Author Archives: DJ Switz

About DJ Switz

DJ joins us from the not-so-faraway land of Emerson College—the place where creative people make movies and do other creative stuff. On his plate this summer is copywriting with a side of everything. He's studying to become a marketing writer, while assisting our team with everything from research, to writing, to client presentations. When he's not sitting in our fishbowl office (where we can keep an eye on him thanks to all the windows), you'll find him sleeping on the T heading to or from class. Just be sure to wake him before his stop.

Google Adwords “Information Harvesting” Policy Changes: An Example

Google announced a change to its Adwords policy late last week that could freeze thousands of advertisers’ accounts for noncompliance. The changes have to do with “Information Harvesting,” which is the practice of asking a user for information about themselves – from as little as name and email to credit card or social security information. Just about every Adwords advertiser does some form of information harvesting. Hospitality companies look for bookings which require credit card and billing information. Retail does the same. Higher education is a major player in information harvesting, asking for name, email, address, programs of interest, and anticipated start dates among other things.

The change will affect a lot of AdWords users, including many of our own clients, but the thing we love about Google is that they keep it simple. Here are the three policy changes which go into effect on May 17th 2011, as explained by Google:

  1. Clear, accessible disclosure before visitors submit personal information
    Our existing policy requires you to clearly describe how any personal information you solicit will be used. Soon, we’ll require that your description must also be easily accessible before site visitors submit their details.
  2. Option to discontinue direct communications
    In the same description of how personal information will be used, you’ll also be required to describe how people can opt out of future emails, phone calls, or other direct communications.
  3. SSL when collecting payment and certain financial and personal information
    Many websites use what are known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections to encrypt sensitive information that travels between the user’s browser and the website’s servers. To help ensure user safety, AdWords policy will require all advertisers to use SSL when collecting payments and certain financial and personal information (like bank account and social security numbers).

An Example:

We already mentioned that many of our own clients will be affected by this change. One such client, The Rabb School of Continuing Studies at Brandeis University, is an AdWords user and, in fact, one of their ads was served to me in a “masters program Boston” search query. I proceeded to click on that link, and here’s where it took me:

This landing page would be in violation of Google’s “Information Harvesting” policy change should it go unchanged as of May 17th. Since learning about the policy changes, we’ve updated this landing page to be in accordance with the new Google AdWords policy. Here’s what that page looks like now:

Because this page asks for personal information, Google’s policy change mandated that we specify what “information ” the user will be receiving by submitting the form, and how they can stop receiving said information, should they choose to do so. We complied with Lord Google’s decree with this little bit of text right before the submit button:

Voila, the king is appeased.

There is a third addendum under the “Information Harvesting” policy change heading regarding the SSL connection, but that type of change is only relevant when requesting highly sensitive information like social security numbers. However, SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is the industry standard for this type of connection, and AdWords users in violation of this new policy ought to upgrade their connection anyway.

So, those are the changes and their implications in a nutshell. Hope the example helped!

Let’s continue the conversation! Talk to us on Twitter @Triad_Ideas and use the hashtag #ThinkSuccess or #HigherEd if you have a more specific question!

In the Media: Mobile Marketing Infographic

Courtesy of the Microsoft Tag Team, comes this slick infographic on mobile marketing. I found this especially relevant since we plan on compiling our own mobile marketing post soon, and surely some of this information will make it in there. If 2011 is the year of the tablet, then what will 2012 be?

Wow. There are some BIG numbers in there.

And did you see that cool Microsoft Tag QR code-like thing at the bottom of the infographic? Pretty sweet. But, you can’t read it with a regular QR code reader, you need Microsoft’s own Tag Reader. We’ll have the low-down for you on all things QR codes soon, so check back, subscribe, and follow us on Twitter @Triad_Ideas – #ThinkSuccess

Guerilla for Good

Imagine you’re Coke. You’re number one. The head honcho. The soft drink to end all soft drinks.

You’re all bout happiness, from your tags to your brand image.

You come out with new varieties regularly, but your competition inevitably mimicks your every move (Coke Zero > Pepsi Max).

So you take the one thing your competitors can’t steal, your inextricable brand image and global recognition, and go and do something like this….

And do a fantastic job.

Congratulations Coke, you’ve taken your “happiness” thing to a whole new level. In a combination of guerilla and viral marketing, you’ve created a compelling and rather entertaining stunt that feels truly honest. Kudos.

Now, imagine you’re Pepsi. You’re number two. Simply another soda.

You’ll probably be in Coke’s shadow forever, and you’ve just created the controversial “skinny can” that looks like a can of Red Bull. You had success with Pepsi Refresh, but to be honest, it’s mostly forgotten by now.

What do you do?