Good morning, Marketers, before we talk about the big Google story… 

I’d like to call your attention to a particularly dramatic story in search circles about just what Google meant when it said it would start indexing specific passages of web pages. Some thought it meant these short excerpts from pages would get indexed outside of the entire page, though Google confirmed that its search engine continues to index a page in its entirety and, in fact, parts of your page could rank even higher for certain queries. The bottom line is this, as our Barry Schwartz put it:

“The good news for content creators and SEOs, is that this technology will help us create content in ways that best serve our audiences. You don’t have to be preoccupied with thinking about breaking up content to be optimized around a single idea or keyword.”

Henry Powderly
VP, Content


DOJ antitrust suit: Google uses contracts, market power to neutralize rivals

Following a roughly 16-month investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and 11 state Attorneys General filed a long-awaited but reportedly hurried antitrust suit against Google, alleging a variety of monopolistic and anticompetitive practices

Google reacted to the DOJ lawsuit by calling it “deeply flawed” and arguing it “would do nothing to help consumers.” Google’s SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker says in a blog post, “People don’t use Google because they have to, they use it because they choose to.” The company also argues that if the litigation succeeds, it could “prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.” In other words, rather than relieving consumer harm it would cause harm.

The nearly 60-page complaint essentially focuses on and repeats the following arguments:

– Google maintains unlawful monopolies in “general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising”

– Google uses revenue sharing, direct payments and restrictive contracts to block rivals from gaining wide distribution and competing effectively

– The company uses its power to coerce mobile phone makers to pre-install Google apps if they want access to the Google Play store  

The complaint discusses the Apple-Google search relationship at length. It presents intriguing but unattributed factoids such as, “Google estimates that, in 2019, almost 50 percent of its search traffic originated on Apple devices.” The complaint also does a very deep dive into the varieties of Android contracts and how they allegedly use a mixture of “carrots and sticks” to help Google maintain control over the open-source Android ecosystem.

One key question in the litigation is about the health and viability of competition in Google’s markets. Google has marginalized or neutralized it, says the DOJ, citing Google’s search market share. But Google counters that the law isn’t for the benefit of competitors but consumers.

The DOJ argues that Google’s exclusionary contracts have helped lock up distribution and capture “nearly 90 percent of all general-search-engine queries in the United States, and almost 95 percent of queries on mobile devices.”

Google claims the DOJ is too narrowly focused on a few rivals: Bing, DuckDuckGo and Yahoo. Google says this is myopic and submits, in addition to “search engines,” it competes with many specialized sites such as Amazon, Yelp, Kayak and TripAdvisor. Google also mentions Pinterest as a competitor, among others.

Read the full analysis here »


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Where many PPC marketers go wrong with automation

Sponsored by: Optmyzr

Automation is great… when applied as one part of a more strategic approach to solving needs in our society. But automation isn’t foolproof. It’s not perfect. And it doesn’t fully take into account all variables, particularly intangibles.

Humans possess the essential traits of intuition, intellect, improvisational flair and insight. The human still plays the pivotal role in paid search. Sure, it’s possible to create functional, competent PPC by putting things essentially on autopilot. But who wants to just be functional?

Read more »

Social Shorts

Facebook makes moves into Nextdoor’s neighborhood

Facebook confirmed it is testing “Neighborhoods” in Canada — Calgary, specifically, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. “More than ever, people are using Facebook to participate in their local communities,” Facebook said in a statement to Bloomberg. “To help make it easier to do this, we are rolling out a limited test of Neighborhoods, a dedicated space within Facebook for people to connect with their neighbors.”

Why we care. Antitrust, anti-shmust. Moving into or copying rival territory is nothing new for Facebook. Nextdoor has built an entire social networking product around neighborhood connections, and as Bloomberg notes, it is looking at an IPO. Nextdoor has expanded its advertising business beyond realtors and now includes options for local businesses as well as for national brands. If the pilot expands, Facebook’s Neighborhoods could make it much harder for Nextdoor to compete for marketing dollars.


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CMS, CDP and other updates from Acquia Engage

Acquia’s virtual Engage conference launched on Tuesday with a series of product updates across its open source Digital Experience Platform. The updates affect both Acquia’s Marketing Cloud, and its Drupal Cloud. 

In the Marketing Cloud, the AgilOne CDP (now Acquia CDP) offers 360-degree customer profiles, identity resolution, and the possibility of creating unified customer segments based on data sourced across the Marketing Cloud’s set of solutions. The CDP also brings machine learning capabilities to the generation of predictive and propensity data to support next-best-actions.

A new COVID-19 dashboard helps Acquia customers track and understand changes in channel and product preferences within their audiences.

The Drupal Cloud (Acquia leverages Drupal’s open source CMS), offers a new Acquia CMS, a turnkey distribution of Drupal 9, fast to implement and with lower set-up and update costs: integrated with this is Site Studio, which provides marketers with drag-and-drop experience creation capabilities, and WYSIWYG assembly of content, layout, and designs.

Why we care. The accelerated pace of digital transformation, and the need for brands of all kinds to hone their data-based content marketing and commerce efforts, means that vendors in this space need to move to differentiate their offerings. There will be more examples of this over the coming weeks.

Read more here »

Quote of the day

“Of all the video marketing trends and strategies of the past few years, live-streamed video content continues to be one of the fastest growing and most effective tools available to marketers today.” Michael Melhorn, Head of Video & Production, N6A.