7 Search Marketing Trends for 2017 from Bruce Clay’s SEO Master Class in India

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7 Search Marketing Trends for 2017 from Bruce Clay’s SEO Master Class in India was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Quote of the day: “Don’t be surprised by the results you don’t get for the work you don’t do.”

free download 7 seo trends in india

Click the image to download this post by Bruce Clay India Managing Director Siddharth Lal.

Feb. 6, 2017, was a bright and buzzing day at the iconic Le Meridien Hotel in Gurgaon, India’s Millennium City. Seventy-five digital marketers (including a few SEO fanatics) came from all parts of India to attend SEO author and industry thought-leader Bruce Clay’s one-day SEO master class.

Indian brands are finally waking up to the long-term benefits of a solid SEO strategy. With every passing year, Bruce Clay India continues to run bigger classes.

attendees of SEO training in India

The SEO master class of 2017 at Le Meridien Hotel, Gurgaon

SEO companies in India have mushroomed up all over the place. But ethical, knowledge-based SEO – offering an authoritative glimpse into the mind of a search engine and how it works – remains elusive.

Enter Bruce Clay, a veteran SEO since before the launch of Google.

Below are the key takeaways from the high-powered master class of tips, tricks, best practices and methodologies.

Download 7 key takeaways from Bruce Clay’s SEO training in India, 2017

1. Mobile-First Indexing

2017 will be the year of mobile-first because that’s where the market is headed. Google is planning to use the mobile (rather than desktop) version of a website in their primary index used to rank results.

If the mobile version of your website isn’t displaying all the content that you normally display on your desktop site, be aware that your website will run into problems.

Did you know that Google has only one index for both mobile and desktop sites — despite reports to the contrary?

2. Voice Search

With the exponential rise in the use of mobile devices and AI-based digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana, voice search is poised to become the next frontier for digital marketers. comScore predicts that by 2020 more than half of all searches will come from voice search.

Voice search is going to have a huge impact on the future of SEO. Start thinking of strategies that target voice searchers – including natural language keyword phrases people will most likely be using when searching for the types of products or services you sell.

wide-angle interior of Bruce Clay India SEO class

The ability to ask questions of an SEO expert is one of the unique advantages of the classroom.

3. Theme

It’s no secret that search engines award top rankings to the website that they see as most relevant to the theme or subject of a user query. The primary goal of SEO is to make a website such that it’s about themes that best match certain keywords – and not just a collection of targeted keyword phrases containing unrelated information without a central theme.

If you have a single page on a theme compared to 10 pages of useful information on that same theme by your competitors, chances are that your competitor’s website will answer a user’s query more satisfactorily. Thus Google will reward them with rankings. The takeaway for a digital marketer is to expand the depth and breadth of content on your themes.

4. Siloed Site Architecture

Siloing refers to grouping keyword-based theme pages together – either structurally or via linking – much like the chapters of a book. It has become one of the most significant architectural concepts in digital marketing. It enables you to construct a website that aligns with the way users search. When done right, it positions you as a subject matter expert in the eyes of search engines.

Strategically architecting your website by ensuring your most important themes get the highest visibility allows you to deliver higher rankings for major keywords that matter. There are two ways to silo a website, physical siloing (directory structure) and virtual siloing (internal linking). Siloing isn’t a new concept to SEO but it is a critical one that can drive meaningful results immediately.

example of siloing hierarchy with power tools

5. RankBrain – A Top Search Ranking Factor

RankBrain helps provide more relevant and helpful results to user search queries using artificial intelligence (AI). Pulling up the most appropriate results is what keeps Google in business – and RankBrain helps the search engine do just that.

Google has publicly acknowledged that RankBrain is among the engine’s top-three ranking factors, alongside content and links. With that kind of weight, marketers must make strategic adjustments along the lines of higher quality content.

As RankBrain continues to get better, content quality will be in increasingly high demand. RankBrain’s strength is in serving results for long-tail queries. Stop words are normally dropped from queries but RankBrain understands the conversational manner of search and give results accordingly.

Download 7 Key Takeaways for SEO in India in 2017

6. Local Search

Claiming your business online by listing it in local search directories and listing services – such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yellow Pages – shows that you exist, and builds trust and visibility for your brand. So identify high-quality local and vertical directories, and claim your presence!

Also ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) is identical across all listings and directories. It’s one of the most important local search ranking factors, so you won’t want to get this one wrong. For example, each local directory that accepts a listing might have a different requirement in terms of the “name” field (think character length), and you may end up entering different business names. Do not fall into this trap, instead ensure your company name is the exact same every time.

Make sure you optimize your landing pages for local search by following SEO best practices, such as listing your business address, phone number, business hours and services offered on your home page, with a map and directions to your business, as well as prominent landmarks in your area.

Do not forget to add schema markup for local business and be sure it matches your NAP details.

interior of SEO training in India

Shhh … SEO class in progress!

7. Frequently Asked SEO Questions Answered

One of the benefits you can only get from an in-person, classroom style SEO workshop is the ability to ask questions and get answers from an unmatched expert like Bruce. Here are some of the highlights gleaned from attendees asking questions.

Q: Does domain age matter?

A: We believe if a domain is above six years of age, it can add some extra authority to your website. A legacy domain (pre-Google) might also deliver some additional value.

Q: What’s more important – the quality of a blog post or the quantity?

A: The quality of the blog post matters the most. One of the measures of quality is the number of engagements it gets – signs of popularity such as comments, social media shares and backlinks.

Q: What’s the difference between a newsletter and a blog post?

A: A blog is a theme-focused series of writings and media published to a website. A newsletter is a collection of information, such as upcoming events and organization updates, commonly distributed to subscribers by email.

Note: BCI recently stopped publishing its newsletter in favour of weekly blog posts.

Q: How many hyphens can a domain name have before it is considered spam?

A: We believe more than two hyphens in a domain name will raise a red flag.

At the end of the day, minds were racing with all the strategies that could be implemented to improve rankings. Every year we collect inspiring testimonials about the value of the SEO master class in India and the transfer of advanced SEO concepts. Here are some comments that we received about this year’s master class:

“It’s the most comprehensive SEO course I have attended.”

– Gaurav Gaba, CEO Amaugerwatch.com

“Insights into the ranking algorithm and details of each ranking factor (made for) a great course. I believe it will be very beneficial once I will start implementing the recommendations from this course.”

– Nikhil Jogimahanti, Manager, Oyo Rooms

Download 7 Key Takeaways for SEO in India in 2017

If you are looking for a strategic partner in India to execute top-tier SEO solutions for your organization, please contact us to talk about how we can help you.

February 28th 2017 SEO, SEO Training

More ways to watch and play with AR and VR

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AR and VR aren’t just for gaming; they’re also for amazing entertainment experiences that immerse you in the stuff you love like never before. Our team is at Mobile World Congress this week, and we shared a few updates. Let’s dive in.

Mobile VR: The best way to watch

We first launched Cardboard in 2014 as a simple and affordable way for everyone to try virtual reality. With only Cardboard and the smartphone in your pocket, you can travel to faraway lands, ride a roller coaster, or take a guided tour of the solar system. Today, more than 10 million Cardboard viewers have shipped worldwide. There have been 160 million downloads of Cardboard apps on Google Play—and 30 of those apps have more than 1 million downloads.


We’ve built Daydream with lessons learned from Cardboard. It’s more comfortable, interactive, and immersive; as a result, people are spending more time using it—about 40 minutes per week. With six Daydream-ready phones and 100 Daydream apps to explore, there are lots of devices and experiences to choose from.

People particularly love video in VR. Video-watching is the top category of entertainment on Daydream. YouTube has hundreds of thousands of 360 videos available, and it’s the top Daydream app in terms of time spent and number of users.

Announcing Sky VR

We’re also working to bring you the best premium VR video content from partners. As of today, Sky VR joins a lineup that includes Hulu, Netflix, and HBO. The Sky app showcases a range of immersive 360 videos, including from Sky’s partners like “Star Wars: Red Carpet,” “Anthony Joshua—Becoming World Champion,” and clips from Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”


Welcoming The Sims, Chelsea Kicker and WSJ AR to Tango

Tango technology powers devices that help you bring virtual objects into your world, and now three new augmented reality (AR) experiences are available. The Sims app lets you use your phone with Tango technology to travel around the Sims house; Chelsea Kicker puts a Chelsea football player right in your space, so you can take your picture with him or even try to best him at a few soccer tricks; and WSJ AR lets you visualize stock trends.


So whether you’re one of millions using Cardboard, or kicking back with the best games and 360 videos on Daydream, or playing soccer with Chelsea stars on Tango, you can have incredible experiences in virtual and augmented reality that are hassle-free, comfortable, and fun.

February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

Social Media Marketing Checklist: 16 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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It’s no secret that social media has become an important and necessary tactic within most digital marketing strategies. Social media helps build brand awareness, and also provides a space for brands to engage their audience outside of their company website or brick and mortar facilities. In fact, 92% of companies consider social media an important part of their business.

Of course, with nearly every brand using social—as well as frequent tweaks to platform algorithms—the competition to stand out in news feeds has never been more fierce, with brands fighting for visibility and engagement.

As a result, many brands and marketers are looking for creative ways to up their social media marketing efforts. But while being creative is a must, some opportunities may be right in front of you.

There are several social media marketing mistakes that are easy to make, but also easy to remedy.

With that said, below we dive into some common social media marketing mistakes, as well as tips for helping you avoid them.

#1 – Not having a social media strategy.

Creating a social media marketing strategy will help you think critically about your goals, how you’ll execute tactics, and how you’ll measure success. In addition, your strategy can be used as a handy guide to keep you on track with posting and engaging regularly.

Tip: Get started by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • What do I want my followers to know about my brand? (What niche do I serve?)
  • What are my audience’s pain points?
  • What type of content does my audience consume on social?
  • What social media platforms does my audience use?
  • What kind of results do I want? (Increased social traffic to my blog? More followers?)
  • How will I measure effectiveness or results? (Engagement metrics? Social traffic to the website?)

#2 – Not tailoring your message to your audience on each platform.

Chances are you’re using multiple social media channels to share content and engage with your audience. But writing one message and cross-posting it to each channel is not an effective use of your time.

Tip: Use data and insights to understand the type of content and messaging style that resonates with your audience on each platform. This will allow you to tailor your content to make a better impact.

#3 – Only posting links to your website.

The type of content your post as a big impact on reach and engagement. These days it’s pretty clear that audiences are looking for relevant, well-rounded content and discussion—so posting links to your website or blog content can’t and won’t get you the results you’re looking for

Tip: Embrace social media as a way to connect with your audience, encourage discussion, show your value and build a rapport. Set aside time—whether it’s daily, weekly or bi-monthly—to curate content that is relevant and interesting to your audience.

Audiences are looking for relevant, well-rounded content & discussion. @CaitlinMBurgess #socialmedia
Click To Tweet

#4 – Being too long-winded.

Generally speaking, posts that are short, sweet and creative are the most effective—especially on platforms where users are most likely using a mobile device to read, share and interact.

Tip: Keep your character count to between 90 and 100 for Facebook, LinkedIn Google+ and Twitter. For Instagram and Pinterest, aim to stay under 175 and 200 characters, respectively. In addition, use active voice to encourage action from your audience.

#5 – Improper use of hashtags.

Hashtags have different relevance and utility on every social media platform. As a result, under or over-hashtagging your content could have a negative impact on your social efforts.

Tip: Research hashtag best practices for each platform to understand if and how to use them. In addition, make sure you understand what hashtags actually mean, so you can use them in the appropriate way for each platform. Use the native search box within social platforms, as well as tools such as Hashtagify.me or Hashtags.org.

#Hashtags have different relevance and utility on every #socialmedia platform.
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#6 – Neglecting to tag or mention others when curating content.

Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll be more compelled to engage on your post or share your post with their audience.

Tip: Create a master list of the accounts or handles that you regularly curate content from to make it easy to mention or tag them in your posts.

#7 – Too much talking and not enough listening.

The whole point of social media is to provide a space for people to engage in sharing and discussion. For brands, it’s important to have a voice, but it’s also important to encourage others to have one, too.

Tip: Ask your community engaging and thoughtful questions to get the conversation going and tap into their insights. If you’re on Twitter, consider posting a weekly poll on a relevant topic to inspire engagement.

#8 – Not crediting the work of others.

While this one seems pretty obvious, it’s a good reminder. Crediting the work of others is not only the right thing to do, but also sends good signals to the original creators and your audience.

Tip: Just don’t do it. Take the extra time to include a credit in any of the content you produce.

#9 – Not taking advantage of native video uploads on Facebook.

It’s pretty safe to say that all marketers understand that video is an increasingly important marketing tool for capturing audience attention, showing value and encouraging engagement.

But when it comes to social media, specifically Facebook, you may just be sharing links to a YouTube video or an embedded video on your website, which requires your audience to take an additional step to watch it.

Tip: Consider uploading some of your video content natively to Facebook. Native video can eliminate a barrier to that interaction, keep people engaged with your brand in that very moment and make your video easy to share.

#10 – Forgetting about the power of images.

Humans are highly visual creatures. In fact, research shows that an estimated 90% of the information that comes to our brains is visual. So, if you’re not using images as part of your social media strategy, you’re doing your brand a disservice.

Tip: Research image sizing best practices for each platform to ensure any images you share will render properly. In addition, use tools such as Canva to create professional and compelling images.

If you’re not using images as part of your #socialmedia strategy, you’re doing your brand a disservice.
Click To Tweet

#11 – Having too many profiles on one platform.

This is something that many large enterprise companies may struggle with, but even small- to mid-size companies see the need for multiple pages on a single social platform. While each of their divisions may provide unique content, it could be confusing for audiences to see multiple branded accounts.

Tip: For LinkedIn specifically, take advantage of Showcase pages to highlight special divisions or companies under your parent umbrella. For other platforms, take time to perfect your on-page content to make it easy for your audience to understand who you are. In addition, make sure your company website details and links to all pages.

#12 – Ineffective or non-existing ad spending.

With so many brands and marketers on social media and decreased organic reach thanks to algorithm tweaks, the competition for your audience’s attention is stiff. As a result, social media advertising is becoming a necessity for many brands.

Tip: When starting a social advertising campaign, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish with your campaign?
  • How much do you plan on investing?
  • What is the content, product, service, offer or promotion that you’ll be advertising?

As with any type of marketing, the best results will come from campaigns with one specific goal and/or action to be taken.

#13 – Forgetting about analytics.

Once you launch your social media strategy, it can be easy to fall into a routine of simply executing that strategy. However, if you don’t take the time to understand what is and isn’t working, all your execution efforts will be for nothing.

Tip: Use Google Analytics or your preferred analytics tool to uncover how much referral traffic each social platform is sending to your website, top pages, time on page and average number of pages visited, and conversions. This will lend more context to the traffic you’re receiving and help you draw conclusions about whether or not your efforts are driving the results you’re looking for.

In addition, use the analytics and insights available on each platform to get more insights into the type of content that is resonating with your audience, as well as how they are actually engaging with that content.

#13 – Not testing new tactics and ideas.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving social media marketing success. Furthermore, a tactic that’s working great now may not get the same results in a few months. As a result, you should always be testing and experimenting with new ideas.

Tip: Choose one social media channel to launch your test. While each channel is unique, starting with just one will help you understand what is and isn’t working, so you can roll out something similar on your other channels later on.

#15 – Neglecting SEO.

All social media platforms contain their own search engines and many of them can be indexed by Google, Bing and other third-party search engines, making SEO an important component of any campaign or contest.

Tip: Compile a list of targeted keywords and topics, as well as any relevant hashtags, that you’d like to rank for socially. Once you have your list, conduct native query searches for the terms to discover who or what kind of content is coming up in searches. Theses insights can help you refine your keyword list, ensure relevancy, and potentially get a glimpse of the competition.

#16 – Neglecting community management.

Social media community management is all about nurturing your social audience to make it stronger, larger and more engaged.

Tip: Intertwine your tactical social media marketing efforts with community management to build a larger, more engaged community of followers.

Intertwine your tactical #socialmedia marketing efforts with community management. @CaitlinMBurgess
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What social media marketing tactic is working great for your organization? What’s not working so well? Tell us in the comments section below.

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February 28th 2017 Social Media

Cookies To Humans: Implications Of Identity Systems On Incentives!

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GreenA story where data is the hero, followed by two mind-challenging business-shifting ideas.

At a previous employer customer service on the phone was a huge part of the operation. Qualitative surveys were giving the company a read that customers were unhappy with the service being provided. As bad customer service is a massive long-term cost – and short-term pain –, it was decided that the company would undertake a serious re-training effort for all the customer service reps and with that problems would get solved faster. To ensure customer delight was delivered in a timely manner, it was also decided that Average Call Time (ACT) would now be The success metric. It would even be tied to a customer service rep’s compensation creating an overlap between their personal success and the company’s success.

What do you think happened?

There is such a thing as employees that don’t really give a frek about their job or company, they just come to work. You’ll be surprised how small that number is. (Likewise, the number of employees that go well above the call of duty, look to constantly push personal and company boundaries is also quite small.) Most employees work diligently to deliver against set expectations.

Reflecting that, in our story, most customer service reps, re-trained, took the phone calls with the goal of driving down Average Call Time. They worked as quick as they could to resolve issues. But, pretty quickly customers with painful problems became a personally painful problem for an individual customer service rep. They hurt ACT, and comp. Solution? If the rep felt the call was going too long, self-preservation kicked in and they would hang up on the customer. Another issue. If towards the end of the week/month your ACT was going to look terrible on your Manager’s dashboard, calls were picked up and hung up right away.


The success metric, ACT, did go down. The qualitative surveys measuring unhappiness went down even more than before. Likelihood to repurchase, took a painful hit.

What you deem as success creates an incentive for an individual employee, the group/division, your company’s partners, to behave in a certain way. When you choose unwisely, the long-term consequences can be dramatic.

Epilogue: There were lots of reasons for the fiasco above. ACT goals were set imprecisely. Too much emphasis was on Averages (remember averages suck, distributions are better). Reporting/dashboards were terribly created (CDPs anyone?).  That ACT was an activity metric was terrible – if you have a The success metric, it should always be an outcome metric. The closed loop with customer was too slow and loopy resulting in a slower understanding of impact. And, you can’t discount a contribution the quality of leaders. Company did recover, their stock is doing fine. Now.

Humans are pavlovian. Incentives matter. Metrics matter. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI), our industry’s lingo for what becomes The metric, has massive influence.

Let me share a real-world story with you about this phenomenon, how I end up simply framing the problem above, and the solution for my clients.

An amazing blessing of my professional life is the opportunity to work with influential companies around the world. At one such recent opportunity, I wanted to communicate two simple but powerful elements.

1. You are what you measure.

Set better incentives for the org, see above life-lesson. Additionally, I passionately believe that optimal metrics help solve for more than an individual’s behavior. They help incentivize the elimination of siloed thinking amongst teams/divisions, politics, and self-serving execution that naturally creeps into every organization of every size.

If you pick the right metric, you can get people to care about the goals of their neighboring team/division. You can even get them to care about the long-term interests of the company.

2. Obsess about individual humans.

Zeroing in on digital specifically I wanted to create an north-star for brilliance to emanate through solving of tough problems over time.

My solution was two fold: Bring two lovely things into the equation: Profit & Humans!

I encouraged a ladder of awesomeness type shift from third-party cookies to first-party cookies to browser based persistent-id systems (in place today) to cross-device digital ids to a unified online and offline id (I call it nonline id) to finally a named human id pan-all-existences. Truly omg coolness.

Identity is key because currently targeting capabilities far out-strip any organization's ability to take advantage of it. Throw in Machine Learning and I weep at how many glorious sales, marketing, deep relationships initiatives are impossible because companies have not solved identity. (You, I’m talking about you!)

It is not easy. But, it is solvable. See where you are, go up one step. Then one more, then one more. Obsess about identity.

Great ideas are nice. Being able to communicate them simply is hard. As you’ve read in the Forbes article, I love storytelling.

I attempted to communicate the complexity above in a single picture.

Here's what came out of my doodling with crayons…


Like perhaps most large organizations, this one was a bit more focused on Cost. While not optimal, it was understandable given the evolutionary stage they were at.

I tried to incorporate their reality, and my picture starts with the metric they used to measure success and quickly moves to the right to metrics I believe are more impactful to the one on the very right that is an impossible dream at the moment (the north star).

Here are the definitions…

Cost Per Impression. An almost, if not entirely, useless metric no matter where it is applied. No one should use this for anything ever. World peace will be hastened by a millennia.

Click-Thru Rate. A little more interesting. Helps shine a light on the ability to do clever targeting, the content in the messages/ads, and smartness in bidding strategies. Good tactical wholesomeness.

Cost Per Lead. An outcome! Yes. In this case this was technically a micro-outcome in this case (conversion is offline). Still, very nice.

Cost Per Human. See the pivot? Per Human. In my definition, this is also online to offline, offline to online or whatever the heck to whatever the heck. It is very hard to do, you have to solve so many tough problems. It also has massively delicious implications in your data, acquisition and retention strategies (ignoring the sweet, heavenly, implications on your customers).

I realize that between CPL and CPH you go from crawling to flying. But, that is what north stars are all about.

Profit Per Human. What every company and non-profit really, really, really need. Why care about something as lame as cost? The only thing that matters is profit. Per. Human.

[Bonus: Remember, you can measure profit everyday in Google Analytics!]

An incredibly complex story, with implications up and down the organization, with smarter tactical and strategic choices, and a long-term hard problem to solve, all wrapped into one simple slide. When you communicate, that is all you need, after all you are the story and not the thing on the screen.

I of course built the story out piece-by-piece, when I was done, this is how it looked…


Imagine for a moment the behavior of your Acquisition team (call it Sales, call it Marketing, call it Tony), if you measure them based on CPM or CPL. Each incentivizes such a different behavior, right?

Applying it to digital advertising…

Shove ads up people’s faces like crazy, who cares if there are 300 words of content surrounded by 18 ads? CPM baby! These Marketers write articles and give conference keynotes that obsess about “viewable above-the-fold ads.” A heartbreaking obsession, but remember it is what they are being incentivized to care about.

Or, worry a ton about the three ad levers you can pull, Content, Targeting, Bids, to ensure you are optimizing for the max leads you can get. Will this marketer give two hoots about “viewable above-the-fold ads”? Only to the extent that their three levers might be influencing less clicks. Instead, they shift that problem to the ad-network (yes!). Let them ensure the ads are showing up in non-crappy-more-relevant sites/apps where the Content and Targeting results in a click to a lead. Good behavior shift.

Extend the above incentive purification and imagine the day-to-day behavior of your Acquisition team if you measure them based on CPH. Or… PPH. See, how dramatically different their execution strategy, their obsessions will be?

Can you imagine why I say team and organization and online-offline silos will be broken as you go further to the right? No one person can succeed without active collaboration, and empathy, with rest of the teams!

That's what you want for yourself or teams that you lead. PPH.

One more thing.

Taking this out of the confines that define the reality of the client, you know that I don’t obsess about Cost this much. It tends to have other unintended consequences (especially lower down in organizations).

Hence.. Here’s an important switch to one of the five metrics to better reflect my worldview…


Revenue Per Human.

Subtle change. But, you want people to obsess about Revenue and not Cost. Else people do frustratingly short-sighted things. This is real, from last week: "Our 2017 goal is to reduce the cost of your display campaigns by 20%."

I wanted to die.

Who gives a small kiwi if costs are down by 20% or up by 40%? Are you making more money every day? Are you taking advantage of the complete opportunity to win in the market? Is your competition stealing share by the bucket load while you obsess about cost?

If 10xing your revenue requires that you quadruple your costs, what's the problem?

Remember, we still have PPH to ensure that the revenue we are driving is driving a positive influence on the bottom-line of the company.

Yet, most senior executives in the world incentivize their organizations to solve for cost. Then, they are surprised that they are losing market share or a new competitor crushes them. Hey, costs are lower this year! #winning #not 

But wait, there’s more!

Since I’m now solving for all of you, one more critical evolution to bring this baby home.

If you have read anything I've ever written, you know that I obsess about ensuring every view I have, every portfolio of segments I have, every dashboard I create, every incentive-structure conversation I lead, every business strategy I help craft has to have the three elements that form an end-to-end view: Acquisition, Behavior, Outcomes.

In the picture above, you'll notice I have Acquisition metrics, Outcome metrics, but no behavior metrics.

Not nice. Let's fix that.

There are many candidates, I wanted to have something that _flows_ with the story I was trying to tell… Something that would still incentivize optimal behavior… Something a little unorthodox to push your thinking… Here's my recommendation…


Cost Per (unique) Page View.

I said orthodox, did I not. 🙂

Measure what it cost you to drive every page view (unique). It gives you a sense for content consumption. It will include all the bounced sessions (pain). It will get you to dive deeper into what site/app sections people visit, what they are not reading, what they do read, how many unique page views does it take to get a Lead, what about freshness of content, anything about layout and experimentation, so on and so forth.

Not quite perfect, but an unorthodox start to demonstrate the creativity you can bring to this.

Regardless of the version of the story you use, it is important to create an end-to-end picture for your own company, your own work.

You will matter more to your company as you personally shoot for the right side of the picture. It will be simply because you are solving for a KPI that actually matters when it comes to the fundamental existence of your company.

Got PPH?

Inspiration: The Identity Spectrum, Ideal Solution.

So much of my solution for your huge success (imagine that being said as: yuge success 😉 is dependent on identity. That last bit I added above, Human, has meant many different things over the evolution of the web. There are so many different identity mechanisms out there.

To help you traverse through them, and to get you to Human as in an individual warm body, here’s the identity spectrum we have access to today…

Cookies 3rd.

Most advertising networks use third-party cookies (cookies they set inside mobile and desktop browsers on your behalf – but not as you). These cookies tend to be fragile as they are not accepted in many browsers and are more often deleted – by choice or default. In the past they were roughly equivalent to a person as we all had one computer with one browser. They are not the most primitive form of any measurement (though if you only rely on your ad-network for success metrics of any type then you don’t have a choice, you are stuck with this fragile thing, and I offer a heartfelt sorry that your world is sad).

Here’s one metric you might have heard of that relies on 3rd party cookies: View-Thru Conversions. (Cue sad music.)

What can yo do with third-party cookies? Hold yourself, your ad networks, accountable in a narrow silo.

Cookies 1st.

These are set by existences you own. You’ll recognize these most commonly as being set by Adobe or Google Analytics on your site to better track metrics like Sessions and Users. They tend to be a lot less fragile because most personalization and authorizations except this capability. There is still a decay, if you want to get a sense for it checkout the Recency reports in your analytics tool. They are terrible at identity now as we all use multiple browsers on the same machine, and of course we use laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones (sometimes all at the same time with the same digital company!). It is imperative that you get off it as soon as you can.

Pretty much every metric in your Google Analytics reports uses first-party cookies as the identity mechanism. Conversion Rate. Bounce Rate. Visits to Purchase. Pageviews Per User.

What can you do with first-party cookies? Create better experiences in individual browser (as in Chrome) silos. Leverage advertising solutions like RLSA.

Login-ID 1st.

I’m a paying subscriber to my beloved New Yorker magazine. I’m logged into it’s site on my desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. I’m logged into the browsers and the mobile application. This empowers the people at Condé Nast to dump cookies and use any digital analytics platform to rely on my login-id as identity to stitch my experiences and truly understand my Acquisition, Behavior and Outcome touch-points.

Login-ID is not fragile (for me the site/apps won’t even work without it). For The New Yorker they can easily tie to my name, address, credit card and a more. I know Condé Nast does not  leverage any of this because none of their platforms show any level of personalization, none of their offers for upping the subscription, none of their ads I see anywhere around the web, etc. show any intelligence related to me as a person. Sad. But. At least the possibility exists, and hope that Condé Nast will wakeup one day to the deeper loyalty and delight they could create using this identity.

For most of you, Login-ID might just be an account someone created on the web or a email address that someone used to sign up for your mailing list. In these cases of Login-ID you don’t have the tie to a human like above, but it is still better than cookies! Switch to 1. using an identity system that relies on Login-ID and 2. create meaningful incentives for people to login to their account.

Cookies as an identity are now only for those who don’t care about their digital business. Login-ID (the New Yorker variety or the signed up for an account) should be default.

For the most glamorous amongst you (I of course mean all of you!), you can stitch the third-party and first-party cookies littered around for your individual Login-IDs and paint an even more robust picture. I recommend this not as the default (because it is a lot of work), but rather as something you can do when *all* other business problems have been solved.

[Bonus: Here’s how to use Universal Analytics to implement Login-ID identity on your digital existences.]

What can you do with Login-ID identity? See above New Yorker example. Summary:  Personalized experiences via intent inferred from expressed behavior. Smarter Search, Display. More interesting understanding of Profitability (it will blow what you do with default first-party cookies with Adobe/Analytics out of the water on day one!).

Login-ID 3rd.

For people who can’t do above sometimes tend to rent an identity system from a third-party. This would be you implementing the Facebook identity system on your site, or one from Google or someone else who currently has most of the internet as it’s User.

So, people can log into your website using the Facebook identity system. With it comes the reduction of the pain of getting people to signup, and also additional behavioral data that the identity platform (say Facebook) would like to share. With it also come limitations related to how much of the customer data and relationship with the customer you own, as well as how much of this can you tie to your online, offline systems.

If you simply can’t do Login-ID on your own for any reason, this is a compromise is less worse than simply relying on cookies.


Nonline Customer-ID.

An improved variation of Login-ID 1st strategy. Most companies (think any retailer for example) still operate their identities in a silo. There is one for online (the one above), there will be another when you call on the phone (it might be your registered phone number), there will be a different one for when you walk into the store, and depending on if they own the store or if it is a channel for them, there might be one more.

Nonline Customer-ID is an identity platform that allows you to tie all of the above experiences down to one.

It could very well be my phone number. If I’m on your website, mobile app, call your phone center, walk into your store, or anything else, you use my phone number to know it is an individual. In this case, you come very, very close to Human.

Soon it could also be a BLE device implanted in my body that, in close quarters only, allows you to identify me when I am on your site (using a reader on my laptop), in your app (reader on the phone), in your store (readers in your ceilings) and so on and so forth.

It could be other things. I’m not opining on the pros and cons of doing this, I’m leaving out how you feel about this. That is for governments, companies and you to decide.

What can you do with Nonline Customer-ID identity? The ultimate deep level of understanding of customer behavior (as in customer), effectiveness of your marketing and service strategies, profitability, and everything else. If you want to imagine how insightful this can be, close your eyes, think of your business, imagine you have a Nonline Customer-ID platform, think of your current marketing data-driven attribution report. You realize how much this current holy grail sucks, right? That’s what I mean. Times 1000.

Nonline Customer-Id is an identity system will finally allow you to behave as one company and understand one person. B2B. B2C. A2P. DJT.

Nonline Customer-Name-ID.

This won’t apply to all companies, but as I’m deeply passionate about delighting every single individual human I wanted to share this purer version of Nonline Customer-ID.

Let’s take the most famous example: Amazon.

Today, Amazon is as close to Nonline Customer-ID as an identity system as you can get. Every touch point from site experience to mobile app to chat to phone (yes, they have that!) etc. play off the same identity.

But, in my family, like perhaps yours, my spouse and I both use the same identity (and both buy and ship things under my name to our home).

Amazon does not understand us individually though. From the recommendations it gives us to greeting her with my name everywhere, it is stuck with just Nonline Customer-ID identity.

But. Amazon has cookies. It has access to device-ids for mobile. It has access to pages viewed. It has access to products shopped from various browser IDs. And more.

They can easily use two or more of those to assign a Nonline Customer-Name-ID to my wife and to me. In one amazing instant, it would understand us individually and be able uniquely deliver deeper personalization, offers, support, and more.

It won’t be perfect. Perhaps it is off by 5%. But, it would be exponentially better than what exists today (which honestly is already better than 90% of the companies on the planet). And, Amazon needs it’s customers to do nothing new.

Additionally, Amazon could understand Home and understand Avinash and Jennie. Imagine all the possibilities that that unlocks.

What can Nonline Customer-Name-ID do for you? Cross-device intent customized smarter experiences that power relationships and not just shopping. Nirvana.

Now you know what it takes to truly get to Human. To real PPH. The only metric that matters (even for a non-profit). And, we’re not just talking about digital.

Got Human?

As always, it is your turn now.

Considering our metrics incentive spectrum pictures above, where is your company in terms of incentives for it’s employees? Are your little team, or your giant division, solving for the global maxima? If you are a leader, what incentives have you created for people who work for you? What element represents your company’s current identity system? What roadblocks do you see in front of you to get to Nonline Customer-Name-ID?

Please share your ideas, struggles, criticism of my ideas, worries and joy via comments below. I’ll be most grateful for the conversation.

Thank you.

Cookies To Humans: Implications Of Identity Systems On Incentives! is a post from: Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik

February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

Closing down for a day

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Note: This post is specific to Google’s organic web-search. For Google’s other services, please check with the appropriate help center (e.g., for Google Shopping) or help forum.

Even in today’s “always-on” world, sometimes businesses want to take a break. There are times when even their online presence needs to be paused. This blog post covers some of the available options so that a site’s search presence isn’t affected.

Option: Block cart functionality

If a site only needs to block users from buying things, the simplest approach is to disable that specific functionality. In most cases, shopping cart pages can either be blocked from crawling through the robots.txt file, or blocked from indexing with a robots meta tag. Since search engines either won’t see or index that content, you can communicate this to users in an appropriate way. For example, you may disable the link to the cart, add a relevant message, or display an informational page instead of the cart.

Option: Always show interstitial or pop-up

If you need to block the whole site from users, be it with a “temporarily unavailable” message, informational page, or popup, the server should return a 503 HTTP result code (“Service Unavailable”). The 503 result code makes sure that Google doesn’t index the temporary content that’s shown to users. Without the 503 result code, the interstitial would be indexed as your website’s content.

Googlebot will retry pages that return 503 for up to about a week, before treating it as a permanent error that can result in those pages being dropped from the search results. You can also include a “Retry after” header to indicate how long the site will be unavailable. Blocking a site for longer than a week can have negative effects on the site’s search results regardless of the method that you use.

Option: Switch whole website off

Turning the server off completely is another option. You might also do this if you’re physically moving your server to a different data center. For this, have a temporary server available to serve a 503 HTTP result code for all URLs (with an appropriate informational page for users), and switch your DNS to point to that server during that time.

  1. Set your DNS TTL to a low time (such as 5 minutes) a few days in advance.
  2. Change the DNS to the temporary server’s IP address.
  3. Take your main server offline once all requests go to the temporary server.
  4. … your server is now offline …
  5. When ready, bring your main server online again.
  6. Switch DNS back to the main server’s IP address.
  7. Change the DNS TTL back to normal.

We hope these options cover the common situations where you’d need to disable your website temporarily. If you have any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forums!

PS If your business is active locally, make sure to reflect these closures in the opening hours for your local listings too!

February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

Gucci – Petra Collins / Hungarian #Dreamscape – (2017) :90 (UK)

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Gucci - Petra Collins / Hungarian #Dreamscape - (2017) :90 (UK)
Photographer Petra Collins has directed this film highlighting Gucci’s 2017 spring/summer eyewear collection. In it, there’s a dreamscape. Bits from Collin’s own childhood memories where things were suitably eclectic in old Hungarian homes, with clothes, colours and patterns that are mismatched just so. Where kids stay up to watch the grainy TV that airs pop music, where grandma falls asleep in her glittery glasses. Where children run toward the sunset while a steady-cam follows them through the field. Where the VCR muse of pop music brings them to the neglected turn of the century bath house. Where long haired waifs dance with giant glasses put outside their hair in that fabulously dorky way that only works if you are a 17 year old model who wears Gucci. (Trust me, I’ve tried)

“Eyes without a face” is covered for the music, because what song could be better for a retro eyewear soundtrack? Funny, when I’m supposed to remember the glasses, all I recall is Billy Idol’s face.

February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

Key Takeaways from the Gallup State of the American Workplace Study

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Key Takeaways from the Gallup State of the American Workplace Study

Last week, Gallup released its State of the American Workplace study (read it here). This is yet another of their comprehensive looks at what really motivates and engages employees.

As we’ve done in the past for Gallup’s State of the American Manager, Deloitte’s Study of Millennials, and others, we’ve pulled out some of the essential takeaways you should know for your teams and companies.

Key Takeaways from the Gallup State of the American Workplace Study

[Ed Note: Our followup to last week’s post on why you should promote from within, has been postponed 1 week. We wanted to get you these takeaways right away.]

The hard thing about soft skills is how difficult and imprecise they can be to measure. Fortunately, Gallup has been surveying managers and employees for decades. They’ve got it down to a science, and they annually report on those findings.

The State of the American Workplace represents over 31 million response from 195,600 employees over the last 2 years. Here’s some of the most interesting takeaways we found in reviewing it.

Engagement is still terrible.

Gallup has been measuring engagement consistently since 2000, and unfortunately the numbers have rarely changed. As the report put it: “Only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace. And only about one in five say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

This chart paints the stark picture:

The trend is slightly up from the Great Recession, but when 2 out of 3 people are still mailing it in, or are fully disengaged at work, there’s nothing to be celebrating.

An Indictment of American Leadership styles

There are many causes of poor employee engagement, and the majority of them trace back to leadership actions (and inaction). In particular, Gallup found a few results that are disappointingly low:

  • 22% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization has a clear direction for the organization.
  • 15% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future.
  • 13% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.

The fact that they’re all poor makes sense. Without strong communication, it’s not surprising a path for the organization isn’t clear, which then makes enthusiasm for the future unlikely.

As we know from a past study from Harris poll, most managers are afraid to communicate with their teams:

Meanwhile, a study reported in the Harvard Business Review found the most basic form of communication, one on ones, can have a massive impact on the opinion of leadership, and the degree of employee engagement:

“When a manager doesn’t meet with employees one-on-one at all…Employees are four times as likely to be disengaged…and are two times as likely to view leadership more unfavorably compared to those who meet with their managers regularly.”

Suddenly, it’s not so surprising that engagement is so poor. As Gallup’s CEO, Jim Clifton, writes, companies need to take their medicine:

“Organizations have nowhere to hide. They have to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce, or they will find themselves struggling to attract and keep great employees and therefore customers.”

This message is the centerpiece of Gallup’s report.

Many employees are ready to move on.

If you’re worried about retention at your company, or already have a problem, the results of the State of the American Workplace are not encouraging. With the strengthening economy, employees are thinking more and more like free agents. They’re thinking about their next move:

“A record 47% of the workforce says now is a good time to find a quality job, and more than half of employees (51%) are actively looking for new jobs or watching for openings.”

This is even greater than the recent numbers from Deloitte’s study of Millennials:

It’s also a big change from just a few years ago:

The stronger economy, combined with a lack of change in the average American workplace’s quality of environment for too long seems to have many thinking the “grass is greener” at other workplaces:

“Currently, 63% believe it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they would find a job as good as the one they have, up from 42% who said the same in 2010.”

If you’re worried someone on your team is looking for another job, Gallup’s data gives you many reasons to think they probably are. Remember: You have to act now. By the time they have an offer it’s too late.

Growth & development is still at the top of employees’ wish lists

We’ve talked about the importance of growing your people many times before on the Lighthouse blog, and Gallup’s State of the American Workplace only adds to this overwhelming pile of evidence:

1) “68% of employees believe they are overqualified for their current job”

This is likely an artifact of the Great Recession, where people often took jobs they were overqualified for, because they really needed a job. However, it’s also a case of people being in the same job for too long.

When you have the same job and responsibilities for too long, it’s easy to grow bored, and feel overqualified. All to often, this happens on teams where managers take their team for granted, and don’t realize just how long some people have been doing exactly the same thing.

Even if you can’t promote your people, there are a lot of things you can do to help them grow. You can learn a variety of approaches to doing so in our post on “How to Grow Your People When You Can’t Promote them” here.

2) Growth is important to everyone, but especially Millennials.

As you can see in the chart below, Millennials are very concerned with the trajectory of their careers.

Are you helping them grow? Are you talking about their growth path? If not, we can see clearly that they’re probably seeking growth opportunities at another company.

3) Goals should be a conversation, not a dictatorship

One of the most disappointing stats is just how few employees feel involved in their goal setting process:

“30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in setting their goals at work.”

Often, the goals set for you are your single best opportunity for growth; your goals will tie directly to potential future raises, recognition, and promotions. A good goal also stretches you, providing much of the growth employees crave. This is likely why then it’s so strongly tied to engagement:

“Those who do strongly agree with [their manager involves them in setting their goals] are 3.6 times more likely than other employees to be engaged. “

If you’re not involved in the process of setting your goals, what are the odds they align with ways you’d like to grow?

As leaders, these goals conversations should be easy. Most employees want to help their company succeed, and with just a few tweaks and a little input, they can feel increased input and strong alignment between what you need and their goals.

The evolving job search process

This time around, Gallup went beyond just engagement. They also expanded to look at why people leave jobs, and what attracts them to their next one.

The reasons people leave jobs is not entirely surprising. It’s things you would expect like:

  • Career growth opportunities
  • Pay/benefits
  • Their manager or management in general
  • Company culture
  • Job fit

We’ve heard these kinds of concepts before, and so many of them are why people leave managers, not companies. Your manager influences how close your job is to the description you were promised. They are key to your career growth, and are the main representative of your company’s culture, as we love to quote Andy Grove on:

How well are you adapting to the new way people search for jobs?

The world is very different from a generation ago. What used to be THE WAY to find jobs is relegated to the bottom of Gallup’s list, replaced by modern technology:

While professional organizations and news media are falling, and internet options rise, the highest yield are surprisingly low tech.

Let’s look at the top 3 the most. 3 out of 4 people are doing all of the following:

  • Checking out your company’s website to learn about you: What impression does your site give?
  • Talking to current employees at your company: If your engagement scores are low, that’s a lot of people that may actually discourage people from working there.
  • Talking to their friends and family: Who is more likely to give you an honest evaluation, or a strong sell if they’re happy?

If you have trouble recruiting, ask yourself if how you treat your current employees might be a major part of why.

Learn more in Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report…

There’s a lot more in this massive, 214 page study, like an in depth look at perks employees want most, how performance management is evolving, and Gallup’s 12 Elements survey that are the keys to engagement, so we highly recommend you go check out the full report here.

You can check out the full report here: http://www.gallup.com/reports/199961/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx

Also, Lighthouse friend, Mark Crowley has written up his own insights you can read here.

You can also read our takeaways from Gallup’s State of the American Manager report from 2014 here, and from Gallup’s book on what great managers do differently here.

What was the most interesting insight for you in Gallup’s latest research? Leave a comment with your thoughts.


February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

This researcher programmed bots to fight racism on Twitter. It worked.

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This researcher programmed bots to fight racism on Twitter. It worked.

recently published in the journal Political Behavior, I conducted an experiment on Twitter to find out the best tactics people can use to discourage other users from using harassing language. I found that these sanctioning messages do have an effect, but not in all contexts.

Twitter is certainly aware of this problem. As CEO Dick Costelo said in an internal memo in 2015, “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.” They do suspend some of the more egregiously abusive accounts, and they have started implementing more sophisticated techniques like “shadow banning.”

However, there may be limits to the effectiveness of top-down efforts by companies that run social-media platforms. In the short run, heavy-handed sanctions like account bans can actually embolden users who are censored. There is excellent evidence that this happens in China when the regime employs censorship.

A better option might be to empower users to improve their online communities through peer-to-peer sanctioning. To test this hypothesis, I used Twitter accounts I controlled (“bots,” although they aren’t acting autonomously) to send messages designed to remind harassers of the humanity of their victims and to reconsider the norms of online behavior.

The use of an experiment allowed me to tightly control the context for sanctioning. I sent every harasser the same message:

@[subject] Hey man, just remember that there are real people who are hurt when you harass them with that kind of language

I used a racial slur as the search term because I thought of it as the strongest evidence that a tweet might contain racist harassment. I restricted the sample to users who had a history of using offensive language, and I only included subjects who appeared to be a white man or who were anonymous.

It was essential to keep the race and gender of the subjects constant to test my central question: How would reactions to my sanctioning message change based on the race of the bot sending the message?

To do so, I created two types of bots: white men and black men. To manipulate the race, I used the same cartoon avatar for the bots’ profile picture and simply changed the skin color. Using a method that has been frequently employed to measure discrimination in hiring, I also gave the bots characteristically white or characteristically black first and last names.

Here’s an example of “Greg,” a white bot:

My prediction was that messages from the different types of bots would function differently. I thought High Follower/White bots would have the largest effect, while Low Follower/Black bots would have only a minimal effect.

I expected the white bots to be more effective than the black bots because all of my subjects were themselves white, and there is evidence that messages about social norms from the “in-group” are more effective than messages from the “out-group.” Race does not always define in-group/out-group status, but because these subjects were engaged in racist harassment, I thought that this was the most relevant group identity.

The primary behavior I hoped to change with my intervention was the subjects’ use of racist slurs. I tracked each subject’s Twitter use for two months and calculated the change in the use of a particular racial slur.

Only one of the four types of bots caused a significant reduction in the subjects’ rate of tweeting slurs: the white bots with 500 followers. The graph below shows that this type of bot caused each subject to tweet the slur 0.3 fewer times per day in the week after being sanctioned.

Change in average daily slur use in the week following online sanctioning (Data and Figure: Kevin Munger)

Roughly 35 percent of subjects provided some personal information on their profile. The effects of my messages on this subset — that is, non anonymous Twitter users — were strikingly different. Tweets from white bots with 500 followers did not cause a significant change in these users’ behavior, but tweets from black bots with few followers (the type of bots that I thought would have a minimal effect) actually caused an increase in the use of racist slurs.

The messages were identical, but the results varied dramatically based on the racial identity and status of the bot and the degree of anonymity of the subject.

Overall, I found that it is possible to cause people to use less harassing language. This change seems to be most likely when both individuals share a social identity. Unsurprisingly, high status people are also more likely to cause a change.

Many people are already engaged in sanctioning bad behavior online, but they sometimes do so in a way that can backfire. If people call out bad behavior in a way that emphasizes the social distance between themselves and the person they’re calling out, my research suggests that the sanctioning is less likely to be effective.

Physical distance, anonymity and partisan bubbles online can lead to extremely nasty behavior, but if we remember that there’s a real person behind every online encounter and emphasize what we have in common rather than what divides us, we might be able to make the Internet a better place.

Kevin Munger is a Graduate Research Associate of the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab and PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at New York University.

February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

Dnata Travel “Bali” (2017) :30 (UAE)

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Dnata Travel "Bali" (2017) :30 (UAE)
Surfing in Bali? No. Jimmy isn’t really riding the waves of Bali. He’s standing on the bed with his VR headset just pretending. To make the point that VR is stupid. And you should travel for real. It’s better. The art direction is amazing and the voice over is so dry it’s in a drought emergency. This is a great campaign.
February 28th 2017 Uncategorized

Dnata Travel “Munich” (2017) :15 (UAE)

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Dnata Travel "Munich" (2017) :15 (UAE)
It’s not very obvious but Tony is in Munich. He’s got garlic breath from all the sausages. There’s even a good chance he’s tipsy from the giant beers he’s been quaffing. Although not really, because let’s face it, he’s at home doing a slap-ankle dance by the microwave because he lives in a fantasy called virtual reality when he could be dancing in lederhosen for real. On second thought, maybe it’s good he isn’t. But regardless, I love this simple insight. Travel for real. It’s better.
February 28th 2017 Uncategorized