Alphabet: Antitrust Suits Will Weaken Google's Dominance - Seeking Alpha

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Alphabet: Antitrust Suits Will Weaken Google's Dominance - Seeking AlphaAlphabet: Antitrust Suits Will Weaken Google's Dominance - Seeking AlphaPosted: 06 Jul 2020 08:14 AM PDTIntroductionIn this write-up, I will discuss the antitrust risks Alphabet (GOOG) is currently facing. In my opinion, Alphabet is facing the most substantial antitrust risks out of all the big tech firms, but this has been overshadowed for years by controversies surrounding Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN). There are tons of reports from reputable news agencies mentioning that the DOJ and a group of states are separately investigating Google's dominance in multiple market segments. However, the sources in these reports are most often anonymous sources or Google's direct competitors like DuckDuckGo. Therefore it might be a possibility that these reports are partially incorrect. In this article, I will discuss Google's dominance in-depth, discuss in which market segments G…

Welcome to the Predictive Marketing Era - Search Engine Land

Welcome to the Predictive Marketing Era - Search Engine Land


Welcome to the Predictive Marketing Era - Search Engine Land

Posted: 23 Jun 2020 10:30 AM PDT

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks. These are all part of the digital advertiser's lexicon now as the algorithms power so much of the tactical mechanics of our campaigns. The purpose? To serve that ad combination on that impression at that bid to that audience member to achieve the campaign goal with greater efficiency and efficacy than we marketers could do manually. All by training algorithmic models to understand patterns and predict outcomes based on gobs of historical data.

Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all the other digital advertising platforms are using data and algorithms to identify intent and predict customer needs, behavior and marketing outcomes.

This is the Predictive Marketing Era. And it is changing how performance media strategists and managers work and the skills they and their teams need to prioritize to become smarter, nimbler and more effective PPC marketers. This was the topic of my keynote during our virtual SMX Next event on Tuesday (available on-demand with registration).

Companies have been using predictive analytics for things like anticipating inventory needs, pricing optimization and fraud prevention for years. Machine learning is now pervasive in many marketing tools, including media buying, with ad creation and serving, bidding and targeting increasingly powered by algorithms.

Search marketing, specifically, is evolving from keyword buying to audience buying to predictive intent buying, with automated campaigns served across surfaces based on predicted outcomes. Search marketing is no longer just about buying the right keyword at an efficient cost-per-click.

Now add accelerant. Lots of people have noted that COVID-19 has acted as a trend accelerator. We are certainly seeing that in digital advertising and marketing. The introductions of Facebook Shops and free listings in Google Shopping were both fast-tracked due to COVID, for example, as consumers' shopping behavior trended further online. Many of the consumer habits formed in these months aren't going to disappear.

And machine learning and artificial intelligence are at the heart of nearly every new feature in digital marketing. Ads are served wherever and whenever the systems anticipate the desired outcome. Keywords and/or audiences often play a role, but the platforms are now using data and algorithms to identify intent and predict or anticipate customer needs, behavior and marketing outcomes. As I wrote after Google Marketing Live last year, the company's new campaign types deliver ads across multiple channels — to own every aspect of the customer journey, from the top to the bottom of the funnel.

The idea of running Search and Display together in one campaign will still make many advertisers shudder. But most of the new campaign types don't give advertisers the option to opt out of channel inventory. That, Google will say, was a tactic necessary in a pre-machine learning powered world. Machine learning may be overhyped, but it underpins nearly every aspect of campaigns and will continue to grow in importance.

Understand how the systems are designed to work. To visualize how much of paid search uses machine learning now, we color-coded Search Engine Land's Period Tables of PPC Elements. It's critical to understand how these elements are designed to work before deploying them. Learn as much as you can about how these AI and ML systems are designed to work, what we know about the signals they use, their benefits and shortcomings.

The algorithms aren't perfect. The models train on data, and those inputs matter (there are numerous examples of the unintended consequences of algorithmic bias). A healthy dose of skepticism will help you identify when things aren't delivering the outcomes that matter to your business. But this requires understanding how an element is designed to work.

Take the seasonality adjustment feature, for example. Many people started using it in their Google Ads campaigns at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seasonality adjustment was not designed to be used during a sustained period of change, though.

Take data stewardship seriously. None of this works without data. PPC pros are in a position to help inform data strategy in their organizations. In many ways, search marketers have been at the center of understanding how to use data to do better marketing and get better results.

How can you ensure you have systems and processes in place to catch early indicators and be able to segment and activate your own data quickly in your own campaigns? How can you build more direct relationships with users to give you more control and insights as browsers crack down on third-party cookies?

How can your own data or other data sources be used to improve pattern recognition and outcomes in your own campaigns — in ways that respect user privacy and regulations?

Focus on user experiences. Ideally, in the Predictive Marketing Era the algorithms prioritize good user experiences as experiences that are predicted to have the best outcomes based on historical data are weighted more heavily. I spoke last year at SMX Advanced about the relationship between branding and performance, and this also speaks to experience. Direct to consumer brands have put in stark light the importance of branding and experience on performance outcomes.

Pay attention to story, ad creatives, landing pages, retargeting experiences, and your visuals.

See the bigger strategic picture. Particularly with the algorithms increasingly dictating where and to whom ads are served in the Predictive Marketing era, strategic skills are going to be far more valuable than tactical or mechanical skills.

I'd argue that marketing fundamentals matter even more now. This requires a shift in focus to revenue optimization instead of simply channel optimization.

As customer journeys get more complicated, focus on the experiences you're creating based on intent, not on the channel. To do this well takes strategic, creative thinking and planning.

If we're not looking at the bigger picture, we can miss the interplay of marketing efforts and their combined impact on the bottom line. This might also require focusing on new key performance indicators and metrics.

Think about ways you can internalize Predictive Marketing into every aspect of your work to anticipate behaviors and outcomes, from the data you use to the experiences you create to the ways you're measuring success.



About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media's Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

Google announces new policy to restrict discriminatory ad targeting - AdAge.com

Posted: 12 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Federal law prohibits practices on targeting users based on categories such as race and religion, but the complexities of ad tech often make them unseen to the general public. Spencer says Google has been working closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on these changes "for some time."

"For over a decade, we've also had personalized advertising policies that prohibit advertisers from targeting users on the basis of sensitive categories related to their identity, beliefs, sexuality, or personal hardships," Spencer wrote in a blog post. "This means we don't allow advertisers to target ads based on categories such as race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, to name a few. We regularly evaluate and evolve our policies to ensure they are protecting users from behaviors like unlawful discrimination."

Spencer also notes Google's efforts in distributing $1 billion for affordable housing development in the San Francisco bay area, which has led to hundreds of new units through its first six months, he says.

"We appreciate [HUD's] guidance in helping us make progress on these important issues," Spencer added. "We will also continue to work with HUD, civil rights and housing experts and the broader advertising industry to address concerns around discrimination in ad targeting."

Google's recent decision is similar to one that Facebook implemented last year.

10 B2B Tech Marketing Tools for Lead Generation - Business 2 Community

Posted: 23 Jun 2020 06:35 AM PDT

Your B2B tech firm can have the best sales team in the world, but if you don't have the right marketing strategy and tools, you'll struggle to bring in leads. Lead generation is a crucial part of any B2B tech marketing plan, but it's also complex and can feel intimidating.

Let's make it a little easier. Good work happens with good tools, and these ten B2B tech marketing tools are a great place to start.

1. Google My Business

Have you ever googled a place to eat and seen the little box come up with several different businesses in it? This is what's affectionately known by marketers as the "snack pack." It's a small section of Google search results that highlights businesses in your area that match your search. If your business is impacted by location, you want to appear here.

google my business

The only way to appear in the snack pack is with Google My Business. Google My Business is super useful tool in your B2B tech marketing toolbox – and the snack pack is just the start.

Google My Business is also a cost-effective way for your organization to see customer insights, gain more visibility on Google Maps and search results, and acquire customer reviews. It also gives you another opportunity to showcase what your business is all about. Google My Business is an essential lead generation tool because it can bring in more leads through heightened visibility and help you better understand your audience with customer insights.

2. Killer SEO Strategy

What's your current SEO strategy? How many blogs are you producing on a daily basis? Google My Business is one factor, but you can't consider a single factor alone when it comes to SEO. You want backlinks on other relevant websites, high rankings on search engine result pages, and online visibility. Without a great SEO strategy, the cost of B2B tech marketing increases greatly, as you'll be stuck using paid campaigns to deliver leads.

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While it's not a silver bullet, the most impactful way to increase your SEO rankings is to produce, produce, and produce great content. The more content you create, the better your chances at a great SEO ranking.

3. Website as Sales Support

This may seem out of place in a blog about online lead generation for B2B tech firms, but few things are better than combining your online lead generation efforts with your sales teams efforts. When someone on your sales team hands a new contact a business card, you want that contact to be able to find your website and have their message confirmed. Digital marketing and sales efforts complement each other quite well and can greatly increase the number of leads for your business.

4. The Right CRM Software

What CRM software do you use? Without a great CRM that works for your business, it'll be much more difficult to track leads, optimize lists and keep records of the sales process. You can integrate your CRM software with both your marketing and sales team. This will allow you to coordinate lead generation efforts by both parties. You may be surprised at how many leads your marketing efforts are bringing in once you establish better lead tracking protocol.

5. A Website That Works

Not all websites are created equal. Having a website online is not the same as having a website optimized for B2B tech lead generation. An optimized website has CTA buttons above and below the fold, in the header and the footer. There should be at least one eBook or other incentives to convert a visitor on your website. Contact forms should be readily available to the visitor at the bottom of each services page.

6. Good Brand Awareness

Brand awareness doesn't start and end with a website. A good PR and social media campaign can really help with lead generation. Public relations efforts can consist of press releases, paid advertising, podcasting, and more. Consider hosting events to generate leads, especially if, again, your services are impacted by location. While it is possible to generate leads from social media, we encourage our B2B clients to look at social media as a brand awareness platform.

7. Google Search Ads

Google Search Ads are highly effective at driving conversions because they target low-funnel users – people who are ready to buy. A great Ads campaign can rain leads onto your website and create high-quality conversions. Not all Ads campaigns have to be expensive. If you choose to go for long-tail keywords, you can often be competitive on a smaller budget. The key to using PPC ads for lead generation is to perform comprehensive keyword research and develop a great strategy.

8. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a new tool for your sales team that combines social media and lead generation efforts. The Sales Navigator can often integrate with your CRM to offer you more information about prospects via their LinkedIn profiles. With the help of the sales navigator, you can receive lead recommendations, and learn more about your market and personas.

9. Segment Contact Lists

Just compiling contacts into lists on your CRM isn't good enough. You need to segment your contact lists into different subsets to do B2B tech marketing effectively. For example, you could have one list for local contacts, another for national. You could also create separate lists by industry in order to target a group for an issue specific to that industry. There are a billion ways you can segment your contact lists. The best way to segment lists for lead generation is to ensure that you can contact a group based on a problem that your product can solve.

10. Great Relationship with Your Marketing Team

Hiring a B2B tech marketing team isn't enough. Building a great relationship with your marketing team is how you start to bring in more leads. You can work with your marketing team to build a cohesive overall strategy that integrates into your sales team and offers you options for building up leads and preventing customer churn.


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