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Acquisio, provider of automated tools for search, display and social advertising, has acquired the ClickEquations search marketing platform from Channel Intelligence, and announced a partnership with that firm. GOMC is a global online marketing competition open to professors and their students in any higher education institution. After running their online advertising campaign for three weeks, students summarize their experiences in campaign reports, which they submit online. The global winners and their professor will receive a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Last year’s challenge had 50,000 participants representing 100 countries, and this year we expect even more.
Acquisio have acquired ClickEquations for an undisclosed sum from Channel Intelligence and struck a strategic alliance which will see Channel Intelligence and Acquisio partnering to make an impact in the ecommerce market for large retailers.
Yes, content of this variety is entertaining link bait, luring us to laugh, scratch our heads and pass it along. Organic Facebook marketing has thus far been tricky, as the standard for post quality is high on a network people consider very personal. Staying on the pulse of trending topics is a time-tested strategy for putting out content that’s already proven to interest an audience. If your organization produces video or is thinking of doing some digital dabbling in the coming year, get familiar with the most-watched videos and channels on YouTube.
Postscript: All next week we’ll be doing our own end-of-year evaluation of our liveblogging coverage from the eight search and social media marketing conferences the Bruce Clay team attended in 2011. The end of the year is always a time for reflection on all of the work and effort of the previous 12 months. Our main goal at Google Search is to bring you the most relevant and useful results as quickly as possible.
With all of this in mind, today we’re connecting Google search and cartoons through a search caption challenge. We hope this game helps you think in a way you wouldn't otherwise, and maybe get some insights. If you are looking for a Microsoft Accredited Professional have a look at our membership directory.
Despite strong growth in display advertising for the first nine months of 2011, a tumbling market for paid search dragged overall Internet ad spending in the U.S. There is some debate in the industry if running PPC and SEO can cause cannibalization of traffic; and there have been studies suggest both a positive and a negative result.
Again, if you do run PPC and SEO programs together, monitor them closely to assure positive results from both. China has historically been the land of copyright and trademark infringement of Western software, goods and other intellectual property — and Chinese websites such as Baidu and Taobao its willing handmaidens.
Get ready for another flood of cries from the wilds of the Internet in 2012 as Facebook introduces sponsored ads to the web version of their users’ news feeds.
Starting in January 2012, Facebook will gradually begin showing Sponsored Stories social ads in the main news feed of the web version of the site, a representative of the company tells us. The ads will be marked “Sponsored” and a rate limit will ensure users see no more than 1 Sponsored Story in the news feed per day.
Of course, Google would love to see everyone have some kind of epiphany to decide that this would be the thing to get them to actually sign up and use Google+ but it won’t.
Last question (I promise), is there anything inherently wrong with Facebook looking to make money on its service?
Google Retains Default Firefox Search Engine Position, Is Bing Backing Off in the Search Game?
Google has retained its deal to be the default search engine in Mozilla’s Firefox browser which is used by over 400 million people.
We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google.
The specific terms of this commercial agreement are subject to traditional confidentiality requirements, and we’re not at liberty to disclose them.
So an obvious question for inquiring search minds is where was Micosoft’s Bing in this opportunity to grab more market share with one fell swoop than could happen just about anywhere else? Last year, Google paid Mozilla about $103 million for the right to be the default search engine. Some of the evidence they roll out is the fact that Bing has reached its desired 30% of search market share with its Bingahoo set up, it has decreased marketing spend by 25% last quarter (YoY), it is paying lower than market wages to attract talent to Bing and they have let some serious players seek opportunities elsewhere within Microsoft where there may be more for them for the future.
If these reasons are truly the case, and it is speculation of course that they are, then are the search wars over for now? Maybe the battleground has just shifted from actual competitive activities to the new Microsoft technique of trying to legislate competition by being a driving force of the ridiculous Fair Search movement?
Everybody's been talking about search in 2011, but what were the events that helped to shape the search landscape of the year?
Last week Google announced that Googlebot-Mobile now crawls with a smartphone user-agent in addition to the previous feature phone users-agents. Whilst we may do our best to ignore the increasingly disturbing financial news coming in from – well, from everywhere – for several months now, it's becoming harder to ignore, isn't it? It has probably never been less clear what normal individuals should do with their money and by the same token, what those in the finance sector should do to allay their fears. Whilst the recent banking crisis has highlighted some flaws in the practices on which the economy was built, we can still learn a few things from them in regard to the management of our search accounts. In other words, you increase the chance of improved return on investment, while minimising your risks if you advertise your full portfolio of financial products, and optimising dependent on performance.
Recent forecasting suggests that rates on savings are to remain depressed and property prices are forecast to fall. Despite all the doom and gloom, there are some surprising areas of growth in Search advertising. Therefore, it makes sense to optimise your mortgage and Savings accounts to ensure that your ad copy has the latest and best rates advertised to capitalise on this traffic.
It’s not just lending and savings rates that are driving these queries but also additional fees. Conversely, there has also been an increase in loan related traffic from those looking to pay off their debt.
January is also a peak month for Loan search traffic, after the expense of Christmas and therefore it is important that all Loan accounts are optimised before the traffic starts rolling in, taking into account those who are in financial difficulty, as well as those interested in paying off debts. I’ve already spoken about minimising risk and in these tough times many are insuring themselves should the worst happen.
One sad statistic to come out during the recession is the 14% rise in burglary in England and Wales, with direct correlation between recession and spikes in burglary. In order to minimise risk with your finance search accounts, you need to ensure that you are optimising all accounts to show the best rates and deals and if necessary move budget from accounts that aren’t performing well to those which are far more buoyant. Posted by Sparkplug DigitalThis post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community.
We've all heard stories about companies who do remarkable things for their customers that results in people talking about them. I recently learned that doing remarkable and unexpected things can also get the attention of the linkerati and lead to social media mentions and even a link on one of the most popular internet marketing blogs. It was 9am on a Tuesday and I was getting settled into work when I decided to check Twitter. I drove to the grocery store, picked up two 12 packs of Diet Coke, and went to the Portent Interactive office which happened to be 15 minutes away from my location. I drove off laughing because I thought this was probably one of the most random things I have ever done. When I got back to my desk I read an email from Ian stating that I had definitely earned a link and it was one of the most brilliant displays of social media marketing he had ever seen.
I never expected all of this to happen simply from helping someone on Twitter, but it makes perfect sense.
When you help others with no expectation of receiving something back in return, good things tend to happen.
If someone talks about a problem they are having in social media, look for ways that you can help.
One secret to delighting customers is to do something nice for them that they don't expect.
Keep your eyes open for opportunities to do remarkable and generous things for your customers, community, and linkerati and you might give them a story worth sharing.
With the new features that are released every month, Google Analytics becomes a more powerful tool for tracking conversion rates, engaged visitors, content performance and much more. First there is one thing that I want to make clear and that's the fact that every businesses unique. In order to be able to create you own dashboards you need to dive more into Google Analytics; you need to check you account and analyze your data.

Now that you know how to get started and what you need to do to discover what dashboards you will be creating, let's have a look at some examples I use daily.
The first dashboard tells you at a glance how your site is performing in therms of visitors, how many times the visitors have completed your goals, what are your conversion rates, what content gets the most visits and who sends traffic to your website.
When creating widgets you get to choose what metrics and dimensions you will be using, if you want to filter data from that widget, a title for your widget and also you can link it to a report if you would like to do that. Next, you might want to check the top performing articles and how the bounce rate evolves for them.
Finally, you will interested to know how your traffic is broken down and what are the main sources that send you visitors so you can keep the level between organic, referrals, direct and campaigns traffic balanced. Once you check the overviews, it's time to dive more into data and check specifics for each section.
For this example I have used metric and timeline widgets to show the data that you will need to look at. Next, if you do not use event tracking already, you should look at its benefits and try to implement it. Based on those percentages I will be able to choose what kind of ads to display on my sidebar, their position, see who checks my social media profile, who gets on my RSS feed or what signup form performs best and gives me more subscribers. One really important element for any website is traffic and that's the reason why understanding who sends you traffic is gold.
This dashboard lets you see how well balanced your traffic is, what are the main sources that send you traffic and what keywords visitors use to get on your site.
Next, it's important to look at your main sources of traffic and see if you get any new entries in that list.
Also important is the organic traffic and the main keywords that people use to reach your website. While we are still here, you should also add as a secondary metric, the conversion rate in the tables so you can see not only who sends you traffic, but also who sends you traffic that converts, which is a lot more valuable if you sell products and services. In case you sell advertising and you are paid for page views, you will be fine with just traffic for now.
The Visitors Behavior dashboard will help you see the recency of your visitors, how many days passed since they last visited, what is the percentage of new vs returning visitors and how frequent they visit your site.
One action that you should take after looking at this data is to create advanced segments for visitors that come back frequently and repeatedly and analyze their behavior (where they come from, what pages they visit, what is the bounce rate for those pages).
The question I have for you is, how should FedEx respond to this reputation damaging incident? An apology from the FedEx worker responsible, perhaps with an offer to come and personally set up the new monitor. Did watching elected representatives debate SOPA last week without understanding some fundamentals of the internet rattle your nerves?
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Professors sign up for the contest and then serve as guides and mentors to their student participants throughout the competition.
Based on the performance of the campaigns and the quality of the reports, Googlers on the GOMC team and a panel of independent academics select the winning teams. The regional winners (and their professor) will win a trip to local Google offices, and the social impact award winners will be able to make donations to nonprofit organizations that were part of the GOMC competition.
But more importantly, these posts give us pause to evaluate our successes of the past and opportunities for the future, knowledge that ensures next year will be even better than the last. Just like mom was always teaching you new things, here is the mother of all end-of-the-year posts of interest to online marketers. Some of the more blatant appeals for attention often fall flat as they’re perceived as too hard-sell. On Twitter, trends by location and across the globe feature prominently on a user’s home page. I don’t know that I’d want to admit to taking advice from top video views winner Rebecca Black, but marketers can be proud that an ad made the top 10 list. Bruce’s annual SEO industry predictions will be coming to the SEO Newsletter in the new year, and with his track record, I’m very interested to peer through his crystal ball. Tuesday through Thursday here on the blog you’ll find the distilled wisdom experts shared across the country on topics including SEO, paid search, local search, social media marketing, content marketing, mobile marketing, branding, apps, conversion. To improve their chances, it's good to try other things, or do things differently once in awhile. Cartoon caption contests have a long history dating back at least to the 1930s, as can be seen in this example I found from Ballyhoo magazine. If you use a site like Elance, you will get proposals based on your initial request (which, of course, will be clear and detailed!). Does their initial response show that they actually looked at your site and understand your business?
Beware the experienced account manager who closes the deal and then instantly hands you over to the green intern. Sure, you can use the website to analyse performance but a good PPC consultant will give you a regular report with information that lets you make sensible business decisions about your campaign. Before you start, they should ask you practical business questions about your company and your goals and they should reflect this in the campaign design. Even if their fees are modest, you are giving the consultant the ability to spend your (much larger) advertising budget. You should, therefore, monitor both initiatives closely to prevent cannibalization if present. Data from your PPC campaigns can help you identify your best converting keywords which can be applied to your overall strategy.
As with keyword data, converting content from PPC may also convert well for your SEO campaign. Ecommerce landing pages can also be used in your PPC campaign to move visitors directly the page where they can purchase a product. Using both programs can enable you to share data between campaigns making both more effective.
Facebook hasn’t shown ads in the news feed since 2008, so this has big ramifications for advertisers and the user experience.
I believe that in the long run Google+ will do just fine not being a Facebook killer but rather a very real alternative for the right kind of consumer.
The deal comes after a three week period where the previous deal had expired and there was some concern (especially in Mozilla’s accounting office and board room) as to whether a new deal would be struck. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years. Well, the Business Insider’s take is that Microsoft may have reached the point where they stop shoveling gobs of shareholder profits into the mouth of the search beast whose hunger could not be met.
Even if the deal was much more expensive this time around as both companies bid up the price, Microsoft blinked first. Modern portfolio theory (MPT) is a theory of investment which attempts to maximise portfolio expected return or equivalently minimize risk for a given level of expected return, by carefully choosing the proportions of investment of various assets. The most financially astute action for individuals is to accelerate the repayment of their mortgages or move to a better deal.
Updating your creatives with your brands unique selling points, latest products and prices helps influence a searcher decision but building trust is also paramount. In the past British consumers were considered more likely to get divorced than to change their banks, but all this is changing too. Loan based products account for five out of ten of the most searched for personal finance products.
The financial term is deleveradging, which relates to the fact that it makes more financial sense to pay off debt than to save, and loan and credit card providers advertising the best terms and conditions seeing the best conversions as a result. In conjunction with the riots that took place all over the UK, and this year’s unpredictable weather, home insurance traffic increased 14% Year on year. Come back out of the nuclear bunker, take the tin foil hat off your head - all is not lost. They are searching for new deals and new products – are your search accounts ready to turn them from a searcher into a converting customer? The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc. These examples include the Nordstrom's employee who accepted a return for tires, Zappos providing surprise overnight shipping, or Gary Vaynerchuk sending a Mark Sanchez jersey to a customer, even though he sells wine. I walked into their entrance and was suddenly in front of several desks of Portent employees. Later that night Ian published a post titled How Social Media Works on Conversation Marketing. I must have subconsciously channeled years of reading books like Seth Godin's Purple Cow about the importance of being remarkable.

People are naturally compelled to reciprocate when they have been helped, like telling their friends why they should do business with you or linking to your site. Along with these new features, you can also find the ability to customize and add up to 20 dashboards to your Google Analytics account. My data is different than your data and even if my dashboards work for me, they might not work for your particular business. It contains four metric widgets that provide you the total number of visitors that visited your site in a specific time period as well as information about how many of them converted as Engaged Visitors, Readers or Subscribers to the newsletter. The most important details for you should be conversion rates and details about how visitors convert in engaged visitors, readers and subscribers over different periods of time.
This example might be tailored just for me, because I use event tracking to see how many visitors click on my ads and which signup form they use to subscribe to newsletter. A good balance for your site should be around 50% organic traffic, 25% referral traffic, 20% direct traffic and 5% campaigns and other sources. This data is really helpful because you can use it to better optimize the landing pages and get higher rankings in search engines. Additionally, you can also add there one of your goals and track goal completions or conversion rates. Use those insights to make changes on your website and try to convert more visitors to come back to your website more frequently and repeatedly. Over the course of three weeks, student teams are tasked with developing and running a successful online advertising campaign for real businesses or nonprofit organizations using Google AdWords. Professors, here is a chance to help your students sharpen their marketing skills and make a global impact! It’s nice to end the year on a light note, so enjoy the story of a poor kid who can’t get his dad to stop spamming his site. For the broader tech industry, we turn to Mashable monarch Pete Cashmore, whose constant contact with digital culture makes him just the man to call out next year’s top tech trends. As a lifelong fan and connoisseur of New Yorker style cartoons, I always believed in the power of humor not just to entertain but to enlighten. For our modern version, we worked with artists like Matthew Diffee, Emily Flake, Christoph Niemann, Danny Shanahan and Jim Woodring, who created cartoons that place characters in unusual, interesting and funny situations—all with a common twist.
But also are you able to have a sensible business conversation with them without dropping into incomprehensible jargon? You should know who is going to do the work and talk to them before you give them the assignment. If you're new to PPC advertising you may also like this 'back to basic' series: PPC for SMB.
Users won’t be able to opt out of seeing Sponsored Stories in the news feed or having their activity used in them, but they will be able to ‘x’ out individual ads.
Despite that restraint, it is likely that the initial backlash from the Facebook loons who cry foul about the injustice of ads in their free service that has changed their communications with people, will be loud and shrill. Economic turmoil has lead customers to think more about their savings options, with searches up 3% year on year. We are looking for better deal and with many banks charging a fee for their services, they are searching a number of choices before making an informed decision. On adCenter we have seen a 24% Year on year increase in loan related traffic, with payday loans seeing the most significant rise. Whilst the mainstream media may paint a very bleak picture of the current economic outlook, nearly all finance sub-verticals are seeing increased interest – and in some cases for not so obvious reasons. Delighting customers with unexpected acts of kindness doesn't have a directly measurable ROI, but often times it leads to loyal customers and evangelists who spread a story.
After a few moments of wondering how something like that would be received, I decided to do it and find out. I walked up to the first desk and told an employee that I noticed on Twitter that they were out of Diet Coke. I had just earned a link to my company's website from one of the most popular marketing blogs which has a domain authority of 70 and links from 1,674 domains according to SEOMoz. If you are proactive and go out of your way to help them, it will almost always be appreciated.
However, I suspect that you've already tried to build your own custom dashboards and ended up staring at your screen without knowing where to start. That is why I would recommend you to use my examples as starting points, to get started with building dashboards and then build your own dashboards that are customized for your business objectives and goals.
Then you will be able to look at dashboards and start creating your first dashboard based on your past activity.
And not only the conversion rates, but also the numbers of visitors that converted, so you can keep tabs on how your content engages visitors and how your subscribers list grows. The reason why I am saying this is because if you focus to get only one type of traffic you might end up with no traffic at all one day.
You know, the list of top X – trends, memes, lessons of the past year or year to come. In the spirit of ask and you shall receive, “lms,” short for “like my status,” got people comfortable with requests for like love.
Both of these characteristics make Twitter an easy service in which to identify and jump on the bandwagon of trending topics. A top channel of the year wasExpertVillage, all informative videos answering everyday questions. Of special note to marketers and online business are click-free social sharing, or social gestures, and HTML5. I have tried to connect humor to everything I do (although, I have to admit, not always successfully). This is where even a little bit of personal experience with adCenter helps because you can judge how long it would take you to do the same work. As you go on, they should ask for decisions at a business level, giving you the right information to make the choice? You’ll probably want to run a campaign across multiple channels and you need a consultant who understands them all. The ads won’t immediately appear in the mobile news feed, though Facebook is considering the idea as we discussed earlier this month. I have been a fan of Ian Lurie's Conversation Marketing blog for years and thought it would be fun and unexpected. According to a studies, people get a stronger boost in happiness from helping others rather than helping themselves. I use Tweetdeck to organize people into lists to focus on Tweets from the most relevant people. In this article I will show you how to get started building your own dashboards and five examples of dashboards that you can implement right now on your account.
In time, you will see that instead of spending at least 10 minutes every day to check your reports, you will get the same insights by looking at your dashboards in less than one minute. Other Facebook memes of the year included planking and DJ Skrillex, and trendy topics on the network included Osama Bin Laden’s death, Charlie Sheen’s wild winning wizardry, and the making of a new princess. As Twitter looked back on its year, it saw the highest spike of tweets per second in its history, as 9,000 TPS were reporting Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement.
By sharing your expertise you can build a reputation as helpful and gain leadership standing in online communities.
However, all the trends in the list point to a more personal and life-integrated tech experience, with seamless sharing and device interaction. The best cartoonists possess great insights, which they illustrate in a clever package that we can consume in seconds and yet remember for years. We've left it to you to imagine what they'd be searching for at that moment, and left the caption blank for you to fill in with your answer. I had one UK-based company want to charge me £750 a month for managing my campaign but they completely missed the point of Turbine in their proposal.
Online advertising is an endlessly evolving experiment and the best results come from testing combined with information. With cloud services getting the traction they currently are how long will Microsoft have a traditional software business to line the coffers? Look at the reports you check every day and try to get the same insights from the dashboards you create.
However, the price has to be reasonable in proportion to your overall ad spend, the expected value of sales and the cost of your own time. The same applies for referrals, which might remove the links to your site and direct traffic, which are returning visitors who will definitely not purchase your product multiple times.

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