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Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

I’ve blogged about the personalization failure before.  Now it looks like others are catching on to the ultimate failure on their part, even as they harvest huge amounts of private information about us. This article in ComputerWorld outlines the issues. The author Mike Elgan hits the topic of privacy quickly and never lets it go:

Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon violate our privacy in order to show us relevant ads. So why do their ads miss the mark?

To be honest, he has a point. We do give up a lot of information to the likes of Google and Facebook, but the personalization and ad pushes seem to leave a lot to be desired.  Where exactly does all that data go? It doesn’t seem to do a good job identifying our secret needs.

Personal data harvesting for contextual ads and content should be a beautiful thing. Companies monitor what you do, where you go, who you interact with and what your interests are. They do it privately and securely, and it’s all automated so that no human being actually learns anything about you. And then the online world becomes customized, just for you. The ads are always the things you want to buy. The services are just what you’re looking for. The content is exactly the stuff you enjoy.

It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s how it’s supposed to work.

What’s wrong with the public anxiety about this scenario? People are mostly concerned about the privacy violation. But it could be argued that there is no such violation, in most cases. It’s really a philosophical question as to whether your privacy has been violated if no human being sees your data.

The real problem with this scenario is that is we’re paying for contextual ads and content with our personal data, but we’re not getting what we pay for.

After reading the article, I was again left with the same question: How come you have the information, but cannot get the personalization right?

Adobe Summit: The Convergence of Search and Social

Marc Blinder, Director of Social Marketing at Adobe and Jon Beeston, Director of New Product Innovation at Adobe presented on the trend of search and social convering.  Twitter is a great example of that where we share but also search.

Theme: Search and Social platforms are converging – which  means successful marketers musth have one unified team with one set of data.

Key takeaways from this session

  1. Connect: facebook to offline experience. feed the metadata
  2. Bring: search and social teogher. People, process, and technology
  3. Expect: social SEM data unification and all our war among Google, facebook, and twitter for ad dollars

2013

Paid, owned, and earned are converging.  Look at facebook where you can have your owned pages, people who like you and you also buy ads. They might even be on the same page.  Google search results even shows paid and owned assets together, especially with Google + and it’s continuing growth.

2014

Quote: “There’s no free lunch”

Quote: It could be argued from a consumer point of view that the better the search engine is the fewer advertisement  you will need. (Google)

Note that they followed that with a picture of a Google results page with TONS of ads.

  • Social will become more like search and search will become more social.  As social becomes more like search, you will pay for it in some form or fashion.
  • Search is improving within facebook and users are starting to use the natural search.  The results are like a combination of Yelp and Bing
  • Point, you should search for your company or product to see if the results look good or if you need some work.
  • Google Hummingbird search uses natural language processing.  They actually followed facebook on this
    • Google is trying to tie in Google+ as much as they can.  There’s a lot of
  • Twitter has marketing events but it will depend on real time interactions and key words. You social guys should be talking to your search team.
  • Look at all the reviews on facebook.  Although there seems to be some major rate inflation.  It could become the best way to find a restaurant.
    • Note that Google moved their reviews to Google plus so you’ve got something similar going on.
  • The clunky: three results for Thornbury Castle on the facebook search right now.  It needs some cleanup.
    • natural language search on facebook is still a bit clunky
  • Stalker: Can now search for divorced women over 30 years old. (Creepy)
    • Or divorced women who like a specific tv shows
    • key learning, watch out what you like. It will come back to you.
  • Political implications: Femen is illegal in Tunisia but it’s a piece of cake to find people who like Femen in Tunisia.

How to improve your search and your social?

  • Update your metadata
  • use checkin to your locations
  • encourage offline customers to go mobile with likes, checkins, and recommendations
  • Great idea: everyone checks in when they upload a picture.   So put something photo worthy in it.
  • Don’t forget stickers like rate us on trip advisor, etc.
  • It will be easy to get yourself to the top of a list by checking in a fair amount.
  • Be careful and remember that Facebook is still working on this. Graph search isn’t even available on mobile.
    • It’s early in the game. They’ve got a lot to do. they just had to index 1 trillion pieces of content.  So something has to slide
  • Publish at least one per day on Google+
    • Find something to push out once a day to get decent looking results.
  • use Google + social to put content in display advertising in Google ad network
  • Twitter strategy
    • Conversation analytics
    • keyword strategy
    • creative development
    • bid optimization
    • Looks a lot like search ad strategy doesn’t it……….

Integrate Search and Social

You need to evolve your approach.

  • Disparate teams with social, search etc need to come together.  Adobe uses a hub and spoke framework
    • Other options for approach include centralized, distributed, and holistic
    • Don’t just use a PR agency for your social. Become social yourselves
  • Inconsistent KPI’s need a common framework across teams
    • and if you aren’t doing a good job tracking then start.  You need analytics and key measurements
  • Siloed tracking and report becomes common tracking and reports
    • Common tracking will push you to channel optimization
    • Which will push your towards attributions.
    • Which will lead you to media mix modeling
    • It must become unified between social and search.  Of course, that’s the whole point of campaign management services.
  • Volume, sentiment need to become something that proves value to the business
  • In evolving, define what you want to do. Recognize the role of social in YOUR organization
    • PR and communications?
    • Marketing and ecommerce?
      • Search probably belongs mostly in this bucket.
    • Customer service and support?
    • Product innovation?

The ultimate aim is to get to the right mix of search, ads, email, and social media.  Doing that depends on how well you converge it all.

 

Google’s Bigger, Cheaper Cloud

I’ve been keen to watch the cloud options evolve because of the huge impact they can have on my portal, social, web content, and digital marketing world.  The bits blog has a good article on Google’s continuing evolution with the cloud offering.  It should be no surprise Google is cheaper.  It may be a surprise that Google has vowed to continue to make it cheaper at the same rate as Moore’s law.

Google’s cloud computing business has figured out how it’s going to come at Amazon Web Services: lower and simpler prices, predictable services and software innovation. Some of the price cuts are as much as 85 percent. Amazon is expected to soon respond with moves of its own.

…..

At a Google event on Tuesday, Urs Hölzle, a Google senior vice president, said prices for Google Compute Engine, its cloud service for big workloads, would be cut 32 percent across the board. Prices for App Engine, its software application service, were simplified and fell about 30 percent. Data storage prices were cut 68 percent, in general, to 2.6 cents per gigabyte over various storage systems. BigQuery, a data analysis product, saw prices cut 85 percent.

Prices would continue to fall roughly in line with Moore’s Law, Mr. Hölzle said. That is actually an impressive vow; Moore’s Law is an observation about semiconductor power, but Google, Amazon Web Services and others offer increasingly sophisticated software, as well as hardware.

Go to the bits blog to see the entire article

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Posted in Google

Turns Out Companies Are Investing in Social Media

Google’s Wildfire commissioned a study on the How Brands Staff and Budget With Social.  It’s far too long for me to replicate but here’s a couple nuggets:

SocialDepartments SocialTeam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a lesson here and it’s that social media has become a defacto part of corporate life and interactions with customers.   See the whole info graphic here.

Dreamforce: Developing for Google Glass

Maximiliano Firtman, author of the O’Reilly book, “jQuery Mobile” presented on some basics around development.  It was less a look at the development tools and more a look at the options for development and the paradigm you take into account.   He’s a a “Google Explorer” and has a chance to muck around with the Glasses for a bit.

Wearable Devices

It’s not the Get Smart phone shoe as a phone.  It’s about a variety of tools like Google Glass, Sony Smart Watch, even smart clothes.  These tools tend to fulfill multiple purposes.  The watch even has a browser.

What Google Glass is and isn’t.  It’s not:

  • A total science fiction Virtual Reality.
  • Not a phone replacement
  • Not  a projection device

It is:

  • It is a location aware device
  • It’s limited augmented reality
  • It does allow you to take video and pictures
  • You can browse the web
  • You can use it for maps and directions
  • You can share any pictures, video, etc with others via a variety of social tools.
  • It has some native apps like translation. Point your glasses at something in English and get the translation to Spanis for example

But About Development

You now have a question, do I create native Google Glass app using Native GDK?  Do you use the cloud Mirror API?

There is a web site called MyGlass where you can install apps. Mirror API lets you work directly with a phone via the internet. Any action comes from a server to Google, and then to the glasses.

Most apps have a non-Glass interface to setup preferences. CNN for example lets you define your preferences on what news to receive.

One key difference between Mirror and GDK is that the GDK allows you to go offline.

Timeline

It’s the basic UI of the Glass.  It’s past, now, or future.  When you turn on glass you are in present. You see the current time.

  • Timeline is also the paradigm. To see the past, swipe back on your glasses.
  • To see the front, swipe the opposite direction.

Timeline items are known as cards.

  • System card- past
  • Standard card – past
  • Pinned card – future
  • Live cards – now

IMG_20131121_101557

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole idea of the timeline is to make it easy to get access to information in the correct context of time and location given a limited sized interface and actions you can performs with your gestures.

How do you click in a browser, use a two finger gestures on the side of the glasses and more your head.  It works from the user point of view but looks a bit weird from the outside.

Key stats:

  • supports html 5 for video, audio, device motion, scroll and touch events
  • No geo support in html5 yet.
  • Support 400 pixels so small interface of course
  • Glasses can be disables remotely
  • Google Playground is the official simulator
  • Glassim.com lets you see how a picture will look in the real world
  • Xenologer for Android on Git hub is the same UI
  • Mirror API emulator by Scarygami (on git hub) helps as well
  • developer.google.com/glass
  • youtube.com/user/GoogleDeveloper  – gives you more informations
  • Don’t forget you have to make the initial decision on native GDK or app the web based Mirror API

What’s next in wearable?

Possible iWatch from Apple.  Other vendors are rumored to be developing glasses

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Posted in Google

Google’s Investment in Enterprise

This isn’t new news given that this article was published back in July.  But hey, if you missed it like I did then it’s new to you.  CRN has an article with some quotes from a business partner and some stats.  Basically, Google continues to expand it’s enterprise play with Google Search Appliance, Google Apps, Google Drive, etc.  The part regarding Google’s estimated revenue in the enterprise arena.

Technology Business Research estimates that the Google Cloud Platform and Google Apps together accounted for $200 million in revenue during the quarter, a 195 percent jump from last year’s second quarter, Jillian Mirandi, an analyst with TBR, said Thursday in a research note.

If you add up the numbers, you see a $800 million a year run rate.  If it’s growing then they will achieve  $1 billion per year in the very near future.  That’s a full fledged business and something worth watching more closely.

Why Amazon and Salesforce are pulling away from the Cloud Pack

GigaOM has an interesting article about why they think Amazon and Salesforce are blowing away the competition when it comes to cloud offerings.  Keep in mind that author James Urquhart is saying that these two are leaving companies like Google and Microsoft in the dust.  Here’s a couple quotes before my thoughts.

I almost feel silly calling out Amazon today, as today its dominance seems so obvious. But 18 months ago, while it was definitely the visionary among the IaaS offerings (as I noted in a follow-up post), it hadn’t really stepped into the era of offering services that competitors couldn’t match within 12 to 18 months (assuming those competitors had the vision to do so).

……….

What Salesforce is doing so well is combining the core functions of business and the social interactions with customers, partners, and within the organization itself. So, as work gets created, moves through the company, and results in deliverables and/or revenue, Salesforce can automate key elements, coordinate the human aspects, and measure and analyze it all.

James Urquhart goes on to say that he doesn’t believe it’s “game over” in the cloud.  I agree with him.  Of course, I also agree with him about Amazon and Salesforce.  We get queries on Amazon cloud all the time.  We see major vendors putting their products in images on Amazon.  Not to be outdone, even though they use a SaaS vs an IaaS approach, Saleforce’s wide range of offerings and wide range of supporting vendors make for quicker time to market.  One client chose them solely for that capability and they launched their site within thirty days.  So yes, both Amazon and Saleforce have both the capability and the mindshare right now.

On a side note, read the article but especially read the comments, there are a lot of well thought out responses to the article….

“So we’re still at the very, very beginning. We are in the first innings of Cloud Computing. This is still the Renaissance.” These are the words verbatim of Salesforce.com CEO, Marc Benioff. Then Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO, said “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.”

Just like CRM and AMZN have re-invented their respective companies into leaders in cloud with platform and services instead of only their original core products of Contacts Relationship Management and E-Commerce, the agility of companies (not just products) allows competition to catch-up quick these days……….

or

Good article, thank you. It’s a little scary to think that just two companies could control this huge emerging industry, however there are two mitigating forces: 1) both companies throw a huge wake. The opportunities for startups to base their stack on AWS or Salesforce (or both) and therefore reach effective monetization with dramatically lower capital investment than was possible before, are creating a whole wave of exciting startups and disruptive innovation. 2) In both cases, the platforms create inclusive, partner-friendly ecosystems, as opposed to closed systems that favor only the mothership, not the developers and value add service providers.

Why We’re only in the Early Days of Social Search

Mashable’s Samantha Murphy has an interesting article on “Why We’re in the Early Days of Social Search“.  She correctly notes that we haven’t seen anything yet from social search. While I personally use Google about 90% of the time.  I find that I hit twitter about 5% of the time for very specific searches that involve more trend types of information.   What I found very interesting was her description of Bing’s approach to social search

For example, Bing has been an innovator with social search. In fact, it was the first search engine to incorporate Facebook and Twitter into its core results.

“What we saw from customer research and feedback was that people were a bit overwhelmed at first with social results, so we wanted to make it easier for them to navigate and get the information they wanted,” says Lisa Gurry, senior director at Bing.

In May, Bing redesigned it social search strategy by pulling people from your social networks of search results and placing them in a dedicated social column via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn integration. For example, when doing a search for the TV show Breaking Bad, it now pulls up your Facebook friends who like the show, as well as relevant blogs and even the Twitter accounts of some of the cast members.

Bing Search with Social

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link through to the rest of the article for a deeper dive and a cool video of what Google does to personalize it’s search using info from your gmail for example.

Google Drive to compete with Dropbox, Box and others

Google just announced its cloud storage service called Drive that offers 5 GB of free storage, mobile access (except iOS, but coming), and integration with Google Docs. Drive is the latest entry in a growing market of cloud storage providers.  My colleague Michael Porter recently posted a story about VMWare’s plans to create a private enterprise version of cloud storage.

Google Drive seems to be similar to many other services, but it does offer some nice extras such as a search feature.  You can search for your files using a variety of attributes (name, owner, etc) and even perform searches on images or scanned files.  Drive also recognizes 30 file formats, so you can view a Photoshop file without having Adobe Photoshop on your PC.  With its integration with Google Docs, you can upload files to Drive and then collaborate on them with others using Google Docs.

So, now there are cloud storage services from Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, DropBox, SugarSync, Amazon and others.  PCWorld put together the comparison chart shown here that summarizes the major features of each service.  Cloud Storage Services

I’ve used every service listed except SkyDrive and now Google Drive.  I really like the integration of DropBox with apps on my iOS devices, but it would be better if I could sync any of my folders.  I like SugarSync because I can sync any folder on my Mac and I have 50 GB of free storage, but its not integrated with my mobile apps like DropBox.  Box is ok, but it lacks a good Mac client, so I don’t use it much. I’m going to give Google Drive a try when they come out with support for iOS devices.

 

Apple and Facebook Should Be Terrified Of Google-Tinted Glasses

Techcrunch has an article out about why Apple and Facebook should be terrified of Google Glasses.  I think the idea of the glasses has merit although I suspect the first iteration of these things will need a lot of work.  But given what they could do for you and how they could integration voice, map/directions, search, and other services, it has the potential to be compelling.

View of directions projected onto Google Glasses

If you haven’t heard, Google today announced it is beginning public tests of augmented reality glasses with the codename Project Glass. A mouthwatering mock-up videoof what the device might eventually be capable of shows someone using voice commands to send messages, take photos, share to Google+, see the locations of friends, view maps, get directions, set calendar reminders, and more.

Cramming all the functionality into a sleek set of glasses is going to take time and effort, but the Google(x) skunklabs is on it. There’s a dozen ways the product could flop, most obviously if the glasses are awkward and unstylish, but also if they’re too heavy, expensive, fragile, or the world is just not quite ready. Let’s forget those for a second. Say Google figures it out and the retail version of Project Glass (which may end up being called Google Eye) becomes wildly popular. How will this disrupt Apple and Facebook, and what should they do to defend themselves?

 

There’s more at Techcrunch on what kind of disruptions Apple and Facebook may face.