The week in search advertising 3/15/2014

Episode #3 of the weekly review of search adverting! Covering the week ending on 3/15/2014.

  • Native Ads are not engaging readers
    • Some data shows that native ads are not getting as much attention from the visitors
    • This can be somewhat improved if the ad creative is of good quality
    • Source: marketing land
  • Twitter experiment on click to call ads
  • Native ad spotted on The Wall Street Journal
    • Transparent, quality, and rare
    • Source: Digiday
  • Google experiment desktop to mobile retargeting
    • As cookies don’t really work on mobile devices, they use a “hashed tag” dropped when a user visit the advertiser’s site that ties to the cookies and device of the user.
    • Source: Ad Age
  • Addressing the Bing dilemma
    • 1/3 of all US search traffic goes to the Yahoo Bing Network.
    • There is a revenue opportunity to advertise on Bing (disclaimer: I work for Bing Ads)
    • Source: Search Engine Land
  • Facebook is showing autoplay advertising video
    • Facebook is willing to display only quality video, and will have a company gauges the commercials
    • Source: Business Insiders
  • Ads Worth Spreading
    • Some beautiful ads, for the creative folks J
    • Source: Ted

The week in online advertising (ending 3/9/2014)

I’m slightly increasing the scope of this series to capture a larger part of the online advertising (instead of focusing on search advertising only).

  • Focusing on mobile is solving yesterday’s problems
    • The focus should now be on ads that work across multiple screens
    • Focusing on reach is where we are trending today
    • Source: Forbes
  • 8 ways to write terrible online ads
    • Blindly using keyword insertion
    • Relying too much on broad keywords
    • Forgetting to spell check your ads
    • Using abbreviations to save space
    • Using technical jargon
    • Including your company name in the headline
    • Using superlatives
    • Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
    • Source: Entrepreneur
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly from last night’s Oscars real-time marketing
  • Why publishers are moving away from mobile banner ads and toward cross-device formats
    • 300×250 ad unit works well on all platforms
    • Placement should be automated, smaller screens tend to have more real estate available on mobile
    • Source: Digiday
  • Apple rolling out full screen video ads within apps
    • Interstitials video might pop-up while you are using your apps on iPhone or iPad (probably at a transition time)
    • This will probably be sold through Apple new ad exchange
    • Source: Advertising Age
  • How to take advantage of YouTube Pre-Roll ads
  • Does more targeting work better?
    • Interesting discussion on the future of targeting and its usage
    • Data shows that the user context (search vs social) impact his response to targeting / advertising
    • Source: Search Engine Land
  • How internet ads works
  • Instagram strikes first big ad deal
    • It was announced a while back and now it’s official, Instagram will be displaying ads
    • Source: Marketing Land

The week in search advertising

I decided to start a new series on this blog about what happened in the small world of search advertising during the week. It will mostly be a collection of links to interesting articles. The primary goal, for me, is to retrieve quickly articles. I hope this series will be useful for more people than just me!

  • How Facebook knows what you looked at on Amazon
    • Simple explanation on how FBX works
    • Source: 25hoursaday
  • Facebook is rolling out new targeting mechanics, the new options are:
    • Location (country & city; country & state; state & city; state & zip code)
    • Demographic (relationship status; life events as relationship status)
    • Interests (people interested in a topic – supposedly better than categories and keywords targeting)
    • Behaviors (based on offline activates: purchases, website visits)
    • Source: marketing land
  • Ad tech merger and acquisition will rage on 2014
  • WTF is ad viewability
    • Interesting discussion on the problem of displaying ads on some part of a site that is not actually viewed by the visitor (think the bottom of a site).
    • Source: Digiday
  • How to build effective mobile in-apps ads without irking your users
    • Advises for native advertising (embedding ads within the content)
    • .01% of apps will generate revenue
    • Source: TNW
  • The Ad Industry Reinvents the Hyperlink for the mobile Era
    • How advertiser are thinking of expending the hyperlink to be within Apps
    • Source: MIT TR

Some competition in the contextual ads landscape, finally!

I am quite happy to have received an invite to the Yahoo! | Bing network contextual ads (powered by I just migrated my websites to use these ads.
I don’t have yet information regarding the profitability of this network, I should be able to come back with some numbers in a couple of weeks (or month given the frequency of my posts on this blog J).

Setting up ads is super easy, if you are already familiar with AdSense, it should not be a problem at all. Setup your ad unit, copy the code to your website, and start getting paid.

If you are looking for an invite, this is the way:

Preparing my next certification (with uCertify)

I have been thinking for a while about my next certification, however I wasn’t able to find one certification where the courses would not overlap too much with my work or my family life. Luckily, I have been contacted by uCertify to review their tool, and was offered access to one course! I decided to give a try to the PMI – Project Management Professional (V5) certification.

The site is designed to help you get your certification, they have a lot of tools bundled under the uCertify site that makes it a great companion for any certification you might plan for.
The course site is divided into 7 categories and 3 tickers.

Pre-assessment, help you identify early on what areas you need improvement before you even begin the course.
Chapters & Lessons, is the course material (the PMPBOK v5 in my case) with nice functionalities to annotate and bookmark pages.

Exercises, Flashcards, and quizzes, is the place where I am actually spending most of my time. It is a great way to train for the exam! Flashcards prepares you for each chapters potential questions and give great sample answers.
Practice Tests, this is the simulated environment for the exam. 600 questions, I feel it will wait for a rainy Sunday (which happen quite frequently in Seattle during fall) to complete this.
Post assessment, this is the actual test, you need to get at least 90% to confirm your mastery. This should be done only when all above categories are completed. Once you get all answers correct, you can go ahead and do the real test (at the test center).
Videos, multiple videos on some of the chapters and lessons of your certification.
Glossary, this is a great place to get a quick definition of some terms. The annotation functionality is also available.


Target, this ticker enable you to track how much more you need to work to reach your targeted based on the progress you are making on each category. This is an extremely motivating factor.
If you click on it, you can access a detailed view (study planner) of your progress and step by step ‘coaching’ advices to help stay on track and increase your chance of passing the test.

Certificate of Completion, will allow you to have a virtual certificate once you are ready for the test.
Test history & performance analytics, is a report that help gauging the progress and our focus (with visualization tools showing how much time you spend working, what you have been working on, and when you have been mostly working).

Overall, I feel confident that this site will help me get my certification, eventually. At least it gives me enough flexibility and enough tools so I can prepare well.

What ??? It’s been a year already!

It has roughly been one year since I took on my new role at Microsoft as a PM. This shows up quite a bit on the number of blog post added here.
During this year, I learned some fundamentals behaviors that help me do a better job.

  • Clean inbox
    Outlook is incredibly powerful to handle tons of emails, a few ‘best’ practices will help you to stay afloat on your emails. Top of minds practices:

    • Put all emails from a distribution list in a folder, this can be done simply by adding a new rule. This will help reduce the number of emails you need to go through.
    • Flag your email, when I read my emails, I flag the one I need to take action on (setting a day when it needs to be completed), this helps me prioritize what emails to answer to. When I send email and I am expecting an answer, I flag them too. The time depends on how long I can wait for an answer. I also add a category to it (“waiting for an answer”), so I know I don’t to actively do something for this email.
    • Remove distraction – there are a few settings where you can remove any visual notification of incoming emails, this will help you avoid being distracted. Also, opening your email box at only a few given moments can help.
    • Unread = 0, my goal is to get as close as possible to 0 unread email, this help me avoid any situation where I don’t reply to an email or that I miss an email.
    • Flagged for today = 0, as much as possible you should try to have your flagged email for the day be close to 0. Otherwise it means that you are either not responding in a timely fashion or that you are incorrectly flagging your emails.
  • Send note of each meeting
    When you setup a meeting, you probably want to address some questions. During the meeting a lot of decisions can be taken, explicit or implicit. Call them out when sending the meeting note. It happened, more than one time, that a few months after a meeting had taken place people memories and understanding change.  This force everybody to go back to the meeting room and discuss again about something already agreed upon in the past. It saves everybody time and stress when everything is well documented.
  • Prepare for meeting in advanceWhen a meeting is coming your way, prepare for it, schedule some time ahead so that everything can go smoothly and that you have all the questions and answers ready. If you are calling the meeting, you need to make sure to have a plan (agenda) for the meeting, so that people time is used as efficiently as possible.
  • Communicate clearly
    When you communicate information with a broad range of people, the best is to give them all the information in order to avoid any assumption or confusion. Clear any doubt out of the way, even if this means repeating yourself. Set clear expectation if people needs to do something, make clear when they need to deliver something.
  • Know your peopleYou will need to apply different strategy to convince different folks. Some will need to see data, some will need to feel like they take the decision, some will need to be pushed, and some will cooperate. Take the time to know them outside of work, go get a drink with them. Having trust and respect is, in my opinion one, of the best way to get where you want to be.

Negotiating with emotion

In my daily work, I am often negotiating with people. Either close colleagues or remote partners working on the same project. I noticed that my negotiation skills varies a lot depending on who I am talking with and on my personal emotional state. Going into negotiation late in the day after a stressful week is often the key for a pretty hard discussion. My biggest principle in negotiation and interaction with humans in general is respect. As long as the players are respecting each other, the discussion generally stays mostly reasonable. However, I was looking for some other techniques I could use to improve myself.
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Strategy for ads placement with Infinite Scroll (WordPress)

Some high profile website (Facebook, Linkedin) have enable infinite scroll (automatically displays following pages when the user scroll down) on their pages.
This is mostly because infinite scroll is supposed to increase user stickiness to a site. One obvious problem with infinite scroll is that the ad placement needs to be updated.

Without infinite scroll the user would likely browse from page to page and the ads where evenly distributed across the page and most likely on top of the page, where most users spent most time.
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The first 90 days: Promoting yourself!

I am starting a new series of posts pulled out of a book I recently read. The book was written by Michael Watkins and titled “The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
“. The book is about enabling transitioning leader to reach the breakeven point (when leader contributed as much value to their organization as they have consumed from it) as rapidly as possible. The book comes with 4 propositions:
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