The vertical lead generation programs for credit cards, auto insurance, mortgages and travel insurance will start winding down Tuesday, February 23.Google’s lead generation product known as Google Compare, will start sunsetting this week.
In an email sent to partners and acquired by Search Engine Land, the Google Compare Team told Compare partners on Monday night that the product will start to wind down on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. Google Compare will shut down completely in both the US and UK — the two markets where Compare is offered — one month later on March 23.
The email to Compare partners:
From: Google Compare Team
Subject: An Update on Google Compare
Beginning on February 23, 2016, we will start ramping down the Google Compare product, which is currently live in both the US and UK. We plan to terminate the service as of March 23, 2016. As you know, Google Compare (formerly Google Advisor in the U.S.) has been a specialized, standalone service that enables consumers to get quotes from a number of providers for financial products such as car and travel insurance, credit cards and mortgages.
Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for. We greatly appreciate your partnership and understand that this decision will be disappointing to some. But after a lot of careful consideration, we’ve decided that focusing more intently on AdWords and future innovations will enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment.
We’re grateful for all the feedback that you have provided over the course of this product’s development, and we are looking forward to partnering with you to achieve greater success in the future.
We will work with you during this transition and beyond. Please reach out to your Google representative if you have any questions and to discuss the next steps.
The Google Compare Team
Google has confirmed the email’s authenticity.
The company only recently began rebuilding the Compare product from the ashes of the Advisor program in the US. The single piece left standing from that initial effort was the credit card offering — savings accounts, CDs and mortgages had all discontinued. Compare for Auto Insurance launched just last March, starting in California. Then Google relaunched Compare for Mortgage quotes in November with Zillow and Lending Tree among the launch partners. Both of those relaunches had limited roll outs. In the UK, Google Compare has been running since 2012 for car insurance, mortgage rates, credit cards and travel insurance.
A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land that while searches on these queries remained high, the product didn’t get the traction it hoped for and revenue was minimal. That’s in part due to the limited availability of the products in both the US and the UK.
In the UK, the Compare product also came under scrutiny in 2014 by the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK financial services industry regulator, when comparison sites complained Google was competing unfairly by placing its own product at the top of the search results. However, any legal concerns did not play a role in the decision to close Compare, we’re told.
What’s next? Google says the focus will primarily be on AdWords and transitioning partners to standard ad products. However, it may still focus on the space and look at new product avenues.
While the move will come as a surprise to many outside the company, apparently internally this decision to terminate Compare is not coming as a shock. The Google spokesperson said the company will help Googlers currently working on Compare find new roles within the company.
The FBI is pressuring Apple to help the agency bypass the iPhone’s security features to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s smartphone. Here’s Mark Cuban’s thoughts on the matter.
Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the basketball team the Dallas Mavericks, says Apple is doing the right thing by refusing to build special software to help the FBIunlock an iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists who carried out the mass shooting in San Bernardino in 2015.
Using a 227-year-old law, the FBI is demanding that Apple write a new version of its iPhone operating system to help the agency bypass the encryption security features in the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Dec. 2. But Apple has refused to build the backdoor, explaining in a letter released to the public this week that the new iOS program could have disastrous effects on the privacy of every iPhone user.
In a blog post, Cuban writes that if Apple complies with the FBI’s demands it could start rolling down a “slippery slope of lost privacy.” The FBI says it just wants a one-off program to decrypt the locked iPhone, but Apple says once the ability to decrypt an iPhone is created it could be used to unlock any iPhone user’s phone–effectively opening a Pandora’s box that could never be closed.
Cuban says the potential for abuse could threaten the privacy millions of people.
“Every tool that protects our privacy and liberties against oppression, tyranny, madmen and worse can often be used to take those very precious rights from us. But like we protect our 2nd Amendment Right [sic], we must not let some of the negatives stand in the way of all the positives. We must stand up for our rights to free speech and liberty,” Cuban writes.
The major sticking point is that no law exists that would compel a company to write software to crack its own encrypted software, so the FBI is using the All Writs Act of 1789, which George Washington signed during the creation of the federal court system. The Act is a vague catch-all that empowers courts to issue orders even though a law doesn’t exist yet.
Apple is framing the FBI’s use of the law as a dangerous precedent, reminiscent of the NSA’s mass surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden.
“If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data,” Tim Cook wrote in a customer letter. “The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
But Cuban has an answer. Cuban admits he is not one to propose more laws, but he says the All Writs Act is dangerously vague and could lead to the wholesale loss of our nation’s privacy. His answer is to create a new law specifically tailored to this unique situation, which was created by the fact that technology moves faster than law. Check out Cuban’s proposed law below:
“A company can only be compelled to remove any type of security or encryption from a smartphone or tablet, and only a smartphone or tablet, under the following circumstances:
1. There has been an event, with casualties, that has beendeclared an Act of Terrorism
2. There is reason to believe that the smartphone was possessed by a participant in the Act of Terrorism.
3. The smartphone must have been on premise during the event.
4. The terrorist who was in possession of the smartphone or tablet must be deceased.”
As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing. Today’s post provides a high-level view of App Store Optimization, and gives tips on how to break into the rapidly expanding world of apps.
How to Optimize for App Store Search Engines
Let’s dive into search in the app stores, and how the search engines differ based on platform.
First things first; remember I mentioned that the app ecosystem reminds me of the web in the mid-to-late 90’s? Keep that picture in your head when you think of search. App store search hasn’t been “figured out” in the same way that Google “figured out” search on the web. Simply put, we’re still in AltaVista mode in the app ecosystem: something better than Yahoo’s directory provided, but not incredibly sophisticated like Google would become in a few more years.
Just like the web has on-page and off-page SEO, apps have on-metadata and off-metadata ASO. On-metadata ASO include factors totally within your control and are often things dealing with your app store presence. Off-metadata ASO include factors that might not be entirely in your control, but which you can still influence. Here are a few of the most important knobs and levers that you as a marketer can turn to affect your search performance, and some quick tips on how to optimize them.
An app’s title is the single most important metadata factor for rank in ASO. It’s equivalent to the <title> tag in your HTML, and is a great signal to the app stores as to what your app is about. On the web, you want your title to include both a description of what you do (including keywords) as well as some branding; both elements should also exist in the app store. Be sure to include the keywords, but don’t be spammy. Make sure it parses well and makes sense. Example: “Strava Run – GPS Running, Training and Cycling Workout Tracker”
Patrick Haig, our VP of Customer Success, likes to break descriptions down into two sections: above the fold and below the fold (sound familiar?). He says, “Above the fold language should be 1-2 sentences describing the app and its primary use case, and below the fold should have a clear and engaging feature set and social proof.” We’ll dig into some of the differences about the description field across platforms below.
The Keyword Field in iOS is a 100 character field which you can use to tell iTunes search for which keywords you should show up. Since you only get 100 characters, you must use them wisely. A few tips:
- When choosing your keywords, just like on the web, focus on relevancy, search volume, and difficulty.
- Don’t use multiple word phrases; break out to individual words (Apple can combine them for you).
- Don’t repeat keywords that are already in your title (and put the most important ones in your title, leaving the keyword field for your secondary keywords).
- Separate keywords with commas, and don’t use spaces anywhere.
Consumers are finicky. They want apps which are beautiful, elegant, and simple to understand. Your icon is often their first interaction with your app, so ensure that it does a great job conveying your brand, and the elegance and usefulness of your app. Remember, in search results, an icon is one of the only ways you can convey your brand and usefulness. Think of it as part of the meta description tag you’d create in SEO. For example, SoundCloud does a great job with their icon and branding.
The most important rule to remember when creating your screenshots is that they should not be screenshots. They are, instead, promotional graphics. That means you can include text or other graphics to tell your app’s story in an interesting, visual way.
Especially in iOS, where the card layout shows your first screenshot, it is incredibly helpful when an app displays a graphic which explains the app right up front, increasing conversions from search results to viewing the app page and, ultimately, installing the app.
The best app marketers also use their
screenshotspromotional graphics together to create a flow that carries the user through the story. Each graphic can build off the previous graphic, giving the user a reason to continue scrolling and learning about your app.
Here’s a great example of using the screenshots effectively by our friends at Haiku Deck.
Outside of your direct control, you’ll also want to focus on a few things to ensure the best performance in ASO.
Every app has a rating. Your job as a marketer is to ensure that your app gets a great overall rating. Rating is directly tied to performance in app store search, which leads us to believe that rating is a factor in app store search rankings.
Similar to ratings, you want to ensure that the reviews your users write about your app are positive. These reviews will help increase your conversion rate from app page views to downloads.
For a great product to help you increase your rating and reviews, check out Apptentive.
This is discussed further below, but suffice it to say, link building to your app’s page in the app store matters for Google Play apps. Given you all are SEOs, you know all about how to rock this!
How Do iOS and Google Play Differ In App Store Search?
The differences in the platforms mean that there are different levers to pull depending on the platform. Google Play and iOS act completely independently, and often, quite differently. The differences are wide-ranging, but what are a couple of the main differences?
In general, the way to think about the differences is that Google is Google and Apple is Apple. Duh, right? Google has the built the infrastructure and technology to learn from the web and use many different data points to make a decision. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t have indexes of the web, and comes from a background in media. When in doubt, imagine what you’d do if you were each of them and had the history each of them has.
Here are a couple concrete examples.
Description versus Keywords
In iOS, there’s a keywords field. It’s easy to see where this came from, especially when you think of iTunes’ background in music: a song has a title (app title), musician (developer name), and then needs a few keywords to describe the song (“motown,” “reggae,” etc.). When Apple launched their app store, they used the same technology that was already built for music, which meant that the app title, developer name, and keywords were the only fields used to understand search for an app. Note that description isn’t taken into account in iOS (but I expect this to change soon).
On the other hand, there is no keyword field in Google Play; there is only a description field. Thus, while iOS doesn’t take the description into account, in Google Play the description is all you have, so be sure to do exactly the same as you do on the web: cater your content towards your keywords, without being spammy.
Leveraging PageRank in Google Play
Another big difference in iOS and Google Play is that Google has access to PageRank and the link graph of the web, while Apple does not. Thus, Google will take into account the inbound links to your app’s detail page (for example, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.symantec.mobilesecurity) as a factor in Google Play search, while Apple has no such factor.
How To Measure Success In App Marketing
It’s very difficult to measure success in app marketing in the same way you can measure success in web marketing. This is especially true when you’re working with inbound channels. It’s still early, but it’s continuously getting better, with more tools and services coming out all the time to help marketers understand success. Here are some of the ways I recommend measuring success in the app store today:
Just like on the web, a great way to measure your success in app store search is to track your ranking for specific search terms you care about over time and versus your competition. Rank tracking is incredibly valuable for ASOs to understand their progress.
Top Charts, especially Top Charts within a particular category, do a great job of allowing you to understand your success in relation to the rest of the apps in your category.
Ratings and Reviews
Just as ratings and reviews will help your ASO, they are also great metrics to track over time for how you’re doing with your app marketing. Keep track of what users are saying, how they’re saying it (pro tip: listening to their language is a great way to do keyword research!), and what they’re rating your app.
Taking it one step further, correlating your search rankings to downloads will allow you to understand the effect your increased ASO is having on your app performance. One way we do this is to integrate with iTunes Connect and overlay your search rankings with your downloads so you can visually see how closely related any one keyword is with your downloads. It’s not perfect, but it helps!
Conversion and Revenue
At the end of the day, revenue is the most important metric you should be understanding. Of course, you should be tracking your revenue and doing the same correlation with search performance. In addition, you should watch your conversion rate over time; we often see apps whose conversion rate soars with an increase in ASO because the users are so much more engaged with the app.
Tools And Resources To Use To Help With App Marketing
To conclude this post, I want to quickly talk about some tools and resources to use to help your app marketing process.
Sylvain has written some great content and has some incredible insights into app marketing and ASO on his company’s (Apptamin) blog.
I mentioned Apptentive above, and they really are the best way I know to impact your ratings and reviews, and get great feedback from customers in the process.
In addition to having a great, free, in-app analytics product (Flurry Analytics), as well as an interesting paid advertising product (AppCircle), Flurry also posts some of the most interesting data about the app ecosystem on their blog.
If you’re looking to obtain some amount of attribution for your paid advertising (inbound can’t be split out, sorry!), MobileAppTracking is where it’s at. It allows you to understand which paid channels are performing best for you based on the metric of your choosing. Best of all, you only pay for what you use.
This is, of course, a shameless promotion. That said, our product is a great way to understand your performance in app store search, help you do keyword research, and give you competitive intelligence. We offer a free (forever!) tool for Indie developers and scale all the way up to the largest Enterprise customers.
Now It’s Your Turn–> Visit the link below to get the full list to help guide you along your optimization way!
The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel will finally do battle on March 25, with Samsung possibly cooking up a special-edition Galaxy S7 Edge to commemorate the occasion, reports South Korean outlet Naver.
According to the publication, Samsung will launch a Batman v Superman edition of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which will reportedly be decked out with wallpaper, ringtone, and a design based on the movie. However, Samsung allegedly won’t stop there, as the South Korean outfit will also release other special variants of the Galaxy S7 and its curved-edge equal. They include one inspired by the 2016 Winter Olympics, while another will reportedly be done in collaboration with a popular South Korean singer.
Related: Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge rumors and news
Samsung has yet to confirm or deny the existence of any of these special-edition smartphones, let alone the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge themselves. However, it wouldn’t be the first time Samsung ventured into the world of special-edition handsets, as the company released the Iron Man limited edition Galaxy S6 Edge last May.
If the three aforementioned limited editions are anything like the Iron Man smartphone, however, they will be pricey and they will be available in very limited quantities. Not only were there only 1,000 Iron Man Galaxy S6 Edge units made, but they were so expensive that one Amazon reviewer wrote he sold his genitalia, left foot, and wife on the black market just to get one. Grim stuff.
Regardless, this makes us wonder what the Batman v Superman Galaxy S7 Edge would even look like. Even though The Avengers: Age of Ultron contained multiple superheroes, Samsung and Marvel opted to go with Iron Man, so it will be interesting to see who Samsung and DC Comics roll with. Our money’s on Batman, since Samsung isn’t exactly known for releasing smartphones with outlandish colors, such as a Superman edition would require, but my personal pick is Wonder Woman, who also has a starring role in the movie.
Also watch: Samsung Galaxy S7 could get upstaged by 360-degree VR cam
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g reportedly looks to continue its release of limited edition smartphones by releasing a special edition Batman v. Superman Galaxy S7.
Terminology changes come with some new functionality, including the ability to set different CPA targets at the ad group level within the same bid strategy.
Google is going to be rolling out a revamp of AdWords automated bidding. Some of the changes are just semantic, but the workflow is also getting an update.
First the naming changes:
- Flexible strategies will be called “portfolio” bid strategies. The change is meant to better indicate that a single strategy can be applied across multiple campaigns, ad groups — and keywords, in some cases.
- A strategy that is applied to a single campaign is called a “standard” bid strategy.
- Conversion Optimizer will be called Target CPA for all new bid strategies to simplify the nomenclature. Target CPA can still be applied as a “standard” or a “portfolio” bid strategy.
Now for the functionality updates:
- Managers will be able to create or add to bidding strategies from the Campaigns Setting tab — no more need to dive into the Shared Library.
- Portfolio bid strategies for Target CPA can have different CPA goals for separate ad groups. “For example, if you’re a clothing retailer with multiple ‘Accessories’ ad groups in a bidding portfolio, you may want to set a lower CPA target for ‘Socks’ compared to other product categories with higher average order value.”
Note that Portfolio bid strategies can not be applied to video or universal app campaigns
In December, Google added new reporting features for automated bidding. These latest updates will start showing up in accounts over the next few weeks.
W I R E D just released a pretty cool article about Google Search’s artificial intelligence. Will “Deep Learning” be the 2016 buzz word?
YESTERDAY, THE 46-YEAR-OLD Google veteran who oversees its search engine, Amit Singhal, announced his retirement. And in short order, Google revealed that Singhal’s rather enormous shoes would be filled by a man named John Giannandrea. On one level, these are just two guys doing something new with their lives. But you can also view the pair as the ideal metaphor for a momentous shift in the way things work inside Google—and across the tech world as a whole.
Read the rest of the article at W I R E D
Great article by Search Engine Land explaining the Google Grant program and how advertising can be used to fight radicalism.
A story coming out of the UK today suggested that Google might be preparing to alter search results, triggered by “extremist” queries, and “divert” users to anti-extremist or anti-radical content and sites instead. Fighting extremism is desirable but the notion of altering search content to serve political objectives is a troubling prospect.
Fortunately that’s not what’s happening.
Articles in The Guardian and The Telegraph implied that organic results would be changed to remove or suppress radical content sources. Accordingly there was a brief discussion internally at Search Engine Land about whether Google might suppress otherwise non-radical information if it might be used in furtherance of radical objectives.
Would Google, for example, censor results where queries had bomb-making implications (e.g., fertilizer)? It turns out, however, that Google isn’t doing anything like what we imagined or what was suggested. Google is simply giving away ad credits to organizations that fight extremism.
It’s only about ads.
We were able to confirm from Google that the pilot program referenced in the articles involves Google AdWords Grants for non-profit organizations. Under the AdWords Grants program qualifying non-profits/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receive $10,000 worth of AdWords credits each month if they meet certain criteria.
NGOs that promote anti-radicalization would be able to use those credits to advertise against extremist queries. This is essentially no different than any advertiser selecting keywords for ad targeting on Google. The company is simply enabling these organizations to participate in the AdWords Grants program.
It’s not entirely clear what caused the confusion or ambiguity that appeared in the articles.
Hey Relax folks! The Google change this past weekend was just a core update, nothing penguin related.
Gary Illyes from Google said on Twitter this morning that the weekend fluctuations were “core algorithm” and “not Penguin.”
Many webmasters are waiting for a Google Penguin update, and we are expecting it to happen early this year. So when we see major fluctuations, some are quick to say it is Penguin.
But Google is telling us this is not Penguin but rather just common core ranking algorithm updates.
By SYDNEY EMBER, NY Times
March 18, 2015
The country’s largest marketers are slashing their advertising budgets as they shift a larger portion of their spending to digital, according to new figures released on Wednesday.
The 10 biggest advertisers cut spending by 4.2 percent in 2014, to $15.3 billion from $16 billion a year earlier, according to the latest report from Kantar Media, a research firm owned by the advertising conglomerate WPP. Procter & Gamble, the top advertiser, lowered its ad spending in 2014 by 14.4 percent, bringing its expenditures to $2.6 billion, the report showed. Read more