Artificial intelligence (AI) is for most people a mind bending concept. It’s easy to get wowwed by Amazon’s sensor rich ‘Go’ stores (video below) despite only 29 of them in the USA. Or Elon Musk’s Neuralink demo where 3 litlte pigs are running around with a implant to their skull/ cortext the size of a nickel.
Yet what business owners really want is practical AI they can use to improve sales activity, reduce costs and increase profits. Bear in mind that IBM Watson sees Strong AI as a 50 year timeline!
On that note, perhaps the best use of AI we have seen is Otter.ai which allows for video / audio transcription to text be done which allows simple content optimization at scale. For retailers or businesses sourcing customers from within local areas, automating content production using AI is critical.
While we wait for autonomous vehicles to arrive, perhaps the most pervasive AI is the applications like Calendly which help streamline appointment settings, allowing us all to spend time on more important work than back and forth emails to confirm meeting times.
With third party cookies being blocked by most browsers and Chrome set to follow with Google rolling out FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) to uphold people’s privacy, WordPress have for the first time since we can remember exercised some of their might.
40% of the worlds websites run on WordPress. Crazy right! And, WordPress just announced plans to disable FLoC using the following four lines of code, which will cause the blogging platform to issue a HTTP request header tells the browser that FLoC should be disabled for the site.
Since LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion in June 2016, we have not seen a great deal of upgrades to the functionality of how the interface for lead generation works. Summarized below are observations from our team members who are working to increase lead generation from Linkedin for multiple clients on a daily basis.
So what is it really like to optimize content on a platform like LinkedIn? We speak regularly with our LinkedIn Account Managers and as many individual LinkedIn Advertisers do not, we wanted to share some of the insights.
1. Single Static Ads that are 300×250 work better more times that a “Sponsored Post”
2. LinkedIn is expensive and doesn’t always convert as well as Google on a cost per lead basis.
3. LinkedIn Matched Audiences are best when they have a database of 100,000. These are audience custom audience segments you can use as targeting selections in your advertising campaigns. Within Matched Audiences, you can upload a list of companies or email contacts via a csv file and then target advertising to them. You can also create a ‘Lookalike’ audience which will target similar people to those in your Audience List.
“I spoke again at Dunfermline, July 27, 1881, when my mother laid the foundation stone there of the first free library building I ever gave. My father was one of five weavers who founded the earliest library in the town by opening their own books to their neighbors. Dunfermline named the building I gave “Carnegie Library.” The architect asked for my coat of arms. I informed him I had none, but suggested that above the door there might be carved arising sun shedding its rays with the motto: “Let there be light.” This he adopted.
From working in a mining pit without light as a kid after emigrating from Scotland at age 12, he built the Pittsburgh Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $303 million. It became the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next several years.
He became a leading philanthropist in the USA and British Empire, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education, and scientific research giving away 90 percent of his fortune.
Most of us know this flywheel has been used to power energy output (steam, water, etc) from the industrial revolution, maybe earlier. The concept of a flywheel to help deliver energy to a machine (steam train, windmill, turbine, etc) is part of history and science lessons at school.
Yet it has a place in the minds of the information architects in the age of Google and the rotational force of search engine algorithms. Lets unpack what we see here for content optimization and audience engagement.
In July 2020, we re-archictected Help.Sellercloud.com and after several months compared the post go live Google Analytics stats for the past 3 months versus the previous period. There are some impressive stats worth noting.
1. Bounce rate has fallen 5%
2. Pages viewed per session is up 25% (that’s 1 in 4 visitors viewing an extra page on average)
3. Each user is staying on the site for 1 whole extra minute (up 37%)
If you take the total number of users (12,303) and multiply it by 1 min, you get an extra 205 extra hours that users were on the site. So what were they doing?
For many clients, we calculate branding and engagement this way. Google like to see increased engagement and this gets rewarded with higher rankings for all pages.
Undeniably, Google Adwords (the pay per click engine) is one of the greatest money machines of all time. In 2019, Google’s ad revenue amounted to almost US$ 134.81 billion. I’ll do the math for you…. it is $256,487 per minute. Not bad right?
So you might argue with this type of volume and velocity with over 5 million advertisers participating in concurrent online auctions for keywords (Google advertisers bid for keywords in real time auctions), that sometimes, somethings can go wrong.
Like when you place a $10 a day budget and Google automatically spend 4x that which happened this week for a client of ours. Or when $1400 in one day was spent on an Ad Group that has $270 daily budget. That was last week for another of our clients. Or this morning when we explained to a software company servicing the K-12 educational sector that the first thing we do for clients inside Google Ads Account is turn OFF all the ads showing on ’sensitive content’ and that it is tragic that Google (#DoNoEvil) make this a default setting in every Adwords account.
Sadly, most folks are not going to go inside ‘Settings’ click on ‘Additional Settings’ where this is buried inside the Google Adwords dashboard. No wonder, most people don’t know it is even their. Here’s the screenshot attached so you too can turn it off.
I hope the US Justice Department via the Anti-Trust Lawsuit against Google filed this week helps Google to do the right thing and make this ‘sensitive content’ setting an opt in and not an opt out default.
Google holds 82% market share on desktop in search engine market in the USA and 88% on mobile – as per page 31 of the Justice Department Complaint Against Google which you can read at https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1328941/download. When you have that much market dominance, you can take people’s money in a blind closed auction with zero transparency and show ads on content that advertisers don’t even know where its been shown.
As an early user of Google Voice since they rolled it out locally to business around the Google Head Office in Mountain View, California in 2010 we like the features of it. While Google Voice isn’t mainstream, “voice optimization” is a topic of ongoing discussion as Google Assistant, Google Home, Alexa and other voice based in car technologies permeate our lives at home, at work and on the go.
That said, the translation of voice to text still has a ways to go. Here’s a prime example. mmmm!
Covid is giving us more time to do many more things. Now we’re not commuting, entertaining or hanging out at conferences, we’re pouring over more of the features inside dashboards that drive customers to our clients websites. One simple suggestion for online traffic optimization experts is to create Audiences inside Google Analytics and then target those audiences inside Google Ads to create more targeted audiences seeing more focused ads.
Here’s an example for one of our software clients. You can see audiences were created for key sections of their website (pricing page, features pages and integrations pages). You can create Audiences in the Google Analytics > Admin > Property section (click on the menu ‘Audience Definitions > Audiences) and then create them using the URL string for each section of the site you wish to segment an audience for. You can select Google Ads as were you want the Audience to be imported to.
Over time, Google will keep count of the visitors to those section/s of the website and when there is enough traffic, they will publish the audience number. You can see below the Display Audience is 240.
Now, inside Google Ads > Audience Manager, you can see the corresponding Audience as per below. See how the audience equals 240. It typically takes 30 days to build up a good audience that is big enough to start displaying ads to.
This is a great way to create more targeted banner display ads for niche audiences across a client website instead of just targeting ads to “All Website Visitors”. Thanks Covid!
Bounce Rates. Experienced people know that higher bounce rates on paid search traffic can impact organic rankings. Generally the rule of thumb is to lower bounce rates on paid campaigns to reduce low quality traffic. As display remarketing also impacts organic rankings (i.e. the number of visitors who click on a remarketing ad and return to your website), the quality of traffic is super important.
Let me unpack this more. The below graph shows the 90% bounce rate a client had been strangled with for several months after spending $7,000 a month on Google Adwords. That’s $6,000 wasted per month.
Now let us have a look at the impact of the reduction in bounce rate on organic and direct traffic once the high bounce rate ads inside Google were turned off. Notice there was a 78% improvement in overall bounce rate. Organic bounce rate reduced from 24% to 10% and direct traffic bounce rate dropped from 24% to 4%. You don’t often get to see the causality between paid traffic bounce rates and organic / direct traffic bounce rates yet they are correlated. Oh and the conversion rates on paid traffic were 5x as a result and 6x from organic.
You can think of Google as a foghorn. What you do in paid echos across all other audiences. Remember, if you allow your paid search traffic to put non qualified traffic in the top of the funnel, it affects all the other non paid traffic quality and conversions coming to your website. Simply put, rubbish in rubbish out !