The Art of Customer Loyalty in The Age of Consumer Experience and Engagement

The Art of Customer Loyalty in The Age of Consumer Experience and Engagement

The Art of Customer Loyalty in The Age of Consumer Experience and Engagement | Social Media TodayFor decades, many businesses have relied on customer loyalty programs to offer incentives for consumers to stay committed to their brand. However, many of these programs are becoming increasingly less effective drivers of long-term brand loyalty – especially when measured against a marketing strategy that focuses on customer experience and engagement.

Technology is fundamentally changing the way that consumers interact with business and making purchases. If your organization is not focused on this transformation and still relying heavily on loyalty and rewards programs for repeat business, you may be at risk of losing customers, and valuable opportunities to generate actual long-term consumer loyalty.

Why Customer Loyalty Programs Have Lost Their Effectiveness

Let’s be clear, promoting customer loyalty should always be a fundamental goal of your business. However, the traditional tools of a customer loyalty program such as membership cards and loyalty rewards are no longer able to generate the brand commitment that they once could. Consumers are increasingly focused on the customer experience, and on an experience that is consistent, simple and optimized with them in mind. Companies that hope to win the attention of these consumers need to adapt rather than trying to manufacture loyalty through a punch card or membership program. Now, more than ever, customer loyalty should be viewed through the lens of the customer experience and brand engagement offered by your organization.

As the Harvard Business Review notes in a recent article, the psychology of consumers is not based primarily on rational choice but rather in what they term “processing fluency.” In plain English, the preference of customers is to choose the easiest option that works. If Tide laundry detergent has made their clothes clean before, the customer is inclined to go back to Tide again and again and again. Of course, winning new customers still requires offering a good value proposition, but generating long-term loyalty is less about continuously appealing to their consideration and more about making the choice familiar and easy.

In practical terms, what does this mean? Customer loyalty has become the natural by-product of a customer experience that is focused on encouraging repeated brand engagement. Businesses that take steps to simplify the path to purchase and focus on facilitating social conversations of friends and influencers are more likely to establish a relationship with customers. That in itself can promote loyalty in today’s consumer’s marketplace much more than a program that aims to influence the purchase decision through an otherwise generic loyalty program.

Examples of Companies that Have Built Loyalty Without a Program

Understanding what it means to improve the customer experience and promote engagement can be challenging, and taking a look at what some of today’s leading businesses have done may help to simplify that.

Amazon is one of today’s best examples of a company that has managed to generate huge amounts of customer loyalty without utilizing a traditional loyalty program. The e-commerce giant has achieved these results by consistently seeking to make its purchasing experience easier than that of its competitors. For example, by offering a huge selection of products and providing free and fast shipping and returns through its Amazon Prime program, Amazon has removed many of the barriers that have traditionally made Internet shopping less convenient than shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.

In similar fashion, Uber has taken the advantages of both traditional taxis and black car services and combined them with an easy and engaging experience via the consumer’s mobile device. The simplicity of ordering and paying for a ride through Uber has allowed the service to generate a huge customer base that is naturally inclined to turn to them first when they need car service. Consistent, simple and optimized with the consumer in mind. Uber removed several of the elements of car and taxi service that consumers found less than appealing; like not knowing when the car would arrive, how to handle the tip, and even the passenger capacity, to grab a huge market share and change the industry.

How to Improve Your Customer Experience and Promote Engagement

Given the critical role that consumer experience and engagement play in bolstering customer loyalty, taking steps to improve your business in these areas is key to winning long-term and repeat customers. Unsurprisingly, technological innovations are at the forefront of improving customer experience and engagement for many companies, from cognitive marketing to social media, to machine learning and artificial intelligence, to the Internet of things (IoT) and more.

For example, the increasing reach of the Internet of things (IoT) can enable companies to deliver predictive and personalized content to consumers, improving their experience and making engagement more seamless. Amazon recently demonstrated this with the introduction of Amazon Dash Buttons. Dash Buttons allow customers to reorder commonly-used products with a single push of a button; in this way, utilizing the IoT to make purchasing convenient and frictionless has allowed Amazon to again increase customer loyalty.

Similarly, machine learning and artificial intelligence are increasingly used to personalize customers’ experience as well as predicting and responding to their needs. For example, the data that IBM gained access to through their acquisition of The Weather Company has been used by their Watson Marketing engine to understand how weather changes influence buying behavior; this allows those companies that utilize Watson Marketing to adapt to consumers’ constantly shifting needs and improve their buying experience.

For businesses not in the position to fully deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence, consumer data can help replicate the personalized customer experience. Utilizing data to optimize marketing campaigns at every point of a customer’s journey can be a cost-effective way for many businesses to create better customer experiences.

And that’s what it ultimately comes down to, what is the experience you are creating for consumers and how will they remember it?

Is loyalty a one-way street with your brand? It can’t be if you expect to succeed in today’s economy. Consumers expect their loyalty to be rewarded with recognition of it, and an outstanding customer experience.

is one way that companies of all sizes can increase loyalty, and further connect with consumers by creating personalized, engaging and memorable experiences. Cox Business recently demonstrated this with the launch of their ‘Lunch Is On Us’ program in San Diego, California.

Using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, they invited downtown business employees and current customers, to enjoy lunch on them. The invitation was delivered to these employees via social media news feeds over five business days, and in-person delivery by Cox Business employees participating in the company’s social media ambassador program.

The turnout exceeded expectations, with nearly 600 people taking them up on the offer to attend.

A one block area downtown was closed for three hours to accommodate the crowd, and food trucks, musicians, games, and giveaways made it a fun and exciting way for everyone to spend their lunch break.

It was a great way for Cox Business to extend their social reach and engagement beyond Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn platforms, and into a real-life, face-to-face event. It also provided local food truck owners partnering with them, an opportunity to connect with new customers and increase awareness of their weekly event held in the same downtown area.

Summary

A dramatic shift in consumer expectations, rapid advancements in technology and innovative digital strategies have all led to the current state of customer loyalty. And while the art of establishing and building customer loyalty is changing, there perhaps has never been a better time to a create and focus on a more personalized, one-to-one experience that drives real loyalty than there is today.

A version of this post was first published on the Cox Blue blog.

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Guilty of These Content Marketing Bad Habits? Time for an Intervention [Podcast]

Guilty of These Content Marketing Bad Habits? Time for an Intervention [Podcast]

Guilty of These Content Marketing Bad Habits? Time for an Intervention [Podcast] | Social Media TodayAre you sick and tired of spinning your social wheels in the content marketing engine, feeling as if you’re creating, creating, creating loads and mounds of content yet getting nowhere? 

Have you ever thought that maybe you have lost your mojo? Maybe you’ve been shot down one too many times, maybe you’re falling to some lazy content marketing tactics without even knowing it?

Or could it be you are stuck in a rut? You know what they say about insanity – doing the same thing over and over and over, yet expecting a different result. Could this be you?

If this is you, have no fear. I’m here to help you do a reality check and get a grip on your content marketing program starting right now.

When’s the last time you created a piece of content and as you hit publish you wanted to yell, “boom-sha-ka-la-ka”? If it’s been awhile, then you really need to read the rest of this blog post and listen to this podcast (and consider signing up for our upcoming content marketing training webinar).

Take a listen to episode #234 of the Social Zoom Factor Podcast where I serve you a serious yet nice dose of tough love.

Take a listen and be sure to subscribe to the entire series on iTunesStitcher or SoundCloud.

In this 30 minute podcast you will learn: 

  • 8 Bad habits that stop content marketing ROI in its tracks
  • The power of social currency by earning attention and driving our audiences to action
  • How to get unstuck if you’re guilty of these bad and lazy content marketing habits
  • Why you must slow down to speed up if you want success
  • Why you can’t skip the planning and goal setting
  • The risks of building your business on rented land such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Why integration should be your favorite word when building your online platform
  • Why brand storytelling is not all about you
  • Questions to help you understand if you know your audience and ideal customer as good as you should
  • How to create content that will inspire and attract your ideal audience
  • Why you must get out of your own way to achieve real success
  • The importance of call to actions being bold, loud and clear when creating content
  • Why quality really matters in all facets of content creation and curation

Resources mentioned: 

How to Subscribe to Social Zoom Factor Podcast 

This post was originally published on Pam Moore’s blog.

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4 Plugins for Streamlining Your Workflow with a Minimal WordPress Dashboard

4 Plugins for Streamlining Your Workflow with a Minimal WordPress Dashboard

WordPress developers and implementers are a pretty lucky bunch when you think about it. You get to work on a platform that’s inherently intuitive, secure, and chock-full of features. How many people get to say that about their digital platforms?

Sometimes, though, all that “stuff” clogging up the WordPress admin can get in the way of you achieving your full potential building websites.

Let’s face it. What works for you in terms of menu options, widgets, and layout probably doesn’t work for the other guy or gal. So, while WordPress does attempt to cover the basic requirements we need for managing a website within the admin, it’s not the ideal setup for many people.

Decluttering is something I always urge in web design and development. It improves communication, enhances focus, and gives you more control over directing visitors around your site. We already know that minimalism works, so why not use some decluttering techniques to improve your own communication, focus, and direction while working within WordPress?

A minimal WordPress admin may be the exact type of spring cleaning effort you need right now to create a more streamlined workflow in 2017.

The Benefits of Minimal Workspaces

Interestingly enough, 65% of Americans believe that cluttered workspaces negatively affect their ability to think and focus. I think it’s fair enough to say the “clutter effect” can apply both to our physical and digital workspaces.

Now, whether it’s in the physical world or the digital one, minimalism is a powerful tool. When you’re trying to run a business based (mostly) out of a single platform like WordPress, giving your workspace a good cleaning can do wonders for streamlining your workflow.

Here are some of reasons why you should give your digital WordPress admin a minimal makeover:

  • Direct your focus and remove distractions through a neater, cleaner interface.
  • Save time and increase efficiency by hiding menu items you don’t use and give yourself fewer options to sort through.
  • Rearrange pages and sub-pages so that the ones that get the most foot traffic move closer to the top-left part of your WordPress admin.
  • Create a consistent, professional interface to increase your comfort each time you step into a new WordPress admin.
  • Help acquaint freelance developers and other WordPress assistants to your workflow by providing them with a consistent layout.
  • Add tabs or pages that include helpful information for you as well as reminders to complete essential–yet easily forgettable–next steps.
  • Add custom widgets or project quick links to the admin for easy access to the items that add value to your workflow.
  • Disable any widgets that take up undue space.
  • There are also client-related reasons why you should simplify the WordPress backend.

Unsurprisingly, there is a plethora of information online about how to create a minimal physical workspace since this applies to a larger segment of the population. But what about when it comes to WordPress? Do those same tips for decluttering physical workspaces (declutter, simplify, and open up your space) also apply to WordPress?

Let’s explore your options.

How to Create a Minimal WordPress Admin

WordPress is an intuitive platform, but sometimes there’s just too much to sift through. Do you really need to see all those widgets on the admin or tabs on the sidebar? Sure, they’re not hurting anyone, but they are distracting and often unnecessary.

When optimizing any workspace, you should aim to make it fit into your personal workflow and not the other way around. If you want to work more efficiently, create a space that works for you and not against you.

Here are some tools that will enable you to minimize your admin and better streamline your workflow within WordPress:

  • Screen Options

    The very first place to start is with the Screen Options tab sitting at the top-right part of your WordPress admin. The options here will change as you enable more plugins on your site. Regardless of what widgets end up under Screen Options, you have full control over what is or is not shown on your home dashboard.

    Simply check the widgets you want and then maximize/minimize each one when you want access to the information.

    Interested in Screen Options?

  • Admin Menu Editor

    WordPress offers a fantastic drag-and-drop Menu editing tool for the navigation bar that appears on site, but there’s nothing like that for our backend admin editor. If you’re a fan of the Menu editor in WordPress, then you’ll like the Admin Menu Editor plugin. It basically gives you the same control over editing tab names, access, and sort order for the admin menu.

    Interested in Admin Menu Editor?

  • Adminimize Plugin

    Want full control over the admin and dashboard of your WordPress, for yourself as well as for all users? With the Adminimize plugin, you can control everything on the front and backend of WordPress, including: admin color schemes, visibility of various sidebar tabs, plugin and theme management capabilities, admin bar minimization, and more.

    Interested in Adminimize Plugin?

  • Ultimate Branding Plugin

    WPMU DEV’s Ultimate Branding plugin isn’t just for white labeling or branding the WordPress backend. It also comes with a number of admin minimizing and customization options. With this plugin, you can update your dashboard widgets, rename and reorder menu tabs, and even update the top admin toolbar with links you need quick access to.

    Interested in Ultimate Branding Plugin?

Wrapping Up

A minimized workspace can do good things for your overall frame of mind and ability to streamline and tackle each day’s work. Be careful not to go overboard though. Simplifying WordPress is one thing. Creating a too-sparse and uncomfortable digital workspace is another. Keep it minimal and smart, and you’ll be alright.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #373

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #373

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for InterestingTilt the WindmillHBS; chair of StrataStartupfestPandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • SWANH. "Star Wars Episode IV. As an infographic. 22 Illustrator. 157 pictures. 123 meters. 1024 x 465152 pixels. Because, why not? This is now on display at the Barbican." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Droptree – "HD Delivery" – Vimeo. "This gives Leningrad (which I shared a few months back) a run for its money. Droptree Productions, a film company, spent two years filming a music video for a song of theirs, entirely on their clients’ sets, in between takes. It’s amazing. ROBOT THROUGH THE FRAME." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Facebook’s AI accidentally created its own language – The Next Web. "Title is a bit misleading, but… may we all live in interesting times." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • My Advice To Anyone Starting A Business Is To Remember That Someday I Will Crush You – The Onion. "Ah, The Onion. Here’s a pitch perfect advice article, from Jeff Bezos to all start-up founders." (Hugh for Mitch).  
  • Growing Up with Alexa – MIT Technology Review. "We all worry about our kids and technology. Let’s face it, we’re all spending a lot of time with these screens and the vast majority of our population (both children and adults alike) are completely lacking in digital literacy. Many people argue about whether young people should have screens or not, but that’s not the entire story. What about the content on that screen? What about those being able to mentor and help them with this content? It’s not so simple. Now, we’re entering into a new arena: voice as navigation. No more clicking, mouses or typing. We will use our voice. So, what now? Are we all ok with kids bossing around their technology and expecting it to give them exactly what they want? Do we realize that their tone with technology may become the main way that they communicate with other humans as well? So, will kids just be bossing us all around, the same way that they will boss their iPad around? Sounds about right. Sadly." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Not even remotely possible – TechCrunch. "Here’s a really interesting piece from my friend, Jon Evans, about how much more productive remote teams can be than the usual office fare. I’m not so sure, but this article provides some real insight. Maybe I’m an old-timer, but I like coming into an office, being around people with a shared goal and hearing things. It works for me. It inspires me. I’m not so sure I could be as productive rolling out of bed and working solo from a home office or cafe. Different strokes for different folks, I’d gather. Jon also points out how communication is everything and, maybe as the technology gets better, he’s right about the end-state – a world where we all work from wherever. What do you think?" (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

Droptree – "HD Delivery" (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) from DROPTREE PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

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Video previews help you find what you’re looking for even faster

Video previews help you find what you’re looking for even faster

We’re always looking for ways to help you find information faster and easier. That’s why when you look up “NBA draft recap,” for example, you’ve always seen short text snippets for each result. These text snippets help give you a snapshot of the site’s content, making it easier to decide whether you’d like to click through to read more. For videos, we have traditionally shown a static image thumbnail in search results. But as more information moves to video, we’re working on new ways to give you useful glimpses, helping you quickly find what you’re looking for across video, too.

Starting today and rolling out more widely next week, on the Google app for Android and Chrome on Android, when video results show up in the video carousel, just like text snippets for text results, you’ll see video previews. So whether you’re trying to learn some new salsa dance steps or you’re stuck on the side of the road trying to change a flat tire, and need a video that uses the tools you have on hand, you now have access to video previews directly in search results, giving you a better idea of what you’re about to watch before you tap.

video

By default, previews only play when you’re on a wi-fi connection. To enable previews on mobile networks or to opt out of this feature, visit the settings menu within the Google app or settings for Android Chrome.

A few months back, we introduced video versions of Featured Snippets for quick answers to queries like “how to kickflip”. Video previews is the next step in helping you find information faster. More to come — but for now, Search on!

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The Perfect Blog Post Length and Publishing Frequency is B?!!$#÷x – Whiteboard Friday

The Perfect Blog Post Length and Publishing Frequency is B?!!$#÷x - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

The perfect blog post length or publishing frequency doesn’t actually exist. "Perfect" isn’t universal — your content’s success depends on tons of personalized factors. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains why the idea of "perfect" is baloney when it comes to your blog, and lists what you should actually be looking for in a successful publishing strategy.

the perfect blog post length and frequency

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about blog posts and, more broadly, content length and publishing frequency.

So these are things where a lot of the posts that you might read, for example, if you were to Google "ideal blog post length" or "ideal publishing frequency" will give you data and information that come from these sources of here’s the average length of content of the top 10 results in Google across a 5,000-keyword set, and you can see that somewhere between 2,350 and 2,425 words is the ideal length, so that’s what you should aim for.

I am going to call a big fat helping if baloney on that. It’s not only dead wrong, it’s really misleading. In fact, I get frustrated when I see these types of charts used to justify this information, because that’s not right at all.

When you see charts/data like this used to provide prescriptive, specific targets for content length, ask:

Any time you see this, if you see a chart or data like this to suggest, hey, this is how long you should make a post because here’s the length of the average thing in the top 10, you should ask very careful questions like:

1. What set of keywords does this apply to? Is this a big, broad set of 5,000 keywords, and some of them are navigational and some of them are informational and some of them are transactional and maybe a few of them are ecommerce keywords and a few of them are travel related and a few of them are in some other sector?

Because honestly, what does that mean? That’s sort of meaningless, right? Especially if the standard deviation is quite high. If we’re talking about like, oh, well many things that actually did rank number one were somewhere between 500 words and 15,000 words. Well, so what does the average tell me? How is that helpful? That’s not actually useful or prescriptive information. In fact, it’s almost misleading to make that prescriptive.

2. Do the keywords that I care about, the ones that I’m targeting, do they have similar results? Does the chart look the same? If you were to take a sample of let’s say 50 keywords that you cared about and you were to get the average content length of the top 10 results, would it resemble that? Would it not? Does it have a high standard deviation? Is there a big delta because some keywords require a lot of content to answer them fully and some keywords require very, very small amounts of content and Google has prioritized accordingly? Is it wise, then, to aim for the average when a much larger article would be much more appreciated and be much more likely to succeed, or a much shorter one would do far better? Why are you aiming for this average if that’s the case?

3. Is correlation the same as causation? The answer is hell no. Never has been. Big fat no. Correlation doesn’t even necessarily imply causation. In fact, I would say that any time you’re looking at an average, especially on this type of stuff, correlation and causation are totally separate. It is not because the number one result is 2,450 words that it happens to rank number one. Google does not work that way. Never has, never will.

INSTEAD of trusting these big, unknown keyword set averages, you should:

A. look at your keywords and your search results and what’s working versus not in those specific ones.

B. Be willing to innovate, be willing to say, "Hey, you know what? I see this content today, the number one, number two, number three rankings are in these sorts of averages. But I actually think you can answer this with much shorter content and many searchers would appreciate it." I think these folks, who are currently ranking, are over-content creating, and they don’t need to be.

C. You should match your goals and your content goals with searcher goals. That’s how you should determine the length that you should put in there. If you are trying to help someone solve a very specific problem and it is an easily answerable question and you’re trying to get the featured snippet, you probably don’t need thousands of words of content. Likewise, if you are trying to solve a very complex query and you have a ton of resources and information that no one else has access to, you’ve done some really unique work, this may be way too short for what you’re aiming for.

All right. Let’s switch over to publishing frequency, where you can probably guess I’m going to give you similar information. A lot of times you’ll see, "How often should I publish? Oh, look, people who publish 11 times or more per month, they get way more traffic than people who publish only once a month. Therefore, clearly, I should publish 11 or more times a month."

Why is the cutoff at 11? Does that make any sense to you? Are these visits all valuable to all the companies that were part of whatever survey was in here? Did one blog post account for most of the traffic in the 11 plus, and it’s just that the other 10 happened to be posts where they were practicing or trying to get good, and it was just one that kind of shot out of the park there?

See a chart like this? Ask:

1. Who’s in the set of sites analyzed? Are they similar to me? Do they target a similar audience? Are they in my actual sector? What’s the relative quality of the content? How savvy and targeted are the efforts at earning traffic? Is this guy over here, are we sure that all 11 posts were just as good as the one post this person created? Because if not, I’m comparing apples and oranges.

2. What’s the quality of the traffic? What’s the value of the traffic? Maybe this person is getting a ton of really valuable traffic, and this person over here is getting very little. You can’t tell from a chart like this, especially when it’s averaged in this way.

3. What things might matter more than raw frequency?

  • Well, matching your goals to your content schedule. If one of your goals is to build up subscribers, like Whiteboard Friday where people know it and they’ve heard of it, they have a brand association with it, it’s called Whiteboard Friday, it should probably come out once a week on Friday. There’s a frequency implied in the content, and that makes sense. But you might have goals that only demand publishing once a quarter or once a month or once a week or once every day. That’s okay. But you should tie those together.
  • Consistency, we have found, is almost always more important than raw frequency, especially if you’re trying to build up that consistent audience and a subscriber base. So I would focus on that, not how I should publish more often, but I should publish more consistently so that people will get used to my publishing schedule and will look forward to what I have to say, and also so that you can build up a cadence for yourself and your organization.
  • Crafting posts that actually earn attention and amplification and help your conversion funnel goals, whatever those might be, over raw traffic. It’s far better if this person got 50 new visits who turned into 5 new paying customers, than this person who published 11 posts and got 1 new paying customer out of all 11. That’s a lot more work and expense for a lot less ROI. I’d be careful about that.

*ASIDE:

One aside I would say about publishing frequency. If you’re early stage, or if you were trying to build a career in blogging or in publishing, it’s great to publish a lot of content. Great writers become great because they write a lot of terrible crap, and then they improve. The same is true with web publishers.

If you look at Whiteboard Friday number one, or a blog post number one from me, you’re going to see pretty miserable stuff. But over time, by publishing quite a bit, I got better at it. So if that is your goal, yes, publishing a lot of content, more than you probably need, more than your customers or audience probably needs, is good practice for you, and it will help you get better.

All right, everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We’ll see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Turn around, bright eyes… and experience the total solar eclipse with Google

Turn around, bright eyes… and experience the total solar eclipse with Google

Move over, blue moon—there’s a more rare astronomical event in town. For the first time since 1979, a total eclipse of the sun is coming to the continental United States this Monday, August 21. Starting on the west coast around 9 a.m., the moon will begin to block the face of the sun. Not long later, the moon will completely cover the sun, leaving only the bright corona visible for as long as two minutes and 40 seconds.

Whether you’re traveling to see the “totality,” catching a glimpse of the partial eclipse from another location, or simply curious, Google can help you learn more about this unique moment. Grab your solar glasses and peep what we’ve got in store:

Live from the solar eclipse

Even if you’re not in the path of the solar eclipse you can tune to YouTube to watch the magic unfold live as it crosses over the U.S. Catch livestreams from NASA, The Weather Channel, Exploratorium, Discovery’s Science Channel, and Univision.

Sun, moon and Google Earth

With a new Voyager story in Google Earth, you can learn more about the science behind the eclipse. You can also see what it will look like where you live.

Futures made of virtual totality

If you’re not in 70 mile wide path of totality, fret not. Travel to Mt. Jefferson, OR in Google Earth VR (on Rift and Vive) and view it in virtual reality. From the menu, select Total Solar Eclipse to get a view from the center of the action.

Lights, camera, astronomical action

We’re working with UC Berkeley, other partners and volunteer photographers to capture images of the sun’s corona at the moment of totality for use in scientific research. We’re also using our technology to algorithmically align these images into the Eclipse Megamovie, a continuous view of the eclipse. Read about some of the people involved in this project, and stay tuned for the complete Megamovie soon after the eclipse on http://ift.tt/2iTvENi.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Android O!

People worldwide have explained solar eclipses through the lens of myth and legend for centuries. This year, there’s a new supernatural being whose identity will be revealed as the sun and the moon do their celestial dance. Get ready to meet Android O at android.com/o.

While a solar eclipse is a pretty rare astrological event, don’t worry it’s not too early to start planning for the next one passing over the United States on October 14, 2023. You can always set a Google Calendar reminder to make sure you don’t forget.

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The Seer-Cathalon: What It’s Like to Intern at Seer

The Seer-Cathalon: What It’s Like to Intern at Seer

Ready, Set, Go!

Over the last 12 weeks, I’ve worked as a digital marketing intern at Seer’s San Diego office. Throughout my experience, I’ve acquired a tremendous amount of new skills, managed several projects, and have built lasting friendships along the way. Having completed the internship, I think that if someone were to ask me, “Tim, what’s it like to intern with Seer?”, I’d tell them it’s what I imagine being a decathlete is like…

Maybe I’m biased as a recent college grad who competed as a pole vaulter at UCSD; however, upon reflecting on my time spent as an athlete, and my time spent as an intern at Seer, I can’t help but see the inherent similarities. So, if you’re looking to apply for an internship with Seer, or you’ve already landed the gig, and you’re starting to wonder, “What exactly am I getting myself into, what can I expect, and how can I best succeed in my internship?” have no fear, because this awesome analogy is also a knowledge bomb in disguise.

What exactly is a decathlon? It is an event in Track and Field that spans two days, and incorporates 10 events.

The Seer-Cathlon, on the other hand, is an event exclusive to dedicated college students looking to break into the digital marketing world. It spans 12 weeks, includes 3 main events, and requires an insatiable desire to learn and steadfast determination to give it all you’ve got. The 3 main events are: Pay Per Click or Paid Search Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Analytics.

Track Events and their Digital Marketing Counterparts

Due to the nature of PPC Marketing, the results are quick. The Keyword Auctions, where you bid on keywords to get your a’s displayed by Google, are like regular auctions except digital and automated. As a Seer-Cathlete these auctions function as your races. In order to succeed in your “races”, it all comes down to the work you put in leading up to competition day.

Seer Cathalon 1

The Seer-cathlete equivalent of good sprint technique, which is invaluable to your success, comes down how well you understand the product or services your client is offering. Achieving success here relies on the search query reports, keyword lists, and negative keyword lists you construct by looking at website traffic and understanding what terms best resonate with your target audience.

There’s also a heavy analytics focus in PPC that parallels the technique imperative for any successful sprinter/hurdler to succeed. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a race or an ad campaign, form and technique are everything. If you’re missing cues during your race or not paying attention to the small details of an ad campaign, you’re at a huge disadvantage. However, if you’re able to fine tune your technique, you can make drastic improvements in your time or conversions.

With SEO you’re in it for the long haul. Like long distance events, every practice session or workday you complete is building off what you accomplished the day before.

Building a website is like training for a 10k; there’s no shortcuts, it’s hard work with incremental progress day after day from start to finish. If you’re not putting in quality work from the beginning, you’re going to find yourself struggling later down the line.

Seer Cathalon 2

Long Distance and SEO are not about instant gratification or good intentions without follow through. It’s about committing to a plan of attack that will pay off in the long haul, and not quitting until you’ve reached said goal. Sure, running 60-plus miles a week or restructuring an entire website may be painful, but in the end it pays off big time.

Analytics: Technical Jumps and Throwing Events

Lastly, you have analytics, also known as the technical events. While technical events still heavily rely on speed, strength, and endurance, the most important part of performing well relies on your understanding of the event. You have to understand your strengths and your weaknesses to be able to fine tune a strategy that gives you the best chance at success.

Seer Cathalon 3

With the technical events, you can have five different coaches look at a jump or throw and come back with several different opinions on how to improve your performance. Analytics is very similar in this regard. It requires you to be able to recognize where you’re succeeding and know what area you need to focus on improving. Sure, you can try to force a win by cutting corners to maximize results in the short run, but if you recognize what areas need improvement, you’ll achieve substantial growth.

The Equipment and Tools of a Seer-Cathlete

Where an elite decathlete has five to seven different pairs of shoes, one to two javelins, three to eight pole vault poles, starting blocks, a shot put, and a discus to use when competing in their multiple throwing, running and jumping events, a Seer-Cathlete has a similar arsenal of digital marketing tools at their disposal.

While running shoes and track spikes are the most essential tools to a decathlete’s daily routine, the Seer-Cathlete’s equivalent would be Microsoft Office, Google Mail, slides, and sheets. Pro-tip: show up to the “track” knowing the basics of how to tie your “shoes and spikes.”Seer Cathalon 4

In addition to shoes and spikes, a decathlete is responsible for learning how to properly use the more complicated equipment like the pole vault poles, disci, shot-puts, and javelins. In the digital marketing world, these tools are Google/Bing Analytics, Adwords, Adwords Editor, Power of BI, SEMrush, Keyword Planners, etc.

While many of these tools from both track & field and digital marketing can take years to master, have no fear because you’ll receive instruction from your teammates, who were once beginners just like you!

At Seer, your teammates are the individual event athletes.

Unlike decathletes, their specialties lie in SEO, PPC, and ANA. As specialists they know all the tips and tricks, and they’ll be there to help you learn the basics.

Over the course of your tenure as a Seer-Cathlete, you’ll meet with many specialists from each event department to train and learn under their guidance. In addition, you’ll meet with your head coach, aka your personal mentor, to go over your progress, schedule, and strategy.

One strategy that I personally adopted as a Seer-Cathlete, and to which I attribute much of my success, was to focus heavily on one of the three events from day one. So while I still went to all event trainings and signed onto handle projects in every event, I picked one event that I was the most interested in and dedicated the majority of my time and attention to it.

While this strategy probably wouldn’t work as well for actual decathletes, I found it was key to making the most of my 12 weeks at Seer.

Off Season Training

One of the most crucial components of a decathlete and Seer-Cathlete’s overall success is knowing how to train during the off-season.

As a Seer-Cathlete, your off-season is your Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now, let me preface this by saying nobody expects you to work beyond 20 hours a week for Seer, and nobody is going to sit you down, like your old high school coach used to and tell you that, “Tuesday and Thursday practices are not mandatory, but are ‘highly encouraged’ *wink wink*.” However, given the nature of a great company like Seer, if you invest in them, they’ll invest in you. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to show that you’re interested and passionate about learning during your 12 weeks with them.

While on your “off-season,” I recommend:

  • Reading the Seer blog
  • Organizing your schedule
  • Handling personal side projects you may have pitched
  • Getting your Google Analytics/Adwords Certification
  • Going over your notes and unread emails
  • Brainstorm about ways you can improve internal processes
  • Thinking of insightful questions to ask when meeting with Seer team members

You don’t need to overdo it, but spending a couple extra hours working to make an impact at Seer will pay off in the long run!

The Finish Line

There’s a lot to gain from interning with Seer. You’ll be exposed to a wealth of information, learn new skills., and meet amazing people. If you think you’re up to the challenge of tackling a multi-faceted internship and you’re not afraid to work hard, then I can’t recommend Seer enough. As someone who has had quite a few internships, I’m confident in saying Seer is one-of-a-kind, especially when it comes to team environments. If you have the opportunity to intern at Seer, and you have what it takes, go for it!

More than anything, don’t be afraid to fail or ask questions. Seer rewards those who take the initiative and risk and is more than happy to support those who need help along the way. Whether you’re a decathlete, a Seer-Cathlete, or someone who just loves reading blogs, do as I do, strive for greatness, learn from your failures, and make the most out of every opportunity that presents itself.

Learn more about our internship program and opportunities today!

via Seer Interactive Read More…

The Seer-Cathalon: What It’s Like to Intern at Seer

The Seer-Cathalon: What It’s Like to Intern at Seer

Ready, Set, Go!

Over the last 12 weeks, I’ve worked as a digital marketing intern at Seer’s San Diego office. Throughout my experience, I’ve acquired a tremendous amount of new skills, managed several projects, and have built lasting friendships along the way. Having completed the internship, I think that if someone were to ask me, “Tim, what’s it like to intern with Seer?”, I’d tell them it’s what I imagine being a decathlete is like…

Maybe I’m biased as a recent college grad who competed as a pole vaulter at UCSD; however, upon reflecting on my time spent as an athlete, and my time spent as an intern at Seer, I can’t help but see the inherent similarities. So, if you’re looking to apply for an internship with Seer, or you’ve already landed the gig, and you’re starting to wonder, “What exactly am I getting myself into, what can I expect, and how can I best succeed in my internship?” have no fear, because this awesome analogy is also a knowledge bomb in disguise.

What exactly is a decathlon? It is an event in Track and Field that spans two days, and incorporates 10 events.

The Seer-Cathlon, on the other hand, is an event exclusive to dedicated college students looking to break into the digital marketing world. It spans 12 weeks, includes 3 main events, and requires an insatiable desire to learn and steadfast determination to give it all you’ve got. The 3 main events are: Pay Per Click or Paid Search Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Analytics.

Track Events and their Digital Marketing Counterparts

Due to the nature of PPC Marketing, the results are quick. The Keyword Auctions, where you bid on keywords to get your a’s displayed by Google, are like regular auctions except digital and automated. As a Seer-Cathlete these auctions function as your races. In order to succeed in your “races”, it all comes down to the work you put in leading up to competition day.

Seer Cathalon 1

The Seer-cathlete equivalent of good sprint technique, which is invaluable to your success, comes down how well you understand the product or services your client is offering. Achieving success here relies on the search query reports, keyword lists, and negative keyword lists you construct by looking at website traffic and understanding what terms best resonate with your target audience.

There’s also a heavy analytics focus in PPC that parallels the technique imperative for any successful sprinter/hurdler to succeed. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a race or an ad campaign, form and technique are everything. If you’re missing cues during your race or not paying attention to the small details of an ad campaign, you’re at a huge disadvantage. However, if you’re able to fine tune your technique, you can make drastic improvements in your time or conversions.

With SEO you’re in it for the long haul. Like long distance events, every practice session or workday you complete is building off what you accomplished the day before.

Building a website is like training for a 10k; there’s no shortcuts, it’s hard work with incremental progress day after day from start to finish. If you’re not putting in quality work from the beginning, you’re going to find yourself struggling later down the line.

Seer Cathalon 2

Long Distance and SEO are not about instant gratification or good intentions without follow through. It’s about committing to a plan of attack that will pay off in the long haul, and not quitting until you’ve reached said goal. Sure, running 60-plus miles a week or restructuring an entire website may be painful, but in the end it pays off big time.

Analytics: Technical Jumps and Throwing Events

Lastly, you have analytics, also known as the technical events. While technical events still heavily rely on speed, strength, and endurance, the most important part of performing well relies on your understanding of the event. You have to understand your strengths and your weaknesses to be able to fine tune a strategy that gives you the best chance at success.

Seer Cathalon 3

With the technical events, you can have five different coaches look at a jump or throw and come back with several different opinions on how to improve your performance. Analytics is very similar in this regard. It requires you to be able to recognize where you’re succeeding and know what area you need to focus on improving. Sure, you can try to force a win by cutting corners to maximize results in the short run, but if you recognize what areas need improvement, you’ll achieve substantial growth.

The Equipment and Tools of a Seer-Cathlete

Where an elite decathlete has five to seven different pairs of shoes, one to two javelins, three to eight pole vault poles, starting blocks, a shot put, and a discus to use when competing in their multiple throwing, running and jumping events, a Seer-Cathlete has a similar arsenal of digital marketing tools at their disposal.

While running shoes and track spikes are the most essential tools to a decathlete’s daily routine, the Seer-Cathlete’s equivalent would be Microsoft Office, Google Mail, slides, and sheets. Pro-tip: show up to the “track” knowing the basics of how to tie your “shoes and spikes.”Seer Cathalon 4

In addition to shoes and spikes, a decathlete is responsible for learning how to properly use the more complicated equipment like the pole vault poles, disci, shot-puts, and javelins. In the digital marketing world, these tools are Google/Bing Analytics, Adwords, Adwords Editor, Power of BI, SEMrush, Keyword Planners, etc.

While many of these tools from both track & field and digital marketing can take years to master, have no fear because you’ll receive instruction from your teammates, who were once beginners just like you!

At Seer, your teammates are the individual event athletes.

Unlike decathletes, their specialties lie in SEO, PPC, and ANA. As specialists they know all the tips and tricks, and they’ll be there to help you learn the basics.

Over the course of your tenure as a Seer-Cathlete, you’ll meet with many specialists from each event department to train and learn under their guidance. In addition, you’ll meet with your head coach, aka your personal mentor, to go over your progress, schedule, and strategy.

One strategy that I personally adopted as a Seer-Cathlete, and to which I attribute much of my success, was to focus heavily on one of the three events from day one. So while I still went to all event trainings and signed onto handle projects in every event, I picked one event that I was the most interested in and dedicated the majority of my time and attention to it.

While this strategy probably wouldn’t work as well for actual decathletes, I found it was key to making the most of my 12 weeks at Seer.

Off Season Training

One of the most crucial components of a decathlete and Seer-Cathlete’s overall success is knowing how to train during the off-season.

As a Seer-Cathlete, your off-season is your Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now, let me preface this by saying nobody expects you to work beyond 20 hours a week for Seer, and nobody is going to sit you down, like your old high school coach used to and tell you that, “Tuesday and Thursday practices are not mandatory, but are ‘highly encouraged’ *wink wink*.” However, given the nature of a great company like Seer, if you invest in them, they’ll invest in you. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to show that you’re interested and passionate about learning during your 12 weeks with them.

While on your “off-season,” I recommend:

  • Reading the Seer blog
  • Organizing your schedule
  • Handling personal side projects you may have pitched
  • Getting your Google Analytics/Adwords Certification
  • Going over your notes and unread emails
  • Brainstorm about ways you can improve internal processes
  • Thinking of insightful questions to ask when meeting with Seer team members

You don’t need to overdo it, but spending a couple extra hours working to make an impact at Seer will pay off in the long run!

The Finish Line

There’s a lot to gain from interning with Seer. You’ll be exposed to a wealth of information, learn new skills., and meet amazing people. If you think you’re up to the challenge of tackling a multi-faceted internship and you’re not afraid to work hard, then I can’t recommend Seer enough. As someone who has had quite a few internships, I’m confident in saying Seer is one-of-a-kind, especially when it comes to team environments. If you have the opportunity to intern at Seer, and you have what it takes, go for it!

More than anything, don’t be afraid to fail or ask questions. Seer rewards those who take the initiative and risk and is more than happy to support those who need help along the way. Whether you’re a decathlete, a Seer-Cathlete, or someone who just loves reading blogs, do as I do, strive for greatness, learn from your failures, and make the most out of every opportunity that presents itself.

Learn more about our internship program and opportunities today!

via SEER Interactive Read More…

Facebook Cracks Down on Static Images as Video and Fake Video Play Buttons with New Algorithm Update

Facebook Cracks Down on Static Images as Video and Fake Video Play Buttons with New Algorithm Update

As with everything in the online realm, at some point, scammers are going to find loopholes in system processes to artificially boost their presence.

In SEO, for example, Google has to constantly evolve its algorithm to stay a step ahead, and they can’t reveal the inner workings of their process for fear of people seeking out vulnerabilities. Facebook too has to continually refine and tweak its algorithm to ensure people aren’t being inundated with junk – if they were to over-emphasize Page Likes, for example, Like sellers would ramp up their promotions.

People are always looking for ways to get ahead, to ‘hack’ the systems in order to gain an advantage – which makes sense to a degree, but it often also goes against the purpose of why such options exist, and ends up annoying the platform, the users, and/or both.

One of the more recent examples of this has come about because of Facebook’s increased emphasis on video. Because Facebook’s News Feed algorithm gives preferential treatment to video content, some Pages have worked out that they can game the system by posting static images as video – like this one:

Facebook Cracks Down on Static Images as Video and Fake Video Play Buttons with New Algorithm Update | Social Media Today

This is not actually a video, it merely plays that static image for 14 seconds, but because it’s posted as a video, it gets more reach. This is a tactic that’s clearly working for this Page – check out the view counts here, and all of these are static images posted as videos, all similar length.

Facebook Cracks Down on Static Images as Video and Fake Video Play Buttons with New Algorithm Update | Social Media TodayIt’s not necessarily scamming, they’re not advertising their content as anything different to what it is, and as the videos autoplay in the News Feed, most users wouldn’t even notice that these are videos. But they generate a lot more reach than they would as static images.

But now, Facebook’s got wind of this, and they’re looking to take action, announcing a new News Feed algorithm tweak which will detect and restrict the reach of static images posted as video content.

Using a new ‘motion scoring’ system, Facebook will be able to detect movement inside a video, and demote content that’s not actual video, despite being posted as such. This will likely also impact those Facebook Live posts which include virtually static counters, which have also helped some Pages boost their reach.

Again, that’s not necessarily deceptive, but it does go against what video content is, providing a lesser experience for users.

In addition to this – and maybe worse from a user experience perspective – Facebook’s also cracking down on Pages that post still images with play buttons inside them to lure clicks.

Facebook Cracks Down on Static Images as Video and Fake Video Play Buttons with New Algorithm Update | Social Media TodayAs explained by Facebook:

“When people click on an image in their News Feed featuring a play button, they expect a video to start playing. Spammers often use fake play buttons to trick people into clicking links to low quality websites.”

In order to limit the reach of such posts, Facebook will use its machine learning systems to detect fake play buttons in preview images.

So what will the impact be for your Page? Nothing, so long as you don’t use these tactics. In order to avoid any negative impacts, ensure you’re not posting play buttons in your preview images and don’t post static content as a video. Such tactics may have provided some benefit for some Pages in the short term, but as Facebook rolls out these new changes, these posts will see a significant drop in reach.

It’s a good update for Facebook, further removing ambiguity around the types of content being posted, helping to ensure a better user experience by providing what you would expect from both video and non-video content.

Now, when you see a video play button, you can expect it to actually work, while eliminating mis-uses of Facebook Live can only help to improve the overall quality of the offering, which will bring more users back to Facebook Live more often.

Now we wait to see where the next Facebook reach loophole will be.

via Social Media Today Read More…