April 17, 2014

ClickZ Live in Times Square, New York City!

By Jay Hawkinson

On April 1 I was back in New York City speaking at the first ever ClickZ Live in Times Square. It was an honor to be selected for this memorable event.  The ClickZ coordinators really outdid themselves making this an outstanding event for both attendees and speakers. Our Digital Marketing Associate, Ashley Sandal also attended with me (read about her experience at the conference).

The first day of the conference was home to my session titled “Next Generation Targeted Social Advertising: Leveraging New Ad Formats & Platforms”, alongside Paul Langtry (Adobe) who covered Twitter advertising while Mel Carson (Majestic SEO) did a stellar job handling the moderation duties. In case you missed it, check out the link below for the full presentation.

Facebook Advertising: Don’t Get Lost, Get Empowered (ClickZ Live) from SIM Partners

I began the session discussing the recent study regarding Facebook organic brand reach declining. Of course this is no surprise to anyone that’s been in the digital marketing space for a while as Facebook is essentially forcing brands to advertise to compensate (sound familiar?). So I jumped right into Facebook advertising, specifically the News Feed where the majority of engagement is happening.

It is essential for brands to get creative and stay visible within the News Feed even when advertising. Fortunately Facebook is improving things for advertisers including the image size, story bumping, updated algorithm, objective based ad buys, custom audiences and improved insights. After touching on these I dove into Power Editor, the advanced tool for managing ad campaigns in Facebook. This won’t be for everyone but it does provide some killer app features that can be critical to getting the most from ad campaigns. I particularly like the bulk tools, partner categories and placement selection.

Finally, I shared 8 best practices when crafting ads for the News Feed:

  1. Create strong Calls To Action
  2. Intrigue customers with offers and discounts
  3. Use fun images and content that create an emotional connection with the audience
  4. Consider images when posting and creating content
  5. Keep ads fresh and engaging. No one wants to see the same content over and over again
  6. Localize ads
  7. Be relevant
  8. Listen and learn

Final takeaways: roll with the changes (because Facebook will continue to change), invest the time in Ad Manager and Power Editor to get the most from your ad spend, and use the best practices like a checklist (not every ad will require all but consider which will work best).

Overall, I had a great time at ClickZ Live New York, encountering many familiar faces and meeting many more wonderful people passionate about search and digital marketing. If you want to learn more about the space or improve your own online initiatives, this is the conference to attend. View all the upcoming ClickZ Live conferences.

April 10, 2014

There’s A Map For That – Yahoo Rolls Out Indoor Maps

By Christine Wuertz

Does the idea of navigating the mass chaos that is Costco on a Saturday terrify you? Don’t you wish there was a tool that would help you swiftly locate the Nutella bar through the 63,000 square feet that is the new Italian megamarket, Eataly? Or how about finding the nearest bathroom at the United Center in between periods of the Blackhawks game? Well, Yahoo is here to help.

Yahoo is taking a page out of Google’s book with the introduction of their newest indoor mapping technology. Similar to Google’s street view map option, Yahoo has rolled out a new feature that allows users to locate areas across multiple levels within malls, airports, train stations, and stadiums.

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April 9, 2014

ClickZ Live New York City Recap

By Ashley Sandal

What a week! One of our Senior Vice Presidents, Jay Hawkinson, and I had the privilege of attending ClickZ Live New York last week, and left feeling extremely excited to be a part of the digital marketing industry. We were able to converse with great marketing minds, share ideas and thoughts, and enjoy ourselves in the beautiful city of New York.

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March 27, 2014

SIM Partners Heads To ClickZ Live 2014 In New York City

By Ashley Sandal

Heading to ClickZ Live next week in the Big Apple? Jay Hawkinson, Senior Vice President of Emerging Products, will be speaking as well as hosting a few Meet The Expert Roundtables that you do not want to miss! First things first, Tuesday, April 1 from 2:00- 3:00pm, Jay will join Paul Langtry from Adobe in a session titled “Next Generation Targeted Social Advertising: Leveraging New Ad Formats & Platforms.” Later that evening from 4:30- 5:30 in the Exhibit Area Jay will be discussing SoLoMo topics at Meet The Expert Roundtable #9. The SoLoMo discussions will continue Wednesday before lunch from 11:30- 12:30p as Jay hosts another Meet The Experts Roundtable in the Exhibit Area. It is bound to be a great week, so be sure to stop by the session or roundtables for some great discussions and to say hi!

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February 27, 2014

My One Year Reflection at SIM Partners

By Neeraj Gaur

It was cold, wet, a steady snow and traffic was miserably slow. I had left early, but now it was too close for comfort. I glanced at my iPhone (who wears watches now right?) and saw I had barely 7 minutes. I am winding up through Chicago into Evanston and am looking at being late for my first interview in years. I reluctantly start to think about calling the recruiter to tell her to call the employer and say I may be just a minute or two late while finding parking. Voilà! I turn the corner and my GPS says “destination to the left” and amazingly, a parking spot right in front of the door is vacant and empty. I park, grab my jacket, step into the wet puddle and run into the door. I go upstairs to the 3rd floor and am whisked to the conference room to start my interview and glance at the clock, I was one minute early!

That was one year ago. My drive through the snow and the amazingly vacant parking spot was a good omen. I’ve been working at this great technology company for a year now and couldn’t be more amazed by the talent surrounding me. I was clueless about local search and the associated technologies when I came to SIM Partners. Now, one year later, with the help of some great coworkers, I am able to demonstrate our SaaS platform to others and understand the technology. I have learned more about SEO strategies. I am able to understand Google+ optimization. The amount of knowledge absorbed in just one year was astounding, but it all boiled down to dedicated SIM employees who got me off the ground and running.

In your time on earth, you will go through companies, you will move, and you will have all kinds of experiences. If you are fortunate to get into a small and growing tech start up, take advantage. Soak it up.  Enjoy the atmosphere. Learn all you can and realize the amazing opportunity in front of you. It’s been a great year here, and I cannot wait to see where this company guided by strong leadership takes us. I am excited for the upcoming ride and adventure as we grind our way to the top of the mountain of success!

February 21, 2014

Team Member Spotlight: Tara Thomas

By Ashley Sandal

We are bringing back our team member spotlights, so meet our Vice President of North American Sales, Tara!

What did you want to be when you were younger?

That is a tough one.  I changed my mind a lot!  I went from dreaming of being a teacher, to writer, to a movie star!  I then started selling pagers (yes pagers!) and cell phones in high school and got the tech bug early.  I will say I always wanted to land in advertising or marketing and bring innovation to the table.  Selling is innovative right?

If you could invite 2 famous people to your party, who would you invite and why?

The simple answer- someone intellectual/incredibly interesting and the other would be someone hilarious.  I would have to go with JFK and Chris Farley.  That would make for an interesting party!

What is your favorite thing about working at SIM?

I have a lot of favorite things about working at SIM.  I think the one that stands out most is being surrounded with very smart people that challenge the status quo every day.  It makes for an environment where you feel you are learning and creating great moments every single day.

February 11, 2014

FXVA Mobile App Wins Best First-Tier Destination App

By Jay Hawkinson

We are thrilled to share the news that the FXVA mobile app we developed for Fairfax County, Virginia, was named one of the “Best First-Tier Destination Apps” by ConventionSouth Magazine (click here to view the announcement). This is exciting news for both Fairfax County and its visitors. When we created the mobile app over two years ago, we wanted to build something that would remain relevant and update frequently with new events and attractions. It’s great to see the FXVA mobile app still being recognized in a tough field of excellent destination apps.

The app allows users to instantly access restaurants, attractions, and events literally right around the corner. To learn more and download the iOS or Android version of the app, visit the Fairfax County website.

January 29, 2014

Where are Customers Searching for Local Online?

By Alexis Gui

In the world of local search there are a number of channels that contributed to the bump in localized search traffic we’ve seen over the last few years. Gain insights into which channels provide the most traffic and find out exactly where potential customers are looking for local information online.

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January 17, 2014

Much Maligned Google Bulk Tool Is Getting a Makeover

By Alexis Gui

On January 14th, Google made local search marketing news when thousands of hotel business listings were hijacked by RoomsToBook. The listings were hijacked so that RTB could direct search traffic to their reservation site, away from the hotels’ reservation pages, allowing RTB to collect reservation fees from the hotels.

There are great discussions going on as to how RTB was able to hijack so many business listings on Google. An overview of a few theories can be found here, but one we thought was important to address is Mike Blumenthal’s suggestion that the hijackers preyed on listings that were managed by the bulk import process.*

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