Monthly Archives: July 2011

Why You Should Be Advertising With Adknowledge

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This is part 1 of PPC Hero’s advertising expansion series, focusing on improving return on investment by advertising through multiple channels. Today we have a post written by one of our PPC Hero allies at Adknowledge, the 4th largest ad marketplace behind Google, Facebook, and Bing. You might also find a special offer just for PPC Hero readers.

adknowledge ppc search engine logo

Adknowledge, the fourth largest advertiser marketplace, specializes in performance-based marketing solutions utilizing its powerful predictive technology and completely anonymous consumer response patterns to connect advertisers with consumers across multiple channels, including email, search, domains, and social networks. With over 60 terabytes of anonymous consumer behavior data, our proprietary targeting systems run over 20 billion calculations per day to determine what ad to show to each consumer. Ads are dynamically generated and placed within category-specific creatives and delivered to those users who are most likely to respond. Over 10,000 advertisers use the Adknowledge ad network to promote their offers.

WHO ARE OUR MOST SUCCESSFUL ADVERTISERS

Our most successful advertisers are ones looking to extend their reach beyond Google and other search buys and get the same quality traffic and leads while saving at least 30% or more. Some of our advertisers include:

  • Lead Generators
  • Affiliate/Performance Marketers
  • Brand Marketers
  • Social Media Agencies
  • Other Direct Response Advertisers

HOW IT WORKS

1. Create Your Ads

Select the categories that are most relevant for your business, and write your ads. Our dedicated account management team is on hand to help you with campaign setup and optimization.

2. Decide How Much To Spend

You choose how much you spend, and in which categories you want your ads to appear.

3. Get Targeted Leads To Your Site

You only pay when someone clicks on your Ad and visits your website.

BENEFITS

Cost Effective

  • Bids start at just 10¢ and you only pay when a user clicks on your Ad, making BidSystem Ad Marketplace PPC 100% cost-effective and accountable.

Extend Your Online Search

  • Every month we deliver over 110 million leads to our advertisers. With BidSystem Ad Marketplace, your ads will be displayed on social networks, games, emails, search engines, portals and niche, sector specific content sites.

Service With A Smile

  • We’re on hand to help. We’re always on the other end of the phone, not just on email.

SPECIAL OFFER TO PPC HERO READERS

To help PPC Hero fans get started, we’ll match the first $50 of your investment for a limited time when you sign up at BidSystem Ad Marketplace. Want to talk to us? Call us at 1-866-999-7650 or email accountmanagement@adknowledge.com

Adknowledge operates the 4th largest marketplace for advertisers to connect with their target audiences in hard-to-reach places on the Web with similar ROI as search. Since its founding in 2004, Adknowledge has grown organically and through acquisitions (including Miva, Super Rewards and Hydra) to become the largest privately-owned Internet advertising network.  The company connects advertisers with consumers across the long tail Web via multiple channels, including mobile, email, search, domains and social networks. For more information on Adknowledge, visit www.adknowledge.com.

 

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Four Reasons to Trust a Farmer’s Daughter with Your PPC Account

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This is the first post of a series called “why to trust a (insert stereotype) with your PPC account.” It’s the brainchild of Amy Hoffman, one of Hanapin’s Account Supervisors and our first profile!

Let me first give you a bit of background:

In March, we wrote a series called “Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Amazing Search Marketers.” Its focus was on Hanapin’s job interview process and how we use that to find great employees for our team. This series’ focus is about the people we eventually hire.

There are several characteristics that we’ve determined good search marketers have:

  • Marketing mindset (effectively interprets consumer data)
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Energized by client success
  • Love data
  • Internet enthusiast
  • Flexibility in what they’re asked to do (goes with the flow)
  • Proactive (one step ahead)
  • React effectively (grace under pressure)
  • Experience with Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Can balance multiple responsibilities
  • Relationship building skills
  • Interface experience (AdWords, adCenter)
  • Experience with PPC tools/software

How did we come up with these? A lot of trial and error! We have eight years of experience in hiring folks, so we know the types of characteristics that work well. We created a workout group, brainstormed the top 50 characteristics, and then pared it to the top third, listed above. I should note that these characteristics are ones our Account Executives chose based on their experiences working with other Account Executives.

While it always helps to have a marketing background (as does a third of our team) or previous experience in paid search (no one on our team), they’re not requirements. In fact, we’ve found these characteristics are good predictors of success, hence the impetus for this series. Of course, if someone exhibits the above characteristics and has a marketing or paid search background, the chances of success increase dramatically. Backgrounds in economics/finance or customer service seem to be applicable too.

Without further adieu, here’s our first profile on Amy, the “farmer’s daughter!”

Strong work ethic: However long it takes to get the job done at whatever hours necessary. While everyone says they have a strong work ethic (who wouldn’t?), there are times where this is really put to the test. Did your client’s website go down and you need to help them troubleshoot it at 6 am? Did you just find out their conversion tracking isn’t working on 500+ confirmation pages right as you’re about to leave for the weekend? Farmers deal well with stress, relatively speaking. Between the weather (it’s always too hot, or too rainy, too much sun, or not enough), the price of fuel, the price of grain, managing workers, and mechanical breakdowns farmers are under constant stress to provide us with food, clothing, and shelter, and still they bear the stress and work efficiently to make sure they get things done no matter what the job requires of them. You can’t pay the bills with “if we would have had a better crop this year.”

Relentless improvement: Every farmer has a yield; some are okay and some are flat out bad. But a good farmer is never truly satisfied, even if the yield is good. A good farmer is always looking to better themselves, their equipment, and their technique. We’ve had clients where we doubled conversions and saved them $250K/annually, all within the first 3-6 months of their engagement with us. That’s not usually the case though – most clients experience incremental improvement. Testing, testing, testing and more testing. If you think you can’t generate more performance, there’s always something you can do better. The key is not whether you’ve implemented something, but rather how well you’ve implemented it: a big keyword you missed, better ads that resonate with your target audience, or landing pages that convert at a higher rate.

Wearer of many hats: You can’t just plant a seed an expect it to grow and reap the benefits. There is a lot of analysis that goes into all parts of the job, and different fields (different clients) require different maintenance and attention. You need to do whatever is necessary to keep the wheels turning. Also, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. There are many factors in success or failure and, according to Amy: “I try to make sure that everything gels – if something doesn’t click, I get into the mechanics of it (also a regular responsibility in farming) to figure out the kinks and determine whether it should be fixed or nixed.”

For the love of the job: Last but not least, most farmers don’t farm because of the money. It’s not the most lucrative job in the world, but they do it because they love it and because they take pride in it. If you don’t love doing paid search and you’re just doing it for the paycheck, you’ll always be a step behind the person who betters their skills for the love of their job.

Well, that’s a wrap for our first “stereotypes” profile! We hope you now know you can trust a farmer’s daughter to do great work on your PPC account.

In this month’s Letter from the CEO, I promised I would post a new profile each Monday starting on the 11th. It’s obviously the 18th, so to make up for it, I’ll post the other two tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s profile about the “life scientist.”

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Expand Your PPC Advertising Networks To Improve Return On Investment

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Here at PPC Hero, we are focused on generating leads and traffic for our clients while continuing to improve return on investment. A major part of our strategy includes Google AdWords, as I’m sure is the case for most advertisers, and our blog posts tend to reflect that. In the last few months over 70% of our posts have been Google-related. Now as a PPC manager I would never say Google isn’t a valuable part of a PPC strategy because they are the industry leader and well, they’re also probably listening, but there are many other advertising networks out there that can bring in quality clicks and conversions at lower costs.

This is why this week we are running out Advertising Expansion series to introduce or remind all of you of additional ways to grow your PPC accounts.  You may have heard of these advertising networks referred to as second or third tier search engines, but these terms can be deceiving for two reasons. First, it makes it seem like traffic from these sites is of a lower quality which is not the case. These advertisers can generate many quality leads at a cheaper cost. Second, many of these advertisers are not search engines at all. They may show ads in search results but a lot of these sites have contextual networks where ads gather most of their impressions. So this is why I like to refer to this group of sites as alternative advertising networks. These alternative advertising networks supplement Google to drive more quality traffic and leads to your site.

We here at PPC Hero run ads on many of these alternative advertising networks. Check out the graph below of one of our accounts recent monthly performance:

PPC Search Engine Comparison

Although these other ad networks don’t drive as much traffic as Google, they all bring in leads for a much lower cost per conversion which can improve ROI.

For our Advertising Expansion series we have reached out to our PPC Hero Allies at the above advertising networks to provide you with information on their services. There are three posts lined up from these advertisers and you just might find some special offers for our PPC Hero readers. We will wrap up the week with a survey to gauge your experience with using these and other advertisers.

Check out the great posts we have lined up for our series:

Tuesday: Adknowledge, the 4th largest ad marketplace.

Wednesday: eZanga, developer of one of the most advanced systems to detect and deter click fraud in online advertising.

Thursday: 7Search, one of the first search engines to use pay-per-click sponsored links.

Friday: Advertising Network Survey.

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We All Scream for Ice Cream!

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WOW, that is a LOT of ice cream PPC Hero is carrying around there! Neapolitan is the way to go apparently! Happy National Ice Cream Day from all of us at PPC Hero!

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Using Top vs. Side Ad Segmentation To Make Bidding Decisions

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As we reported yesterday, Google announced on Wednesday that you can now choose “Top vs. Side” as a reporting segmentation option within AdWords. Sure, that seems like interesting info, but why should I care? Not like I can tell Google to only show my ads in the TOP position 1, not the SIDE position 1.  If I can’t do anything what does it matter!

The answer, my friend might be blowing in the wind, but it’s also within Hal Varian’s head and has been for quite a while. Let’s review. Way back in April, the Inside Adwords blog posted a note from Hal, which said: “there are two interpretations of the phrase “ad position.” The “page position” refers to the location on the page, such as “top ad 2” or “right-hand side ad 1.” The “auction position” is the rank of the ad in the auction that determines the order of the ads on the page. The critical point is that the reported average position metric is based on auction position, not page position.”

What that means? It means that a lot of the nonsensical things that you’ve seen happen when you fight to raise your average position with bid changes aren’t so nonsensical after all.

For example, if you move from position 1 on the Side to position 1 on the Top via a bid change, your reported average position in the past would not have changed. You would have been very confused as to why your performance changed when average position remained constant.

Additionally, because bid increases can make you eligible to win an appearance in more auctions, some bid changes can actually make your average position decrease. Again, if your performance changed either for the better or worse for a keyword, you had no idea why that had happened.

So how can you apply top vs. side segmentation to bring order to your little ad-position world and solve these mysteries? Let’s see.

 

Average position for this keyword is 3.2, all right. Maybe in the past, I’d want to bid up on this keyword if my cost/conv was okay. But: look! I don’t need to bid up to appear in 1.9 for the Top results. And will bidding up increase my position from 5.3 on the Side, or just qualify me to appear for additional queries and leave my position that low? Depending on my performance for each, I can decide if bidding up on this keyword is really something of value, or will harm rather than help me. Conversely, if I have a very high Top position, I may be able to bid down on this keyword without substantial impact on leads if my cost per conversion is a bit too high.

After you make bid changes, you can compare average position, CPC, and other metrics for two date ranges (one pre and one post bid changes) to determine the actual impact of your changes. Especially for broad match keywords, an increase in impressions after a bid change that comes from Side-shown ads may mean you are opening yourself up to traffic from additional queries; in this case it may be important to use a search query report to analyze the relevance of the traffic being driven by that keyword post-bid-change to ensure that it remains high and that the impression increase is actually useful to you.

Maybe in the future there will be segmented targeting or bidding options available based on this difference, and that’d be handy. But for the time being, it’s useful to use this segmentation to make bidding decisions and analyze comparative performance before and after changes.

 

 

 

 

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What We Wished We Had Known About PPC

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Here at Hanapin, we love working with pay per click.  We hound after the latest and greatest PPC news, integrate ourselves with advanced tools, and share our expertise through guides, series, and (coming soon!) our very own Hero Conf.

But there was a time when we were all PPC beginners, and so the team sat down to share the things we wish we had known when we first started PPC.  There’s a wealth of information here, including:

  • Protecting against the pitfalls of {param1} use in MSN
  • Generating new ideas through data reports
  • Watching out for match types, negatives, and other devilish details
  • Using Excel tips and tricks to save time and sanity

So whether you’re just starting out with PPC, or have a few survivor stories to share yourself, this video will give you the type of insider insight only found after seven years of search marketing excellence!

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New in AdWords: Top vs. Side Ad Performance Segmentation

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Yesterday, Felicia wrote about a game-changing announcement from Google about the reintroduction of keywords in Display Network campaigns. And today brings another curveball from Google: “Top vs. side” report segmentation.

Like Roy Halladay, this curveball sounds like it has the potential to be one of the most effective changes to AdWords in awhile. “Top vs. side” ad performance segmentation lets you compare an ad’s performance above and to the side of search results.

Screenshot of Google search resultsThis information will go along way in better understanding your ads’ performance on Google, and will help you better optimize your campaigns based on their best performing spots. This new feature comes on the heels of a post in April from Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, about understanding the Average Position metric in AdWords.

As Hal points out, average position was easy to misinterpret since ads can appear at the top or side of search results. There’s a significant difference in an ad that shows in the first position at the top of the page and the first position on the side of the page. The ad at the top of the page is most likely to receive more clicks. But, with this performance segmentation you will no longer have to guess what your average position means and monitoring your ad’s specific position will help you manage your bids more efficiently.

You can view this data on the Campaigns, Ad groups or Keywords tabs in your AdWords account. If you’re on one of these tabs, expand the segment menu in the gray bar above your report data and select “Top vs. Side.” You will see the data displayed for each line item on your report, as illustrated below:

I think the accessibility of this data will be the catalyst of many more tool developments from Google, like maybe a top page bid estimate, similar to their current first page bid estimate. But regardless of what future enhancements Google may or may not roll out in the future, I think this new data segmentation will be very helpful in understanding ad performance as it is directly related to specific ad position.

What do you think about this new data segmentation? Are you surprised by the information this has shed about your ad performance? Do you find this addition helpful in monitoring ads and making adjustments to your campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates from PPC Hero!

 

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Share Your Opinion On Quality Score And Win A Foodzie Tasting Box!

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There’s nothing PPC Hero loves more than Quality Score and free food. That’s why we’ve decided to combine the two with our new AdWords Quality Score Factors survey. PPC Hero conducted a similar survey back in 2007, the same year we released our Google Quality Score Handbook. Well a lot has changed in the last 4 years, so we want to gauge how opinions have changed as to what really affects Quality Score. In a few weeks we’ll also be releasing an updated guide to AdWords Quality Score with new information about the elusive number.

Complete the survey below to share your thoughts on Quality Score factors and you’ll be entered to win a 3-month Foodzie Tasting Box subscription! You have until the EOD July 22 to submit your answers. The winner will be chosen at random from the list of entrants. Good luck and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

 

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PPC Pitfalls For Beginners, Part II

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This is the second of a 2-part blog post highlighting some common pitfalls you want to avoid when getting started with paid search. The first installment took a look at loose account structure, aggressive keyword bidding and poor ad copy. Part two covers interface tools and driving too much traffic.

Doh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month I wrote about three PPC pitfalls to avoid when taking on a paid search campaign. This post will build off of those by highlighting two additional pitfalls. We will take a look at how the interface tools and excessive traffic can actually affect the success of your campaigns. Once again, it is my hope that both PPC beginners and veterans alike will find some value in my words in order to diagnose some common PPC issues before the damage is done.

 

Pitfall #4 – Interface Tools

The first pitfall you want to avoid from today’s lesson is placing too much trust in the interface tools. Although many of them seem very enticing at first, they might actually end up causing more damage than good.

Google Adwords Conversion Optimizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To illustrate my point, lets take a look at the Adwords Conversion Optimizer. This is one of the tools that Google introduced to their paid search interface that allows you to spend less time managing your bids manually. In addition, Google confidently explains how their tool will “Increase your AdWords conversions and decrease cost per acquisition. On average, campaigns adopting the Conversion Optimizer achieve a 21% increase in conversions while decreasing their CPA by 14%*.” This is well-written copy on Google’s behalf, but I would urge you to take a closer look before opting into this.

For those particularly observant folks, you might have noticed the asterisk at the end of their claim. This typically indicates that there is a catch, when it comes to products and services making claims. You know, the fine print that you can barely read at the bottom of the page. Here’s what it says:

*This analysis compares the performance of Conversion Optimizer campaigns with a control set of campaigns and represents the average impact of Conversion Optimizer. The actual impact will vary from campaign to campaign (and a small number of advertisers could conceivably perform better without Conversion Optimizer).

Essentially, this illustrates my main takeaway from this pitfall. Although these tools are designed for your benefit, this is not always the case. In other words, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Solution: To avoid this problem, take PPC enhancement tools with a grain of salt. The fact of the matter is that the results are not clear-cut and dependent upon each individual scenario. You don’t want to fall into the trap of assuming that a tool will do everything you want it do. Some people simply prefer to opt out of enhancement tools for more control, but for those who want to try new things, you need to keep a close eye in case your data goes awry.

Now, it’s not my intention to condemn the tools that are designed to make our jobs easier, but rather urge you to proceed with caution when giving them a test run. You might try setting up a trial period in order to collect data and then determining whether or not it is actually beneficial.

 

Pitfall #5 – Driving Too Much Traffic

Another pitfall you want to avoid is driving too much traffic. Here, I am referring to the irrelevant clicks that are only good for increasing spend without anything in return.

PPC Traffic Funnel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example, let’s say that I want to set up an ad group that targets men’s running shoes. I include shoes, Nike and running as broad match keywords within that ad group. After allowing those keywords to collect some data over time, I notice that there are an abnormal amount of clicks being generated without any conversion data. These excessive clicks are typically referred to as irrelevant traffic and need to be restricted. Moreover, this is a red flag that needs to be addressed because it is affecting your ROI.

Whenever you are structuring an account, it is important to consider the ways in which you can restrict your traffic flow. Generating highly targeted traffic is one of the basic essences of PPC in general and is also critical to the overall success of your campaign. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can close the floodgates and drive more qualified traffic.

Solution: As a PPC manager, it’s all about the ROI. You want to be thinking about the maximum amount of leads/conversions you can produce with a given amount of money. Whether you are handling your PPC independently or working on behalf of an agency, you will more than likely be working with a set monthly budget that you will be responsible for optimizing accordingly. So, here are a few ways that can help optimize your traffic flow:

  • Match Types – Phrase and exact match keywords are good for limiting traffic because they only trigger your ads if certain criteria from a user’s search query are met. Phrase match will show if the word or words in your keyword appear in a customer’s search query in the same order, even if other words are present in the typed query. This is good for limiting some of your traffic. On the other hand, exact match will show when the exact word or words in your keyword, in exactly the same order, appear in a customer’s query. This is good for even more control than phrase matching. For more information, check out this post on understanding match type differences between Adwords and adCenter.
  • Negative Keywords – Negative keyword lists are another core component of a successful keyword list. Adding negative keywords to your ad group or campaign will block your ads from being shown for searches containing those terms. By filtering out unwanted clicks, negative keywords can help you reduce your CPC and increase your ROI. For more information, check out this post on using negative keyword lists.
  • Keyword Selection – From my hypothetical scenario above, this becomes particularly important. Remember how I included shoes, Nike and running as broad match keywords? If I’m trying to target men’s running shoes, it should be clear that this is poor keyword selection. Not only are they broad match (least amount of traffic control), but they aren’t tightly themed as well. The keyword shoes could trigger ads for casual shoes, women’s shoes, etc, all of which are not men’s running shoes as I intended. In order to drive more qualified traffic, I would want to go back and make sure all of my keywords in that ad group pertain to men’s running shoes by using terms like running shoes for men and Nike men’s running shoes. For more information, check out this post on account structure set up and best practices.
  • User Targeting – Adwords and adCenter have some nice targeting features that can help you further refine your traffic flow. Each interface allows you to target users based upon their location, the type of device they are using, particular times of day, certain days of the week, as well as by gender and age. As you might imagine, these targeting options can be quite useful in refining your traffic and generating better ROI. For more information, check out this two-part post on the targeting features of Google and Bing.

As I mentioned in my previous post, it is important to avoid potential pitfalls like these in your PPC accounts. With a little bit of research and care on your end, you can capitalize on the best practices passed down through the generations. Overall, this series took a look at loose account structure, aggressive keyword bidding, poor ad copy, interface tools and driving too much traffic as potential pitfalls. Avoiding these will get you started on the right foot and ultimately lead to better ROI. What are some other PPC pitfalls you have experienced in the past? I would welcome your feedback in the comment section below!

 

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Keywords Make Their Display Network Comeback!

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Some of the greatest game changers have been because of a bad call or a change in the rules.  If you are a baseball fan, you are aware of the ill fate of Detroit’s pitcher Armando Galarraga and his loss of being awarded a perfectly pitched game due to an umpire’s bad call.  Unfortunately for Galarraga, the baseball commissioner did not over turn the decision even though ump Jim Joyce tearfully admitted his mistake.

Fortunately for us PPC Managers, Google gave us a game changer and announced yesterday that they are making changes to the campaign settings in the Display Network.  Keywords are making a comeback on the managed placement, audience and topics campaign setting. (Insert crowd wave here!)

First things first… the campaigns need to meet the following criteria:

  • campaign setting is on placements, audiences and topics
  • the ad group is targeting only keywords
  • and of course, the account must be opted into the display network. (Good call Google…)

So now that the obvious things are out of the way – what are they changing?  Well, previously if a PPC Manager picked the setting for placements, audiences and topics only for their campaign and they have only keywords in the ad group, the ads are not eligible to show.  At all.  Ever.  As in banned from the network like fans wanted to ban Jim Joyce from baseball.  Google explains, “ads with this type of setting conflict will start appearing on relevant pages across the entire Google Network based on your keywords…If you add a placement, audience, or topic, your ad will continue to appear only on relevant pages within that placement, audience, or topic.”  There is no need to make any changes to the ad groups.

Google has also renamed the settings for these two options.

This will be a great addition to the tools that we can use to heighten our client’s presence on the display network and hopefully get lower cpls out of it.  The keywords will give more flexibility than just a managed placement, topic or audience.  Now they can all work together and create PPC history!  So congratulations, Google Keywords, for hitting a grand slam homer and becoming a productive player on display network team!

How will your display network campaigns be affected by this change?  Let us know here at PPC Hero – we would love to hear from you!

Need other resources to help you be an MVP in the display network? Check this out!:

http://www.ppchero.com/hello-adwords-topic-targeting/

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