Cookie Stuffing: How You Know You’ve Made It

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Traditional Media | Posted on 04-11-2015

There are certain sites that are just ubiquitous online. Ebay, Amazon & Netflix are a few names that everyone knows and most people have used or use on a regular basis. In their growth stages these are fantastic sites to promote as an affiliate because they appeal to pretty much everyone and convert rather easily. These types of sites are also usually the target of a much more nefarious affiliate; the big bad blackhat cookie stuffer. When I say cookie stuffing I don’t mean the guy that put’s the cream in the middle of the Oreo. I’m talking about promoting a site that is so easy to convert on and that so many people use or have heard of, that you can literally implant the cookie in their browser without them realizing it and some percentage are bound to convert.

I say you’ve made it if people are cookie stuffing your site. It means that so many people already know who you are that some percentage of them are bound to use your site at some point. Lately, I am seeing a huge amount of cookie stuffing for Fanduel. I’m constantly seeing popups/popunders for them both on desktop and mobile and my guess is that some affiliate is just playing the odds that a percentage of his/her cookies will convert into a user.

If I were Fanduel I’d keep an eye on that but it just goes to show just how big Daily Fantasy Sports have become.

Keep Hustlin’
Ad Hustler

Apple TV Is The Future of TV

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Traditional Media | Posted on 02-11-2015

I’m no Apple Fanboy (although I do think iOS is the best mobile operating system on the market). I use a PC and I’m die hard anti-Apple when it comes to computers. When it comes to set top boxes I’ve thought that their Apple TV interface has been better than everyone else’s but I thought that it’s lacked in functionality…..until now!

The new Apple TV is what I always thought Apple TV should be….a platform for a “TV App Store.” I have no doubt in my mind that the future of “TV” is internet video streaming. Where that stream comes from is anyone’s guess but it really wouldn’t surprise me if the stream came from Apps. Apple didn’t invent a TV app store. Roku had one first. Apple is just going to make it way better with better quality control and a better interface.

Right now if you want a channel on TV you need some kind of deal with the Cable company to carry that channel. In the future all you’ll need is an app and a dream and you can broadcast to anyone who downloads your app. This creates more fragmentation and further diminishes cable’s role in the distribution of television. As app stores proliferate it also gives channels the opportunity to break ties with cable companies and broadcast directly to the consumer. Imagine CNN getting into a fight with cable companies over dollars and then just going direct to consumer and taking all ad dollars for themselves instead of sharing the revenue with the Cable companies.

Another hint at the future is in QVC’s new Apple TV app. They stream live to the consumer and by pressing a button on your remote you can order what they’re selling. Imagine a day when you are watching your favorite football team and the announcer says “this game brought to you by Gillette, order the new 80 blade razor by clicking the buy button on your remote control.” This could and probably will happen at sometime.

The internet is going to distribute TV and the technology the internet provides will make TV better for consumers and better for advertisers. I fully expect a day where most TV ad buying is done programatically and traditional media buying companies are put out of business unless they adapt.

The future is here, go check out Apple TV.

Keep Hustlin’
Ad Hustler

Google Analytics / Facebook Ads Discrepency

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Local Online Advertising, Tracking | Posted on 29-10-2015

As local clients get just a little “on the surface” knowledge about online marketing they become more and more inquisitive and distrusting.  As they say, knowing just a little is enough to be dangerous.  Today’s topic has to do with a pretty well known discrepancy between Facebook Ads & Google Analytics.  If you tell a client that they got 1,000 website clicks from Facebook Ads, they expect to see the number 1,000 in their Google Analytics traffic sources.  If they don’t, they think shenanigans are abound.  The truth is that Google Analytics almost NEVER matches Facebook Ads reporting and I wanted to detail some of the reasons why that is:

1) Clients are likely looking at Google Analytics sessions which is defined completely differently then a Facebook Ads click.
Google Analytics Session: This is long and complex but essentially a session is a 30 minute time period of a user on your website.  If someone clicks your ad, mistakenly closes the window and clicks the ad again, that’s 2 Facebook Ads clicks and 1 Session.  If they see the ad multiple times and click it within a half hour it only counts once in analytics whereas it will count multiple times as a Facebook Click.  Official Documentation:
Facebook Ads Click: This counts anyone who clicks an external link from a Facebook ad.  (an external link meaning a link to your website).  Someone could double click the link because the website is loading up slow or hit back because the site is loading slow and that would be 2 Facebook Ads Clicks.

2) Cookies & Javascript:  Google analytics requires cookies & javascript to work.  Some people have cookies enabled and some do not.  Cookies/javascript also have a particularly hard time with mobile & web browsers that operate within Apps and a lot of Facebook Traffic is mobile.

3) Sloppy Website Script Installation: Since a lot of “local client” websites are based on industry specific templated platforms they tend to have multiple installations of Google Analytics, sometimes they collide or one loads and the other doesnt.  Sometimes there are other scripts that load up first and analytics doesn’t load completely.  Sometimes the website has old/outdated versions of the analytics script installed as well.
There are just so many variables when it comes to Analytics.  People always think that it’s a flawless traffic system and what it reports is to always be trusted blindly.  Yes, Google Analytics can prove to be extremely useful, but take the metrics with a grain of salt and understand that discrepancies can occur.
Keep Hustlin’
Ad Hustler

Automotive Leads Are Getting Harder To Come By

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Local Online Advertising | Posted on 21-01-2015

It’s no secret that I’m heavily involved in automotive marketing (most of which is online marketing).  While I don’t strictly do lead generation, that is of course the holy grail of the automotive industry.  Car dealerships LOVE leads and they love working leads and turning them into sales.  Unfortunateley (but not surprisingly), I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately.  Automotive leads are EXTREMELY hard to come by.  This doesn’t mean that online marketing for car dealerships isn’t working.  It most certainly is.  However, quantifying a click to a lead to a sale is becoming harder and harder.  Less people are calling and less people are filling out forms when they are interested in buying a car.  The public is getting smarter and it’s making marketers lives harder.

When you think about it, it makes sense.  Let’s say you’re in the market to buy a BMW.  You probably know all of your local BMW dealerships by name and already decided that you want to buy from a close dealership so that if you have any problems, it’s easy to deal with them.  Next, you probably go online, check out their websites, see what inventory they have and then come into the dealership.  Why do you really need to call?  You know what inventory they have, you know what it’s priced like.  You don’t really think they are going to give you the best price over the phone and quite frankly you don’t want to be harassed constantly by filling out a form to get a quote on a car that the website is already providing you a price on.

Automotive lead generation has always been difficult and complex.  I expect it to get to be even more so in the coming months and years.  Let’s face it.  Dealerships NEED to advertise and they need to advertise online because that’s where the eyeballs are.  Advertising works.  Branding is important.  The problem is that if you can’t tie the ad spend back to an ROI because they people who were advertised to don’t submit a lead but instead just walk through the door, then you will have an extremely hard time justifying ad spend.  The results become less concrete and more anecdotal (just like traditional media).

It’s not all doom and gloom as there are ways forward.  Here are some predictions I have as far as how the industry will change

  • Attribution Methods will become more advanced and better online to offline attribution models will prevail.
  • Dealerships will start communicating more effectively in the ways that millennial like to communicate such as texting, helpful live chat and social media.  Millennials don’t like talking so when you’re main method of communication is the phone, that isn’t going to cater much to your audience.
  • Completely online transactions where the first time you actually deal with the dealership is when you pick up the car.

The auto industry will be an interesting one to watch when it comes to lead gen and online to offline attribution methods.  The industry accounts for a HUGE percent of ad spending every year and if you want their ad dollars, you’ll find a solution to these problems.

Ad Hustler

Black Friday And Nothing Has Changed

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Local Online Advertising | Posted on 24-11-2014

Almost exactly 1 year ago I wrote the post Why Your Black Friday Sale Will #FAIL and not a darn thing has changed.  Retailers on the the local level are getting even more excited about Black Friday and jumping on the bandwagon with tons of advertising.  The only problem is that they are advertising NOTHING!  The offers they are making are the same offers that people can get all year ’round.  Auto dealers are giving out a Free TV or a Gift Card if you buy a car and every auto dealer seems to be giving out the same “bonus.”  There is no creativity and there are NO DEALS.  I said it last year and I’ll say it again.  If you want to succeed at Black Friday you need to make an event out of it.  I highly suggest you read last years post which is linked above if you are a local business and you want to capitalize effectively on  Black Friday.

Ad Hustler Out.