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Robin Kurzer – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Wed, 20 Feb 2019 17:07:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Advertisers can now view Google mobile speed scores for more landing pages /advertisers-can-now-view-google-mobile-speed-scores-for-more-landing-pages-312638 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 17:07:01 +0000 /?p=312638 Google Ads tweaked its mobile speed score algorithm to reduce the number of ad clicks needed to generate a result.

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Advertisers can now see the loading speeds of more mobile landing pages, due to an algorithm update announced Tuesday by Google Ads. The mobile speed score update enables the tool to generate a score on the advertising console without as many ad clicks having occurred as were previously required.

Google introduced the mobile speed score in July at its Google Marketing Live event.

Mobile speed scores are evaluated on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the fastest. Page speed and potential conversion rate are two of the factors used to determine the score.

Mobile page speed report screenshot provided by Google

Why you should care

Slow landing pages can frustrate users, sending them away from your page and dashing any hope of a sale or conversion.

“Slow mobile pages can slow down your business,”  said Prashant Nair, product manager, Google Ads.

“Fifty-three percent of visits to a mobile site are abandoned if it takes more than three seconds to load,” Nair said, citing Google data collected in 2016.

More about the news

  • Google suggests that mobile marketers adopt mobile-specific technologies like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to improve mobile speed scores. “AMP pages typically load 85 percent faster than standard mobile pages. As a result, 90 percent of AMP pages see a high mobile speed score of 10,” Nair said.
  • Google has other tools to help marketers monitor their mobile speed: a Speed Scorecard, which compares your site speed to those of your competitors, and the Impact Calculator, which lets you estimate potential revenue loss caused by a slow mobile site.

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Marketers can now view Shopping Campaigns in Bing Ads search terms reporting /marketers-can-now-view-shopping-campaigns-in-bing-ads-search-terms-reporting-312360 Mon, 18 Feb 2019 12:00:52 +0000 /?p=312360 The updated reporting grid also includes an Added/Excluded keywords column.

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Bing Ads announced Monday that it will now include shopping campaigns in its search terms reporting grid.

Bing has offered product-focused Shopping campaign ads since 2015.

An enhanced reporting grid now includes a campaign type column in the ‘All Campaigns Keywords’ tab under which marketers can choose either shopping or search. The updated grid also includes an ‘Added/Excluded’ column to view search terms already added as keywords, or negative keywords.

Marketers can choose Search or Shopping as a campaign type in the revised reporting grid. | Bing

Why you should care

Simple ad management tools are imperative for brands who are increasingly bringing services such as advertising in house, as well as for smaller businesses that can’t afford an external team to manage their ads.

“We hope this update makes things simpler for you and allows you to save time in managing your search terms and negative keywords,” said Nahva Tecklu, program manager at Bing Ads. “This is another step in our continuous journey to save you time and provide more in-depth knowledge of our marketplace that enables you to succeed in Bing Ads.”

More about the news

  • Bing Shopping Campaigns feature local inventory ads, merchant promotions and the ability to import Google Shopping product ads directly into your Bing Ads account.
  • Tecklu said more updates are due in 2019. Bing Ads added four new columns under the Product Groups tab in April 2018, and a Performance Targets tab in November.

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Bing Ads’ AI-powered Performance Insights now available globally /bing-ads-ai-powered-performance-insights-now-available-globally-310043 Mon, 07 Jan 2019 13:44:54 +0000 /?p=310043 The tool provides an on-the-spot way to take action on performance changes in your accounts.

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Bing Ads announced Monday the general availability of Performance Insights, its native analytics and recommendation tool for identifying anomalies and changes in ad performance.

Why you should care

Using machine learning, the tool analyzes your account performance data and that of your competitors to detect significant or unexpected changes in performance.

Bing Ads will display a performance insight, indicated by a light bulb icon, with details on what happened and suggested actions advertisers can take. From the pop up, campaign managers can access more details, review specific changes made to the account that led to the changes that led to the insight getting triggered.

 

Bing|Popup card with weekly click performance chart.

Bing Ad’s tool surfaces insights about daily performance at the account level and for click and impression metrics. When available, the insights will appear in the performance charts in the UI.

More about the news

  • We have begun applying machine learning to your campaigns to understand their typical performance characteristics so that when a change seems out of the ordinary, you’ll see a performance insight notification which you can click on to see our root cause analysis of why that spike or dip occurred,” Bing Ads engineering lead Dare Obasanjo, when Bing Ads first began rolling out the feature, along with other AI-powered reporting features, in September.
  • Users can remove insights at any time by simply clicking “Dismiss.”

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Bing Partner Program shifting to calendar-year qualifications /bing-partner-program-shifting-to-calendar-year-qualifications-308979 Mon, 03 Dec 2018 20:31:27 +0000 /?p=308979 The change will take effect in January.

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Bing Ads is making a change to how it determines status in its Bing Partner Program, shifting it to a calendar-year evaluation. The change is scheduled to take place in January 2019.

The program consists of three tiers – Elite, Select and Partner — and includes resellers, agencies and technology providers that meet certain spend and certification criteria.

Why you should care

Tier status for Bing partners will now be based on meeting the program requirements, based on a formula including billings and output, from January 1 to December 31 of the year. As Bing notes, the new schedule better aligns with the industry standard and advertisers’ own own billing schedules.

Partners can move up or down tier levels depending on the results of an annual performance review. Benefits increase as a member’s status moves up.

With a calendar-year focus, agencies currently enrolled in or looking to join the Bing Partner Program will likely find it easier to gauge their potential tier status in the program.

More about the news

  • The change applies to all agency, channel and technology partners in the program.
  • Bing Ads also announced a new benefit of membership in the Bing Ads Partner Community on LinkedIn, where it says advertisers “can be the first to know about latest announcements, get access to the Microsoft Bing Partner team and subject matter experts and network with other Bing Partners.”
  • Members of the loyalty partner program gain access to training, exclusive marketing and sales resources and technical support in addition to a Partner Program badge and inclusion in the Partner Directory. It’s available in 20 countries.

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Quora unveils new Promoted Answers ad unit /quora-unveils-new-promoted-answers-ad-unit-308935 Fri, 30 Nov 2018 21:53:26 +0000 /?p=308935 The Promoted Answers unit has the same targeting options as the platform's other ad formats.

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Quora unveiled a new native ad unit Tuesday called Promoted Answers, which offers marketers the opportunity to promote organic content posted on the site by themselves or others. Featuring a question, a portion of an answer and a link that takes the users to the full answer, a Promoted Answers ad can be targeted in all the same ways as other units on the platform.

Though all of Quora’s ad units mimic the look of the site and are referred to as “native,” Promoted Answers is Quora’s first ad format that promotes organic content, similarly to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets or Facebook’s Promoted Posts.

Here’s the ad creation interface for advertisers using Promoted Answers.

Why it matters

In a blog post announcing the launch, Quora said that this ad unit extends the reach that many businesses are already getting through answers organically.

Though brands can promote any answer they want, the format lends itself to answers that show thought leadership. Quora says that advertisers are already seeing success with the new format, adding that client DuckDuckGo’s promoted answers were viewed over 200 times more than their non-promoted content — garnering them millions of views.

“The format provides a flexible canvas to share detailed information about your product or service that goes beyond the characters allowed in normal ad copy and helps to facilitate engagement through upvotes, comments, and follows,” Ryan Browne, director of product management at Quora, said in the blog post. “If Quora users are already discussing your business, Promoted Answers are a great way to join the conversation surrounding your brand.”

What else you should know

  • Quora has been steadily rolling out enhancements to its ad platform since launching in 2017.
  • Quora claims an audience of more than 300 million monthly unique visitors, rivaling Twitter and Pinterest.
  • To promote an answer, get started here.

This article originally appeared on Marketing Land. 

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Bing teams up with Intent Lab to add deeper AI-powered insights to search /bing-teams-up-with-intent-lab-to-add-deeper-ai-powered-insights-to-search-308825 Thu, 29 Nov 2018 19:02:46 +0000 /?p=308825 The partnership aims to provide deeper insights to help marketers align their messaging with the customer journey.

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Marketers using Bing Ads can now learn what customers are thinking at each stage of their online journey through a new strategic partnership between Microsoft and Intent Lab. Intent Lab is a joint research unit of Performics and the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications that studies the motivations behind consumer purchasing behaviors.

Why it matters

Over much of the past decade, Bing has been working to build up its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Its attention to AI has given Bing Ads what David Pann, general manager of global search business at Microsoft, described as a “right to innovate” in a keynote discussion at SMX East last month. This partnership is another example of Bing Ads moving beyond strictly following Google’s lead in the paid search space.

“Search is a behavioral insights machine,” Bing Market Research Manager Kelli Kemery said in a blog post Thursday. This partnership uses AI to surface deeper insights about search and the customer journey. The Intent Lab’s Intent Scoring Algorithm shows what customers are thinking at each stage of journey.

“The words used in search queries can reveal the mindset and intent of the consumer, and this information can then be used to get in sync with consumers in their search and decision-making process,” said Kemery.

More about the news

  • The initial insights focus on the relationship between words used in users’ search queries and those used in ads. For example, “When consumers use search terms like ‘how’ or ‘what’ — which are considered abstract — they are more likely to click on an ad written using similar abstract language.”
  • About a year ago, Bing Ads introduced several AI-powered intelligent search products and earlier this month, it unveiled a new AI tool that lets marketers set and track performance targets on campaign groupings in a new dashboard.
  • The company is offering a webcast on December 6 to learn more.

Do you want to learn more about AI and machine learning? We’ve compiled a group of free educational resources for you right here. 

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Google responds to large ad fraud operation that utilized more than 125 Android apps /google-responds-to-large-ad-fraud-operation-that-utilized-more-than-125-android-apps-306952 Tue, 23 Oct 2018 21:03:43 +0000 /?p=306952 The company says the operation affected less than $10M in ad spend and deploys new tactics to fight it.

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In a report Tuesday, Buzzfeed News concluded an investigation into a widespread ad fraud operation that involved more than 125 Android apps and websites.

What happened. Buzzfeed’s report says that a company called We Purchase Apps scooped up apps and companies from developers and connected them into a network of front and shell companies in Cyprus, Malta, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Bulgaria, and other locations. Many of the affected apps are targeted to kids or teens. A source involved in the scheme reportedly estimated it has “stolen hundreds of millions of dollars” from brands whose ads were shown to bots instead of actual humans.

What it means. Millions of people have downloaded the affected Android apps. BuzzFeed concluded that a significant portion of users were secretly tracked as they engaged with the apps so the fraudsters could model user behavior. “By copying actual user behavior in the apps, the fraudsters were able to generate fake traffic that bypassed major fraud detection systems,” the report stated.

How it works. In its response to the BuzzFeed report, Google explained how the botnet — dubbed TechSnab — works to inflate ad revenue by creating botnets to visit web pages.

“These botnets drove traffic to a ring of websites created specifically for this operation, and monetized with Google and many third-party ad exchanges,” Google said.

Google reacts. The company estimated that the dollar value of impacted Google advertisers spend was under $10 million and that the “majority of impacted advertiser spend was from invalid traffic on inventory from non-Google, third-party ad networks.”

Google said it removed all apps involved in the scheme this week and has “blacklisted additional apps and websites that are outside of our ad network, to ensure that advertisers using Display & Video 360 (formerly known as DoubleClick Bid Manager) do not buy any of this traffic. We are continuing to monitor this operation and will continue to take action if we find any additional invalid traffic.”

Why you should care. Ad fraud hits marketers directly in the wallet. BuzzFeed reports that the potential for stolen ad revenue related to this scheme could be as high as $750 million. One app connected to the scheme has been installed more than 20 million times.

Amin Bandeali, CTO of Pixalate, which first broke the news in June, told BuzzFeed that app stores aren’t doing enough.

“App stores, perhaps unwittingly, are providing a gateway to connecting fraudsters with [advertising] inventory buyers and sellers,” he said. “While the stores present customer reviews, download numbers and other ‘quality’ metrics, they offer minimal services that vet the business practices, technology and relationships of the app companies.”

This story first appeared on Marketing Land. For more on digital marketing, click here.

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Marketers can now use LinkedIn category data for targeting through Bing search /marketers-can-now-use-linkedin-category-data-for-targeting-through-bing-search-306923 Tue, 23 Oct 2018 13:47:13 +0000 /?p=306923 Advertisers can leverage the data across text ads, shopping and most Bing search products available in the U.S.

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Advertisers are now able to leverage LinkedIn data for search campaigns on the Bing Ads platform. Microsoft made the announcement in a blog post on Tuesday.

Why you should care

Two years ago, Microsoft bought LinkedIn, and Bing advertisers have been eager for access to its audience data. Earlier this year, the company launched Microsoft Audience Network ads with access to some LinkedIn targeting data. Now it will be available to all Bing Ads advertisers.

The company says that advertisers using data from LinkedIn categories of company, job function and industry will be more efficient and more precise in their targeting.

From the blog post: “We are making this easy for our clients to get started right away through the Bing Ads platform using familiar campaign creation and management tools. To start we’re offering bid-only targeting, with exclusions coming soon. It works across text ads, shopping, and basically all Bing search products (available in the U.S. only).”

More about the news

  • It’s a lot of data. LinkedIn has more than 575 million global members.
  • The MSAN includes native ad inventory on MSN.com, Microsoft Outlook and the Microsoft Edge browser, as well as syndication partner sites with Microsoft Audience Ads.
  • MSAN uses artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize ad selection and relevancy, as well as pricing, click and conversion predictions. The Microsoft Graph underpins the audience targeting data available to MSAN, including web and search activity, demographic and consumer behavior activity, and certain LinkedIn profile dimensions.

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Report: Just 3% of CMOs are currently optimizing for voice search /report-just-3-of-cmos-are-currently-optimizing-for-voice-search-301026 Tue, 26 Jun 2018 20:40:21 +0000 /?p=301026 As consumers gravitate to voice search, CMOs are just starting to focus on SEO strategies that support those queries.

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Only 3 percent of chief marketing officers have tailored their SEO strategies to optimize for voice-enabled search, though 75 percent say they plan to do so.

QueryClick’s “CMO Performance Report 2018” surveyed 150 CMOs for UK brands with a revenue of more than £150 million. Though this is a small sample size, the results could point to a larger trend.

The data was given in response to a survey question that asked the CMOs if they planned to change their SEO strategies to ensure their brand appears in voice-led search results.

Just two years ago, Google said that 20 percent of its mobile queries were made via voice. At the beginning of this year, Google reported that its voice app, Google Assistant, was available on more than 400 million devices. This, combined with the general rise in popularity of voice-enabled functionality and smart speakers, means that the percentage of search queries made by voice is growing.

Almost half (43 percent) of those surveyed said they would optimize their SEO for voice within the next 12 months. Thirty-two percent said the changes would take more than a year.

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Google rolls out updates to give users easier access to privacy controls /google-rolls-out-updates-to-give-users-easier-access-to-privacy-controls-300763 Thu, 21 Jun 2018 19:40:46 +0000 /?p=300763 Will easier access to privacy controls cause headaches for marketers who rely on activity-related data?

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Google is rolling out a redesign of Google Account to give users clearer access to their privacy controls and settings.

Jan Hannemann, product manager of Google Account, announced the updates on Google’s blog Thursday. Only Android users will see them right away; iOS and web users will see the new interface later this year.

The updates come about a month after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into full force. The European law governs the handling and management of members of the European Union (EU) and provides users with enhanced data protection rights.

Easier access

The most obvious change to Google Account is the addition of horizontal navigation tabs, which surface user controls on data and personalization, security and privacy. Users now access these details on mobile through clunkier navigation. The Data & Personalization tab houses all the activity controls and ad personalization options and information.

Faster answers

Users should have an easier time finding settings and other account-related information with new navigation and in-account search functionality. The company has also dedicated an area of its community forum to account and privacy-related questions.

How will these changes affect marketers?

Consumers currently find themselves in a so-called “privacy paradox” where they want to protect their data but are willing to give it up if they can see a clear benefit to a personalized experience. Surfacing data controls more prominently is good for users. For advertisers, it’s worth considering that with clearer access, more users could implement tighter controls on how their data is used or clear out search history and other signals used for behavioral targeting more often, making it less effective at scale. On the flip side, when users curate their personalization data, targeting signals get better for advertisers. Facebook also overhauled how it surfaces privacy controls for users earlier this year.

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