Facevertising: Coming to a Share Button Near You
Google is adding yet another element to an already questionable TOS: headshot advertising, er, sort of. As Google again rolled out changes to their algorithm, they also managed to slip new verbiage into their terms of service: if you G+ or share something, an advertisement closely resembling what you liked - whether it be quiche or bath salts - will be generated and shared with your Circles, friends, or anyone that you also liked eons ago. We've already seen this coming, via ingeniously crafted advertisements in our inboxes (even Yahoo changed their inbox schema to place ads 'above the fold').
The good news? Opting out, theoretically, won't be too difficult. The bad news? Google may not have to comply. Let's see who wins, or draws the shortest straw, in this new era of social suggestion.
Perhaps it's time that people switch to YouTube marketing, where one could buy views reviews without the overly gregarious tactics used by YouTube's current owners.
Winners: Google, Advertisers
Advertisers that overspend during A/B testing, are still in the dark about targeting their audiences without over-targeting, or are tired of your friends not buying what you bought could emerge victorious, and rather quickly. In fact, web surfers will do all the work for them just by sharing pictures with specific keywords (unbeknownst to the layman, of course). ROAS could shoot the moon, social media goals could finally reach much deserved fruition - or the whole gamut could backfire.
According to The Media Audit, adults spend an average of 32.5% of their time online compared to radio, newspaper, and TV. This means advertisers could corral your behaviors, spin them into their pitches, and have you Hooked on Phonics quicker than your Need for Speed.
Google, of course, wins regardless who loses. It's Google - we are simply denizens of frightened marketers trying to help a client out. If the Big 'G' wills our efforts useless, moot they become. Crappy, wrong and even unethical - all's fair in digital marketing wars, my friends.
Losers: Marketers, Humanity
Affiliate marketing? It'll still exist, but on much smaller scales than most aggressive marketers have comfortably become acclimated to. Content marketing? Will still exist, although Google's already making it a no-no to egregiously link your clients' sites inside irrelevant articles. Videos are perhaps all that marketing pros will have left to leverage in their favor.
You, the innocent web surfer sharing ma's homemade biscuits and gravy pictures may receive Bob Evans advertisements if you, or your peeps, decide to share these pictures. Again, Google says you may opt-out, but be forewarned: your emails aren't safe because you agreed to their TOS. Agree to enact their share button into your busy life, and there goes your private sharing tirade. Just saying.
How Marketers Can Still Thrive
Content marketing is one of the most important aspects of modern SEO, SMM, SMO - whatever you call it. While things like having an excellent marketing education, huge contact lists and other aspects of content marketing are widely explored in articles and blogs, there tends to be less focus given to how you decide the type of content you actually need on your site.
Prior to putting any marketing plan together, it makes sense to conduct a Google audit.
In conducting said audit, read through Google's TOS frequently. Check out Matt Cutts' ramblings for hints; contrary to some widely errant beliefs, the guy actually warns marketers before things go down. Finally, encourage people around you to share things on platforms that won't steal your soul.
Finally, consider content sharing your #1 friend - not photos. It's proven that reader friendly content funneled through social channels creates more profound of an impact that sharing 1M photos because you're giving people something they can call their own.
How We, The People, Can Get Involved
We empower those we believe to have viable solutions. Now that I've tossed that out there, we don't have to empower Google. Yahoo kicked off the search engine wars decades ago - well before many Google engineers were out of college. Or grade school. Google doesn't have to be an enigma to our lifestyles. [As soon as you read this, you Googled something.]
Social marketing pros know that conversations are the lifeblood of click-thru rates, sales or signups. They also know friends, friends of friends and their parents are the best salespeople in existence. So keep talking, my friends, and know your privacy rights before clicking the 'Submit' button - once that button is submitted, you just agreed to a pounding of your private browsing, discussion and sharing rights.
Dave, navigating the cantankerous quagmire one calls life with startling persistence, offers his experience and love for general news to all interested people of our galaxy. Writing about the flows of life at The Daily Flows, watching the Cubs piss away another season and randomly dialing telemarketing companies is among his favorite things. Twitter stalk all of his travails and even drop ...
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