way Google tracks you. The company also uses your "search and browsing info to make your timeline."

Once you have Location Tracking turned on, you can see everywhere you've been on this map of the world.

Once you have Location Tracking turned on, you can see everywhere you've been on this map of the world. 

If you assign names to addresses for "Work" and Home" in Google Maps or with Google Now, they will be labeled the same way in your timeline.

If you assign names to addresses for "Work" and Home" in Google Maps or with Google Now, they will be labeled the same way in your timeline.

You can zoom into cities and neighborhoods from a certain day or time span.

You can zoom into cities and neighborhoods from a certain day or time span.

If you want to drill into where you went on a specific day, your Timeline will show you where you went in order along with specific times you moved around.

None animated GIF

Google even shows if you walked, drove, or were in a plane.

Google even shows if you walked, drove, or were in a plane.

It's a good way to visually see how you moved through an area.

It's a good way to visually see how you moved through an area.

If you use Google Photos, your Timeline will show photos you took while you were at a specific location.

If you use Google Photos, your Timeline will show photos you took while you were at a specific location.

If the idea of Google knowing where you've been is creepy, don't worry. Google says that your Timeline is "private and visible only to you." You can also turn it off or remove locations from your Timeline at any time.

If the idea of Google knowing where you've been is creepy, don't worry. Google says that your Timeline is "private and visible only to you." You can also turn it off or remove locations from your Timeline at any time.

Source:  http://www.techinsider.io/how-to-find-your-google-location-history-map-2016-6

Internal linking is a key SEO tactic, one which allows websites to send clear signals to Google on the relative importance of various pages.

It also works from a user experience perspective, helping visitors find pages that are relevant or potentially useful to them.

It’s something I place great importance on as an editor, as it’s one part of SEO that I can control, and I’ve seen the benefits for sites I’ve worked on.

Internal linking: examples

Let’s take an example from Search Engine Watch. I wrote this article on internal linking, with examples and tips, back in September 2015.

I’ve since linked to it using that exact anchor text (and variations on it) on at least 10 occasions. Essentially, I’m telling Google that this is the page I want Search Engine Watch to rank for that term.

As we can see, it’s worked well. Third on Google, and first for related terms (internal linking best practice for example).

Internal linking SE

Then there’s Mail Online. The most visited English language newspaper on the web had a relatively haphazard approach to internal linking until recently.

For common, high traffic terms (world leader’s names, celebrities etc) would be used regularly in articles.

The result was that each article would end up competing against previous articles for the same keyword or phrase.

The chart below shows its rankings for ‘David Cameron’ over a six month period. 80 different URLs were returned from the Mail for that search, but it didn’t rank consisitently for the term.

1.-Entire-Daily-Mail-view-for-the-search-term-David-Cameron-e1453731668448

The answer was a consistent internal linking and hub page strategy. Mail Online created hub pages for common terms and consistently linked to them.

The result is a more consistent ranking from November 2015 onwards, when the changes were implemented.

There have been some fluctuations, perhaps due to inconsistent implementation of the linking strategy, but the page is performing much more effectively. As a result, the site will pick up more traffic for that term. Applied across the whole site, this can make a big difference.

nov 2015

Does Google count anchor text in internal links?

This is the question Shaun Anderson from Hobo Web sought to answer recently.

In the examples above, the pages targeted with internal links all contain the keywords used in the anchor text. So, Google could be using the content of the page, and the fact that several pages link to it to decide on the ranking.

In other words, this doesn’t prove that Google is taking note of the anchor text when choosing to rank a particular page.

So, Shaun set up a test. He added an internal link to one page on his site using the target keyword as anchor text.

It’s important to note that the target page did not contain the keyword used, so the only signal that it was relevant to said keyword was the anchor text on the link.

As we can see from the chart, a number of days after the test was implemented, the page ranked for the target term. When it was removed, the page dropped again.

hobo web screenshot

As that page had no other relevance to the term other than the link, the anchor text appears to be the only reason for the page’s ranking.

It’s worth reading Shaun’s blog post for more detail, and for further variations on the test, but the indications are that the answer to the question in the headline here is yes.

It would be good to see other tests to back up this with more evidence. In fact, I’ll see if I can devise one on this site along similar lines.

Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/31/does-google-count-anchor-text-in-internal-links/

A new study conducted by SimilarWeb and Majestic concludes that there is a positive correlation between a website’s traffic and the number of referring domains pointing to that website.

The study analyzed 500,000 backlinks from 100,000 of the top sites on the web to find a correlation from the tops sites and their associated backlinks. The traffic driven to these sites was broken down into the following categories:

Overall traffic

Organic search traffic

PPC traffic

Referrals traffic

Social Media traffic

IP Addresses

The websites assessed in the study were also broken down into similar categories, analyzing the top 100,000 websites in the world by:

Global Rank

Organic Traffic

PPC Traffic

Referral traffic

Social media traffic

The Findings

The data was broken down even further by grouping the correlation between traffic and backlinks by:

Referring domains

IP addresses

Referring .edu domains

External .gov domains

Referring .gov domains

After analyzing 500,000 backlinks from hundreds of thousands of the world’s top websites it was found that referring domains had the highest correlation between all traffic groups came through referring domains. Referring domains in general came out on top across the board, with external .gov and .edu backlinks showing a rather low correlation.

Roy Hinkis of SimilarWeb states:

“The overall impression I’m left with is that backlinks still have a very high correlation to the amount of website traffic. However, it would be detrimental to your SEO efforts to assume this is the only avenue for link-building. Instead, you need to adopt a more holistic approach which takes in the valuable assets of IP addresses and EDU/GOV websites to gain an overall larger share of traffic.”

What this goes to show is that it’s important to diversify your backlink profile with a variety of domains. According to the data, building an abundance of backlinks from the same sources is not as effective as focusing on the number of unique domains you’re getting the links from.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/new-study-shows-positive-correlation-traffic-backlinks/164752/

Commissioning market research implies a formality and time-frame that is no longer applicable to the current insights market argues ZappiStore's Christophe Ovaere.

Language matters. When you speak a certain way or use certain words, it means something. It creates an impression. Then why is it we are not mindful of the impressions we create when using jargon or specialised vocabulary during our professional life in market research.

My example today is the verb we have been using to talk about buying a research project: we commission it. Talk about keeping us in a restrictive and claustrophobic frame of mind.

If you asked a person what they thought of when they heard the word 'commission', they would probably tell you about 18th century portraits, architectural blueprints, luxury yachts or even haute couture. Because commissioning implies a great deal of formality around the purchase itself, a longer time span and an association with artisanal craftsmanship.

Back in the old days when market research was the main source of consumer data, there was a sense of formality and connotation that longer timescales could only lead to unquestionably impeccable results.

Those days are gone and the pace at which businesses operate today is crazy. Nowadays, insights are closer to a commodity and there is about as much formality to purchasing them as ordering a takeaway. Any suggestion of commissioning work implies that time is not important and makes the user look ignorant of the need for speed.

Not only is this vintage jargon disconnected from current dynamics in our industry, it creates an old fashioned impression of participants in these processes and fails to acknowledge the pace of evolution in the market research value chain.

In no way do I mean to say that there is no craftsmanship or skill in our industry. There is tonnes. However, I believe that for most research, the real value lies in the design of methodology and strategic consultancy – where, for the majority of research projects, the ‘supply chain’ in between can be powered by technology.

There is little value or craftsmanship in the operational side of research. Here we cannot compete with the machines. Now the challenge of leveraging tech to deliver speed while retaining quality is our problem – not the client’s. I say out with the sweatshop practices and in with the KanBan lean supply chain approach to produce raw insights.

When speaking about our industry and the dynamic between clients and agencies, we should use language that empathises with a client’s need for results today and be a data navigator to guide them based on the insights generated.

Let’s stop commissioning research and starting running a study.

Source:  https://www.research-live.com/article/opinion/for-modern-market-research-we-need-modern-terminology/id/5007662

The year 2016 will be known as the beginning of the rise of influencer marketing. In a world where everyone is a minor celebrity through Twitter, YouTube, and blogging, anyone can use their clout to direct their audience and make smaller voices heard.

But what is influencer marketing? And why should small businesses try to harness its power? Here’s your guide to the whats, whys, and hows.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing combines word-of-mouth reviews with celebrity endorsements. Brands work to find a public figure or well-known name within their niche and ask them to talk about their products or engage with their content.

Depending on the company, this can be a low-key (and even free) exercise or a pricey form of marketing. On one end, small non-profits ask local news anchors to promote them — otherwise known as free PR — and B2B bloggers reach out to keynote speakers asking for retweets to their expansive networks. On the other end, some brands are willing to pay thousands of dollars just for one Instagram post from Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan.

Finding a partner to showcase your brand is key, and when it’s done right, your brand can flourish.

Why is Influencer Marketing Beneficial?

Once our clients have a basic understanding of influencer marketing, the follow-up questions are: Will it work for our brand? And Why should we try it? There are many reasons to give it a shot, but here are our top six.

You Expose Your Brand to Larger Audiences

The rise of ad-blockers has led to more companies trying to connect with potential customers on a personal level instead of broadcasting blanket ads. There are two ways to do this: create content on personal platforms like blogs and social media, or promote your content on other influencer platforms.

Content marketers have started using influencers as recruiters for their brands. Your blog might only reach 1,000 people per day, but your influencer’s blog might reach 1,000,000. Even if just 2% of your influencer’s visitors come to your site, you’re still going to triple your audience.

Influencers Prove You’re a Major Player

Many brands use influencer marketing to seem like bigger brands than they actually are. Let’s use the example above, where a blog with a million followers promotes a blog with a thousand. The larger blog’s audience doesn’t know that the smaller channel only gets a thousand visitors daily — and they don’t care. Cool content is cool content, regardless of the audience.

Influencer marketing is ideal for putting your brand on the map and making it stand out. If your brand is good enough for the influencer, then it should be good enough for their audience.

Word-of-Mouth Provides Credibility

Many customers trust word-of-mouth, but it’s also one of the hardest marketing tools to employ. Influencer marketing channels the word-of-mouth benefits without the labor of getting each customer to promote your brand.

The key to finding a successful influencer is picking someone who already lives with your brand and would be a natural fit to represent you. For example, Audrina Patridge announced her pregnancy using a Clear Blue Easy pregnancy test featured on Instagram. The placement was a natural fit because she was expecting and because the majority of her fans are twenty-something women.

The Relationship Creates Better ROI in the Long Run

While some influencer relationships will remain the same (you will always pay through the nose for Kylie Jenner to take a selfie with your product), most niche influencer relationships will have better ROI the longer you work with them.

The first part of the outreach process is always the hardest. Your influencer might not be familiar with your product or content and neither of you is sure if the promotion will be a success, but after a few wins you can form a partnership, and your influencer’s audience will know that they genuinely love the product.

Paid placements should become cheaper as you work with the influencer more (while bulk buying should decrease the price) and organic placements should be easier to acquire over time.

Adweek notes that influencer costs have been rising significantly in the past two years, which means that getting in on the ground floor now can save you thousands in the next six months or a year.

Success Tracking is Easier Than Ever

Google Analytics and other sites like Coremetrics and Omniture can measure every step your audience takes and how they convert. Instead of just measuring exposure in the same way we measure TV and radio ads, we can measure the exact path from the influencer’s site to ours, and track their conversion process.

One of the hardest parts of marketing is constantly allocating and reallocating your budget for the highest ROI, and modern analytics will help with that.

Your Competition is Already Doing It

As of October 2015, 75% of companies reported using influencer marketing as a strategic marketing tool. Of that, 47% considered the channel extremely effective, while 34% thought it was somewhat effective. This means half of your competition is already beating you, and another third is on its way!

How Do I Start?

Once clients are sold on the idea of influencer marketing, the next question is how? We recommend these five quick steps to start testing the influencer waters:

Determine what budget (if any) you can commit to paid partnerships.
Brainstorm an influencer “dream team” of 10-20 people or websites that would ideally promote your products or content.

Get creative with the marketing message! Anyone can hold up a product, but unique messages have more staying power.

Seek out input from the influencer of what worked or didn’t, and collect feedback from both of your audiences on the promotion.

Test, test, test. It’s okay to fail as long as each failure comes with a lesson.

Influencer marketing depends on the spokespeople you choose, but also on the products or services you offer. Remember, Kim Kardashian can try to promote corset trainers all she wants, but if they don’t work, all that influencer marketing has gone to waist.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/6-reasons-influencer-marketing-beneficial/163866/

Have you ever had your content stolen? If you have, I can relate.

Several years ago during the early days of BKA Content, we had just finished up a comprehensive redesign of our company website. This effort took time, money, and the creative talents of several people who put their hearts and souls into carefully crafting the content on our pages that would speak to the hearts of our audience.

A month or two after the launch of our newly redesigned site, I received a strange phone call from a man claiming he had just purchased our website and had some questions about how the website worked.

Since our website was certainly not for sale, I was completely confused by this claim and thus investigated to find out what had really happened.

Long story short, this man had purchased a “successful content creation” business from a popular online marketplace that sold websites. The creators (copiers, thieves, low lifes) that sold the site literally duplicated the text verbatim from our website, changed our images a little bit, and slapped a new company name on it and sold it to this poor man for a ridiculous sum of money. These idiots were so lazy that they even left our phone numbers on the page, which is how this man was able to contact us to ultimately find out he had been swindled by thieves.

This bizarre experience really helped me to understand firsthand how much stolen content can hurt. It wasn’t fair for these thieves to take the work that I spent time and money on and then duplicate it and call it their own.

While this is a pretty extreme example of blatant content stealing in order to turn a profit, the truth is that most content is stolen more subtly with scrapers and bots. These methods of duplicating content can be just as harmful as the experience I shared.

So I ask again, have you ever had your content stolen? If you aren’t sure, I’m going to show you how to find out and what to do about it.

Duplicate Content is Bad

Before I show you how to search for duplicate content, let’s briefly go over how Google deals with duplicate content.

In 2013, Google’s Matt Cutts said that 25-30% of the content on the web is duplicative. I’m sure that number is higher now, but that’s a butt load of copied content! Because duplicate content is so prevalent, Google does not penalize it. That’s right; Google does not penalize duplicate content unless it is pure spam.

So if there is no penalty for copying something, then why should we care who copies our content?

The biggest reason is that when duplicate content exists, it makes Google’s job harder to filter it and decide which version of the content to display in search results. This means the content you have spent time and money on creating may never show up in the results, but the thieves’ version of your content will.

Google’s failing to filter the original version of the content leads to site owners suffering lower rankings, lower traffic, and being less of a relevant authority in search.

The wrong content showing up in search engines can damage your brand’s authority and can undermine your content marketing efforts substantially.

The only instance when duplicating your content makes sense is when choosing to syndicate it. While I won’t get into the intricate details of how to do this, please note that great care should be taken to ensure you syndicate correctly to maintain proper attribution.

How to Find Stolen Content
1. Copyscape

copyscape

Copyscape has been around for as long as I can remember, and still is considered to be one of the most reliable tools in finding duplicate content.

Copyscape allows you to check an existing URL for duplicate content on the web. This tool is free to use; however, the number of results are limited. If you want to be able to see more results, you’ll have to sign up for their premium account.

Copyscape Premium is ideal if you need to check content in bulk, or if you want to check content you haven’t even posted online yet at five cents per search.

If you want your website to be automatically monitored for copies of your content, their Copysentry service has two different plans that can check your content weekly or daily and then alert you when copies are found.

2. DMCA

dmca scan

DMCA stands for The Digital Millennium Copyright Act which details the rights content owners have when they believe their content has been stolen.

DMCA.com allows for two free scans of your website to check for copied content. You can pay $10 a month for their Protection Pro plan to scan your website as much as you want per month.

Both the paid and free subscription options allow you to create a website certificate as well as badges to authenticate the ownership of your content to potentially deter thieves.

3. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a simple way to quickly find copied content, and it’s FREE!

Create an alert by copying and pasting some of your content into the search query field. You can then set the parameters of whether or not you would like to be notified every day or once a week if Google finds copies.

It’s important to note that Google alerts searches for any of the words that you paste into the search query.

Example: If I put the sentence above into the search query, you can see the results it finds in the alert preview and the partial word matches in bold text:

alertspartial

This means that not all of the alerts may be accurate; however, it is easy to spot the true alerts since the results will match the entire string of words you put into your search query verbatim.

Example: If I use some ‘Lorum ipsum’ text, see how the entire string is reflected in the alert preview?

alertsexactmatch

How to Get Duplicate Content Removed

1. Contact Them

I know this sounds simple, but I’ve experienced a lot of successful takedown requests this way. Most websites and blogs have a contact form, email address or phone number listed on the site.

Inform the offending site that the content has been stolen, provide a link to the original piece of content, and ask them to take it down immediately to avoid an official DMCA takedown complaint.

If the webmaster is slow to respond, or if your sensible request is being ignored, another option is to contact the offender’s web hosting service directly. There are several free websites that can help you get this information such as Who is Hosting This by simply typing in the URL of the offending website.

whoishosting

Once you have the information of the web host, follow the same steps as previously mentioned to contact them and report the content infringement. Most web hosting services do a great job of responding quickly, and in many instances take down the entire offending website.

2. Google

If you find out that someone else is reaping all of the traffic benefits by ranking well using your stolen content, you can file a DMCA complaint against them using Google Search Console.

If Google agrees with the complaint you file, then they will remove the stolen content from the search engines, thus rendering it completely useless to the offender.

Google asks for quite a bit of information in their form as they want to make sure they are justified in removing results. Take the time they require in order to give them all of the information to build your case.

It is important to note that Google takedown requests are per page only, so depending on how many pages of content have been copied, be prepared to spend some time here. Revenge is sweet, right?

3. Takedown Services

As you can see, getting people to takedown stolen content can take time and effort. For some webmasters, they are simply too busy to handle takedown requests on top of their normal workload. Thankfully there are several third party takedown services that can perform this whole process for you.

While cost can vary between these many services, the main benefit is that you can leverage their legal services to strike the fear of god into the face of your offenders to get fast results.

Do a simple “DMCA takedown services” search on Google to compare pricing and packages.

Conclusion

Don’t make the mistake of not knowing if your content has been stolen and where it is being duplicated. Finding out is quick, easy, and costs very little compared to the costs you can incur if left unchecked. I implore you to protect your content, fight the good fight, and don’t let the bad guys win!

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/3-ways-find-stolen-content-take-action/162831/

There is no doubt that the world of business advertising has changed dramatically over the past few years. Strong evidence exists that more and more money is being spent on advertising in the business-to-business media, that more and more companies are participating in business advertising, and that more and more sales leads are being stimulated by business advertising in general.

The trend toward more business advertising can be seen in the latest statistics on business advertising spending among the top 100 largest advertisers. The publication Business Marketing reports that, for the period from 1980 to 1985, the advertising spending of the top 100 advertisers in measured business publications increased from a total of approximately $125 million to approximately $750 million. While media inflation accounts for some of this huge increase, these data confirm the importance of business advertising in the minds of many marketing and advertising managers.

But what's happening in business advertising research? Is there as much excitement about current developments in business advertising research as there is in business advertising? Are more and more companies using research to make sure that their business advertising budget is being spent wisely? Are there innovations in research methodologies that direct the development of advertising strategies better than before? Are advertising managers seeing the benefits of business advertising research in tangible terms?

Problems, opportunities

We believe that the answers to these questions would provide a great deal of insight into the current state of the art in business advertising research. But more importantly, we believe that the answers to these questions would provide insight into the current thinking about the problems and opportunities associated with business advertising research.

It is useful to have a better understanding of the role of research in the process of developing and evaluating business advertising. It was with this purpose in mind that we began the research project described here.

Our objective is to report some of the major findings of a research project that we conducted during the summer of 1987. In this study, we set out to contact and interview some of the top advertising research professionals in business advertising. We obtained information on several different aspects of business advertising research but we concentrated primarily in two areas: The use of research in the development of advertising strategy and the use of research in measuring advertising effectiveness. First we'll summarize the methodology that was used to collect the data.

"Key informant"

The methodology used in the study was based upon the "key informant” technique. Key informants, or the most knowledgeable individuals in the business advertising profession, were identified and interviewed in a 20 minute telephone conversation. The list of the 100 leading business-to-business advertisers from the July, 1986, edition of Business Marketing was used to identify companies that are the most active in business advertising. The Standard Directory of Advertisers was used to identify the individuals within these companies who have major responsibilities for advertising.

The list of key informants was qualified further by telephoning each individual's company to confirm that he/she was still employed with the company and, if so, to confirm his/her address and telephone number. We then sent a letter to each individual remaining on our list which explained the purpose of our study, requested their cooperation, and assured them that their responses would remain confidential. Forty letters were mailed.

Telephone calls were made to each individual on the list about 10 days after the letters were mailed, and several callbacks were made. In the interview, a structured outline that included questions on the role of business advertising research in two major situations was used: 1. The development of advertising strategy. 2. The measurement of advertising effectiveness.

Within both of these areas the following questions were asked:

What is the trend in business advertising research in your company during the past few years? Is there more research, less research, or about the same amount of research? Please explain.
What kind of methodology (or methodologies) do you use? What is its overall purpose? What variables are measured? What is the sample size? What other important aspects of the methodology are there?
What are the benefits of this research? In other words, what do you get for it?

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with this type of research in assisting in developing good advertising at your company (or in evaluating the effectiveness of your company's business advertising)?
We found that the respondents were, for the most part, very willing to share this type of information with us and were quite interested in our study. We completed the interview with 20 key informants, for a response rate of 50%.

Obviously, the small number of respondents limits the generalizability of our results. But we felt that an exploratory study among the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry would give us the kind of information that would be most useful at this stage of our research.

Differing opinions

The results of the research provided the kind of insight we were looking for. We found that there are many differing opinions about the roles of business advertising research, the methodologies that are used, the benefits and problems associated with the research, and the levels of satisfaction with various research approaches.

Results of the study in each of the areas included in the study are:

1. Trends in business advertising research
The responses seemed fairly well divided between those respondents who believe that there is more research and those who believe that there is less research in their companies. It appears that there is a slight trend for more research in the area of strategy development and less research in the area of advertising effectiveness research during the past few years.

Responses were mixed, and it is quite difficult to discern any other trends. Representative comments from the respondents included:

"Very positive. Much more (research) than ever before."

"More interest, but only a little more actual testing. Parts of the company do more, some not so."

"More research is being used now than ever before. Some operating companies use more research; some do not. We try to influence them to do so."

"More research. More tracking research is being used to feed into the creative process."

"Research is not used at all. Campaigns are developed by gut feel based on discussions within the company and ad agency."

"There is less emphasis here (in advertising effectiveness research) than with strategy development research. It needs a champion."

"More research in our company. We now insist that divisions measure advertising effectiveness in terms of operational communications objectives."

"We do some research, but not much. Only in selected areas."

"More need now than ever before but less time, money, and people available to accomplish it."

"More competition with deregulation resulting in more advertising and measurement."

"No more 'seat of the pants.' There is more pressure to be cost-effective and segment selective."

"We're sadly deficient. We do almost no measurement."

"Less research. There is more scrutiny now than ever before with emphasis on profits as to where we spend our money."

Overall, it appears that there are more questions being asked by management that should be answered by research. But there does not seem to be strong evidence that more research is being conducted, however.

2. Methodologies being used

A. Strategy development research

It is very clear that there is little agreement as to what methodologies should be used to provide the best input into the strategy development process. Responses were all over the board with every major research technique being represented. The responses included: Focus groups, personal interviews, telephone studies, copy testing, and tracking research used to feedback into the creative process.

Some respondents use only one of these techniques, while other respondents use a combination of methods. One rather unexpected finding was the extent to which tracking studies, typically conducted by telephone, are used in the strategy development process (as well as in the measurement of advertising effectiveness). In some firms, tracking studies are supplemented by focus groups and other methods.

Sample sizes vary all over the lot depending upon the size of the market being targeted. The sample sizes range from 10-1,500.

In the area of copy testing, by far the most widely used method is the Starch method.

It was also interesting to find out that special, proprietary techniques are not being used. The only exception to this was that one respondent reported using claims matrix mapping exclusively. He is an eager proponent of this method for use in product positioning in business advertising.

Methodologies used

Representative comments regarding the methodologies being used include the following:

"Focus groups, tracking research (used to feed back into the creative process)."

"One-on-one qualitative research with individuals in the financial community. They are asked to comment on our ads and our competitors."

"Telephone study: Attribute testing (for both customers and non? customers). Mail study; concept testing where stickers are allocated."

"We start with a small scale qualitative study and we end with concept boards with short copy."

"All types of methods. Whatever is needed; focus groups, tracking, Starch."

B. Advertising effectiveness research

In the area of advertising effectiveness research, the most commonly used technique, as we expected, is the tracking study. Most of the tracking research is conducted by telephone, although tracking via mail questionnaires is used as well. The typical tracking study research measures variables such as company awareness, advertising awareness, and attitudes or perceptions about the company as well as about several other firms. These other firms used for comparison that are typically included in the research are either competitors or other large, highly visible firms. Examples of the latter group includes IBM, AT&T, Dow Chemical, GE, 3M, Du Pont, and Xerox. Very often, tracking research is conducted by market audience across several markets served by the firm. We also found that these results are often broken down by current customers and potential customers as well as by different market segments.

In addition to tracking studies, several other methods are being used by the top business advertisers. These include:

Copy testing, especially Starch;
Focus groups;
Personal interviews;
Publishers' audience data (although a great deal of skepticism exists regarding the validity of these data);
Miscellaneous techniques such as coupon response, calls to a toll-free number, and informal client feedback.

Representative comments that we received include the following:

"Tracking study conducted by telephone. The study uses a sample size of 1,500 broken down by target markets. Measures ad awareness, company awareness, perceptions of the company, and impressions of the company," "A qualitative study consisting of three open-ended questions related to 'What does the advertising make you think about."'

"We do an annual study against several target audiences measuring awareness, attitudes, and perceptions using a sample size of 150 per cell. Copy testing is also used; ASI and Starch."

"We use a combination of focus groups and story boards. We measure awareness, attitudes, and corporate identity."

"A tracking study at the corporate level, and some tracking at the operations levels as well. In the corporate level, we focus on two broad audiences: 1. Business. 2. Financial and security analysts."

"Wall Street Journal" readership studies. We monitor coupon returns from our WSJ advertising. Informal client feedback."

"In-depth telephone interviews with sample size of 1,000+. We measure company awareness, advertising awareness, attitudes vis-a-vis competitors, and other specific issues of concern."

"We measure coupon response and calls to our toll-free number."

"We plot Starch data over time."

3. Benefits received

Perhaps the most interesting result from the research was in the area of benefits received. In the vast majority of cases, the respondents were able to provide two or three substantial benefits that they saw in business advertising research. Although the range of responses seems great, there appears to be some consistent themes running through the responses.

A. Strategy development research

The most common response received to the question "What are the benefits of strategy development research?" deals with the positive nature of the feedback to the creative process. The usefulness of research in copy development is quite obvious from our research. Respondents seemed to be in fairly close agreement that strategy development research enabled them to get a better grip on their buyers' needs and to identify the types of information that would be helpful in the buyers' decision-making process. This result was especially important for those respondents who carry out advertising campaigns to several different target audiences.

Closely related to the ability of strategy development research in adding to the creative process were responses related to providing assistance in spending the advertising budget more wisely and providing an "objective" look at what should be done.

Another major benefit from strategy development research exists in an organizational sense. Here, business advertising research is being used as a tool to aid in convincing management that advertising dollars are being spent in the most productive way possible and to justify the need for budget and staff. We believe that this use of business advertising research may be one of the most important findings in our study. The ability of advertising managers to use research to convince skeptical top management that "advertising monies are not being wasted" and "we are getting something in return for our budget" are major reasons to conduct the research. This defensive position was mentioned by several respondents as being a crucial benefit of advertising research.

Objective measure

In the area of strategy development research, representative comments include the following:

"Helps in spending money wisely under conditions of tight budgets.”

"Helps to direct message to different target markets."

"Identifies areas of weakness and mis-perception relative to the audience. Helps focus the advertising on the audience target."

"Identifies the kind of information that the financial community looks for. Identifies problems with corporate image. Provides clear, concise information with graphics. Organizationally, the research has been very helpful."

Here, more of the same kinds of comments were made by the respondents. It quickly became clear that there are widely acknowledged benefits stemming from advertising effectiveness research.

Representative comments from those who participated in the research include:

"Measures image. Research has led to improvements in our image. It has led to direct increase in the sales of one product line."

"Tells us weak spots, strong spots, where we are. Allows us to look at advertising from the point of view of total communication."

"Provides us with feedback on the direction of the campaign and where we are heading. Provides us with creative strategy input."

"Provides a measure of how well we spent our money. Provides guidance on where to spend our money. Provides an indication of the relative merits of different media vehicles. Helps to keep up the morale of the sales force. Keeps the channel of communication open to the sales force."

Spending wisely

In summary, the respondents who participated in our studies feel that the benefits of advertising effectiveness research fall into three major categories:

1. Assistance is provided with the development of messages targeted to the needs of the intended audience. Copy strategy and execution are improved due to the feedback from previous advertising.

2. The advertising budget is spent more wisely, and the advertising expenditures are held accountable for achieving certain results. In the "results oriented" environment of many businesses today, advertising effectiveness research is an important indicator of success.

3. Skeptical top management personnel can be convinced that they are receiving some return on their advertising dollars.

4. Degree of satisfaction and problems encountered

Most of the responses we received to the questions related to the degree of satisfaction were positive. At the same time, almost all of the respondents noted that there are some problems that need to be dealt with in order to make the research process more useful.

The problems mentioned by the respondents vary widely. They deal with issues such as:

The weaknesses associated with various techniques (such as the subjectivity and non-projectability of focus groups and low response rates in telephone interviewing);

The difficulties in reaching the right individual to include in the research;

Small sample size;

Measurement error;
The expense involved in the research process, and
The length of time it takes to generate research results.
Another major problem is the need to do a better job of "getting management on board" in supporting the research as well as the advertising itself.

Improved methods needed

Some of the comments were received that reflect these concerns are as follows:

"Adequate. Methods are needed that are more applicable and affordable. Our methods are awfully subjective and non-projectable."

"Very satisfied. But we're always looking for improved methods. Care is needed in using focus groups due to certain people dominating the session."

"Satisfied. The methods are there. The problem is in convincing management and in making the process work internally."

"Moderately satisfied but leaves a lot lacking. Sample size is a problem; it is hard to identify and talk with them."

"We are frustrated. We think that we are doing the right thing, but the research tools are expensive and vague. Getting to the right person is difficult due to the sensitive nature of the information (in defense?related industries). Our refusal rate is 90%. Trying to link results to a particular campaign is difficult. We tried perceptual mapping and found that it didn't work. We are skeptical about other sophisticated techniques."

"Very satisfied. Changing questions is difficult. Sample size is a problem. We can't extend the research to as many target industries as we would like due to the expense of the research."

Research use varies

This study has provided insight into the use of research among business advertising professionals. The responses obtained from some of the largest business advertisers were quite helpful in understanding the role of research in the advertising process, the types of techniques that have been found to be most useful, the benefits of this research, and the levels of satisfaction with business advertising research.

The results of the study indicate that some of the largest business advertisers are quite active in their use of research. They use research on a regular basis and see its role becoming increasingly important. They use methodologies such as focus groups, personal interviews, telephone surveys, and copy testing to attempt to improve the quality of their creative product and to evaluate the effectiveness of it as well. They see several benefits stemming from the process of advertising research, and they indicate that they are generally satisfied with the research they use.

On the other hand, a relatively large number of the business advertising professionals interviewed are far less satisfied with business advertising research than was expected. Responses such as, "Research is not used at all," and "We do almost no research at all" were surprising given the significant budget levels devoted to advertising in the business media by the companies comprising the sample. Evidently, these companies see little or no value associated with the research process.

Given that research techniques are currently available that are effective in guiding the development of advertising strategy and improving advertising effectiveness, we found these results to be discouraging. It was disheartening to find that so many of the top 100 business advertisers in our sample did not perceive more "value added" by advertising research. We also were surprised to find that advertising research is being used so frequently for the purpose of convincing skeptical management that advertising really works.

Needing more education

Based on our experiences in discussing business advertising research with 20 key informants in the industry, we believe that there is a strong need for further education on the benefits of advertising research. Educational programs directed at top management and other personnel would be useful in demonstrating the value of business advertising research. In some companies, however, it is clear that this educational task is likely to be a long and difficult one.

But despite the discouraging results obtained from several respondents, other companies are definitely providing leadership in the area of business advertising research. Their leadership will no doubt continue into the future as they find new ways to maximize the impact of advertising through research. We are optimistic that our plans for further research using larger, more representative samples will continue to uncover novel and effective uses for business advertising research.

Source:  http://www.quirks.com/articles/a1988/19880401.aspx?searchID=622320787&sort=5&pg=1

I remember, several years ago, reading an article about a new search engine that was gaining in popularity—it was reported to produce better search results than its competitors, and it had an interesting name and fun logo. I immediately switched over to give Google a try and never left.

Of course, at that time, I had no idea that I would eventually spend my days studying search engines and how they work, or the impact that Google would have on all of our lives. Then it was just a fun, trendy new tool.

Now approaching its 18th anniversary, Google is no longer a fun startup with no revenue, but a multinational technology company. The 2015 numbers show 57,000 employees, revenue of $74.54 billion, and a market capitalization of 373 billion dollars U.S.

Steven Levy’s book, In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives is the inside story of how Google developed, and some of the issues and challenges it faced during its first dozen years.

I’ll leave the story, history, politics, and economics of Google for you to discover in the book, but here are six interesting facts that you might not know:

1. Larry Page & Sergey Brin Didn’t Set Out to Develop a Search Engine

Both were Stanford students and in need of dissertation topics. Together, they were going to work on “creating a system where people could make annotations and comments on websites.” However, they quickly realized that larger sites might collect many comments and would, therefore, require a rating system to determine what comments should appear first – based on the authority of the author of the comment.

Eventually, they decided that backlinks—links pointing to one site from other sites—could be used like citations in academia, the more links pointing to a website, the more authoritative and respected that website was.

To measure backlinks, they created a system called BackRub which allowed them identify and follow incoming links back to their source.

Once they started testing their system and realized the accuracy and quality of its rankings, they understood that it could be applied to search results. Larry Page named the website rankings system “PageRank” after himself.

2. Google Wasn’t a Unique Idea

Interestingly, about the same time that Page and Brin identified backlinks as a way to rank webpages, someone from IBM, and another person at Dow Jones Company, were also experimenting with a PageRank-like system. However, the people at the top of those large corporations ended up not being interested in getting involved in search.

3. The Founders Tried To Sell Google Early On

Neither Page or Brin were feeling very entrepreneurial when they discovered PageRank. Both wanted to continue their studies and finish their Ph.Ds. Over the next 1-2 years, they tried to sell their technology to existing search companies. Yahoo, AltaVista, and Excite all had the chance to buy at a bargain but declined.

4. The Name Was A Misspelling

Google was supposed to be named googol – a mathematical term written as a 1 followed by 100 zeros.

The name Googol was suggested by one of Page’s roommates and was representative of all of the data the search company would be managing. However, when Page went to buy the domain, he misspelled it and ended up buying Google.com instead. (it turns out googol.com was already taken anyway).

5. Google’s Homepage Design

Google’s homepage has been praised for its sparse, clean design, and while much testing and research had gone into it over the years, its original design was a result of Sergey’s limited design capabilities – they didn’t have a webmaster at the time, so he had to do it himself.

6. Google Analytics Was Not Supposed to be Free

Google’s early analytics program for advertisers was “hard to set up and not very accurate” so they set out to buy a better product, ultimately purchasing a company called Urchin for $20 million in 2004.

The plan was to charge users $500 per month for access to Google Analytics, however, due to a shortage of engineers and lack of experience in designing a billing system, they decided to launch it for free.

Makes you a little more appreciative of GA doesn’t it?

Summary

For anyone interested in search and search engines – presumably, everyone who visits this site – In the Plex is a must read – it is both entertaining and educational! I only wish there was a follow-up covering all that’s happened at Google since 2010.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/plex-google-thinks-works-shapes-lives-sejbookclub/165009/ 

Google has been spotted conducting another one of its tests in the search results; and this one involves third-party review sites.

Traditionally Google has always shown its own reviews when searching for a location, which either come from Google Maps or Google+. In fact, the search giant has been often criticized for taking visibility away from third-party review sites in favor of its own properties.

With this latest test, reviews from third-party sites like Booking.com and Priceline.com are shown underneath the Google Business listing when conducting a search. Google reviews are still being shown, but underneath that section is a new addition underneath the heading “Reviews from the web.” This is where you’ll see reviews from sites like Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, and so on. Underneath the reviews there’s even a link to view more reviews on the third-party website itself.

Right now the test is only being seen when searching for hotels, but who’s to say it couldn’t roll out for more types of businesses in the future. Is this Google’s response to the criticism from third-party review sites? If this change ends up being permanent it’s almost sure to drive more traffic to third-party sites and help them regain the visibility lost through Google allegedly promoting its own properties.

As always, never assume any changes to search results are permanent unless officially confirmed by a representative from Google. We will reach out to the company and report back with more details if it chooses to provide any.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/new-google-test-third-party-reviews-search-results/164876/

Google announced Wednesday a voice-activated home device, similar to Amazon Echo, to launch later this year.

The device syncs to a smartphone version called Assistant, and links to streaming device Chromecast and smart home brand Nest.
Mario Queiroz, Google's vice president of product management, showed off the small white conical object at Google's annual developer event. What sets the product apart, Queiroz said, is the device's direct link to all the capabilities of Google search.

"Home is where lots of daily tasks just need to get done," Queiroz told an audience at Google's I/O conference Wednesday. "Access to the Google Assistant makes this a lot easier. It's like having a voice-activated remote control to the real world whenever you need it."

Sundar Pichai demonstrated a conversation with Google's new smartphone Assistant, highlighting what he called conversational capability "far beyond what other assistants can do." The technology, similar to Apple's Siri, comes as 20 percent of mobile searches are voice queries, according to Pichai, CEO of Alphabet's Google division.

Google has spent years evolving search to be much more assistive and help people get things done in the "real world," Pichai said, training voice and photo recognition to be more precise. For instance, asking a phone "What's playing tonight?" should result not just in movie times, but personalized movie suggestions that can be discussed like a normal conversation, he said.

Google Vice President of Product Management Mario Queiroz shows the new Google Home during Google I/O 2016 at Shoreline Amphitheatre

"It is truly the moment of mobile," Pichai said, as Google celebrates a decade of working on Android, now the world's most popular mobile operating system. "We are pushing ourselves really hard so that Google is evolving and staying ahead of our users."
The company announced new apps, available this summer, in conjunction with the new Assistant and Google Home.

Messaging app Allo lets users operate Google search within chats. For instance, when sent a photo of food, Allo can detect what the food is and suggest a reply of "yummy," "I love linguine," or even suggest a similar restaurant nearby, Google's developers demonstrated. Allo can contact Google by typing @google in any chat.

The app also offers suggestive replies to messages and even photos, changes message sizes to convey "loud" or "quiet" expressions and lets you draw directly on images, according to a demo at the event. It also offers an "incognito" chat mode that is end-to-end encrypted and can be permanently deleted, similar to a browser window mode by the same name in Google Chrome.
Another app, Duo, enables video chats similar to Apple's FaceTime app but is available on both Android and iOS.

Android's latest operating system, now named N, was also front and center during the event. N features Vulkan, a graphics processor that allows game developers to put in more effects per frame while maintaining a high frame rate, said Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Android. Other changes were made to streamline updates, storage and battery life, and improve encryption, Burke said.

More than 90 percent of the time people only select one of the last seven apps used, Burke said, inspiring Android to create a "quick switch" function to automatically return to the last app a user was in, and creating an option that clears all open apps.

Users can also have multiple apps open at the same time in a split screen on Android N and reply to messages directly from the notification screens. These features, now in beta, will roll out later this summer, Burke said.

N will also enable Daydream, a platform for high-quality virtual reality. It's designed to encourage developers to create VR across different devices, including Android smartphones, that's capable of rendering at a very high frame rate and resolution and minimizes the lag to update images when users move their heads, said Clay Bavor, vice president of virtual reality at Google.

"We wanted to create something that has the best attributes of [current VR visor] Carboard, but is also comfortable, richly interactive and far more immersive," Bavor said. "To create that kind of immersion … you have to solve a lot of really hard problems."

Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei and others have phones that work with Daydream coming as soon as this fall, Bavor said. A special controller that Bavor demonstrated is also in the pipeline for fall.

Finally, Google debuted Android Wear 2.0, an overhaul of its smartwatch platform that will now work with both Android and iPhones, whether phones are on or off. Like Android's phone platform, the wearable version is highly customizable across devices.
Google's annual developer conference is widely known to be the source of new product announcements from the technology giant. This year's event has 7,000 attendees and streams to China, Istanbul, Sri Lanka and Dublin, Pichai said.

For developers, the core audience at Wednesday's event, Google offered demonstrations of new interfaces for programming, analytics and machine learning on Google Cloud.

By the end of the year, Google also hopes to run apps instantly, without having to download and install them, just like links open in a browser. Beyond that, Pichai sees artificial intelligence in robots and healthcare as one of Google's major differentiators.

"We live in very, very exciting times," Pichai said. "Computing has had an amazing evolution."

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/18/googles-biggest-reveals-at-io.html

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