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This Google tool helps marketers on a budget

(MARKETING) Google Ads (formerly AdWords) has added a feature that helps you squeeze more out of your budget.

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Limited by budget? If you utilize Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), go ahead and make room for another tool – the Performance Planner. Google’s new planner, announced at this year’s Google Marketing Live, provides a safe space for advertisers to forecast performance without making adjustments to current campaigns.

Google claims this tool can drive 43% more conversions for advertisers by identifying ideal campaign spend. This is particularly useful for small or emerging brokerages that can’t always afford to compete at the same scale as larger brands when it comes to ad spend. Yes, the tool will probably advise advertisers to raise budgets. But the planner is accounting for billions of search queries, updated daily and uses machine learning to tweak its forecasts.

The planner can now be found in the “tools” menu of your Google Ads account. To use it, campaigns must have been running for at least 72 hours, received at least 3 clicks in the last 7 days or received at least one conversion. This forecasting tool only applies to search campaigns.

Using clicks or conversions as a key metric, the planner recommends how to distribute your monthly budget across campaigns to maximize conversions. The fun doesn’t stop there! The tool allows you to click around and see the number of conversions you could get if you raised your monthly budget even more. By selecting a date range, you can also compare your planned forecast with past performance.

And while using the keyword planner is essential during campaign set-up, you don’t need to turn to it for tweaks and adjustments. Within the planner is the ability to try out new keywords and see how they might affect conversions (don’t forget to try match types other than “broad”).

For those with limited budgets and/or manpower, this tool can save a lot of time and help eliminate a lot of guesswork. It provides deeper, data-driven insights to advertisers looking to optimize their campaigns. And at the very least, if you choose not to implement any changes based on the outcome of the forecast, you will have a concrete reason to blame a lackluster campaign on scarcity of funds.

Needless to say, Google doesn’t guarantee performance. A disclaimer at the bottom provides a friendly reminder that the responsibility of your campaign performance is of course, yours and yours alone.

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Real Estate Marketing

What real estate marketers must do to survive the AI takeover

(MARKETING) Quality marketers are constantly evolving, but getting your head around artificial intelligence can be a challenge – let’s boil it down to the most relevant skills you’ll need.

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Woman leaning on a glass wall separating her from wall of data servers managed by AI.

When Facebook and Twitter were born, a new era of social media was ushered in, opening the gates for new areas of expertise that hadn’t existed before. At first, we all grappled to establish the culture together, but fast forward a decade and it is literally a science with thousands of supporting AI technology companies.

So as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes over marketing, doesn’t that mean it will replace marketers? If you can ask your smart speaker in your office what your engagement growth increase was for your Facebook Page, and ask for recommendations of growth, how do marketing professionals survive?

Marketers will survive the same way they did as social media was introduced – the practice will evolve and new niches will be born.

There are 7 skills marketers will need to adapt in order to evolve. None of these are done overnight, but quality professionals are constantly grooming their skills, so this won’t be stressful to the successful among us. And the truth is that it won’t be in our lifetime that AI can quite process the exact same way a human brain does, even with the advent of quantum computing, so let’s focus on AI’s weaknesses and where marketers can perform where artificial intelligence cannot.

1. Use the data your new AI buddies generate.

In the 70s, the infamous Ted Bundy murders yielded the first case that utilized computing. The lead investigator had heard about computers and asked a specialist to dig through all of their data points to find similarities – a task that was taking months for the investigative team. After inputting the data, within minutes, they had narrowed their list of suspects from several hundred to only 10.

We’re not dealing with murderers here in the marketing world (…right, guys?), but the theory that algorithms can speed up our existing jobs is a golden lesson. As more AI tools are added to the marketplace to enhance your job, experiment with them! Get to know them! And continue to seek them out to empower you.

Atomic Reach studies your content and finds ways to enhance what you’re delivering. CaliberMind augments B2B sales, Stackla hunts down user-generated content that matches your brand efforts, Nudge analyzes deal risk and measures user account health, and Market Brew digs up tons of data for your SEO strategy.

See? Independently, these all sound like amazing tools, but call them “AI tools” and people lose their minds. Please.

Your job as a marketer is to do what AI cannot. Together, you can automate, do segmentation and automation, beef up your analytics, but no machine can replicate your innate interest in your customers, your compassion, and your ability to understand human emotions and predict outcomes effectively (because you have a lot more practice at being a human than the lil’ robots do).

2. Take advantage of AI’s primary weakness.

As noted, you have emotions and processes that are extremely complex and cannot be understood by artificial intelligence yet. Use those.

How? Compile all of the data that AI offers and then strategize. Duh. AI can offer recommendations, but it cannot (yet) suggest an entire brand strategy. That’s where you come in.

And more importantly, it cannot explain or defend any such strategy. One of the core problems with AI is that if you ask Alexa a question, you cannot ask how it came up with that information or why. This trust problem is the primary reason marketers are in no danger of being replaced by technology.

3. Obsess over data.

AI tools are young and evolving, so right now is the time to start obsessing over data. What I mean by that is not to use every single AI tool to compile mountains of useless data, but to start studying the data you already have.

The problem with new tools is that marketers are naturally inquisitive, so we try them out and then forget they exist if they didn’t immediately prove to be a golden egg.

Knowing your current marketing data inside and out will help you to learn alongside AI. If you aren’t intimately familiar, you won’t know if the recommendations made through AI are useful, and you could end up going down the wrong path because something shiny told you to.

Obsess over data not by knowing every single customers’ names, but be ready to identify which data sets are relevant for the results you’re seeking. A data scientist friend of mine recently pointed out that if you flip a coin five times and it happens to land on tails every time, AI would analyze that data and predict with 100% certainty that the sixth flip will be tails, but you and I have life experience and know better.

Staying on top of your data, even when you’re utilizing artificial intelligence tools will keep you the most valuable asset, not the robots. #winning

4. Don’t run away from math (no wait, come back!)

One of the appeals of marketing is that math is hard and you don’t need it in a creative field. But if you want to stay ahead of the robots, you’ll have to focus on your math skills.

You don’t have to go back to school for data science, but if you can’t read the basic reports that these endless AI tools can create, you’re already behind. At least spend a few hours this month on some “Intro to Data Science” courses on Udemy or Coursera.

5. Content is God.

We’ve all said for years that content is king and that feeding the search engines was a top way to reach consumers. You’ve already refined your skills in creating appealing content, and you already know that it costs less than many traditional lead generating efforts and spending on content is way up.

Content can be blogging, video, audio, or social media posts. Artificial intelligence will step in to skyrocket those efforts, if only you accept that content was once king, but is now God. What is changing is how customized content can be. For example, some companies are using AI tools to create dozens of different Facebook ads for different demographics, which would have taken weeks of human effort to do in the past.

Because content is what feeds all of these new smart devices, feeding your brand content effectively and utilizing AI tools to augment your efforts will keep you more relevant than ever.

6. Get ahead of privacy problems

Consumers now understand what website cookies are, and know when they’ve opted in (or opted out) of an email newsletter, but to this point, humans have made the decisions of how these data choices are made. Our teams have continually edited Terms of Service (ToS), all done not just with liability in mind, but to offer consumers the protections that they want and have come to expect.

But AI today doesn’t have morals, and consumer comfort is not a factor unless humans program that into said AI devices. But it still isn’t a creature of ethics like humans are. Ethical challenges going forward will be something to stay ahead of as you tap into the AI world. Making sure that you know the ToS of any tool you’re using to mine data is critical so that you don’t put the company in a bad position by violating basic human trust.

The takeaway

You’re smart, so you already knew that the robots aren’t taking your job, rather augmenting it, but adding AI into your marketing mix to stay ahead comes with risk and a learning curve. But seeing artificial intelligence for what it really is – a tool – will keep your focus on the big picture and save your job.

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Social Media

This habit tracker shows you insights you may not want to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The Haptic Life Tracker app documents your (good and bad) habits. But how much do you want to know?

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Haptic, a habit tracker app for Apple, shows you almost too many data points.

Ah, Facebook. We hate you for being a massive time suck. We love you for documenting our lives (seriously, that memories feature toys with my emotions daily).

If that time suck becomes too sucky and you need to break up with your feed – but you want to keep a list of what you’ve been doing – check out the brand-spanking-new app Haptic Life Tracker for iOS.

The benefits, according to the makers: “Track your habits and activities in one timeline and get insights based on your actions. See what your life looks like at a glance.”

This habit tracker lets you track useful things like how many glasses of water or cigarettes you’ve had, music you’ve listened to, or what books you’ve read. If you need another reason to feel bad about yourself, you could also track how many times you got wasted last week vs. how many times you worked out – information you may or may not want to see in the cold, hard light of your phone screen (Hey, single people. It’s COVID-19 Time, so can we all just agree not to track the number of days since we’ve had a date? Thanks).

The free version of the habit tracker starts you off with seven preset categories, including music albums, games, and flights, and lets you add five customized categories. You can also auto import data from the iOS Health app.

Paid membership ($1.49 monthly or $12.99 for a year, with a seven-day free trial) gets you a virtually unlimited number of areas to obsess over. The membership also includes more ways to get insights and parse your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly data.

With any tracking app, the big question is privacy and who gets to see your data. The app makers address privacy right off the bat. According to them, all content lives only on your phone and is not synced with external servers. So, hopefully, Google won’t learn how abysmally low your water intake is compared with your wine log (Am I projecting a lot onto this app? I think I’m projecting a lot onto this app).

Having all that data in one place could let you delete some of the more specialized tracking apps. By way of comparison, take a look at The Muse’s “The Top 50 Apps for Tracking Everything in Your Life.” There should be at least one habit tracker you could cut to whittle down your list. Although maybe not PooLog, which tracks your bowel movements by “type, time and volume” to help identify health issues. The Muse adds: “Or it’s just great for poo aficionados.” I did not know, nor did I need to know there are “poo aficionados.”

Haptic Life Tracker was recently featured on tech-product watch site ProductHunt.com, where comments from maker Alexey Sekachov reveal they’re working on versions for Apple Watch and Android, as well as potentially adding a social component.

Also on the informational treasure trove that is the Product Hunt comments feature, one commenter nailed the app’s minimalist look and feel: “Both beautiful and creepy. Black Mirror meets black turtleneck (Steve Jobs would be proud).”

The ability to use tech to gain insights into our habits and chronicle our lives is the same: Both beautiful and, if we’re honest, just a titch creepy. Haptic Life Tracker certainly has the potential to help us become more self-aware. Its potential pitfall is becoming another time suck: Obsessing over every detail of our lives. I’m looking forward to user reviews to see which idea wins.

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Real Estate Marketing

Improve your SEO research with this free browser extension

(MARKETING) Ubersuggest makes search engine keyword research insanely easy–and free. This Chrome extension can help you boost your visibility.

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Search engine optimization (SEO) research is a fairly gatekept process, and it can be challenging to break into the industry without spending either a lot of time or a lot of money. Ubersuggest, a keyword extension for Google Chrome, disrupts that process considerably.

Ubersuggest Chrome Extension 2.0: The Ultimate Keyword Research Tool is an extension similar, in many ways, to any extension you might use in your Chrome browser: easy to install and largely contingent on browser integration. However, Ubersuggest puts prime keyword research results right in your URL bar, making it both incredibly useful and supremely convenient to access.

And, like most extensions, Ubersuggest is completely free to install and use.

The way Ubersuggest works is relatively simple. After installing the extension, a user simply types a word or phrase into an empty URL bar; Ubersuggest will then display pertinent information about that word–namely how many searches per month it has and the most recent cost per click value.

Upon searching for the word or phrase in question, Ubersuggest will also generate a sidebar chart with comparable terms and the pertinent usage and CPC values for each word, a breakdown of shares, domain score, and the SEO conversion percentage (e.g., how many times users clicked that word) for Google-based searches.

Ubersuggest even works in YouTube and Amazon search bars provided you’re on the pertinent websites, and you’ll notice information about domains appear under search results even when you’re not looking for SEO information.

The only noticeable shortcoming of this service is that it doesn’t necessarily account for searches performed in other engines–Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.–but given that Google encompassed almost 92 percent of search engine activity last month, it’s a minor shortcoming indeed.

Neil Patel, Ubersuggest’s creator, promises to keep updates to the extension coming. “My goal is to make major releases to Ubersuggest every month if possible,” he mentions in a post for the latest release. One such release looks to be a dashboard expansion for the extension icon when clicked.
Patel also wants to ensure that users of prior versions of Ubersuggest uninstall and reinstall the extension in order to utilize YouTube and Amazon keyword features.

Given how expensive keyword research can be, this extension is a godsend for anyone looking to beef up their online marketing for virtually no overhead.

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