SES London 2013: How to Make the Most of Your Conference

London has proven its ability to put on big events over the last 12 months, and we look to continue that trend as we host SES London, Europe’s biggest search marketing event, from 18-21 February.

Whilst the world’s greatest athletes arrived last summer to compete in the London Olympics, this February will see Europe’s greatest search marketers congregate to share expertise and sharpen their skills.

It’s always a pleasure for me to work with the fantastic SES team, helping them to line-up Europe’s biggest search experts and most prevalent topics. This year they have once again exceeded themselves. We see a recurring theme amongst sessions this year, which looks at integrating search marketing campaigns into your wider media mix.

The team has also decided to make a small change to this year’s session formats, which I believe will make a big difference. We’ve decided to reduce the number of speakers in each session to two people, plus a moderator. This means each speaker will have 25 minutes enabling them to share more expert tips and go deeper into more advanced levels of insight on their specialist subject.

Greg Jarboe did an excellent job rounding up the big name SES London keynote speakers from Microsoft, Twitter and aimClear who will share their insights in London; however, I wanted to quickly highlight some of the other must-see sessions on each day at an even bigger and better SES Conference this year:

1. The Age of Big Data & the Modern Marketer

Moderator: Matt McGowan, Managing Director - Marketing & Americas, Incisive Media
Speakers: James Murray, Digital Insight Manager, Experian Marketing Services. Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board; Commercial Director EMEA, Marin Software.

This Day 1 session (more details here) is certainly the one I’m most looking forward to participating in across the conference. “Big Data” is one of those industry buzz words that we have to put up with, but unfortunately for all online marketers it is a stark reality.

Online advertising professionals sit on more data than they know what to do with. Managing data in the search channel is time consuming enough, but viewing it and integrating it with data from outside the search silo is a big resource and technology challenge.

This session will look at how marketers need to adapt their skills to a role which begins to look more like that of a CIO. We’ll also look at how to use technology in this mix, as well as how to turn your data into actions which optimise revenue outcomes.

2. Next-Generation Site Architecture

Moderator: Will Critchlow, Founder and Chief Strategist, Distilled.
Speakers: Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google. Alan Perkins, Head of Search Marketing, SilverDisc Limited.

Whilst making site architecture search-engine friendly has always been a core part of SEO, the importance of site architecture now goes way beyond traditional SEO. Much like SEO, site architecture now needs to take into account the needs of social-media, real-time, and user-generated content.

With the rate of change in the online advertising industry there will no doubt be new factors to consider in future. This Day 2 session (more details here) will give tips on how to design and deploy a next-generation site architecture which maximises your chances of being found now and in the future.

3. Enterprise Level SEO

Moderator: Crispin Sheridan, Senior Director of Search Marketing, SAP.
Speakers: Simon Heseltine, Director of SEO, AOL Inc. Julian Sambles, Digital Product Director, Telegraph Media Group.

As SEO has elevated itself into a position where it impacts the entire way a company works, practitioners of SEO in large organisations have to battle with the challenges of education, budgeting and implementation.

This Day 2 session (more details here) will provide a best practice blueprint for SEO people in large organisations to use for organisation of enterprise-level SEO campaigns, as well as success metrics.

4. SEO Tools Deep Dive

Moderator: Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board; Commercial Director - EMEA, Marin Software.
Speakers: Richard Baxter, Founder and Director, SEOGadget. David Naylor, SEO, Bronco.

Both paid and natural search in the modern-day require technology to automate manual processes and give deeper insight into search data. This Day 3 session (more details here) will look at the array of SEO tools available on the market across indexing, competitive analysis, diagnosing and remedying problems, page and site-level information and on-page optimisation. You’ll walk away knowing the tools you need in your armoury to run successful SEO campaigns.

Meet the Experts

Outside of these structured conference sessions we’re also continuing the Meet the Experts Roundtables after a successful debut in 2012. Attendees requested more time with our expert speakers in a more intimate and informal session, we found this to be the most effective solution to deliver that.

With a choice of several roundtable discussions, each focusing on different key topics and featuring two experts, this session is high value for attendees. Simply choose the roundtable most pertinent to you and join the discussion.

You can also move freely between different roundtables to make sure you get the most out of this session. Afterward, take your conversation and new contacts to our networking cocktail reception where you can continue the discussion over a few drinks.

Great Chances to Network & Share Insights

That brings me on to my final, and possibly most important, reason to attend SES London. That is the great chances to network and share insights with other conference attendees, both during the day and through some evening social events, as well as as the BlueGlass party.

Whether it's during the networking lunch or over a drink after the conference, I look forward to seeing many old and new faces in London for SES this year!

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Google Stops Censoring In China, Hopes Using New Domain Meets Legal Requirements

Beginning today, Google is no longer censoring results on its Chinese search engine, the company has announced. But rather than the expected “pullout” from China, Google hopes to continue operating within the country. It all comes down to whether the Chinese government decides operating off a Hong Kong domain — rather than the main Chinese domain — lets Google get around its censorship rules.

Google Finally Acts

In January, Google announced that it would no longer censor its search results, in the wake of an attack on its business infrastructure. Google never blamed the Chinese government directly for the attack, but it was widely believed that the company felt the Chinese government was either involved directly or sanctioned the attacks.

Since then, it has been a watch-and-see situation. Google also said it wanted to talk with the Chinese government to see if it could continue operating — without censoring — within China. We’ve had rumors of talks, and lack of talks, but no real action until today’s news.

Specifically, Google said that it is no longer censoring on its search services — Google Search, Google News China & Google Images — that were aimed at people in China. In reality, those services have actually been closed. If you try to reach them, you get redirected to a new domain. From the blog post:

So earlier today we stopped censoring our search services�Google Search, Google News, and Google Images�on Users visiting are now being redirected to, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from

Confusing? It sure is. Here’s the situation, as I understand it.

What A Difference A Domain Name (May) Make

Back in January 2006, Google obtained the domain name along with a license to do business in China. The .CN domain is directly controlled by the Chinese government, as opposed to other domains such as .COM, which while used by many American companies is not adminstered by the US government.

Part of that license required Google to obey Chinese laws, including the self-censorship of search results. Google doesn’t actually get told by the Chinese government about what to censor. Instead, it has to guess.

Now Google no longer wants to censor results. But it wants to still provide a search engine designed for those who live in China. What to do? Make everyone in China go to a different domain, The .HK domain is administered by Hong Kong.

Wait — isn’t Hong Kong part of China, and so subject to Chinese law? Yes and no. Hong Kong has a great deal of autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy. Hong Kong can rule itself in many ways through 2047.

Unclear If End Run Will Work

By moving to a Hong Kong domain — which is run under Hong Kong law — Google seems to believe that it can do an end-run around Chinese censorship requirements. Google has run a Chinese-aimed uncensored search service on that domain for several years without being blocked. Now it believes it can send everyone in China to that domain and meet Chinese law:

We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced�it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services.

I’ve bolded two key points. First, that Google states what it is doing is entirely legal. Second, that it clearly doesn’t know if this is entirely legal, as it has “hope” the Chinese government “respects” the move. If it’s entirely legal, then Google shouldn’t need to be hoping.

As a sidenote, has long used the “traditional” version of the Chinese alphabet. You’ll see that, if you go to it directly. But if you go to — which used the “simplied” version of the Chinese alphabet — you’ll get redirected to with the simplified characters switched on by default. None of this is related to the core censorship issue.

Other Countries Pretend Laws Only Apply To “Their” Domains

We’ll see if the Chinese government decides to play along. Other governments have been happy to maintain a fiction that meeting some legal requirement on a country-specific domain somehow means everyone in their countries are protected by their laws, even though that’s not the case.

Huh? Well, Germany has laws that require censorship of Nazi information. Google complies by censoring on the German version of its web site, and everyone’s happy — despite the fact that millions of Germans each year will go to the uncensored domain.

Similarly, Google has followed legal decisions handed down over trademarks and ads in France on its French version of its web site and yet ignored these on its main site. And when a Belgian court ordered that Google remove some Belgium newspapers from its search engine, Google did this for its Belgian site, to my recollection, despite the fact that plenty in Belgium go to

Round Two: Waiting On The Chinese Government

The Chinese government might decide that Google is following the rules, since the rules might be different for sites on a .HK domain. If so, then Google gets pretty much all the advantages of still being in China without the downside of having to censor — though there might be some issues in terms of how it can sell ads (yes, has them too). If the Chinese government disagrees, Google might find the .HK domain gets partially blocked as already happens to the uncensored results on Or worse, more severe blocking might be put into place.

Want to keep up? Google’s created a new page that lists all of its services that are blocked or partially blocked by the Chinese authorities.

Beyond that, the Chinese government might decide that Google cannot continue its other non-search related activities within the country. From Google’s blog post, Google lists some of its other operations it hopes to maintain:

We intend to continue R&D work in China and also to maintain a sales presence there, though the size of the sales team will obviously be partially dependent on the ability of mainland Chinese users to access

In many ways, we’re back to wait-and-see.

For related news, see Techmeme.

Postscript (2:20 PT): I’ve gone through some of the other coverage on Techmeme now. Some highlights:

The Guardian points to the China Channel Firefox plugin that promises to let anyone experience Chinese blocking. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work for Firefox versions 3.5 and higher.The Wall Street Journal has a short piece noting that while some analysts see pulling out of Google “suicidal,” most think it will have little impact. Seriously, suicidal? Maybe for its business in China but not for the company, which is by far the top search engine in countries around the world but in global search share. My Google Just Says No To China: Ending Censorship, Due To Gmail Attack article gets into dulling some of the business freak-out a bit more.Today’s New York Times article also has information that Chinese revenues have little impact on Google and details on how most of its current Chinese revenue comes from ads placed in China to run in the has a bit more about the autonomy that Hong Kong enjoys.

Postscript 2 (2:45 PT):

The New York Times has a short interview with Google cofounder Sergey Brin who makes clear that the Hong Kong option was discussed with Chinese authorities but that there was no official approval given and that:

There�s a lot of lack of clarity. Our hope is that the newly begun Hong Kong service will continue to be available in mainland China.

Postscript 3 (3:05 PT):

The LA Times notes that uncensored results don’t mean that you get unfettered access to information. The Chinese government-run firewall will still prevent people from reaching sites that are deemed verboten. This isn’t a new issue that just started today. It’s long been in effect. In fact, it’s one reason Google argued back in 2006 that it made sense to censor. Users couldn’t get to many of the uncensored sites it listed anyway.

Google AdWords New Enhanced Campaigns Connect Ads With Multi-Device Consumers

Google today announced an upgrade to AdWords called Enhanced Campaigns that will allow advertisers to target consumers more efficiently with ads based on context like location, device type, and time of the day, in a single campaign.

Enhanced Campaigns have three main features:

Campaign and budget management: An advertiser with a local presence could increase bids based on context, such as the location of the user or to adjust for device (e.g., “if this query is from mobile device, increase bid by 10%”). Bid adjustments will be found in the campaigns settings tab.Ads Based on Context: Advertisers will be able to differentiate mobile preferred creative where an ad would appear if the query is from a mobile device. This would take into consideration the capabilities of the device – such as whether the device can download apps or make phone calls. Mobile preferred creative will be a type of ad selection in AdWords.New conversion types: This will integrate phone calls from click-to-call and app downloads in AdWords reports. It will be easier to see the full value of campaigns across actions and from new platforms. Phone calls and app downloads will be additional columns as a conversion in reporting.

Here's a look at some of the new Enhanced Campaign options that will be available in the settings tab:

Google’s motivation for this upgrade was the growing realization that we live in a constantly connected world.

“As consumers, we reach out to the device closest to us to find the information we need” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, “Advertisers need to be present and relevant across the growing number and wide range of devices.”

In the constantly connected world, consumers’ cross-platform behavior and search intent has changed over time:

Consumers use multiple devices to accomplish tasks: 90 percent move sequentially between screens.Consumers want results that are more relevant across multiple screens and appropriate to the their location and time of day.Actions of the consumers will vary depending on the context, for example a person on the go is likely to respond differently to an ad than someone at a desktop computer.

Signals like location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device people are using have become increasingly important in showing them the right ad. These signals create great opportunities for businesses, but can also make marketing more complex and time-consuming. Since search and context defines user intent in the new world, Enhanced Campaigns address how advertisers can better reach them.

Overall, the enhancement is designed to make AdWords much easier to target users and manage the complex settings in a single campaign.

Enhanced campaigns will roll out to advertisers as an option over the next few weeks, and with upgrades to all campaigns in mid-2013.

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Google Submits Response to EC Antitrust Regulators

Google has submitted a response to the European Commission (EC) over its anti-competitive business concerns, Reuters reported.

Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia confirmed that Google submitted the documents Thursday evening, just in time for the deadline set by the EC. No details of the response have been made public.

Theoretically Google could face a fine as high as $4 billion – 10 percent of its global turnover – if found to be in breach of European laws.

The Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP), which is backed by the likes of Microsoft, welcomed Google's response but said the most important thing was for the EC to act to curb any excesses in market dominance.

"To be seen as a success, any settlement must include specific measures to restore competition and allow other parties to compete effectively on a level playing field," said David Wood, ICOMP legal counsel. "Any settlement must include explicit acceptance by Google of its dominance and that it has damaged European businesses through its anti-competitive practices."

Google faced similar concerns in the U.S. that came to an end at the start of the year. After the conclusion of the FTC investigation, Google voluntarily made changes to some of its practices, including how it handles search and patent issues and agreeing not to sue willing licensees over standard essential patents.

This article was originally published on V3.

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Facebook’s New Look News Feed Adds Multiple Feeds, Bigger Images

As promised, Facebook’s news feed is evolving to feature larger photos and multiple feeds that are designed to reduce clutter. The social network today unveiled its redesigned, mobile-inspired look that puts a much bigger emphasis on visuals.

Basically, it's aiming to become a personalized newspaper.

“You see all the stories you saw in your News Feed before, but with a fresh new look,” according to Facebook. “We've completely rebuilt each story to be much more vibrant and colorful and highlight the content that your friends are sharing. Photos, news articles, maps and events all look brighter and more beautiful."

The New Facebook News Feed

In addition to the main news feed, Facebook is letting you browse updates by:

All FriendsMost RecentClose FriendsMusicPhotosGamesFollowing (pages you follow)GroupsAnd more.

The revamped news feed follows accusations earlier this week from a New York Times writer who claimed Facebook was supressing unpaid content in news feeds, resulting in less comments and Likes. Facebook responded by saying "overall engagement on posts from people with followers has gone up 34% year over year." One thing that won't change: EgdeRank, Facebook's algorithm that determines which content to show users. 

Want to give it a try before it rolls out globally over the next few weeks? Go here and scroll down to the bottom to join the waiting list.

What About Facebook Ads?

Advertisements will be getting more prominence as well. Inside Facebook has a good compiliation of what the various Facebook ads will look like in the new look Facebook news feed, and also notes the arrival of a prominent "hide" button.

More screen real estate and more dynamic ads could spell immediate benefits for advertisers, Matt Lawson, VP of Marketing, Marin Software, told Search Engine Watch.

"I think the redesign has the potential to move Facebook a bit closer to becoming more of a performance marketing channel," Lawson said. "Images and video will be displayed more prominently and I think it's safe to assume this will be the same for ads. Similarly, the different News Feeds may also provide an opportunity for advertisers to serve more relevant ads."

For example, Lawson said, a developer of social gamee may now have the ability to just advertise on the Games feed as opposed to the general News Feed. And multiple news feeds means the potential to serve more ads.

But will it result in a higher ROI for marketers? Adobe Media and Ads director Justin Merickel Read believes it could.

“The new look for Facebook’s News Feed promises new opportunities for advertisers,” Merickel told VentureBeat. “As users tend to show a stronger interest in active, personalized news feeds, embedded ads will likely be more relevant and generate higher ROI for advertisers.”

In the same VentureBeat article, Sarah Carter, GM of Social Business at Actiance, is quoting as saying that "if a business is able to effectively market to its audience on this channel, using content that is visual, relevant and spoken in an authentic voice, the ROI should be greater.”

Lawson agreed on the importance of images.

"Ad fatigue was already an issue on Facebook and with a more image centric format advertisers are going to need to pay extra attention to their images," Lawson said. "We recommend advertisers rotate creative every 2 to 3 days. ... the pressure and reward for brands that create relevant content on their pages [just] went up.

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Beyonce, Blackout, Ravens And M&Ms — What We Searched For During Super Bowl 2013

We hear a lot about how TV viewers often multitask with a second device, followed by evidence such as Twitter hashtag activity and Facebook likes. While we absolutely flocked to Twitter in droves yesterday during the game, we also did had search engines at the ready to provide us with those #infiniteanswers Amy Poehler was looking for in that Best Buy commercial.

Most Popular Topic of the Day: Beyonce vs. The Blackout

According to the (sadly now significantly scaled back) Google Trends, the popular topic of of Super Bowl Sunday was Beyonce, with over one million searches.

Yahoo also found Beyonce to be popular, as related searches spiked �7236% (and searches for Destiny’s Child rose 4000%).

But according to Yahoo, the big winner of the day was the blackout, as viewers turned to their devices to ask [why did the lights go out], [superdome power outage] and [what caused power outage].

It may have taken just four minutes for someone to advertise on related terms of Twitter, but did anyone but the terms on Google? In order of popularly, Yahoo found we were most interested in:

the blackoutBeyoncethe commercialskickoffwatching online

Google’s�blog post�today on Super Bowl search activity found M&Ms as the top trending search and found interest in the blackout was the eighth most popular topic. M&Ms? Really? Some trending searches during the game from Google, over time:

The Power of Commercials

As always, I’ll be doing more in depth analysis of the commercials (check back for that tomorrow), but which ones caused us to search the most yesterday? According to Google Trends, we were most interested in:

Ram trucks (Paul Harvey: God Made a Farmer)GoDaddyIron Man 3Fast and Furious 6

Yahoo also found that the Ram trucks commercial drove the most interest and found that in addition to what Google listed, we were mostly searching for:

Taco BellDoritosBudweiserTideOreoCalvin Klein

As noted earlier, Google found that the most searched for commercial was for M&Ms, although this was apparently on YouTube, which still seems a little… unusual.

Yahoo data also shows the power of a Super Bowl commercial for raising awareness of an unknown brand as searches for Sodastream spiked 5244%.

And although Hyundai sponsored the pregame show and had the most commercials of anyone, according to Yahoo, the most popular car brands during the game (after Ram) were Jeep, Kia, and Mercedes and According to Google they were Mercedes, Lincoln, and Audi.

The Popularity of Celebrities

Every year, I note that advertisers who use celebrities in their commercials should not only think about searches for their brand, but about searches for the celebrities as well. Commercials with celebrities always cause search spikes for those celebrities and often, the brand is nowhere to be found in search results. That trend continued this year, with Yahoo finding the top five most popular celebrities:

Kate UptonKaley CuocoStevie WonderPaul RuddSeth Rogen

Searches for Oprah (who voiced the Jeep commercial) jumped 7o%.

But What About The Game?

Apparently, a football game was played yesterday and some viewers were interested in that! Google found that the Ravens were searched slightly more often than the 49ers and that the most searched for players were:

Colin KaepernickJoe FlaccoMichael OherDavid AkersJacoby Jones

Google Maps App For iPhone Upgrade Adds Local Icons, Google Contacts & More Countries

Google announced an upgrade to the Google Maps for iPhone app that was originally released in December 2012.

The update is version 1.1 and is available in the App Store as a free update. The changes include improved search for local venues, integration with your contacts and the addition of new countries.

Local Icons

To speed up the local search process, Google has added new local icons. The local icons are for restaurants, coffee shops, bars and other local venues. You can simply tap on one of the icons to find nearby venues that match the category. For example, to find coffee shops, simply click on the coffee cup icon to find local cafes.

Contacts Integration

Google Contacts is now integrated into the iOS version of Google Maps. While signed in, search for a friend�s name and Google will show them as a search suggestion. Then tap their name to see the address, which will visible only to you, on the map.

More Countries

Google has added more countries to the English version of the app. The seven new countries include Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. In addition, you can now choose between kilometers and miles in the settings menu.

Google’s Knowledge Graph Gains “Carousel,” Goes Worldwide In English

Today at the Google Search Breakfast, Amit Singhal, head of Google search, said Google is launching the Knowledge Graph worldwide for English speakers

The launch seems to be rolling out slowing to all countries with English based language.

The complex thing with rolling this out globally is that searching for [chiefs] in the States should return a very different knowledge graph than searching for the same thing in the United Kingdom. As Danny lived blogged:

It�s hard to make predictions because the same word can mean different things. Cookies in the US are called biscuits in India, and biscuits mean different things in the US. Oh, how I�ve lived that. Same issue in Britain. Ask for a biscuit, you ain�t getting a biscuit.

Google is also releasing an�expandable knowledge graph�called the Knowledge Graph Carousel. Here is a picture:

Here is a video of the changes:

Related Stories:Google Launches Knowledge Graph To Provide Answers, Not Just LinksGoodbye Google+ People & Pages, Hello Knowledge Graph BoxGoogle Says Knowledge Graph Has Led To More SearchesConfirmed: Google�s Expandable Knowledge Graph TestGoogle�s Knowledge Graph Has An Error 20% Of The Time

3 More Big PPC Mistakes Even Pros Make & How to Fix Them

My last post talked about three big mistakes that PPC pros make, and how to fix them. Believe it or not, when I asked long-time PPC pros to share their biggest mistakes, there were more than I could fit in one column!

With that, here are the rest of the biggest PPC mistakes even the pros make, and how to fix them.

Geo-Targeting Mistakes

“Stupid things I've done: Made a state specific campaign, targeted a different (wrong) state.”

“Accidently targeted the entire U.S. instead of the small Texas city a dentist was in. Luckily I caught it after day 1!”

“Set up a campaign for a local appliance repair shop, forgot to set local geotargeting. Didn’t catch it until 3 days later and saw the first search query report. Wasted money.”

Geotargeting isn’t easy, especially in view of the recent launch of Enhanced Campaigns, which offers bid modifiers by location.

Like the example of the Texas dentist, I once ran a campaign with broad keywords that was supposed to be targeted to one city – targeted to the entire U.S. instead. I caught it a day later, but not before hundreds of dollars were spent on unqualified traffic.

How to avoid geo-targeting mistakes: Put some time into mapping out campaign structure before you even think about setting up the campaigns in the engines. With Enhanced Campaigns, you’ll have settings not only at the campaign level, but at the location adjustment level. Check the work of new hires before anything goes live to make sure the geo settings are correct. After the changes are live, check the settings again in the online interface to make sure everything is the way it should be. And check the campaigns the next day for any anomalies!

Keyword Mistakes

“I worked on setting up a medical industry account and didn't check any of the ads for acronyms that double as drug names. The account never ran...”

“I added a list of negative keywords as positive keywords. Didn't notice for 4 hours and spent a day’s budget in that time.”

“Month 3 on the job: set up bidding on competitor terms with dynamic keyword insertion on – in a highly brand-protective finance niche. Client, understandably, went ballistic.”

“Put “+2013” as a keyword in campaign with a budget of $1,000/day when modified broad match first came out. Client’s entire budget = $333/day. Didn’t catch it for a few days.”

“Added “keyword” as a keyword during bulk upload.”

The last one, infamously, was mine. I couldn’t figure out why our campaign spend quadrupled overnight, and it took me a few hours to discover that I’d added “keyword” as a keyword. People actually clicked on the ad like crazy!

With so many details to consider, like match types, dynamic keyword insertion, spelling, and other factors, it’s easy to slip up when adding keywords.

How to avoid keyword mistakes: Run your “off the cuff” keyword ideas through a keyword tool. Seeing hundreds of irrelevant keywords in a list will help you to notice what should be eliminated. Be very careful with DKI. Frequently, I’ll use Excel to create all possible ad permutations for DKI – it’s easier to spot the bad matches when seen in the context of the ad. And if you work for an agency, sending the keywords to the client for approval helps, too. Sure, it’s embarrassing to have a client ask “Why would we want to bid on +2103?” But better that than to have them see their bill after you’ve mistakenly spend money on that keyword!

Conversion & Tracking Mistakes

“I didn't check conversion codes in AdWords when taking over new account. Client had been tracking & optimizing for the wrong things.”

“Launched a display test with a big budget. Forgot to check on day 2. Spent a lot of money. ZERO conversions. Sad client, poor me. Moral of story: if you test, watch like a hawk or else end up paying (literally) for your mistakes.”

“PPC mistake: not properly checking tagged URLs in Bing Ads (adCenter at the time) and paying for clicks to 404s.”

“I made decisions based off wrongly installed conversion tracking code.”

How to avoid conversion and tracking mistakes: Technical issues such as wrong or missing conversion tracking and URL tagging can derail even the most seasoned PPC professional. Accurate conversion tracking is so important that it’s a good idea to perform a regular conversion audit to make sure you’re tracking everything you want and need to be tracking. Periodically check all your URLs to make sure the pages are still live. And, as with all the other mistakes, check results frequently! Catching errors early goes a long way to mollifying a frustrated client or boss.

Mistakes aren’t bad if you learn from them. Here’s hoping you can learn from some of these!

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New Look Facebook News Feed to Debut March 7

Social network Facebook has said it will roll out some major changes to its news feed during a March 7 event.

Invitations were sent out Friday summoning media to "see a new look for News Feed" at an event set for this coming Thursday starting at 10 a.m. PT at the Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to announce the changes.

It's unclear yet what features this News Feed update will bring, but as always with Facebook redesigns, expect it to be met with complaints from friends threatening to boycott the service because they liked it the old way and can't figure out how to work it anymore. Also expect that they won't actually leave, they just like to moan.

Something that could really push users over the edge, however, is that the social network is rumored to be experimenting with an overhauled profile design, which perhaps might change too much too fast.

Tested on selected users in New Zealand, the single column redesign will shift status updates and shared content to the right-hand side of profiles, and will add a remodeled 'About' section on the left. Along with this change there will also be a new Like Page button underneath status updates from companies or services where users can choose to be taken to their Facebook webpages.

Facebook's last update was Graph Search with Bing integration, which lets users search using four different categories: People, Places, Photos and Interests. The feature can also be used for dating and recruitment, Facebook said, so we recommended deleting any crude photos before the feature is rolled out to all. µ

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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Watch YouTube Do the Harlem Shake in New Easter Egg

By this point, pretty much everyone has done The Harlem Shake or been subjected to a rendition. Now YouTube, the site responsible for hosting the videos of the viral dance clips, does the Harlem Shake. No, not the employees, the website itself.

All you have to do to see the Easter egg is go to YouTube using the Google Chrome browser and type in “do the harlem shake”. You’ll notice a pause button appear between YouTube’s logo and the search box.

After YouTube’s search results are served, the familiar 30-second cut of the song created by Baauer will begin playing and the YouTube logo will begin to dance by itself (no helmet though). Then when the drop kicks in, the rest of the search results begin pulsing wildly.

Here’s a video of it in action via YouTube users bavogames:

Google has created quite a few clever Easter eggs through the years. Below are links to a few other recent Easter eggs.

 More Google Easter EggsGoogle Easter Egg: Search “Conway’s Game of Life”"Zerg Rush" Google Easter Egg: Play a Starcraft-Inspired GameGoogle Easter Eggs; Just Search "Do a Barrel Roll"“Let It Snow” Google Easter Egg Blankets Search Results in SnowBinary, Octal, Hexadecimal Google Easter EggsChuck Norris Facts Featured in New Google Knowledge Graph Easter EggGoogle Search "Lionel Richie" for New Knowledge Graph Easter Egg

Become an Expert Digital Marketer at SES New York
March 25-28, 2013: With dozens of sessions on Search, Social, Local and Mobile, you'll leave SES with everything and everyone you need to know. Hurry, early bird rates expire March 7. Register today!

Will the Qubits Crowdfunding Campaign Succeed?

Mark Burginger, the creator of Qubits Toy with an appearance on ABC Shark Tank, has a great product and some momentum behind him. On the surface, his new Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is touching all the bases with a working product, video, intriguing backstory, some recent media coverage, support from friends, and contributions from the general pubic early in the campaign cycle.

Like many Do-It-Yourself practitioners (DIYers), Mark is relatively new to crowdfunding and admits he’s not a professional marketer. He also has a busy life as an accomplished architect, family and recent move from Oregon to Florida. But Mark is a hardworking entrepreneur with a history of Qubits sales and a 2.0 strategy that includes high-quality, affordable manufacturing in the United States right in NASA’s backyard where suppliers are getting creative to stay in business.

Campaign Assessment to Date

I talked with Mark last week about what he believes is working to move his Qubits campaign toward a successful outcome. We also candidly discussed some areas that should have been addressed before launch and needed improvement.

Here’s a checklist organized by strengths and weaknesses at the time of the campaign launch in January:


Design, animation and prototype work to present the Qubits 2.0 product via the campaign and prepare for manufacturing Initial content drafts for various websites, social channels and email outreach Some traditional media outreach early in the campaign that generated coverage in the Orlando Sentinel and Seminole Chronicle daily papers Some outreach to friends and bloggers that generated posts, contributions, social sharing and traffic as seen below in these two charts:


The initial video was not ideal for a crowdfunding pitch; content was not clear, audio was too low and Mark was not present in the original video. (An updated video now addresses these issues.) Initial campaign content included typos and read like a draft Not enough outreach to relevant bloggers and traditional media before the campaign launched (this is difficult to do) Orchestrate Community Engagement, Early

It’s fair to say that crowdfunding campaigns operate in real-time with tweaking throughout the campaign based on feedback from the community, lack of action or results, and some experimentation. But many crowdfunding campaigns fail or don’t perform as well as they could because of a lack of advance planning from a go-to-market perspective. Further, many DIYers operate on shoestring budgets or choose to cut corners in critical areas like video production, PR strategy, and media research and engagement.

With the increasing number of crowdfunding campaigns on the web – each one needs to stand out and this often requires outside experts in their fields to help with campaign planning and execution.

The Qubits campaign received support from a number of entrepreneurs and Shark Tank contestants including Rebecca Rescate of CitiKitty, Daniel Rensing of The Smart Baker, Steve Gadlin of I Want to Draw a Cat for You, Gary Gagnon of ReKixx, Kelly Lambrakis of Funny Face Friends, James Russell of Aqua Fire Pit, and Robert Merlino of Shark Tank Blog. This was a result of established relationships and engagement via a private Shark Tank Entrepreneurs group on Facebook. Birds of a feather flock together.

$100,000 in 10 Days?

Not yet for Qubits. But Tim Ferriss, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek", and Mike Del Ponte, co-founder of a new consumer product called Soma, recently blogged about Mike’s very successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $150,000 and concluded on January 11. This particular campaign was one of the fastest on record to receive $100,000 in 10 days.

A post by Mike and Tim provide a wealth of tips, best practices and free templates for downloading – highly recommended for crowdfunding campaings on any platform. I won't repeat their content here, but want to share a few takeaways from Soma’s success and other campaign experience:

Create an exceptional product and story around it.Be proactive and do heavy lifting before the campaign goes live.Empower people and make it easy for them to share and support the campaign.Qubits’ Future?

It’s possible the Qubits campaign will generate $100,000 of contributions (pre-orders) in the month remaining from publication of this article. This possibility is what makes crowdfunding so exciting for entrepreneurs and fun for supporters to watch from the sidelines.

Whether or not Mark achieves the $9,000 goal, his team will move forward with plans to start production of Qubits 2.0 in February 2013. Let’s have some fun!

Become an Expert Digital Marketer at SES New York
March 25-28, 2013: With dozens of sessions on Search, Social, Local and Mobile, you'll leave SES with everything and everyone you need to know. Hurry, early bird rates expire March 7. Register today!

MIMA Summit 2008 Kicks Off to a Sold Out Crowd

Matt Wilson, the President of The Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA), a networking and professional development forum for interactive marketing professionals, kicked off the 2008 Annual MIMA Summit this morning in grand fashion!

With a sold-out room full (600+) of Minnesota interactive marketers chomping at the bit to learn the latest and greatest, it is guaranteed to be a wonderful event.

As the introduction to the event, MIMA �08 played an awesome & quite humorous MIMA theme song / video by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal that had flashbacks to the �old days� of the interactive � my favorite reference was a lyric that eluded to the good old days of interactive and the internet when you had trouble keeping up the monitoring of your 2 email addresses and posting to blogs a many times�a year.

Matt shared, with the crowd a few key take aways in his welcome message:
- Feed the Feed and share your thoughts with everyone!
- Grow, Evolve & Produce

As Ashley Bruce mentioned in a previous post, the TopRank team has 10 members at the MIMA Summittoday, so please stay tuned for posts re. key take-aways from MIMA!

During my attendance at MIMA, I am looking forward to learning a lot from each of the presentations I attend, such as:

The Changing Face of Email Creativity: Bridging Traditional to Digital Corporate Blogger: Angel or Demon?

Thank you Matt for setting the stage for what is certain to be a great day!

Flickr Pro Users To Lose Historical Referrer Data Tomorrow

If you’re a Flickr Pro user, you have about 24 hours to download the historical stats and referrer data associated with your photos. CSV and/or Excel files are available via your stats page until 12:00 pm PDT tomorrow, June 1st. You’ll see a yellow warning message like the one below, with a direct link to the download page:

After tomorrow’s deadline, Pro users will only be able to access photo stats dating back 28 days.

Flickr has gone back and forth with its Pro members on this issue. Historical referrer data has come and gone, and in early March, Flickr first announced that the historical data was available again, but warned of the June 1st deadline. A section of the Flickr help pages offers something close to an apology and explanation why the historical data is going away:

We promised you access to your all time data, and we’re disappointed we’ve not been able to deliver on that. We’ve been trying for over a year to get the data ready for you and in the process we have found that it’s just not sustainable for us to offer this access over the long term. What’s available is what we have managed to generate so far, it’s offered as is with no guarantees. We know it’s missing some data but fixing the holes or offering the data for longer would require us to divert too much attention from making the rest of the site better which, as always, is our main goal.

A Yahoo spokesperson clarified the above for us, saying, “creating and maintaining the files are processor and time intensive, requiring too much ongoing support.”

For businesses and individuals that rely on Flickr as part of an overall marketing strategy, this is an inconvenience at minimum. It’s also something of a warning flag that a company of Yahoo’s stature doesn’t have the resources to maintain historical stats for its paid Flickr members.