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Google Strives for Transparency with Rebooted Ad Settings – Genevieve Dietz

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Google is giving us more control over data and ad targeting by launching a revamped version of Ad Settings. These new and improved controls allow us to curate our ad experiences by picking and choosing (and removing) which topics we want to see ads around.

Ad Settings was originally launched in 2009 as a single place for users to get an accurate read on ads. The new Ad Settings builds on what made the first edition so great by giving us new information about how our demographics, interests, and our browsing history factor into the ads we see everyday.

Ad Settings can also show you information from advertisers that partner with Google to show ads.

Let’s say you’re a horror fan and you frequently search for horror trailers on YouTube or Google search. Because of this activity, you’ll probably see some ads for horror movie tickets or rentals.

This information is made available to you in Google Ad Settings and you have the option to turn off ads related to horror or manage that specific interest.

Turning off a factor means you’ll no longer receive tailored ads related to it across our services, and on websites and apps that partner with us to show ads, as long as you’re signed in to your Google Account.

The ads you see can still be based on general factors, like the subject of what you’re looking at or the time of day, or any other factor that is still turned on.”

Google Improves Transparency

Google is also being more open about why users see the tailored ads they do by expanding ‘Why this ad?’ to all Google-partnered sites (including YouTube and Search). ‘Why this ad?’(originally launched in 2011) is a link feature that appears next to ads.

This clickable label helps users understand why certain ads are being targeted to them and where they came from.

For example, if a user wants to know why they are seeing so many ads for hotels in London, the feature will tell them it’s because they’ve either searched for London hotels, visited London tourism sites, or clicked on London hotel ads in the past.

The updated version of “Why this ad?” brings the link feature to Youtube, Google Play, and various other sites.

Before Ad Settings and “Why this Ad?,” ad targeting was a pretty foreign, and opaque topic for most users. Advertisers and brands were the only ones who had any semblance of control over ad delivery.

In recent years however, demand for digital transparency has grown and after the Cambridge Analytica data breach, that demand skyrocketed.

While consumers are usually okay with giving up some of their information to brands for things like quizzes, e-commerce, and other services, they still expect some level of transparency in regards to how their information is used for targeted ads.

Implications for Marketers

Ad Settings, and other ad controls, are not only beneficial for users, they’re important for marketers. Consumers are more likely to trust marketers who are open about their ad policies and how they collect data for targeting.

Brand transparency removes that cold sense of disconnect we, as users, sometimes feel when we hand off our information to companies who hide their intentions. We are much more likely to make persistent engagements with brands that are open and honest so, as marketers, we should strive to remove the veil of secrecy from our ad targeting methods.

Because these new Ad Settings allow consumers to be more proactive in the content marketing process, marketers will need to be hyper aware of the authenticity of their personalized marketing messages.

Personalized messages can also come across as creepy to consumers, almost like Big Brother is keeping tabs on them. This, of course, isn’t true but it’s important to be transparent and authentic anyway to keep from scaring off our audiences.

Doing this can also alleviate some of that coldness present in some marketing materials and attract new audiences looking for some honesty and warmth.

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How to Use Google Analytics to Measure and Improve Your Content Marketing – Neil Patel

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Google Analytics offers incredible reporting features at absolutely no cost.

I know Google Analytics isn’t the easiest tool in the world to navigate.

All of the reporting options quickly become overwhelming.

Don’t worry. You don’t need to be an expert to master Google Analytics.

I’m going to share my insights with you on how this stuff works.

I’ll help you become enough of a pro to navigate all of the key features for your content marketing needs.

Our goal here is mastery without the complexity.

First, let’s discuss why you should take the time to learn and use Google Analytics for content marketing.

Why is Google Analytics important for content marketing?

The point of data is to help guide your decisions as a content marketer.

Google has collected a vast amount of data about your business and your customers.

And by signing up for a free Google Analytics account, you can turn that wealth of data into actionable information.

This can show you how your content marketing strategy is performing and which specific areas you can improve.

And it can help you answer some of the following key questions:

  • Are my current content marketing efforts effective?
  • What are some quick wins for content marketing that I’ve been missing?
  • Where are my “leaking pages,” and how can I fix them?
  • What do my trends look like?
  • Am I getting better or worse at content marketing?
  • Which types of content are most effective at building traffic? What about converting customers?
  • What are some worthwhile content marketing gaps I’ve been missing?

The more data you have, the better equipped you are to make decisions about your overall content marketing strategy as well as your next campaign.

Here’s an example of a solid marketing strategy using Analytics:

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You can see how it’s a very methodical approach using reporting and measurements of success.

This means that when you try something new, and it doesn’t work out as planned, it’s much easier to figure out why.

It gets rid of the need for “guess and check.”

You can analyze exactly where your traffic comes from, what your visitors are like, and how they engage with your website.

You can understand exactly how effective your marketing efforts are and if they’re providing a return on investment.

You can also easily pinpoint ways to improve your strategy even when you’re already performing well.

There’s always room for improvement.

So let’s talk about how we take this massive amount of data inside Google Analytics and turn it into valuable, actionable information.

Make sure you’ve set up goals

I’ve talked about this subject a few times, but it’s worth repeating.

Google Analytics offers lots of tools to track your business’s performance.

However, to get the most out of them, you need to customize them for your business.

Setting goals is a perfect way to begin your customization process.

There are four different types of goals you can use to track your content marketing results:

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If you’re not familiar with how to set up goals for your site, Google Analytics will walk you through it.

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It’s important to set up goals so that you can see whether your efforts are actually resulting in what matters to your business.

1. Utilize on-site search queries

It’s easy for a website to quickly become huge.

After all, an e-commerce site can have hundreds of product pages.

Add a blog onto that, and you can see how a site can become enormous.

After all, the current recommendation is to publish at least 16 blog posts a month.

That’s a lot of content!

When someone has that much information in front of them, how are they ever going to find what they’re searching for if they didn’t land on it directly from Google?

One of the best ways to help your visitors and keep them on your site is to provide a search bar.

This not only helps your audience but also provides you with valuable data.

Google Analytics helps you tap into this data through their on-site search terms report.

With this report, you can easily review which keywords people are searching for on your site.

Then, you can compare this info with the keywords you’ve been targeting.

It’s possible that you have relevant content that you should update to include this new keyword.

Or, maybe you’ll discover a gap in your content.

This will help you find out what additional content you can create to build more engagement and drive more traffic.

After all, you know your target audience is already looking for it.

Another possibility is that you see high traffic to a particular page within your internal search.

You can use that knowledge to do any of the following:

  • Target those pages with campaigns, especially if they’re also converting well.
  • Link the high-traffic page to some of your lower-performing pages to boost their traffic.
  • Restructure your site to make these pages easier to find. For example, you could turn them into featured posts.

How to check for on-site searches

Log into your Google Analytics account. On the left-hand side under “Behavior” reports, go to “Site Search” and then “Search Terms.”

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This will bring up a dashboard that shows you all of the search terms that visitors have completed on your site.

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It will provide information about the number of unique searches and your exit-rate percentage.

A high exit rate may indicate that the current content coming up for that search term isn’t what users are looking for.

2. Check your mobile strategy

People are using their mobile devices more and more every day.

With that in mind, you should plan for your mobile visitors.

But you can’t just implement without checking to see if it’s working or not.

Log into your Google Analytics account and look under the “Audience” section on the left-hand sidebar. Locate the “Mobile” tab.

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Expand it and select “Overview.”

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This will allow you to see how your site is performing on mobile devices.

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And if you’ve set up a goal that relates to mobile traffic or mobile conversions, you can pull it into this report as well.

On the far right-hand side, select a goal completion for Google Analytics to display next to your mobile performance breakdown.

Then you can see your conversion rates and total goal completions for any given time period.

If the mobile version of your site is performing poorly compared to your desktop version, it could mean that your site isn’t optimized for mobile.

And since Google has already begun mobile-first indexing, if your site doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, the effectiveness of your content marketing will be impacted.

Make sure you drill into the mobile report to see traffic and conversions across mobile devices.

This will tell you if you have a mobile-wide issue or if your site is just poorly-optimized for one operating system.

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If it’s mobile-wide, you will need to optimize your site for all mobile queries and devices.

If, on the other hand, it’s simply one operating system or one version of one operating system, the fix will depend on your site development and the OS changes.

3. Optimize your site speed

According to Google, the majority of sites are too slow, regardless of industry.

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The current ideal benchmark is three seconds for page speed loading time, yet most sites are above the nine-second mark.

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This is important to recognize for two reasons:

  1. Speed directly impacts your bounce rate, as can be seen in the image above.
  2. Google announced that page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile search as of July 2018.

Having a slow site can kill your chances of ranking in SERPs and tank your traffic.

But before you can try to fix the problem, you first need to be able to diagnose it.

Not every page on your site will take the same time to load.

Using Google Analytics, you can pinpoint the specific pages on your site that need the most improvement.

This way you can save time and gain some quick wins by targeting your slowest, top-performing pages first.

How to monitor page speeds

Log into Google Analytics, and under Site Speed, select Page Timings.

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This report quickly shows you all of your pages on-site, grouped by page load time.

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You can then analyze to see the specific pages in each bucket.

Want more advice on how to improve slow pages?

Back in the left-hand menu, also under Site Speed, is a Speed Suggestions report.

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This will give you some specific suggestions you can implement to improve your speed.

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Google also offers another tool, PageSpeed Insights, for even more free help in optimizing your page speeds.

4. Understand your customers

Understanding your customers helps you personalize your content for them.

68% of firms have already made personalized experiences a business priority.

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Why?

Well, it’s a great way to increase revenue and profits by tapping directly into your customer’s wants and needs.

You can start to understand your customers better with Google Analytics’ Affinity reports.

How to view your affinity reports

Open Google Analytics and check out your left-hand menu.

Under the Audience section, you will find the Affinity Categories report.

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This report helps you analyze common buyer trends.  2018 03 03 21 24 05 Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reports dcarlbom.com

Check out which affinity groups have high traffic and low bounce rates or high conversions on your site.

You may find that you do really well with a group you never expected to target, such as TV Lovers.

This knowledge can help with future content marketing and ad campaigns.

Another report to help you understand your customer base is the Audience Data report.

How to view audience reports

This time under the Audience section, you’re going to select Overview rather than Affinity.

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This is a broad overview.

It doesn’t go into a huge amount of depth about your customers, but it helps target some general areas that may be of interest, such as language, device, and location.

If most of your users are from the US, or even from within a few states in the US, that information can be very helpful for marketing.

You can further analyze your customers by adding some additional demographic and interest data.

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Demographics give you customer information such as age range and gender.

Interests are exactly what they sound like. This report tells you some of the things your customers are generally interested in.

You can then take all this information and combine it to build customer personas for marketing.

5. Focus on searcher intent

Searcher intent simply means the reason for why someone performed a search.

There’s a pretty old, but still accurate article that breaks searcher intent into three broad categories:

  1. Navigational intent – when a searcher is seeking a specific site such as Facebook or Amazon.
  2. Informational intent – when a searcher is looking for answers or researching a specific topic.
  3. Transactional intent – when a searcher is ready and looking to have a transaction such as “best Chicago pizza near me” or “how to check in for a Southwest flight.”

Of course, this doesn’t cover everything, and people may not also neatly fall into just one category.

However, it’s a great way to start understanding who is coming to your site and why.

You can begin to understand the intent of your traffic by looking at the Overview of Acquisition report in Google Analytics.

How to check you acquisition overview

In the left-hand menu, under Acquisitions, select Overview.

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In this report, you want to focus on organic traffic. The other results could be skewed by promotions and other marketing efforts.

If you click on the word “Organic Search,” it will provide you will additional information:

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Now you can see a breakdown by keywords searched.

It shows you a vast amount of data, including highest volume, bounce rates, and average pages per session.

You can then use this information in your next content marketing campaign.

For instance, are you receiving a lot of traffic for informational intent searches but not transactional intent?

This could mean you need to boost your conversion efforts and your marketing towards bottom-of-the-funnel searchers.

6. Visualize your traffic funnel

A typical conversion funnel used to look like this:

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Now, it’s more like this:

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Add in the quirks of individual customers, and the ways users can escape a funnel, and it gets even more complex.

This is why being able to visualize your actual site funnel can help you understand how well your content marketing strategy is working.

It can help you understand which site pages correlate well with each funnel stage. It also helps pinpoint which paths convert well and which ones need work.

This Funnel Visualization report is in the Conversions section of Google Analytics.

It’s important to note that this report only works if you have already set up some conversion or sales goals in Google Analytics.

How to visualize your funnel

Under conversions, select Goals, and then Funnel Visualization to see the report.

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Then select your relevant conversion/sales goal at the top of the table:

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Now the report will show you a visual representation of what that sales funnel looks like:

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As you can see in the example above, it will show you specific pages that Google Analytics believes line up to each funnel stage based on customer activity.

Another way to look at your funnel is through Sequential Segments.

How to use Sequential Segments

This is a type of advanced segment that can be used for measuring a sequence of user actions.

For example, a sequence could be landing on a blog page, clicking a CTA button on it which goes to the contact page, and then submitting the requested opt-in form.

You can create segments to report on just like you create goals to measure against.

Go to the Admin section:

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Then on the far-right, under personal tools, select Segments:

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Select New Segment.

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Then choose Sequences under the Advanced options.

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Now you create the funnel steps or customer actions that you want to track by inputting the path.

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These can be useful to help understand user behavior for different lead pages.

It can also help identify which of your blog posts lead to the most conversions.

7. Focus on your current traffic sources

There are a lot of different possible traffic channels these days.

Search engines, PPC ads, social media, and direct search are just a few.

Where your traffic is coming from may affect how they are engaging with your site and your content.

You can use the Google Analytics Source/Medium report to see how many sessions you have by each source.

It can also tell you valuable data like the number of new users and bounce rate.

How to view your traffic by source

Back to that left-hand menu, under the Acquisition section, go to All traffic and the Source/ Medium.

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You’ll see a report showing you a summary of interactions by source.

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You can also add in secondary dimensions such as Acquisition behavior to make the data more meaningful.

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For example, you can see all traffic from Google that was organic only (removing Google PPC ads).

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Now you can easily see what referral traffic or traffic types drive visits to specific landing pages.

This helps you target the platforms that are driving the most traffic to your site.

8. Pinpoint high traffic, low engagement pages

High traffic is a good thing, right?

What if you have a ton of traffic coming to your site and then just leaving again?

Is it still good?

Traffic without engagement or conversions is ultimately useless.

Don’t worry though, if you’ve already successfully gained the traffic, then you’ve won half the battle.

Pinpointing those pages which are high traffic, low engagement is a great potential quick win for boosting conversions.

There are a few ways to do this, but one I like to use is the comparison feature in Google Analytics.

How to find high traffic, low conversion pages

Just go to Behavior, then Site Content and Landing Pages on the left-hand menu.

This will bring up all of the pages people land on within your site.

Then you can use the comparison feature on the right-hand side of the screen.

You can select a Goal Conversion Rate if you have one set, or you can choose Bounce Rate from the drop-down menu:

This will allow you to compare conversions or bounces across all pages.

You can easily sort by the ones with the highest number of sessions to find the high traffic, low engagement pages, so you know where to focus your efforts.

If you want, you can also narrow your results down even further.

For example, you can reduce the search to show only your blog pages.

It’s easy to do this using the search function within the report.

Now you know which pages to target to improve your conversions.

9. Know when you should publish content

Exactly when you publish your content matters.

There have been many studies done on when the best day of the week and the best time of day is, across all platforms.

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But just because a study says it’s the best time on average, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best time for your audience or your business.

Thankfully, Google Analytics can help answer this.

First, they provide a simple heat map right on the homepage for you.

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The second option is to use Google Analytics custom reports to create your own. The benefit of this option is that it allows you to customize the variables.

How to set this up

First, go into the custom reports section of Google Analytics and choose a new custom report.

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Choose the “flat table” option.

Then add in the dimensions “Day of Week Name” and “Hour,” and then any additional relevant metrics you want.

For example, you might want to include the volume of sessions.

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You can also add things like Source/Medium to narrow it down to organic sessions, or Device type if you want to separate mobile from desktop.

Once down, Save and export your data to Excel.

Make sure that you choose “show rows” in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.

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Then, within Excel, you can use the pivot table option to begin to turn the data into a heat map.

Make your columns the Day of the week, your Rows the Hours. Then your Values should be whichever metrics you chose, such as Sessions.

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Once you have the pivot table, you can use some conditional color formatting to make it look like a heat map.

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This gives you a quick and easy way to see when your visitors are checking out your site.

If you find traffic is heaviest between 10 am and 1 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then you should target publishing your content on those mornings, before 10 am.

10. Track your ROI

I’m guessing that you’re not just doing content marketing for the fun of it.

That means you have a goal in mind. Something you want to get out of your effort.

So how do you know that your content marketing strategy is paying off?

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Google Analytics can help you track your ROI.

Remember back at the beginning, when we set up goals?

Now it’s time to use them to help measure your return on investment.

How to measure your ROI

First, you want to check out your reverse goal path.

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You may want to add an additional filter such as “/blog” to narrow it down to only blog posts.

Then you can sort by Goal Completions.

Now you can see which blog posts have resulted in the most conversions.

You need to download this data into Excel or as a .CSV file.

Next, download your pageview data to determine your conversion rate.

You can obtain this by going to Content, Site Content, and then All Pages.

If you filtered your Goal, you need to filter this data in the same way.

For instance, filter with “/blog” to get only blog posts.

Again, you need to download the data as a spreadsheet.

Then copy and paste it into a new column in your first spreadsheet.

Now you can get your conversion rate by dividing the data in the “conversions” column (Col B) by the number in the “unique pageviews” column (Col C).

The result is now your conversion rate per page or blog post.

It should look like this:

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You can easily see which posts are performing well and which ones aren’t.

This can help you discover which topics are trending or which pages seem to be better optimized for conversions.

Of course, in order to also bring in your ROI, you need to factor in money.

For example, you need to include how much you’ve invested in each post and how much money each conversion has been worth.

Understandably, this is where it gets more complicated.

One way to track conversion dollars is to put tags on your leads based on which posts they came from.

You can do this with UTM parameters.

If you use an email marketer such as ConvertKit, they offer an easier way.

They let you automatically tag any leads who come through a certain form.

Simply make forms slightly different across your pages.

That way, if a form is attached to a single blog post, you know that any leads with that tag came from that blog post.

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All you need to do is integrate them with your Analytics and email marketing platform.

Again, most platforms have these features built in, but you can also build your own integrations with Zapier.

Now, you have full visibility of your content marketing ROI and can understand exactly which posts are worth paying to promote and which ones need to be refreshed or optimized.

Conclusion

Google Analytics holds a crazy amount of data about your website.

Google has done all of the work to gather it and update it constantly. And it’s all there, free for you to use.

It’s important to make use of what Google Analytics offers.

If you don’t measure your content marketing strategy, you will have a very hard time knowing what is and isn’t working.

First, to get full use out of Google Analytics, make sure you take the time to set up some goals for your site so that you can track the things most important to your business.

Then you can use these ten report options for measuring how well your strategy is doing and pinpointing ways to make it even better.

You can use reports such as on-site queries, customer reports, searcher intent, and traffic reports to get to know your customers better.

You can also use reports such as mobile and speed checks, time for publishing, and ROI to understand how to optimize your content strategy.

What’s your favorite Google Analytics report for tracking your content marketing efforts?

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

How To Transform Learning with Google Tools – Miguel Guhlin

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Teachers often struggle during professional development sessions, wondering how to make connections between how-to at the workshop and classroom learning. Diana Benner, Peggy Reimers, and I did some napkin PD planning and came up with a solution.

Here’s a chance to get hands-on Google experience with six different project stations that offer the opportunity to explore lesser-known Google tools. These tools enhance critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.

Developing PD on a napkin with Diana Benner, Peggy Reimers, and Miguel Guhlin. Let’s explore these ideas in more detail.

Essential Elements

Before we jump into the project stations, let’s review a few components common to each. Each project station includes three components:

  • Explore
  • Adapt/Create
  • Share

In the Explore portion, participants develop background knowledge in the key concept shared. In the Adapt/Create, they make connections between their own experiences as learners. Two ways to accomplish this include adapting an existing work in light of new information. The second way is to create a new product. After they create or adapt, they share that online with a global audience. An additional component is listing what Google tools will be used.

Project Station #1: Inquiry-Based Learning Developers

In this station, participants will explore inquiry-based learning (IBL). Why continue to introduce IBL in professional learning? IBL creates engagement in both teachers and learners. Research has shown it has several benefits. It can:

  • Boost students’ learning in inter-disciplinary studies
  • Motivate students to learn, developing flexible, real-life, problem-solving strategies
  • Deepen critical thinking skills
  • Use of knowledge in new areas (Source)

Learning to ask the right questions and then finding answers that work remain critical to the work of educators and their students. To that end, it’s important to scaffold the use of IBL in the context of modern tools. Not unlike Dr. Bernie Dodge’s and Tom March’s webquest activity, new approaches adapt IBL for modern technology.

  • Explore: In this station, participants are given twenty minutes.
  • Adapt/Create: Participants, having explored hyperdoc exemplars, rely on a template to develop their own hyperdoc.
  • Share: Participants share their hyperdoc creation or modification with others via a sharing space, such as Google Forms tied into a Google Sheet or link their hyperdoc in an existing Google Doc created for that purpose.
  • Tools: Google Docs, Google Slides

Project Station #2: Research Explorers

One of the first uses of the internet for teachers involves encouraging students to use it for research. It’s important to clarify expectations for research-based activities. While research should be embedded in the context of an inquiry-based learning lesson, some additional expectations can be set. Students can be expected to:

  • Craft a research question
  • Locate and gather appropriate sources
  • Consider and assess the quality of the sources
  • Seek patterns in the data
  • Develop a position about the research

Given that the internet is a deep ocean of information, it’s important to assist students to engage in content curation using frameworks like the Big 6, Super 3, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). While there are many online research tools that could be introduced, one of note is Google Scholar.

“I usually start with Google Scholar or Google just to figure out what the topic is. Once I have a better idea, I’ll go deeper,” says Leslie Harris O’Hanlon. “For example, if it’s a history paper, I’ll use the online library catalog, or sometimes there are e-books online through the university” (Source).

  • Explore: Participants experience the power of Google Scholar as a tool to find journals, save document sources in a personal space, and obtain citations. First, participants go through the process of developing a research question using the infographic from UC San Diego Library as a guide. Then they complete the steps.
  • Adapt/Create: Participants begin with a general topic, then narrow the topic down with How and Why questions, not unlike what is shown in the image below:
  • Share: Once participants have identified a topic using Google Scholar to identify research and information, they can create a Google Slides PDF ebook or Google Docs.
  • Tools: Google Scholar, Google Docs ePub export or Google Slides PDF ebook

Project Station #3: Multimedia Tour Builders

Mix up learning for your students. Create engaging and relevant learning experiences for students with Google Tour Builder. Better yet, turn students loose to create their own multimedia tours of relevant content. Tour Builder enables students to create a virtual tour of their research data, adding photos, text, and video as needed. This map-based approach enables students to organize their research according to location and impact, which is appropriate for various topics. Students combine research, life stories, images, and video to make a compelling case for their research thesis.

  • Explore: Encourage participants to explore existing Google Tours available and then reflect on how current content in their curriculum goals could be aligned.
  • Adapt/Create: Using a simple storyboard template, participants use Google Tour Builder to create a multimedia tour relevant to an area of study.
  • Share: Once participants have completed their tour, they make it available via a Google Form or common space or backchannel (e.g. Tozzl in lieu of Padlet).
  • Tools: Google Tour-Builder, Maps 3D

Project Station #4: Toontastic Reporters

Whether you have students synthesizing information from a variety of sources and then reporting it in front of a green screen (read tips about setting up your own inexpensive green screen, as well as see examples) or creating reports with Toontastic, students can learn quite a bit. Putting students in the role of journalists has a powerful impact on their own ability to curate and construct knowledge. Consider the following benefits:

  • Students develop the critical thinking skills needed to be smarter, frequent, transliterate consumers (and creators) of information
  • Students learn to tell between fact and opinion
  • Learners explore how to become better-informed citizens and voters (Source: The News Literacy Project)

One approach to achieve this involves presenting a problem and then inviting students to create a report that presents facts.

Wait, There’s More

Ready to get going with these project stations? Consider adding two more, if time allows. Two more final project stations include casting teachers in the roles of Flipped Learning Creators and Digital Breakout Artists.

In the former, flipped learning is explored. Participants learn to create screencasts, embed assessments with EdPuzzle, or engage in post-reflection activities with Google Forms. In the Digital Breakout Artists project station, participants learn how to create engaging activities that involve clue finding and problem solving.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

The New Gmail Steals Some Great Ideas & Invents Some Fresh Ones – Jared Newman

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In April, Google launched its first major Gmail redesign since 2013, and in a sense it was an acknowledgement of all the ways Google had fallen behind.

With 1.4 billion users logging into Gmail at least once per month, the service has become resistant to change. This in turn has been a boon to the email software business, allowing third-party apps like Mailbox, Spark, Astro, and Newton to invent new features on a more regular basis. Several of Gmail’s most notable new features come straight from these apps, and from the broader software world in general. And while some have previously appeared in Google’s more forward-thinking Inbox app, others are new to Gmail entirely.

But as Gmail gets with the times, it’s also introducing some new ideas that haven’t yet occurred to its competitors. The result is a much-needed game of feature leapfrog, which will hopefully compel other email apps to invent even more ways to make email less painful. To that end, here’s a look at what’s new—and not-so-new—with Gmail’s big upgrade:

Not new: Snoozing

gmailmailboxsnoozeGoogle, Mailbox
Gmail’s new Snooze feature (left) was popularized by Mailbox (right) in 2013.

One of Gmail’s most overdue additions is a Snooze button, which can resurface old emails at a later date and time. A Gmail extension called Boomerang provided similar functionality eight years ago, followed by AOL’s Alto (which used the term “Snooze”). Mailbox helped popularize the Snooze button in 2013, and it’s since become a table-stakes feature for practically every new email client, including Google’s Inbox, which launched in 2014. Gmail doesn’t do much to advance the concept—in fact, Newton’s mobile app has a handy “snooze until back at desktop” feature that other apps would be wise to copy—but at least it’s there.

Not new: The Side Panel

gmailvivaldiGoogle, Jared Newman / PCWorld
The Vivaldi browser (right) lets you open web apps in a panel alongside any website—not just Gmail.

To make better use of desktop PC real estate, the new Gmail can load miniature versions of Google’s Keep, Calendar, and Tasks apps in a right-hand sidebar. That way, you can quickly take notes, make appointments, and create to-do items without switching browser tabs.

It’s a novel idea for an email app, but the Chromium-based browser Vivaldi offers a similar feature called Web Panels, which can open any webpage in an expandable sidebar view. (Opera also offers web panels through a browser add-on.) Google’s panels do have one advantage: You can create to-do items by dragging an email into Tasks, though that’s also not a new idea. Some Gmail extensions such as Sortd and Yanado offer similar drag-and-drop features.

Not new: High-priority notifications

gmailoutlookpriorityGoogle, Microsoft
Microsoft’s mobile Outlook app (right) was doing priority notifications before Gmail (left) and Google’s Inbox app.

Gmail has allowed users to filter out bulk mail with inbox tabs for years now, but a new high-priority notifications feature will go a step further, using AI to alert you only to the most important emails. While this feature hasn’t arrived in the new Gmail yet, it sounds similar to Outlook’s Focused Inbox, which first launched on mobile devices in 2015 following Microsoft’s acquisition of Acompli. As Microsoft’s support page notes, Focused Inbox “intelligently presorts your email so you can focus on what matters,” and gets better the more you use it. (Google’s Inbox has offered this type of intelligent filtering since 2014, but only started rolling out priority notifications last year.)

Not new: Hover actions

gmailnewtonhoverGoogle, Jared Newman / PCWorld
Gmail (left) now lets you quickly act on emails with hover actions, though they’re not customizable like Newton’s (right).

Here’s another borrowed feature from Google’s Inbox app: By hovering your cursor over an email, you’ll see options to archive, delete, snooze, and mark as read with one tap. It’s a handy way to delete or archive lots of emails in rapid succession.

Google can’t take credit for the idea, though. Among the first to implement hover features was AOL’s Alto, which launched in 2012 and shut down last year. Newton also deserves some credit for going a step further, letting users change the order of hover actions and set up quick actions for spam and folder sorting.

Not new: AI-based nudging

gmailtrovenudgeGoogle, Trove
Gmail (left) will soon offer a “nudge” feature similar to one that’s already available with Trove (right).

In the coming weeks, Gmail will introduce a new feature called Nudging, which uses artificial intelligence to remind you about emails that might need a response. It could be a neat feature, but it’s not unique to Gmail. Both Astro and Trove provide similar nudges based on artificial intelligence. (The former is more for individuals, while the latter is aimed at companies that want to improve communications within their networks.)

Not new: Assistive unsubscribe

gmailastrounsubGoogle, Astro
Both Gmail (left) and Astro (right) can help you unsubscribe to newsletters you aren’t reading.

While Gmail can already surface unsubscribe links in mass emails, it’ll soon go a step further by flagging emails you haven’t read in a while and suggesting that you unsubscribe. Again, it’s a feature already offered by Astro, whose “Insights” section offers unsubscribe links for emails you haven’t opened lately.

Kind of new: Confidential Mode

gmailconfidentialGoogle
Gmail will soon offer several features that limit access to emails after you’ve sent them.

“Confidential mode” refers to a suite of upcoming Gmail features for protecting outbound messages. Users will be able to set expiration dates; prevent emails from being copied, printed, downloaded or forwarded; and lock emails behind a two-factor authentication code sent to the recipient via text message.

Not all of these features are new. Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange also use Integrated Rights Management technologies to prevent email copying, and they allow users to set expiration dates on emails. Meanwhile, third-party extensions such as Vanishh and Snapmail allow Gmail users to send self-destructing messages today. But on the whole, Gmail will make these features easier for broader audience to use while also adding new ideas like two-factor authentication for individual emails.

New: Attachment links in the inbox

gmailattachmentviewGoogle
Saved you a click: Gmail now brings attachment links to the inbox view.

While some apps such as Outlook and Edison Mail provide users with a list of all email attachments, Google’s making things a little easier by surfacing attachment links from the main inbox view. That way, you can quickly view an image or document without having to click into the individual email. This is prime fodder for other email apps to copy in the future.

New: Smart Reply

gmailsmartreplyGoogle
Why write your own emails when Google’s AI-powered Smart Replies can do the job for you?

Google’s Smart Reply feature is supposed to save you time by offering intelligent, canned responses based on the content of the message. For instance, if the email asks if you’d like to meet on Monday, you can tap a button to quickly respond with “Monday works for me.” The feature debuted as part of Google Inbox in 2015, and headed to the mobile version of Gmail last year. Now it’s headed to desktop Gmail, where it remains uncopied by other email apps. (If you don’t trust Google’s AI to write emails for you, check out Spark’s Quick Replies, which let you customize your own one-touch canned responses.)

Gmail also supports Google’s new Smart Compose feature in experimental mode, which makes AI-based suggestions sentence-by-sentence while writing fuller emails. Smart Compose isn’t anywhere near as helpful as Smart Reply in its early days though.

The makers of other email apps might feel dismayed now that some of their best ideas are part of Gmail proper. But if history is any guide, they’ll have until the year 2023 or so to figure out where to take things next.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.

How To Make Profit By A Simple Adsense Loophole Madsense Reborn

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The real secret to profits in ANY niche is to go against the grain. So while people are running away from Adsense … we’re running TOWARDS it. Abdullah showed me and Gaurab his SIMPLE Adsense method that flat-out worked for anyone who used it.

Most people follow outdated traffic methods such as SEO, setting up backlinks, buying ranking fiverr gigs and creating special “SEO Friendly” Content. And then after doing all that, they MAYBE get 100 visitors if they’re lucky …

Visitors that DON’T convert and if that’s not enough, Google wakes up one day and slaps the shit out of your website and all your backlinks and when that happens, you lose everything.

As our new mini-sites started topping 6 figures in profits, we began sharing this strategy with coaching students… and have now created MULTIPLE success stories with our method.

In fact, what I’m about to show you, has been selling for up to $997 on private webinars to students around the world and it’s the EXACT system that we use. Over time, we’ve tweaked the system to add even more profitable loopholes  shortcuts. And this system is what can change your life once and for all.

Just imagine life when you’re making an extra 5K each month … in under 30 minutes ‘work’ per day?You can live off of it, scale it and reach six figures like my partner Abdullah does or you can simply take it easy and invest in your “main” business like Ecom, Softwares, CPA or anything that requires a budget.

 Here’s an overview of the system and your training modules. (videos)

Module #1 – Engage The Profit Machine

MODULE #2 – Done For You, Downloadable, Customizable & Profitable Mini Site

Module #3 – Shortcuts To HQ Content

Module #4 – Adsense Setup

Module #5 – Simple Traffic

Module #6 – “Predictable Stairway Scaling” – NO RISK AT ALL

Module #7 – The Free Traffic Hack

Module #8 – Tripling Profits With Retargeting (NO RISK WAY)

 

  • Anyone can do this and get fantastic results
  • Adsense Is an easy way to make money if you know what you’re doing, and highly targeted, risk free paid traffic is the way to do so.
  • Get started with a budget of only $5 and you’re set or even try out free traffic alternatives.
  • No technical skills required at all, everything is explained so clearly in the modules so that you can get started as quickly as possible.
  • Unlimited potential, some people are making mid six figs with it on the SIDE..No kidding.

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The Key to the Future of SEO / AEO – Jason Barnard

The Key to the Future of SEO / AEO – Understanding and Credibility

When someone searches on Google (or Bing), they are expressing a problem they are seeking to solve, or a question they need the correct answer to. The “raison d’être” of Google and Bing has always been to guide their users quickly and simply to the best available result.

With the rise of voice search, Google and Bing increasingly rely upon understanding and credibility to provide the one, single, best solution.
What should you be doing to take advantage?

In this article we will review:

  1. An overview of the situation.
  2. The foundation of the future.
  3. What you need to do – starting today.

Overview of the situation

The evolution Desktop -> Mobile -> Voice

Search evolves with the devices we use. That is key. The switch from desktop to mobile has had (and continues to have) a major impact on search behavior. The switch to voice will have an even bigger impact – both in terms of how users search, but also the way Google and Bing provide answers to those users.

Market Share By Device 2000 to 2028

Voice is naturally more verbose, more natural…. and ultimately requires a single answer.

What does that mean to the relative importance of top rankings?

  • In the relatively slow days of the desktop-noughties, ranking page 1 was a success, ranking in the top few pages was acceptable.

 User chooses the best solution / answer from 10 to 20 options.

  • In the mobile world of today, ranking top 3 is a success. Ranking top half of page 1 is acceptable.

 User chooses the best solution / answer from half a dozen options.

  • As Google and Bing evolve from search engines to answer engines, ranking #1 (increasingly position 0) is success, ranking top 3 is acceptable.

 User accepts the suggested best solution / answer, but retains a (little exercised) option to choose from a  top 2 or 3.

Acceptable Ranking SERP by DeviceAcceptable Ranking SERP by Device

What does this mean to your organic traffic?

In 2018: Don’t panic.

Things won’t change significantly this year. But now is a very good time to start changing your thinking from “Page 1 or nowhere” to “#1 or nowhere”. And get to work preparing your site, and your company for this new paradigm.

Beyond 2020: Panic.

It is not unreasonable to imagine that by 2022, search traffic is divided equally between desktop, mobile, and voice.

  • In 2005, the first place gave 30% of market share.
  • In 2017, the first place gave 40% of market share.
  • In 2022, the first place will give 60% of market share.
    ….
  • In 2026, first place will give 80% of market share

As you can see, the shift towards the dominance of that top spot is accelerating.

As we move to a world that will increasingly favor voice search, ranking at the top (#1 / position 0 / featured snippet / answer box) is going to be critical. Your competitors know it. They are working towards that.

A few (not-so-doom-and-gloom) provisos that may help calm your nerves:

  1. The importance of this trend of “#1 or nowhere” will vary enormously between markets and business types… Generally speaking, niche markets and local businesses will be most affected by this trend.
  2. Long-tail search queries will increase, leaving more opportunity to get at least some #1 rankings and spreading the risk.
  3. Voice search will not 100% replace mobile in the same way that mobile did not 100% replace desktop.
    It is very important to bear in mind that desktop, mobile, and voice will all continue to bring a share of traffic. It is anybody’s guess what the relative importance will be.

The Foundation of the Future

Understanding and credibilityWhat Google is looking for above all else.

Understanding – Looking from Google’s point of view, it needs to understand who you are and what you offer in order to consider your offer as a potential candidate to be suggested as the best solution.

Credibility – Once it has understood you and your offer, in order to present your offer as the best from several possibilities, Google will look at relative credibility.

In the new world of Answer Engines,
understanding and credibility are what matter most.
By Far.

What has Google understood so far?

Basic Understanding:

Google is not starting from scratch; it has already understood some (basic) things about your brand. It has a pretty good basic understanding of most brands. Here are some figures from Kalicube.pro (who measure Brand Authority):

Kalicube.pro Understanding MeasurementsYou will gain a significant competitive advantage by pushing up into the top 20 percentile.

Complex Understanding:

What Google lacks is the details and confidence in what it has understood. What I call “complex understanding”. For the moment Google has this understanding for very few brands – perhaps 5% or less! The biggest opportunities are here – Google gives a significant advantage to brands it is sure it has correctly understood in detail.

Kalicube.pro Understanding MeasurementsNote: That first line actually goes all the way up to about 80… Google lacks complex understanding of well over 80% of brands.

What is Google’s take on credibility?

Once again, Google is not starting from scratch; it already has an opinion about the credibility of your brand (good or bad). It has a great deal of information to base it’s “opinion” on.

Kalicube.pro Credibility MeasurementsYou will gain a significant competitive advantage by pushing up into the top 20 percentile.


What You Need to Do – Starting Today

Communicate - Convnice - Kalicube.proWhat you can do to get ahead of the competition.

Communicate – You can sit back and hope that it will understand your brand and your offers. Or you can actively communicate to Google who you are and what you offer.

Convince – You can sit back and hope that it will realize that you and your offer are the best of the best. Or you can seek to convince it that your offer is the best, most credible available.

Looking at it from another angle…
The onus is on you

Communicate so that Google understands and convince the search engine that your brand is the most credible solution.

Communicate - Understanding - Kalicube.pro

Techniques that will help you communicate effectively and improve understanding:

Advice: Do a search for your brand name right now and see what comes up pages 1 and 2. Then work to ensure that every result on those first two pages reflects a positive, coherent, and standardized view of who you are and what you do.

  1. Semantic HTML5.
  2. Structured Schema markup.
  3. Quality content using appropriate vocabulary.
  4. Get / improve links and mentions from highly pertinent brands.
  5. Get / improve confirmation by third parties (NAPs).
  6. Confirm and valorize off-page mentions and links on your site.

Convince - Credibility - Kalicube.pro

Techniques that will help you convince Google you are highly credible

Advice: Do a search your brand name plus the word “reviews” right now and see what comes up pages 1, 2 and 3. Those are the opinions that Google thinks are the most representative of public opinion about your brand. The first thing to do is work to ensure that every result on the first two pages reflects positively on your brand.

  1. Drown the bad stuff by promoting the positive results on pages 2 and 3 (don’t create spammy content of your own – that will come back and bite you).
  2. Get positive reviews on the review platforms that appear on pages 1 and 2.
  3. Ask journalists to update articles that appear on pages 1 and 2.
  4. Generate positive client feedback social media / reviews (including your reaction).
  5. Obtain peer group confirmation (associations, conferences, etc.).
  6. Get vocal support from thought leaders / journalists.
  7. Get links and mentions from highly pertinent brands.
  8. Confirm and valorize all the above on your own site.

Sidenote: Understanding and credibility need to evolve in tandem. 

To attach any sort of credibility to your brand or your offers, Google needs to understand who you are.
Credibility without understanding means nothing.

Being understood, but not being credible (bad reviews, negative social media, etc.) is obviously bad.
Understanding without credibility will kill your brand.


A Simple View For the Future (Answer Engines)

google-brands-communication.png

  • Google wants to understand. It is your job to communicate and educate it.
  • Google seeks credibility. It is your job to convince.

If everyone who reads our articles, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

 

 

Chrome Will Remove Secure Label On HTTPS Sites In September

Google today announced its next steps for how Chrome labels HTTP and HTTPS sites. Starting in September 2018, Chrome will stop marking HTTPS sites as “Secure” in its address bar. And then in October 2018, Chrome will start displaying a red “Not secure” label when users enter data into HTTP pages.

HTTPS is a more secure version of the HTTP protocol used on the internet to connect users to websites. Secure connections are widely considered a necessary measure to decrease the risk of users being vulnerable to content injection (which can result in eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other data modification). Data is kept secure from third parties, and users can be more confident they are communicating with the correct website.

Google has been pushing the web to HTTPS for years, but it accelerated its efforts last year by making changes to Chrome’s user interface. Chrome 56, released in January 2017, started marking HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as “Not secure.” Chrome 62, released in October 2017, started marking HTTP sites with entered data and all HTTP sites viewed in Incognito mode as “Not secure.”

With the release of Chrome 68 in July, here is what HTTP sites will look like in the address bar:

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Notice that they are labeled as “Not secure” but the text is still gray.

With the release of Chrome 69 in September, HTTPS sites will no longer sport the “Secure” wording:

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This is an odd decision. I prefer seeing the green “Secure” label when I’m about to log in to a website or enter credit card information.

Google believes, however, that “users should expect that the web is safe by default” and that they will only be warned “when there’s an issue.” As a result, Chrome’s positive security indicators are being removed “so that the default unmarked state is secure.”

With the release of Chrome 70 in October, HTTP sites will show a red “Not secure” warning when users enter data:

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Notice how the page is already labeled as “Not secure” in gray, but the text turns red upon entering data.

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Google’s plan has always been to mark all HTTP sites as “Not secure” in red. This is just the latest stepping stone. But now we’re also learning that Chrome will eventually only focus on these negative red labels and remove the green positive ones.

In February, Google shared that over 78 percent of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac was HTTPS, while 68 percent of Chrome traffic on Android and Windows was HTTPS. We reached out to Google today to see if the company was willing to share an update on these figures. Update: No new figures, but you can view the latest progress for yourself here.

By: @EPro  

Google Pixel Watch: What We Want To See

Google Drive’s Redesign Matches The New Gmail

Google recently overhauled Gmail with a fresh revamp and new functions. Now the company is following on from that and rolling out an update to how Google Drive will look on the web. There’s no change in the way you use Drive; the redesign just involves color changes and where icons and buttons are placed. […]

via Google Drive’s redesign matches the new Gmail — Sound Books

Google Forms + Certify’Em = Custom Certificates for Students! via @meagan_e_kelly | iGeneration – 21st Century Education (Pedagogy & Digital Innovation)

Are you interested in creating custom certificates that are automatically emailed to your students? Then Certify’Em is the add-on for you! Certify’Em is an “add-on for Google Qu…

Source: Google Forms + Certify’Em = Custom Certificates for Students! via @meagan_e_kelly | iGeneration – 21st Century Education (Pedagogy & Digital Innovation)

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