Facebook Marketing: Where is the Line?

Facebook Marketing: Where is the Line?

Facebook has seen a tumultuous time for the last couple of years. There has been hearings, investigations, interviews, accusations, apologies, and drama. So, it is understandable that the idea of marketing on any social media platform, including Facebook, would not look appealing. Especially for smaller businesses who do not have a lot of money on their hands for paid forms of advertising. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about marketing your business on Facebook, or Facebook marketing. If you know what to expect from the attitudes of Facebook users, you will start to get more comfortable with using the platform. So, let’s talk about the climate of Facebook, its users, and what is okay and not okay when it comes to Facebook marketing.

How Facebook Works

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On the user side of Facebook, information is freely offered to the platform to create an account. This way, people who may have a pre-existing relationship with this person or may have a similar interest can connect. The amount of information that exists on the profile is determined by the amount of information people are willing to give.  Once they connect with others, they will have them on a friend’s list with recommendations based on mutual friendships.

Facebook also pays attention to the things you like, offers you click on, and what you share. Then, it uses this information to make recommendations or delivered sponsored content. This money that is paid to Facebook by advertisers is what keeps Facebook free charge for users.

When it works, the companies that advertise of facebook makes advertising revenue and everybody wins. Users have a fun, “free” product to use that offers them stuff they actually like, Facebook and its shareholders get money, and Advertising companies get a profit from advertising online to enough people who want to buy their goods and services.

All in all, it looks like there is a three-way symbiotic relationship between the user, Facebook, and third-party companies.

So, what is the problem? Why are users so concerned about privacy and what makes the Facebook marketing landscape more difficult for small and large businesses alike?  The answer to that question has to do with the ethics of data collecting and social media interactions.

Facebook Marketing and Gathering Data for Company Use

If an advertiser or someone in Facebook Marketing isn’t satisfied with just making money from ad generated leads, they will try to compile their own data for ways to make more money. The more facebook marketing surveyinformation that they can get about the people that buy their products or use their services, the better they can outdo their market competition. After all, what company wouldn’t want more success than their competitors with insider knowledge of their demographic?

Due to the sudden boom in technology,  new situations are presenting themselves that haven’t come up before. This leads to a few questions about the role of technology, how much data third parties should be allowed to gather, and respect for user privacy.

The best that lawmakers and ethicists have to go off of comes from the concept of personal autonomy and consent. If someone gives information freely to another person and knows where the data is going, that is an ethical form of data gathering. If someone is taking information from an unknowing party, whether for the purposes of Facebook marketing or for identity theft, it is an unethical move.

Consensual Information Gathering

Sometimes, they go through routes that are clear to the users like outright asking them questions about their preferences in surveys and polls.  This is perfectly ethical among marketers and businesses. This is because surveys and polling rely on the informed consent of the people participating in the survey. If a user doesn’t want to participate or wishes to remain anonymous, they have the right to refuse. There is no foul because the users have been given a choice about what information they are willing to share.

facebook marketing, facebook climateNon-Consensual Information Gathering

The polling and survey process has its drawbacks. Sometimes it is inefficient or too slow for companies to gather everything they need. So, they take it without asking. They do this by scraping. Users take a personality quizzes or some other amusement set up by these data collectors. Then, while that is going on another program that is attached to it gathers the private information of that user and their Facebook friends. Then that data is sold for profit to advertisers or any other willing buyer.

A scraping program that was intended for the purposes of academia gathered all that information and instead of applying it for their personal studies, they sold it to a political firm hired by President Trump.

The backlash was insane when people found out. Facebook some revenue and the number of users dropped quite a bit worldwide. Not enough to end the platform completely but certainly enough to gain attention to the stock market.

The Gray Area

When you make a new account for an app, you get a long contract of stipulations. This is a Term of Service Agreement.  They are made up of long paragraphs with sections and subsections with what the user is agreeing to the moment they sign up for any social media platform or software program. These paragraphs often state things about the information users agree to share. It also usually contains a promise from the user that they will not copy any of the code to make their own version of the program. It also grants the social media provider the right to use and profit off of user content whenever they see fit without compensating the user.  Wait, what?

Most of the time, people don’t bother to read the entire thing, and on some level, it isn’t their fault. The average American reads at an 8th-grade level.  That is about sufficient for reading labels for medication directions, but not for legal and binding contracts.

A lot of those contracts are written at a reading level of at least a college sophomore.  The use of the confusing language in these contracts is outright manipulative on the part of these social media creators. But it is still technically legal. They had a chance to inform themselves and didn’t. At least in the eyes of the law.

But people still agree to it without knowing what it says anyway just to use the platform. The contract is still considered legal and binding. It is still seen in the eyes of the law as legal and binding.

Conclusion

This combined with the Cambridge Analytica incident has created a lot of mistrust between users and the Facebook platform. This is the hurdle that Facebook Marketers will have to overcome. So, what can be done about it? How do Facebook marketers put users at ease? I will explain the series of steps in the next article.

www.purpletieguys.com

 

By |2019-01-31T15:38:28+00:00January 31st, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Facebook Marketing: Where is the Line?

What is Google Guaranteed Business?

What is Google Guaranteed Business?

We know that a lot of people use the internet more than ever before to make purchase and service decisions. Hell, we already know thanks to data available to the public that on average “the number of daily searches on Google – 3.5 billion, which equates to 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.” Google has changed the name of the game when it comes to gathering information and sharing it with the world. However, it has had its hiccups in the past. For instance, a lot of people weren’t thrilled when they were forced to make accounts on their social media just to comment on Youtube videos. Also, does everyone remember what happened to Google Glass?

Despite their failures, that does not mean that they aren’t going to try new ways to make money as any good company would. Their latest venture proves thatgoogle guaranteed business they are still ready to move forward to help their business, and the ones affiliated with them, grow. Google Guaranteed Businesses have been popping up in local maps. They are characterized by a small green shield, almost portraying a sense of endorsement towards this particular business.  It raises a couple of questions, “What is a Google Guaranteed Business?” “Can anyone become a Google Guaranteed Business?” “What sort of benefits and drawbacks does it have?” So, we are going to dig deep and find that out.

Google Local Service Ads

Before we start talking about a “Google Guaranteed Business” we need to understand the context that the term is framed. Without any context, it sounds like a Google-run business. While that sounds like the case and could possibly appear like an endorsement, this is farther from the truth.

It means that the local business has paid for advertising space under Google.

Google has been playing the advertising game for a good while. They launched their Adwords back in the year 2000, with 350 customers.  Adwords is a program that would prioritize businesses that used specific keywords on the top of the search engine page, providing that they paid for it.

Eventually, they started integrating their own map program. This both provided direction for users and offered recommendations based on a cross-section of keywords and what was in their local area.

This expanded into a service known as Google Local Service Ads. Businesses were pushed on the top of the search list for local maps provided that, yes, they paid for space with a specific keyword.

This is a sound business practice on the part of Google. Why? Because it has made them billions of dollars in revenue every year. However, these programs were not without its faults. This lead to frustration for the businesses that paid a lot of money for advertising, only for it to not pan out.

Flaws of Google Advertising

Google ads, at the end of the day, is a PPC (pay-per-click) system. This means that the advertising business pays money for each time a person clicks on their ad. While it does not initially sound like something that could be flawed, it needs to be understood that the customer pays for every click, not every conversion. This means that it is too easy to waste money, paying for people who click on the site. Regardless of the fact whether the business makes money from it or not.

Another issue that crops up with Google advertising is the fierce competition over the same keywords. If you are a small business and the term you are aiming for ,or the area you are advertising in is too broad, you will most likely be swallowed by the competition. The playing field is available to everyone, including multimillion-dollar corporations that can out easily out buy the competition.

It also doesn’t help that the best way to get any sort of ROI is to constantly watch, experiment, and gamble with a lot of time and money.

These have been consistent complaints through many Google Ad users, to the point where smaller businesses just don’t bother or walk away from sheer frustration.

google guaranteed business

But not only businesses have been frustrated.

There have been plenty of customers who have outright trained themselves to not click on the ads. Middle-aged to younger users are kids who have grown up with the internet. They have learned to associate the ads with scams or unwanted offers. There are even some businesses that advertise that aren’t even fully licensed. All a business needed to advertise, after all, is pay for it.  So, to avoid any risk of a virus or any unwanted misinformation, people don’t bother clicking.

But Google has taken notice. Most of their money comes from ad revenue. If local businesses are getting too frustrated by being possibly pushed out by the system, they would need to fix the system in order to get that money from revenue back. This is where Google Guaranteed Business came in.

Google Guaranteed Business

A Google Guaranteed Business is essentially business advertising insurance. This is a way for Google to step in and prevent too many advertising losses and service fraud.

How it Helps Customers

  • How it works is that Google vets the business that pays for their AdWords to make sure that the local business provides legitimate goods or services. They do this through” a strict screening process by Google including a background check, license, and insurance check as well as a screening of reviews and ratings.”
  • Any customer that works with a Google Guaranteed business and is not happy can submit a claim to Google.
  • Any job booked with a Google Guaranteed business has a money back guarantee. The work done by the businesses is guaranteed for up for $2,000.
  • Upon its initial launch, the services were only available for locksmiths and plumbers, the industries where past business fraud hit the hardest.

How it Helps Local Businesses

  • If businesses make it through the screening process then they are qualified to receive even further priority over Google’s traditional ads in the results list.
  • Google compensates any business dispute for up to $2,000. Businesses won’t always be out of pocket if a service goes south.
  • This form of advertising service is a pay per lead model. While businesses are responsible for turning them into customers, businesses are paying for direct results.
  • It creates a level of trust for customers. Google is staking their money and reputation on the behalf of the business.

 

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-01-25T13:56:40+00:00January 25th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on What is Google Guaranteed Business?

Gmail is the new AOL (but hear me out)

I was browsing through Medium.com earlier today and stumbled upon an article that perfectly explains what I’ve been trying to articulate for a very long time.

The year was 2005. I was a newly hired computer repair person that went into other businesses to help them with everyday computer stuff. Hook up this printer. I can’t connect to the internet. Why is my screen blank? Things of that nature. And I got called out to a LOT of businesses. And the first impression I had of any of them was their business card.

From that business card I could easily tell how much money the owners of the company put into their business. Here’s the benchmarks. High quality paper? Check. Interesting or memorable logo/wordmark? Check. And then, the last, but very crucial, thing. Email address. cardetailingforyou@aol.com. Nope. That’s a dead sign that either a) they aren’t putting as much into their business as they should, or b) they didn’t think that the internet was going to affect them in any measurable way.

That was 13 years ago.

Now, here we are in 2019, and business cards are, surprisingly, still a thing. And those benchmarks still hold true. Cards are made of a good material (we can do plastic and even metal cards now, woohoo!)? Check. Memorable or interesting logo/wordmark? They’re all starting to look a bit like iPhone app icons, but sure. Okay. Next. Email address. ThisIsASuperCoolCompany@gmail.com. Nope. Sorry. Not buying it.

From the article:

Let’s say you have a company XYZnABC. If I’m a customer, I expect your business card to tell me to contact you on your phone or by emailing you at supercoolperson@xyznabc.com (we can talk about websites some other time). If instead, your card shows an email address of supercoolpersonnotreally@gmail.com, then the deal’s over.

Again, show me through your email you’re invested in your job/business and product/service through putting in a little effort.

I 100% agree.

Take Rusty’s advice. Invest in a domain. It’s less than $100 a year. You’ll reap so many benefits from having it.

There. Now MY rant is done.

By |2019-01-18T15:03:51+00:00January 18th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Gmail is the new AOL (but hear me out)

Episode 8: My chin is the opposite of big

Over the course of this 48-ish minute rant, we cover cold-calling companies (say that 3 times fast), hiring people from overseas and all over the US, and inevitably, we talk about *sigh* “laptop life.”

I’ve got my own very different views of laptop life and cell phone life that I won’t get into here. You should put your head into the culture for just a minute or two and gather your own opinions. Needless to say, but I’M GONNA SAY IT ANYWAY, I despise the fantasy that people portray as the digital nomad / laptop life / cell phone life.

Also, beware when hiring people using services such as Upwork. Upwork, by and by, are a pretty good company. They make finding, hiring, and paying people to do your freelance work very easy. They also make you, and your freelancers, pay for that ease. To the tune of 7% from the client and 20% (20 f#*$ing %!) from the freelancers themselves. It’s outrageous. It’s also super easy to use.

By |2018-12-16T12:33:18+00:00December 16th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Episode 8: My chin is the opposite of big

Episode 7: If They Aren’t A Scammer I’ll Give You A Crisp $20 Bill

Have you ever had your Google My Business listing taken away? Happened to me. It was very stressful, and it took a full 3 days to get it back. All be it without (spoilers) our reviews. Yep. Our wonderful, well written, glowing reviews that all of our satisfied customers have left us, gone. Blinked out of existence by an angry Google.

Oh, and an Apple (possibly, we’re not 100% on this yet) employee decided that taking a dump on one of our paid advertisements was a good idea. Do you think it’s a good idea? Here’s a hint: It’s not. There’s no reason for an employee of a company that we do repairs for should ever interact with our advertisements. Especially not to do what he did. Listen on and be amazed.

By |2018-12-02T22:13:17+00:00December 2nd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Episode 7: If They Aren’t A Scammer I’ll Give You A Crisp $20 Bill

Episode 6: They Could Literally Serve Me Hot Garbage

Today we discuss the client/customer who’s never happy, no matter what you do. And we get interrupted about half way through by a phone call from my Mom. Stay tuned! Also, happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you’re having a safe and wonderfully awkward family dinner with that one aunt that no one likes. You know the one.

By |2018-11-25T08:23:15+00:00November 25th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Episode 6: They Could Literally Serve Me Hot Garbage

Google Algorithm Update “Medic” Wreaks Havoc On The Medical Industry

Google Algorithm Update “Medic” Wreaks Havoc On The Medical Industry

Most people aren’t aware that Google is constantly changing stuff behind the scenes, making your search experience easier and search results more relevant. To that end, we wanted to let you know about the most recent update, labeled “Medic.”

The label “Medic” was given to this latest change because it primarily targets health industry websites. Although, other sites were affected by the most recent changes, as well, the health and medical industry were the primary focus because of the uptick in recent “gray” area websites that could be seen as more of a scam than a legitimate business or company.

Your Money or Your Life

Another area affected is YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life; websites about banking, wellness, insurance, etc. Google gives some guidelines for YMYL sites, but I’ll paraphrase.

Basically it’s any site that asks for personally identifiable information (driver’s license, bank account, etc), pages that allow purchases (any page that lets you buy something), pages that give medical information that could impact your well-being, pages that give advice on major life decisions (like parenting, buying a house or car, etc.), and pages that offer advice on major life issues (like legal or financial advice).

When asked, Google said that if your website was affected, there isn’t anything you can do to immediately change the shift in search position.

If you were shifted up, it was because your website was seen to give more value than the sites that were shifted below you. If you were shifted down, it was to give sites that were previously overlooked more prominence, since they were “previously under-rewarded,” according to Google.

“What can I do if I was pushed down?!”

I hear you crying out. If you’re already putting out quality content on a regular basis, then you’re already doing it. Google says that over time, your site may rise relative to other pages if it proves to be more authoritative than the rest.

If you’re not currently producing quality content (blog posts, podcasts, or video), I’d suggest you start. By producing content about your business, you’ll be more likely to be pushed to the top of Google search results. Just don’t expect changes overnight. Search engine optimization is a long game.

If you’re not sure if you’ve been affected and want to find out, give us a call at (256) 585-6425 x 101 or schedule a time to chat at https://purpletieguys.com/book .

For a more in-depth analysis of the algorithm update, check out Search Engine Land’s article.

By |2018-11-21T13:03:18+00:00November 21st, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Google Algorithm Update “Medic” Wreaks Havoc On The Medical Industry

Episode 5: Soak An Entire Roll Of Toilet Paper In Kerosene

Guys and gals, we’re still trying to hash out this whole Mac Mini situation. And we detail portions of it in this episode. We also obtusely discuss the scammer situation in the after market sales arena. To sum it up for you here: It’s bad. Like, real bad. To the point that I ended up just taking my listings down because I never got any legitimate offers from actual local people. So, beware scammers when trying to sell your used items.

We discussed Apple. Again. A lot. Sorry not sorry.

And we bought a Chromebox! Having a full fledged, fully functional browser on your TV is kind of surreal. Something that pre-teen me would have salivated over.

Enjoy!

By |2018-11-18T08:43:12+00:00November 18th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Episode 5: Soak An Entire Roll Of Toilet Paper In Kerosene

Episode 4: It’s Gonna Be A Power Horse Computer

It’s interesting when you’re trying to purchase a used Apple product. People tend to have an overblown sense of what the price should be for something. A 6 year old computer, even an Apple computer, isn’t worth several hundred dollars. But I digress.

We get off to a great start complaining about a review for the Mac Mini. And we made some truly insightful things about the Mac products gained through this terrible review.

There’s a brief discussion about why you’ll never see Mac OS X available for purchase without Mac hardware.

Later we also talked about the differences between Microsoft’s business model versus Apple’s business model.

 

By |2018-11-11T11:23:13+00:00November 11th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Episode 4: It’s Gonna Be A Power Horse Computer

Voice Search

Speak: How Voice Search is Changing the Way we Ask and Answer Questions Online

 

It seems that human consciousness has been making another shift between written and verbal languages in the field of technology. And it is no surprise really. After all, cave drawings most likely came before speech in the prehistoric world. And oral story tradition had been the primary method of storytelling before the mass production methods of the printing press. It would make sense that speech would ebb back into the sphere of human influence. Especially since texting became a huge technological movement with cell phones over the last two decades.

But, part of me wonders, what does this mean for computer algorithms and search engines?

Also, what does it mean for the world of SEO? And how does that translate to how web-based businesses are trying to be seen (or heard )organically on search engines.

Well, computer scientists, mathematicians, and coders are already laying out the foundations for the implementation of this new movement.

 

How A Computer Can Recognize a Voice

 

There are four ways that a program can recognize speech patterns. 

  1.  The first is simple matching, where a word is recognized in its entirety, and it is compared to similar sound stored in the memory.  However, voice search, marketing, seo, since it relies only on the specific sounds stored in its memory, there is a wide margin of error.

2.  With this flaw in mind, the second form of speech recognition came to be, pattern and feature analysis. In this form of analysis, each word is broken into bits that are recognized from key features, like vowels, and other phenomes.

However, various languages use different phenomes. For instance, English uses about 46 phenomes while Spanish used only 26.

If a company wanted to sell speech recognition software internationally it would need to know what variables to keep and what to drop per user.

3. This lead to the third approach to speech recognition software, language modeling.

In language modeling, knowledge of grammar and the likelihood of certain sounds or words to follow each other is used to improve the accuracy and speed of voice recognition.  It’s like the predictive text of your cell phone. If you curse a lot, use slang, or antiquated vocabulary words, the predictive text and speech will pick up on your patterns.

However, there was still a problem with voice search and recognition software. The programs still didn’t know how to distinguish background noise and how to shut them out specifically. What’s more, there was still a strong chance for accuracy to suffer overall.

4.  The solution to that was to take the best model we knew for learning and recognizing human speech, our brains, and convert it to voice search software in the form of artificial neural networks.

 

If you want to learn more about it, Click here. It’s fascinating stuff. 

 

How Many People are Using Voice Search Now?

 

We know how it works, but do we have any proof that this is an actual trend. Yes, actually.

According to current data from both the NPR and Edison Research, “One-in-six Americans (16%) own a voice-activated smart-speaker.” It has also been shaping our current e-commerce marketplace. According to that same study, “22% of U.S. smart speaker owners have purchased something using their devices.” And the numbers are projected to rise drastically by 2022.

It is very tempting to take the information and to utilize this trending towards your business for fun and profit.

However, the very last thing I want to do is to contribute to another dotcom crash. Instead of telling you to do something foolhardy like invest in stocks that have no guarantee of returns, why don’t I tell you how you can set up your website for voice search software. It can increase awareness of your business all around. Mainly, by modestly working as part of a passive portion of your overall advertising and marketing portfolio.

 

How to Optimize your Website for Voice Search SEO

 

Voice searchThankfully, it is not all that difficult for you to optimize your website for voice search. Mainly, because of a lot of the steps for basic website SEO run are mostly the same steps that you would take for regular SEO. This includes making sure you are properly listed on Google maps and creating engaging content on your website. However, there is one notable difference that needs to be addressed if you are going to optimize your website for voice search.

It is keywords.

See, when it comes to speaking, and writing, people have different habits overall.

When a person is typing something up on Google, they have learned to treat it like a library index.  People expect to type in a word or three before they hit the search button and look at the front page.

When a person is asking a question organically, they speak in a complete question, as if talking to another person.  So if you want to optimize your keywords for voice recognition, the best way for you to go about it is to write down relevant questions as your keywords.

Why is that?

It is my personal hypothesis that it is because the act of typing and keyboarding was only stressed as a marketable skill for a few decades at best.  The act of talking and socialization, however, has been a marketable skill for as long as public speaking existed in ancient civilizations.  What’s more, people feel comfortable personifying things like inanimate objects and animals, because it gives people a chance to relate to something alien to them. So why should it be a stretch that we talk to our voice recognition software like we would another person?

 

Conclusion

As technology marches on, we continue to lean on both the written and spoken word. Who knows what will be in store for us by the year 2050. Until then, let’s learn to speak the language of voice search technology.

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2018-11-07T16:28:01+00:00November 7th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Voice Search