• Whom Would You Trust: A Human Or An Algorithm?
    I've been struggling with a dilemma. Almost a year ago, I wrote a column asking if Big Data would replace strategy. That started a several-month journey for me, when I've been looking for a more informed answer to that query. It's a massively important question that's playing out in many arenas today, including medicine, education, government and, of course, finance.
  • Whatever Happened To The Web Analytics Industry?
    Late the other night I finished Google's new digital marketing analytics training program, Analytics Academy. It's intended to help beginners acclimate to marketing/web analytics broadly, and the Google Analytics platform specifically. I was relieved to find that most of the material was a refresher for me; the kid's still got it. After the final examination, as I basked in my moment of glory, I began to think about how it must feel for the newly indoctrinated. I have to imagine for most it looks like one dominated by Google, or at least one where innovation is occurring on top of …
  • How RFPs Reveal A Company's True Personality
    I believe I speak for all agencies when I say I hate RFPs. The agency perception is that most RFPs are rigged in favor of one agency, and if you aren't that agency, you'll spend a lot of time crafting an RFP with little chance of winning. For this reason, I'm sure in-house marketers also hate RFPs. They may already have an agency they love but are required to put out an RFP to comply with internal policies. Of course, they can't tell "competing" agencies the process is a charade - they have to look impartial. That results in wasted …
  • Fraud Control: It's Time For Advertisers To Demand Performance
    Fraud is a big part of today's digital advertising ecosystem - and yes, it's awful how rampant it is. But there is a solution, and it lies with advertisers. Don't get me wrong; I'm not out to blame the victim. Those who perpetrate the fraud are undoubtedly the villains, faking impressions or manufacturing automated clicks. But fraud follows opportunity. And change will come only when advertisers start paying for real, verifiable customer outcomes.
  • What Does Being "Online" Mean?
    If readers' responses to my few columns about Google's Glass can be considered a representative sample (which, for many reasons, it can't, but let's put that aside for the moment), it appears we're circling the concept warily. There's good reason for this. Privacy concerns aside, we're breaking virgin territory here that may shift what it means to be online.
  • Game On: Search Retargeting
    I know a lot about football -- and by a lot, I mean relatively nothing at all. A lifelong fan, I've played in a confidence league for years and, this September, boldly entered a fantasy conference. I can see calls before the refs (oh settle down, I know it's likely going to be, "holding") but my ability to spot the 1st down marker has waned because of technology. More than a decade ago, ESPN and SportsVision debuted that little yellow stripe magically painted on the field (technically, the "Virtual Yellow 1st and Ten" line) and in October 2013, that same …
  • Losing My Google Glass Virginity
    A few columns back, when I said Google's Glass might not be ready for mass adoption, fellow Search Insider Rob Garner gave me this advice:"Don't knock it until you try it." So, when a fellow presenter at a conference I was at last week brought along his Glass and offered me a chance to try them (Or "it"? Does anyone else find Google's messing around with plural forms confusing and irritating?), I took him up on it. To say I jumped at it may be overstating the case - let's just say I enthusiastically ambled to it.
  • 10 SEM Lessons I Learned From The Chicago Marathon
    On Sunday, I ran my first (and last) marathon. Here are some of the key lessons I learned, and how they can be applied to search engine marketing:
  • Looking Beyond Search & Retargeting: An SEM's Survival Guide
    This past week I was fortunate to be able to participate on a panel discussion titled "Moving Beyond Search & Retargeting: What's Missing from Your Performance Strategy?" The format of the panel was simple: an hour devoted to panelist presentations, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A time. And after I overcame my initial nervousness, I came away with a clear view of what challenges are before us in the near term and what many of us now struggle with daily.
  • Bounded Rationality In A World Of Information
    Humans are not good data crunchers. In fact, we pretty much suck at it. There are variations to this rule, of course. We all fall somewhere on a bell curve when it comes to our sheer rational processing power. But, in general, we would all fall to the far left of even an underpowered laptop. Herbert Simon recognized this more than a half century ago, when he coined the term "bounded rationality." In a nutshell, we can only process so much information before we become overloaded, when we fall back on much more human approaches, typically known as emotion and …
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