Google on Thursday announced a redesign of its AdWords Express product, featuring clearer stats and graphs, a faster signup process, and a new real-time ad preview box. Unlike most Google product revamps, the changes are available starting today; just sign in and check them out.
First up, the redesigned dashboard now lets you quickly glance to see how many views, clicks, and calls your ad generated. A pie chart breaks down your monthly spending while a line graph lets you track your results over time:
Google says these changes are in direct response to customer feedback. Small business owners told the company they are simply too busy to waste time looking for this information, so Google put it all in the dashboard.
Next up, Google claims to have made “significant improvements” to the signup experience. The company has cut it down to just three steps: select your audience, create your ad, and select your budget.
Last but not least, Google has added a new real-time ad preview box that shows your ad created right as you type. You can now hover over the icons to preview all the ad formats that are available based on the text you provide.
Here it is in action:
All of these changes are relatively minor by themselves, but together they should help businesses push more ads, which in turn should increase Google’s revenue. Many people forget that despite all the various industries the company is in, ads are still its bread and butter. As such, the improvements it makes to ad-related products and services are arguably the most important, even if they aren’t particularly exciting.
Top Image Credit: Adam Berry / Getty Images
Following the unveiling of its revamped News Feed on Thursday, Facebook on Friday announced new ways for developers to leverage Open Graph actions in their “lifestyle” apps. The company classifies four types of content under this term: fitness, books, movies, and TV, all of which have received new verbs.
Facebook has been promoting alternatives to its popular Like action for months (it even lets developers add their own custom actions), but at the same time it is rolling out new “official” actions slowly in order to cut down on redundancy and promote new categories in its News Feed. Additional actions give developers the ability to leverage more and more types of activities that people want to share, or at least that’s Facebook’s hope.
The nine new verbs added today are as follows (all relevant documentation links included):
For the average Facebook user, these additional verbs simply mean more apps of the lifestyle type will appear in their News Feed as the social network will promote them more. This is assuming that your friends use said apps, which assumes that developers leverage these verbs in these apps. In the end, it all comes down to Facebook’s ecosystem and what it can convince developers to use.
Just two months ago, Facebook launched Flexible Sentences, a feature which lets developers customize the syntax of stories that lack context and/or read awkwardly in the original sentence structure. Now developers have also received more verbs to work with in the first place; sometimes you can’t get very far if you can’t swap the verb for a more accurate one.
Yet this time, it’s clear that Facebook has timed the new verbs with the News Feed announcement this week. The company naturally wants to ensure stories that appear on the main homepage of the social network are as relevant as possible, and this is the first of many steps we’ll see in the next few weeks to ensure it.
Here’s the company’s pitch to app developers:
Following yesterday’s news, we’ve created beautiful News Feed stories on mobile and web to showcase these actions. We want people who use your apps to be excited about how their stories are presented in News Feed – whether they’re sharing a major life moment, like their first marathon, or something smaller, like finishing a book they were reading.
In fact, Facebook worked with lifestyle app developers to tailor the new actions and News Feed stories to meet common use cases, claiming “early data shows that average likes per story have increased by more than 2x.” We’ll see where things are in a few months. Speaking of which, Facebook says apps that previously used custom actions for any of the above nine verbs will have to move to the official ones by July 10, 2013.
See also – A deep dive into Facebook’s News Feed redesign: Success, and only a few party fouls and Facebook’s new News Feed starts rolling out on the Web today, iOS in a few weeks and Android thereafter
Image credit: Karl Zobel
A U.S. District Court in New York dismissed a shareholder lawsuit that claimed Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg didn’t disclose enough about risks to the company’s advertising business as consumers shifted to mobile devices. In a separate Facebook-related case against NASDAQ, the same judge denied a motion to move the case to a different court.
It’s a win for Facebook, as the company wades through a mess of litigation following its rocky IPO. “We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” the company said in a statement.
The company’s shares have never recovered to the initial $38 price that the company sold stock at on its May 18 debut. The IPO, which raised about $16 billion for the company and early shareholders, was the most anticipated one since Google in 2004.
Because Facebook’s shares have fallen more than 25 percent since the IPO, some investors have inevitably been disappointed. In this case, they said that Facebook executives sold billions of dollars of stock in the IPO even as internal projections suggested that the company’s revenues would fall short of earlier estimates.
But the judge Robert W. Sweet said that the plaintiffs William Cole, Hal Hubuschman and Linda Levy bought their shares on the day of the IPO, well after Facebook had made several amendments to its IPO filing. Those amendments including warnings about the unproven ability of the company to make money on mobile platforms.
The plaintiffs also cited several reports in the media that Facebook had lowered guidance to analysts, who then selectively disclosed that information to investors.
In his ruling, Sweet said that even if Facebook disclosed internal projections that might have been material to the IPO, the plaintiffs hadn’t proven that it would have “significantly altered the total mix of information in the marketplace.” He also said that the timing of Zuckerberg’s decision to sell stock during the IPO wasn’t suspicious either because many executives routinely sell stock during public offerings.
Lawyers for Facebook’s executives also argued that the case didn’t belong in that court or in California court, but instead in Delaware where Facebook is incorporated.
In a separate class-action lawsuit against NASDAQ for allegedly botching orders on the day of the IPO, Sweet denied a motion to remand, or move the case to another court.
The plaintiff in that case, Michael Zack, wanted the case to be heard in New York’s State Supreme Court. He had filed a case on behalf of all Facebook investors, charging NASDAQ with negligence in the design of their trading systems.
As Facebook’s opening trade was delayed, trades and order cancellations weren’t being handled normally as the auction software couldn’t keep up with last-minute order changes. Slightly after trading had started, Zack said he issued a “cancel order” around 11:30 a.m., but it wasn’t processed until an hour and a half later.
In the court’s ruling, Sweet argued that issues with NASDAQ’s trading system fall under federal, not state, jurisdiction since the system is designed in accordance with the SEC. This suit is one of 11 class action filings against NASDAQ for the Facebook IPO.
At least with the rulings that came out today, Facebook appears to be getting through all the lingering litigation following its controversial IPO.
We are looking at converting our existing sites to more of landing page type. We want good calls to action. We would like the site to use both shopify and wordpress. The site must have calls to action, e-storefront, and the ability to add videos a…
Category: IT & Programming > Website Design
Type and Budget: Fixed price (Less than $500) Escrow
Time Left: 14 d, 22 h (Ends Feb 15, 2013 15:36 pm ET)
Start Date: Jan 31, 2013
Proposals: 2 (High $800, Low $350, Avg $575)
Client Info: 15 jobs posted, 60% awarded, $1,218 total purchased, Payment Method Verified
Client Location: Portsmouth, United States
Preferred Job Location: Anywhere
Desired Skills: CSS HTML WordPress Ecommerce
Job ID: 37398400
Editor’s Note: Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Hooked: How to Drive Engagement by Creating User Habits”. Follow him on Twitter @nireyal.
If the Internet had a voice, I am fairly certain it would sound like the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“Hello, Nir,” it said to me in its low, monotone voice. “Glad to see you again.”
“Internet, I just need a few quick things for an article I’m writing,” I’d reply. “Then it’s back to work. No distractions this time.”
“Of course, Nir, but while you are here, won’t you look at what Paul Graham just wrote?”
“No, Internet,” I’d resist. “I’m just here to find some specific information. I can’t be distracted.”
“Of course, Nir,” the Internet would say. “But this article about LOLCats addiction is related to your work. Give it a click, won’t you?”
“Interesting.” I’d say hesitantly. “Just a quick read and then it’s back to work.”
Three hours later I would realize the time I’d wasted clicking and curse the Internet for sucking me into its mind vortex yet again.
Ironically, I research and write about seductive technology and yet I struggle to resist its temptations. Much of my work is written for entrepreneurs and designers looking for ways to boost user engagement with their products. The rest of my writing is intended to increase awareness of the habit-forming potential, and at times, unintended consequences, of an increasingly connected world.
But just as having an understanding of how illicit drugs work does not necessarily prevent addiction, I find myself just as susceptible to the illusive pull of the Web. I’ve written about methods for preventing unwanted tech intrusions in the boardroom and even the bedroom, but I found myself struggling with distractions at the desktop, making it difficult to achieve the concentration I needed to work. Indeed, research suggests even small interruptions increase mistakes and degrade performance.
For knowledge workers like me, our work and play display on the same screens. Computers and phones allow us to do our jobs, but also give us instantaneous access to boredom-relieving entertainment. In fact, most of the top 25 websites in America sell escape from our daily drudgery.
Online content is habit-forming because it follows what I call the “hook framework,” a four-step user flow composed of a trigger, action, reward, and investment. To end my own bad habit of spending too much time wandering the Web, I had to break the hook, ensuring I didn’t pass through its four alluring steps.
Fortunately, I found my antidote in the venom. Ironically, the sites that syndicate my essays — perhaps where you are reading this right now — depend on you not doing what I did, hoping you’ll continue clicking from article to article, racking-up their ad revenue. But to end my own habit, I strung together several technologies to end the behavior pattern that kept me chasing intriguing headlines.
The first thing I did was set a new rule for how I consume content. My rule is to never read online. Of course, I still need to read things I find on the Web, I’ve just time-shifted how I do it.
I signed up for Pocket and installed their browser extension. When clicked, Pocket scrubs the text of what I’d like to read and saves it for later. I made sure the Pocket button is conspicuously visible on my web browser to act as a reminder of my “never read online” rule.
I replaced my old action of reading essays with the new action of saving them for later. Thus, my temptation to digest the content wasn’t thwarted, it was satisfied knowing it was safe and sound, waiting for me until later.
Next, I used the Pocket Android app to provide access to the content at just the right time. But here’s the kicker: I do not do the reading. I let the app read it to me.
The app’s text-to-speech capabilities are astounding and the HAL 9000 voice of the Internet has been replaced by a British chap with a cheery disposition. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the Apple iOS version does not have text-to-speech but on my Android the audio plays commercial-free while I’m working out or driving. Listening this way also has some surprising benefits.
Pocket’s Android app with text-to-speech (TTS) capabilities
I’ve discovered that checking off articles from my cue is decidedly satisfying, similar to the tiny pleasure of clearing unread messages from my email inbox. Getting through my list of articles acts as a small reward encouraging me to hit the gym more often and saving me the time and temptation of reading at my desk.
However, reading at my desk had perks which at first I found lacking in Pocket. For example, I often saved articles to Evernote or shared to social networks like Twitter, but doing so at the gym required too many time-wasting steps. To solve this dilemma, I recruited another brilliant technology. IFTTT (If This Then That) stitches together dozens of apps to communicate easily together. For example, every time I mark an article as a “favorite” in Pocket, it instantly saves to my Evernote account. The IFTTT recipe is available here. When I’d like to share an article I’ve just listened to with any number of social networks, all I do is send it to Buffer, which concurrently fires off another IFTTT recipe.
This simple solution involved no coding and I’m sure you can think of ways to customize these tools for your own needs. My hack is just one method for conquering the seductive draw of reading “just one more thing.” On the Web, where distractions and temptations are boundless, we need new tools to help us do our best work. By replacing my previous actions with a more thoughtful behavior, I’ve increased my productivity and kept HAL’s seductive call at bay.
Disclosures: As of the time of publication, I have no financial or personal interests in any of the companies mentioned.
The rest is here: This Will Be The Last Article You Read