Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl Ads 2014: Tips to Be 'In the Know' at Monday's Water Cooler

Super Bowl XLVIII!  Football madness!  Who's gonna win?  The Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks?

Who cares?!  It's the Super Bowl ads we're after (as marketers).

Super Bowl Ads 2014

Superbowl Ad Links: Preview Super Bowl Ads

Use the links below to pre- or post-view Super Bowl ads, and be the hip, cool ad guru at Monday's water cooler huddle.
  • YouTube Ad Blitz - YouTube's preview, watch, and vote extravaganza of all the best ads. The #1 recommended site to watch Super Bowl XLVIII ads, after the game.
  • Hulu Ad Zone - Hulu's competitive site to YouTube with teasers and full ads of the Super Bowl.  (Shhhh... right now, it's actually better than the official YouTube!)
  • Superbowl Commercials 2014 - another mega site that has teasers for Super Bowl ads. 
  • NFL TB Super Bowl Ads - a playlist that will 'be populated' with the top commercials as they are released.
To stay really up-to-date, just click here, which is a pre-built Google search for 'Super Bowl Ads,' stuff found by Google in the last week.

Need to pretend like you understand football? The official website is here, and here's a nifty Superbowl Trivia video, which has a fun 'game' of trivia to pre-educate yourself for those all-important water cooler conversations.

Need to understand Social Media? We have a class for that, here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Google Analytics Lost in Translation

Google Analytics, of course, is the powerful, free metrics tool provided by Google itself. But since all the smart user interface people work at Apple and all the English majors work at Facebook, the user interface and linguistics of Google Analytics need some translation.

Here's my tongue-in-check explanation of the left column in Google Analytics, click around and read my translations on what these elements really mean.

Google Analytics - (Un)Lost in Translation

Google Analytics
~ Are we there yet? Who came to our party? Why did they come? What did they drink? Did they leave without paying?

Demographics~ Did old people visit our site? Men, women, children, or people from Florida?

Interests~ Really amazing stuff about your visitors, that if you enable with the nifty, updated tracking code you still won't really see, because Google Analytics ain't Facebook, people.

Geo~ Strange word in Google Analytics for what language your visitors speak, and their location, which is the real word for location, meaning did people really come to your site from Florida? Iraq? Germany?

Behavior~ What did they do on your website, not were they naughty in elementary school.  New (within 30 days or just paranoid cookie killers) vs. returning (non-paranoid folks, increasingly an endangered species per the NSA). Engagement - no, not a wedding ring but a measure of if they hung around your page and wow, for more than a few seconds.

Technology~ Yes, technology~ What browser, operating system, and are there still folks on dial up networks and AOL out there?

Mobile~ desktop, mobile, and tablets with devices being largly the Apple iPad or iPhone

Visitor Flow~ WOW!  Jackpot! Click here, and an Amazon-river of graphics opens up for your viewing pleasure. Screenshot it for an amazing marketing meeting! Not sure what it means, but it sure is pretty!

Acquisition~ A creepy phrase for traffic sources, meaning how did people get to your website.  Channels, being organic (which isn't food, it's free traffic on Google), direct, referral, social, and other means that people got to your website.

Keywords~ Ha, ha, ha... You didn't think Google Analytics would actually share the keywords with you, did you? LMAO.  Paid... yes, of course, but organic is now basically just Bing / Yahoo.  So not much left here, sadly.

AdWords~ If you're paying Google, and you connect things right, they'll show the keywords (above).  Day parts sounds like roadkill, but really it just means who visited you at 9 am, and were they really from Florida? Iraq? Germany?

Social~ Those pesky social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, that will crush Google+.  (Oops, people move along.. nothing to see here, please ignore how little real traffic you get from Google+).

Search Engine Optimization~ If you connect Google Analytics to Webmaster Tools, Google will show you some nifty keyword data here. But don't worry you can't slice and dice this data via Advanced Segments... because that's too difficult for Google to engineer, except for AdWords advertisers.

Behavior~ What did people do on the site?  Where did they land? What were their exit pages, and other fun information about website traffic.

In-Page Analytics~ Another mind-blowing visual display, showing click percentages as you bop around your website.  Show at next week's marketing meeting.

Conversions~ Did anyone buy anything? Register anything?  This is set by goals, and of course you can't define a goal here; you have to do that on the Admin page.

Help.  Located in the top RIGHT of the screen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Marketing FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt at Google, Bing, and Yelp

Today's marketing word is FUD, or Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. According to Wikipedia, it was coined in 1975 by Gene Amdahl, a former IBM employee turned entrepreneur. So FUD has an illustrious history, and deep tech roots. Let's investigate some recent FUD examples in Internet marketing.

FUD and Google, Bing, and Yelp

FUD: Fear Uncertainty and Doubt in Marketing
Enter Google, Bing, and Yelp. As marketers today we often depend on one, or all, of these companies to interact with customers and generally "get the word out." All three have a free platform (e.g., SEO on Google and Bing, free listings on Yelp), and a paid platform, a.k.a. advertising. 

And all three worry a lot about people "gaming" the system to get better free positions, and all three would really rather have us all just give up and advertise. FUD's first letter, "F," could also stand for FOLLOW the money.

Recently, Google, Bing, and Yelp have all engaged in a little FUD: sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt among marketers about tactics that they disapprove of:

  • Matt Cutts of Google has attacked the concept of "Guest Blogging," and sowed some FUD that this tactic is dangerous, could get you in trouble, etc. etc. Read his post, here.
  • Duane Forrester of Bing has attacked the concept the keyword-heavy domains help websites rank better on Google.  Read his post, here.
  • Yelp has been in "attack mode" on fake review. Read about an example, here.

FUD and Reality

Now the question for us marketers is how much of this FUD is real, and how much is hype? Where is the line? Where is the reality? Do we all really have to be Goody Two-shoes when it comes to a little Internet marketing?

Carpool Diamond Lanes and FUD

Let's think about driving down a a California highway in the "diamond" or "carpool" lane. Now, we're all good citizens, but sometimes we are really in a hurry, so we might slip into the carpool lane even though we do not have the required number of passengers. Sometimes we might even get a life-size Barbie and put her int he back seat, so that we appear "as if" we are a car pool.

(Not that I've ever done that...)

The car pool violation fine is upwards of $300 in California. $300! Why? To get your attention... and because it's hard for the police to detect, so they rail against it with big fines, flashing lights, and a campaign of guilt... sowing FUD that one cannot (and should not) illegally use the car pool lane. 

But sometimes we still do it.

How do carpool lanes relate to recent FUDs from Google, Bing, and Yahoo?

SEO, fake reviews on Yelp, greasing the wheels to get to the top... Those are tactics used by many in Internet marketing. And the FUD initiatives by Google, Bing, and Yelp, show not only that these tactics might be dangerous, but also that these tactics are difficult for the engines to detect.

The opposite of FUD is the reality that some of these tactics work (if you are smart, if you are undetected). So when you see FUD, look beneath the surface and ask yourselves why the power-that-be is complaining so loudly about a tactic.

FUD and Strategy

Now, I am NOT suggesting that you go off and do obnoxious guest postings, buy keyword-heavy domains, or buy reviews on Yelp. That's not the point. The point is to help you, and your team, be critical readers of Matt Cutts, Duane Forrester, and Yelp... and "read between the lines."

What they say is not always what they mean. Sometimes you can slip into the carpool lane and get there a little faster... Sometimes you can speed (just a little) and do better.  And sometimes you get caught.

No risk / no reward.

Happy FUD!