The Blogging Tool I Use Every Day

Recently I’ve been using AnswerThePublic.com every day. You enter any topic and it comes back with a web of search phrases that people ask about the topic.

I came across it on an SEO blog somewhere, and it has proved to be extremely useful. It really helps with writing more organized content. Using the questions that people ask as headlines helps SEO because it places the keywords in your headers. This nearly halves the time it takes to write a post, which is great!

Weirdest Christmas Gifts For 2017

Do you have someone on your list who you don’t know what to get? One of these just might be the perfect gift. If I opened a gift and saw one of these, I’d be really confused.

Asian Man Wall Mural

Who needs a FatHead of Lebron James, when you could have one of this random Asian guy? I think this could really spice up your living room (or be really creepy in your bedroom).

Buy Now: $39.96

 

Chicken Nugget Novelty Soap81TQdFCz+GL._SY500_.jpg

 I wonder what this smells like? It looks just like delicious McDonald’s nuggets. Nobody wants this for Christmas, but see how they react.

Buy Now: $6.99

 

Unisex Barbarian Knit Beanie Octopus

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This one is for your nephew who has become a bank robber and is looking to spice up his look. Everyone needs one of these! (Don’t get me one)

Buy Now: $12.00

AdBistro Fights Ad Fraud

I originally wrote this article and posted it on the AdBistro blog. Check it out here.

According to The Bot Baseline, economic losses due to bot fraud in 2017 will be 10% lower than they were in 2016. In 2016’s study, the ANA reported that advertisers lost an estimated $7.2 billion due to ad fraud. Ad Fraud is a much larger issue than people realize. Although the loss will be less this year, advertisers will still lose ~$6.5 billion in 2017 to ad fraud.

This decline in losses due to fraud is promising for advertisers and publishers alike, because it accompanies news that advertising spending will likely increase by 10% or more this year.

What Is Bot Laundering?

Bot laundering is when fake traffic replicates human activity. Scammers can use these bots by selling them to publishers as “real traffic” or by using them to improve the traffic numbers on their own sites to charge more for ad space.

How Does Ad Fraud Work?

AdWeek recently published this article explaining four common ways ad fraudsters make money.

Fake Traffic Brokers

This happens which a publisher wants to increase traffic to its site. They will then go to a traffic broker, who promises to send high volumes of valuable traffic to the publisher’s site. Fraudsters will create traffic broker services that don’t deliver real traffic, but instead use bots. The publisher’s traffic will see an influx of users. The fraudulent traffic brokers are essentially protected and removed from the situation because neither the publisher nor the ad exchange will be unable to track them down.

Publishers who have purchased traffic from fake traffic brokers will likely be unaware that they are buying fake traffic. The bots are often created on real users’ computers using malware.

Ghost Sites

This involves creating content farms which churn out tons of thin, low-value content, and then using bots to create fake “qualified audiences”.

Ghost sites are websites which have tons of thin, low-value content published with the sole intent of ranking highly in search results. A content farm is a website that cranks out a very large number of articles a day full of low quality content written by freelancers or bots. The only intention is to rank highly on search engines. Google has cracked down on these sites, making them less prevalent, though.

URL Masking

CEO of Double Verify, Wayne Gattinella, explains that much of advertising technology’s infrastructure wasn’t designed with fraud prevention in mind. URL masking, an example of this, is when publishers sell their ad space to advertisers without disclosing where the ads will be published. The lack of transparency gives the publishers the abilities to inflate their site’s true value. They can make represent their site as more targeted, relevant and credible than it actually is, and charge advertisers more.

This can also involve a tactic known as “impression laundering,” which is when a site that steals copyrighted content hides the true location of the ads. This leads to ads being served alongside pirated content, which advertisers otherwise would avoid.

Pixel Stuffing & Ad Stacking

Some less-reputable web publications will put ads on their sites in a way that essentially hides them from users. These sites mainly use two tactics, pixel stuffing and ad stacking. Pixel stuffing is when websites cram ads into a 1-pixel by 1-pixel unit. The site loads the ad, but the user will never see it. Ad stacking, then, is when ads are placed on top of each other so the user only sees one ad. The advertiser still pays for the ads, despite the user remaining unaware of the hidden ads. Both methods lead to advertisers losing out on real views, and paying for fake traffic.

AdBistro Takes Action Against Non-Human Traffic

Adbistro examines ad fraud

AdBistro fighting ad fraud is nothing new, as we’ve been improving our fraud protection and prevention for years. We’ve been working with DoubleVerify, an industry leader in detecting and preventing non-human traffic, since 2014. For our clients trying to get their message to potential buyers, paying for fake traffic could ruin their campaign. It is in AdBistro and our clients’ best interest to ensure the clicks or impressions are genuine people and not bots.

AdBistro’s BistroAPI is constantly evolving to make the ad buying process better for our clients, both advertisers and publishers.

Read more about how AdBistro avoids fake traffic on the AdBistro Blog

Should You Get Amazon Fresh?

AmazonFresh was first released in March 2017 as AmazonFresh Pickup, a drive-in grocery concept. It allowed users to shop for groceries online and then reserve a time to pick them up at the store and have them loaded into their car.

In July 2017, it was reported that AmazonFresh was selling meal kits. Then, on November 2, Amazon announced that it was discontinuing the service in some neighborhoods. This is likely due to the company shifting its focus to Whole Foods, after acquiring the grocery chain in August 2017.

What is AmazonFresh?

AmazonFresh is a subsidiary of Amazon.com. It is a grocery delivery service currently available in some U.S. states, London, Tokyo, and Berlin. Items ordered on AmazonFresh are available for same day or next day delivery.

Is AmazonFresh Available in Your Area?

Click here to see if AmazonFresh is available in your area. They recently scaled it back, but it may return once the program integrates Whole Foods and its infrastructure.

Try AmazonFresh Free Trial

Is Amazon Fresh Worth It At $14.99 per Month?

Like most things it really depends. If you are able to determine how much of something you use, and can consistently use the same amount, it really could help you. As more and more services and retail stores become more automated, like this, there will be a shift away from taking trips to the grocery store for a few things. The service costs $14.99 per month, and if you spend more than that on gas to and from the grocery store in a month the service is worth it.

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The Life and Times of A Blogger

I’ve spent the last few months honing my writing and SEO skills. Working with Spigot, I’ve been driving traffic to their websites with SEO blogging, link-building and social media.

I hadn’t done a lot of blogging before, but I’d messed around on different platforms in the past. I used Blogger for awhile, then Tumblr, and finally created a Squarespace and WordPress website.

Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can easily whip up four or five 500 word blog posts, other days it’s a grind to write one or two. My favorite part is finding a topic that resonates with readers and encourages them to respond. It helps knowing that people are actually reading the content and shaping opinions on it.

I recently added my blogging service to Fiverr: I will write an SEO friendly blog post for your business or website. Blogging is a good way to establish credibility with your customers. It’s not the only way, as having a social presence and a professional website are probably more important. You can improve your search engine rankings and traffic to your website if you write with a purpose. That’s where I come in.

Follow me on Instagram.

Brown Is The New White

I’m currently reading Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority by Steve Phillips.

What is the book about?

Phillips talks about the movements and events that had to happen for Barack Obama to be elected president. It takes a pretty laid back approach to the cultural changes that are happening in the US and other places around the world.

The book explains that by 2044, half of the United States will be people of color. In other words, at that point, white people will become the minority. And even more interesting is that right now, white progressives and people of color account for 51% of the population. Democratic nominees for president though have pretty much ignored this as they continue to target mainly white voters. Phillips mentions instances when political figures have deliberately changed their messaging to appeal to more conservative white voters and as a result lose touch with voters of color.

It’s an interesting read. I’m just getting started, but so far it’s solid stuff.

Why does it matter?

It’s interesting that people are either in denial or simply ignoring the changes happening right in front of their eyes. This book explains just one example of systems that are in place but are out-dated or not working for the majority people.

I’m Setting A Goal

I’ve heard different people talking about making money online and they’ve definitely caught my attention. Now, maybe only 1% of people who have had success with online businesses talk about it and I neglected the other 99%. Who knows? But it still gets me excited.

I want to start making money online. I’ll find ways to monetize the few websites I own.

stewart-christian.com  |  christianstewart.org  |  gymstarterkit.com

The first step is getting the monetization off the ground. I still have a ways to go before I can make my first dollar, but I think I should be able to do that by the end of 2017.

And Lamborghini, Hollywood Hills guy, Tai Lopez, says its possible. So here goes nothing.

There Will Never Be Another Gold Rush

A gold rush will never happen again. I really can’t think of a situation that would suddenly make everyone rush to one place in the world. The world is so interconnected that one area may suddenly see a spike in economic activity, but people won’t move there.

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman covers this well. Jobs that once were reserved for people in the developed, western world can now be performed much cheaper in places like India.

People will rush to new industries and new product categories but nothing is exclusive to a single region. Unless Elon Musk takes people to Mars and lets people find something to sell on Earth, people aren’t going to rush anywhere anytime soon.

The Basics of Digital Advertising

This article was originally posted on the AdBistro blog. Read the original article here.

– – –

Digital advertising is really any marketing or advertising media that is digitally displayed. This most commonly refers to internet, mobile and hand-held media devices, but could also be out-of-home media like billboards or other digital banners. Here is a quick rundown of some basic digital ad types and key terms.

Digital Advertising Inventory

Advertising inventory is the number of ads, or amount of ad space, a publisher has available to sell to an advertiser. In the context of display ads, this inventory would be the individual ad units on the website. Inventory standards are set by groups like IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). IAB specifications for programmatic selling and buying of inventories deliver greater efficiency and reliability.

Digital Advertising Platforms

  • Search Advertising: Also called paid search, search ads are advertising on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. There are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google, ignoring this market is missing out on a big opportunity.
  • Display Advertising: These ads are the banners on websites that include images or videos. Internet users using ad-blockers make it more difficult to see high engagement rates on these types of ads. As a result, native advertising and other forms of digital advertising are becoming more popular.
  • Mobile Advertising: Mobile advertising is a method of advertising that shows up on a mobile device, like a smartphone. These could be text message advertisements, embedded in apps, or display ads on mobile websites. While many of the same tactics are used when targeting mobile users as desktop users, research suggests that engagement in mobile users is slightly higher.
  • Social Advertising: Hootsuite calls social advertising, “any kind of paid content on a social media network. The options run from a one-off promoted Tweet or Facebook post to a full-scale campaign with major budgets attached.”
  • Demand-side Platforms: A demand-side platform is “a piece of software used to purchase advertising in an automated fashion.” according to Digiday. Advertisers and agencies most often use DSPs in the ad buying process.

What is native advertising?

adbistro-native-ads-click-through-rate-ctrNative advertising is a form of paid media, where the paid content resembles the surrounding website/content. By blending with the rest of a webpage, (or even non-digital forms like magazines) the content is more user-friendly. As a result, native ads have a much higher engagement rate than traditional display ads.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic ads are ads that have a completely automated buying process. Buying these ads is more efficient because a computer can monitor and bid on ads rather than having a person actually following and bidding on them. The automated buying process allows advertisers to reach specific audiences with pinpoint accuracy.

Prior to programmatic, the ad buying process was approached as direct sales. The advertisers and publishers would go back-and-forth with hundreds of spreadsheets, proposals, emails, etc. While this process is still used somewhat, it is less common thanks to programmatic.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB) vs. Automated Guaranteed

Both real-time bidding (RTB) and automated guaranteed are methods of programmatic ad buying. Real-time bidding buys impressions one at a time, based on who an advertiser is targeting. Advertisers bid by impression and if they win, their ad is immediately displayed.  This is the advantage to RTB, its ability to publish in an instant.  Automated guaranteed, or direct buying, allows marketers to buy ad impressions in bulk for a specific context or website, ESPN.com for example. The advantage to direct buying is that both the inventory and the price are guaranteed. However, once the deal is complete the advertiser loses control of when their ads are published on the site.

Why use digital advertising?

Quite simply, you should spend money on digital advertising because your competitors are doing it. If you neglect your business’ digital presence, your competitors will be at an advantage by reaching your target customers more often. Another reason is digital advertising’s superior tracking and measuring capabilities. Measuring a campaign’s ROI can be as simple as logging into Facebook and checking the engagement numbers on a particular post. As consumer data begins to paint a more complete picture of customers and their context, the insights into the buying process are deeper than ever. With this clear image of your most profitable customers, you can personalize which ads are served to which customers (depending on their place in the buying process).

How effective is digital advertising?

Digital advertising’s effectiveness obviously varies, but it makes optimizing your marketing and advertising efforts easier. Because the platform is so measurable, the most effective campaigns can be expanded and other campaigns can be stopped to maximize ROIs. By using the best available types of digital ads, as recommended by IAB, you will see twice the interaction rates.

Digital Advertising Pros and Cons

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are some of the most important factors you should consider.

PROS:

  • With endless advertising options, solutions are more flexible to factors like budgets and technical capabilities.
  • Customer interaction possibilities are endless. Every screen is a possible place to advertise your brand.
  • Digital campaigns are extremely scalable. Your message can be spread worldwide in an instant.
  • Your campaign’s effectiveness can be measured and reported immediately. Less effective campaigns or ads can be reworked and improved instantly.
  • Digital advertising can improve your brand’s reputation and trust. This makes other advertising and marketing efforts more effective.

CONS:

  • While reach may be high, as the digital ad space becomes more saturated, engagement may fall. You can combat this change by focusing on targeting the correct customers. Another way to improve engagement is to verify and check your traffic and inventory. AdBistro works with Integral Ads, comScore and AdVerify to make sure its traffic is high quality and provides results for its clients.
  • Blindly placing your ads online can open your brand up to negative associations. If your ad is published on a website that conflicts with your brand’s message it can harm your business. It is important to audit your advertisements to make sure they are being seen by the right people. AdBistro verifies its inventory by performing routine audits of where it publishes ads.
  • Without tracking, ROIs can be lost. If you aren’t following your campaigns and adjusting them to emphasize the most effective ads, you will lose valuable results. AdBistro’s intuitive reporting interface makes it easy to monitor and adjust campaigns as necessary.