Friday, April 27, 2012

Personalized Ads - Good or Bad?

A blogger on recently conducted an unscientific study regarding online privacy by lowering his security settings and signing up for location-based services, such as Foursquare. The results were interesting because after 3 weeks he had opened up to the idea of using certain location-based services, which kind of forced him to widen his social circles and keep in touch with friends who happened to be in his neighborhood. Admittedly, he did have some strange run-ins and one instance when he was caught in a lie by broadcasting his information. Anyone who’s been using social media for any length of time has had that awkward conversation with an acquaintance who seems to know all about what you’ve been up to even though you haven’t spoken in months.
The part that I found really interesting was this writer’s distaste for personalized ads. He even went so far as to say that he purposely avoided buying products that advertised directly to him. I know I have a somewhat skewed view of advertising since I am in the marketing industry, but I always thought personalized ads were a convenience. I’m careful about securing my personal information, such as my social security number and bank account, but I am pretty open about my online habits. My feeling is that if you’re going to see ads no matter what, wouldn’t you rather see something you might be mildly interested in rather than ads for things that have absolutely no value to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012 Presents: Google PPC Boot Camp

In today's online world, there is simply no escape for Google's Adwords Pay-Per-Click advertisements. They are literally everywhere. Well, at least when you search for a particular term on Google, there they are. So how can these online marketing tools help your business reach a new audience? Join our very own Margie Schneider, VP of Operations here at Ten Golden Rules, as she presents this intuitive boot camp on Google Pay-Per-Click services. You don't want to miss this one, especially if PPC has been something on your mind.

This Webinar takes place Wednesday, May 2nd at 12:30 PM. To register, click here:

About Margie Schneider:

Margie Schneider has been involved with the interactive medium since 1994. She has participated in everything the Internet has to offer: developing, designing and delivering web sites; online advertising and promotion; search engine marketing: SEO and PPC and community and electronic communication. Her specialties include: social media, search engine optimization SEO, PPC management, online reputation management, project management, personnel management, strategizing web development and design solutions; as well as experience marketing across all media types.

To register, click here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Google Drive: Bringing the Cloud to the People

That's right - Google Drive has officially launched! In case you're not sure what this new Google feature is all about, here's the scoop: Google is making it easy for people to be part of the cloud. For free, Google users now get 5 GB of free space on which to store their files. Plus, Google Docs is now totally integrated with Google Drive, meaning that in addition to normal Google Docs functionality, your documents will also be safely stored online in a place that can be accessed from anywhere. Plus, Google Drive allows scanned .pdfs and books to have searchable text. Google drive has twice the free space of Dropbox, and although Microsoft's SkyDrive has the most space, it's still filled with lots of extra features that will probably make it the most usable free cloud. It's just another great business tool that Google is coming out with, especially for companies that don't have the extra cash to fork out for paid cloud services.

To learn more about Google Drive, visit its new page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google AdWords Announcement – New Matching Behavior

Similar to how Google’s organic search systems understand misspellings or variations in keywords, Google AdWords will soon offer the same.

Google explains, “Starting in mid-May, phrase and exact match keywords will match close variants, including misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents and abbreviations. Based on our research and testing, we believe these changes will be broadly beneficial for users and advertisers.”

This means you will have a greater opportunity to generate more clicks as Google reports at least 7% of searches contain a misspelling, and the longer the search query, the higher this rate is. However, advertisers will still have the option to preserve their current matching behaviors in campaigns.

These new controls will begin deploying within the next few weeks, but, the new matching behavior won’t actually start until mid-May.

This will be a big time-saver for some advertisers. You will no longer have to worry about including misspellings, plural keywords, etc. to ensure you aren’t missing any opportunities. Now you will have more opportunities for impressions with less keywords. But, as a safeguard against erroneous clicks, be sure to use negative keywords.

Does this sound like a feature you will be testing in your campaigns?

Like this post? Connect with Erika Barbosa on Google+.

Image credit: Horia Varlan

Friday, April 20, 2012

Facing Customer Service Issues in Public

Does your company use social media as an opportunity to handle customer complaints, or does it try to sweep negative comments under the rug? Like it or not, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets have become a place for people to publicly air their grievances. Those companies that embrace public customer service are going to be much better off in the long run than those that resist or try to ignore these powerful communication vehicles.
In the past, customers might criticize a product or tell about a negative experience to a handful friends. Now, the whole world can know at once when something has gone wrong. (Think Alec Baldwin tweeting about his own bad behavior on an airplane – and badmouthing the airline).  There are plenty of examples of companies falling prey to one customer airing their dissatisfaction to thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook friends, but there are also great case studies about the right way to handle these oh-so-public customer complaints.
Dell was one of the first companies to use Twitter as a customer service channel, and it really improved their reputation. They have a Twitter profile @DellCares that is dedicated to customer service as evidenced by the bio: Dell's Social Media Outreach Team. 24x7 Global Support. We are here to listen, help and provide proactive info to our Customers.
Facebook recently launched private messages for Pages. Although not a completely public channel, administrators have to be ready to handle these messages, or it could turn into an ugly public conversation. Review sites like Yelp are ripe with both positive and negative customer experiences, so it’s important for companies to be aware of what their customers are saying about them online. Having a strong reputation management strategy can combat some of the negativity that is bound to plague a company at one time or another. However, providing great customer service up front goes a long way towards preventing some of that negativity.
The bottom line: public customer service is not something your company can decide it wants to do – it’s going to be out there no matter what. Embracing social media as a legitimate forum for customer service and putting systems in place to handle customer service in public is your best bet.
How does your company handle complaints that are made via social media? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Step-by-Step Social Media Success

If you've ever looked at your business' social media outreach and wondered, 'What am i doing right? What am I doing wrong?,' then this is the tool for you. It's a comprehensive (and free) guide to social media marketing by Simply Business. It covers everything from how to set up your accounts and which sites to have accounts at; to setting targets, goals and objectives; to content strategy; to monitoring accounts; to building your social media team. Whether you're a beginner or a social media expert, this handy free guide is a useful tool to help you gauge the success of your efforts.

So what are some of the things that your social media campaign could use some work on? What are the things your campaign is doing well at?

Google AdWords Enhancements for Local Targeting

88% of people who search for local information take action within a day.

Now that’s a powerful statement.

Announced this month, Google has released three new feature enhancements for organizing local ad campaigns. The new features build on the advanced location targeting that first launched in March 2011.

Let’s take a look:

Target Customers by Zip Code

Advertisers now have the ability to target 30,000+ US Zip Codes. Additionally, AdWords Location Targeting lets you add up to 1,000 postal codes at a time.

Location Insertion

Using location insertion for location extensions, this feature will automatically insert the city, phone number, or zip code into your ad text. So, there isn’t a need to create multiple ads for multiple locations anymore.

Better Clarity for Location Targeting Options

There were four additional enhancements made to the location targeting options:

• Location targeting now simplified
• Show ads to people in a physical location without any exceptions
• Better control over location targeting on the Display Network
• Easier to avoid getting impressions for excluded areas

By analyzing your AdWords performance data, you can also identify the geographic areas that need more of a focus. If local advertising makes sense for your business, the above features are a must for testing.

Please share your success stories in the comments below.

Like this post? Connect with Erika Barbosa on Google+.

Image credit: superfem

Monday, April 16, 2012 Presents: Top 10 Testing Tips to Increase Revenue

Justin Rondeau knows exactly how to harness your customers' interests to improve connection on potential company revenue. As the Chief Evangelist at WhichTestWon, a boutique marketing firm geared toward testing, Justin looks at ways you can really pinpoint the interests of your core audience. Design and layout of your website's offers are very important, but are you fully prepared? If you are unsure, this webinar is perfect for you.

Click here to register (4/18 at 12:30PM)

About Justin Rondeau:

Justin Rondeau is the Chief Evangelist at WhichTestWon, a company that measures and tests your abilities to properly evaluate your market. He's spent considerable time public speaking on SEO and Conversion Optimization at events such as Affiliate Summit, AllFacebook Expo, Conversion Conference and Socialize West. Justin received a BA in Philosophy from the University of New Hampshire and has earned valuable experience with a number of different tech companies, serving as a vital graphic designer, online marketer and copywriter.

Click here to register (4/18 at 12:30PM)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Facebook + Instagram = Beat Google?

This week, Facebookannounced its acquisition of photo sharing program Instagramfor… (picture Dr. Evil putting his finger to his lips)  $1 billion dollars. Was this a desperate act to buy up the perceived competition or did Facebook have other motivations behind the purchase?
Most social media marketers seem to think it was a move to stop the competition and gain additional brainpower by merging with the innovative Instagram team. Another way to look at it, as proposed by Jim Dougherty’s blog post on Leader’s West this week, is that Facebook’s buy is actually a chess move against Google to shore up the young, mobile user demographic. It’s an interesting theory, and it will be fascinating to see how this acquisition plays out over the coming months.
New Google + Profile
In the meantime, Google announced an update to its Google + user interface on Wednesday and – surprise, surprise – it looks eerily familiar. The overall looks and navigation is designed to be cleaner and simpler with an improved Hangouts section. You can even add a cover photo to your profile, although the general feeling is this effort may be “too little, too late.”
I, for one, am excited to see Facebook and Google go head to head. America was built on healthy competition to spur innovation. What do you think of the Instagram acquisition by Facebook? Which social media giant do you think is going to come out on top? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quick Tip: Using Negative Keywords in Google AdWords Campaigns

Are you currently using negative keywords in your Google AdWords campaigns?

Negative keywords are essential for refining your keyword lists. If your goal is to generate qualified leads and not just traffic, negative keywords help you filter out unwanted impressions, thus reaching more targeted prospects.

By adding a negative keyword, your ad will not show for searches containing that term. They can be applied on a campaign or ad group level. You also have the option to use negative keywords with the Google Display Network, which works slightly different.

Here are a few links to get you started:

What are negative keywords?

How do I add, edit, or delete negative keywords?

How can I find the right negative keywords to benefit my campaign?

Use lists to exclude keywords from multiple campaigns

Please share your tips for negative keywords below.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

EnemyGraph for Facebook: Like Us...Or Hate Us

A new app for Facebook will allow users to 'hate' and not just 'like.' EnemyGraph has the potential to hurt, but how might this affect your business?

  • EnemyGraph could draw more attention to flawed products, services, or other company errors. For companies that often interact with their customer base, this means that reputation management may have to be doubled.
  • EnemyGraph could provide good market research. It's informative to know what the target market you're looking at dislikes, just as much as it is helpful to know what they like.

EnemyGraph may not last long, though. According to this blog post by the creators of EnemyGraph,
We give them a couple of weeks at best before they shut us down for broadening the conversation and for “utilizing community, building conversation, and curating identity” their three elements of social design. EnemyGraph is a kind of social media blasphemy.
However, if it somehow does last, businesses will definitely have to take care of their brand and reputation with increased fervor. Do you think this is one app that will stick around, or is it out the door as soon as it causes enough ruckus on Facebook?

Monday, April 9, 2012 Presents: Data-Driven Content

Sure, creating content for your website seems like a surefire way to increase traffic, improve consumer awareness and promote your brand. But you can't just copy and paste the same rhetoric, over and over. That content needs to come from somewhere, and sometimes writer's block just seems to hit you at every corner. Does this seem like a familiar scenario? Join Ian Lurie, CEO of Portent, as he presents his webinar on Data-Driven Content and how to use web analytics to produce great content for your website.

Click here to learn more and register (4-11-12 at 12:30pm)

About Ian Lurie:

Ian Lurie is CEO at Portent, a digital agency he started in 1995. His firm provides search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), social media and general strategic services to a wide range of small, medium and large businesses.
Ian believes strongly that great marketing, online and off, relies on clarity and helps customers make good decisions about products, services and people. Several years ago he wrote the book Conversation Marketing to be a common-sense guide to internet marketing. He's also co-author of the Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies.

You can follow Ian on Twitter at @portentint, or find him on the Portent blog, at

Click here to learn more and register (4-11-12 at 12:30pm)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Brief Overview of Google View-Through Conversions

Although the Google AdWords View-through Conversions option is not new by any means, you may find this is an underutilized option that you might gain some intelligence from. Not sure what this is? Here is a short summary:

Google defines a View-through Conversion as: A View-through Conversion happens when a customer sees an image or rich media ad, then later completes a conversion on your site. This is different from a Click-through Conversion, which happens when a customer had previously clicked on an ad (such as on the Google Search or the Google Display Network) and then completed a conversion on your site. View-through conversion reporting measures the number of conversions that occurred within 30 days of your display ad appearing for which there was no ad click generated.

Introduced as an enhancement for display advertising campaigns on the Google Display Network, this is an improvement to the overall measurement of conversions. Basically, this option shows ad conversions without the clicks. It can be used in performance comparisons between the Google Display Network and other display advertising campaigns.

Do you find this metric helpful in optimizing your Google Display Network campaigns?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shazam It! Consumers Get a Deeper Content and Sharing Experience with Music, Ads and TV Shows

Have you ever heard a song you like, but you just can’t remember the name of the band? Or maybe it’s a new song that you immediately fall in love with and you just have to know who sings it immediately. Shazam! Now you can.

In my opinion, Shazam is one of the coolest – and most underrated – apps available. If you have never used or heard of Shazam, it is an app for your iPhone, iPod or other mobile device that can identify almost any song in just seconds. It’s perfect for those “senior moments” or new songs that grab your attention. A couple of years ago, they quietly introduced Shazam for TV advertising as well –a brilliant use of the app as a second screen for content and calls to action. According to Adweek, Shazam powered up to a third of the ads during the 2012 Superbowl.

This week, Shazam released its fifth iteration, Shazam 5.0, which is faster than the older version and includes a richer user experience, including an updated interface and sharing capabilities with Twitter and Facebook. Check out their video via Mashable. It looks and sounds like the company is beefing up the app in order to beef up its advertiser roster and increase revenues in return.
You don’t really hear people talking about Shazam like they do about Pinterest. Do you think their new and improved app with sharing buttons will raise the buzz level? Have you or would you ever Shazam a commercial on TV?  

When Discounts Go Social on Twitter

One of the latest innovations in the world of social media is the new partnership between Twitter and American Express. Now, you can hook up your AMEX card to your Twitter account and start getting deals just by tweeting with hashtags created by American Express, or by other brands that you are following. The most unique part? The offer is loaded directly onto your credit card, no discount code necessary.

Let's say that you tweet #AMEXcoffee and get a Starbucks discount coupon. Then, you go to Starbucks and purchase a coffee. The offer will be applied as statement credits on your card. No need for discount codes, printouts, or anything else. It's that simple.

Check out this detailed video explaining the process in full. Is this something you would want your business to participate in? Or is this an invasion of privacy to be avoided?

Monday, April 2, 2012 Presents New Facebook Timeline for Pages: The Aftermath

Margie Schneider first introduced us to Facebook's new Timeline for business pages last month, but now the change is mandatory. Were you prepared for the sudden design change, and does your page reflect the new layout? If your Facebook business presence is not as prominent and everything seems out of place, then this Wednesday's webinar is perfect for you!

Click here to register (4/4/12 at 12:30pm EST):

Margie Schneider has been involved with the interactive medium since 1994. She has participated in everything the Internet has to offer: developing, designing and delivering web sites; online advertising and promotion; search engine marketing: SEO and PPC and community and electronic communication. Her specialties include: social media, search engine optimization SEO, PPC management, online reputation management, project management, personnel management, strategizing web development and design solutions; as well as experience marketing across all media types.

Click here to register (4/4/12 at 12:30pm EST):