Tech’s In Vogue This Year…Literally

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by Drew Olanoff, TechCrunch

I know this might be shocking to you, but I’m not a fashion expert. I’m lucky if I can find two matching socks to wear. Most of the time I give up and don’t. However, it looks like the rest of the tech world is looking to up its fashion game, namely Apple and Amazon.

In this year’s September Issue of Vogue, both companies put their best foot forward among fashion icons like Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade and Giorgio Armani. Fashion Week is coming up and these companies want these specific eyeballs.

Luckily, my fiancée April and I took a long plane ride so she had time to fill me in on why this is interesting. Apparently, this specific issue of Vogue is commonly referred to as “The Bible.” All of the big upcoming trends are featured there. It’s 832 pages of ads (and some content, of course). There’s even a documentary about the making of September issues.

It’s not the first time that tech companies took to this issue, with Google turning the trick in 2013 to promote Glass. It felt really forced, though. And it clearly was, since Glass is now being worn by doctors and not models (or aspiring models).

As April went through the magazine on the plane she pointed out tech references left and right. Apple Watch! Amazon Fashion! (whatever that is) Apple Music! Even Star Wars gets a nod. That’s a lot of geekiness for a crowd that appreciates proper eyeliner and a $200 pair of jeans.
But that’s just it, this is the audience that these companies want. For a normal issue, Vogue sees about 1,256,659 copies fly out the door. The September issue is its own beast and its “total audience” breaks down like this according to the magazine:

 

When Apple acquired Beats, it was about a few things: tech, Dr. Dre, the powerful lifestyle brand, Dr. Dre, and Dr. Dre. Beats is cool. It carries cache. It’s the kind of cache that doesn’t look like an out-of-place Google Glass spread in Vogue. It fits.

 

An Apple Watch is a fashion statement rather than a tech gadget. I mean, that’s why Apple has an absurdly priced version of the device…just so it could hang with the Vogue crowd. It’s basically a requirement.

 

As far as Amazon goes, I have no clue what “Amazon Fashion” really is. They don’t have their own line of clothes or any interesting spokespeople, but I guess it’s something they’re trying to ramp up, especially since they have a new London photo studio to impress folks with shots of clothing.

 

I mean, if you wanted to pre-order the massive Vogue Ads issue you could do so…on Amazon. So they’re clearly all in on this fashion game.

 

The fashion world and tech are on a collision course and it’s not just because of wearables. It’s the lifestyle, the coolness and a race to see who can take geek to chic the fastest.

 

Now excuse me, I’m going to resume my search for matching socks.

Google’s search rankings change poses threat to mobile app marketers

26541Google is shaking up mobile search yet again

By Alex Samuely at Mobilemarketer.com

Google’s recent announcement that mobile and Web sites containing pop-ads will soon be penalized for enticing users to download their applications poses a significant threat to many marketers, unless they can find a different way to drive conversions.

Google has determined that pop-up interstitials containing prompts to install apps actually hamper the search experience, prompting the company to begin charging for these ads. After November 1, the search engine will place a higher value on showing as much content as possible on mobile-optimized sites, meaning that some advertisers may have to overhaul their app marketing efforts.

“One of the amazing things about the Google’s advertising program is that the search giant rewards and penalizes brands based on the ad and Web browsing experience provided to consumers,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, New York. “Ultimately Google understands that consumers come to its site because of its mastery of search; in order to keep people coming back the company has to continue to deliver an excellent search experience.

“That’s why Google is constantly paying attention to how consumers engage after a click on a search result and work to ensure it is providing the best service possible.”

New tests
Google is updating what it refers to as the Mobile-Friendly Test, beginning today. The test results are designed to caution marketers against showing app install download ads that hide large amounts of content from the search result pages.

For instance, if a user searches for a specific brand of yogurt and clicks on a link to visit the marketer’s site, he or she should be presented with relevant content and the natural layout of the site. If a large pop-up ad appears with a quick link to download the app, the consumer will likely become frustrated, especially if he or she cannot close the window quickly and access the desired other material.

Google is attempting to combat this issue by deeming these types of sites not mobile-friendly. Therefore, if brands continue to use these types of interstitials to drive app conversions, they will be charged accordingly and may alienate some new site visitors.

This new rule will not affect other types of interstitial advertisements. The search engine company claims that browsers offer alternative methods to promote apps that are much more user-friendly.

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Google is attempting to cut down on the amount of full-page mobile app install ads

A potential option for some marketers could be to tap app install banners instead of full-page ads. The banners are able to offer a consistent interface for app promotion and also provide users with control over their browsing process.

This can lead to a less intrusive and more optimized search experience. Consumers will also likely appreciate the lack of pushy ads, and may be enticed to download the brand’s app if they find the site content relevant.

Additional calls-to-action may be placed on the mobile site to drive these conversions, such as promises of a special item discount with each download.

Webmasters may use Google’s Mobile Usability report in the Search Console to determine the number of site pages that contain this issue.

Possible threats
A marketer whose site becomes deemed not mobile-friendly by Google may experience several implications. The ranking of the site’s search engine optimization on mobile may take a nosedive, meaning that consumers may have to sift through several pages of search results to find that site.

 “The second major implication is that it can reduce the quality score of an ad campaign running with Google which means that marketers have to pay more for the same ad spots,” Ms. Lowy said. “When a user enters a search term on Google several ads can show up.

“Those advertisers are each competing to be in the best ad spot,” she said. “The order in which those ads are showed are configured by Google’s Ad Rank algorithm which combines the bidding price, the quality of the ad experience, and the ad formats to decide which ad deserves to be in the best spot.

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Mobile gaming marketers may be severely affected by this new policy

“When a landing page provides a bad experience that will bring down the quality score of the ad which will bring down the ad rank. That will cause an ad to show up lower on the page or not at all. As the quality score of an ad falls, marketers have to increase their bidding price to maintain their ad rank.”

Ultimately, marketers will need to accept that developing a banner app install ad over an interstitial one may result in fewer overall downloads, but will culminate in a better experience for users.

Google’s previous push for mobile-optimized sites, which saw the company penalize the search rankings of those that were not smartphone-friendly, was met with mixed reactions.

Several weeks after Google’s algorithm changed, preliminary data suggested a mobile-first approach with dedicated mobile sites and responsive sites helped marketers retain their high rankings in Google searches while dynamically served sites saw neither clear benefit nor any detriment to their mobile visibility levels (see story).

“The goal shouldn’t be to force consumers to download the app because if it’s not altruistic then you’re not going to get a valuable user,” Ms. Lowy said. “The goal should be to get consumers to like your brand enough that they’ll want to download your app and use it.”