Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Google Updates Feeds to Require GTIN


As of May 16th 2016 if you sell a product that has a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) (a digital barcode) on Google, it will be compulsory to include it in your feed, or else those items will be disapproved.

Details & Implications

Many manufacturers make multiple products that are extremely similar when looked at within the product page of a website. Think of a time when you have tried to order something as simple as a TV,  it’s amazing how hard it is to work out if you are comparing the same model across different websites. The difficulty in confidently identifying products, is what makes product comparison sites difficult to build. Despite the fact Google has created relatively robust face recognition software, the company has not come close to replicating this with products, so Google has decided to progress by forcing merchants to tell it exactly what each product is.

Merchants must now use a standardized identifier to make sure Google can compare Golden Delicious apples to Golden Delicious apples. The introduction of GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) uniquely identifies any product that arrives in any kind of packaging – barcodes are usually digital versions of a GTIN. The GTIN is as familiar to logistics people as GRPs are to media people. They act as a common language between warehouses and companies to ensure large companies are able to efficiently transport goods from one business to another without needing someone to key the actual order details each time.

Google’s change ensures that it is getting access to this consistent data and can therefore innovate on top of the existing infrastructure instead of creating its own framework from scratch. If merchants do not comply with Google’s decision, their product listing ads will simply stop working and their products will not appear within Google shopping. This will obviously impact volumes for merchants, so there will be a push on their side to include the GTIN.


After receiving the updated product listing feeds, Google will have an interesting new data source – the exact products on sale from a range of merchants and the ability to compare. Therefore, Google can start ranking these merchants on how quickly they stock new products, how successful they are at keeping items in stock and how broad \ unique a range they sell. Even more interestingly they can compare the prices these merchants offer, so give a guide as to how competitively merchants price. Google can now also start looking at extending quality scores to include metrics based on what retailers sell. Furthermore, other companies will be making these standardized identifiers available on the internet, making it potentially easier for the next Kelkoo to emerge.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dynamic Creative Doesn't Require Decisions

One of the things that annoys me with dynamic creative is when the first conversation about deploying is around 'decision trees'. If this is the first conversation about dynamic creative, it's usually a sign dynamic creative isn't fully understood and that there's going to be a fun conversation around what we are using dynamic creative for.

Decision trees are an amazing tool that Flashtalking popularised.
The tree shows a nice clean process where certain rules trigger certain changes to the creative. These changes aggregate up to a wonderful world where the creative will appear to respond according to things we know about people or know about the page the person is on.
To be clear, I think this is a wonderful tool and a massive step above the excel sheet driven approach of most of their competitors. My problem with it is that it conflates these decisions with the creative. Therefore we often see these decision points leading the creative process, leading to the horrible messes we often see within product ads (more on those later).
The idea of having creative that is dynamic doesn't require rules to be defined - creative can change themselves based on nothing at all (and often are changing at random).

Decision Twigs

Since the majority of creatives actually only need one decision or rule, I suspect there are a large number of twigs out there. This should be normal - most of our audience aren't paying much attention to our advertising and we shouldn't need to be deploying huge levels of creative complexity.

A single decision can mask a huge number of creatives

Imagine a decision based on the title of the page the ad is deployed on. The creative could show an Italian picture and some Italian copy based on words within the title. If the title contains France, the pictures and copy could be altered. This could continue into many other countries.
This single decision could be extended out into dozens of individual creative combinations. These will take time to input into Flashtalking's decision tree or another adserver's excel file but will only really involve a single decision from the adserver.
The actual achievement here is that Flashtalking have managed to sell a trafficking technique so well that creative agencies are selling on their behalf. The problem is that the creative agency then obsesses over how to make these trees look more complicated so they can feel that the dynamic setup looks 'clever'.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Testing new interface

Might be time to resurrect this. It's been a long time and media has moved a long way in that time.

I've missed out on blogging about:

  • RTB
  • Mobile
  • Cross device
  • Phone Hacking
Lots of things and I did have some opinions at the time!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boris only likes cars...

Saw some bits from the Londonist on how the cost of transport in London has been changing from 2000 to 2012. Noticed some obvious hiking from Boris so thought would be nice to do a version of the Obama bar chart that shows unemployment.
I've assumed that Boris was in charge of the prices from 2009 onwards.
First, the one that hits the poorer people harder - bus fares.

This one shows very clearly how aggressively prices have gone up on the price of the standard bus fare. Maybe this is what's paying for the new buses?

Weekly passes had followed a similar trend but looked like they had been a priority for savings. Now it looks like they're going up just the same:

On Tube fares, I've replaced the cash price with the price of an Oyster card single journey as that seemed the most appropriate for Londoners rather than tourists (keen on the cash price remaining high to screw tourists!). Once you look like this it's pretty clear that Boris has been raising these like a madman.

The weekly numbers show that he's made pretty much no difference whatsoever -the numbers keep on going up.

He hasn't been as harsh to the congestion zone, only raising it once during his whole term and reducing the area it covers. Although he may talk lots about cycling, he actually seems to be nicest to motorists:

Just thought it necessary to emphasise while he's running talking about how he's saved us pennies in Council tax while taking pretty substantial amounts out through TFL rate rises.

Graphs from the Google Charts API. A little bit easier than D3, but difficult to do anything especially funky with them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

For everything people have been saying about John Lewis' new TV ad, it's interesting seeing what's live for digital advertising at the moment:

Not quite as interesting!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six ways you can support the Guardian | Info |

Seems slightly desperate, but it's a good idea.

------ from, via Google Reader
Subscribe to the Guardian and Observer before the end of this month and pay only £5 per week for our seven-day package – a saving of 45% on the cover price

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Install Google&;#39;s Note in Reader Bookmarklet in iPad&;#39;s Safari

Great - this does work!

------ from, via Google Reader
If you want to install in your iPad's Safari a Google's Note in Reader bookmarklet, just in case you really need to share something from your mobile browse