Tracy - 11/49 - Digital Marketing Agency

Bing – First impressions

By | Search News | No Comments

Well, I posted last week on my impressions of Bing from their trailer, and now I am going to post on my initial impressions from half an hour of use.

First of all, unlike Wolfram Alpha, my initial impression is that this could pose a serious competition to Google – if only people could cure their Google habit. I wonder if I feel this confidence in Bing because the interface is very reminiscent of Google?

Bing

(They even knew I loved Santorini?? I don’t know why that is the background for Bing.)

Now a quick comparison with Google, and you can see how similar the search options are:

google

However, I am not sure where a lot of the features are that were promoted in the video. Perhaps they are being rolled out separately – a search for mobile phones and swine flu got me no special shopping or health pages.

As for the other features I mentioned in my last blog post (which I didn’t make up, I got them from Bing’s own promo video) – I couldn’t find the tabs, I couldn’t find a video or image to view straight from the listings, and I couldn’t find ‘best match’ (which I thought was an aberration anyway).

What I did see that was new was the advanced search option, which allowed you to refine your search if you weren’t satisfied with the initial results. But on second glance, it wasn’t that advanced, just letting you add extra keywords, choose a domain, area and language. Not that groundbreaking.

Despite Bing not matching what I expected from the promotion, I think it is quite good. The userfriendly (and familiar?) interface could be what they need to help them compete with Google.

I mindlessly use Google myself, so not sure if Bing will be my next big thing, but I might compare results over the next little while to see if either has results that I prefer.

Just before I sign off, I will do a quick search for the term ‘best search engine’ on Bing, as I have previously with other search engines – just to see who it recommends:

Result: no one on page one. Similar to results seen on Google, it just has entries for blog posts and stories discussing search engines – it isn’t going to give a recommendation! However, unlike Google, it did not mention Dogpile (the aggregator search engine).

What it did do at number 15, was list Google Linus.

The 411 on Twitter

By | Social Media | No Comments

I have posted many times before about Twitter, but despite all my posturing I still am not a frequent user. I know some people utilise both Twitter and Facebook, but I feel like I spend enough time on Facebook without spending more time on Twitter too.

I am a Facebook girl.

The other reasons I don’t use Twitter are that I really don’t have many non-work-related friends who use Twitter, and I suspect that a large majority of Twitter users are PR or marketing people (or people doing their own PR). This could just be a personal prejudice of mine. This article in the Independent , estimates the number of users as 2.4 million in the UK and a staggering 15.7 million in the US (April 2009).

Despite this huge ‘following’, there are apparently only 46 employees in Twitter – very small in relation to its users, and also its funding this year, $35million USD.

Since I am a marketing person myself, and since I love Lily Allen, I have decided to make a concerted Twitter effort. Today, I updated my Twitter (Trakka) 3 times. Admittedly this was within the space of 5 minutes, as I couldn’t decide how to start on my new endeavour. But still. Three times in one day is a great start I think. Now, my Twitter window will be open all day long on my laptop, next to my Yahoo mail, work email and Facebook.

To help me begin my quest, and to help others understand what I am talking about, here is my official 411 on Twitter:

What is it?

Twitter is a pared down version of the Facebook status update feature. It is touted by its founders as being a way for people to stay connected through the exchange of quick and frequent messages, which is true, if the people you know are actually on Twitter. More often it seems to be used by companies and celebrities to promote themselves or their products (Lily Allen, Skittles, Hugh Jackman, etc).

The updates, with a limit of 140 characters, are colloquially referred to as ‘tweets’, and are posted to your own profile and sent to your ‘followers’ (Similar to Facebook, where ‘followers’ = ‘friends’.). Unlike Facebook, your updates are also searchable, which has given rise to the comment that Twitter is the first ‘real-time’ search engine. A claim I disagree with, littered as it is with spam.

If you are reluctant for the public to be able to search your status, you can make it private. But by default, of course, it is public.

Similar to Facebook, and email, you can also receive private messages in Twitter. This disturbs me, as I already need to check my work email, private email and Facebook Inbox to see if anyone is saying anything to me – like Drew Barrymore says in ‘He’s just not that into you’, "It’s exhausting!".

What are the #’s about?

If you put a # before a word, this means that you are identifying it as belonging to a stream of twitters about that particular word or term. E.g. #Olympics, #Obama, etc.

What is an @reply?

If you want to use your status update to say something specifically to someone, you start your update with @, then the username of the person you are addressing. Because many updates are public and searchable, you can reply to people who you are not following.

If you want to see if anyone has done this with your username, there is an @username link in the right hand navigation of your home page where you can check it.

Now, come and follow me, @Trakka (yay, I am glad I got my nickname!)

Recycling Technology

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

While this post is not really internet marketing related, I just had to post on it because it is something I am a big believer in. And while it isn’t SEO or PPC related, it is actually technology and marketing based, so maybe not so irrelevant.

I am talking about the Governments new proposed E-waste scheme, Reborn. I won’t follow my instincts and harp on about the very SEO-unfriendliness of the site, the  lack of internet marketing supporting it or the likeliness that they blew a big proportion of their marketing budget on a site that no one will ever see – because I am a big proponent of their cause.

Basically, Reborn is a Government initiative aimed at supporting the recycling of old technology. So as we get new digital tvs and computers, our old ones won’t just go on and add to landfill. While I love new technology as much as the next guy, there is always a portion of guilt – what do I do with my old one? Where will it end up? Will it EVER decompose? Could I use bits of it to build something new?

One part of this initiative is that the Government is proposing a $35 charge on new televisions which will go towards the recycling of old ones. Similar to carbon offsets for flights, it will help relieve the guilt of consumers, but unlike flight offsets, it would not be optional. This is good, because firstly, despite guilt, carbon offsets are not purchased all that often, and secondly, I am not sure if people are feeling the ‘new television’ guilt anyway.

So, if you support consumption ‘taxes’ to help minimise the effect consumerism and the rapid pace of technology has on the environment, log onto Reborn, and register your support (which means emailing Peter Garrett, sorry!).

Web Analytics Series Part 2 – After Set Up

By | Analytics | No Comments

Last week, we posted on web analytics set up, outlining how simple it is to get analytics onto your site.

Once you have it tracking though, there are a few other things you need to consider straight away. Nothing in Google Analytics will work retrospectively.  So, if next week you implement some filters and goals, it will only record them from implementation time onward. For this reason, you need to think about setting certain things up early on in the game.

1. Multiple profiles – if you want to track different groups using filters, if you want to use more than 4 goals, or if you think you are going to receive more than the Google analytics traffic limit per day, you will want to introduce multiple profiles to your account.

This is a great way of experimenting with your data and your analytics account without threatening the integrity of your data.

To make multiple profiles, log into your analytics account. Under the table which lists your domains, there will be a link to “create new website profile”. Click on this and then choose “Add a profile for an existing domain”.

This will make you a duplicate profile which will be identical to the original unless you make changes to it (e.g. filters, new goals, etc).

2. Filters – Filters are used to filter out that traffic in which you aren’t interested. For example, perhaps you don’t want to be confusing your customer traffic with your staff traffic. Or maybe you aren’t interested in overseas traffic. Maybe you want a separate profile for each state you operate in.

To make a filter, go to your website profile settings in Google Analytics. Click on Edit in the table, then scroll down to the Filter box, and click “Add Filter”. If you want to exclude multiple IP addresses, try and use this tool from Google Analytics Help.

Using filters you can exclude traffic from an IP address, a domain, include traffic only to a certain subdirectory and much more.

3. Linking to Adwords – Another thing you will want to do ASAP, is link your Google Analytics account to your Google Adwords account (if you have one). Because if you don’t, then Google analytics will record all your search engine traffic as organic traffic.

To do this, you just need to click on the ‘Reporting’ tab in Google Adwords, and then choose ‘Google Analytics’. This will then prompt you to link the accounts. Note – to do this you need to have administrator access in the Google Analytics account.

4. Goals – Finally, you probably want to add goals to your profile. Each profile will allow you to add up to 4, but like I said before, you can make more profiles to record more goals.

To add goals, go to the profile settings page in Google Analytics, click ‘edit’ for the profile to which you want to add goals.

You will need the URL for the goal you want to add. This is often a thankyou page – for example after a sign up or purchase. You can have any URL on site as your goal, or even download links (like a brochure).

Similarly to Goals, is Ecommerce tracking, which is a more advanced type of goal measurement, which allows you to track products sold, total amount earned, etc. Setting up Ecommerce tracking will be covered in Part 3 of this series.

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