this year in search…

If you’ve never seen Google’s annual year in review, let that end now.

There isn’t much to say about this video that it doesn’t say for itself, but each year, Google analyzes what terms spiked that year vs. the previous year, and compiles all the moments/people/content/etc. related to those things into two minutes that help us reflect on the 12 months we just experienced.

This year, Google trends determined that people searched for “good” more than anything else.

Why It’s Hot:

From a human standpoint, it’s an important reminder that in a year with many downs, it was the ups we sought out most. But from a marketing standpoint, it’s a great example of transforming data into emotional storytelling. Data isn’t just numbers, it’s a story waiting to be told.


Why people need to know before they go

A new Think with Google article has been published: “Why people need to ‘know before they go‘: Today people can – and do – prepare for every aspect of any experience, big or small. Whether they’re taking a vacation across the globe or dining at a neighborhood café, people have a low tolerance for surprises.”

Here are some of the highlights I found particularly interesting and helpful…

We analyzed search trends and spoke to consumers, identifying three motives that drive them to know before they go. Explore the data to understand how your brand can provide value in these moments.”

Sparking Excitement:

  • Many want a look at what their experience could entail. For example, we’ve seen over 55% growth in mobile searches for “menus” over the past two years.
  • Rising inquiries include…

Building Confidence:

  • People feel a need to prepare for every detail of their experience – from exploring maps to confirming business hours. Consider this: mobile searches for “wait times” have grown 120% over the past two years.
  • Rising inquiries include…

Making the most of a budget:

  • In the past two years, mobile searches for “do you tip in _” have grown over 70%
  • Rising inquiries include…

Why it’s hot / implications for marketers: 

  • Understand intent signals: Whether it’s to get excited, build confidence, or manage their money, people are using search to shape and validate the decisions they make. We should understand this to adapt our messaging accordingly.

  • Build useful tools: People rely on the web to plan the best experience possible. We should provide assistance with tools that cater to these experiences.

Source: Think with Google

Bing Brings Sentiment Analysis, Multiple Perspectives To Search Queries

In one of the most important steps that will give marketers greater understanding of intent in search queries, Microsoft Bing integrated technology often referred to as sentiment analysis, will provide the ability to understand the context of the content, either positive or negative. The engine also has begun to serve up multiple perspectives on the positive or negative topics, which will allow the person querying the information to consider all options.
Is coffee good for you? How many times must I work out weekly to lose weight? So many answers to questions have variables. So, Bing may serve two answers from two different perspectives, allowing the person to decide which is the correct one for them, since there is not one definitive or correct answer to most questions that are asked in searches on the web.
Bing offers clues about what signals they are looking for in sites they rank for intelligent snippets. Here are some of the attributes of the sites they rank:
1. Authoritative and high quality
2. Relevant to the topic
3. Content is easy to crawl and index
4. Good user experience on the web page

The way it works when you type a question:
1. Their Web Search and Question Answering engine selects candidates from web pages.
2. They organize the candidates in clusters to determine similarity and sentiment
3. Bing ranks the most relevant passages from the web pages from each sentiment based cluster

For example, when searching the term “is coffee good for you” on Bing, the search engine will serve up passages as search results that offer two different perspectives on this topic, instead of just one.

Why It’s Hot
The fact that Bing has confirmed they are using sentiment analysis is big news. Google has also announced their intention to add sentiment analysis to their Featured snippets. Sometimes queries can provide incorrect information. Microsoft hopes this multi-perspective approach will improve the experience on Bing. In January, Google said it would use a multi-perspective approach to rid results of bias and a skewed point of view.
Diverse perspectives certainly help to bring a more balanced view of information plucked from the internet and help information seekers obtain a more rounded and well-informed view.

Google’s Moving Year in Search Video Shows How We Got Through the Hell of 2017

The search giant’s recap of 2017 includes footage of wildfires, hurricanes, gun violence, threats of nuclear war, protests and so much more—pretty much 2017 in a nutshell. Yet, Google managed to make all this uplifting.

Using Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times,” Google’s video shows the perseverance of the human spirit and may even inspire you to make a difference for the people still reeling from the various tragedies we’ve seen this year. It also manages to provide comfort with a “you’re not alone” vibe, reminding you that others are feeling that sense of powerlessness and existential dread, too—and that if we come together, we can let those feelings drive us to change the world.

Google also gathered some of the year’s top searches, and some of them are a real punch to the gut. see more here

Source: AdWeek

Why It’s Hot

Search data provides deep insight into how we operate as a culture.


Pinterest Announces Search Ads to Help Businesses Tap Into User Interests

In the past couple of years, Pinterest has been working to become “the world’s catalog of ideas” where site visitors can search and share inspiration on everything from home designs to gourmet recipes. It has become the search platform of choice for many looking for a muse, attracting site visitors from mature platforms like Facebook. Over 150 million people worldwide are active users on Pinterest monthly. In their latest effort to transform their platform into a fully-fledged e-commerce machine, Pinterest has announced a new search ads offering, giving marketers the chance to tap into the more than two billion searches conducted on the platform every month.
“We’re rolling out a full suite of features, including Keyword and Shopping Campaigns that are shown in search results, along with powerful new targeting and reporting options.” Pinterest’s search ads function much as you’d expect – when a user conducts a search for a key term (or key terms) that a business has targeted, their Promoted Pins show up, similar to how Google search ads are used. It’s a new way to connect with people searching for products and services.

Why It’s Hot

People love saving and searching for inspiration on Pinterest. Discovering ideas is easy here because everything’s visual, including search results. The majority of their two billion monthly searches are for products and services that people want to buy. The opportunities for businesses are expanding: 97% of Pinterest’s top searches last year were non-branded, opening the door to businesses to reach browsing buyers. People on Pinterest start searching as much as three months before they purchase, so a business can reach them while they’re still deciding what to buy. Pinterst has surged ahead of other social platforms in terms of purchase intent and shopping potential. So while Pinners may not be searching as much, when they do search, they’re doing so with an intent to buy – in fact, Pinterest’s own research has shown that 93% of active Pinners use the platform to plan for purchases, while 87% have purchased something because of Pinterest. The reach may be smaller, but the potential is still significant.

Note: Pinterest is growing the number of visitors on its site who are clicking and sharing content. eMarketer estimates that Pinterest will grow 9.2% this year to reach 69.0 million U.S. users versus the 58.1 million that eMarketer projected in August 2016. Last year Pinterest’s estimated U.S. user base sat at 63.2 million.

Google’s 2015 Year in Search

Google revealed the top searches of 2015, which provide a window into our culture.

top searches

The questions we ask reveal who we are, according to Google’s 2015 year-end video. If that’s true, then it appears we’re a benevolent bunch of globally minded folks who want to know about the terrorist attacks in Paris and Cecil the lion’s death but still can’t figure out the color of “the dress” or fully master the Nae Nae.

The two-minute video, which joins a growing list of 2015 recaps coming from tech and media companies, curates highs and lows—the Black Lives Matter movement, the same-sex marriage law, David Letterman’s farewell, the pope’s U.S. visit—to a voiceover from Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance speech at the ESPY Awards.

The short film comes from Los Angeles ad agency 72andSunny and Google’s head of brand creative Michael Tabtabai in their first collaboration.

Source: Google and Adweek

Why it’s Hot

Search is a window into our culture — into the things we care about, into the things we don’t know. It’s an honest time capsule that’s interesting to consume here and now.

Google Shares Black Friday Location Data for Marketers

Google has been releasing a host of updates and features for marketers and consumers leading up to the holiday season.

Its latest offering will give advertisers a better idea of what’s driving people into their stores. Googs said it will start showing advertisers which keywords people searched for before clicking on the brand’s search ad and eventually ended up in one of the brand’s brick-and-mortar locations. The information is aggregated and anonymized, so advertisers won’t be able to see which individuals clicked on their ads before entering a store.

Google will give those same advertisers a better idea of when people are in their stores by now reporting store-visit figures by month, week, day and hour. That means a consumer-electronics retailer might be able to see that the people visiting their stores on a weekday morning are typically looking for phone chargers because that’s what a lot of those visitors searched for before coming in, and the retailer might decide to stock its phone chargers further back in a store at those times in order to get the people to see more of the store’s products before checking out.

Where consumers shop, according to Google.
Where consumers shop, according to Google. Credit: Google

Google has been adapting to consumer trends as more of them move away from desktop and toward mobile devices and apps. Last week, the company introduced a number of design changes to Google Shopping that are meant to cater to a mobile-first audience, including an app-like layout, faster browsing and information such as inventory levels for specific items at nearby retailers.

The company is also competing with Facebook, which recently announced it will provide marketers with more information about its users who are near their stores, among other things.

Last year, 133.7 million consumers shopped in stores and online during Thanksgiving weekend, down 5% from 2013, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Total spending for the weekend fell 11% to $50.9 billion, according to the survey.

Why It’s Hot
This reporting information isn’t just important for Black Friday- it can be an extremely useful tool for retailers all year round.  The more data and insights they are able to capture about what interests shoppers will only help them give shoppers exactly what they want, and capitalize financially.  With more people “webrooming” (researching online then purchasing in store) these days, it’s smart to keep an eye on searchers’ interests in advance of them actually visiting.

Google Helps Nudge People Toward Solar Power


(Source: Google Project Sunroof)

A team of Google engineers just released a tool called Project Sunroof to help users understand the sun your roof gets and the benefits of installing solar panels to capture that energy. They adapted the high-resolution aerial maps from Google Earth to estimate the total sunlight a rooftop receives throughout the year. The tool then tells you how much you can expect to save with solar panels under different financing plans (you can plug in your current electric bill for a more refined calculation) and connects you with local companies that do installations.

Why It’s Hot:

This tool is certainly valuable for anyone thinking about a solar panel installation, and for anyone who wants to know whether he or she should be thinking about it. It’s a potentially valuable tool for Google as well since those suggestions for companies to install solar panels for you are sponsored by the companies themselves. In other words, Google is giving you a tool with unbiased information to point you in the direction of a service (paid advertiser) that can help you with the install. Providing a simple to use service that helps solve a problem or overcome a barrier leads to a better customer experience and ultimately a purchase.


Study Proves That Display Ads Precede Many Search Clicks

It’s tempting to credit a sale to the last thing a customer saw or heard before it happened, even though the reason is often far more complex. Even direct marketers with full access to their sales data aren’t immune to this tendency, called the “last-click attribution” fallacy in digital marketing analytics.

But now Facebook’s Atlas ad serving and analytics unit has some proof it can share from one of the biggest direct marketers – Guthy-Renker’s Proactiv – that just because someone completed a sale after clicking a search ad, the search ad doesn’t necessarily deserve all the credit.

By tracking the digital “path to purchase” through anonymized monitoring of Facebook users’ online activity, Atlas found that 16% of the online buyers clicked on search ads after first being served an online display ad.


Why It’s Hot

This research illustrates how an ad doesn’t have to produce an immediate click or conversion to prove that it’s working. These results can help us and our clients to effectively measure display advertising beyond last click attribution.


Google Builds AI Image Network That Could Benefit Search


Improvements in image recognition for Google mean building an artificial neural network where the software is capable of recognizing, learning, and eventually, generating its own network in the likeness of the original. It’s one way that the future of search could improve on serving results, and perhaps another way to give creative advertising agencies an alternative perspective.

Artificial Neural Networks, a Google research project, relies on software based on the structure of how biological brains learn when being shown millions of images. It is trained by seeing millions of examples. The researchers gradually adjust the network parameters until it gives the desired results, such as recognizing the image.

If an image is incorrect, researchers adjust the neurons as images change to help the network reach the correct conclusion. There are between 10 and 30 layers of “artificial neurons,” and each talks to the next until it learns to redraw the correct image and recognized when the last layer is reached.

One remaining challenge is an understanding of what exactly goes on at each layer. “We know that after training, each layer progressively extracts higher and higher-level features of the image, until the final layer essentially makes a decision on what the image shows,” wrote a team of Google software researchers in a blog post. “For example, the first layer maybe looks for edges or corners. Intermediate layers interpret the basic features to look for overall shapes or components, like a door or a leaf. The final few layers assemble those into complete interpretations — these neurons activate in response to very complex things such as entire buildings or trees.”

The researchers were surprised to find neural networks that were trained to discriminate between different kinds of images have quite a bit of the information needed to generate images too,” according to researchers, who learned that the technology doesn’t look for the signals once thought to recreate the image.

The researchers used an image of dumbbells to provide an example. In this case, the network failed to completely identify the dumbbells because it lacked a muscular weightlifter in the picture that most would associate with the exercise equipment.

Researchers said the techniques help to better understand and visualize how neural networks are able to carry out difficult classification tasks, improve network architecture, and check what the network has learned during training. They also suggest it might make a tool for artists, or perhaps creative advertising agencies, presenting a way to remix visual concepts or even shed a little light on the roots of the creative advertising process in general.


Read the full story here

Visual Search Engine To Serve Ads Based On Images, Not Keywords

Visual search engines — where an uploaded photo finds a match rather than keywords — have become more common, but one emerging through a development partnership between fledgling Indiana-based Imaginestics and Purdue University could change the course for brands, from clothing to electronics. VizSeek launches this week with a focus on electrical supplies, tools, hardware accessories, fans and HVAC systems, as well as lighting and plumbing fixtures. The search engine is built to learn from the images. Using neural network technology, a computer system modeled to resemble the human brain and nervous system, the engine maps out the pixels to identify the objects, similar to work done by Bing and Google. It will change the way search engines retrieve and display queries, as well as serve ads.


Why It’s Hot

This technology is changing the way consumers discover new products and the way that marketers can serve relevant search ads. If/when this technology rolls out across multiple industries there are endless possibilities for its’ use. For example, a doctor can upload an image of an unfamiliar medication to find a match, an auto mechanic can search for a part that will fit the an older car, and a fashion enthusiast can search for complementary accessories to match the jeans he/she just bought.


Instagram Revamps Search, Looks To Become Real-Time News Site


Instagram began tapping into the 70 million photos and videos posted daily to its service to put its 300 million users in the middle of current events. Instagram has reimagined its search feature to become more of a source for images and videos during breaking news events. The improved Search tool make it easier to find images related to any topic, and it will feature hand-selected collections, such as extreme athletes or deserted islands, to help users discover interesting material. The Search tool will also feature a section for trending places and hashtags. The updated Explore button, which will first appear in American versions of the app, will show users the most important photos from events and places in their regions and across the country, as determined by the service’s algorithms.

Why It’s Hot

Social sites want to become the go-to place for people to search and find images from community sources and citizen reporting — not just those taken by news agencies like Reuters or Bloomberg. The stream of photos and videos posted on Instagram, from celebrities as well as from ordinary people, can deliver a better you-are-there feeling, whether it’s a Houston flood or a Brooklyn blizzard. It’s allowing our community to connect to the world as it happens.” remarked Mr. Systrom, chief executive and co-founder of Instagram.

Google Adds Tweets to Mobile Searches

On Tuesday, Google and Twitter announced that they are partnering up to enable the search engine to have tweets emerge to the forefront in search results.

In an effort to start their update, Google will be integrating this feature into their mobile search on both iOS and Andriod apps. Don’t worry though because Google’s regular web search will follow suit.

This type of searchability will allow users to obtain trending/popular tweets given a keyword without having to search directly through Twitter to look up specific Twitter accounts, hashtags or tweets concerning given topics.

“If you want to search for a particular handle, for example, you can simply search “NASA Twitter” to view the handle and account’s most recent tweets. Searching for specific hashtags or other topics that may be trending will also turn up Twitter results.”- Karissa Bell

Tweets Google search


Why It’s Hot

As if finding brands on social media wasn’t easy enough, Google just made things a whole lot easier. People will be able to use Google as a source to gain real-time info now! Twitter content will become more engaging considering that tweets will be exposed to a global audience.

Google Refreshes Search Ads for Mobile Era

Billions of times per day, consumers turn to Google for I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments. And at these times, consumers are increasingly picking up their smartphones for answers. In fact, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan. This presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers to reach people throughout all the new touchpoints of a consumer’s path to purchase.

This week, Google announced new ad units that are rich, interactive, visual, and built specifically for certain vertical markets.

– There’s ads for cars: Think gallery tour of the car inside the ad. Tapping on an image brings up more information about the car, like horsepower and estimated MPG. Tapping on the “Dealers” link takes you to a page with nearby dealer listings.

– There’s a new unit for hotels: Check it, price it, book it with just one click away from

– There’s one coming later this year for mortgages: Find rates, compare options, speak to an adviser, all from within the Google search ad.


Google also announced AdWords attribution, a new product to tell you more about what influenced a purchase that goes beyond a last-click attribution model. Read more here.

Why It’s Hot

This week it was officially announced that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. As mobile usage continues to trend upwards, advertisers have an opportunity to reach their customer in more ways than before. However, we can’t just assume that an ad that works on desktop will work on a mobile device. We also need to be able to clearly measure the impact of our mobile campaigns- Google is taking a step in the right direction by addressing both opportunities this year.

How TV Ads Drive Digital Impact

Google is stepping up its efforts to help TV advertisers understand the precise impact their ads have online, announcing a new partnership with Rentrak to expediently show marketers how their ads impact minute-by-minute Google searches, down to the spot level.

The company is upgrading its TV Attribution product—which measures the digital impact of ads on television and radio.  The technology has now integrated Google search query data to help advertisers understand exactly how consumers are interacting with its brands online.

“Ahead of the upcoming upfronts, we really want TV advertisers to understand how consumers are making decisions about their brands in the moments that matter, not only when they see their ads, but how they engage with their brands online,” said Dave Barney, Google product manager. “Whether that drives a website visit, or engaging with the brand through search, or in some other way.”

While a Nielsen study found that 87 percent of consumers engage with a second screen while watching TV, Barney noted that traditional TV measurement techniques “describe what aired, but don’t describe how effective the ads are.”

Why It’s Hot

“For the first time ever, advertisers have the ability to see how search queries on Google are being influenced by their TV ads, in real time,” said Barney. (The data is aggregated Google search query data; advertisers don’t have access to individual search information.) This can help a brand refine its SEO and paid search strategy, as the product’s insights explain how consumers are searching online in response to a TV ad. The Google search data can also show how TV ads drive more generic category searches, which often drives consumers to a competitor instead.

While website data accounts for people who responded to a TV ad and eventually ended up on the product’s website, it fails to include those consumers who search for the product, but never click through to the website.  This could be a very interesting way to learn more.


Domain Name Explosion: Beyond the .com

Through the course of 2015, domain options will grow exponentially. More than 1,300 new domains are being phased in. Big brands, tech titans, major cities and entire industry verticals are all playing a part in this attempt to usher in a new era of the internet with the next few billion users in mind according to a new emarketer report out this week.

The landscape is significantly expanding with the introduction of hundreds of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) including everything from .guru and .life to .sucks—which as one might expect, is a point of contention among many brands.

The initiative isn’t without controversy. What some view as a “blank canvas for innovation” to spur more creativity, diversity and trust on the internet, others see as costly, exploitative and bound to cause consumer confusion. Nonetheless, it continues to move forward, requiring all internet users to adapt.Domain Name chart

The expansion of gTLDs is being spearheaded by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing body of the internet’s domain name system. The basis for this initiative, according to ICANN, was rooted in the desire to make domains more representative of the global and diverse nature of the internet, as well as to introduce more competition among sellers of domains (known as registrars) and more choices for buyers.

Right, but who cares?

Domain Name what think

Why it’s Hot:

For most domain buyers, what comes after the dot in a name is just as important as what comes before. As .com options decreased over the domain’s 30-year history, new names like .info and .mobi were created, and other buyers turned to country code domains like .me and .tv to define their place on the internet.

For marketers and advertisers, this domain name explosion creates new considerations: the worthiness of being an early adopter, the potential to affect search rankings and the opportunity to integrate new domains into campaigns. This report provides background on the expansion program and presents factors that can be weighed when determining an approach to using these new domains.



Google Search Goes More Social

Google’s always-tweaked search algorithm recently made a change to ensure it was considering the performance on social media for terms, spotting social signals and including them into its complex calculations.

This development reaffirmed the strong connection between search results and social media profiles. Up till now, Google coupled search results with the Google+ profiles of the brands that you were looking up, and showed a corresponding section next to each search result that included the profile picture and a link G+ page.

Now, Google decided to be less picky, so next to the search results a card is shown with further details and all the social media profiles of the brand or term you looked up.


1-16-2015 10-00-39 AM

Why it’s hot:

Although this may seem like a small change in results, it may mean loads for brands, as it could generate traffic to the respective social media profiles as well as become a source for generating new fans or followers.


Facebook Drops Bing. No One Notices.

Bing-FBBa-bye Bing. Facebook quietly removed Microsoft-owned search tool, Bing, earlier in the week. This recent move was in preparation for Facebook launching their own search tool.

Facebook was using Bing to produce search results as its in-house search engine, allowing Facebook users to look for more information about their friends. Selecting Bing as a partner was also a way for Facebook to keep rival Google’s search engine away from the social network.Earlier this week, Facebook updated it’s method of search for old Facebook posts. The social network also revamped it’s “trending” section, making it easier for users to find news, and read different perspectives on the day’s most popular stories. Even bigger, is Facebook added a Twitter-like feed that includes @ mentions.

During a conference call in July, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that search is one of Facebook’s main focuses to fuel growth, noting that 1 billion search requests are entered into the site each day.

“There is more than a trillion posts, which some of the search engineers on the team like to remind me, is bigger than any web search corpus out there,” Zuckerberg said.



 Why It’s Hot:Facebook continues to show that they are more than just a social platform. They are integrating themselves into the full digital marketing mix,  including Atlas, their ad serving and tracking tool that follows users across screens into mobile.

Google for kids coming soon


A Google search for “train” brings up a link to the closest Amtrak station, but chances are that’s not what an eight-year-old is searching for. Kids are probably more interested in Thomas the Tank Engine than the most up-to-date commuting schedule. That may be why Google is working on new, kid-friendly versions of some of its services.

They could be new versions of search, Chrome and YouTube, according to a report by USA Today, but the company would not say definitively what products it is working on or when they would launch. Google will make them safe for children 12 years old and younger and give parents tools to oversee their kids’ actions, Google’s Pavni Diwanj told USA Today.

She said the company expects some controversy over the change, but that kids are already using Google’s non-kid-friendly technology.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment further, but confirmed that the USA Today report was accurate.

Why it’s hot:

While new, kid-friendly versions of Google search and YouTube could be in the works, and conceptually,  kids relevant and targeted technologies deliver safety and ease benefits. However, due to the limited niche age group appeal  – age 5 -11.  This planned obsolence usually lead to product/service growth.  (ie. V-tech, leapfrog)




The Attraction of Real-Time Data can Kill a Channel Strategy

This fall I will watch a ton of football, which means I will see a ton of ads for trucks.  What if the success of those ads was measured on the number of phone calls to a Chevy dealer in the minutes following a commercial? To measure TV in this way would be absurd. After all, it takes time to sway the hearts and minds of consumers who will buy these products in the future.


However, when it comes to digital advertising, where data is available in real-time, marketers often cling to this data, use it to evaluate all digital ads and optimize accordingly. As a result, “assisting” media is cut and marketers pour more money into “converting” activities; those that occur immediately preceding the purchase. the primary beneficiary is branded search (e.g., “Vitamix Blender”). Without marketing to grow the pool of prospective buyers and to stimulate demand, potential sales are limited and the well can even dry up, unless the marketer uses offline media (for which these metrics are not easily and quickly available) to build awareness. As a result, digital struggles to gain traction as a brand-building medium and win big brand budgets.

This article, The Underappreciated, Unrecognized Value Of Non-Brand Search Campaigns, focuses on the detrimental impact to paid search programs. Real-time site activity data implies that “non-brand” search (e.g., best blender) does not work. In reality, this type of work puts Vitamix into the searchers limited consideration set. A searcher may conduct a dozen more searches before finally deciding to make the $500 investment. This sale will most often be credited to a branded search “Vitamix blender”, though the “best blender” search put the Vitamix on the buyer’s radar and had the greatest influence on the eventual purchase.

More and more marketers are attempting to account for and measure all steps in the decision-making process. A study by one travel site found that its non-brand search campaigns were valued at an additional 43% after moving from a last-click attribution model (which would assign credit only to the very last, likely branded, search); which led to a dramatic change in their allocations across search campaigns. In the absence of robust and comprehensive data though, simply considering the typical path to purchase can greatly improve data interpretation and prevent teams from taking potentially harmful action.

Why It’s Hot: It’s hot because it has a major impact on the way that clients perceive our marketing programs. Data’s great, but it often has limitations (e.g., last click only). Before acting on it, we must consider the bigger picture; consumer insight, the user journey and the metric’s place within it.

How The North Face uses voice search to drive mcommerce sales

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer The North Face continues to see strong results from its use of natural language and voice-enabled search, helping its sites across mobile and desktop in several European counties to deliver a 35 percent increase in search conversion rate and 24 percent increase in revenue from search.

EasyAsk has been deployed across 11 sites in nine countries, including Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain and Austria. As a result, visitors to these sites can use specific terms for what they are looking for in their local language as opposed to using traditional keyword search.



Read more here.

Why It’s Hot

Voice-enabled on-site search makes sense on mobile because users are familiar with speaking into their smartphones. The problem is still accuracy–I keep getting “pizza places” recommendations from Siri, whenever I search for Dry Cleaners…

For on-the-go users who may be trying to find something quickly, natural language search means they can quickly and easily find what they are looking for without having to use a general keyword and then have to scroll through a lot of unrelated results.–I get it for public restrooms: bit how urgent is your need for a new “warm winter jacket”?






InPowered Makes Content Marketing Free for All Organizations

On March 5th the content marketing company, inPowered, announced that it is opening up its platform to the organizations and the public for free. The inPowered platform enables users to search topics and then delivers the most trustworthy content about the topic. This means that companies can quickly and easily find credible content written about their brand, while the general public can quickly find trustworthy information about the topic of their choice. Currently, many content marketing company offer similar services but what sets inPowered apart is that they are now offering their services for free.

Here is a preview of the inPowered dashboard:


Image source here.

To decide what shared content is the most trustworthy, inPowered evaluates things such as the lift in reads and social shares. Once inPowered has identified which content is the most engaging with a brand’s audiences, the brand can pay to promote those articles as native ads on third-party sites via the inPowered distribution platform (see paid amplification below.)

Companies can also choose to promote the content they find within inPowered on their own social media channels, at no cost (see free amplication below.)

  • Free Amplification – inPowered’s content discovery and amplification platform enables marketers, PR professionals and social media strategists to search for brands, products or topics and then discover and share the most trusted content to their fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Paid Amplification – inPowered identifies the most engaging articles written about a brand, and then enables marketers to pay to promote that trusted content as native ads via inPowered’s targeted distribution. This enables brands to educate and shape

If brands decide to pay for amplification, inPowered also measures the impact these amplified articles have on the brand. It should also be noted that the evaluation capabilities are free for the brand, such as the search tool.

Why It’s Hot

First, it’s extremely important for a brand to know what its audience is saying about it. With the plethora of channels for consumers to deliver their feedback, inPowered offers a service that not only brings everything into one place for free, but it also evaluates and identifies the opinion leaders that brands need to be paying extra attention to. Although, this tool has offered a similar service in the past, what’s hot here is that the service is now free. Organizations will only pay for the consumer content they think that they can leverage  to drive sales and further inform consumers on third-party sites.

Second, we live in a world where consumers are constantly being bombarded by promotional advertising, so brands are continuously seeking ways to set themselves apart. It’s clear that reviews made by unbiased observers are seen as immensely more valid than sponsored ads or testimonials. Therefore, this tool can  provide brands with a database of real reviews at no cost, which they can feasibly convert into “native” ads on third-party sites or promotional content on their own channels. In addition, the content is already evaluated and declared relevant to the brand’s audience, saving companies time and money.

The CEO of imPowered summed it up well when he said “This means brands utilize credible, trusted content as native ads, instead of trying to make branded content look like trusted content. And unlike content amplification tools that “optimize” your content to get people to click on it, but result in low-quality traffic with high bounce rates – inPowered optimizes to get people to actually read the content you share.”

You can read more here and here.