Google Trumpets Its American Heritage, Defies EU Ruling

January 22, 2015 1:27 pm

Google thumbed its nose at Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten” laws in Lisbon on Tuesday, noting that it will not honor de-listing requests beyond country specific domains. The tech giant’s stance is considered an affront to privacy by some individuals, while others consider it a protection of free speech.

Enforced by EU data privacy laws, “Right to be Forgotten” forces Google and other search engines to remove negative listings – regardless of their accuracy – from search pages. On the first day it went into effect on May 30th, 2014, Google received over 12,000 removal requests, many of which pertained to criminal records and unflattering press coverage. An additional 70,000 requests were filed within the next two months.

A new agenda, titled Article 29, would extend coverage of “Right to be Forgotten” to .com domains.

As RTBF only applies to country specific domains within the EU for now, the mandate holds no water in the United States. However, it does raise some important questions about freedom of speech in the 21st century. Namely: Do the risks of full transparency outweigh the benefits?

There are two sides to this argument.

On the one hand, a fully transparent web allows misinformation to share the limelight with legitimate facts. Review sites are a perfect example of this, as many of these sites rely upon user-submitted content, which – under the Communications Decency Act – protects them from the legal repercussions that would typically arise from publishing slanderous or defamatory content. As a result, they are teeming with internet “trolls” and disenfranchised individuals who get their kicks from spreading defamatory comments and outright lies. There have even been reports of businesses using these sites as a platform to vilify their competition.

On the other hand, having the ability to remove information from the web is a slippery slope with extremely worrisome implications for press freedom and overall access to knowledge. Imagine a world in which scam artists and violent criminals could effectively hide any information they’d like to hide and you start to understand why Google is so committed to quarantining RTBF to Europe.

While the issue is undoubtedly complicated, the challenges of full transparency seem less concerning than the dangers of what is essentially a censored web. Sure, individuals and brands will have to put a little more thought into their online personas, and some will always be haunted by previous mistakes.

But doesn’t that seem like a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things?

It’s not as if every negative story or review is a lost cause that will wreak havoc on your name or your brand’s image. Review Response, a Respage service offering that creates custom responses to posts and comments on review sites, is a great example of how brands can turn negative publicity into an opportunity to reestablish credibility. And consumers tend to trust brands that address their faults over brands that try to cover things up.

The fact that the European Union continues to attack free speech is disheartening, but Google’s decision to fight EU Article 29 is proof that the search giant has no desire to change its First Amendment views. They are an American company, after all.

Category: Social Media Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Optimize Your Apartment Remarketing Strategy with These 3 Easy Tips

January 20, 2015 10:42 am

Remarketing campaigns allow you to show ads to people who have visited your site in the past. These campaigns are great for apartment marketing because potential tenants will compare communities before making a leasing decision. So if a user visits your site one day, but decides not to make a decision until he or she has shopped around for a week or two, remarketing campaigns serve to remind that user about your brand as he or she visits other sites across the web.

While remarketing campaigns already have a high success rate, there are several things that apartment marketing specialists can do to optimize their ROI when running a campaign through Google Adwords. Provided below are three tips to follow when trying to make the most out of your remarketing strategy.

Stick with Image Ads

Image ads are simply the best remarketing tool on the web. Although we can't discount the value of text ads, there's no denying that images attract more attention than text. In fact, it takes your brain just 13 milliseconds to process an image, according to a study conducted by MIT, which is 60,000 times faster than the time it takes to process text.

On that note, not all image ads are created equal. Getting the most from your ads will require strong copywriting skills and a keen eye for design. Users will only look at your ad for a fraction of a second, so you have to make it count.

Google offers plenty of templates on the Adwords support page for those who want to design remarketing displays on their own. However, it should be noted that these templates lack a certain flair out-of-the-box. That's why we recommend checking out Respage's display ad design option, which is the part of our apartment marketing PPC and SEM service that removes the guess-work from ad creation.

Don't Sell Too Hard

Nobody likes being bombarded with ads. If you overwhelm your leads with remarketing displays, they'll likely go to a competitor.

On the other hand, doing too little can also present problems. So the trick is finding a happy medium where you can remind users about your brand without jamming the message down their throats.

In your Adwords settings, go to the "Advanced Settings" and click the edit button next to "Frequency Capping." Under this setting, you can choose how often a user will see your ad over a given period of time. If your budget allows, it may be best to set this number to five times per day, though some sources recommend starting at 10 times per day. No matter where you decide to begin, we suggest you tweak that number after monitoring performance.

Never Stop Refining

Set it and forget it ad tactics do not work online, and this is especially the case for apartment marketing strategies. Unless you want to spend money on display ads for users who have already signed their leases, you'll need to audit your campaigns regularly.

Make sure your designers, copywriters, and data-analysts meet at least once a week to brainstorm new ideas and develop new remarketing campaigns. Although the process of refining one particular ad over and over can be tedious, the payout of a high performing display ad is well worth the effort.

CC-BY-2.0/Flickr/Martin Lafrance/Google AdWords Logo

Category: Search Engine Marketing Tags: , , , ,

4 Reasons Why Effective Apartment Marketing Strategies Require Paid Search Campaigns

January 12, 2015 10:39 am

Ignoring the power of paid search is a big mistake. Unfortunately, it’s also a mistake that’s incredibly common. In order to shed light on why apartment marketers should avoid making this blunder, we’ve assembled the following four reasons explaining how paid search works wonders for online marketing strategies.

Reason #1: Paid Search Creates Brand Visibility

Nearly 50 percent of all web traffic comes from organic search, according to While this figure dwarfs the meager six percent of traffic that comes from paid search, marketers must remember that the presence of a paid ad creates value in the form of brand visibility. So even if your paid ad doesn’t receive a click, your brand name is still getting exposure. And when it comes to pay-per-click campaigns, marketers receive this exposure absolutely free of charge.

Reason #2: Paid Search Reinforces Credibility

Ranking higher in both organic and paid search reinforces the credibility of your brand. Think about it: If a user searches for “Upper West Side apartments” and is immediately confronted with not only a high ranking organic result, but also a top paid result, that user will likely come to the conclusion that the high ranking brand is the premier apartment complex in the area.

Reason #3: Paid Search is Highly Targeted

No credible SEO company will discount the value of organic search. But that doesn’t mean organic is superior to paid search in every sense. When it comes to targeting a specific audience, for example, paid search has an incredible advantage over organic search because marketers can customize the messaging of their paid ads. This allows marketers to focus on niche opportunities with higher ROIs, and it’s extremely different from organic search, where the messaging is limited to a set title and meta description of the page.

Reason #4: Paid Search Provides Free Apartment Marketing Tools

Calling paid search a free tool may sound like an obvious contradiction, but it’s actually quite true. There are plenty of ways that marketers can pay nothing, or close to nothing, for their paid search tools and still gain a ton of value. For example, Google Adwords users can sign up for Adwords, pay absolutely nothing for their account or ads, and still take advantage of the keyword planner tool. The insights gained from this tool can then be used to develop search engine optimized copy for organic search.

Need Help Creating an Apartment Marketing Plan?

If you’re thinking about accelerating your paid search initiatives, Respage can help. In addition to our social media and review response initiatives, we also offer PPC and SEM services for the multifamily industry. Contact us today to get started!


Category: Search Engine Marketing Tags: , , , ,