Connect with us

SEO

Decompose your ads, not your brand

Published

on


Raise your hand if you would like to advertise for your brand without knowing what the message will be? A lot of people probably remember Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) gone bad with the fancy syntax {KeyWord:OrElse}. It was a prime example of the dangers of automation, and maybe it was back then when ads started decomposing. I will always remember the eBay ads that would appear on practically any search query you could imagine. Search for “Dirty Thoughts,” and an ad would offer “Dirty Thoughts for Sale.” Or how about “Athletic Sweat” or “Vampire blood?” I think this is my favorite:

And there are even more examples including Free Dead Cats or ads inciting users to Meet Dead Singles.

At the time, I thought eBay had a special deal with Google to target just any keyword, but looking closer, I noticed many of them had the little “aff.” mention in the ad, showing they were affiliates rather than eBay itself. Affiliates are good for volume but not for branding.

Today, digital marketers have become accustomed to working with automation and dynamic ad composition. As an example of this, the creative process on Facebook is composed of four stages: identity (brand), format, image (or video) and text. The ad composer then allows the digital marketer to view what the composed ad will look like in each placement.

Beyond that, you simply can’t picture what the end product will look like.

Google has also progressively decomposed ads on its’ network into individual elements. Recently, on Google Marketing Live, a new type of ad was launched, the Discovery Ads. These ads are dynamically composed based on titles, description and images and are displayed on three different Google properties: Youtube, Gmail and Google Discover. Google recommends you to provide as many variations of each element as possible. Google can also scan your website for images, you can add them manually, or if you don’t have any images available, “try searching for stock images.” The machine will take care of the rest.

Do I need to say this? If you care about your brand and about the user experience – then don’t!

You don’t “look for stock images” when you are within the Google platform creating an ad. You will have done the thinking and the image search for this, working with other people, and in a structured process. And if not, that is where you need to step up and build a better process for building dynamic ads.

But it gets worse

Google also announced a new machine-learning based ad feature called the “Bumper Machine.” I like the dreamy nature of that tool and the vision on which it was based. It will take existing video ads and turn them into six-second long “bumper ads” to put in front, or at the end of a video on Youtube. It is a fantastic technological achievement, but does it really cover a need? The intention behind it is positive: help advertisers overcome the pain of having to create a new video format for Youtube when they already have one (longer version) of the video. It is, however, a complete disruption of the creative process and a mechanism by which the story and the message from the original video are also recomposed.

I asked one of the speakers at the SMX London conference, Roey Rafael, a Youtube ad specialist for Envato, what his thoughts were on this new solution. He already optimizes videos to convey a full story within the first five seconds, so that he can benefit from free impressions using the TrueView type of ad so he won’t be using it.

We cannot ignore what is at hand, however. Ads are continuing to be decomposed into individual elements and dynamically recomposed at the time of visualization, as ads become contextual, multi-format and personalized. As for the eBay example cited above, letting loose technology can have some unexpected and undesirable effects on the end-user.

Leading teams are building brand consistency

In my company’s research, we surveyed leading paid search teams and we asked the participants how “brand consistency” was being managed. The responses were encouraging, as a majority were actively building this with their clients or stakeholders.

But a number of them said this was not in their area of responsibility and relied on other departments or their clients to ensure brand consistency.

Is your process optimized for ad composition?

Creative disruption and ad decomposition are here to stay. And despite my warnings above, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing – we simply need to organize for it. This comes down to rethinking the way brand assets are put together and how communication channels are used. The “Bumper Machine” is there for a reason – advertisers didn’t prepare six-second ads and therefore, they can do it with the bumper machine. But in the future, they should build video ads with various outputs: six seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 90 seconds. This requires a different creative process, with a focus on the input rather than the output. Essentially it is one story to be told in various time frames from various angles and with various formats of output.

For images and messaging, the same philosophy should apply. Image selection should focus on the values they express and be made available in various formats and resolutions. And once the values are reflected in the images, they should also be carried by the various communication workers in an organization. Communication is increasingly transcending the entire organization – think about employee advocacy which a lot of organizations are striving for. Have you prepared your employees for carrying the values of your brand? Are you empowering them?

My favorite metaphor for an ideal communication process is that of the hologram. In a hologram, every pixel of the 3D image holds a representation of the entire image. The brand can be seen from many angles and with many nuances, but the image remains consistent from one communication instance to the other. From one ad to the next, even shifting devices or changing channels, the image remains consistent.

We have work to do.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Anders Hjorth is the author of the Search Strategies Report and the founder of Innovell, a digital marketing insights consultancy researching trends in digital marketing. As a pioneer in SEO, one of the first Google Advertising professionals and the co-founder of several agencies: Relevant Traffic (search marketing), BDBL MEDIA (biddable media) and AZNOS (content marketing), he has a broad and long-running experience across SEO, paid search, social media, content marketing and programmatic. Anders was also COO for GroupM Search across EMEA. Anders is also active as a member of various awards juries and advisory boards.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

SEO

New site Hotspot Law like ZocDoc for lawyers

Published

on


Local search is probably more visible than it has ever been since the advent of Google Maps. Yet, paradoxically, there’s almost no consumer-facing innovation taking place. There’s Google, Yelp, Facebook (somewhat) and a range of specialized vertical apps and sites, some of which have simply survived but aren’t thriving.

Little or no ‘horizontal’ innovation. Part of the lack of “horizontal” innovation in local is likely the result of venture capital not wanting to fund anything that goes up directly against Google. The company may appear to many investors now like an insurmountable juggernaut in local/mobile search.

Any new local-consumer startups, therefore, are likely to appear in specific industries or otherwise offer specialized use cases. Such is the case with Hotspot Law, a new legal search site that hopes to bring ZocDoc-style appointment scheduling to the legal profession. It also seeks to provide a more reliable and cost-effective flow of leads to consumer attorneys.

The legal vertical has a quite a few competitors, including Avvo (Internet Brands), LegalZoom, FindLaw and several others. Despite this, Hotspot Law founder Felix Shipkevich believes he’s solving two unsolved problems in the legal vertical.

“The legal market is in dire need of an upgrade,” argues Shipkevich.

Making direct connections with lawyers. “Once you’ve finished searching online, you have to start calling,” he said. “You don’t get to speak directly to attorneys, you typically talk to a gatekeeper.” He points out that this process of getting to a lawyer is time consuming for people who need legal help. “None of these [completing] platforms directly connect the consumer with an attorney.”

Shipkevich, who is an attorney and faculty member at Hofstra Law School, said he was inspired by ZocDoc and the way it enables direct connections between doctors and patients. Similarly, he wanted to remove the friction in lawyer-consumer matchmaking. Shipkevich explained that also sees Hotspot Law as a way to make “justice” more accessible to consumers.

Why you should care. Legal lead-gen is costly. Shipkevich believes that existing legal sites and ad solutions don’t serve lawyers particularly well either. “PPC advertising can be extremely expensive; in New York it can be $60 to $80 per click.” He adds that “Yelp is expensive. Sometimes it takes $2,000 to $4,000 to bring in a case.”

He wants to solve that problem with simplified reasonable pricing for lawyers who may be struggling to find clients. But he also sees Hotspot Law evolving into a platform to help attorneys manage existing clients. Currently the site only operates in New York, with plans to expand geographic coverage in the coming months.

For the time being Shipkevich will need to rely on SEO for discovery but over time he hopes to build a branded consumer destination. It will be very challenging given the current structure of local SERPs. One has to admire the ambition and chutzpah.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He researches and writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

Continue Reading

SEO

Remembering the Tragedy That Made Our Community Start Talking

Published

on


About one year ago, everything changed for me and for our community.

A tragedy that struck home so hard it shook us to our core.

A suicide.

A dear friend, brilliant mind, adored father, respected colleague … the list goes on, left us in a way that hits straight to the heart and wakes you up like very few other events can.

I certainly woke up that day. That alarm screamed as loud as it could and I still hear it to this day.

I know I wasn’t alone. So many of my peers experienced similar emotions, sensations, and reactions.

We Could No Longer Ignore the Problem

Sadly, this wasn’t the first tragedy we’d encountered that year – we lost other friends and colleagues as well.

But we knew we couldn’t stand to lose any more amazing people.

We couldn’t look away. We couldn’t just carry on anymore.

So we started talking.

I have been blown away by our internet marketing community. Many of us have never even met face to face and yet the comradery, the friendship, the support among us run rampant!

Never before have I seen a group of people come together so quickly and so openly as when we were forced to face this tragedy.

Groups were formed. Calls were made. Texts were sent. Face-to-face get-togethers were had. Columns like this one were created.

And the best part of it all? It didn’t stop!

We saw the need to stay connected. We recognized that we are a family that needs to support each other. And, perhaps most of all, we saw that we were not alone in our struggles.

It has been amazing to see the openness and honesty that has become so commonplace over the past year. I have seen people that once felt they couldn’t risk being seen without their mask on break down and lay themselves out in the most vulnerable ways.

I include myself in that list. I have become more able to reveal myself to the world around me. That has only been made possible by others sharing in that journey with me.

In leading up to this piece, I knew that I wanted to really find a way to focus on the positive changes that our community has seen because of Jordan Kasteler.

I wanted to honor him in a way that really brought some form of good to this incredible loss that we all experienced due to his passing.

Where Are We Now? Thoughts from Our Community

I reached out and asked a few people in our community if they would share some words of how they have been changed for the better as well as how they have seen our community as whole making changes to support each other over the past year.

Here is what they had to say:

Alexandra Tachalova:

“Working days, nights, and weekends was normal for me a few years ago. However, at that time I couldn’t say that I was really happy. I didn’t understand at the time that my work-life balance was completely off, and I now know that that could have developed into something truly horrifying.

I eventually reached such an emotionally unstable point that I hit a time where one week I was super productive, but the following week I felt hugely demotivated and absolutely miserable. (I know this is a familiar story with many others as well, I hear people telling similar stories and sharing similar experiences regularly.)

Over the past while, I have been working diligently to save myself from this emotional trap. This new focus has led me to investing more time into things that are not related to work and putting more time into the things that help to create a happier life for myself.

I can see that more people in our community are becoming more aware of the need to make this sort of a switch to their schedules and priorities as well, which is brilliant to see!”

Melissa Fach:

“In the past year, I have noticed a massive shift in our community not being ashamed to reach out and ask for help, advice, or just a kind word. I feel like masks have been dropped, and people are not embarrassed to discuss what make them “real”; I love it!

I think many people used to feel they had to have public persona that was acceptable, and now they know we all have issues and it is OK to talk about.

I have a picture of Jordan out that I see every day. I moved past the guilt and the pain when I looked at it, and he is now a daily reminder to stay present with my friends as much as I can.

And, it is a reminder to me to stay focused on my well-being as well. I tend to overwork and do too much for everyone and end up exhausted. I take steps now to take care of me more than ever before.”

Steve Wiideman:

“Though I’ve been in the industry for years, I’m still a somewhat newer member of the SEO community. Call it fear of rejection, social anxiety, whatever, I’ve always been nervous to put myself in a position to be judged by my peers.

It really wasn’t until I was invited to an amazing Facebook group made up of a small close-knit group of industry peers focusing on supporting each other through the day-to-day struggles that I realized that nearly everyone shared the same fears, anxieties and experiences that I have.

What a relief it is to know there is a place where we share what we are feeling and have so much empathy! Finally I have a place I can turn to where people understand me.

Even if I don’t share as much as others, I have peace of mind knowing there are people there ready and willing to listen and help, where there’s no judgement, just open arms.”

Danny Goodwin:

“We’ve definitely made a lot of progress over the past year as a community. However, if I’m being completely honest, we still have a long way to go. I’m still hearing about issues of bullying. I’m seeing people piling on people they disagree with on Twitter.

While, thankfully, these are in the minority, the polarization and black-and-white thinking needs to stop. The judging and assuming needs to stop. The trolling and “mob mentality” needs to stop.

We need to stop fighting each other and start lifting each other up – treating everyone like human beings. Nobody is perfect, but I hope we will continue to see more people be able to let go of their hate and negativity to accept love and positivity into their lives. I know that will continue to be our aim with Friday Focus – to remind everyone that they are not alone in their struggles.

Ultimately, though, I am so happy to be a part of something so positive in our community – and it’s great to see so many others jumping onboard, too.”

Kim Krause Berg:

“It’s easy to assume that your peers are generally doing better than you, making more money than you, and are super successful in every way. It is only in the past few years that I realized this is baloney.

I respect people who remove their masks and show who they really are. We are people with lives and struggles, heartache, depression, and pain.

In the past year I have opened up more and made new friendships as a result. We have more in common with each other than we might think.”

Dave Davies:

“Over the past year I’ve seen an incredible shift in our community.

Social media itself breeds an environment where we see only the best of our peers and post the best of ourselves and being in marketing, needing to be on social media, needing to market ourselves on social media and seeing only the best version of those trained in presenting the best version of themselves – one can feel very alone in difficult times. Compounding that we face an often isolated profession where even sitting beside someone, we are focused on a screen and all they contain.

Sadly, we all know too well what that leads to, and over the past year we collectively recognized that we are human. That those around us are human. That others need support and perhaps most importantly, that we do too.

We finally heard the words spoken all too often after those tragic events, “If only they had asked for help.” And we took it upon ourselves to do so.

We finally knew to listen, to watch and to find out how those around us were doing, lest we face the loss of another friend who we would have dropped everything for, ‘If only they had asked for help.’

The community has grown it’s heart and soul over the past year.

There is still a lot to do. There are still many who don’t know where to turn. Many who don’t know who to talk to. But each time we reach out and each time we talk about challenges openly, share our own and listen to theirs … each time we do that, the community grows it’s heart a little more.

It has been a incredible year of change. While we will forever mourn the spark, the now burning fire keeps us all warmer.”

Jeremy Knauff:

“One thing that has changed dramatically in our industry over the last year, is that as individuals, we’ve become a lot more vocal about asking for help when we need it.

I think most people are more than willing to help each other. They just have to know that someone needs help. Now that people are starting to open up more about their personal struggles, the community is able to better support them.”

Thank You!

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you – whether I know you in person, whether I know you online, even if I don’t know you at all –- thank you for being here.

Thank you for caring and sharing and being a part of the positive change that we are all working so hard at creating.

Keep being a force for good in our community.

Together we will make a difference.

Remembering the Tragedy That Made Our Community Start Talking  

 

This piece is written in memory, honor, recognition, and gratitude of Jordan Kasteler. For all that he gave us, shared with us, taught us and left us with. We are eternally grateful.

 


***PLEASE DO NOT STRUGGLE ALONE! Reach out, ask for help and know that you are valued.
CLICK HERE for a list of phone numbers for Suicide Hotlines around the world.***



Continue Reading

SEO

20190718 SEL Brief

Published

on

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.



Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Plolu.