Don’t Like The AdWords Display Ads You’re Seeing? Now Users Can Mute Them

Google has long made it possible for users of YouTube to skip ads. Now, it’s adding that capability to the Display Network, letting people hit an “X” to dismiss, or mute, the currently-displaying ad.

Google says it will use the signal as a way to deliver more relevant ads to consumers. Once a person mutes a certain ad, he or she will no longer see ads from that campaign. After the ad is muted, the user sees a confirmation, which leads them — if they click — to Google’s Ads Preferences manager, where they may further fine-tune Google’s profile of them.

The new feature should be especially welcome for the many people who complain about retargeting and remarketing campaigns, saying they feel like certain ads are “following” them around the web. Indeed, Google is first making this capability available for ads based on remarketing or interest categories.

“We believe this early-look feature can bring benefits to the entire ecosystem: users have a way to control their experience and signal that they aren�t interested in certain ads,” wrote Michael Aiello, a Google product manager, on the Inside AdWords Blog. “Advertisers are no longer paying to show ads to people who aren�t interested; and publishers will receive better performing (and potentially more valuable) ads.”

The change would seem to be fairly benign for advertisers, preventing their ads from being shown to people who are not interested — and avoiding sparking further negative brand associations that may arise from unwanted ad exposures. Google says it won’t provide advertisers with metrics on ad “mutes” initially, but will consider doing so in the future.

The feature will be rolling out in the next few weeks, starting with the remarketing and interest-based ads.

Google Unveils New Metrics for Brand Marketers

Digital marketers praised Google's new measurement tools, but said they might not go far enough to make display advertising more accountable.

On Wednesday Google said it's offering the tool, Active View, which is designed to measure whether an ad has actually been viewed.

"This is a way to help advertisers only pay for display ads that are actually seen, and that's a good thing for the whole industry," said Augustine Fou, a digital strategy advisor. However, he said, Google may have a difficult time winning adoption. That's because ad agencies and ad networks have become accustomed to buying and selling billions of impressions – regardless of whether they're seen.

Fou said he's reserving judgment about the tool's effectiveness until he learns how it technically works and measures what's a "viewable" ad.

"They said they are going to use a statistical estimation of [what's viewed]. That's not good enough," he said. "The devil is going to be in the details."

Kevin Lee, CEO of Didit, said Google's plan is a step in the right direction.

"Many would prefer that Google took its proposal a step further and allow for some form of ad engagement measure or allow for duration variables to be set longer than one second in-view," he said via email.

To define a "viewed impression," Google said it's using the Interactive Adverting Bureau's proposed standard: a display ad that is viewable on the screen for at least one second.

"We think that with brand new metrics comes a new brand moment - one that will encourage brands to invest in the web, help publishers show the value of their digital content, and stimulate digital media's own golden age," Neal Mohan, VP, display advertising at Google, wrote Wednesday in a blog post.

Google also said it's rolling out another tool, Active GRP, or gross rating post. It is designed to allow advertisers to instantaneously adjust their advertising campaigns.

"GRP, or a gross rating point, is at the heart of offline media measurement. For example, when a fashion brand wants their TV campaign to reach 2 million women with two ads each, they use GRP to measure that," Google said in a blog post. TV advertisers use GRP, which measures the reach (the percentage of people in a potential audience who have been exposed to an ad) and frequency (the number of exposures to the same message).

Active GRP, which has been launched in a pilot program for Google DoubleClick for Advertisers customers, is built into its ad-serving tools.

In August 2011, Nielsen launched Online Campaign Ratings. It's a GRP-style rating service hinged on Facebook data, while also combining the research company's TV and online consumer behavior panel. What's more, other vendors such as comScore have rolled out products designed to help ad buyers measure only those impressions that are potentially visible to a user.

Fou said he typically advises his clients to use paid search advertising. For those using display advertising, he recommends that clients pay on a cost-per-click basis, rather than for impressions.

This story originally appeared on ClickZ:Anna Maria Virzi wrote Google to Measure: Did Someone See That Ad?

This article was originally published on ClickZ.

Convergence Analytics: Digital Measurement in Transition
This joint report by ClickZ and Efectyv Marketing seeks to identify how the evolution of digital analytics affects and challenges practitioners, vendors, and investors. Download it today!

Google Analytics Adds 2 New Reports: Data Hub Activity & Trackbacks

Google Analytics has been improving the way you measure social media steadily over the past year. From the original social Media reports to multi-channel funnels, Google Analytics has more or less led the way in social media reporting. Today, they've improved it once more.

Google Analytics has added two new reports based on the data they've been collecting from their social data hub partners. The two new reports are Data Hub Activity and Trackbacks. Strictly speaking, neither report is new. They were available in the Network Referrals and Landing Pages reports when you clicked on a special icon that appeared if information from Data Hub partners was available.

Introduced last May, the Trackbacks report was previously available inside the Social reports. It shows sites that link to your content and in what context those sites refer to yours. However, Google has now expanded on the Trackbacks report displaying the number of visits that were driven based on those specific links.

Why, then, would Google choose to break out two new reports that previously existed? You have a better way of analyzing this information when they are in stand-alone reports. Each report has been expanded. And, of course, each report can be analyzed more deeply when you apply various segments to your data.

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Top Digital Marketing Tactic for 2009: Social Media Marketing

With concerns over the recession and its impact on marketing, we decided to run a TopRank Reader Poll to discover reader (and their networks) preferences for digital marketing tactics in 2009. �Companies world-wide are cutting costs as well as looking for creative, high impact and accountable marketing. �Our amazing readers both on Online Marketing Blog and followers at @leeodden helped uncover the top tactics.

Over the past 11 days 532 readers have cast�1559 votes for their 3 top digital marketing tactics for 2009 with Blogging, Twitter and Search Engine Optimization topping the list. �Equally interesting was that out of the top 10 tactics, 6 fall into the category of Social Media Marketing. See the full list below along with other statistics about where voters came from as well as info about the readership of Online Marketing Blog.

The question we asked was, “What 3 digital marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2009?” �Here are the top ten tactics selected:

Blogging (34%)Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)Search engine optimization (28%)Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)Email marketing (17%)Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)Pay per click (14%)Blogger relations (12%)Video marketing (10%)Social media advertising (7%)

See results for the full poll of 45 different digital marketing tactics here.

Other stats and observations about this poll:

All 45 tactics received at least one vote, even “no holds barred spam”. � Email marketing rated higher than PPC which is surprising given the budgets spent on PPC vs email. �Some tactics are much easier to implement than others, or less expensive, which may explain a few of the top choices, such as Twitter.

Corporate web sites don’t rate in the top ten tactics. Does this mean the death of company web sites? At least in their current form it does. Some companies are succumbing to the social media perspective to extremes, like the Skittles site which has been simplified to a page of search results from Twitter on the Skittles name. Others are adding social features to their company sites to compliment existing messaging and functionality. I suggest somewhere in the middle is where many companies will end up by 3rd or 4th quarter this year.

For promotion on Twitter, we generated a unique URL through, which offers some handy statistics as well as URL shortening. See the image on the right for the traffic to the URL, promoted exclusively on Twitter and the countries that traffic came from.

Overall, there were 36,144 visits to the Poll blog post over 11 days. Visitors�came primarily from:�United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and�spent an average of 2 minutes and 27 seconds on the poll.

The breakdown of traffic sources for the poll include (stats from Clicky):

Direct 13,010Search 12,198Links 5,335Social Media 4,654RSS Reader 652Email 295Ads 3

The large number of visitors compared to the number of respondents resulted in about a 1% response rate. For a one question poll, that’s low and undoubtedly, the large number of options (45 digital marketing tactics) may have been overwhelming.

Feedback on the poll ranged from (“3 tactics is not enough” to “There are way too many options to choose from” to suggestions for additional tactics including providing APIs and livestreaming content.

By now, most companies (we hope) have their 2009 online marketing plans in place. Does this ranked order of tactics mean you should change up your online marketing mix? The answer is that digital marketing tactics should match the needs of the situation, company resources, the target market and end consumer preferences. �The proper tactical mix for an digital marketing program could be anything from the 45 tactics listed in the poll and still be successful as long as they support a valid strategy.

Some companies are prepared for digital and social media marketing programs and many are not. To get “ready”, companies need to develop strategic plans and get up to speed on both best and worst practices. �This TopRank Reader Poll on Digital Marketing Tactics indicates a strong interest in social media marketing. Whether those methods of reaching and communicating with customers reconciles with existing marketing plans or not, companies would do well to allocate resources to some level of ongoing education, testing and development of expertise in the social media space.

Were the results surprising to you? Right on? We’d love to read your feedback and discussion. While future versions of this poll will actually be a multi-question survey, we’d love to get your feedback on making it a better tool for you.

Want to Have a Larger Impact on Your Organization? 4 Tips for Becoming A Better Influencer

How Can You Become A Better Influencer? Tip: You'll attract more bees with honey than you will with vinegar!

Last week Lee Odden shared a post �on attracting the attention of influencers online. �Whether we’re talking about�influencers with mass appeal, or those that have a closer and more personal relationship with their followers, each person presents an opportunity to learn and grow.

That got me thinking, when it comes to the inner workings of an organization: what makes a good influencer, and would I consider myself an influencer at TopRank Online Marketing? �In my opinion, there are some key factors that make a good influencer.

Building a strong relationship and trust with your peers is essential in influencing their decisions.Having a team centric attitude towards those that you work with (no man is an island).Presenting an attitude that says �I�m lucky to be here� vs. �the company is lucky to have me�.

There is a certain power that comes with having influence over your peers. �A power that should not under any circumstances be abused. �After all, what is power without trust? �The bigger question to ask is: why should you want to be an influencer? �There are many benefits to being an influential member of a team including flexibility, trust, decision making power, and proof of ability just to mention a few. �I would like to dive into some of the qualities that I think make a better influencer, as well as some signs that you may already be an influencer and didn�t even know it!

4 Tips for Becoming a Better Influencer

#1 Listen More Talk Less: �Think back to your �Sales 101� training, what is one of the most important rules that salespeople must always remember? �Don�t talk yourself out of the sale. �By listening to what your customers (or in this case peers) are really saying, you can �better formulate recommendations that will have the largest impact on both their perception of you as well as the project, situation, or problem at hand.

#2 Give Before You Get: �One thing that I have found is that you cannot automatically expect that your peers will want to help you. �I enjoy seeing the organization I work for from a variety of perspectives and not just my own. �Being aware of when your peers may be struggling or need help is the perfect opportunity to offer your help. �Offering assistance on a fairly consistent basis will show that you are invested in making each person on your team successful, and are not simply looking to pull ahead of the pack. This will in turn increase your team’s willingness to help when you’re in a bind.

#3 Work Outside Your Comfort Zone: As online marketers our industry evolving at a rapid pace. �What was best practices when you go to sleep, may be vastly different than when you wake up the next morning. �There will always be tactics that you don�t know but �by charging full ahead and working on projects or platforms that are outside of your standard comfort zone you will increase your adaptability and ability to think on your feet. Adaptability and quick problem solving will increase perception that you are an innovator within the organization.

#4 Suggest Collaboration: I�m sure you�ve heard the saying: �two heads or better than one� well imagine what you could do when your whole team puts their brains together. �When we come up with ideas on our own without collaborating it�s easy to self validate concepts and consider only one point of view on the subject. �By creating an open brainstorming you will give your fellow team members an opportunity to share their opinions and feel that they have an impact on the end product, recommendation, or solution. �What you will end up with will most likely be a better version of what team members would have come up with individually.

4 Signs That You�re An Influencer & Didn�t Know It

While many of us may be working on becoming a bigger asset or a bigger influencer within our organization there are many people who are influencers, but don�t know it. �What are some signs that you may be more influential than you think?

When your company is making new hires they ask if there is anyone you know that might be a good fit for the organization.You�re asked to work on projects or tasks that are outside of your job description. �Proof that you are adaptable and can work freely.Team members come right out and ask what you think they should do as it relates to one of their clients or customers.You�ve formed a meaningful and unique relationship with each member of your team, which shows that you are interested in them as an individual.

Truth Be Told: I shared what being an influencer means to me but I�m curious to know what you think. �Do you thinking working towards influencing your team members is a self serving strategy, or will it help the greater good? �Is there anyone in your organization that you would like to nominate as an influencer? �Why would you nominate them?

Google Chrome & Android Will 'Remain Separate for a Very Long Time'

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has squashed talk that the company will combine its Android and Chrome divisions, after recent boardroom shuffles had fueled speculation that a merger was on the cards.

Speaking at a press event in India as part of his ongoing tour of Asia, Schmidt assured the media that the company was not planning to merge its two major mobile efforts into a single brand.

Last week, Google said that Andy Rubin would be stepping down from his post as head of Android and handing the responsibility over Sundar Pichai, who also runs the Chrome division. The move prompted speculation that the two platforms were growing closer and would be merging into a single brand sooner rather than later.

Despite now being run by a single manager, however, Schmidt insists that Google has no imminent plans to fold Android into Chrome or vice-versa.

"We don't make decisions based on who the leader is, we make the decisions on Google based on where the technology takes us," Schmidt said. "There will be more commonality for sure, but they are certainly going to remain separate for a very long time."

Since their early introductions, both Chrome and Android have grown from company-side projects to two of the largest and most visible brands under the Google banner.

Researchers have estimated that globally Chrome holds some 37 percent of the browser market, while Android has in many markets surpassed Apple's iOS as the most popular smartphone brand.

Though the Chrome OS project has yet to gain much market traction, Google has persuaded some major vendors to dip their toes into the market by offering models which support the platform as an entry-level notebook.

This article was originally published on V3.

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Behind The Scenes In Google’s Battle Against Bad Ads

When new employees join the Google ad quality team that manually reviews suspect ads, they start by studying internal documentation of policies that outline examples of ads that would be approved, and those that would be rejected. Then the employees’ skills are tested on ads that don’t run, they graduate to ads that get little traffic, and finally they move up to ads expected to get lots of impressions. These are some of the tidbits revealed by Google director of engineering for the advertising team, David W. Baker, in a wide-ranging conversation this week.

Despite many years of being tight-lipped about the AdWords ad review processes, the company has recently begun to reveal more about the efforts it’s making to prevent bad ads from slipping through. The company has been criticized for years, and recently paid a record $500 million judgment to the U.S. Justice Department, for incidents in which illegal, counterfeit or otherwise malicious ads have been displayed by Google. Baker today published a second blog post, following up on�an initial effort at becoming more transparent around the team’s work.

Toward More Transparency

“I have been talking with my peers in different departments for about a year now about how I think Google has been remiss about being transparent about what we do,” said Baker. “There has been a fear that if we talk about these bad things it’ll draw attention to the negative.” Baker said the new communication is aimed at reassuring end users and advertisers about the measures the company takes to deliver quality ads.

The company is in a difficult position in a couple of different ways. If it cracks down too hard and takes too long to review ads, or rejects good ads, Google gets grief from white-hat advertisers. When bad ads slip through, it’s accused of a conflict of interest — because it ostensibly profits when ads run, even if they’re bad. “It’s an interesting position to be in,” Baker told me.

Bad Ads = Lower Revenue?

“Ultimately this [ad quality] I believe is Google’s biggest opportunity for increasing our revenue,” Baker confided, saying he believes that many users distrust Google ads and therefore don’t click on them. “That makes me very sad,” he said. If the company can gain that trust, it will result in more clicks, and more revenue for Google and for its advertisers, Baker says.

In his blog post, Baker outlined the company’s three-pronged approach to catching bad ads.

Ad Review

Ads — along with their individual landing pages — go through two levels of automated/technological review. If an ad fails the first level, it’s disapproved. Some are flagged for further review and are tagged as “Under Review.” If the ad and landing page pass, the ad becomes “Eligible” and begins to serve on to users with safe search turned off.

Then, there’s a second level of review for ads in the last couple of categories. If the automated system is confident it’s judging the ad accurately, it will either approve the ad for distribution to everyone (“Approved”), approve the ad for certain users in certain locations (“Approved – Limited”), or reject it (“Disapproved”). If the technological system can’t come to a determination, it goes to a real person — who undergoes extensive and ongoing training — to make a final decision. All human decisions are fed back into the machine-learning system to make it “smarter.”

Site Review

The site review system looks at all sites across all ads from all advertisers and regularly crawls them. The company uses machine learning models and a rules engine to analyze the database of collected information, trying to determine whether a site abides, or doesn’t abide, by Google’s policies.

“The challenge is that we get these constant variations where the bad sites are trying to change how they look but still achieve their objective — to make it clear to the user about illicit goods they’re providing, or, in the case of counterfeit sites, make it look like they are authorized to offer the goods,” Baker said.

If a site is determined to be in violation, it’s disabled, and any ads leading to that site are disapproved. If the automated system can’t be confident about a decision, it goes to a real person.

Account Review

The account review system looks at patterns in the account as a whole to determine whether it should be investigated further and shut down. The system looks at things like ads and keywords, budget changes, the advertiser’s address and phone number, the advertiser’s IP address, disabled sites connected to the account, and disapproved ads.

This is continually ongoing and incorporates new data as it comes in. If the automated system is confident the advertiser is up to no good, the account will automatically be suspended. If not, a real person will decide.

A Never-Ending Battle

And, yet, bad ads continue to slip through, and Google is still accused of not working hard enough to catch the bad guys.

“This is a constant battle, and we are constantly revising the systems that we’ve built,” Baker said. “This is just a huge problem of scale. There is a tremendous cost to us for making any small error…. also, shutting down a good advertiser can have a cost, as well, in damaging a relationship.”

Google Pushes Google Search App With Commercials

The commercial in the middle of an episode of “Worst Cooks In America” this weekend caught me off-guard. Was that an ad for the Google Search App? It sure was, and the restart of Google’s campaign to push its cross-platform search tool.

It was the first time I spotted this particular campaign on TV, though Google tells me they’ve been running since the fall. That’s true, but those seemed to have stopped soon after the New Year, and now the campaign has begun again, it looks like.

Of course, Google’s no stranger to TV ads these days, such as Google Now recently getting a commercial during the Grammys.�But pushing the Google Search app is fairly unique. It’s a Google product that the company has for three major platforms out there: Android, iOS and Windows, as the closing frames of these ads highlight:

Despite the ads, which are clever and cute, they don’t seem to have helped uptake on iOS. As I covered last week, in�Will Google Now For iPhone & iPad Boost Google Search App Usage?, the Google Search app shows nowhere near the popularity as Google’s YouTube or Google Maps apps for the iPhone and iPad.

The Search App Ads

Here are all the ads in the campaign, from the most viewed on YouTube and working down the list.

The “Martin Van Buren” spot tops the list, posted November 20, 2012, with 12 million views so far. A mother has to turn her daughter into US president Martin Van Buren, at the last minute. Google to the rescue:

Next up, the “Replacement�Umpire” spot, also from November 20, with nearly 7 million views. “Google, what is the strike zone?”

From December 20, the “Interview” ad has just over 4 million views and has a job candidate quickly learning something about his interviewer by using the search-by-image feature:

Also from December 20, “Smart Dad” with 3 million views has a dad seeming to know everything — with the secret help of Google’s search app:

Finally, the most recent ad posted March 6, with only about 100,000 views so far, has a daughter hoping Google will report that her father’s flight is cancelled, so they can have a snow day:

Yahoo CEO Attacked for Embellishing Resume

Yahoo's leadership dramas refuse to die down after revelations that recently appointed CEO Scott Thompson may have embellished his resume by claiming to hold a degree in accounting and computer science, when the degree was actually just for accounting.

The issue was raised by shareholder activist, Dan Loeb, who wrote to the firm's board bringing the discrepancy to attention, claiming Thompson had "embellished his academic credentials" in order to land the role.

"A rudimentary Google search reveals a Stonehill College alumni announcement stating that Thompson's degree is in accounting only. That announcement is consistent with other documents (including filings with the SEC) that reflect Thompson received a degree in accounting, but not computer science," Loeb wrote in the letter to the board.

"If Thompson embellished his academic credentials we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the [chief executive] who has been tasked with leading Yahoo at this critical juncture."

Yahoo has dismissed Loeb's concerns and call for Thompson to be fired by Monday. A company spokesperson claiming the issue was merely down to human error and backed the credentials of Thompson to lead the company.

"Scott Thompson's degree at Stonehill College was in bachelor science in accounting. There was an inadvertent error that stated Thompson also holds a degree in computer science," the spokesperson said. "This, in no way, alters that fact that Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies."

Since taking over at Yahoo, Thompson has cut jobs and reorganized the company. Yahoo's search advertising revenues increased in Q1.

Yahoo is also involved in a patent dispute with Facebook, the threat of which forced Facebook to buy $550 million in patents from Microsoft.

This article was originally published on V3.

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