As a tangentially related aside from the dire subject of Cybersecurity, heres a look into the business of being in this business and the sometimes humorously ironic consequences of working with Google Adwords.
Depending on moon phase or how Virgo lies in the night sky, RSI at times receives a collection of colorful calls from the public, (incorrectly) linking our company with nefarious schemes or conspiracies littered across the web.
The root cause for these calls are the Google Adwords we have deployed in our online advertising campaign, such as “security”, “cybersecurity”, “compliance” etc. Our intent, of course, is to have professionals search for these terms when they have a business need to secure their systems and infrastructure.
The logical (and desired) consequence would then be to have that company contact RSI for services and consultation that would secure the business from cyber threats as well as provide compliance documentation for their respective regulator, parent company, etc.
Because Google doesn’t discriminate on who they let see search results, business professionals can search for the keyword “security”, as can the general public. These colorful calls are coming in because the general public 1) can have their own motivations to search for “security” and 2) have distinct interpretations of the results. Compare:
Need – Secure my business from hackers
Google search – “security” & hackers
Result & Interpretation – “I see RSIs ad as a security vendor, Ill contact them for services that could help us.
When a businessperson searches for “security” (among or alongside other relevant keywords), if Ive done my job well as a marketer to program the salient keywords and phrases to expose RSI’s business to the web, “RSI” will come up as a search result. The user might click on our website URL listed in results, or an ad on Google’s page, or on an ad served up on a Google display network site, such as “Onlineconversion.com”, seen below. That 3rd / latter citation is the source of all consternation.
To be clear, Google places the ad on these websites. Their secret sauce algorithm dictates ad placement, timing, and layout — in the below case RSI’s ad is placed in the body and header of the page. Google also served up the LabTech ad on the right side.
Google also programs the ad to “follow” the user on 1) websites that they visit and 2) various consumption HW platforms (smartphone, PC, etc) via stored browser cookies for a duration we set. In our case, we request a 30 day span, which is an accepted best practice duration.
All this is exactly what we want to happen / display to our potential business customers seeking a security solution. But then things can (and have) gone awry when the general public searches for “security”, for their own unique needs and interpretation.
Need – Secure my home from Russian invaders. Or aliens. From Russian aliens! (I’m obviously being facetious, but nevertheless we have quantifiable evidence of how the general public sometimes reacts to our ads)
Google search – “security” & “aliens”
Result & Interpretation – “RSI” (because “security”) Hm, what is this RSI?
So then Mr. or & Mrs. general public clicks on our ad or link, and the Google display network “follows them around” on other sites they visit, just as with the “Onlineconversion.com” example cited above.
Weve actually received complaint calls that RSI is “All over everything. His server. His computer. His cell phone.”
That may very well be the case, as Google serves up our ad on his various browsers given stored cookies that Google itself pushes to each platform (PC, tablet, smartphone).
So that’s the explanation, what can be done about it?
Simply put, we need to make assumptions on the public’s search motivations, and then create specific “negative adwords” that link with and ultimately 1) counter the association with RSIs adwords and 2) prevent our ads from being served up to those that search for these combinations. We need to create negative adwords such as “aliens” “russians” “cheating spouse” etc, so that Google can avoid serving up RSIs URL or ad to individuals who enter those terms alongside “security”, or any of our other professionally-intended adwords.
About the Author
Eric Haruki is a technology analyst with over 15 years of experience advising global category leaderssuch as Samsung, Panasonic, HP, & Ciscoonproduct and brand strategy, market competitiveness, and in areas of untapped product and distribution opportunity. He has produced both syndicated and project work, delivering forecasts, SWOT analyses, road maps, and panel survey insights to research customers around the globe. Eric has contributed to major print and television press outlets and has been a featured presenter at industry conferences. He isdriven to find insights through extensive market research and deliver concise and actionable solutions to vendors, leading ultimately to the development of valued downstream goods and services to end users.