Archives for posts with tag: marketing

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Wpromote, the online marketing firm for which I work, just launched their new website and it’s stunning. Sure, I’m probably biased but I am really impressed with what our guys were able to accomplish.

Special thanks to Jamie, Jenny, Marcy, and Becky in Marketing for the way it looks and to Ryan and Kevin in programming for how well it works. We’re lucky to have such a talented team!

[Update: Wpromote's team just landed an amazing wedding infographic on the Huffington Post! Check it out!]

I just wanted to take a moment to give kudos to the creative minds at Wpromote behind some recent infographics. If you’re unaware of what an infographic is, you can read more about them here. They’re essentially just visual displays of data in a fun and digestible format. They take a lot of research and talent to create and our team (especially Ryan and Michelle) does a wonderful job.

Check out some of their latest work below!

California Wine infographic from ONEHOPE Wine
Presented By ONEHOPE Wine Online Fifty Percent of Profits Go To Charity

distracted driving infographic from ifa auto insurance
Presented By IFA Auto Insurance

Small Business Concerns Study 2011-2012 , California Bank and Trust
Presented By California Bank and Trust Small Business Banking

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Microsoft has decided to join us all in the year 2005 and acknowledge that not everyone in the universe is still using Internet Explorer by opening up their adCenter user interface to Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the rest of us have moved on to 2012 since then, and 2012 is a very different world than 2005. Internet Explorer usage has been plummeting over those years and it has become pure folly to ignore browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari. One might think that Microsoft would want to make it easy for advertisers to give them money, regardless of browser, but this notion has eluded Microsoft since the inception of adCenter. While every other website on the planet, including Microsoft properties like Bing.com, took pains to become compatible with every browser, adCenter remained off limits to those without Internet Explorer for years. That includes the entire population of Mac users! 

I'm glad to see Microsoft making these strides but it really does seem like very little very late. I wonder what woke them up to the fact that they couldn't bully Chrome/Firefox/Safari users? Maybe it was when they noticed that Apple does more business with just the iPhone than Microsoft does with everything! Whatever it was, I hope that this is only the first in a series of improvements to adCenter, a platform that is still playing catchup to Yahoo's Panama, which was playing catchup to AdWords when Microsoft decided to sunset it in 2010.
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It wasn't all her fault, but Carol Bartz's resignation as CEO of Yahoo likely will be remembered as the final straw that broke the back of the once-great Internet company. Bartz oversaw the deal that essentially gifted Yahoo's search revenue stream to Microsoft and abandoned future search ambitions by allowing its engine to be powered by Bing. Bartz was dealt a really difficult hand by the former custodians of Yahoo but her direction for the company seemed flawed from the start. From all of her rhetoric, it was clear from the outset that she did not hold search as a particularly important aspect of Yahoo's holdings and she doubled down on display advertising efforts. In my opinion, this was a big mistake.

When Bartz took over, people in my business talked about Google, Yahoo and Microsoft–in that order–when discussing the search landscape. Google was the juggernaut but Yahoo was the company that first began to invest in building out a revenue model to accompany their popular search engine. Yahoo purchased Overture, they rebranded it, they relaunched it, they tailored it, they supported it and, ultimately, under Bartz's stewardship, they discarded it. Now, when people talk about search, they mention Google and Bing; Yahoo very justly doesn't enter the conversation. It's a shame that Yahoo has suffered this fate when they were once so innovative or, at least, so good at recognizing innovative companies to acquire and paths to pursue. 

There is clearly room for two or more players in the field of search; it's sad that Yahoo lost its footing in that field without even putting up a fight. I wish the best of luck to Bart, to the company that she's leaving and to the company that lands with. She's an extremely capable person by all accounts that just didn't have the right tools or ideas to save Yahoo. I hope that this isn't the last we'll hear from Yahoo but it's going to be even tougher for Bartz's successor to turn the company around than it was for her. [Forbes]

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If anyone out there has an interest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), please go check out Wpromote's new, free SEO audit tool. I'm really proud of all the people who helped create this tool and I hope that people will find it useful when trying to figure out where their websites stand in the eyes of the search engines. The tool has been honed for months but I know that the SEO team at Wpromote would welcome suggestions. If you have any ideas as to what could be added to the tool, feel free to post a comment here or to email Wpromote directly at contact@wpromote.com. Thanks!

1) First of all, I recently joined Google+. If you’re wondering what Google+ is, I will refer you to the incredibly witty webcomic, xkcd, which sums it up perfectly:

As soon as I’m allowed to invite people, I’ll do my best to get my friends on. For now, it’s a little lonely on Google+ but I must say, the Circles feature is really cool. Facebook, take a note!

2) Second of all, I saw this ad on Reddit today wherein a girl’s boyfriend charms everyone at the table. I have to admit, I found myself charmed as well! See if it has the same effect on you!

Good advertising… it really makes you hate bad advertising, doesn’t it? I’m looking at you, Ed-u-ca-tion Con-nec-tion!

3) Third of all, it’s been over a month since I posted anything at all! I’m really slipping and Google seems to have noticed. MichaelBlock.org has fallen to a PR1! Oh, the shame! I’ve got to get back on the posting horse and ride. More posting will be coming more often, whether you like it or not!

PS: I’m totally ripping Petros & Money with the “Three Things Thursday” motif. Hope they don’t mind!
PPS: If you didn’t see my article on Google Search by Image in the Wpromote blog, please check it out.

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How do you get people to advertise on a seemingly outdated medium like billboards? That’s easy, send an ultimatum! In this case the ultimatum is a naked fat guy. If this ploy isn’t effective at getting people to replace such a ghastly image with a nice, clean advertisement it’s at least effective at being hilarious and producing some buzz. This is one of the reasons why advertising is so interesting. No medium of advertising should ever truly be considered “dead” as long as there are creative types who “get it” working at traditional marketing firms.

This set of billboards from the Netherlands is a perfect example of a billboard having far more reach than simply the highways and apartments that it overlooks. I would wager that this will have a greater effect in its life as a viral piece than as a physical piece in the real world. We’ve all seen sites dedicated to creative billboards; this just happens to be the funniest one that I’ve seen out of the lot that I can remember. Great job to the folks at Interbest for not only showing that billboard ads can be fun but that they can also be just as effective online as offline. [CreativeCriminals via Reddit]
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Kudos to the folks over at Level343 for putting together such a simple and informative infographic detailing the history of Google and its fickle algorithm. The "Google Dance" used to describe the shake up of the search results caused by tweets and adjustments to Google's search algorithm which is constantly being updated to improve results. This infographic makes the progression nice and easy to understand without being inundated with junky imagery. Great job!

[Level343 via SearchEngineLand]

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“We’re #2! We’re #2!”

That’s the chant coming out of Seattle or, at least, it should be. Bing is officially the second most popular search engine in the US, overtaking Yahoo according to a recent report from BusinessWire. This is big news for Microsoft, which has been pushing Bing through multi-multi-multi-million dollar ad campaigns since, well… forever. Of course, Bing overtaking Yahoo is actually something of a mixed blessing because both engines have been serving up Bing results (which also serves up Google results) for some time now. Still, congrats are in order for Bing. Hopefully, this accomplishment will cause Microsoft to take more interest in search and dedicate more resources to to improving adCenter, which still lags way behind AdWords in terms of usability, options and technology. Even if it results in Bing trying to innovate on the search end, that would be good news for consumers and haters of monopolies. 

Remember, even though Bing leaves a lot to be desired when compared to Google in many ways, it’s still the only thing standing between Google and a near perfect monopoly of the US search market. And if you think Google is scary now, imagine Google without competition. On second thought, don’t. Despite this news, the future is still very bright for Google. Unless Microsoft really pushes ingenuity with Bing on the user and advertiser side, you may only have to wait a few years before Google wins out for real.

[BusinessWire via Lifehacker]

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Yesterday morning, Aaron Kronis, Wpromote’s SEO Evangelist, sent me a fascinating article about JCPenney’s rise and fall in the Google organic search results. I really suggest reading it if you have any interest in the dangers of black hat practices in search engine optimization. What struck me as most interesting, though, wasn’t the article itself but the very limited amount of space that the NY Times dedicated to actual news. Check out the image above and refer to the key below to classify the delegation of space on the page:

Red = Ads
Orange = Internal linking
Blue = Social network linking
Purple = Absurdly giant image
Green = Actual news article

Using this image as a guide, it would seem that the NY Times dedicated less than 9% of the real estate on the page above the fold to the actual article that I was trying to read. This estimate is fairly generous, as my monitor is pretty darn big. According to Google’s handy Browser Size tool, less than 10% of users would even be able to see the first line of text in the article without scrolling down.

I have no way of knowing how many people were as put off as I was by this–maybe that number is very small–but I can’t imagine that presenting information in this confusing package is good for the user experience. I’ve been tired of all the junk on content sites for long enough that I’ve downloaded Readability, which presents that same article like this, and does so for free. I highly recommend that anyone interested in getting their news in a more legible, less busy package invest the zero dollars it costs to download Readability right away.

I have nothing against ads or optimizing a site as much to impress Google as the actual user. In fact, my livelihood depends on both. I do object, though, when design focuses solely on these two issues and ignores the user experience altogether. The most valuable asset that the NY Times has is the content generated by its reporters. To dedicate so much real estate to ancillary assets seems counterintuitive to me. Without knowing what the analytics account for the NY Times looks like, though, I can only speculate at whether this strategy is hurting or paying off. I just know that for my experience, I’m going to continue to actively remove all excess content through the use of applications like Readability. If more and more users agree with me, it could lower the page views per visit, decrease the interaction with ads and ultimately harm the NY Times in their ability to brand their content.

After all, everything looks the same on Readability. This writeup which I envisioned being a editorial on the JC Penney story ended up being an endorsement for a third party reading application. The more people who are turned off by the way the NY Times presents its content, the more difficult it will be for the NY Times to leverage that content and stay competitive in the increasingly digital world of reporting the news. 
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