The Humanization of Search & Why Business Owners & Marketers Should Care

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This post brought to you by Bing Network . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

The speed at which technology is evolving is at breakneck speeds. We’re living in an unprecedented era of technical evolution, and it shapes practically every facet of our daily lives. It was only a few years ago that people only owned one or two connected devices, but now that has evolved into people owning an entire ecosystem of connected devices…phones, laptops, tablets, TVs, even our cars. And at the center of all this technology is a concept that even pre-dates any of this tech; the ability to search and find information.

The landscape in the search game is changing. What once was dominated by traditional keyboard/desktop based search is being replaced by natural language. While desktop searching is averaging a -1% decline, smartphone and table search growth have grown 17% and 28% respectively (Year-over-year search growth, by device. From comScore’s “2015 U.S. Digital Future in Focus” white paper. Q4 2014). Voice powered search is the future as more and more people get comfortable and are beginning to trust the technology. Look no further then Cortana, Microsoft’s voice powered virtual assistant where over 2.5 billion questions have already been asked.

In addition, it’s not just the technology we use to search that is changing, but also the way we use it. Natural language is becoming more and more common when it comes to voice powered search which demands that the technology keeps up. Terse, keyword based searches are no longer the norm as people become more comfortable with asking more common language styled questions in their voice powered searches. Searches such as, “Who is the best hitter on the Chicago Cubs?” or “Show me the best prices for hotels in Seattle.” are queries that are much more common these days.

So what does this mean as a business owner and why should I care about this shift in the Humanization of Search?

  • Ensure you are always re-evaluating your digital content strategy around natural language as more and more users are searching for information in this way. Always think about how a user would ask a question about your products and services, and use that as a guide.
  • Continue to familiarize yourself with emerging technology as users leverage multiple platforms in their digital lives. Technology such as virtual reality is a good example of an emerging tech that is sure to become more of a driving force in consumer engagement.
  • If you sell products online, always be thinking about how to help search engines better match relevant queries to products in your data feeds. Optimizing these feeds ensures the right people find your right products.

Like any small to medium sized business owner, you have to manage your time and money wisely. So anytime you can take advantage of an opportunity to maximize both, you jump on it. The combination of the Bing Network’s reach and technology advances is unmatched. Windows, Xbox and Office, all backed with Cortana are delivering industry leading technology in voice powered search, and all the data that comes with that usage. Syndication partners such as Yahoo, AOL and the Wall Street journal add to their reach of 170 million searchers of which 56 million are exclusive to the Bing Network. The breadth of high quality data the Bing Network drives ensures your investments reach the right people at the most affordable cost.

Learn more about Bing Network 

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Decision Fatigue. Yep, it’s a thing.

Difficult choices of a businessman due to crisis

Wifey: “What do you want for dinner?”
Me: “I don’t know, whatever you want.”

or

Me: “What do you want to watch?”
Wifey: “Whatever. You decide.”

The above are fairly common occurrences in our household, and I would imagine in many others. There’s been plenty of instances where we’d frustrate each other because neither of us could make a decision for such seemingly simple decisions. So why is it that I can’t just make a decision around what I want to eat or watch at any given time?

Because by the time I get home from work, I don’t want to make any more damn decisions. I’m decisioned out. And it wasn’t until a few months ago that I learned that decision fatigue was actually a “thing”. Decision fatigue is officially described as:

In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making.

Just think for a second how many choices are available to you in this day and age when it comes to anything in life. Food, medicine, technology, it’s massive. We’re forced to make a tremendous amount of decisions in quantity and quality every day. It takes it’s toll.

In my case (and many others), decision fatigue can actually lead to decision avoidance. All day at work I make decision after decision, and by the time I get home, I just want to turn my brain off when it comes to having to make any sort of decision no matter how simple it may be. Not only that, but the quality of the decisions made can deteriorate over the course of a day. Case in point is this crazy study about how prisoners who were scheduled earlier had a higher percentage chance of early release.

It all can seem easy to just write off as bullshit, but I actually think there is a lot of truth to how this all works out. Once I learned about psychology and research behind how decision making effects our lives, I immediately began to think of what I could do to better handle it all. Everyone will tell you rest, eat well, exercise, etc. All the things we should be doing anyway. I’ve taken it a step further at work be better delegating decision making. You have to trust your team, and the people you work with and extend decision making power as much as you can. I’ve found by doing so, it lessons the amount of decisions I have to make in any given day and increases the quality of decisions I make.

Below is a great TED talk called The Paradox of Choice that dives a bit deeper into all of this in an interesting way and is worth the watch.

 

5 Reasons Your Business Absolutely Needs To Consider the Bing Network

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This post brought to you by Bing Network. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

I’ve had a lot of experience on both sides of the fence when it comes to paid marketing strategies and execution. Whether it’s been with an agency and working with larger brands and companies, or running a small business, it can be very daunting to figure out how to drive targeted traffic and leads, not to mention, expensive. But the good news is, there are options out there that you may have overlooked that can be affordable and effective.

Not many folks probably expected Bing to stick and around and challenge Google in the search game, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. The Bing Network has evolved quite a bit over the years. From their integration of Cortana, their voice recognition technology, to their Xbox and Office integrations, there’s some serious opportunity for businesses to take a closer look at.

To get started, here are just 5 reasons why you should take a closer look at the Bing Network:

  1. There’s a whole lot more search queries happening on Bing then you may think. Did you know that there are 170 million searchers in the US of which 60 million are exclusive to the Bing Network? That’s right, there’s more than one search player in the game. That’s 35% of searches that you may be missing out on. Not to mention 25% of clicks on the Bing Network come from queries only searched on Bing.
  2. Bing Search is powering some serious networks. Combined with Bing’s syndication partners such as Yahoo, AOL, WSJ, adMarketplace amongst others, are able to reach 1 in 3 PC searches in the U.S. That’s 170 million searchers in the U.S., 56 million which are exclusive to Bing network. And these searchers spend 22% more than the average internet searcher. A full 25% of clicks on Bing Network are queries only searched on Bing. That’s exclusivity that you can’t beat.
  3. Bing is Social. Bing powers Yelp local search options, Twitter translations and Uber mapping. All additional exposure opportunities for your business outside of traditional search engine platforms.
  4. Xbox One, Windows 10 & Office. Bing powers some of Microsoft’s leading innovations, from Cortana to voice search in Xbox One, from the search experiences in Windows 10, to searching directly in Office so you stay focused on doing, not finding. Bing is in phones, in PCs, and in new devices every day. Many of the industry’s leaders trust their most valuable assets—their users—to Bing, whether it’s search inside Amazon’s devices, web results for Siri and Spotlight Search on Apple devices or maps on thousands of leading websites. Bing’s technology is increasingly being adopted across the industry.
  5. Being the underdog means better service. Like most service based businesses, Bing is the up and coming challenger which means you get better tools, more competitive rates, and better service. Bing backs customers by a team of specialized experts that can bring key insights to every aspect of your business. Bing also connects customers and partners at events around the world to deliver unique insights. All reasons to seriously consider the Bing Network in your online ad buys.

The landscape of search and digital advertising is a moving target, and without great tools, platforms and support, it can be a daunting task to make any progress with your digital spend. Using platforms like the Bing Network can help navigate some of those challenges, and bring some much needed savings and results in your online marketing efforts. I’ve had great experiences myself throughout the years, and you can too.

Learn more about Bing Network and what it can do for you.

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Top 5 Things You Can’t Do If You Want To Be Friends

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I’m starting a new tradition of highlighting 5 things that drive me nuts every year. 5 things that if done, disqualify you & I from being pals.

  1. You own or are considering a selfie stick. Can you even imagine what people in previous decades would think if you tried to describe this? If you feel that you have to carry a stick to attach your phone to around, so that you can take pictures of yourself…that’s a problem.
  2. You copy/paste Facebook posts saying you will win millions of dollars by posting it. Remember seeing all those Mark Zuckerberg posts about how if you copy and paste his message into your timeline you have a chance to win millions? Yea you do. UNFRIEND.
  3. You use or have ever used the word “bae”. Exceptions include you are Danish and are referring to pile of shit or have said something to the effect of, “Don’t ever say bae again or I’ll kick you in the neck.”
  4. Vaguebooking. Definition: An intentionally vague Facebook status update, that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help. Just stop. I get that social media has created a stage for everyone, but just get to the point and stop over-dramatizing your life. Unless you’re a celebrity. Then you’re supposed to.
  5. Passive Agressiveness. To me there is no greater cowardice then people that act passive aggressively. It’s basically admitting that you don’t have the courage to confront people directly and rather than keep it to themselves, find subtle ways to still get their way or get in a dig indirectly. Facebook is a breeding ground for it.

What say you internet? What can you add to the list???

My Favorite Things 2015 Edition

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Every year I like to write a blog post that recaps some of my favorite products or services I experienced that year. While I didn’t host a talk show announcing my favorite things and giving them away to a screaming out of control crowd, I am posting them here for you to get for yourselves. Feel free to scream if you’d still like.

AirMail – I’ve struggled to find an email program on the Mac that I can get behind. The Gmail interface is horrible, and unfortunately, the Mac Mail program has always been lacking and buggy. AirMail not only works great, but looks slick as hell. I’ve been using it for a few months for my work and personal email, and have enjoyed every minute of it. Works great, and has a great UI. Only $10 in the Mac App Store.

The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land – My favorite mobile game of all time. I’ve pretty much given up on most games, but this one sticks. Of course being a fan of the TV show helps, but even if you aren’t, this is an incredibly well designed game that you can actually play without having to pay every 5 minutes to progress. Perfect user experience for mobile, entertaining, great music/sound effects, they really nailed this across the board.

Tech Matte Phone Car Mount – I finally found a phone mount for your car that gets it right. These geniuses got it right on 2 counts…how it the mount attaches in your car, and how your phone attaches to the mount. The first being using your unused CD slot to attach the mount. It works like a charm and no more having to worry about suction cups or adhesive on your dash. Plus, who listens to CDs anymore? The second, and my favorite part, magnets. Your phone attaches magnetically. You can either slide a magnet between your phone case and phone, or attach an adhesive magnet to the back of your phone. Either way, it’s a genius way to manage this as you can attach your phone to the mount quickly and easily. The magnets hold incredibly well regardless of which method you use. And the damn thins is only $11. It’s a no brainer.

New Macbook – I wrote a review on this bad boy, but just needed to reiterate my love for it. No mystery I’m a Mac guy, but not to the point where I’m so blind that I can’t see when they miss the mark (see my Mac Mail comment above). However I love this machine. It is a fantastic travel laptop plain and simple. It’s not a power machine, and it won’t replace a desktop by any means, but if you’re looking for something that travels well, you can’t go wrong. I actually prefer the single input design. I’ve got the adapter if I need more inputs which keeps the slim profile.

Marianas Trench – I don’t know what it is about these guys, but I stumbled across them a few months ago and they are all that I’ve been listening to since. They are a band based out of Canada that just released a new album this year. Definitely a pop feel with a unique blend of different sounds depending on the song. Some Queen, Michael Jackson, etc. Definitely worth a listen.

UrbanEars Platten ADV Wireless Headphones – While I typically use my noise cancelling in ear Bose headphones for most of my headphone listening, I really wanted a wireless pair of on ear cans for more casual listening and workouts. These definitely fit the bill. I’m no audiophile, but they sound just fine, and love how the controls are simply swiping actions on the ear piece…no buttons or levers. They’re comfortable and I love the feel of no wires.