Google Plus has now been in public Beta for over 3 months and business pages are nowhere to be found. In the first few weeks of launch, many businesses created profile pages only to see them taken down by Google. Google then came out and publicly said that pages for businesses would be launched later in the year and that there would be a test group for brands. The only official peep that has come from the Googleplex since has been the announcement that businesses could be represented by a living, breathing person. What’s the holdup? Why is Google dragging its feet? Is it to protect the user experience, or are they protecting something else?
There has been speculation that business profiles are currently being tested privately. As evidence, you see company logos coming up when you edit your personal employment history. The small piece of evidence that I have to the contrary is that one of our clients comes up, and I know for a fact that they have nothing to do with the test group for business pages. Although they did apply so it could have something to do with that.
Something that I have talked about in the past is that one of the advantages of Facebook ads over Adwords is that if you convert clicks to Page “likes”, you have created a permanent connection between you and that target, giving the advertiser the ability to connect with the target over and over. Adwords does not share this permanency (unless you point it to your Facebook page) and makes a decent percentage of its Adwords revenue from searchers who have clicked on a brand’s ad more than once. This relationship with clicks, follows, and likes leads me to believe that Google is being protective of their Adwords revenue by not allowing businesses to participate in Google+ until they devise and fully test a model that not only protects this revenue, but increases it.
Ever since Google released the rel=”canonical” attribute for publishers to deal with duplicate content, webmasters have been misusing it or implementing it poorly. One tactic that the attribute has been used for in the past is for content with pagination. The reason for a webmaster to do this is simple: it lets Google know which page in a series is most important and the canonical version of the page will accumulate the link equity of the sum of the parts (minus a little something). Google will only include the canonical version of the page in the index and that page will be more likely to rank higher. It’s great in theory and we’ve seen it work well.
The only problem is that Uncle Google frowns upon this use of the attribute because it is really only intended to help Google keep duplicate content out of the index and allow publishers to consolidate indexing properties, such as link equity. The misuse of rel=“canonical” as a pagination attribute tells Google that page 2 content is the same as the page 1 content when in fact it is not.
After many requests from SEOs and webmasters, Google has finally released attributes that can be used specifically for pagination. Here is a breakdown. For the details, check out the Google Webmaster Central blog: Pagination with rel= “next” and rel=“prev”.
There are two major elements to the rules around the new attributes, and publishers need to determine which one they fall in:
First, for content or product categories that are paginated that DO NOT have a “view all” option, rel=“next” and rel=“prev” can be used to “to indicate the relationship between component URLs in a paginated series”.
For pages that have a “view all” option, Google says “We aim to detect the view-all version of your content and, if available, its associated component pages. There’s nothing more you need to do!“ However, if you are not satisfied with letting Google “figure it out”, you can use the rel=”canonical” attribute. So, the question is, why is it acceptable use of rel= “canonical” on view all pages and not pagination? Because the paginated content is a subset of the “view all” content and is therefore duplicative.
I was doing a quick search for keyword tools on Google today and noticed that +1′s from people in my Google + network were showing up under the search results. I also found that Google has mis-labeled Google + as Google +1 in the results. Branding hiccup or bug?
Ever since I first started downloading MP3s in the late 90s, I was intrigued by the concept of being able to detach myself from the physical medium that music was delivered on (CDs) and the devices that read the medium and delivered content to my ears. Well the former became a reality for me with my first iPod and it looks like the latter is about to hit the mainstream. With Monday’s announcement of iCloud by Apple, Amazon’s fully functional Cloud Drive and Google’s beta launch of Google Music I feel that we are finally at the beginning of having our content follow us where ever we go and it’s pretty exciting. Here’s a a breakdown of my virtual unwrapping of Google Music Beta.
First, I received an email in which I probably got way to excited about. My biz partner here at AW did not receive one so I felt pretty special. He received his 10 minutes later, and I came back to reality that my email was probably just earlier in the queue.
I clicked the link in my email and was taken to the following welcome screen:
Next I was given the option to download the free desktop manager in which I did. Nothing too special here: you tell it where your music is and it scans and uploads it to the cloud for you. You can also set it to upload any new music you add to your computer automatically. Finally, I was taken to what Google calls it’s “Music Player”. As you can see below it is pretty vanilla, but fairly intuitive and easy to use. All the music in there is the free music that Google added for me.
My one complaint is that they don’t make it too easy to discover and buy new music. The user has to click on the thumbnail and select “shop this artist”. This then takes you to a Google Shopping search result where you can comparison shop from various retailers. I assume that once Google works out a deal with the record labels they will have their own iTunes type of store, but in the mean time the shopping experience is pretty clunky.
There has been a lot of debate lately comparing the value of Facebook ads versus Google AdWords. So, with a limited budget and healthy competitive landscape, which one is best to focus your efforts on? Hmmmmm. I guess the answer is ‘it depends’. Yeah, I know, that’s not too helpful, but it’s the truth. In marketing in general, it’s best to start with a solid strategy and objectives, not with the tactics. The same holds true for an online marketing campaign and your tactics are your tools to achieve your overall objectives.
Ideally, the answer to the question of Facebook or Google is: both. If your budget is deep enough, side-by-side test campaigns can be created, measured, optimized and measured again. If you need to chose one, here is some food for thought for your decision:
Targeting: The biggest difference between AdWords and Facebook is that AdWords has far superior targeting capability and allows marketers to match the intent of searchers and increase the likelihood that a) they are reaching a qualified target and b) if they do receive a click it is more likely to turn into a conversion. If you have a very specific target and there is an associated qualified keyword market, then Adwords is a good choice. If you are building awareness and affinity and have a broad target, Facebook can perform better. A recent article on Search Engine Journal argues that AdWords is limited in the number of keywords that actually drive sales and Facebook ‘likes’ provide a better opportunity for conversion. Winner: Tie. It depends!
Reporting: Facebook Insights has improved over the last year, but it still doesn’t touch Adwords’ comprehensive reporting and conversion tracking, as well as goal tracking via Google Analytics. For marketers, conversion data is paramount for ad and funnel optimization. Winner: AdWords.
Research: Google has a tremendous amount of data and a stable of tools for keyword market research: Google Trends (for recent topics), Google Hot Trends (for up to the minute trending topics), Google Insights (for historical keyword comparisons and News/Image numbers), Google AdWords Tool (good for keyword suggestions, volumes, and estimating costs). Facebook is limited (thus far) to the targeting tools in their ad system that key off user demographics, geographics and users’ self-defined interests. If Facebook were to provide data around likes, shares, and keyword targeting in status updates and comments, they could provide research tools and targeting that could surpass that of AdWords. With privacy concerns abuzz and congress ready to attack, this is unlikely to happen anytime in the near future. Winner: AdWords.
Cost: At face value the cost-per-click on Facebook is less expensive than AdWords, but of course this is not exactly an apples to apples comparison. The determination of value is dependent on campaign strategy first and conversion goals second. Some argue (and I don’t necessarily disagree) that the value of a Facebook ad that turns into a ‘like’ is undervalued because of the influence that it may have on a later purchase decision. This blog discusses the value of the first click versus the last click. The debate of the overall value of a ‘page like’ continues because it is so hard to measure and track what happens after the initial click. Last year Syncapse did an in depth analysis of the “Value of a Facebook Fan” (note that Facebook fan and Page like are synonymous) and found that on average a fan spends an additional $71.84 on products for which they are fans of compared to not being a fan. Fans are 28% more likely than non-fans to continuing using the brand and 41% more likely to recommend the product to their friends. If these numbers do indeed represent the true value of a Facebook like, ads on Facebook are still a bargain. Winner: Jury is still out. Facebook is a dark horse here.
Added Value: With Google AdWords you pretty much know what you are going to get: a click. What you do with that click is up to you. The debate on the value of a Facebook fan has heated up and many pundits argue that the value of a fan decreases as the overall noise on Facebook increases. As the Facebook Open Graph grows users are liking more Facebook pages, friending more people, and sharing and commenting on more objects in the graph. Facebook uses an algorithm that they call EdgeRank to try to decrease the amount of noise in users’ feed and over 95% of all posts never make it above the fold. According to a recent analysis, fan page wall posts only receive about .1% engagement from a brand’s fan base. That being said, there still needs to be a value attributed to the potentially permanent and viral connection that a ‘like’ can bring. Winner: Facebook.
So, there’s a rundown of a few of the major differences between the two advertising platforms. They each have their obvious advantages and disadvantages depending on the strategy and overall objectives of your marketing campaign. If possible, both should be used, tested and optimized accordingly.