From all indications, it looks like anonymous reviews no longer count towards the total rating for businesses on Google My Business. In some cases, anonymous reviews have disappeared completely from some pages on GMB.
This new move by Google closely tailors similar policies by local review websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor which allows only registered users to submit reviews. There are whispers in certain circles that this crackdown is coming on the heels of Google’s announcement to crackdown on negative and fake reviews dropped by disgruntled employees to compromise the online reputation of certain businesses. A lot of business owners will agree that a high number of negative and fake reviews come from anonymous users that cannot be identified or tied to any legitimate Google account.
There are arguments that this development is a smart move by Google as allowing only authentic and registered users to drop reviews will result in more honest reviews being made and less overly critical reviews from users who for one reason or another had a less pleasant experience with the business.
On the part of the business, it helps to identify who is leaving a review, whether positive or negative as it allows the business acknowledge the positive reviews and provides an opportunity to make amends next time the dissatisfied customer comes around.
There is as yet no official word from the people at Google concerning this change, however it is clear that reducing the impact of anonymous reviews that can be hijacked by disgruntled employees, competitors and trolls would bring up GMB to the standard of other prominent review websites that already understand the need to protect businesses from unfair press and provide customers with a platform where they can freely speak their mind.
Having said that, if you notice that your business is still getting negative reviews from actual customers and registered users, chances are there is actually a real problem that needs to be addressed promptly. While both positive and negative reviews have several benefits to businesses, there has to be a balance otherwise your customers will be getting the wrong impression about your business. And when this happens, it is safe to say that there is no amount of Google updates that would be able to solve that problem for you.
A couple of months ago, Google indicated how they intend to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018.
The new GDPR law addresses the years old legal question concerning the use and ownership of data created by visitors when they interact with websites. Google’s response to this new GDPR law was to publish a letter to its partners and publishers informing them of their responsibilities in informing and obtaining consent from users of their websites and apps. This caused a furor as publishers accuse the search engine giant of shifting the responsibility of managing the process on to the shoulders of publishers and partners when they are the one using the data more.
Since the receipt of the letter from Google, publishers have decried the way Google intend to handle the process even going as far as releasing a 5 page letter jointly written by at least 4 major publisher groups addressed to the Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.
The basic message of the joint letter is that the group is not impressed with Google’s proposal which they say will undermine the primary purpose of the GDPR, making it difficult for publishers to fulfill the letter and spirit of the law. The letter signed by the group made up of The European Publishers Council, Digital Content Next, News Media Association and News Media Alliance altogether representing about 4000 media and newspaper companies located primarily in Europe and North America, including the Telegraph Media Group, New York Time, Axel Springer, Thomas Reuters and Associated Press ended by posing a series of questions to Google.
These questions which they say they need answers to include:
How and why Google believes it can legally play the role of data controller in relationship to publishers’ data?
Will the search engine giant will seek and receive publishers’ input before making future changes to its terms concerning accessing advertisers’ services?
How Google’s services can be integrated into an industry accepted management platform should the publishers decide to make use of one?
The publishers also accuse of Google of anti-competitive tendencies because the proposal states that Google may stop placing ads on a publishers’ websites if it feels that their compliance with the new rule is insufficient.
“Google wants to eat its cake and have it” says Executive Director of the European Publishers Council, Angela Mills Wade. “It wants to control data provided by publishers without the accompanying legal liability and with the total freedom to do what it likes with the data, Google is essentially preventing publishers from choosing which partner to work with by imposing their personal standard for regulatory compliance” she said.
Other players in the digital advertising industry also express concern that Google is pushing publishers to interpret the GDPR only the way Google themselves see it.
The new features rolled out by Bing Ads earlier this year now comes with the ability to manage ads campaign directly from your ad editor. Bing had announced that it would roll out new features, and here we are with the account level ad extension.
This feature saves advertisers lots of time in managing campaigns efficiently as it supports scheduling of campaigns. Though they are only available on windows, Bing announced that the Mac versions would be available later this year. There are also rumours that new extensions like the Price Extension would be released later.
Here are 5 things to should know about the Account level Ad extension
Directly Manage Ad Extension
The account level ad extension allows an advertiser to directly manage ad extension at the account level. What this means is that you don’t have to navigate out of the account dashboard to extend ads campaigns. Unlike any other desktop ad editor, the Bing Ad Account level Extension saves you time, and its uniqueness from any other ad editor ensures you automatically apply extension to all your existing and new campaigns.
New and Improved Interface
The user interface had undergone minor changes to accommodate the new features and extensions. Though the dual column division (with the master pane on the left and the result pane on the left) has remained unchanged, the improved interface now accommodates the added extensions. The left sidebar is divided into two columns, with the campaign and everything relating to it at the top and the shared library “Manage” pane at the bottom. This bottom left pane accommodates all the editing and managing features, including the new account level ad extension.
The result page on the other hand highlights the output of whatever action taken on the left sidebar. This also displays errors on the account level ad extension associations in red if there are any.
Advanced Search Algorithm
The added extension also comes with new feature/upgrade in terms of producing search results. First the new algorithm would ignore stop words like “an, a, the on for” if they do not have any impact on the intended query.
Similarly, the algorithm has an exact match keyword that matches the same query as entered by the advertiser. In other words, you don’t need to manage and build any reordered or reworded variations of your keywords to get your required coverage.
The account level ad extension came at a time an advertiser needed it most, and every feature and function added is would always be useful at one point or the other. The improved interface and algorithm makes it easier to use and saves a lot of time.
Apple made a change to its Intelligent Tracking Prevention which essentially allows marketers to track users via third party cookies for only 24 hours from the time of their visit to an advertiser’s website using Safari browser. After the expiration of 24 hours, these cookies are only good for supporting logins to an app or page. At the end of a month, the cookies are completely purged.
What this meant for advertisers?
For advertisers, Apple’s ITP means that unless a visitor converts within 24 hours of visiting their website (like clicking on an ad for instance), the conversion tracking is lost. As a result of this, advertisers will lose a means of keeping track of ad conversion. This new feature can adversely affect Bing ads reporting, which is why Microsoft is encouraging advertisers to take advantage of the update to Bing’s conversion tracking.
Bing announced its solution, a new Google analytics cookie that would help maintain conversion tracking in Safari. Some advertisers may have seen a notification in their Bing ad account requesting that they enable auto-tagging of Click ID which will allow for conversion tracking. Enabling this checkbox will automatically use Microsoft Click ID to tag destination URLs. This can be set under URL options in the shared library section under account level in your Bing ads account.
Bing ads make use of a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag to control conversion tracking. When this tag is placed on advertisers sites, it records what users do on these sites, from when they click on an ad including any other action they take. What Bing is doing is creating a workaround in line with Apple’s guidance on working round ad attribution which allows for server side storage for features of ad impressions.
When advertisers enable auto-tagging for MSCLIKID or Microsoft Click ID, the following process takes place:
The Bing ads’ UET tag will place a cookie called _uetmsclkid on the advertiser’s website to record the unique click ID that brought the visitor to the website after he or she clicked on an ad.
Bing ads can now connect the conversion from any user back to the ads that assisted in the conversion via the click ID.
It will then set up a session ID cookie that will assist in improving the accuracy of the conversion tracking. (This feature is set to happen by default and has nothing to do with auto tagging)
For most advertisers who already have auto tagging enabled for some other purpose, this solution is already working. But for others, it will start working as soon as they enable auto tagging. It is also enabled at default when new conversion goals are created. However, this fix doesn’t address how retargeting works after 24 hours, it currently only works for tracking conversion attribution.
Wouldn’t it be grand to have a way to defend Facebook Ads using the numbers most people are interested in, rather than mere qualitative analysis? This method is a straight forward one, but requires that you have your Google Analytics and Facebook accounts linked. It helps to have an organised GA account too. Ensure you have Excel and enough Google Analytics and Facebook data to work with.
Head to Google Analytics, go to “Conversions”, “Top Conversion Paths”, and then “Source/Medium Path”. Select “advanced” and adjust your filter so it includes Source/Medium Path with Facebook. What this does is to leave you only with conversion paths that include “facebook” or whatever it’s named. Once you’re certain you have all the conversion paths needed set to download, select “Export”, for conversions, use “All”, one or more path links, “All” for Type, and 30 days (or whatever you wish) for your Lookback Window before you export in csv format.
Open the file in Excel, copy the single-path data and paste it somewhere else, before you remove it from the raw data. Have a column inserted between “Conversions” and “Source/Medium Path”, naming it “Facebook Path Detail.” Have columns A to D filtered such that Source/Medium Path is filtered with “Begins with: “facebook” and use the same title for column B’s displayed empty rows.
Next, adjust the Source/Medium Path’s filter to “Begins with: facebook” AND “Ends with: facebook”. Name all of column B’s displayed empty rows with “Begins/Ends with Facebook.” There should be an overwrite in some rows. Then, set the Source/Medium Path filer to “Ends with: facebook / cpc” and name the empty column B cells “Ends with Facebook.” Make sure there are no overwrites.
Finally, clear the last two filters and selecting only the blanks let the Source/Medium Path have another filter. Let all empty cells left be named “Contains Facebook” before you clear the filters and check to make sure column B has no empty cells.
Select everything in columns D to B, select Insert and then Pivot Table. Hit “Ok”, put the table in a new sheet, set your pivot fields such that your data will appear in a compressed view, and head back to your sheet.
Copy the table and have the values pasted in a different sheet, with the name “Paid Facebook – Attribution (Multi-Path)” added. Next to the attribution data, paste the single-path data you cut out earlier and name it “Paid Facebook – Single Path Conversions.” Once you’re sure the date ranges have been added, have the rest formatted however you like. This will give you a qualitative understanding of your paid Facebook efforts which anyone can understand.
Display advertising, and more specifically, Video Marketing is a great way to engage potential customers. Recent evidence suggests that visitors are more likely to click on a video ad than the more common text based variations. This makes sense, giving the natural psychological tendency of on-line visitors which leans towards the quest for entertainment even when we are looking for serious information. Google’s click to play (CTP) video ad system has proved a great way to get some relevant and targeted traffic to your site.
Google are also in the process of rolling out their new ‘media ads’. This allows for video ads to be displayed in the search results.
Video ads should be fun, creative and to the point. They are usually only a few seconds long – just about enough to keep the searcher engaged, and to want to know more about the product and possibly make a purchase. There are a number of video creation tools, like Camtasia and Animoto, which give the option to inscribe your company logo as a watermark for increase branding.
Affiliate marketers that are just starting out or anyone on a slim budget would benefit tremendously from the video creating tools like Animoto because it is free for the basic package once you sign up. What it does is taking about six to ten pictures that you have selected to help get your message across and with the push of a button create a Hollywood standard video complete with music that you have previously chosen from a selection of free music sites.
It is advisable to read through Google’s official Video ad site in order to get a good feel of their individual platforms. If used correctly, video ads can be a very lucrative method to drive more business and gain increased profits for your business.
Ofcourse Google owned Youtube has its own very effective video advertising system called “Promoted Videos”, but this will be covered in more detail in a future post!
Here is a quick video from google that will give you more insight – Happy advertising.