In 2015, (Infographic) Are Google and Facebook Teaming up?

As the end of the year approaches, Google and Facebook advertising solution are seeing harmony that has never been reached before to an extend that makes one asks, are they teaming up or at least having a common vision for 2015?

Facebook has announced their new secret weapon and it has been a major game changer in 2014, Kenshoo recently did a study and found that combining search and facebook resulted in 30% increase in return on adspend. Facebook wants to capitalise and build upon the success and investment that advertisers are doing in Google search campaigns.

Search is always a great way to start a digital campaign. It helps the business owners find out how people are searching for their business and what their needs are. Remarketing through Google display network has always been a very important companion to a successful search campaign as it helps increasing the ROI and dropping the cost per acquisition.

Facebook uses the audience that is acquired through Google search as a building block, through their website custom audiences feature they have the ability to find existing customers and target them with a special message. This is a valuable feature as it helps further increase ROI and reduce CPA. Facebook can reach over 50% of the users driven by Google through their tracking pixel.

Let’s face it, driving user registration to SMB websites is not an easy job, building Google / FB audience are more feasible and cost effective alternatives for marketers. Ultimately, growing these lists could be done through using look alike audience feature that both platforms provide.

Here is an infographic that i created to show the level of connection today between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Except to see better harmony in 2015.

Integrating Google adwords and Facebook adsDownload integrating Google AdWords and Facebook Ads in your digital campaign (PDF)

Lookalike Audiences: Facebook Ads Most Powerful Tool That Nobody Uses

look alike audiences

Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, despite recent growth by services such as Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform.

Facebook advertising is no longer what it used to be over the past few years, they used to preach two things which are not valid anymore:

1. Setup a page, Identify your audience, create compelling content, Advertise, and finally measure & adjust. [WRONG] Today, we all know that investing time, money and effort on a Facebook page is not worthwhile because of very limited organic reach of your posts, it’s basically an investment into something that you do not own and have no control over.

2. Facebook advertising core value proposition is about word of the mouth advertising. [WRONG] As the product is evolving there are no longer what used to be called sponsored stories, driving post engagements and page likes are not as attractive as before.

This is what Facebook is not about anymore, so what is it about?

Facebook is the only network that gives advertisers the ability to use lookalike audiences that are based on social graph dataincluding demographic, psychographic, transaction level attributes. To create a lookalike audience, FB creates some kind of regression equation from original custom audience data with these attributes as predictive variables. Then it matches top 1% of FB users that have similar attributes and creates the lookalike audiences.

Google Display Network already has this feature but it uses cookie-based behavioural targeting and twitter rolled out a similar feature last September but it is still in early stages to judge.

Lookalike audiences works extremely well and saves you the hassle of having to assume what kind of targeting would work better for your campaign. However, it is as good as the initial audience seed that you provide, it has to be very clean and well segmented in order to send the right signals to the Facebook algorithm and let the magic work.

There are multiple ways to create the seed such as using the conversion tracking pixel or choosing segments from fans of your page. However, I recommend to use custom audiences by uploading a list of emails of the registered users on your site. For the best results you can follow these steps:

1. Generate a list of registered users on your site.

2. Segment the list to groups, each group has a maximum of 10,000 emails(that the maximum allowed list size). You can segment your lists according to data that you record in your site such as the engagement levels of users (e.g. Users who write reviews and rating regularly), purchase activities, frequency of login, demographics, etc, …

3. For each segment, create a custom audience list, FB will match the emails to FB accounts (you should expect a match rate of 50%, for example if you provide 10K emails, Facebook should be able to find at least 5K emails of them registered)

4. Create lookalike audience for each custom audience list, make sure to choose the best precision option and the location, this should get you around 250K lookalike audiences for every list uploaded that contains about 5K valid emails on FB.

5. Create ads relevant to each lookalike audience segment.

You will be amazed how this feature works well, but it all depends on how good your seed data is prepared and segmented.

Note: Just to make sure how accurate FB algorithm works, try to create an ad for one of the custom audiences and check for its metrics such as male vs female or iOS users vs Android users. Try the same for lookalike audiences and you will be amazed by how similar the ratios are!

Do you see this as an approach that will help you reach your goals and objectives? Math and science says it should as well as testimonials by advertisers who have tried this so far.

Adwords allows you to outrank your competitors (and here is why you shouldn’t do it)

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Google gives you already all the information you need about your competitors. They tell you the names of your competitors and how often they enter the auctions with you and what’s their impression share and average position compared to yours.

With the launch of new flexible bid strategies, Google has just taken the game to the next level. You can actually set an outranking target in your bid strategies; If you want to make sure you’re beating your main competitor 90% of the time (with some Max CPC bid), You are able to do so by specifying your competitor’s domain and the percentage of time when you want to outrank them. Sounds like a very nice solution to handle competition and get more clients that otherwise your competitor would have acquired.

But wait a minute, what if your competitor is using the same exact weapon against you? what will happen in that case? The only likely outcome of applying it is that you’ll both end up paying more per click than you currently are, until both of you reach the point at which you no longer make any profit. This can’t be a good approach and you should consider why you are applying this strategy and what benefits would it bring to your business? What matters at the end of day is getting a good CPA and achieving the best ROI for your campaign. This strategy is not going to get you there.

So who would this strategy work best for? i would say brands; when the goal no longer becomes limited to conversions and acquisitions but it is stretched to include the brand image and reputation. Another case when this strategy would work best is when there is limited demand in the market for the product/service that you are offering and you want to make sure you acquire as much leads as possible to position yourself in the market as a leader, even if it comes at the expense of making your business less profitable.

Traveling from Cairo to Istanbul with my bike: Episode II – Traveling

My bike after traveling

The good news is that i managed to travel from Cairo to Istanbul with my bike and keep it in one peace. The bad news is that it was not as easy as i think. I spent a lot of time learning about the best way to pack my bike and be prepared for traveling through Egyptair.

The trouble started very early on the travel day, i discovered that the box does not fit in the back of my car while it has the bike inside, i did a test before but with the empty box so i was able to squeeze it a bit and close the box, but with the bike inside i can’t push too much. However, i managed to use a rope to hold the door closed without actually locking it.

After arriving to the airport and passing through the X-ray check,i shrink wrapped the bike just for LE 30 ($8), it was a good investment, kept the box held together.

Finishing the boarding was the main challenge, i had only the bike as my only baggage piece in addition to a small carry-on bag. The Egyptair station stated that the bike will be charged 50% of an additional baggage piece. I showed him the email i receive from Egyptair and explained to him how this is not true. He checked with his manager and they finally accepted it, and kept a copy of the email. Surprisingly enough, the bike weight including the box, packing and all accessories and tools that i have included in the box did not exceed 20 KG!

And finally i’m done! Not quite yet. Arriving to Istanbul, you don’t know exactly what to do to receive your extra-big baggage. I didn’t receive it through the normal belt, i had to figure out myself the place to go in order to receive the bike along with other boxes, baby carriages, sports equipments, etc…

After waiting for 1.5 hours i finally received my bike but it didn’t look so good. the box looked like this by the time i arrived home:

The bike box

 

Luckily when i opened the box, the bike was in a good shape:

The packed bike for traveling

 

My packed bike arrived home safetly

My bike arrived safetly

 

I managed to Reinstall my bike:

Reinstalled my bike

 

Shiro was so curious about the bicycle, he wonders if this is his new toy!

Shiro wonder if this is his new toy

Traveling from Cairo to Istanbul with my bike: Episode I – Preparing

Traveling from Egypt to Turkey with my bike

 

I hope one day i will be able to travel from Cairo to Istanbul on my bike but this time i’m just flying with my bike. I’ve been asking many people lately about their experience about traveling with the bike, packing required, fees involved, and other stuff. I got lots of answers and recommendations but i heard the word “it depends” a lot, so today i’m sharing my experience about traveling with the bike.

1. Preparing your bike:

Before packing your bike, you should make sure that your bike is in a good shape and that it will be a reliable companion for you, so fixing and preparing your bike at home will be much easier than traveling with it and then discovering that something went wrong.

I did not have the luxury to take my bike to the maintenance shop, so i did a quick home maintenance job:

  • Cleaning the bike: I used the garden water hose with LOW pressure to clean the bike and get off the dirt. Make sure not to use high water pressure as it can break the welding connections in your bike. The i used the home spray to clean off the chains, gears, derailleur and other mechanical parts. Make sure to dry all the water with a clean piece of cloth, although the body is made of aluminium there are many other steel components which might rust.
Materials i used for cleaning and oiling the bike

Materials i used for cleaning and oiling the bike

  • Oiling: I tried may oiling products before including engine oil, care grease and others but they always fail because they collect dust and dirt, so you definitely need a lighter kind of oil that would work well for you. If you can’t put your hands on bike chain sprays then the other alternative would be Mobil automatic/manual gear box oil. Put some oil into a spray and start spraying generously on your chain and gears after the water has completely dried.
  • Tyres: You need to make sure that your tyres are reliable and would fit the kinds of roads that you will use and make you feel comfortable. I have’t changed my tyres in the past 3.5 years, even though i haven’t made a high mileage with them, that’s a pretty long time to keep your bike tyres. They are old and would probably need to be changed within 6-12 months. So why not change it now? The other reason i changed the tyres is that i know that i will use my MTB for road rides and  i will not go off road so i would really need normal smooth tyres that would impose less friction and make my ride smoother. Changing the bike tyres is very simple and does not involve any special tools, with some patinece and watching one or two youtube videos you can do it yourself.
Old MTB Tyres

Old MTB Tyres

New mountain bike flat smooth tyres (size 26)

New mountain bike flat smooth tyres (size 26)

2. Packing your bike:

In order to travel with your bike there is a set of regulations and guidelines set by the airlines that you should follow. This might be different from one airline to another, but they are mostly pretty similar in most cases. Here is the guidelines for packing your bicycle for traveling via plane:

  • Bicycles should be packed in a container or box with the handlebars turned parallel to the frame, and the tire pressure reduced or flattened.
  • Use a special bike boxes with the following size: (177 x 23 x 102 cm).
  • front wheel should be taken off and fastened to the centre of the bicycle, pedals  should be removed or fixed inwards. All easily breakable parts must be dismounted.
Bicycle box for flights 177 x 23 x 102 cm

Bicycle box for flights 177 x 23 x 102 cm

So actually all you need to do it to get a bike box, you can get this from any bike retail shop as they have tons of these empty boxes (have you ever seen someone bought a bike unmounted inside a box?) i got mine from Besceletta, the guys were generous enough to offer me the box for free.

After securing the box, you have to make sure you do 3 things, unmount the front wheel and duck tape it to the middle of the bike, release the handlebars and turn them to be parallel to the frame and unmount the pedals and duck tape them too.

You may also want to cover the bars of the bike body and fork with plastic or cartoon wrap to offer extra protection and void scratching , just put the bike in and tape the box very well and now you’re reach to go!

3. Flying with your bike:

If your bike box does not fit into your car back seat then there is a very high it won’t be accepted as a part of your luggage at the airport, again, make sure you are using the box with the right size: (177 x 23 x 102 cm).

Your bike will usually be accepted as a part of your luggage, so make sure you know what’s you allowed luggage, in Egypt Air it is usually 2 pieces each 23KG max. so if your bike does not exceed 23KG (that’s pretty heavy for a bike) then it will be considered as one of the two piece, and you will not have to pay any extra luggage fees but anyways be prepared with 150 USD just in case things go out of control.

I would prepare myself with 2 printed documents before traveling:

  1. Egyptair policies and rules for traveling with a bicycle.
  2. Send an email to Egyptair or your air carrier and ask them about the policy for traveling with the bike, try to be specific about your bike description and your route, this document will serve as a very rich proof at the airport that you do not need to pay any fees. make sure to print that. Here is a copy of the email that Egypt Air sent me:

Dear/ customer
Thank you for contacting EgyptAir and our station call center team .we will be glad if we can help you .Regarding to your inquiry kindly be informed that bike Should normally be sent as cargo, but they may be accepted as baggage provided the front wheel is taken off and fastened to the centre of the bicycle, tires must be flat, pedals removed or fixed inwards. All easily breakable parts must be dismounted. A charge will always apply for the transportation of bicycles.

The charge will be equal to 100 % of the applicable excess baggage rate. The charge is only assessed if the bike is not included in the normal free baggage allowance.

Bicycles should be packed in a container or box with the handlebars turned parallel to the frame, the pedals and any protruding parts removed, and the tire pressure reduced. Special boxes (177 x 23 x 102 cm).
Tandem bicycles cannot be accepted as baggage. For information on the transportation of tandem bicycles, please contact EGYPTAIR Cargo.

· As for your baggage allowance you are allowed 2 pieces each 23 kg and you will be charged for the bike as extra piece

· Thank you once again for your e-mail. if you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Most probably you will be faced with someone at the counter who has never seen someone traveling with a bike before and he will tell you that you need to pay extra charge, DO NOT pay!, talk to him, show him the documents and ask for his manager… avoid paying at all costs! Just make sure you have your documents printed and ready, ask the to call the person who sent you this email if they don’t believe you. They won’t do it anyways.

Now that you are prepared with your bike you need to make sure you secure a ride to the airport and another ride from the airport of your destination to the place where you will be staying.

More to come in the second episode about the actual experience in the airport and how my bike looked when i received it at my destination airport.

 

7 Most Trending Outing and Nightlife Spots that Egyptians Love

The Platform

 

According to an analysis that Egypt Yellow Pages did about the usage patterns of mobile applications during the Easter of 2014, Egyptians love to do 7 things:

 

  1. Go to a nice cafe and enjoy an outing with Shisha.
  2. Dine in their favourite restaurant that offers lavish food menu.
  3. Party in vibrant nightlife.
  4. Spend a day use in a nice nearby hotel in Cairo or Sokhna.
  5. Visit a themed park.
  6. Go to malls.
  7. Eat cupcakes!

 Top Trending Outings in Egypt:

  • The Platform
  • Sequoia
  • Andrea
  • Keif
  • Paul
  • Coffeeshop Company
  • Argela Café
  • Grand Cafe’
  • Tamara

 Top Trending dining restaurants in Egypt during Easter:

Notice the significance of the protein intake.

  • Cairo Kitchen
  • Maison Thomas
  • Abou Shakra
  • El Dahan Restaurant
  • Kababgy Antar
  • Wild Burger
  • Mori Sushi
  • Raafat
  • Balbaa Village For B.B.Q & Fish
  • Kababgy El Azhar Farahat
  • Buffalo Burger
  • Fusion Restaurant
  • Peking

Top Trending Nightspots and Clubs in Egypt:

  • Amici
  • Tamarai
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Buddha Bar
  • Dolphin Bar
  • L’Aubergine
  • O Bar

Top Trending Hotels and Day Use in Egypt:

Most people prefer going to a hotel in Cairo or 6th October to spend the vacation, some would prefer to go to Sokhna seaside while others would plan a long weekend and travel to Sharm

  • Intercontinental Citystars Cairo
  • Dusit Thani Lake View Cairo
  • JW Marriott Hotel Cairo
  • Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers
  • New Garden Palace Hotel
  • Le Meridien Heliopolis
  • Porto Sokhna Beach Resort & Spa
  • Stella Di Mare Resort
  • Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino
  • Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel
  • Amoun Hotel
  • Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort
  • Sofitel El Gezirah
  • Dome Marina Swiss Inn Resort
  • Palmera Beach Resort
  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis
  • Fairmont Nile City Hotel
  • Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences
  • Gardenia Plaza Hotel & Resort (Sharm)
  • Maritim Jolie Ville Resort & Casino Sharm El Sheikh

Top Trending Themed Parks and Easter brunch in Egypt:

  • Saqqara Palm Club
  • Africa Safari Park & Motel
  • Animania Zoo
  • Aqua Park
  • Arabella Country Club

Top Trending Malls in Cairo:

  • Citystars Cairo
  • Porto Cairo Mall
  • Sun City Mall
  • Cairo Festival City
  • Emerald Empire Mall

Top Trending Cupcakes in Cairo:

There is no question that cupcakes became Egyptian favourite sweet snacks, here are the most trending cupcake stores during vacations:

  • NOLA CupCakes
  • Crumbs Cupcakes & More

Google Play & AdSense April’s Fool

If you ever saw anything related to Google Play Signature Edition or top planets and moons on AdSense you’re just be Pwned by Google!

It’s funny i must admit, but this time they integrated April’s fool into their products rather than having it as a piece of news going around.

It’s not trending yet on Linkedin! So probably i’m the first one you hear it from.

 

Google April's Fool 2014 - Google Play Signature

Google April’s Fool 2014 – Google Play Signature

 

View your AdSense earning from different planets and moons... Earth and Mars in specific!

View your AdSense earning from different planets and moons… Earth and Mars in specific!