How Spammers Are Knocking Your Brand Out of Google Maps

This is yet another reason why you need to be checking your brand's Internet presence weekly.

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How Spammers Are Knocking Your Brand Out of Google Maps

This is yet another reason why you need to be checking your brand's Internet presence weekly.

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How Your Competitors Are Removing You From Maps

Is it a bug? Is it an exploit? Nobody’s quite sure. The only thing we do know is it’s a problem — a big problem.

This week, the Sterling Sky local SEO agency noticed that some companies appear to have figured out how to knock their competitors off Google Maps.

People are noticing that several businesses with completely different addresses are all now showing up pinned at the same location.

I think there is a good chance this is intentional.

Why? Because Google filters out businesses at the same location.

So if you want your competitors to disappear, just move their pins to the same location, and they will vanish on Google.

Joy Hawkins

One marketer named Pam Weber reported seeing the same thing:

This happened to one of our clients.

We were able to get the pin moved back quickly as they had moved it to a completely different city within Florida.

Pam Weber

You might be wondering — wait, how does my competitor move my position on Google Maps? For a while now, Google has let pretty much anyone suggest a change to a business listing. That’s been meant for a discrepancy in hours, or noting that a business has closed permanently. Or, perhaps in this case, has moved — even if they haven’t.

Google is supposed to notify the affected business before they make the change permanent, but people often miss that email, or it doesn’t come at all. And either way, according to at least one marketer weighing in on this on social media, to fix it you have to log into your Business Profile and manually re-enter your address.

There’s also confusion among marketers chatting about this on social media that Google’s system is supposed to flag a pin location if it doesn’t match the listing address. Why that’s not happening now, nobody’s really sure.

So, word to the wise, if your Friday checklist doesn’t include “Make sure our business is where it’s supposed to be on Google Maps,” maybe time to add it.

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DATA • Ads/Analytics Labels Better Aligned

Google is adding a new way to keep your data in sync between Google Ads and Analytics — it’s called “Key Events,” and it’s going to replace conversions for behavioral analytics.

Key events help site and app owners continue to consistently measure the most important behavior on their websites and apps so they can supercharge their user experience.

With this update, a conversion will be the same whether you’re looking at it in your Google Ads reporting or in a Google Analytics report.

In this improved, more unified experience, we are addressing the differences in conversions reporting that marketers have experienced across Google Ads and Analytics, a long-standing request that we are happy to have resolved for our customers.

Google announcement

This basically will let you see the same labels and data across both platforms, something that’s been a point of contention among marketers.

It’s a minor change in the broader scheme, but it could be important in your workflow, ensuring more accurate data tracking across these two key platforms.

So now, if you see conversion data in Analytics, that same insight will be reflected in Google Ads, rather than messing with your head by showing you different info.

Which does mess with your head. There’s nothing worse than launching a campaign based on the data you’ve studied, only to then, after launch, get that feeling that you may have read it wrong.

You can read more about the update here.

THREADS • Your Brand’s Baby Steps Into the Fediverse

So your brand bailed out on Twitter, but you haven’t been sure where to go next. There’s Bluesky, Threads, Mastodon, and a bunch more.

But as of today, that decision might be a little easier.

Meta’s Threads app has turned on federation. This means that people on Mastodon can follow your brand’s Threads account even if those people don’t use or have a Threads account.

And why would they use Mastodon to see Threads content when they could just use Threads? Mastodon has no ads, and basically no algorithm.

This wouldn’t be Meta without some catches, though — if you’d like people from other parts of the Internet to see your brand’s Threads content, you need to turn it on. It’s in the settings under Federation, and once you do, then people can follow your brand account from Mastodon, or Pixelfed, or any number of other ActivityPub-based social media platforms. (No, Bluesky is not part of that system.)

Plus, you won’t be able to see on Threads who replied or liked your posts from other platforms. And you can’t share posts if they have polls in them, though Meta says they’re building all this stuff too.

And it’s not open to all accounts — for now, it’s only an option for public accounts of people 18 and up in the U.S., Canada, and Japan.

Soon, the other direction will work too — people on Threads will be able to follow any other ActivityPub account, like from Mastodon, or PeerTube (the decentralized YouTube), or Pixelfed (the decentralized Instagram), or Loops (the soon-to-be-launched decentralized TikTok).

But for now, you really have nothing to lose by enabling Federation on your Threads account.

AR • Snapchat Launches Sponsored AR Filters

Snapchat today launched a new augmented reality ad product it says expands brands’ reach beyond the pre-capture Lens Carousel.

This occurs after Snapchatters capture their content with the Snapchat Camera, accessible by swiping to the post-capture Filter Carousel.

The company says the new format has these benefits:

  • Advertisers can upload existing assets and build Filters from a variety of templates including AR face filters, location-based overlays, countdown timers, quiz generators, and so on.

  • You can add a call to action to it, letting you capture mid-funnel signals, guiding users towards specific conversion actions

  • You can create these in less than 10 minutes using Lens Web Builder, a free tool for Filter and Lens creation.

Just to be a bit more precise on this, this is a two-step process. First you build the Sponsored Filter on the Lens Web Builder tool. Then you create a Sponsored AR Filter campaign on Ads Manager. You’ll find it under “Camera and AR Filter” there.

MEDIA BUYING • Lyft Selling Backseat Video Ads

There are few places left where advertising hasn’t crept into our eyeballs. They’re over urinals. They’re in virtual reality. And soon, they’ll be along with consumers for their ride-share trip.

This morning, Lyft confirmed it has launched its video ads product. These appear on a tablet, usually attached to the back of the passenger seat, so that the rider can see it.

They’ll start anywhere from 15 seconds into the ride to four minutes. And no, they won’t be muted by default, though the rider can silence them if they want.

Warner Bros., BetMGM, and Universal Pictures are said to be already running ads in the new placement.

The move to branch out into video ad inventory marks an expansion of Lyft’s media business, which includes in-app display ads, ads that appear inside rideshare vehicles on tablets, on rideshare bike stations, and on the roofs of some rideshare vehicles. The business has been bolstered by an acquisition: Lyft purchased the out-of-home startup Halo, which compensates drivers who display digital ads on the roofs of their vehicles, in 2020.

The company is also partnering with measurement firms Nielsen and Kantar to help the company and its clients measure the performance of Lyft’s campaigns…

Lyft’s arch-rival Uber has been selling ads in its mobile app for more than two years now, and reported that it had a stable of more than a half million advertising clients. Last month, its CEO said they expect to hit $1 billion in ad revenue this year.

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CONTENT • Stuck For Ideas? Just Plop Kate In.

Finally, in case you’re looking for some lazy, low-effort social media content for your brand, consider what many other brands have been up to this week — photoshopping obviously fake images of Kate, the Princess of Wales, into images.

In case you’ve missed all this, Kate had some stomach surgery done in January, and Buckingham Palace said she’d spend until about April mostly out of the public eye recouperating.

Well, that started a whole whack of nonsense conspiracy theories:

  • The King is dead and Kate’s husband William is now secretly king

  • Kate had a mental health crisis

  • Kate is dead and they’re training a body double

It didn’t help when the palace put out a family photo of Kate and their kids, which had some photoshopping done to it. Kate later posted on social media that she had just been monkeying around with photo editing and, you know, my bad.

So to ride this crazy wave, some brands are poking fun at the most recent apparent sighting — a video posted by the Sun newspaper showing Kate and William shopping on the weekend.

The Dublin airport posted that William and Kate were arriving as passengers (with the watermark of the Sun clearly overprinted).

Then the Prague Airport had their own photoshop in their airport, saying “No, no, they came from Dublin to here in the Czech Republic.

The NYC Sanitation department had a crudely photoshopped photo of her pushing a trash bin out to the curb.

… with the city’s separate account adding that rat-proof lids are, in fact, real and should be used. 

So there you go — proof that social media content creation isn’t hard, and that the world is going to hell.

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