Facebook advertising—-one more apology and still conting

Facebook got itself into another controversy regarding its ad submission guidelines, when a photo of a Canadian girl who hanged herself in April, were used in an ad for dating site.

What is even more shocking is that fact that the same girl was the subject of cyber bullying (on Facebook and other SNB) after a photo of her alleged rape was shared online.

Facebook released a statement including a line “We apologize for any harm this has caused.” They also banned the advertiser ionechat.com permanently.

The incident just raises the question and legitimacy of the self-service advertising business (which it considers as a significant advantage it boasts over its competitors) that operates on Facebook.

While this is not the first time Facebook finds itself in such situations, three months back Facebook got itself into a mess with Marks & Spencer’s over MS ads appearing next to inappropriate content. This led to MS cancelling all their adverts on FB. Similar incident happened with BskyB. 

Facebook did revise and implement lot of radical changes in their advertising operations, but like any digital advertising problems, it still is a long way before such things are sorted. 

Maybe the only way is to bring in a stricter regulation of advertisements like a television or a print medium operates with…but again who is going to bring such things under control is a big question.Even if so, how effective such measures would be useful considering the vast digital space is again a problem.


Social media rantings and brands

Unhappy customers taking their vent out on twitter is quite common, but a customer buying sponsored tweets to vent out the feeling…well, its something new.

That is exactly what a gentlemen flying the British Airways did. He was unsatisfied on the carrier’s indifference towards his lost luggage ( was actually his fathers) and decided to go ahead and actually purchase the 140 character service.     

The paid tweets are generally purchased by advertisers to reach a wider audience. The paid tweets are also given a higher prominence by twitter.He apparently paid $1000 for this. It took less than six hours for the tweets to get picked up by various media firms and garnered more than 25000+ impressions.

Ultimately, BA had to respond and sorted out the baggage issue the following morning. Readers might be aware that such ranting is not the first of it’s kind. Virgin atlantic had similar experience in 2009, with a customer sending out a complaint letter to Richard Branson on the poor food quality. Brnason himself had to intervene and invited the customer to select food and wines for future flights. 


This leaves us with few questions in our mind:-


—What are the response that a brand needs to respond to? I mean is it really worth for the brand to respond to someone with just about 6 followers?

—How does the brand ascertain that the person is a legimate guy and not a troll?

—Finally, for marketers, is social media really relevant as an interaction tool for brand and customers, rather than using the medium for advertising purposes?

What do you think?

Twitter and its latest lead generation cards

This week Twitter released its Lead Generation cards globally, which had been in limited beta from May.

Initial reports look promising with a far higher engagement metrics as against even a promoted tweets.


As the name indicates, its a tweet with lead generation enablement, which includes an interested customer sharing his email address with the advertiser right on twitter without leaving the web page or the app. This can be picked up for further nurture by the advertiser.

The engagement rates were pegged at 4.6% ( this may not sound much, but for a digital marketer, this does) as against the average of 1%- 3% seen on promoted tweets. The engagement rate be attributed to the fact that the user doesn’t need to leave Twitter.

For advertisers, setting up this just takes few minutes and the results can be downloaded on a simple CSV file.

The lead generation cards comes in as Twitters latest product suite which includes a keyword targeting product, Ad API, retargeting option,and the recent demographic targeting.

Would be interesting to see what Facebook comes up with in the following days.

The User Experience of the Internet of Things

The User Experience of the Internet of Things.


Facebook copying Twitter?

The never innovate-never grow bug seems to have caught Facebook.
Facebook seems to be drawing inspiration from Twitter.Based on a report by WSJ, Facebook seems to be testing a Trending Topic section on the news feeds of certain users.
This appears on the top-right hand side of Facebook news feed. The purpose remains same as twitter—to show the most popular keywords that people are posting on Facebook.Just to give an example, if people are talking about the rise in The Rupee v/s The $, FB shall showcase a post by your friend accompanied by a text—Indian Rupee, 500 posts about that.

Keeping a separate section specifically just to let know of what is being talked about could help in getting this popular.Click and you get to see what the public is also talking about.
Readers would be aware of the recently introduced Hashtag feature on Facebook( there were some controversies around this when introduced in June) is the base on which this trending topic is being introduced.
Integrating both the posts and Hashtag would be in the making—however the catch is how FB is going to make this look different from Twitter.
–No tentative dates were announced either on this test being completely deployed, as this is being tested with limited users in the US—  

Alternatives to Google Reader

Yup..its correct…Google Reader is no more!

Google decided to shut down its RSS reader leaving many users wondering how to subscribe to their favourite RSS feeds( btw GR wasn’t the most aesthetically designed product from California,but its still did its job).
That said, if you are looking for alternatives there are quite a few replacements. Some of them are available across devices and OS. 

The ease with which it can synch with GR was the most attractive.That besides, it brings in a lot more.
—The featured sites are quite a lot, across the globe and covers from various categories like Business, Tech, News, Cooking.
–More search friendly.
–Shareability of news across your social platforms
–Quite easiliy available as pug ins for desktops, Android and even iOS.


–More touch friendly.
–Swipe responses are surprisingly smooth with ability to swipe them up and down with ease.
–The home screen customisability was the best I loved on this reader.
–Ofcourse, feeds from your friends on facebook can also be read.


Google Currents
May not have hogged the limelight all these days due to GR, but i guess with the shutting down GC could start seeing some push in popularity.
However, similar to Flipboard, the UI has a magazine style layout making it look very sleek.
Just like GR, it allows for RSS enabled site subscription and a breaking news feature that pulls out news from the selected categories.


Very popular among the android and iOS users-they dont have a desktop version.
Again, a magazine layout lets you flip across like a magazine with ease.
Customising through several categories like News, Technology, Business and even favourite sites like Economist, Salon and Guardian possible.
However, its key strength is in its magazine layout with enormous content, allowing it for a precise customisability.

Btw..all the above mentioned are free to download.



I guess, this is what we are evolving to from an existing POE( Paid Owned and Earned) strategy.
Optimisation essentially comes from the fact that no matter how relevant or attractive your content , it needs to be optimised across multiple devices.
So marketers are trying to move away from mobile apps( which would be preferred by consumers) to a more mobile optimised website pushing content also becomes far more easier than otherwise. So one interesting trend to look forward in 2013 would be to see how apps compete with mobile optimised content.
Now moving over, this optimisation essentially leads to more personalisation. With some good data and insights, it becomes a personal experience for individuals, rather than a website designed for everyone but relates to none.In turning this out, a more accurate ROI gets defined and advertising becomes no more just plain advertising, but source for relevant information.
But, the catch is to generate these data, it depends on how much personal information one wants to give out?
So personalisation or privacy would be a question to be answered by every individual…my opinion…the more information you are willing to share, the more targeted and accurate could be the messaging. Would be interesting to see also what the government decides.
Government or no government, the end of 2013, could look lot different from 2012, with the successful ones who continue to optimise and push across for POM

Panda, Penguin and Neuromarketing

Have you regularly faced issues with regular Panda and Penguin updates?

Completely re-work your SEO strategy basis the above?
Well, you are not alone Penguin update alone affects more than 3% search queries, while Panda affected more than 12% search results. Ever since Google has started the Panda and Penguin updates, stuffing up your SEO strategy with just right keywords but low quality articles alone doesn’t guarantee a higher Google ranking.
So how do you play nice with these animals?
“Mind reading” is probably the way forward. The term Neuromarketing has been catching up with marketers over the last few years. The term Neuromarketing   is a science that’s based on the fact that more than 95% of all out thoughts, emotions occur even before we are aware of it. This essentially means, marketers are talking to only 5% of the customer’s brain.
Few of the clients who are currently using this technique include Google, Frito-Lays, Microsoft and Daimler.  
The entire logic behind how neuromarketing is built is based on the fact that our buying decisions are made in split seconds in our subconscious part of the brain and by understanding what we like/ what we don’t like based on our reaction to certain brand, marketers can design better products and communication to bridge the “unaddressed” needs.
Using these inputs, designing content that appeal to consumers, to attract the audience that you want goes a long way to ward off the Pandas and penguins. 
There have been marketers who have changed their content (those who have not changed well over a decade) based on such studies and research and have started experiencing some benefits.

Few of the Myths on SEO uncovered.

There are some misconceptions about SEO process.We can uncover few of them:-
Misconception 1:We Must Rank Number One
ClickThrough rate studies have shown, though searchers prefer the top three listing, on subsequent pages too, being listed towards the top of the pages show similar click behavior. The conclusion being, that relevant information and user-friendly listings are more valuable than just rank alone. So, no, you don’t need to rank in first place anymore to see success.
Misconception 2:Keywords Need to Be an Exact Match
Writing a heading that explains the content as clearly as possible is more important than force fitting keywords into headings and making it as awkward as possible. Also, there isn’t any single rule about “ideal keyword density”. So for anyone who is clinging onto this, there isn’t an ideal number of times you should repeat a keyword on a given page.
However, including keywords in your page title are very important- this is the only way someone knows what your page is about. The keyword should also be included in a headline on the page, ideally also within the URL, and at least once within the content.
Misconception 3:Social Media & SEO Aren’t Related at All
When SEO and Social media merge, it is referred to as “social search”…and it is becoming a real thing now a days.
To prove this, Google has been working hard with Google+ and Google Authorship. The point being, that relevant content would continue to be trusted and drive both search and social media marketing.
Prioritizing content shared by social media influencers can also go a long way in helping merge both SEO and Social Media Strategy and treating them as part of your marketing strategy rather than letting the two work in silos.
Misconception 4:The H1 Is the Most Important On-Page Element

With search engines becoming much more smarter, the relevance or the importance of H1 tag, seems to be fading. The title tag (H1, H2,H3…) is only used for styling purposes. In fact, it is simply a part of your CSS, more a designer putting together a reference style for his font styling and sizing purposes. 

The reason why it is losing importance is people have spammed this to its death. All that matters is to present your concepts up front or closer to the top of the page. Remember, you are optimizing your page for users first and foremost, which means you should want to tell them ASAP what your page is about through a clear headline.
Misconception 5:Microsites and Other Domains I Own That Link or Redirect Back to My Site Will Help My SEO
The reality is, the chances of this doing much to your ranking is very slim. Technically, it is like voting for your self a thousand times. Even after this, it is still counted as one vote. Search engines work really smart to know who owns the particular domain’s registrant is and they see it as the same person as your primary domain.
Furthermore, by setting up domain after domain after domain…your entire SEO effort is spread too thin. Optimizing each separately doesn’t make sense and it pays off on putting all your effort onto your primary domain
Misconception 6:More Links Is Better Than More Content
In bound links are important, however if there is budget, get someone to write for your website. Sometimes, when we concentrate on link building, we end up concentrating on the numbers rather than the quality of the link. It is important to attract relevant and diverse source that link to your relevant page. And once invested in content generation ( web pages, blogs, lead generation offers etc) these are all content assets that will enable you to generate more inbound links over time. Writing good content alone doenst help, but we need to ask certain questions– Are you writing with a purpose? Who is your target audience? Have you analyzed your traffic sources and top performing posts? What keywords are you targeting? If all of these sound alien to you, then you’re missing the mark, and content alone will only get you so far.

Five Key Metrics To Look On Your Site

Digital has always been perceived as the most measurable media. But most measurements are restricted to clicks and impressions–maybe a deeper insights could also throw some important take-away for marketers.

Overall Site Traffic Trends
Most of them do not pay attention to this simple metric….very simple one…its there on your analytic page. Walk ins are counted very effectively, but any visit through website hardly paid attention to. 
Site visit details could give you simple insights as to what was the percentage increase when there was a TV campaign or for that matter a print ad mentioning the URL of the clients website. Probing a bit more can also give us insights if any increase happened on the web “contact us” pages and if the phone rang a bit more.
The varied sources of visits can also be mapped and correlated. Digital marketers often tend to down play the role of  traditional media because there’s no defined click path, but actually, there is no click path either for banner campaign. The intent is the same to drive awareness and purchase intent. The available data needs to be just looked at.
Search Volume through branded keywords
Search can provide a good insight into a marketing campaign. It gets even more insightful when we start looking into branded and non branded search. The branded search traffic is always something which most of them ignore with an assumption that “people are aware of the brand”.
How people become aware of the brand is a very important as the traffic generated through branded search can also throw some insights into how successful your offline campaign was.

Conversions don’t need to be typically attached to a monetary value, but it could also be a “contact us” form submission or even a weekly newsletter signups/registrations. But, apart from these standard definition of conversions, even if you could track down visitors who moved and search for “getting direction” to your store could also be a good indicator.
The same logic of defining “hot lead” v/s “cold lead” can also be applied to these scenarios.

Traffic of Conversions
With conversions in place, it is also important to understand the audience who came through…a simple search to keyword phrases of all visitors could throw insights on what were the phrases used to reach different pages within your site.
This could also help you analyze if you need a change in keywords and pay attention to certain keywords you are not focusing on.

Referrer Sites Data
Search and regular advertising need not be the only route to reach your site. People could also come in through referrer sites.
Researching this could also give some key insights on who these audiences are by mapping the sites they came through from. Maybe a different set of audience whom you may not be reaching would have shown interest also.

Clicks may not always be the right metric for measuring the effectiveness. The right data need to be looked at much harder.

Again, these may just be the basic ones to look out for…at least for a start.