Good morning, today we celebrate the remarkable work of SEO Areej AbuAli.

On Friday we named AbuAli the recipient of Search Engine Land’s first-ever award for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing. She is the founder of Women in Tech SEO and in the past year has done so much to mentor women in the industry and to advance the voices of women and BIPOC individuals in the community. What perhaps illustrates her impact perfectly is that more than 90% of all nominations we got for this award were for her.

Please click here to read more about her impressive work and join us all at Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today in congratulating her.

Henry Powderly
VP, Content


Google Ads turns 20: The most important trends and changes of the past 5 years

Google ads is now 20 years old. At its 15-year milestone, we chronicled AdWords’ evolution into a $60 billion business. We were still talking about Yahoo as a player in search, enhanced campaigns ushered in mobile as a marketing must-do just two years prior and ads-only Google Shopping was three years old.

Fast forward five years and a rebrand later, ad revenue has more than doubled (the ads business generated more than $135 billion last year), Yahoo surrendered search ads to Microsoft, mobile is ubiquitous, free listings are back on Google Shopping — and AI and machine learning have transformed the way Google Ads works and the way advertisers work with it.

We’ve broken down some of the biggest changes in Google Ads over the past five years into the following categories.

• Rise of audiences
• Decline of keyword (match types)
• Automated campaigns and ads
• Surfaces across Google
• Online-to-offline

Read our full analysis here >> »


Compare 13 top marketing automation platforms

MarTech Today’s “B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for B2B marketing automation software platforms. This report includes profiles of 13 leading B2B marketing automation vendors, capabilities comparisons, pricing information, and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing.

Get it now »


Marsbot is Foursquare for AirPods

Location pioneer Foursquare has rolled out Marsbot, a new platform that’s effectively Foursquare for audio. Dubbed “an experiment,” Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley calls it “a lightweight virtual assistant that proactively whispers local recommendations (and other fun snippets) into your headphones or earbuds as you’re walking around.” With tongue somewhat in cheek, he describes Marsbot as a cross between the original Foursquare, Microsoft Word’s Clippy and the virtual assistant from the film “Her.”

Right now Marsbot is only available for iOS but an Android app is coming. It’s a mobile app, but most of the action happens in your earbuds.

As users walk around town, Marsbot “will proactively whisper things to you that you may find interesting.” Things in this case can include places, buildings, public art or people. If you allow it, the app will announce to other Marsbot users that you’re nearby and vice-versa. People can also record audio snippets about places that others will hear.

A basic use case involves being in a restaurant (at some point in the future) and getting tips about menu items in your ear. It will also alert you without a prompt that there are other interesting places close by. However, users must be in or very near places for Marsbot to activate.

100 million users on deck. This is essentially the same vision Crowley had for Foursquare, transplanted to AirPods. He often spoke in the early days of the company about “making cities easier to use.” Marsbot seeks to leverage Foursquare’s local data and user-generated content to fulfill that promise via augmented reality, which isn’t limited to your smartphone’s camera.

There may be more than 100 million people in the U.S. who own AirPods or an equivalent set of earbuds. That’s an already massive installed base of potential users.

Why we care. The marketing implications here are fairly obvious: brand awareness or local ad opportunities tied to location. Once in a venue, the user could also be prompted to take advantage of a special offer. But monetization will follow adoption if Marsbot can get that far.

Getting the user experience right, however, will be tricky. What’s more, currently marginal use cases such as notifying you about nearby friends could become dominant. Hopefully Foursquare will stick with the app, partly because it could become a model for a host of interesting new audio AR experiences.

Read more »


Secure your SMX Pass for just $199

Register now to access 45+ tactic-rich SEO and SEM sessions that can help you drive more awareness, traffic, and conversions… and join us at SMX online December 8-9!

Book now for $149 »


E-commerce is expected to account for 18.8% of U.S. retail sales this holiday season, increasing by 36% year over year to $190 billion, according to eMarketer. U.S. brick-and-mortar retail sales are expected to fall by 4.7% compared to last year to $823 billion. 

Cyber Monday will continue to be the stand out of the “Cyber Five” days starting Thanksgiving day with sales of $12.89 billion, up 38.3% from last year.  The research firm expects “Amazon will see a historically strong Q4, benefitting from the Prime Day sales, membership, and engagement bump occurring before the holiday season. Click-and-collect mavens like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are also positioned for success. Retailers heavily dependent on apparel—particularly department stores—will struggle, and several may not survive beyond 2021.”

Quote of the day

“I don’t think anyone has done more to further the cause of diversity in SEO up to this point than Areej; not just with her TechSEOWomen initiative, but her support and spurring of similar initiatives across the industry, her championing of BIPOC, and other initiatives.” — Jessica Peck, Senior Analytics Consultant, CVS.