Why is Facebook the only one allowed to be lazy

Posted by | Facebook | No Comments

Many have the critics of Facebooks latest changes in post visibility for brands been. But equally many have the defenders turned out to be. The one side says “boohoo, no more free space for advertising”, whilst the other side says “Facebook is not an advertising platform, you will have to do better“. Both sides are missing the point. Most people do not agree with either side.

It is not true that most people want to engage with your brand. It is really not. Most people want to be entertained by a brand. From the 1-9-90 model onwards, all empirical studies have shown that all people have their favorite activity to do in the digital space, and they like to engage with that. This means that a lot of people are engaged – SOMEWHERE – in the digital space. However, this still usually means that they are not engaged in you.

The difference between wanting to be engaged, and liking what you do, are two extremely separate issues. And this is where I am starting to get fed up with the pro-facebook-changes hardliners. Misinterpret me correctly, I LOVE FACEBOOK. It is just that I think they are doing a poor job hiring business developers able to put the money where the company values are.

Cause, why should Facebook be the only one allowed to be lazy?

If they argue that advertising and one way communication is wrong. That content needs to be truly engaging and genuine.. yada yada… then why the heck do they, themselves work on a business model that solely rely on the bullshit they say they are so opposed to? I do not get it. See, this is how it works, Facebookers, and you should know this – If you say something that smells like rotten fish in the connected world, someone will pick up on the scent and stick it too you.

At least advertisers openly admit that they are trying to “build demand” for services they are working for. At least they try to be creative and game the system. But in the case of Facebooks creativity… “let’s expand the ads areas on the right hand side of the feed”… I mean COME OOOON!!!

You have the largest network of connected people in the world, and that’s what comes out of your biz-dev meetings? Or is there a grumpy developer somewhere who is not willing to build what you ask of him or her?

  • Collective payments – simplifying group purchases so that the super users of the
  • Pay for privacy – the ability to use your platform without you being able to sell data to third parties
  • Game spaces – where you use the micro payment structure of gaming to earn money
  • Simple workflow/onboarding – for brands to use on their landing pages – the “premium” version of Facebook connect

Those were fore revenue driving ideas that came out of my mind in four and a half minutes. And there are a lot of brighter people than me around.

I have met Facebook representatives in many countries. Most of them have no idea on how to use the platform to build truly engaging content. They know ads formats. “Engagement ads”… I mean… come ON… with all the jibberish about genuinity… what kind of name is that for a banner?? Rarely have I met a representative that understands the meaning of how to use your ads formats in combination with other online products in order to create true value to a company.

And here is where I usually bump into problems with the “Brand-hating-squad”. But I believe their view on the world is way too simplistic and not in tune with the complicated lives most of us live. Most people have real problems and are not concerned whether or not a post in a feed is from a friend or a brand. They solely care if it delights them or not. If it touch their space of emotion that generate a feeling in the gut.

With that said. Most advertisers don’t know how to do this. They remain in the “big idea world”, and try to apply it to the fragmented space of the digital context. Which doesn’t work. There is no longer such a thing as 360. 360 takes a message and brings it too a user. The digital and connected space of “always-on”, requires you to meet every online user individually, and there is simply no way to do that with big-idea-communication.

Instead, you need a platform consisting of persistent values and exchangeable tools through which you can creatively respond to, interact with and build upon the requests from the people you meet online.

Yes, you still need your marketing department. But, you actually need to do work, and not hand it off to agencies. Yes, you should still post information on where to buy the product you are trying to sell, and you are highly recommended to do fun and creative shit. However, you also need to understand the user journeys occasionally touching the outer layer of your brand presence and allow those users in.

Facebook used to support this kind of arena. Increasingly so, they are not anymore.

And of course I am a hypocrite!! I sell services that help companies do this. However, I know that side of my business is out the door soon, and I fight to get companies onboard for the next few years (that are actually right now), but it is tough when too many companies, consultants and advertising professionals talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

Such as Facebook.

So. Mr. Mark. If you truly believe in what you say. Then why not help change the people trying to make this happen? Why should you be the only one allowed to remain lazy when everyone else needs to change?


Google removed Keyword data from Analytics – 101 ways to get it anyhow!

Posted by | Google, SEO | No Comments

Keyword data seems to be disappearing from Google Analytics. So. How do we know what to optimize our websites towards? How will we be able to know what supporting keywords to use in our texts? How will we be able to run keyword targeted conversion optimization on the organic traffic we have earned.

No worries. We’ll get to that. Obviously Google says they want you to work with your website, to increase your quality and better serve users with better content. However, you will now have to resort to paying some in order to get the juicy stuff.

Below is a set of tools that you can use in order to know.

1. Wordstream is the best keyword tool out there – use it

  1. Wordstream is a tool that helps you to create Adwords keyword groups for your content. They help you find the most profitable niches and are available in many different languages.
  2. I suggest you create a subscription account on Wordstream. It will cost you some money, but it is surely worth it.

2. How to bid on Adwords to get keyword data

  1. Use Keyword tool – generate dynamic tracking URLs
  2. Do not bid broad as you will lose a lot of data doing so as your exact match will not be displayed in your account
  3. If you are simply interested in search volumes – use Google Keyword tool AND bid with minimum bids on all keywords you can possibly think of
  4. Bid narrow and use negatives.

3. Activate internal search tracking in your Google Analytics

  1. I find it awful that so few companies have activated their internal search tracking. MORE than 20% of the people on a website use search onsite. You will get the exact match on the keywords to optimize for PLUS deliver a brand building experience to your users if you work on your internal search.
  2. To activate it. Open the profile you want to track > Click Admin in top right corner > Click View Settings > Enable Site Search to be tracked at the bottom of the General settings page > The parameter that you need to enter is the search query generate in the URL when someone searches for this blog – if you search for “search” - – the parameter you would enter would be ?s=

4. Download the “Not Provided” kit

  1. This was a kit – actually an analysis framework – that one of my former students Markus Frick gave me a tip about on Facebook. Download it from here.

Ok. So that’s 3 ways. I know you got one to add. Comment away!!!


LinkedIn Slots – Cool people should not read this!

Posted by | LinkedIn | No Comments

I have found a new and exciting hobby, I like to call “LinkedIn Slots”.

The basic rules are quite simple.

1. You Get the “Now its your turn. Endorse your connections”-box to appear (these are your free spins, you get the prompt by simply idling and not recommending ANYONE for a while”

2. You hit the “see more” button until you get “JACKPOT” meaning you find a matrix where you can recommend all four at once

3. Claim your reward by hitting the “Endorse all 4″ button

LinkedIn Slots

Best thing is. You can play it as many times as you want to. Or until LinkedIn tells you NO!

A/B-testing – A post Explaining The challenge and Solution for Marketing Managers

Posted by | Conversion | No Comments

A/B-testing is something that is quite frequently discussed as something you should do. Yet, most marketing managers and online communicators still don’t. In fact. They dread the mere notion of having to test and change their digital campaigns.

I will get to the solution and how to easily do an A/B-test. But in order to fully understand the notion that there is a problem to be solved here. I first need to explain the essence of the challenge of starting using A/B-testing as a methodology for constant improvements.

The challenge is threefold.

1st Challenge

First off there is a problem with the relationship between marketing and IT. Marketing wants things to move along fast, whilst IT wants things to be done the right way. This has been a problem ever since IT became a part of the communication process.

There is a vast difference between building solid systems and supporting quick communication. This has bearing on the split testing as any such functionality has to be planned when building the architecture of the system according to IT, whilst Marketing gets frustrated by slow development causing revenue, participation and results to diminish.

This problem can now be solved.

2nd Challenge

The second problem is that the wish to test something has been seen as weakness. “What, you don’t believe in your idea enough… why test it if you believe in it..“.

This is something that has come out of traditional marketing structures where your idea went of to print or went out on air. There was no way that you could split test your campaigns during a campaign. The mere fabric of digital gives you an opportunity to change and fine tune your campaign, website and online presence so that it improves over time.

I like to view the A/B-split testing as a Formula 1 race, where I am the engineer standing in the pit stop ready to adjust any small detail to make perfection out of good. No one can say that any Formula 1 car (read creative) is slow (bad). But the conditions might be such for the day, that things need to be adjusted for it to work at full capacity. (Love that metaphor… WhOOt… you don’t like it.. well.. then.. then… pfff…)

Companies love to discuss 360 approaches to advertising. And yes. Different medias can support each other. But without using them properly, if applying the same methodology to digital as you do print, you are doomed to end up with less than the maximum effect of the campaign. With A/B-testing you can increase conversion rates, e-mail opening rates, click through rates etc, constantly giving you more for every dollar you spend.

And as I promised above. The challenge of time to market – from idea to implementation is solved. It doesn’t exist anymore.

Thus. This second problem can be overcome.

3rd Challenge

The third problem is that most marketing managers – clients – do not consider growth when considering the creative of an advertising campaign. They do not  see it as a part of building a brand over time, but they rather see it as an instance to push a new product or meet a seasonal increase/decrease in demand. Advertising campaigns can have great success whilst the product they are meant to support doesn’t grow its default revenue streams. Meaning, in order to maintain your sales volumes at the hight of the top of the campaign, you have to campaign all the time which, in many cases, is a very expensive affair.

This is a much more difficult thing to overcome as it has to do with behavior and moreover habits. It is not a problem of lack of knowledge. It is quite easy to rack up the numbers. But still this seems to be a very difficult task for some (would really like to write most) marketing managers to wrap their arms around. Creativity is a lot more fun to purchase than growth, as you actually have to think and not only feel. However, as I will come to, A/B-testing is ALL about feeling, however, it doesn’t give you the power to choose as the data does that for you. Ie. you can still feel, but you need to be able to disregard taste.

To illustrate this I will show you the difference in growth and in simply having campaign success by studying two graphs of search queries made in Google. I use this measure as it is a great tool to estimate brand demand amongst consumers.

This is the search graph for Kodak – Successful campaigns, yet no gained growth. You can see that regardless of their marketing efforts. Their growth is negative.

Kodak Evolution

This is the search graph for “Mitt Romney” and as you can see… no one cares about Mitt Romney if he doesn’t buy a shit load of media to get elected

No one Cares about Mitt Romney

Now. In comparison to growth which looks like this. First off is iPhone.

Apple Growth

Secondly we’ll have a look at McDonalds.

McDonalds Growth

There is a very strong difference in the way these brands have worked with campaigning. One uses the campaign to promote innovation in the product whilst the other use it as a way to promote more of the same.

By focusing on creating campaigns that allow for A/B-testing, we also allow users to respond to the way we market our products better. I believe that this is one great way to overcome the hurdle of taste, and “internal protectionists” that seem blinded by previous success. It is also a methodology to use data to implement a process of change and improvement in an organization without threatening anyones position. It is the data that says so. Not anyone smarter. Just the data.

Another way to overcome this challenge, is if we as analysts, developers and optimizers become as cool as the advertisers. That’s why I love the emergence of the infographic hype, growth hackers and the concept that everyone is a nerd. This actually helps us get through as they want to be like us, dress like us yet, they are too socially skilled to ever be like us.

So. Finally. What is A/B-split testing

Well, basically it is looking at some data and seeing that traffic doesn’t flow the way you want it to flow. It can be that they do not click on a website the way we want them too. It can be that they do not sign up to the newsletter, or simply that they do not fill in a specific form or find a specific document. As a result you get either lower conversion rates or more calls to your customer service.

STEP1 – The Hypothesis Gut

In order to improve this, you start out with listening to your own to gut.

First off. You try to do whatever it is that you want your users to do. Ie. Sign up, buy, click or find. Somewhere along the way you may realize that there might be a few other ways in which a user complete a task a lot faster. This gut feeling is what we optimizers like to call – Hypothesis. Not only does it sound a lot more valuable than “gut feeling”, but it also gives the client a honest hint that it is simply an educated guess.

The more experience the optimizer – or you – has, the better the hypothesis and probably the fewer tests needed.

STEP 2 – Setting up your test

Once you have your hypothesis in your head. You should start testing the changes. It might be a larger text, a variation in navigation or a change in a background color.

In essence a change to the copy, page or design in order to change the way the user uses it. Ok. So once you have that ready in your head, you should get to the nitty gritty of creating these variations.

Now. This has previously been extremely time consuming and problematic as you have had to create all these variations in code – meaning you have had to contact IT to do these variations for you.

This problem is now a segment of the past.

Several great tools such as Optimizely – which I can honestly say that I love (video embedded below this section) and Visual Website optimizer have given us  simple drag and drop possibilities to make variations quick.

This means you do not have to implement 6 different versions of a design. No more waiting for coding. No more waiting for design templates. YOU can do this.

Step 3 – The implementation

You run the test. Get the numbers and see which one of your hypotheses actually created an improvement.

Now you have all the data. You can call IT and say with 100% accuracy (perhaps 95% or some confidence interval) that sales will increase with 40% by making these changes. It is thus a priority project. NO IT-person… no matter how big, rough skinned or flanell shirt pansared, can object to that. You won’t have to ask for resources as you can do the testing yourself. You are not there with a problem. You are there with a solution!


Regardless if you run A/B-testing on a website or if you do it on a campaign, or some e-mail copy or whatever you are testing, it is worth it. There are tools simple enough for you to be able to do this on your own. You can relax and go with your gut whilst the data takes care of the decision making.

You then send the solution rather than another problem to the IT department. You become the true hero of your organization as you just increased the bottom line result with 40%. Congratulations! You’re it!

Does your QR-Campaign endure the Toilet test?

Posted by | Internet Marketing | No Comments

A lot of people disregard QR-campaigns as yesterdays fad. The mockery of the little black dotted squares seems to be endless. I don’t blame them. Most people in advertising suck at digital marketing. Billions are spent every year and only a few good examples can be produced as “success cases”. Thus. I was not surprised when I managed to get excellent results using QR-codes for a client last year.

I am not saying that QR-codes work everywhere. I am just saying that they work if you use them correctly.

It was a long time since I published a tutorial blog post. So for that sake, I will explain how you can test your QR-campaign before you launch it, and almost guarantee that it works.

Each step in the test tutorial below should be passed with a YES answer in order for you to move onto the next step. If it fails somewhere along the line of steps, it will not be a successful QR-campaign.

The QR-Toilet test

Toilet test QR

STEP 1 – Put your QR code on a product. Is your code on a product YES/NO?

STEP 2 – Lift the product in one hand. Does it fit YES/NO?

STEP 3 – Take your mobile phone in your other hand. Can you hold your mobile in one hand and the product in the other YES/NO?

STEP 4 – Now go to the toilet. Can you open the door holding product and mobile without drawing too much attention to yourself YES/NO?

STEP 5 – Lift the lid to the toilet and sit down. Was the procedure easy YES/NO?

If you have reached this far in the QR-Toilet test it is highly likely that your QR-campaign will be successful.

Call to action on product

The call to action should not be direct. It should rather induce curiosity. The difference between a direct and a curiosity inducing call to action is quite simple to distinct. Users sitting on the bus, or on the toilet, or waiting in a shed whilst the rain blows by are in their research driven mindset. They are willing to explore. Using a call to action that is too direct/that explains what will happen on the landing page, might scare some people away.

Whilst “Compete and win” is a direct call to action. Something like “Open me” is a more curiosity inducing call to action. User thinks through their research driven mind – “what am I really getting here”… “what does open me really mean”… And as a result, they do not mind the friction of having to download a QR-scanner in order to scan the code. However, if they already know that it is a competition, the friction might be too extensive for them to go through with it.

QR-code scanning people do not do this to compete, but they might as well if this is what they end up with when having scanned a code.

Constructing the landing page

The prerequisites of your target page or content the viewer gets to when they scan the code are the following:

  1. Easy form sign up – max 3 forms of which one is the e-mail or telephone number
  2. Same Call to action on top of the landing page or content as you had on the product
  3. Simple design, NO flash or moving graphics, no instructional video or sound (might change when 4G becomes broadly adopted)

Guaranteed results from this

I can almost guarantee results from this. The last campaign I used this for got the QR codes as the third largest traffic generator, only surpassed by Google organic traffic and Facebook traffic. This was for a website with above 20.000 monthly unique users on a regular basis, so we are not talking about chicken wings.

Ok. To be fair. All paid traffic combined surpassed the QR-codes as well, but if you looked at each individual source, the QR- codes killed them all by a landslide.

What was even more astonishing was that we managed to get 23% of the QR-visitors to convert to the member goal we had setup for the campaign.

What conclusions can we draw from this post

If you put your QR-code on something which is too big to scan in the privacy of the toilet. You are destined to fail.

Use mystery as the call to action as the behavior of a QR-scanner-person is not purpose driven. It is research driven. They do not want to do what you want them to do, they just might as well to keep busy.

Make landing page simple and keep scent – the call to action, look and feel – of the scanned product.

Have fun and stop hating.


What you eat don’t make me shit

Posted by | Facebook | No Comments

So. I read this blog post. It made me remember what I sometimes forget. People are idiots. Or moreover, some people are idiots. This guy, or girl, seems to have lost what that is the reasonable digital equivalent of Newtons second principle – namely relevance. Relevance is the air that we all breath, the blood that makes our limbs warm up and the reason people pay us to do our job.

Oh… did I mention what I do for a living… I am a digital dude! The rest of this blog post is directed to the author of the post I read today. My take on what he says. I hope my disbelief in his words, not only shine through or can be read between the line, but is so evident, that it leaves no one confused on where I stand.

A word on relevance and targeting

You seem to oppose targeting. Relevance is targeting. And although I understand, that you do not get how targeting, can equal relevance, it does. You most likely base your targeting assumptions on demographics, rather than behavior. You oppose targeting, because you say it limits reach. I never look for reach. I look for buyers. I look for buying patterns and behaviors and market, through targeted ads, towards those who display this behavior.

You write: “Marketers always overestimate the attraction of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.“ But, however, it strikes me after reading a few more of your posts, that you lack the understanding of how to analyze behavior in a digital setting. it is evident that you are an old school advertiser, blinded by your belief in universal creativity solutions. Scared by change, and diminishing client lists, you attempt to talk the talk, but do not know what the words coming out of your mouth means in practice. You yell “strategy”, whilst all that is proven to work, can be tied to tactics. It doesn’t matter how many times you fonies tell me that ideas are valuable. If you don’t know how to execute them, you should shut up about how to best perform them.

Admit it. You have never run an advertising campaign on Facebook ever in your life. You have never administered a Facebook page, nor have you created a viral campaign that is shared amongst thousands of visitors. You haven’t experienced the wonders of social. In fact, you have never even tried. Yet, you are determined that they do not work.

And if. But only if. You had successfully targeted an ad-campaign on Facebook. You would know that your targeting can induce real relevance by using a persons network in order to tie a story to a social capital – such as a friendship. “Person x likes y, thus you like it too.”. Considering 92% of all online consumers trust this type of advertising, I guess you neither have a belief in research. Actually, you say you don’t when you say that: “Brand studies last for months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally have less impact on business than cleaning the drapes“.

So. You evidently haven’t tried to run a campaign on Facebook, and you do not trust market insights about it. Perhaps someone should try to create a catchy one liner and you’ll be able to catch on, what so many have already learned.

If you deliver an irrelevant ad, people will hate you for it. They will use their chance of interactivity, to distance themselves from you. This is the case with traditional advertising. You simply lack the relevance needed to make use of targeting. People are not the same, just cause they share a demographic. Their behavior and how they are connected to one another, however, does.

A word on facts and value

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps you aren’t an old school advertiser, considering the lack of efficiency in online advertising. Perhaps you are an SEO, scared of understanding the process of a pre purchase click chain. Not willing to see the importance of social media in the mix of a final purchase. Perhaps you are simply ignorant. Cause at the same time as you are writing “In fact, online advertising’s record of motivating consumers is alarmingly terrible. With all their clouds full of data, Facebook ads attract 5 clicks for every 10,000 views. This is mindblowingly ineffective.” You are providing your own visitors with neat little clickable ads to the right. I don’t know. Perhaps thinking they alone will sell your books. Or perhaps your lack of otherwise “valuable”, epic content motivates your placement of these ads in the same place as Facebook puts theirs. Yet. I don’t know. Just speculating.

Regardless, your numbers are wrong. Never had a CTR from Facebook lower than 1%. Never seen one under 0.25%. More importantly you seem, in line with my very limited knowledge of business, to display a stunning misconception of what value is, and perhaps less importantly, how to generate it online. In terms of direct value, a metric measuring success should never be a click, but a purchase. It should be money. It should be conversion to some pre determined goal. Not visitors. Not impressions. Not reach, nor impact. But sales.

For online sales, the traceability is simple as you can follow a person, using cookies, from first click to last click in a purchase funnel. For offline purchases, you need to tie this into something, I like to call redemption. Redemption is closely related to interactivity, something I will debug below, as you seem to believe that interactivity is bad. Either way, you need to understand that any analysis of consumer  behavior online, and offline, includes a portion of research. Customers do research, before they buy.

Display probably isn’t the sole solution for driving brand awareness. However, it is a great and profitable way for driving sales. And if you agree with your own statement that “We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product“, then sales are needed in order to build a strong brand. But if you believe that CTR equal sales, then you are off by a mile and a half… perhaps two… at least. And if you believe that you can generate sales without interactivity, then … well…

A few notations on Interactivity as a friend

Let’s take it one step at a time. You write about your two principles for online advertising.

1. “The first is that interactivity is the enemy of advertising. Whether the interactivity takes the form of clicking a tv remote, pushing a radio push-button, clicking a mouse or swiping a page, we believe that people are far more likely to interact with a medium to avoid advertising than toengage with it.”


2. “Second, we believe that online advertising has turned out to be far better at fulfilling demand than at creating demand. This accounts for the success of advertising on sites like Google and Craig’s List, where people are searching for something. It also accounts for the failure of most display advertising.”

So, what is wrong with this?

Well. First off. I don’t think any DR marketeer would ever agree with you that interactivity is any kind of advertising enemy. Rather. Interactivity is, and must be, advertisings best friend. That is why we watch the super bowl commercials (by the way, Coke and Doritos have ads running on my FB right now..) willingly on YouTube as well as willingly hit the like button on brands we tend to associate with. That is why we redeem the coupon we get to our cellphone and that is why we purchase the deal being offered in the banner ad. I for god sakes make money – and loads of it – running a website completely filled up with deals and coupons. Demand fulfilling you might say…

That would be true, if I didn’t make some of the money from the website, but most of my money I from the e-mails I send and the posts I share on Facebook. JESUS!! I must be doing something odd, or marketing towards some really special group, cause these purpose driven people MUST be there waiting for me to fullfil them with my feed stories and e-mails. No. I build demand. Using digital channels. Leading to direct conversion. Using the one skill you cannot live without, or earn without in the digital space – namely the skill of writing selling and compelling copy.

You might still be living in the world of eyeballs. Where demand is created by repetition. But in the world of 2012, we need to create advertising that sells. Not tomorrow but today. We need to give our consumers an offer they cannot refuse to try out. We then need to give them reason to tell the story about what they experienced – through our product. We need to create traceable campaigns which you can visualize the results from, using Excel. ROI. This word you TV-praising advertisers hate. How can you prove ROI on a TV ad. Estimate it, yes. But prove it. No. Darn. Damn it. Bullocks. However I can. But I need interaction in order to be able to calculate it.

Interactions are our friends. Not our enemies. They guide us when we do something right and they help us improve what we do. But I guess you are too damn good to learn from the data. You’d rather create a TV-ad and hope and pray that it sits with your “audience”. Cause you are not able to change your stuff until it works. Something which is a privilege for those of us working with digital media. Online. But I suppose you have never heard of iterative marketing campaigns nor have you paid any notice to optimization and don’t give a damn about growth over time. You merely find it interesting to look at estimates of “impact” that you see as a result of your offline campaigns. Hmm… aren’t those estimates based on interview studies by the way… rather than behavioral studies… nrrr mind.

With all of that said. Your kind will diminish, my kind will prevail. Regardless of how good your kind is at telling a story, the story you sell will remain a lie as long as it cannot be backed by facts. Sadly, facts are nothing you will ever understand.


Mobile Cloaking in the coming years

Posted by | SEO | No Comments

Do you have a mobile CSS on your website? I think it is time you’d better get one. Especially if you work with lead generation, sales or any type of transaction on your website. Mobile traffic is increasing like a mother fucker and you need to be prepared for it. Are you still asking the question of whether or not to build a native app or build a mobile website? Don’t. Build a website. First. Then see if you have the need for an app.

What is cloaking?

Going back a few years in time, a practice was used to deliver one content type to the visitor and another to the Google bot. This would make Google believe that your web pages were filled with valuable text and image content that was highly relevant for some keyword. Whilst, in fact, your page, when served to a normal user, had all but copy on it. It was simply a cluster of your most converting content put into a structure where it would convert the most possible visitors.

Webmasters did this so that they would rank for stuff their pages didn’t really deserve to rank for. This practice was called cloaking.

Google solved the problem by further developing their algorithm so that it would detect this practice. They also added manual checks of websites in order to rule out any sneaky bastards who had been able to reverse engineer the new changes to the algo. In a sense, cloaking is a part of the past, at least when it comes to PC/Mac to web interaction.

Mobile cloaking is here

However, as the web has expanded to also include delivering access to mobile devices our cloaking skills are experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. People are to a greater extent picking up their mobile to search for whatever they want to find. From our analytics we have seen mobile usage, of the websites we monitor, increase gradually. For the past few months, this traffic increase has started to accelerate.

So, what should you do with this traffic when it comes to your website? My suggestion is that you cloak the living shit out of it. 

So what do I mean when I say “cloak the living shit out of it”. Well, basically I am talking about offering another interface for your mobile visitors than you serve your computer browser users. Fair enough. But I mean seriously change the way it looks in the mobile. Users are lazy. Remove the unnecessary stuff. Give them only the essential for conversion. Either to a lead with an e-mail form, or through a simple one click to phone number purchase. Google doesn’t seem to penalize you for this. Perhaps, because you are actually delivering a better page experience than the one with all the text on it.

What is your Mobile cloaking opportunity?

This will not only improve your conversion rates, but it will also improve your usability for the visitor through the mobile phone.

And it is here that Google’s dilemma becomes escalated. They will probably never be able to penalize you for these differences in delivery. Users will not like pages with loads of text on them in their mobile phone. Thus, as Google has the ambition to deliver great content, they will have to adapt to finding a way to rank good mobile pages. The only way they can do that today is to use the web css delivery, regardless if you serve your visitors with something else through the mobile phone.

From all I can derive from the numbers, Google will rank you in the cellphone based on how your webpage is behaving to a “non-mobile” visitor. It will give you some advantage for localized content as well as for mobile CSS. HOW this mobile CSS displays the content on the other hand, seems to be of lesser significance.

People are searching the web through the phone. Ok. The search behavior is a bit different. It pays to keep an eye out for what Google suggest is giving the users as options for your specific niche keywords. Use it. People are lazy and more prone to use what is offered to them. Either way. You should be seeing more traffic from the cellphone. Both social as well as search traffic.

So. That’s an opportunity for you.