“My smart TV wasn’t actually smart until I got DISH’s new Google remote - BGR” plus 1 more
Posted: 14 Aug 2019 07:12 AM PDT
Like most of you, I have several internet-connected "smart TVs" in my home, but I don't use any of the smart features available on them. Does anyone? Streaming devices like the ones available from Roku, Amazon, and Apple all have much better interfaces and far more available apps than any smart TV platform from the likes of Samsung, LG, and other TV vendors. Media streaming gadgets like the Fire TV Stick are also so affordable now that even people who still pay for cable get them. If you want to watch live TV, you use your cable box and if you want to watch anything else, you use your streaming stick. Why bother with a smart TV interface that doesn't even support half the apps you want to use? It's not like smart TVs offer any other meaningful benefits, after all.
My personal setup is DISH for live TV, and then I have Apple TVs on most of the televisions in my house for streaming and "smart" features. But something happened recently that has been something of a game-changer for me: the Hopper 3 box that I use for DISH is now far smarter than my Apple TV. In fact, it's so smart that it has even replaced my smartphone for a bunch of things, and it's all thanks to an awesome new feature that just started rolling out a few weeks ago.
DISH announced back in January that it would build Google Assistant into the Hopper family of satellite TV receivers, and the company finally made good on its promise last month. DISH's old voice control features have now been completely replaced by Google Assistant, the smart voice assistant made by Google to compete with Amazon's Alexa.
I don't use Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, or any other voice assistant on my smartphone or on any smart speakers. Personally, I just haven't been able to find any features they offer that provide any real benefits over simply using my smartphone. The one exception is when I'm watching TV. I use Siri on my Apple TV remote constantly, in part because the Apple TV remote is garbage, but mainly because there's no better or quicker way to navigate on a TV. Saying "open HBO Go" will always be fasting than backing out of the app you're in and then scrolling around the home screen for the HBO app. Speaking searches will always be faster than hunting and pecking on an on-screen keyboard. And so on.
DISH's voice control feature on the Hopper has been lackluster ever since it was first introduced, so I didn't use it nearly as much as I use Siri on my Apple TVs. It seems like DISH knew that, and it looked to Google's class-leading voice assistant for help. The end result is a fantastic experience that has changed the way I watch TV. In fact, the Google Assistant button on DISH's new Google-branded voice remote has become one of the only buttons I press while watching TV.
Using Google Assistant on the DISH remote feels natural and it can handle all the basic commands you would expect. Say "change the channel to Starz" and it will change the channel for you. Say "record this" and it'll record whatever you're watching. Say "open Netflix" or "on demand" and it will oblige. You can also move away from specifics with commands like "show me action movies," "search YouTube for Hot Ones videos," or "Eddie Murphy movies" and your wish is Google Assistant's command.
That sort of functionality in itself is enough to make me love having Google Assistant on my Hopper, but DISH went even further by including support for all the other great functionality Google has built into Google Assistant. This means you can control your lights and other smart home devices, ask for the weather forecast, see what appointments are coming up in your calendar, get answers to questions, and so much more. You can even ask Google Assistant to display photos from Google Photos on your TV.
Google Voice is an awesome new feature and it's available as a free update to anyone with a Hopper and a voice remote and to all new customers. For current DISH subscribers without a voice remote, it's a $20 upgrade to have one shipped to your door.
Posted: 14 Aug 2019 08:30 AM PDT
Each week, Hollywood box office results are released that reveal the heavy hitters. People have long been intrigued by keeping track of winners and losers. Thus far in 2019, the top three box office winners are courtesy of Disney – and their shareholders are singing all the way to the bank. Disney continues to affirm that it knows exactly what its patrons want.
Think of tech advances in the last three decades. Try to imagine going back even 10 years ago. In the tech world, that is ancient history. The number of websites has blown past the stratosphere. The competition is fierce – worse than on 'Survivor' or 'The Bachelor.' Brands are in hot pursuit of a magic potion. They hope for a magnetic force that will attract more visitors. Savvy ones know things have changed and tactics have changed, too. Yet in spite of the advancement in algorithms, some marketers are stuck in the past; they rely too much on keywords.
In the early days, the keyword reigned supreme. Today – not so much. In fact, it may never again be the emperor. While it's lost some of its voltage, it is not ready for a tombstone. It just needs some help. Let's go back in time so we can see how it all began.
Evolution of the keyword
In the early days, we bid on keywords to drive traffic. They were broad in nature and efficient at driving visitors to our sites in droves! Then with improvements in tracking and greater visibility into performance and ROI/ROAS, we had the ability to refine our keyword; we drilled down on precise words and specific searches. We maximized our budget on low-funnel terms and began to migrate away from broad. Then, armed with greater knowledge about our audiences and attribution, we rediscovered the value of broader, generic keywords.
The advent of the Broad Match Modifier (BMM)
Campaigns associated with the right keywords will elevate your chances of connecting with your targeted audience. A careful selection may trigger an avalanche of clicks. Conversely, a poor choice of words in your ad may catch the attention of viewers who are not interested in what you are selling. A host of them may click – and thus, blow your PPC budget.
An example of a BMM: Cheap flights to Miami. With this phrase as your keyword, you will want to select the Broad Match keyword option. The words that you must include are 'cheap' and 'airfare'. If someone types 'cheapest' or 'flight' the ad will still be displayed. However, if someone searches for "inexpensive flight" or "inexpensive airfare" Google will not display the ad because those words are not variants – but synonyms. BMMs are a popular option as they provide a match of the exact keyword, as well as variants.
Close variants and what they mean
Close variants are basically variations of your keyword that people are likely to type into a search engine. 'Child bike' or 'Children's bike". This is a close variation but not an exact match.
Close variants are making exact keywords less exact, and allowing the search engine to determine what is relevant, just like broad… they've been termed 'exact-ish'. It's another way of saying 'kind of exact' but not really.
The very word 'negative' sounds like something marketers would automatically avoid. However, many words have more than one connotation. If your online business was established to sell eyeglasses, the logical choice is to select the keyword 'glasses'. Yet, glasses can also refer to a set of drinking glasses. Or shot glasses. Or wine glasses. Thus, someone who is actually searching for wine glasses to purchase as a wedding gift may click on your ad. Those types of ambiguities can be expensive.
Keep a list of negative words and when you create a campaign, add them to your ad-group level. This instructs Google to never show your ad for words that are not associated with your campaign.
How search behavior has changed our keyword strategies
Searchers are not robots that speak one or two words; they are living, breathing humans who have discovered that conversation is still valuable – unlike teenagers who use a flurry of texting codes. Someone who is conducting research on a pre-owned automobile to purchase within their own zip code will be more specific. Think of it as if the person telephones a car dealership. They describe what type of vehicle they are looking for.
Questions, one-word, long tail
A long tail is a keyword phrase of three or more words, and those with four words will seize a larger search volume. Why are consumers inclined to do this, knowing they are requesting information from a robot? They realize that search capabilities have become much more sophisticated. By adding a few more words, they can usually narrow down the results. Searching for a seafood restaurant on the Bay in San Francisco is a more effective search than just typing seafood restaurant. Marketers who create high-caliber long-tail keywords generally see substantial results in converting to Leads/Sales.
We're going back to more long-tail now… think back to Ask Jeeves. Remember our searches back in ancient times? We'd ask lengthy questions and then we got smarter. Search engines also became more sophisticated and we focused more on short tail. However, we stayed with conversational and voice searches, ensuring we have BMM and broader keywords in place to pick up the long tail searches.
The way people conduct searches has changed; they are far more creative with their vocabulary. As marketers, we've had to adjust accordingly. To engage the reader, we must understand what the audience wants. A successful search campaign blends the combination of the search with everything we know about the searcher to create the right message and outcome.
In addition to devoting time to the keyword strategy, enormous chunks of time must be invested if you hope to understand the audience and devise a creative strategy. There is good news for businesses with limited budgets: if you focus on the right audience, one-word generic keywords are affordable.
Hopefully, I have provided you with enough tips to fuel your next campaign and catch lightning in a bottle. The keyword isn't dying, it just needs friends to help it survive!
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