Saturday, December 1, 2012

[G] 5 Questions with Jeff Davidoff, Chief Marketing Officer of

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YouTube Blog: 5 Questions with Jeff Davidoff, Chief Marketing Officer of

More than 34 million people around the globe are living with HIV but only half of those eligible for life-saving treatment receive it. Today, on World AIDS Day, many organizations are using social media to convey the personal stories of those fighting to end the disease. We asked Jeff Davidoff, Chief Marketing Officer of, about their new people-powered campaign, “my story. our fight.”

1. Why did you make video a core component if the "my story. our fight." campaign?

ONE is all about the power of voice. As we often say, "we're not asking for you money we're asking for you voice." And while it's true that your voice alone may struggle to be heard or make a difference, we have concrete proof that our voices together are impossible to ignore. Our over three million members around the world prove this time and again. The inspiration for this particular campaign was to get at why people are involved — the personal stories and experiences they have that changed their lives, and committed them to getting off the couch and doing some real good in the world. To us, video was the obvious solution to bring these unique stories to life in a way that people can experience them, share them, be inspired by them and make their own commitment to action because of them.

2. You empowered people to share their messages and experiences. How did you encourage them to promote the campaign's goals while still allowing the campaign to feel organic and authentic?

Great question. Authenticity is really at the heart of this idea. And the answer is simple: don't write scripts. Instead, just ask people to share their own stories, and really push them to open up and be personal. I remember asking Cleve Jones, "Do you have a particular experience or memory that got you started on the path of AIDS activism?" And he said, "Absolutely." I said, "Great why don't you sit at my computer and share it?" And as he shared his beautiful and very personal story right in front of me, I knew we were onto something.

3. What actions are you asking viewers to take and how are you measuring the success of these videos?

We're using the call to action: "Watch one. Share one. Join ONE." We want people to be inspired by the stories we've curated, share them with their friends and, most importantly, take action by signing our petition to protect funding for lifesaving AIDS programs. There's a lot of talk now in America about the "fiscal cliff." This can seem like a vague and distant idea. Let's put it in concrete terms: if an agreement is not reached, and cuts to life-saving programs goes into a effect, real lives will be lost. These aren't numbers, these are people. That's why we're in the fight, and that's why we're hoping more people will join us.

4. Did you promote the campaign videos outside of YouTube as well? How do you think about distribution and helping the videos find their audience?

We're aggressively promoting the campaign both inside and outside of YouTube, including to our over three million members around the world via email, Facebook and Twitter and asking them to share with their much larger social networks. We're also rolling out an aggressive PR strategy that matches storytellers to particular audiences — movie stars to entertainment, AIDS activists to the AIDS community, college students to other students, etc. It's less about trying to bring people to us, and more about trying to get our story embedded in already-scaled audiences.

5. What advice do you have for cause-based campaigns in how they approach using YouTube?

We've been through quite a learning curve with YouTube. In the beginning I think we had a very old-world approach by making our own videos and trying to use YouTube as a free broadcast medium. We're now much more focused on tapping into the power of existing YouTube creators, and getting them to naturally include our message in their stories to their pre-existing audiences. It's a much more authentic and contemporary use of the medium. And we're already thrilled with the results.

Special note: DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES this weekend. Watch the livestream of Tiësto and some of the biggest names in dance music from Stereosonic, Australia's biggest dance music festival. Live at starting at 11pm ET on Friday, and looping all weekend long. 

Hunter Walk, director of product management, recently watched Are You Ready? Get Set, Let’s Go!


Friday, November 30, 2012

[G] SWIG Swings into another Successful Summer

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Google Open Source Blog: SWIG Swings into another Successful Summer

SWIG is a software development tool that connects programs written in  C/C++ with a variety of high-level programming languages.These so called ‘target languages’ vary enormously. The most popular being the scripting languages Python, Perl, Ruby, PHP & Tcl and the strongly typed languages, Java & C#. The full list of target languages also includes various Scheme and Common Lisp languages as well as XML.

This year was SWIG's third Google Summer of Code, and out of our five students, four completed the program successfully with valuable additions to SWIG base.

Dmitry Kabak worked on SWIG internals to parse the source code documentation comments within the C/C++ header files and use them to document the target language wrapper classes/functions. Dmitry's efforts complemented the existing support added in Google Summer of Code 2008. In summary, all previously known bugs have been fixed and original source code for comment translation re-factored to improve performance and maintainability. Parsing of C/C++ source code has been improved, so that every declaration/definition can now be commented. Translation of Doxygen tags to Javadoc and Python docstrings has been improved and corresponding regression tests have been implemented. The work can be tried out on the branch gsoc2012-doxygen.

Leif Middelschulte worked on C module for SWIG. Initially this project was supposed to be about implementing missing support for "advanced" C++ features because this module was thought to already be in very good shape. Unfortunately, this was not the case so Leif's task was changed to achieve at least a minimal level of module functionality which he accomplished. Leif also rationalized and documented the use of C typemaps and more generally improved documentation and testing support. Finally, the generated C bindings were made more type-safe to disallow passing objects of different types without so much as a warning from the compiler. Leif's Google Summer of Code work can be accessed in the subversion branch gsoc2012-c.

Neha Narang worked on a JavaScript module for SWIG, particularly addressing the JavaScript Core engine. Based on the prototypical work of Ashish Sharma and Oliver Buchtala, Neha implemented basic features: global functions and variables, classes, single inheritance, constants, enums, exception handling. She added 12 common examples and started the test-suite, currently having 32 tests. Additionally, Neha created detailed documentation describing design rationale and module usage. The module is in good shape but more tasks are left to complement the test-suite and add director support. Neha's work in Google Summer of Code is available in the branch gsoc2012-javascript.

Swati Sharma spent her summer working on the Objective C module for SWIG. SWIG had an initial support for generating Objective C wrappers over C++ which was added in Google Summer of Code 2009. These wrappers will be used to make C/C++ objects available to MacOS X, iPhone, and iPad applications. Swati’s goal for the summer was to have a cleaner implementation over the existing source code and get the code ready to merge into trunk. Swati finished close to the goal with almost completely rewritten, clean implementation. Much of the source code is new and fixes a lot of rough edges. We now have a more comprehensive set of typemaps for Objective- C and C++ type conversions. Almost 90% of the test-suite works and a number of new runtime tests have been added. Makefiles have been reorganized and the structure of the generated code re-designed to equally support Apple’s cocoa framework on Macos x and GNUStep on Linux/ Windows. Swati is very keen to add more features in coming months, especially the director support, support for clang, and updated module documentation. Swati’s work can be accessed in the branch gsoc2012-objc.

We would like to thank Google for sponsoring the Google Summer of Code. A special thanks to all the mentors for their hard work and William Fulton, the co-administrator, for his guidance and support.

By Ashish Sharma, SWIG Organization administrator 


[G] Announcing the Africa News Innovation Challenge winners

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Official Google Blog: Announcing the Africa News Innovation Challenge winners

Digital tools are an increasing impetus for innovation across African newsrooms. From crowdsourcing content to using infographics to tell stories, journalists are finding new ways to report the news. We're excited to be supporting these innovators through the $1 million Africa News Innovation Challenge, announced in May this year—the latest in a series of projects to spur innovation in African journalism.

Run by the the African Media Initiative, other partners include Omidyar Network, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the U.S. State Department, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The response to the challenge was really enthusiastic, with more than 500 proposals submitted.

The 20 winners are all exciting digital journalism projects that will contribute to solving some of the biggest challenges facing the African media industry. They range from mobile apps to mobilise citizens against corruption and improved infographics to communicate complex issues, to developing new platforms for sharing content on buses and taxis. Key themes among the projects include a growing concern about manipulated online content, the security of communications with whistleblowers and sources, and the need to improve engagement with audiences.

The projects have the potential to be replicated by media elsewhere in Africa, or to be scaled up across the continent, to create wide and sustained impact. Some projects will also develop new tools to support newsrooms and boost media revenues to support sustainable journalism. Winners will receive cash grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000; technology support from a team of four developers at AMI’s jAccelerator lab in Kenya, and business development support from top media strategists affiliated with the World Association of Newspapers & News Publishers. Ten of the winners will also be flown to the Knight Foundation’s annual M.I.T. Civic Media Conference in the U.S., while the rest will be showcased at other important industry events.

The ANIC winners are:
  • actNOW (Ghana)
  • AdBooker (South Africa)
  • Africa Check (South Africa / Nigeria)
  • skyCAM (Kenya / Nigeria)
  • Africa’s Wealth (renamed NewsStack) (Nigeria / Namibia)
  • Citizen Desk (Mozambique)
  • Code4Ghana (Ghana)
  • ConvergeCMS (Kenya / Tanzania / Uganda)
  • CorruptionNET (South Africa)
  • DataWrapper (Nigeria / Senegal / Tanzania)
  • End-to-End (renamed LastMile Crowdmapping) (Liberia / Ghana / Kenya)
  • FlashCast (Kenya)
  • Green Hornet (South Africa)
  • ListeningPost (South Africa)
  • MoJo: Keeping media honest by monitoring online journalism (South Africa)
  • openAFRICA (Kenya / Nigeria / Rwanda / South Africa)
  • ODADI (renamed Code4SouthAfrica) (South Africa)
  • Oxpeckers (South Africa)
  • Wikipedia Zero (Cameroon / Ivory Coast / Tunisia / Uganda)
  • ZeroNews (pan-African)

You can learn more about the winners’ projects on the ANIC website.

We can’t wait to see how these innovations unfold and we look forward to working with more African journalists to help them use technologies to tell important stories.

Posted by Julie Taylor, Communications Manager, Sub Saharan Africa

(Cross-posted from the Africa Blog)

[G] Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group moves to the cloud

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group moves to the cloud

Posted by Jeremy Ward, Senior Vice President for IT, Kempinski Hotels

Editors note: Today we welcome guest blogger Jeremy Ward, Senior President for IT at Kempinski Hotels. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Kempinksi Hotels, we believe we are personally responsible for creating rich and meaningful experiences for each of our guests. As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, it’s important to us that we provide perfection for our guests, whether that’s planning their wedding or just making sure they’re comfortable in a city they’re visiting for the first time.

As we began planning our five year strategy in 2010, we recognized the need to free operational resources from IT and find ways to work together across 70 hotels in 30 countries to continue providing best-in-class guest experiences. We found that moving to the cloud would allow us to reduce the overall cost of ownership and IT administration at each individual hotel so they could focus on driving efficiencies out of applications instead of just maintaining them. Quickly moving all of our properties to the cloud became a key part of our broader business strategy.

After considering cloud email platforms from Microsoft and Lotus, we found Google Apps to be the most mature solution and would allow us to collaborate easily across hotels and offices around the world. With the help of Google Apps Reseller, Cloud Technology Solutions (CTS), we transferred existing messages, appointments and contacts from GroupWise to Google Apps using their CloudMigrator multi-platform migration suite.

Now that we’ve fully migrated our 5,000 employees, we feel like we have an email platform that allows us to easily scale our business across each location, adding and removing users in a matter of minutes. We’re excited about being on a platform that continues to innovate and release features like instant translation in Gmail, Google+ Hangouts in Gmail, and document storage and collaboration using Google Drive. Moving to Google Apps was key to reducing the overall cost of ownership and cost of administration to the hotels, but we believe that the true benefits will come from the creative ways our employees use these tools to work together and provide an even better experience for our guests in the coming years.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

[G] More flexible controls with site-level blocking

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Inside AdSense: More flexible controls with site-level blocking

One of the top requests we hear from publishers who manage multiple websites is the ability to block different ads for different sites. For instance, you may want to block a category of ads from appearing on a children’s site you run, but allow those same ads to appear on a separate sports-related site you also manage. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve AdSense to meet your needs and help you earn the most possible from all of your sites, we’re happy to let you know that this level of granular blocking will be available for AdSense for content within the next days.

There are two steps to getting started with these new flexible controls, once they're enabled in your account:

1. Site management:
To allow you to take actions on a site-level basis, you’ll first need to let our system know which domains and subdomains you own. Under your ‘Home’ tab, visit the ‘Account Settings’ page and navigate to the ‘Access and authorization’ section. From here, you can create your Owned sites list which already contains domains from your existing URL channels and manually add further domains or subdomains. Or, claim a site from an automatically populated “Unclaimed” sites list, which shows all sites where your ads are receiving impressions. Note that manually entering subdomains into the list will enable you to block ads from those specific pages while still allowing the ads to appear on the top-level domain.

2. Site-level blocking:
Once you’ve set up your Owned sites list, visit your ‘Allow and block ads’ tab. You’ll notice some updates, including a new navigation bar, new horizontal tabs, and an option for site-level blocking; your Owned sites list will appear under ‘AdSense for content’ in the navigation bar. To block ads from a specific domain or subdomain, just select it from the list in the left-hand navigation and make updates. If you’d like to apply any blocking changes to all of your sites, just select ‘All my sites’ from the left navigation.

With site-level blocking, you can block by URL; if sensitive and general category blocking are available in your language, you’ll be able to apply these options as well. Please keep in mind that there’s a product-wide limit of 500 URLs that can be added to a block list. And as always, we recommend blocking ads with caution, since doing so decreases the potential revenue you can earn.

Ready to get started? Visit our Help Center for detailed instructions on how to manage sites and set up site-level blocking rules. We’d also love to hear your feedback on this new feature -- visit our AdSense +page to leave a comment and discuss your thoughts with other publishers.

Posted by Adomas Paltanavičius - AdSense Engineering

[G] The first-ever “spidernaut” safely returns to Earth

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YouTube Blog: The first-ever “spidernaut” safely returns to Earth

Take eight steps back, Psy and Biebs. Another YouTube star is born today as Nefertiti, the first-ever “spidernaut” who was the key element to the winning YouTube Space Lab experiment has made it home safely and will live out the rest of her life at the Smithsonian Museum.

Nefertiti is the first jumping spider to successfully return from space and adjust to life on Earth after a 100-day stay aboard the International Space Station. “Neffi,” as she’s called by friends, will take up residence starting today at the Insect Zoo in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Courtesy of NASA. Nefertiti, the red-backed jumping spider hunting for flies inside her space flight habitat on board the International Space Station.

The jumping spider experiment was one of two winners from thousands of ideas submitted to YouTube last year with the hopes of being sent to space as part of the Space Lab competition. Relive the epic story of YouTube Space Lab below.

Dom Elliott, Marketing Manager, recently watched “Space Lab LIVE!: Behind the Scenes.”


[G] Meet Google’s Top Contributors, a community of help

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Official Google Blog: Meet Google’s Top Contributors, a community of help

If you’ve ever asked a question in the Google Help Forums, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve met a Google Top Contributor. Last September, we told you a little bit about the Top Contributors when we hosted our 2011 Top Contributor Summit. Since then, Top Contributors continue to help millions of people get the most out of Google’s products by answering questions in Google’s Help Forums.

They also continue to give important feedback to Google. Top Contributors have advocated for features and improvements like custom colors in Google Calendar, more locations for offline Google Maps on Android devices, and protected ranges in Google Sheets. In short, they help Google build better products.

Starting today, you can find out more about Top Contributors on our new website for the program. You can learn about Google Help Forums, meet a few of the Top Contributors, and get a better understanding of what these incredible folks do to impact people’s lives in the forums every day.

We hope that the website brings the world of Google Help Forums to light and shows our thanks for the dedication Top Contributors show each day. To meet a Top Contributor or get some help, just stop by a forum and say hello. And let us know if you want more information on joining the Top Contributor Program!

Posted by Adrienne Ludwick, Top Contributor Program Manager

[G] Google Cloud Storage - more value for performance

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Cloud Storage - more value for performance

Posted by Dave Barth, Product Manager

(Cross-posted to Google Developers Blog)

Earlier this week, we announced a collection of improvements across Google Cloud Platform including 36 new Compute Engine instances, Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) storage, Object Versioning, and European datacenter support. We also announced that we are reducing the price of standard Google Cloud Storage by over 20%.  

We are committed to delivering the best value in the marketplace to businesses and developers looking to operate in the cloud.  That’s why today we are reducing the price of Google Cloud Storage by an additional 10%, resulting in a total price reduction of over 30%.  This price reduction applies to all Cloud Storage regions and the new DRA Storage.

Find out more about the new Cloud Storage pricing and sign up now to get started.

[G] 5 Ways To Ensure Google Analytics Is Running Perfectly

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Analytics Blog: 5 Ways To Ensure Google Analytics Is Running Perfectly

The following is a guest post contributed by Daniel Waisberg, Owner of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner, and Founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement and Optimization portal.

Abraham Lincoln once said: "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my axe." The same is true for measurement: it is of extreme importance to spend the necessary time thinking through which data should be collected and whether the collection works as planned (once implemented). Very often, the implementation model and quality assurance do not receive the proper attention.

I recently wrote a short eBook named Google Analytics Implementation Best Practices that covers some of the most important configurations you should setup. But in this post I will go through some techniques that will help you to make sure your Google Analytics implementation is working as you expect.

1. Create a "Raw Data" profile

The best way to check configuration errors is to have a profile that does not use any filters, this way you will be able to quickly learn if you have a misplaced or problematic filter. Here is a quick guide explaining how to create profiles.
Once you create this profile, I do recommend you create the same goals you have in your main profile, this will make the data more relevant in case you need to use it. For example, if you find out that your main profile have a filter that affected your past data, you might want to use the Raw Data profile for a while. To copy and paste a goal between profiles you can use the Chrome extension GA Copy and Paste.

2. Use Real Time Reports

In October 2012 Real Time reports started supporting profile filters. This means that "the data you see in real time is profile specific and obeys the filtering you set up for that profile. And this means any user with access to a profile can view the associated real time reports." This enables many interesting analysis opportunities like seeing real traffic for only small pre-defined segments.

In order to use Real Time to check your Google Analytics implementation, you should first create a new profile (see link above). Then, add a filter that includes the IP address of your company; learn how to do it in this help article, but make sure to change the filter from "exclude" to "include". Now you will be able to look at the Real Time reports of this profile and see what you are doing in real time, which makes code checks much easier and faster.

3. Keep Track Of Configuration Changes

One of the common configuration problems is a lack of communication, especially for large companies. From a few people to a few dozen people will have Admin access to Google Analytics, which means they can change the settings of any profile. This can lead to unwanted or misunderstood changes in the account.
By "changes" I mean goal refinements, filter improvements, new features, and so forth. Every change may impact data in several ways, and for this reason it is essential to have a system in place to keep track of code and profile changes. In order to facilitate/centralize the collection and sharing of the changes made to a Google Analytics account, I propose two different methods: using a Google Docs form & taking advantage of the Annotations feature. Please note that each company should find the optimal mix between these methods.
Using a Google Docs Form
The big advantage of Google Docs is that it can be shared with as many people as needed and everyone has access to the most updated version of the document. I recommend creating a Google Form (learn how) that will output its data into a spreadsheet. The form should be created so that all interested parties can be aware of all changes. These will then be aggregated for historical knowledge that can be used by the whole team (and future teams members). See one sample form that can be used by Analytics teams in this article.
Google Analytics Annotations
This feature allows website managers, marketers and developers to provide context directly from inside the graphs on the interface, allowing for richer analyses. Here are some important occasions when you should use this feature:
  • Offline marketing campaigns (e.g. radio, TV, billboards.)
  • Major changes to the website (e.g. design, structure, content.)
  • Changes to tracking (e.g. changing the tracking code, adding events.)
  • Changes to goals or filters.
While annotations can (and should) be used for technical changes in the website, it is important to keep them at a high level. You shouldn't add detailed information about your changes or annotate relatively minor changes; otherwise the annotations will become too crowded to convey meaningful information to readers.

4. Know What Your Site Sends To Google Analytics

The Google Analytics team built a Chrome extension that is intended to help you debug your implementation. Here is what you will be able to do using the extension and a screenshot of how you will see the data:
This extension loads the debug version of the Google Analytics Javascript for all sites you browse using Google Chrome. It prints useful information to the Javascript console. These messages include error messages and warnings which can tell you when your analytics tracking code is set up incorrectly. In addition, it provides a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon sent to Google Analytics.

Important tip: this extension can also be used for competitive analysis. If you use it while browsing your competitors' websites you will learn how they are tracking their customers.

5. [E-commerce sites] Compare Google Analytics to Database

The most important feature on Google Analytics for Ecommerce websites is the Ecommerce Tracking. It allows the marketer and website owner to understand what and who is driving online sales. But it is essential that the numbers on Google Analytics approximately match the database of the company, otherwise they won't be trusted.
In order to make sure the numbers match, ask from your Database administrator to retrieve the daily Ecommerce revenue for a month, and extract the same information from Google Analytics. Plot the numbers on your preferred spreadsheet tool and check if the numbers and the trends match. If they do not match, here is a quick list of things to check:
  • When 2 or more of the same item are purchased, does Google Analytics trigger _addItem more than once? (it should)
  • How does Google Analytics record transactions that use promotional coupons and how the database reports it?
  • Be careful with apostrophes! If you use apostrophes in your product names you should be careful not to pass them to Google Analytics on the _addItem, they can break your code.
Closing Thoughts
As we saw above, there are several tools that can help you understand why the data you are getting might not be what you expected. But if you still can't find a solution to your issue, try asking a question at the User Forum. I also highly recommend you read this code website article: Troubleshooting the Tracking Code.
Happy analyzing!
Posted by Daniel WaisbergGoogle Analytics Certified Partner 

[G] Dialing up on click-to-call

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Inside AdWords: Dialing up on click-to-call

Mobile technology is making it easier than ever for people to research products and connect with businesses while they’re on the go. But we all know that sometimes it helps to speak to a real person before making a purchase decision. In fact, research shows that 52% of smartphone users have called a business after looking for local information on their mobile devices. Calls are key in helping consumers connect with businesses in the digital age, so incorporating a click-to-call strategy on mobile is crucial for any company that does business over the phone.

Companies big and small have put click-to-call functionality front and center in their mobile ads to reach customers on the go, and have seen impressive results. For instance, Comcast incorporated click-to-call ads into their mobile strategy, and now find mobile drives more than 10% of online sales. Esurance also reduced their cost per acquisition by 20-30% compared to other channels by using Google mobile ads with click-to-call. With more than 20 million calls made through Google click-to-call ads each month, it’s clear that mobile works when driving calls to businesses. In fact, our studies have shown that adding Call Extensions to mobile ad campaigns have improved advertisers’ average click-through rates by about 6-8%.

But as any business knows, getting customers to call is only half the battle. That’s why we’ve invested in features like Google call forwarding numbers, which show detailed reporting on calls generated from your ad campaign such as call start and end time, duration and caller area code. Having this valuable information can help advertisers understand how effective their ad campaigns are at driving calls as well as the quality of those calls. Advertisers using Google call forwarding numbers see calls last over six minutes on average.

We’re working hard to continually improve the click-to-call experience for advertisers and consumers. Here are a few of the things that our team has recently been hard at work on:

  • Click-to-call button - We recently introduced a new click-to-call button for ads leveraging Call Extensions, which people can easily tap to call businesses. Early results indicate that this new design positively impacts advertiser click-through rates and call volume.
  • Expanding availability of Google call forwarding numbers - We’re also focused on bringing Google call forwarding numbers to more advertisers so they can better measure the full value that mobile is driving through calls. Already available in US and UK, we recently expanded availability to Germany and plan to expand availability to additional countries in the coming months.
  • Call Extensions for in-app ads - We also recently introduced Call Extensions for ads showing in apps on the Google Display Network. Now in addition to click-to-call ads across the mobile web, advertisers can also drive calls from ads in more than 300,000 mobile apps.

New click-to-call button
If you haven’t yet tried Call Extensions in your mobile campaigns, you can find instructions for enabling in our Help Center. We will also be hosting a webinar on December 5th focused on tracking call performance in your AdWords campaigns. To register for this webinar, click here.

Posted by Anurag Agrawal, Product Manager, Mobile Search Ads

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

[G] Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics For Lead Generation

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Google Analytics Blog: Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics For Lead Generation

The following is a guest post from Jeff Sauer, Vice President at Three Deep Marketing, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. Jeff recently started a website dedicated to advancing digital marketing knowledge called Jeffalytics

Lead generators know that the combination of Google AdWords + Google Analytics is a winning combination for generating an inflow of high quality leads. They are like peanut butter and jelly, Forrest Gump and Jennay, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. 

What many users may not realize is that there are many features that they can unlock in Google Analytics to make their lead generation campaigns perform better while becoming more transparent and accountable. What follows is a series of tips, trips and hacks that you can use to make your lead generation campaigns work even better. I have broken this down into three sections: ConfigurationIntegration, Analysis.

Configuring Analytics for Lead Generation Websites

Set Up Goals in Google Analytics

Yes, this is a very elementary step in your Google Analytics evolution. You surely configured goals on your site years ago, right? Well, let's make sure you didn't miss anything: 

  1. Navigate to the URL of your 'thank you' page shown after a lead is generated. Make note of the URL of this page.

  2. Make your best guess as to the value of each lead that you generate (note: you can have multiple lead values, and multiple goals).

  3. Configure your goals in Google Analytics, assigning the proper goal value for each lead you generate.

  4. Unlock a new world of reports in Google Analytics and see the real value of your lead generation efforts.

Bonus tip: There's absolutely nothing wrong with measuring micro conversions on your lead generation site. Have a PDF that someone can download freely? Set a goal and assign it a modest value (even if it's $5, the impact can be huge). Have a 2 minute video? Give it a value as well, even if it's just a dollar or two. Both PDF downloads and video plays can be tracked using GA event tracking - and you can configure goals around events.  

Track Visitors Across Domains

Many lead generation sites use third party forms and services to capture leads, whether as part of an affiliate program or a third party CRM site. While this acts as an excellent conduit to lead delivery, it can often result in missing data in Google Analytics reports. Depending on the services used, there is still a way to retain this data in Google Analytics by tracking your visitors across domains. Here's how this is done: 

  1. On your primary website, add the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods.

  2. When linking to your external domain, add an onclick element as follows: onclick="_gaq.push(['_link', 'THE LINK']); where THE LINK is your external page

  3. Add the GA Tracking Code to your third party hosted page, being sure to use the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods on this page as well. It is important to make sure you are setting your primary domain here as well. 

  4. Configure your goals to match the thank you page URL on the third party domain (or on your own site if you can redirect visitors back to your domain)

By linking visits across domains, your reports will accurately attribute visitors and goals to their proper source and medium instead of treating them as direct visitors.  

Integrate with Google AdWords Both Ways

Most of us know to share data between AdWords and Analytics and enable the Google AdWords report in Analytics, but many times this is not done properly. In addition, not enough marketers seem to take advantage of Google Analytics' ability to push conversion data back into AdWords. You really have nothing to lose when you integrate these two Google products both ways, but you have many insights to gain. Start off by making sure you configure these integrations properly: 

  1. Share Google AdWords data with Google Analytics. This may seem easy, but is often incomplete when implemented. Make sure that you 1) Turn on Auto Tagging in AdWords, 2) Enable Data Sharing and 3) Apply Cost Data into Google Analytics

  2. Configure your goals in Google Analytics as outlined above

  3. As soon as data starts to collect for these goals, you will see the option in AdWords to import your goals from Google Analytics

  4. Enjoy consistent conversion data between both products and ensure that leads are being properly attributed

Using your goals in Google Analytics for your Google AdWords campaigns can come in handy when you don't have the ability to add a traditional JavaScript based conversion code onto your thank you page. In addition, importing goals from Google Analytics allows you to track some of the advanced conversions mentioned below in Google AdWords. The result? Better analysis capabilities, more advanced conversion rate optimization strategy and more credit for the leads you generate! 

Integrating Analytics into Lead Generation Efforts

Phone Call Tracking

One thing that marketers may not realize is that for many industries, the majority of leads will come in through the phone instead of through a web form. Google AdWords understands this and now offers a robust system for tracking phone leads generated by AdWords. But how do you properly track and attribute phone calls generated from your site to a particular traffic source? You integrate Google Analytics with your call tracking provider.

This sounds complicated, but it really is not too bad. In fact, many phone tracking vendors offer a Google Analytics integration option as part of their service. For example, this works well with products like Marchex Voicestar and Mongoose Metrics among others.  

Here are the basics of how this process works: 

  1. Sign up with a phone call tracking service, create tracking numbers and appropriate campaigns

  2. Place tracking phone numbers on your website

  3. Specify a post-back URL to be visited when a successful phone call occurs

  4. Your phone tracking system will send a visit to the post back URL, complete with all Google Analytics cookie values for the visitor who saw that exact tracking number on your lead generation site

Please note that if you drive a lot of traffic to your website, it can take a lot of phone numbers and extensions to fully attribute phone calls to users. As such, you may want to start implementing this method for a small segment of your traffic and then building up to all visitors when this data proves useful. 

Also note that even if you don't link calls back to Google Analytics, phone call tracking is still an imperative part of any lead generation campaign, because it's common for 30-70% of the leads you generate to come from the phone in certain industries. 

Offline Marketing

Believe it or not, in many industries leads are still generated offline. Examples include trade shows, neighborhood canvassing (going door to door promoting a product or service), print and television advertising. These are activities that companies have been doing for years, but the problem that they run into when using these mediums to drive traffic to their website is that they don't register the traffic source properly in Google Analytics. The result: many direct visitors without proper attribution. 

How do we fix this? By following this simple process: 

  1. Create a vanity URL that is unique to your campaign (can be a sub folder or new domain)

  2. Create a tracking URL for your website using the Google Analytics URL Builder 

  3. 301 redirect your vanity URL to the tracking URL (this preserves your campaign attributes)

  4. Learn about how each traffic source performed by viewing your favorite reports in Google Analytics and paying attention to the source/medium/campaign 

Now you can put your offline and online leads on a level playing field and compare the effectiveness of both side by side. 

CRM Integration

For companies that are generating several leads a day, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system becomes imperative for keeping up with the leads coming in the door. Unfortunately, most CRM implementations are not integrated fully with the website and useful data is not shared between the two systems. This can create friction between sales and marketing, while making it nearly impossible to close the loop on what lead generation efforts are working the best.

Fortunately, people smarter than myself have found a way to solve this problem, and this solution for CRM integration by Justin Cutroni has become my gold standard for how to pull information out of Google Analytics cookies and attach to the lead record you enter into your CRM system. 

While Justin's post goes into great detail, the basic premise is this: 

  1. A visitor comes to your website and has source/medium/campaign/keyword information assigned to them in their Google Analytics cookie

  2. This information is accessible to your website by pulling cookie values out of Google Analytics using JavaScript

  3. Once this information is pulled out, you enter the values into hidden form fields underneath where your lead enters their contact information

  4. The vital information (source/medium/campaign/keyword term) is passed into your CRM system alongside the lead record

  5. Your sales team can now have deeper understanding of what type of traffic generates the best leads, all the way down to a keyword level

  6. You can use this information to refine your marketing efforts and campaigns to focus on your top performers

Sharing information between your website and your CRM system is an imperative step for making your marketing data actionable to the rest of the business. Without integrating, decisions are made based on faith and HIPPOs, instead of actionable data. As a note, with the advent of Universal Analytics this is likely to get even easier.  

Analyze the Results and Make Your Site Even Better

How you analyze your site is a very personal thing, and your mileage may vary, so there isn't a magic bullet to ongoing success with your lead generation programs.

With that said, there are several reports that can be extremely useful in Google Analytics for lead generation campaigns. I would start by paying attention to the following: 

  • Use an advanced segment of paid search traffic and then navigate to the Conversions > Goals report. Compare the goal values you created recently with a similar time period in the past. Are your results improving? 

  • Navigate to the Multi Channel Funnels report and either use standard or custom channels. What is the most common first click channel? Are you giving it enough credit in your reporting?

  • Compare direct traffic before and after implementing the integrations suggested above. Do you start to see more activity with proper attribution? Are you more confident analyzing with less of a grey area?

  • Have you been receiving all of the credit you deserve for leads you generate over the phone?

  • When a salesperson tells you that the leads you generate "suck" are you able to match their lead close rate to the source/medium/keyword that generated the lead?

  • Instead of presenting raw lead numbers in a vacuum are you starting to factor in appointments issued, quotes given and sales made? Can you calculate the true cost of sale from keyword to purchase?

When configured properly, you can use Google Analytics and residual data from GA to perform some in depth closed loop analysis on how your lead generation campaigns are performing. Savvy lead generation experts have figured out how to deliver maximum value to their clients and constituents using the capabilities built into Google Analytics. Now it's your turn. 

There you have it, the three pillars to getting the most out of Google Analytics for your lead generation website. Have any cool integrations yourself? Let's talk in the comments below.

Posted by Jeff Sauer, Google Analytics Certified Partner 


[G] Edit spreadsheets on the go with the Drive mobile app

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Edit spreadsheets on the go with the Drive mobile app

Posted by Shrikant Shanbhag, Software Engineer

(Cross-posted on the Drive Blog.)

With the holidays fast approaching, life speeds up and work can’t always wait.

While on the move, you can now edit Google Sheets on your mobile device, just like you can with Google Docs. From the Drive app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, you can create a new spreadsheet or edit an existing one. You can switch fonts, resize columns, sort data, and more. And just like on your computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits instantly as they’re made.

Beyond spreadsheets, you may notice a few other tweaks to the Drive app, including better text formatting when you copy and paste in a Google document. And if you’re using an Android device, you can now edit text within tables in documents and add a shortcut on the homescreen of your device to any specific file in Drive.

Whether it’s 2013 budget planning or your company’s holiday gift list, the Drive app on your mobile device makes it easy to get things done wherever you are.

Get the Google Drive app today from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

[G] Edit spreadsheets on the go with the Drive mobile app

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Official Android Blog: Edit spreadsheets on the go with the Drive mobile app

You’re making your list, you’re checking it twice -- and now you can do it from anywhere.

Just in time for this year’s holiday season, you can edit Google Sheets on your mobile device, just like you can with Google Docs. From the Drive app on your Android device, you can create a new spreadsheet or edit an existing one. You can switch fonts, resize columns, sort data, and more. And just like on your computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits in real time as they’re made.

Beyond spreadsheets, you may notice a few other tweaks to the Drive app, including better text formatting when you paste from one Google document to another. And from your Android device, you can edit text within tables in documents and add a shortcut on the homescreen of your device to any specific file in Drive.

Whether it’s holiday recipes, shopping lists, or just your family budget, the Drive app on your mobile device makes it easy to get stuff done wherever you are.

Get the Google Drive app today on Google Play.

Posted by Shrikant Shanbhag, Software Engineer

[G] Programmatic in the future: What does the publisher’s crystal ball say?

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: Programmatic in the future: What does the publisher’s crystal ball say?

A recent study by eMarketer estimates that more than 25% of US digital display dollars will come through real-time bidding (RTB) by 2016. As brand dollars move to this channel, publishers are left to answer a few key questions.

Over the next few weeks, join us as ad tech experts and leaders in the online publishing business share their views on programmatic buying and its implications for publishers everywhere.

Log in with your Google+ account and tune into the Think with Google +page at 1:30 PM ET tomorrow, November 29. Rob Beeler, VP - Content & Media at AdMonsters, will interview Curt Hecht, Chief Revenue Officer, The Weather Company, about the future of this technology.

Posted by Yamini Gupta, Product Marketing Team

[G] VetNet: A place for veterans and military spouses to build civilian careers

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Official Google Blog: VetNet: A place for veterans and military spouses to build civilian careers

For several years now, we’ve been working to help the veteran community through outreach programs and by connecting veterans and their families to useful Google products and services. For example, we’ve built tools like the Veterans Job Bank to connect veterans with employers, today populated with more than a million jobs. And we created a Resume Builder to help job-seekers represent their experience in just a few clicks with Google Docs.

After years of working with the community, we’ve come to realize that it isn’t more tools that are needed, but rather organizing the ones that already exist, and making them easier to find. Perhaps the most complex challenge facing the veteran community today is the sheer volume of resources available to help them transition to civilian life. While this abundance is the measure of a grateful nation, and a tribute to those who served, in the end, the most important result is individuals and families getting the help they need.

With this in mind, we’ve put the powers of Google+ behind a single hub called VetNet. Today, VetNet launches as a partnership with three founding organizations: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and Hire Heroes USA. In the long run, other organizations will be able to offer their services to the veteran community, all in the same easy-to-use place.

Through VetNet, these founding partners offer a full spectrum of employment resources for members of the community. Whether starting a job search from scratch, looking for mentors in a specific industry or starting a business, transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses will be able to connect with career services, job opportunities and each other.

All of the content and resources are organized into three tracks by objective, each hosted on its own Google+ page.
To stay abreast of the most exciting events happening across all tracks, follow +VetNetHQ on Google+.

We’re proud to join forces with the Chamber, IVMF and Hire Heroes USA—to help them do what they do so well, and to simplify the process of finding and using resources for the veterans community. Our hope is simply to connect help to those who need it. If you’re a member of the community looking any career advice or help, get started at For those of us who have not served, please do what you can to spread word of VetNet to those who have.

Posted by Andy Berndt, Creative Lab

[G] Get ready for winter: Mapping the Canadian Arctic and global ski resorts

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Official Google Blog: Get ready for winter: Mapping the Canadian Arctic and global ski resorts

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping. To help prepare for the winter ahead, we’re adding more detail and imagery to the map for a variety of chilly destinations, making them more comprehensive and accurate than ever. Starting today, you can virtually experience the Canadian Arctic through new panoramic Street View images of Cambridge Bay and detailed maps created with the help of local community members. And if you’re planning a winter getaway, you can preview the slopes of more than 90 ski and snow resorts around the world, adding to dozens that are already available via Street View today.

Canada’s Arctic
When we visited Canada’s far north this past August, we worked with the nonprofit group Nunavut Tunngavik and the residents of Cambridge Bay to improve the map of this remote, but culturally rich, Nunavut hamlet. The map this community helped build using Google Map Maker, as well as the 360-degree images we collected using Street View trike and tripod technologies, is now available for all the world to see on Google Maps.

To get a sense of what it’s like to live up in the north, you can walk down Omingmak Street, make your way to the bridge (where locals fish for Arctic Char) and head out to the Old Stone Church. Check out some Arctic souvenirs in the Arctic Closet, or visit the Ice Hockey and Curling Arena—it’s uninsulated and freezes over once they flood it in the winter! You can also learn more about Inuit history and culture at the Kitikmeot Heritage Society and the Arctic Coast Visitors Centre.

Explore the intersection of Omingmak (“musk ox”) Street and Tigiganiak (“fox”) Road

Ski and snow resorts across the globe
You can also view some of the world’s best runs right on Google Maps before you get there. Whether you’re looking to discover a piste you’ve never tried before, or just want to take in some winter wonderland scenery, we’ve added Street View imagery for resorts across Europe (including runs in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Spain), Canada (including runs in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario) and the U.S. (including runs in Utah and Michigan).

For example, take a look at Sölden, a popular ski resort in the Ötztal valley of Tyrol, Austria. It’s not just tourists who flock there every year, but fans of professional skiing—Sölden regularly hosts the giant slalom competition as part of the Alpine World Cup in late October.

You can also visit Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. With 19 chairlifts, 4,000 acres of skiable terrain and an average of 355 inches of snow each winter, Canyons is the largest ski and snowboard terrain park in the state.

Visit the to see some of our favorite images of the Arctic and resorts available on Google Maps. As winter sets in, we encourage you to experience it all from the comfort (and warmth) of your couch—or check it out online, then dig out your thermal underwear and snow boots to hit the slopes!

Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Program Manager, Google Street View