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In many cases, it is OK to show slightly different content on different devices. For example, optimizing the smaller space of a smartphone screen can mean that some content, like images, will have to be modified. Or you might want to store your website’s menu in a navigation drawer (find documentation here) to make mobile browsing easier and more effective. When implemented properly, these user-centric modifications can be understood very well by Google.
The situation is similar when it comes to mobile-only redirect. Redirecting mobile users to improve their mobile experience (like redirecting mobile users from example.com/url1 to m.example.com/url1) is often beneficial to them. But redirecting mobile users sneakily to a different content is bad for user experience and is against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
A frustrating experience: The same URL shows up in search results pages on desktop and on mobile. When a user clicks on this result on their desktop computer, the URL opens normally. However, when clicking on the same result on a smartphone, a redirect happens and an unrelated URL loads.
Who implements these mobile-only sneaky redirects?
There are cases where webmasters knowingly decide to put into place redirection rules for their mobile users. This is typically a webmaster guidelines violation, and we do take manual action against it when it harms Google users’ experience (see last section of this article).
But we’ve also observed situations where mobile-only sneaky redirects happen without site owners being aware of it:
- Advertising schemes that redirect mobile users specifically
A script/element installed to display ads and monetize content might be redirecting mobile users to a completely different site without the webmaster being aware of it.
- Mobile redirect as a result of the site being a target of hacking
In other cases, if your website has been hacked, a potential result can be redirects to spammy domains for mobile users only.
How do I detect if my site is doing sneaky mobile redirects?
- Check if you are redirected when you navigate to your site on your smartphone
We recommend you to check the mobile user experience of your site by visiting your pages from Google search results with a smartphone. When debugging, mobile emulation in desktop browsers is handy, mostly because you can test for many different devices. You can, for example, do it straight from your browser in Chrome, Firefox or Safari (for the latter, make sure you have enabled the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” feature).
- Listen to your users
Your users could see your site in a different way than you do. It’s always important to pay attention to user complaints, so you can hear of any issue related to mobile UX.
- Monitor your users in your site’s analytics data
Unusual mobile user activity could be detected by looking at some of the data held in your website’s analytics data. For example, looking at the average time spent on your site by your mobile users could be a good signal to watch: if all of a sudden, your mobile users (and only them) start spending much less time on your site than they used to, there might be an issue related to mobile redirections.
To be aware of wide changes in mobile user activity as soon as they happen, you can for example set up Google Analytics alerts. For example, you can set an alert to be warned in case of a sharp drop in average time spent on your site by mobile users, or a drop in mobile users (always take into account that big changes in those metrics are not a clear, direct signal that your site is doing mobile sneaky redirects).
I’ve detected sneaky redirects for my mobile users, and I did not set it up: what do I do?
- Make sure that your site is not hacked.
Check the Security Issues tool in the Search Console, if we have noticed any hack, you should get some information there.
Review our additional resources on typical symptoms of hacked sites, and our case studies on hacked sites.
- Audit third-party scripts/elements on your site
If your site is not hacked, then we recommend you take the time to investigate if third-party scripts/elements are causing the redirects. You can follow these steps:
A. Remove one by one the third-party scripts/elements you do not control from the redirecting page(s).
B. Check your site on a mobile device or through emulation between each script/element removal, and see when the redirect stops.
C. If you think a particular script/element is responsible for the sneaky redirect, consider removing it from your site, and debugging the issue with the script/element provider.
Last Thoughts on Sneaky Mobile Redirects
It’s a violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines to redirect a user to a page with the intent of displaying content other than what was made available to the search engine crawler (more information on sneaky redirects). To ensure quality search results for our users, the Google Search Quality team can take action on such sites, including removal of URLs from our index. When we take manual action, we send a message to the site owner via Search Console. Therefore, make sure you’ve set up a Search Console account.
Be sure to choose advertisers who are transparent on how they handle user traffic, to avoid unknowingly redirecting your own users. If you are interested in trust-building in the online advertising space, you may check out industry-wide best practices when participating in ad networks. For example, the Trustworthy Accountability Group’s (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Inventory Quality Guidelines are a good place to start. There are many ways to monetize your content with mobile solutions that provide a high quality user experience, be sure to use them.
If you have questions or comments about mobile-only redirects, join us in our Google Webmaster Support forum.
Written by Vincent Courson & Badr Salmi El Idrissi, Search Quality team
Originally Posted on the Adometry M2R Blog
For as many dollars organizations invest in marketing, it never ceases to amaze me how many of those organizations are willing to make guesses about how effectively those dollars are being used. Even when those guesses are educated, they can be way off. We live in a world where data-driven attribution can take the guesswork out of your marketing program to gain a clear and comprehensive view into the customer journey.
It can be intimidating to get started with data-driven attribution. Many marketers are already inundated with data from marketing mix modeling, real-time bidding, website analytics, CRM and more. But the genius of data-driven attribution is that it makes all that other data better, more relevant and actionable to improve the bottom line.
With our Definitive Guide to Data-Driven Attribution, we’ve laid out just how your organization can approach marketing attribution. We’ve made it easy to understand what data-driven attribution does, how it fits in with what you’re already doing and how to get started.
What Is Attribution and What Are the Benefits?
Let’s start with the basics. There are a number of basic models such as first touch, last touch, even and custom attribution. Those models offer general answers across a basic marketing mix, but they fail to provide the true value of each marketing asset as the marketing campaigns get more complex. Today’s cross-channel marketers need a more scientific approach.
Data-driven attribution models use sophisticated algorithms to determine which touch points are the most influential. That means marketers can see the benefits of each touch point and adjust future spending to maximize results.
How Does Data-Driven Attribution Fit into my Analytics Toolset?
Odds are you’re already collecting a ton of marketing and advertising data. That’s great! Data-driven attribution doesn’t replace that information. It greatly enhances it.
As an example, let’s look at marketing mix modeling. At the end of a campaign, you look back and assess performance. With data-driven attribution, you can accurately see how each tactic performed so you can plan better for the next campaign. Extending that to the next step, accurate attribution gives you insight that your real-time bidding partners can use to buy top performing ad placements.
Another example is your CRM. As you gain customers, your CRM captures transaction, contact and segment data, but CRMs tend to focus more on customer service and support, not marketing. And although CRMs track multiple channels, they look at lower-funnel activities and offer limited visibility into acquisition and cross-channel marketing in non-direct channels. CRM data is an input that can feed your data-driven attribution solution to yield a more complete picture of customer behavior.
As the graphic above shows (and details more within the guide), data-driven attribution ties all of your other marketing analytics together and improves what you’ve been getting from each one.
Data-driven solutions vary. To get the benefits, you’ll need to ask the right questions about your organization, solidify the right budgets and motivate the right people. In the guide we outline five key steps to getting started.
- Define Goals: Consider your current pain points and business goals. Determine the value that all of your marketing activities must deliver for the business and take a holistic view of the data-driven changes you’ll make to meet those goals. That will help determine marketing’s impact on revenue so you can formulate budgets that will yield the highest returns.
- Justify Budget: The right solution will pay for itself by creating cross-department efficiencies and increasing the return on each marketing investment, but change can be difficult. Check out the full Definitive Guide for a real-world budgeting exercise to help you promote the benefits of data-driven attribution to key stakeholders.
- Be Selective: There are a number of attribution providers. Evaluate them by asking the right questions about their ease of implementation, breadth of services, methodology, capabilities and technology roadmap. Can they handle your data? How will they work with your existing partners, including your ad agency? Do they provide a consultative partnership? Is their model data-driven or rules-based? Are they media agnostic? How is their model validated? Can they measure online and offline activities? How do they account for multi-screen customer journeys? How often do they upgrade their solution?
- Get Prepared: Picking a provider is a good start, but you also must get ready for integration. Prepare both human and data resources to hit the ground running. Evaluating data readiness and preparing stakeholders ahead of time will help you determine how much support you’ll need during implementation.
- Evaluate Success: Your stakeholders will be more invested in driving success with data-driven attribution if they can envision what success looks like, and concretely evaluate whether goals are being achieved. Show them the way. Leverage your goals to evaluate your provider’s performance on marketing performance, enterprise ability, ease and flexibility, quality of output, total cost of ownership and an innovative roadmap.
There’s no doubt that today’s marketers need better performance measures to know whether they are producing the best results for the organization. Data-driven attribution requires investment on the front end, but it pays big rewards that will have you asking why you didn’t take the plunge sooner.
We encourage you to dive deeper to help your organization understand the true benefits and implications of data driven attribution through our definitive guide.
AlfaStrakhovanie LLC is one of Russia’s largest insurance companies, and they need a way to measure all the complexities of an insurance business in an online platform. For example, insurance companies can only count profit after a policy expires, not when it is purchased, as accident claims and customer payouts need to be taken into account.
The company partnered with Agima, a Google Analytics Certified Partner, to find the best solution for a comprehensive online acquisition and retention measurement. Using Custom Dimensions and advanced Enhanced Ecommerce, AlfaStrakhovanie was able to have a better understanding of the purchase funnel per customer segment.
“AGIMA Interactive Agency is our long-term partner, helping us grow our profit on the internet and avoid the online pitfalls of the insurance business. It combines quantitative with qualitative research methods, so all our decisions now are data-driven and fully conscious. We have a strong confirmation of success and profit growth, and this allows us to continue our collaborative work.” Tatyana Puchkova, VP of Marketing, AlfaStrakhovanie
As a result of the new implementation and ongoing data analysis, the company’s transaction rate has more than doubled, and revenue trends are on the rise while average order size remains untouched. The company now understands which customers and car owners it reaches with its marketing and (with the help of competitive price analysis) how the price affects transaction rates. The company is aware of the loss of potential profit because it knows the demand and can adjust prices accordingly.
To learn more read the full case study
Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Analytics Advocate
Bitcoin is one of SHA-256-based Cryptocurrencies, (find Secret How To Earn More Than 10,000 Satoshi Every Hour at http://vocems.dipopedia.com/2015/10/18-secret-how-to-earn-more-than-10000-satoshi-every-hour.html) a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. The system is peer-to-peer; users can transact directly without needing an intermediary. The system works without a central repository or single administrator, which has led the US Treasury to categorize it as a decentralized virtual currency.
Bitcoin was the first practical implementation and is currently the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence. Everyone has access to all of the source code all of the time and any developer can review or modify the software code. As such, the identity of Bitcoin’s inventor is probably as relevant today as the identity of the person who invented paper. Nobody owns the Bitcoin network much like no one owns the technology behind email or the Internet.
Behind the scenes, the Bitcoin network is sharing a massive public ledger called the “block chain”. Supply growth of Bitcoin is 25 bitcoins per block (approximately every ten minutes) until mid 2016, and then afterwards 12.5 bitcoins per block for 4 years until next halving. This halving continues until 2110-2140 when 21 million bitcoins have been issued.
The unit of account of the bitcoin system is bitcoin. As of 2014, symbols used to represent bitcoin are BTC, XBT, and BitcoinSign.svg. Small amounts of bitcoin used as alternative units are millibitcoin (mBTC), microbitcoin (µBTC), and satoshi. Named in homage to bitcoin’s creator, a satoshi is the smallest amount within bitcoin representing 0.00000001 bitcoin, one hundred millionth of a bitcoin. A millibitcoin equals to 0.001 bitcoin, which is one thousandth of bitcoin. One microbitcoin equals to 0.000001 bitcoin, which is one millionth of bitcoin. A microbitcoin is sometimes referred to as a bit. On 7 October 2014, the Bitcoin Foundation disseminated a plan to apply for an ISO 4217 currency code for bitcoin, and mentioned BTC and XBT as the leading candidates.
Value forecasts of Bitcoin are financial journalists and analysts, economists, and investors have attempted to predict the possible future value of bitcoin. In April 2013, economist John Quiggin stated, “bitcoins will attain their true value of zero sooner or later, but it is impossible to say when”. A similar forecast was made in November 2014 by economist Kevin Dowd. In November 2014, David Yermack, Professor of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business, forecast that in November 2015 bitcoin may be all but worthless. In December 2013, teacher Mark T. Williams forecast a bitcoin would be worth less than $10 by July 2014. In the indicated period bitcoin has exchanged as low as $344 (April 2014) and during July 2014 the bitcoin low was $609. In December 2014, Mr Williams said, “The probability of success is low, but if it does hit, the reward will be very large.”In May 2013, Bank of America FX and Rate Strategist David Woo forecast a maximum fair value per bitcoin of $1,300. Bitcoin investor Cameron Winklevoss stated in December 2013 that the “small bull case scenario for bitcoin is… 40,000 USD a coin”.
This is a guest post by Benjamin Mangold. Benjamin is the Co-Founder of Loves Data, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. When he’s not seeking out insights, you will find Benjamin blogging, presenting or playing with the Measurement Protocol.
A new book showing you how to make the best use of both Google Analytics and Google AdWords is now available. The book is called Learning Google AdWords and Google Analytics by Benjamin Mangold of Loves Data (a Google Analytics Certified Partner). Here’s what Benjamin says about the book:
“Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful business tool and the focus of this new book is to show you how to unlock the hidden value of your reports. There are lots of techniques and tips covered, making the book a very practical resource to get more out of your website data and your online advertising campaigns.”
Google Analytics Advocate, Justin Cutroni says, “Benjamin brings all of the information you need to get started and to grow and take advantage of these powerful tools. What I really like is how he brings all of the information about both systems – AdWords and Analytics – together in one central place. He makes it easy to understand how to measure your AdWords campaigns in Google Analytics data. This makes the information very actionable, which is exactly what you want.”
The book includes a foreword by Avinash Kaushik who says, “It balances the critical strategic elements that need to be present in any digital discussion (jump to Chapter 5), and the tactical elements that you’ll find useful every day (for example, Chapter 13 or, my favorite, Chapter 21).”
Google Analytics topics covered in the book include:
- Using the Multi-Channel Funnels reports
- Interpreting reports to improve your website and marketing
- Comprehensive overview of reports and interface features
- Introduction to Google Tag Manager
The way you can use Google AdWords and Google Analytics together is also covered, showing you how you can take your search and display campaigns to the next level.
Google AdWords topics include:
- How to run successful Google AdWords campaigns
- Advanced campaign configuration opportunities
- Reporting on campaign performance and optimization
- Setting up and running display campaigns
Since the assumptions for our 2009 proposal are no longer valid, we recommend following the principles of progressive enhancement. For example, you can use the History API pushState() to ensure accessibility for a wider range of browsers (and our systems).
Questions and answers
Q: My site currently follows your recommendation and supports _escaped_fragment_. Would my site stop getting indexed now that you’ve deprecated your recommendation?
A: No, the site would still be indexed. In general, however, we recommend you implement industry best practices when you’re making the next update for your site. Instead of the _escaped_fragment_ URLs, we’ll generally crawl, render, and index the #! URLs.
Q: Is moving away from the AJAX crawling proposal to industry best practices considered a site move? Do I need to implement redirects?
A: If your current setup is working fine, you should not have to immediately change anything. If you’re building a new site or restructuring an already existing site, simply avoid introducing _escaped_fragment_ urls. .
A: In general, websites shouldn’t pre-render pages only for Google — we expect that you might pre-render pages for performance benefits for users and that you would follow progressive enhancement guidelines. If you pre-render pages, make sure that the content served to Googlebot matches the user’s experience, both how it looks and how it interacts. Serving Googlebot different content than a normal user would see is considered cloaking, and would be against our Webmaster Guidelines.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them here, or in the webmaster help forum.
Posted by Kazushi Nagayama, Search Quality Analyst
Originally Posted on the Adometry M2R Blog
This is a guest post by Brian Sim, Product Marketing Manager, Marin Software
Attribution is sometimes perceived as being too complex, too technical, and too cold. However, when you look beyond the advanced-level math that goes into attribution algorithms and consider consumer behavior and buying tendencies, the importance of attributing revenue across the customer purchase path becomes very apparent.
Consider your own purchase behavior. How many steps did it take to get you from awareness to purchase the last time you bought something? Chances are it took you at least a few steps to get from “I think I could use a new lawn mower” to deciding “This 200cc self-driving, side-discharge robot lawnmower is the exact one that I need, and I’m going to purchase it this weekend because there’s going to be a seasonal sale.”
With that in mind, the next logical question is, based on your customer journey, do you think it makes sense for the last advertisement you saw prior to buying to get 100% of the credit for your purchase? If your answer is “no, that doesn’t make sense,” then you’ve uncovered the problem that attribution is trying to address.
On the analysis end, attribution modeling platforms like Adometry are tackling one of the most grounded-in-reality problems marketers face: “Is my multi-channel marketing budget being spent on the right channels?” On the execution end, revenue management platforms like Marin Software enable marketers to optimize their campaigns based on their advanced attribution data and answer the question, “How can I take that attribution data and improve my future ROI?”
Three Reasons Why You Should Care About Attribution
Reason 1: It helps you understand your customer’s path from discovery to purchase.
As a recent Google study showed, consumer purchase paths are rarely straightforward; 60% of purchases take multiple steps, and depending on the industry you’re in, up to 84% of total revenue can come from purchases that required multiple steps across several days. Advanced attribution models can quantify each step of the customer purchase pathway. Armed with this knowledge, marketers can begin to associate ROI with specific marketing channels, understand the time lag for customer decision-making, and optimize spending across different marketing channels.
Reason 2: It allows you to understand and quantify performance across channels.
The multi-step customer purchase path may not be an issue if every step occurred within a single channel, but alas that’s not the case. The path from discovery to purchase typically involves multiple disparate marketing channels, each playing a slightly different role.
In order to optimize your marketing spend, you first need to understand the interplay amongst the various channels. Data-driven attribution allows marketers to assign proper credit to each touch point along the buyer journey. This allows the marketer to understand the proper valuation of channel and budget, and bid and tailor creative more effectively.
For example, within the travel vertical, Social acts as an assistive interaction and is many steps displaced from the actual purchase decision. In contrast, Display is almost as close to the customer’s purchase decision as the paid Search channel. In this case, direct marketers may optimize their campaigns to weigh the Display and Search channels more significantly. In many other cases, Display plays much more of an assistive role, and direct marketers may optimize their campaigns towards Search or another channel that is closer to the customer’s purchase decision.
Reason 3: It gives you the insight you need to make smarter decisions.
As the saying goes, “knowing is half the battle.” But knowing is only half the battle. The value of attribution is only realized once marketers can act upon their data. Adometry’s Programmatic Connector enables marketers to seamlessly incorporate attribution data into day-to-day decision-making workflows. Additionally, this is where an open stack execution partner like Marin Software helps complete the circle. Marin’s Revenue Connect is an open, flexible platform that enables advertisers to integrate data from any of their sources, including advanced attribution data, to improve campaign performance.
Activating your attribution data can help achieve real results. MoneySuperMarket, the UK’s leading price comparison site, partnered with Marin Software and Adometry to activate their attribution data in their marketing campaigns. By marrying their search intent and first-party audience data and then applying an algorithmic multi-click attribution model, MoneySuperMarket increased CTR by 12% and reduced CPC 7% across their motor insurance campaign, and increased profit margins 14% across all insurance campaigns.
Yes, attribution can be complex. But the value in unlocking that data can provide sustainable, competitive advantages across all of your marketing decisions.
1stdibs.com is a global marketplace connecting art, design, jewelry dealers to potential buyers online. As such, the company has a complex digital ecosystem that requires an advanced analytical capability. In order to create a data-driven business, the company worked with Cardinal Path, a Google Analytics Certified Partner and Premium Authorized Reseller, in order to collect, process, store, and visualize all their data.
The companies started by discussing the most important key performance indicators (KPIs), which would be used to measure both failures and successes in their efforts. This understanding led to more customized and effective data collection, including features such as Custom Dimensions, User ID and Enhanced Ecommerce.
“You only need to look at the growth of our data and analytics team—which has quadrupled in the past year—to see what a critical role data now plays in our business. We just continue to unlock more and more value from our digital data assets.” - Adam Karp, CMO at 1stdibs
Using Google Analytics Premium to power their decisions, 1stdibs saw a 47% lift in transactions on paid media campaigns and a 10% gain in overall return on ad spend (ROAS). Plus, newly optimized email strategies led to a 34% increase in email click-through rates.
To learn more, read the full case study.
Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Analytics Advocate
Recently we have started rolling out a series of algorithmic changes that aim to tackle hacked spam in our search results. A huge amount of legitimate sites are hacked by spammers and used to engage in abusive behavior, such as malware download, promotion of traffic to low quality sites, porn, and marketing of counterfeit goods or illegal pharmaceutical drugs, etc.
Website owners that don’t implement standard best practices for security can leave their websites vulnerable to being easily hacked. This can include government sites, universities, small business, company websites, restaurants, hobby organizations, conferences, etc. Spammers and cyber-criminals purposely seek out those sites and inject pages with malicious content in an attempt to gain rank and traffic in search engines.
We are aggressively targeting hacked spam in order to protect users and webmasters.
The algorithmic changes will eventually impact roughly 5% of queries, depending on the language. As we roll out the new algorithms, users might notice that for certain queries, only the most relevant results are shown, reducing the number of results shown:
This is due to the large amount of hacked spam being removed, and should improve in the near future. We are continuing tuning our systems to weed out the bad content while retaining the organic, legitimate results. If you have any questions about these changes, or want to give us feedback on these algorithms, feel free to drop by our Webmaster Help Forums.
Posted by Ning Song, Software Engineer