Tag Archive | "Data"

All Google Ads attribution reports will soon include cross-device conversion data

Make note, the change takes effect May 1.



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5 additional data blending examples for smarter SEO insights

Once you preprocess columns to consistent formatting, additional data blending options include prioritizing pages with search clicks, mining internal site search for content gaps, analyzing traffic issues with 404 pages and more.



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How Palo Alto Networks Blocks 30,000 New Pieces of Malware Daily Via AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data

“The platform we have uses big data analytics and machine learning in the cloud to process and find all of the unknown malware, make it known and be able to block it,” says Scott Stevens, SVP, Global  Systems Engineering at Palo Alto Networks. “We find 20-30 thousand brand new pieces of malware every day. We’re analyzing millions and millions of files every day to figure out which ones are malicious. Once we know, within five minutes we’re updating the security posture for all of our connected security devices globally.”

Scott Stevens, SVP, Global  Systems Engineering at Palo Alto Networks, discusses how the company uses AI, machine learning, and big data to find and block malware for its customers in an interview with Jeff Frick of theCUBE which is covering RSA Conference 2019 in San Francisco:

We Find 20-30 Thousand New Pieces of Malware Every Day

There are two ways to think about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics. The first is if we’re looking at how are we dealing with malware and finding unknown malware and blocking it, we’ve been doing that for years. The platform we have uses big data analytics and machine learning in the cloud to process and find all of the unknown malware, make it known and be able to block it.

We find 20-30 thousand brand new pieces of malware every day. We’re analyzing millions and millions of files every day to figure out which ones are malicious. Once we know, within five minutes we’re updating the security posture for all of our connected security devices globally.

Whether it’s endpoint software or it’s our inline next gen firewalls we’re updating all of our signatures so that the unknown is now known and the known can be blocked. That’s whether we’re watching to block the malware coming in or the command-and-control that’s using via DNS and URL to communicate and start whatever it’s going to do. You mentioned crypto lockers and there are all kinds of things that can happen. That’s one vector of using AI NML to prevent the ability for these attacks to succeed.

Machine Learning Uses Data Lake to Discover Malware

The other side of it is how do we then take some of the knowledge and the lessons we’ve learned for what we’ve been doing now for many years in discovering malware and apply that same AI NML locally to that customer so that they can detect very creative attacks very and evasive attacks or that insider threat that employee who’s behaving inappropriately but quietly.

We’ve announced over the last week what we call the cortex XDR set of offerings. That involves allowing the customer to build an aggregated data lake which uses the Zero Trust framework which tells us how to segment and also puts sensors in all the places of the network. This includes both network sensors an endpoint as we look at security the endpoint as well as the network links. Using those together we’re able to stitch those logs together in a data lake that machine learning can now be applied to on a customer by customer basis.

Maybe somebody was able to evade because they’re very creative or that insider threat again who isn’t breaking security rules but they’re being evasive. We can now find them through machine learning. The cool thing about Zero Trust is the prevention architecture that we needed for Zero Trust becomes the sensor architecture for this machine learning engine. You get dual purpose use out of the architecture of Zero Trust to solve both the in-line prevention and the response architecture that you need.

How Palo Alto Networks Blocks 30,000 New Pieces of Malware Daily

>> Read a companion piece to this article here:

Zero Trust Focuses On the Data That’s Key to Your Business

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Bug with Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool showing ad scores and more data

The Google ad diagnosis tool is currently down after showing data it should not have been showing. Google is investigating the issue.



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4 Ways to Improve Your Data Hygiene – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by DiTomaso

We base so much of our livelihood on good data, but managing that data properly is a task in and of itself. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Dana DiTomaso shares why you need to keep your data clean and some of the top things to watch out for.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi. My name is Dana DiTomaso. I am President and partner at Kick Point. We’re a digital marketing agency, based in the frozen north of Edmonton, Alberta. So today I’m going to be talking to you about data hygiene.

What I mean by that is the stuff that we see every single time we start working with a new client this stuff is always messed up. Sometimes it’s one of these four things. Sometimes it’s all four, or sometimes there are extra things. So I’m going to cover this stuff today in the hopes that perhaps the next time we get a profile from someone it is not quite as bad, or if you look at these things and see how bad it is, definitely start sitting down and cleaning this stuff up.

1. Filters

So what we’re going to start with first are filters. By filters, I’m talking about analytics here, specifically Google Analytics. When go you into the admin of Google Analytics, there’s a section called Filters. There’s a section on the left, which is all the filters for everything in that account, and then there’s a section for each view for filters. Filters help you exclude or include specific traffic based on a set of parameters.

Filter out office, home office, and agency traffic

So usually what we’ll find is one Analytics property for your website, and it has one view, which is all website data which is the default that Analytics gives you, but then there are no filters, which means that you’re not excluding things like office traffic, your internal people visiting the website, or home office. If you have a bunch of people who work from home, get their IP addresses, exclude them from this because you don’t necessarily want your internal traffic mucking up things like conversions, especially if you’re doing stuff like checking your own forms.

You haven’t had a lead in a while and maybe you fill out the form to make sure it’s working. You don’t want that coming in as a conversion and then screwing up your data, especially if you’re a low-volume website. If you have a million hits a day, then maybe this isn’t a problem for you. But if you’re like the rest of us and don’t necessarily have that much traffic, something like this can be a big problem in terms of the volume of traffic you see. Then agency traffic as well.

So agencies, please make sure that you’re filtering out your own traffic. Again things like your web developer, some contractor you worked with briefly, really make sure you’re filtering out all that stuff because you don’t want that polluting your main profile.

Create a test and staging view

The other thing that I recommend is creating what we call a test and staging view. Usually in our Analytics profiles, we’ll have three different views. One we call master, and that’s the view that has all these filters applied to it.

So you’re only seeing the traffic that isn’t you. It’s the customers, people visiting your website, the real people, not your office people. Then the second view we call test and staging. So this is just your staging server, which is really nice. For example, if you have a different URL for your staging server, which you should, then you can just include that traffic. Then if you’re making enhancements to the site or you upgraded your WordPress instance and you want to make sure that your goals are still firing correctly, you can do all that and see that it’s working in the test and staging view without polluting your main view.

Test on a second property

That’s really helpful. Then the third thing is make sure to test on a second property. This is easy to do with Google Tag Manager. What we’ll have set up in most of our Google Tag Manager accounts is we’ll have our usual analytics and most of the stuff goes to there. But then if we’re testing something new, like say the content consumption metric we started putting out this summer, then we want to make sure we set up a second Analytics view and we put the test, the new stuff that we’re trying over to the second Analytics property, not view.

So you have two different Analytics properties. One is your main property. This is where all the regular stuff goes. Then you have a second property, which is where you test things out, and this is really helpful to make sure that you’re not going to screw something up accidentally when you’re trying out some crazy new thing like content consumption, which can totally happen and has definitely happened as we were testing the product. You don’t want to pollute your main data with something different that you’re trying out.

So send something to a second property. You do this for websites. You always have a staging and a live. So why wouldn’t you do this for your analytics, where you have a staging and a live? So definitely consider setting up a second property.

2. Time zones

The next thing that we have a lot of problems with are time zones. Here’s what happens.

Let’s say your website, basic install of WordPress and you didn’t change the time zone in WordPress, so it’s set to UTM. That’s the default in WordPress unless you change it. So now you’ve got your data for your website saying it’s UTM. Then let’s say your marketing team is on the East Coast, so they’ve got all of their tools set to Eastern time. Then your sales team is on the West Coast, so all of their tools are set to Pacific time.

So you can end up with a situation where let’s say, for example, you’ve got a website where you’re using a form plugin for WordPress. Then when someone submits a form, it’s recorded on your website, but then that data also gets pushed over to your sales CRM. So now your website is saying that this number of leads came in on this day, because it’s in UTM mode. Well, the day ended, or it hasn’t started yet, and now you’ve got Eastern, which is when your analytics tools are recording the number of leads.

But then the third wrinkle is then you have Salesforce or HubSpot or whatever your CRM is now recording Pacific time. So that means that you’ve got this huge gap of who knows when this stuff happened, and your data will never line up. This is incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re trying to diagnose why, for example, I’m submitting a form, but I’m not seeing the lead, or if you’ve got other data hygiene issues, you can’t match up the data and that’s because you have different time zones.

So definitely check the time zones of every product you use –website, CRM, analytics, ads, all of it. If it has a time zone, pick one, stick with it. That’s your canonical time zone. It will save you so many headaches down the road, trust me.

3. Attribution

The next thing is attribution. Attribution is a whole other lecture in and of itself, beyond what I’m talking about here today.

Different tools have different ways of showing attribution

But what I find frustrating about attribution is that every tool has its own little special way of doing it. Analytics is like the last non-direct click. That’s great. Ads says, well, maybe we’ll attribute it, maybe we won’t. If you went to the site a week ago, maybe we’ll call it a view-through conversion. Who knows what they’re going to call it? Then Facebook has a completely different attribution window.

You can use a tool, such as Supermetrics, to change the attribution window. But if you don’t understand what the default attribution window is in the first place, you’re just going to make things harder for yourself. Then there’s HubSpot, which says the very first touch is what matters, and so, of course, HubSpot will never agree with Analytics and so on. Every tool has its own little special sauce and how they do attribution. So pick a source of truth.

Pick your source of truth

This is the best thing to do is just say, “You know what? I trust this tool the most.” Then that is your source of truth. Do not try to get this source of truth to match up with that source of truth. You will go insane. You do have to make sure that you are at least knowing that things like your time zones are clear so that’s all set.

Be honest about limitations

But then after that, really it’s just making sure that you’re being honest about your limitations.

Know where things are necessarily going to fall down, and that’s okay, but at least you’ve got this source of truth that you at least can trust. That’s the most important thing with attribution. Make sure to spend the time and read how each tool handles attribution so when someone comes to you and says, “Well, I see that we got 300 visits from this ad campaign, but in Facebook it says we got 6,000.

Why is that? You have an answer. That might be a little bit of an extreme example, but I mean I’ve seen weirder things with Facebook attribution versus Analytics attribution. I’ve even talked about stuff like Mixpanel and Kissmetrics. Every tool has its own little special way of recording attributions. It’s never the same as anyone else’s. We don’t have a standard in the industry of how this stuff works, so make sure you understand these pieces.

4. Interactions

Then the last thing are what I call interactions. The biggest thing that I find that people do wrong here is in Google Tag Manager it gives you a lot of rope, which you can hang yourself with if you’re not careful.

GTM interactive hits

One of the biggest things is what we call an interactive hit versus a non-interactive hit. So let’s say in Google Tag Manager you have a scroll depth.

You want to see how far down the page people scroll. At 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, it will send off an alert and say this is how far down they scrolled on the page. Well, the thing is that you can also make that interactive. So if somebody scrolls down the page 25%, you can say, well, that’s an interactive hit, which means that person is no longer bounced, because it’s counting an interaction, which for your setup might be great.

Gaming bounce rate

But what I’ve seen are unscrupulous agencies who come in and say if the person scrolls 2% of the way down the page, now that’s an interactive hit. Suddenly the client’s bounce rate goes down from say 80% to 3%, and they think, “Wow, this agency is amazing.” They’re not amazing. They’re lying. This is where Google Tag Manager can really manipulate your bounce rate. So be careful when you’re using interactive hits.

Absolutely, maybe it’s totally fair that if someone is reading your content, they might just read that one page and then hit the back button and go back out. It’s totally fair to use something like scroll depth or a certain piece of the content entering the user’s view port, that that would be interactive. But that doesn’t mean that everything should be interactive. So just dial it back on the interactions that you’re using, or at least make smart decisions about the interactions that you choose to use. So you can game your bounce rate for that.

Goal setup

Then goal setup as well, that’s a big problem. A lot of people by default maybe they have destination goals set up in Analytics because they don’t know how to set up event-based goals. But what we find happens is by destination goal, I mean you filled out the form, you got to a thank you page, and you’re recording views of that thank you page as goals, which yes, that’s one way to do it.

But the problem is that a lot of people, who aren’t super great at interneting, will bookmark that page or they’ll keep coming back to it again and again because maybe you put some really useful information on your thank you page, which is what you should do, except that means that people keep visiting it again and again without actually filling out the form. So now your conversion rate is all messed up because you’re basing it on destination, not on the actual action of the form being submitted.

So be careful on how you set up goals, because that can also really game the way you’re looking at your data.

Ad blockers

Ad blockers could be anywhere from 2% to 10% of your audience depending upon how technically sophisticated your visitors are. So you’ll end up in situations where you have a form fill, you have no corresponding visit to match with that form fill.

It just goes into an attribution black hole. But they did fill out the form, so at least you got their data, but you have no idea where they came from. Again, that’s going to be okay. So definitely think about the percentage of your visitors, based on you and your audience, who probably have an ad blocker installed and make sure you’re comfortable with that level of error in your data. That’s just the internet, and ad blockers are getting more and more popular.

Stuff like Apple is changing the way that they do tracking. So definitely make sure that you understand these pieces and you’re really thinking about that when you’re looking at your data. Again, these numbers may never 100% match up. That’s okay. You can’t measure everything. Sorry.

Bonus: Audit!

Then the last thing I really want you to think about — this is the bonus tip — audit regularly.

So at least once a year, go through all the different stuff that I’ve covered in this video and make sure that nothing has changed or updated, you don’t have some secret, exciting new tracking code that somebody added in and then forgot because you were trying out a trial of this product and you tossed it on, and it’s been running for a year even though the trial expired nine months ago. So definitely make sure that you’re running the stuff that you should be running and doing an audit at least on an yearly basis.

If you’re busy and you have a lot of different visitors to your website, it’s a pretty high-volume property, maybe monthly or quarterly would be a better interval, but at least once a year go through and make sure that everything that’s there is supposed to be there, because that will save you headaches when you look at trying to compare year-over-year and realize that something horrible has been going on for the last nine months and all of your data is trash. We really don’t want to have that happen.

So I hope these tips are helpful. Get to know your data a little bit better. It will like you for it. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Get more from your customer data with marketing automation

Thursday, February 21, at 1:00 PM ET (10:00 AM PT)



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How to Stop Drowning in Data and Begin Using Your Metrics Wisely

Digital marketers have a problem: We’ve got too much data. It sounds like a ridiculous complaint coming from a data…

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50 Million Google+ Accounts Compromised in Latest Data Breach, Platform to Shut Down Earlier Than Planned

The discovery of another privacy flaw has pushed Google to shut down Google+ much earlier than expected.

Google announced on December 10 that it had discovered a security issue that potentially left more than 50 million accounts vulnerable in November. The revelation came shortly on the heels of a previous admission that a security lapse in March also affected thousands of users. Because of this, the company says Google+ will be shut down by April 2019.

Google initially planned to sunset the platform by August 2019. The company made the announcement to close its Google+ network in October, after it admitted that an earlier breach affected 500,000 users.

The latest bug was said to have been inadvertently created by a software patch that Google developed last month. It reportedly gave third-party apps access to account users’ profile data and exposed even information that wasn’t made public. It took the company six days to notice it and find a solution.

In a blog post, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, David Thacker, shared that “No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.”

However, the bug made it possible for apps where users willingly shared their Google+ data to also access their friends’ profile or those of people who shared data with them. Google gave assurances though that it did not expose any passwords, financial data, or other sensitive details that could be used in identity theft.

The Alphabet-owned company had also suffered a security breach in March. That particular bug placed tens of thousands of users’ personal information at risk. The company waited half a year before it admitted to regulators and the public that there was a problem. The breach happened around the time Facebook was embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica controversy. Reports stated that Google delayed revealing the problem partly to avoid regulators from scrutinizing the company.

The admission that there was another security issue couldn’t have come at a worse time for the company. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, was set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on December 11 to be grilled about the company’s data practices.

Google+ will be shutting down all its APIs for developers within three months. However, the platform’s enterprise version will remain functional. Google also acknowledged on Monday that Google+ had a low number of users and that there were major obstacles to turning it into a successful product.

[Featured image via Google]

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AdStage’s new Join automatically shows Google Analytics, Salesforce data for search, social campaigns

Customers will have full-funnel visibility into how their search and social campaigns are driving sales outcomes, without URL tagging.



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AWS CEO Announces Textract to Extract Data Without Machine Learning Skills

AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced Amazon Textract at the AWS re:Invent 2018 conference. Textract allows AWS customers to automatically extract formatted data from documents without losing the structure of the data. Best of all, there are no machine learning skills required to use Textract. It’s something that many data-intensive enterprises have been requesting for many years.

Amazon Launches Textract to Easily Extract Usable Data

Our customers are frustrated that they can’t get more of all those text and data that are in documents into the cloud, so they can actually do machine learning on top of it. So we worked with our customers, we thought about what might solve these problems and I’m excited to announce the launch of Amazon Textract. This is an OCR plus plus service to easily extract text and data from virtually any document and there is no machine learning experience required.

This is important, you don’t need to have any machine learning experience to be able to use Textract. Here’s how it generally works. Below is a pretty typical document, it’s got a couple of columns and it’s got a table in the middle of the left column.

When you use OCR it just basically captures all that information in a row and so what you end up with is the gobbledygook you see in the box below which is completely useless. That’s typically what happens.

Let’s go through what Textract does. Textract is intelligent. Textract is able to tell that there are two columns here so actually when you get the data and the language it reads like it’s supposed to be read. Textract is able to identify that there’s a table there and is able to lay out for you what that table should look like so you can actually read and use that data in whatever you’re trying to do on the analytics and machine learning side. That’s a very different equation.

Textract Works Great with Forms

What happens with most of these forms is that the OCR can’t really read the forms or actually make them coherent at all. Sometimes these templates will kind of effectively memorize in this box is this piece of data. Textract is going to work across legal forms and financial forms and tax forms and healthcare forms, and we will keep adding more and more of these.

But also these forms will change every few years and when they do something that you thought was a Social Security number in this box turns out now not to be a date of birth. What we have built Textract to do is to recognize what certain data items or objects are so it’s able to tell this set of characters is a Social Security number, this set of characters is a date of birth, this set of characters is an address.

Not only can we apply it to many more forms but also if those forms change Textract doesn’t miss a beat. That is a pretty significant change in your capability in being able to extract and digitally use data that are in documents.

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