Google Launches “AI Overviews” for ALL US Users…Here’s What Changed

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Welcome, everyone, to another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast, where Spencer and Jared offer an overview of the week in news related to SEO, AI, and Google.

As is usually the case, this was a news-heavy week, especially in terms of AI. 

They kicked the episode off by talking about Google’s O/I event , where the company revealed everything it has been working on, much of it revolving around AI.

The biggest announcement was that SGE has now been renamed AI Overviews, which will be available to users in the US immediately.

What’s the full impact of these AI Overviews? How often do they show up in search results? Does the change in name mean it’s going to work differently?

watch the full episode

AI was definitely the theme of the presentation, but how does Google’s offer measure up with that of OpenAI?

Jared highlighted information about AI Overview as it relates to publishers and content creators. What interesting (and promising) data did he share? 

And what happens if you don’t want Google to use your information for its AI results? Why does Spencer call this a “frustrating state of affairs?” Is this really what users want?

And is anyone fighting for small, independent publishers?

Moving along, Spencer and Jared talk about their Shiny Object Shenanigans. Spencer talks about his experiment getting Reddit traffic. 

He shares a bit of his strategy, talks about Reddit and RPMs, and his efforts to join Mediavine’s Journey program.

When it’s Jared’s turn, he talks about growing his Facebook page, his current cost per like, his cost per lead, and his plans for video ads.

Moving along to the Weird Niche Site portion of the podcast, Spencer breaks all the rules (which is okay, because he also makes them) and reveals a weird YouTube channel, Tiny Cakes

With more than 6 million subscribers, their videos are getting millions and millions of views. According to Social Blade, the site has received 960 million lifetime views, he and Jared talk about the thumbnails, 

Jared shares the site Famous For A Day, which allows you to hire a paparazzi for the day. He talks about the packages available on the site, whether this is real or a prank, and how it might be used by people.

He also talks about the keywords it’s ranking for and potential marketing techniques it’s using.

And that concludes another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast. We hope you’re feeling more informed about recent events in Google’s sphere and feel inspired by the side hustles and weird sites and channels we covered.

See you next Friday!

transcription

Spencer: Everyone, welcome to another episode of this week in niche pursuits news. And wouldn’t, you know, it not one, but two companies have made major announcements as it relates to artificial intelligence. We’ve got both the Google IO event and open AI made some major announcements in terms of advancements.

They’ve got a new model. Of chat. GPT four. Oh, has come out. And so we’re gonna dive in today. How this impacts search, how it impacts Google results. And of course, chat about how that might impact traffic coming to your website. And so we’re gonna dive deep into that along with a couple of other related stories really all related to this.

But a couple of voices in the industry, uh, have spoken out about this subject. And so we’re going to jump into it a little bit more. And so we have that all of that in the news section here, and then we’ve got a couple of, um, shiny object shenanigans, uh, that we’re going to jump into a couple of updates of projects that we’ve been working on.

And then finally, two weird niche sites. I will simply say that today I’m kind of breaking the rules a little bit. Um, I’ll jump into what that means exactly here. Um, but I’m, I’m going with it, you know, I guess I kind of make the rules around here, so I’m, I’m breaking my own rule, but we’ll, I’ll, I’ll show you what that means, uh, when we do our weird niche site.

So, uh, Jared, how you doing today? 

Jared: Good. You know, I feel like I hope, I hope the listeners appreciate, uh, I’m just back from the UK, I’m jet lagged. My voice is a bit hoarse. Who knows where the heck you are, but you’re not in your standard environment. I know you’re on travel at a conference You just got done speaking on stage and you ran off to do this Like we’re trying to really keep the news going and not miss a week.

Spencer: That’s right. The news must go on I am I’m in a hotel room here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Which I can see the beach just outside my window. So it’s not all bad Uh, although I haven’t visited the beach yet. Um, I did just finish speaking and my Mike’s not quite, you know, the stand isn’t working, so I’m kind of holding it, uh, anyways, the podcast goes on, we’re going to make it work.

Um, there’s a lot of news. It never stops. Whether we’re speaking at conferences, traveling or not. So, uh, up first and Jared’s gonna do the screen share duties here today. But, um, you know, Google had their big I O event. It’s where they announced sort of all of their major announcements, their new technology and this particular verge article kind of just goes over everything that they shared, you know, Google lens, you can now search by video, uh, Gemini will answer your questions, you know, um, More advanced models of Google Gemini.

Um, they’re using AI all over the place within Google, uh, workspace, you know, as I said, you can use video, you can, uh, use Google Gemini within your Google photos to ask it all sorts of questions. I guess, uh, the CEO Sundar Pinchai, uh, he got up on stage and asked something about what his license plate number was and, uh, Google Was able to use his Google photos to find that answer and, uh, you know, make it really, um, easy for him to find that.

But as it, um, I suppose the most important update announcement that, uh, was mentioned is that, Uh, the search generative experience is now called AI overviews. It’s officially changed its name, AI overviews. And it was announced that this is going to roll out to everyone in the United States, starting this week, starting immediately, I’m not sure exactly when that was, I believe it was this week, but it’s happening now, everyone in the we’ll start seeing these AI overview.

Answers. Um, did I get all of that right? What additional details did you want to add to that? Jared, 

Jared: there’s so much in this announcement. Like you said, I mean, each of these feels like they could be their own separate announcement. They chose to do it all in one kind of sitting. But the big one as it relates to what we’re what we do and what we’re talking about is that S.

G. E. Is S. G. E. Is I mean, basically no more, it’s now AI overviews, it’s now live. So we’re no longer talking about a beta version. We’re no longer working in that space anymore. We’re no longer wondering if, and when it’s going to go live. We’re no longer surmising that it took longer than they said it would.

That December, 2023 was supposed to go. And then we haven’t had updates since it’s now live and it’s now, um, rolling out to everyone in the U S and, um, it’s giving you that SGE like summary that we’ve come to know, and it’s doing it on a lot of queries. 

Spencer: Right. Um, so what’s interesting about this is that just last week there was kind of a study done, um, to show that SGE results were actually showing up less on, on less queries.

Uh, and so that was like kind of positive news is like, Oh, well, it’s actually showing up on this percentage less of queries, uh, all the time. Uh, but then you get this public facing. Announcement by Google, uh, which again, as we’ve talked about in the past, as always, they present their best foot forward.

It’s a very positive outlook. It’s the CEO making these announcements saying that we’ve got this AI overviews and it’s now rolling out to everyone in the U S we don’t know the full impact of that. Yes. Everyone might start seeing these, but. Maybe it’s actually showing up on less queries than it was before in some of their beta tests.

We don’t know that answer. And so we don’t know the full impact of what these AI overviews are gonna have on us as individual bloggers. So I know it’s a scary proposition. Um, there’s probably a lot of bloggers panicking and saying, well, am I gonna be getting any traffic to my websites anymore if AI overviews just show up for everything?

Um, but we don’t really know that answer yet. 

Jared: Yeah. You know, let’s see if I can find it here. I’m screen sharing live. Here it is. A recent study you referenced showed that AI overviews dropped from showing 65 percent of the time to 35 percent of the time. 

Spencer: There you go. Um, 

Jared: it looks like it was just study done by, uh, only, um, uh, and it was a, or maybe it was a different study also posted data just yesterday showing these AI overview show up a lot less often.

And here we have a tweet with a detailed study that people can go reference and look at. I’ve now moved on to referencing this really in depth article by Barry Schwartz, which we should talk about some of the implications, but you’re right. There were signs that, uh, Google was staying committed to SGE, right?

Like we’ve had the CEO come out many times and talk about this is where we’re going, but then there’s just been so many things that make it look like they’re pulling back from it or at least delaying things. So kind of out of nowhere, here we are, and we’re live with it, but it’s, um, it’s creating some definite controversy.

Spencer: Right. You know, we’re right in the middle of it. Even changing the name. Does that mean they’re changing how it works a little bit? Um, are they just trying to make it easier for people to, uh, you know, say instead of search generative experience? Um, so You know, it’s hard to know with a study just coming out yesterday, say yesterday saying, Hey, SGE is showing up less often now, but, uh, the same week is Google saying AI overviews is showing up to all us users, uh, potentially, uh, we, we just don’t know, but there’s so many updates coming out and it felt like almost all of the announcements coming out, out of this Google IO event were like, Boy, oh boy, are they just going heavy with this AI positive.

We’re a strong artificial intelligence company, and we know this is the future, and we’ve got so many things that we’re investing in, and we’re going all in with AI. Um, it feels a little bit like they’re just trying to keep up with, you know, Competition, you know, particularly from OpenAI, which OpenAI also had their big event.

Um, was that Monday as well? I, I don’t even remember. No, it was last week. Or last week? It was last 

Jared: Thursday, yeah. 

Spencer: Okay, thank you. May 9th, 

Jared: May 9th. 

Spencer: There you go, that, you know, chat, GPT announced, uh, or open AI announced, uh, chat GPT four Oh, um, I guess the O stands for Omni. Um, but it, It’s pretty cool. You need to go look at the demos, right?

You can use a lot more voice commands, uh, they can do things with images and pictures so that chat GPT can interact, you know, with pictures that you’ve taken or video that you’ve taken. It can detect emotion in your voice and in your image and can tailor its response based on those things. Uh, and I guess, uh, a part of that big announcement as well is that, uh, Um, this model, its latest model, GPT four is now available for free for all users.

You don’t need to be on the premium plan. You can just get that whether you’re on, um, you know, the online version, desktop, mobile version, they’ve got all of these versions that have come out. And, uh, anyways, kind of planning their flag in. In the ground of, Hey, you know, we are the AI company to beat. And so it feels a little bit like Google is responding to a lot of this as well.

Jared: Yeah. Do you want to jump over to that topic or stick with the AI overview article from Barry? 

Spencer: Yeah, no, we can, we can talk about, uh, Barry’s article there as well. I don’t know that there’s much more to mention with. Uh, open AI other than they’ve got that new model that I wanted to mention. 

Jared: Yeah. I tend to agree with you on the open AI front.

I mean, one thing to note is we’ve kind of got to eat a little bit of crow here. We did surmise along with everyone, but we did surmise last week. They would be launching perhaps some sort of search, search platform, search. openai. com was registered. No search platform. So 

Spencer: that’s right. Good. Or bad. You did mention that.

That didn’t happen. We were trying to be on the forefront of news. You know, we, uh, we 

Jared: got to go back to just reporting the news that is already live. 

Spencer: That’s right. No search engine from open AI was announced. That is correct. 

Jared: Barry Schwartz going back to Google’s. Um, uh, announcement he had, uh, obviously it had been pre planned an in depth interview with someone at Google.

I don’t remember their title. I can try to find it here. It was somebody high up. It was a really long article. Did you get to read through that article and some of the insights that he was able to gain about kind of maybe more relevant to how it relates to us web publishers? 

Spencer: Uh, I was able to just briefly scan that.

So maybe you can give us some of the highlights there. 

Jared: Okay. Let me pull it up here. And, uh, one sec. So basically Barry was able to get an interview. Um, and here’s a couple of things I wanted to highlight that I think were interesting. Number one, uh, this is Barry quoting saying, I was shocked to hear that the link cards within at the bottom of the AI overviews get more clicks than normal search results.

Snippet get, she said, similar to how featured snippets have a higher click through rate compared to normal search results. Um, Uh, and basically, uh, the CEO told CNBC, uh, in general, we find it’s both overall increasing usage. And when we look at it year on year, we have been able to grow traffic to the ecosystem.

So we have compared to most of the players. We are prioritizing approaches, which will generate traffic as well. So, um, multiple sides of this are saying that the. SGE experience, which is now the AI overview experience is driving more traffic akin to a featured snippet. And I think that’s a very interesting and fascinating thing to, to, to kind of think through.

The other thing that got pointed out was just this overall concept of lack of GSC reporting. And now that this is, you know, for so long, we were giving them the benefit of the doubt, Hey, this is a beta program. This is a beta thing. Like that’s why we don’t have any vision into, but now that it’s. Live and official, we have no clarity in Google Search Console or anywhere else on what is driving our clicks.

And it would seem that this should be something that gets reported on in GSC, but it isn’t as of yet, and it sure would be great because, um, we just have no clue right now about what’s, uh, what traffic to our website is coming from these AI overviews. 

Spencer: Right. Exactly. And that, uh, that is a big question mark.

I mean, that’s something that we don’t know the full impact. And right now, as you said, we can’t even get the full reporting to know, Hey, are we getting any traffic at all? Um, from these sort of AI overviews? And that’s something that, um, Certainly we’re going to want to know more of at, as apparently this is rolling out to everybody.

Jared: So let’s talk about this idea of opting out. And, um, I don’t want to, I want to say that I only was reading about this like an hour ago when we were getting ready to record the initial, uh, the initial report that I read, which is consistent with what we’ve known for a while, which is, hey, if you want to opt out of AI overviews, you are in essence de indexing your site from Google.

So it’s basically all in or nothing. And so if you don’t want to allow Google to steal your content with their AI and surface it on their page instead of yours, if you don’t want that, then you are basically saying, no, I don’t even want you to give results to my website in the index. However, and I read that that’s the same here.

Once AI overviews went live, but at the same time, Barry Schwartz, and we saw something I’ll pull it up from Lily Ray about this, that says that there actually is a way. To opt out of the, um, the AI overviews and still have your content show up in Google search.

Spencer: Yeah. Um, and she’s got a sort of post here on, um, on LinkedIn where she talks about this, uh, which, um, Yeah, it it’s I read this and it wasn’t really clear, right? It says, um, maybe if you could just scroll up there, uh, she says, uh, yeah, it’s giving site owners a mechanism for moving the link, uh, to their content within AI overviews by you using the no snippet tag, which is also used to prevent content from showing in the meta description featured snippet in Google.

Results. Right. 

Jared: And again, just coming into this right before we start recording, does that mean you’re still allowing them to use your content for the AI, but you’re just basically saying, don’t link to me. 

Spencer: Right. That’s, that was my question. That’s almost what it sounds like. Um, what 

Jared: it sounds like. 

Spencer: Yeah, which the only way to prevent Google from being trained on your content is probably to no index it, right?

It’s like they’re going to scrape and use your content. Um, but if you don’t want us to send any traffic from our AI overviews, you can request that, which that sounds like a losing situation. 

Jared: Right. So basically similar to what we always knew, apparently now you can remove. This tiny bit of fringe value that you get from having Google in essence, steal your content.

Spencer: Right. Okay. Unfortunately. Yeah. That’s kind of what it sounds like. 

Jared: Good. I’m glad I processed that out loud in front of everybody here. The unfortunate side of reading that 10 minutes before we started recording. 

Spencer: Yeah, no, that’s all right. Um, so as, um, a lot of this, let’s see, there was an, an interesting, uh, Twitter thread here with, uh, Danny Sullivan.

Yes. Um, if you’re able to pull that up, cause it kind of talks about some of this AI. I mean, he basically, his tweet was about, Hey, you know, AI overviews is rolling out to everybody within the U S. Um, but what I found interesting was, um, Glenn Alsop’s response, which I don’t know if, if, uh, you can see that here, but, or, or on the, the screen share there, but basically he said, um, you know, within your announcement, um, you kind of had an example of, Uh, an AI overview answer, um, that then led to a Quora post and the Quora post is an AI overview answer.

So we’ve kind of got this circular thing here of where Google’s got a snippet up in their AI results that was actually taken from Quora that was produced by AI. And that was in the example of the blog post that they had. It’s just, um, Kind of a frustrating state of affairs that we might be in here. 

Jared: Got it pulled up right here.

So, yeah, I think it’s very interesting that, um, this, that again, we talk constantly about the circle of what’s happening and this idea of the combination of helpful content and it’s clear lack of definition or the last six to nine months circled around AI and Google’s. Insistence on going on an AI while also insisting that they adjudicate on what helpful content is and continually tripping over themselves in the process.

Spencer: Right. Right. Boy, oh boy. Um, I mean, do we have anything, uh, positive to say, um, about any of these announcements? Um, it just, it feels like, uh, it’s kind of one hit after the other. 

Jared: Yeah, i i it is. I mean, it is. I think that More and more, we have to, I think that the announcement by Google shows and you, you hit on the nail on the head, like we could do an entire podcast episode, probably on every single one of the new AI features that they put out there.

Um, the video, the ability to create videos now in a more complex sense, the, uh, the AI assistant that they’ve already had, but walk through that presentation. I mean, every one of them. Is crazy. But the big central theme is it’s all AI. And so it’s all in on AI. And that is clearly where Google is 100 percent going.

And we have to take everything they say with a bit of a grain of salt. Like how much do people really like it? How much do people like the AI results? Continually showing up compared up against all the commentary. You and I’ve talked about where people basically liking Google results less and less over the past year or so.

I don’t know. It’s, it’s, it’s not good news, but I’m not sure it’s not good. Good news for publishers, but I’m not sure this is short term good news for, for users. 

Spencer: Right, exactly. And so, um, Will Google figure out a way to, um, be a good experience for users, right? And give, give users what they want. Um, I guess here’s one sort of silver lining story, I guess, that we can end up with here is, uh, again, Danny Sullivan on Twitter, uh, he gave a response and it’s a really long response to, um, somebody.

That was asking about manual action versus algorithmic action. And she was kind of actually saying, Hey, I’d prefer to get a manual action because then I could actually see in Google search console what I need to fix. And maybe I’d be able to fix that. Um, but. Uh, in Danny’s really, really long response, that people can go and read if they want, it’s like the last paragraph, or second to last paragraph, he actually says some things that, um, are, at least he’s saying the right things, uh, here to small publishers.

Um, he sort of says, And I’m reading on on my screen. I don’t know if you have it there, but he says, Um, but I’ll end on this. Also, I’ve spent a huge amount of time looking at the feedback over the last few months, diving deep into sites, writing up thoughts and talking with people internally, and he’s Talking about the helpful content update, uh, mostly, um, he says, I fully recognize that there are small or independent or whatever you want to call them sites that are diligently producing great content, but our systems aren’t recognizing it as well as they should.

There’s a lot of really poor content that our systems are indeed recognizing, and there’s also great content that is doing very well, but those doing very well with great stuff tend to not talk about that on the socials. I’d like to see us to do better with. That that subset I mentioned the great content and not well recognized better in helping to guide away from maybe unhelpful things that have been learned by others by better guidance, maybe better reporting and some other things.

I’m pondering. We might try. Anyways, he goes on and he actually talks about, Hey, he is internally. He’s trying to fight for smaller independent publishers. Um, he’s, you know, You know, working with, yeah, his internal teams to suggest and encourage and recommend ways that we can either feature, uh, these small independent publishers or figure out better ways that we can communicate to help people fix the things that maybe are broken.

So that’s maybe the silver lining to all of this discussion is that it does appear that at least Danny Sullivan is listening and trying in some regard. 

Jared: I mean I couldn’t agree with you more like clearly Danny is truly a liaison as we like examine what a liaison is and does I mean he couldn’t have made it more clear he’s like I have it’s like the classic scene I feel like from um, What’s the movie office space where the guy, they sit that guy down.

They’re like, what exactly do you do for us? And he’s like, well, I talked to the engineers or whatever. And then when they figure out what they want, I tell the customer and they’re like, okay, so we could just have the engineers. Tell the customer and he’s like, no, no, that’s not how it works. I’m really important for the record he is.

But what they were trying to highlight is what exactly do you do around here? Do you accomplish around here? And I feel like that scene happening all over again with Danny and his role as search liaison, it’s kind of like, and he says right here, I work with other teams and suggest, encourage, and recommend, but I can’t do it myself.

I don’t have that. I’m not responsible for it. And other teams have the go ahead on stuff. Now, moving beyond that, I think that to me, what really came out of this is that they don’t have a solution that isn’t all or nothing. And that’s what the HCU has become. It’s become this all or nothing sort of thing.

And I was trying to think of a good example. I just got back from the UK, uh, yesterday. And so I was flying internationally. And I mean, I don’t know. Obviously all analogies break down at some point. So don’t take my example too far, but they have this thing called global entry in the United States and it’s where they’ve gone through.

And they’ve said like, we can’t minimize, we can’t reduce all the risk associated with, um, travel and security, but we can go through processes of evaluating individuals and putting them in a easier path to travel based on their background and other things, right? And so when you have global entry. It’s a long approval process, but once you get that approval process, you can go through the line quicker.

You can get better access, and it feels like Google’s response to this spam stuff that Danny continually talked about in this is basically to say anything that could be. Spam for smaller independent publishers is going to get flagged and, and going to get, going to get pushed, uh, out of the search results.

And I, I’m reading into it a little bit too much, but I think that that’s some of the deeper line frustrations is that Google hasn’t found a system to separate spammers from independent publishers producing good content, 

Spencer: right? You know, it’s, uh, it’s tough, right? Because it does feel like a lot of great websites.

A lot of great bloggers have been caught up in. You know, something that was meant for true spammers. It was meant for people truly trying to game the system. Uh, so we’ll continue to talk about this, I’m sure. Um, you know, for who knows, uh, how long. But, uh, we will continue talking about it until we see any updates or changes.

Uh, but that, I mean, I think that generally kind of covers a lot of the news. People can read more about the announcements, both with Google and with open a I. There is some very interesting technology that was announced. And so we wanted to cover that. Um, and so we’re gonna move on to our shiny object shenanigans, maybe a little more.

Uh, if you will, just some things that we’re working on. Uh, and of course I have a site that, uh, it’s not a huge update, but I’ll just give another update on my site that, uh, I’m doing what I can to try alternative traffic sources. I’m trying to get traffic from Facebook. I’m trying to get traffic from, uh, Reddit.

And I talked about this, um, a little bit. About a week ago, and so this is just a screenshot. This is just taken. Oh, it was a couple days ago before I flew out here With kind of what’s happened over the last 28 days something like that So, uh, you can see that I continue right to get a decent amount of traffic from Reddit.

Overall, if you add up, there’s a few different categories. You know, the 9000 plus the 1300 plus the 200, right? We’re looking at maybe close to 12, 000 now. Visitors over the last 28 days have come from Reddit. And, uh, it’s, it’s just, it’s interesting, uh, because Reddit is a place where moderators can be absolutely brutal in banning you or removing, uh, your content.

And so you have to be very careful. And so we’ve learned that, Hey, you need to have a somewhat seasoned account. You can’t just. Come in with a brand new account and start posting links to your website. That’s going to get you banned. And so we’ve just continued to test over the last couple of weeks of what sub Reddits can we interact with and sort of earn karma on our own, you know, account.

And then what subreddits can we post links to? And so it’s a fine balance of. posting a lot of links to other articles, right, that are not related to our website at all, and then mixing in some links to content that you, you know, from your own website. And so, most of the content we publish on Reddit or post on Reddit is not our own content.

And that’s just the way it goes, uh, with Reddit. Uh, and so, I’m not gonna share the, the uh, Subreddits that we use, right? There are some bigger subreddits that you can get away with posting some content to, if you’re very careful and have a seasoned account. Uh, but of course, we also have created our own subreddit and we’re trying to build users to that so it can get a little bit more traction and we can post links to our own content and We’ll get some users that go over, but for the most part, most of the traffic is coming from larger subreddits at this point that we found every once in a while.

It’s okay if we post a link to our own website, and so that’s kind of just our update. We’re still testing it, right? We’re getting 12, 13, 000 visitors in the last 28 days. And, um, we’re going to continue trying that here over the next month or so. It seems to be going 

Jared: up. 

Spencer: I feel like 

Jared: last time you talked about it was 10, 000, you know, 

Spencer: it was right at about 10, 000.

Right. And so, uh, the trend is up, uh, over the past week. So I just thought I’d share that. Hey, it’s still going okay. We’re still getting some visitors and it’s very sporadic. Uh, of course, right. We, it’s not like every day we get a big spike from Reddit. It’s more like a couple of times a week, maybe, right.

You might get. Some traction on Reddit and get a thousand visitors or a couple thousand visitors or a few hundred or whatever it may be. Uh, and so, uh, it’s, it’s very intermittent. You know, you can’t go in every single day, posting tons of content to your own website. So 

Jared: one question, I don’t even know if you’ve even looked at this.

You probably You probably haven’t to be fair. Um, but I’m gonna ask anyways. I know there’s been a lot of chatter about the RPMs that ad companies pay based on traffic sources, right? So every traffic source is not the same and thus doesn’t end up paying the same. So we’ll talk about how Pinterest traffic they’ve seen as they’ve started.

Looking towards Pinterest for their alternate Traffic source their RPMs from Pinterest traffic is actually higher than it was say from Google Have you noticed any thing at all in terms of the reddit traffic and its RPMs? 

Spencer: I don’t know that answer Jared Unfortunately, I have not broken it down by traffic source, but that’s a good idea.

Maybe I’ll come prepared next week With that information that would be good to know 

Jared: I would be so you know, just yeah, I think about all this stuff. So 

Spencer: Yeah, no, I think that would be an interesting thing to look at. I mean, it’s, uh, you know, even though the site is, you know, 15, 16, 000 visitors a month or whatever it is currently, uh, it’s a small site, right?

So it’s not making a ton of money. I don’t log in every day and, uh, kind of analyze everything. 

Jared: Is it monetized on like a premium ad network or is it still? 

Spencer: It’s still just Ezoic is what it is. I did install sort of the Mediavine grow, um, app or whatever you have to call the plugin. Um, that has to be on there for 30 days and then it might get, uh, invited into the journey by Mediavine, uh, program.

So that’s, that’s what I’m shooting for. I think it’s been pretty darn close to 30 days. Um, I think they’re a little backlogged about approving sites. So it’s very possible. Soon over the next couple of weeks, I’ll get approved hopefully. And, uh, I’ll share that here on the podcast. 

Jared: Good. All right. Well, um, before I transition to my side hustle stuff, I have to say that I was just at the affiliate gathering and there were a lot of niche pursuits listeners that made sure to pull me aside and say how much they enjoyed the podcast and say different favorite, maybe episodes or tell us what we should be focusing on in the future.

Maybe share a few things they don’t like. But yeah, it was, I’m being, I’m being facetious to some degree, like it was really fun to meet a lot of listeners, put some faces to some names. So thank you to everyone who came and introduced yourself and said, hi, I got to meet a lot of listeners of the podcast and it was very fun to be amongst this community out there.

Spencer: Yeah. Is that your first in person conference for? A a conference that targets somewhat the the niche pursuits audience, right? It’s an affiliate gathering. 

Jared: Yep I think so. I think it is. I was talking to my wife about it Um, and I was like, I don’t think i’ve been to a conference Where I would expect to find a decent number of people at that conference who listen to the podcast, you know But there were a lot of people there who listen to the podcast.

So 

Spencer: so that’s always a fun experience to meet People in person that, Hey, I actually listened to your podcast, things like that. So, uh, that’s cool. Yeah. Cause I’m experiencing that now I’m at a conference and have had several people come up and say, Hey, I, I listen or watch your videos or, you know, read your blog or whatever.

So it’s always fun 

Jared: with me being out of the country for the last five or six days, my side hustles haven’t gotten quite the attention as I’m sure you can imagine. Uh, it’s hard enough to make time for side hustles on a normal week. And then when you’re kind of just. Logging in here, logging in there, trying to make sure that you’re getting everything essential done.

But that’s the great thing about some of our side hustles is that even when they’re in their baby stages, they still can run on autopilot while you’re gone. And so the newsletter, it cranked along without me being involved. Everything was set up. The ads were set up. The, um, the lead flow was set up. Um, the page like process was set up while it’s, Not involved.

I don’t, I’m not there to involve myself with the tweaking of it to make new ads, to make better ads, to make new content, all that, everything had been set up. And so, um, uh, I can at least report back on the progress and you can know that this is a progress based on zero work on my part. Um, so the, uh, the Facebook page is up to 2, 239 likes.

So we’re slowly getting towards that, um, 10, 000 mark. Now I did check the cost per lead. No, not lead the cost per like which was down around the four cent mark went up this week to about 0. 6 cents per like So that’s 50. That’s that’s noticeable. Um, i’m gonna have to investigate that a bit That’s one thing that happens when you go on autopilot Sometimes these things can can the ad costs can creep up um We’re up to 456 newly leads in total.

So almost 500 subscribers. Uh, yeah, there’s three ads running now, three ads. We’re doing well when I left. And so I left him running, they perform better. So they’re now ranging between 81 cents per lead and 89 cents per lead. Whereas that was in the 90 to 90 cents to a dollar per lead before I left. And, um, This week, I’m going to start experiencing with some video ads, which a couple of people in the niche proceeds community in the Facebook section were, were commenting on how much, um, how much great response they were getting from doing kind of video based ads.

I’ll be experimenting with that this week, but, um, not a lot of work done, but still a lot of progress, I feel like, so kind of encouraging from that front, these things can even grow when you’re not around, even if they’re just a side hustle. 

Spencer: Right. You’ve got the ad set up. You’ve got, uh, the Facebook page growing, you know, new leads coming in.

That, that is the beauty of an internet businesses. Once you get things set up, they can grow, um, kind of on, on their own. You, of course you need to monitor things and not let it get out of control. Uh, but, uh, that is the beauty of it. And, you know, just another plug, I guess, for the newsletter business. Like just right before I.

You know, went on stage and spoke today. I was chatting with somebody and they were talking about, uh, a newsletter. It’s essentially a newsletter business that they’re involved in. Uh, that’s doing 12 million a year. Um, that, uh, this, this person You know, head help to this other person. It wasn’t her business, but, um, it’s a huge email list.

A lot of traffic from Facebook and and leads from Facebook. Uh, and they do a lot of deals and now they sell their own products. Uh, and so they’re getting It’s a lot of work. They’re posting constantly on Facebook to engage with that audience and they’re emailing their audience a lot, but they’ve got this newsletter, this base that they then send to their website.

And that’s really where most of the traffic coming to their website is coming from is, is their newsletter. It’s not from Google or any other place. So it’s, I 

Jared: shared, I shared my presentation at affiliate gathering, just some very high levels. Very quickly about how I’m using AI and a lot of the content that’s already on this website to produce a lot of this email and a lot of the social media and stuff.

And it’s really fascinating when you kind of start to think about the email newsletter business is actually fairly similar to the website creation business. There’s so many crossovers. It’s just a different medium. It’s different deployment. It’s different cadence. You know, it’s, it’s. You’re kind of trading one thing for another thing, but there’s so many similarities.

I found it. I’ve slid really easily into it. Obviously, I have a background in email marketing, so that that has made it easier. It was very easy to set up the whole, uh, funnel or autoresponder as you call it and all that kind of thing. But there’s a lot of similarities for people who have a lot of content, are good at creating content, but kind of wondering what to do maybe with, um, with some of that content that’s already live.

Spencer: Yeah, you better be careful here, Jared. You might convince me to go start another newsletter in a different niche. It’s very tempting. It’s a model that I love. It’s very cool. We’ll leave it at that. 

Jared: It was May of last year that I piggybacked off of your side hustle and started my Amazon Influencer process.

Perhaps, maybe this May, the roles will reverse. 

Spencer: That’s what we do around here. We just poach each other’s ideas. Um, if it works, it works, you 

Jared: know, 

Spencer: and each other’s 

Jared: um, Niche site a weird niche list that is which is probably a good transition to our next phase 

Spencer: That’s right. I’m gonna run out of ideas here if you keep poaching the ideas so Uh, we’ll have to see if yours I haven’t even looked honestly.

I haven’t even looked Uh, we’ll have to see if yours is one Uh that you poached from my list. Okay, I can tell you today. I’m trying 

Jared: not to do two weeks in a row 

Spencer: So, uh, today, as I alluded to, I kind of broke my own rule here, uh, because this section is called weird niche sites. And frankly, this is not even a website.

It’s a YouTube channel. It’s just a weird YouTube channel that as far as I could tell, there’s not even a website attached to this. I tried to find their website, but They just have tons of other social media channels. Um, but they’re primarily here on YouTube, from what I understand. Um, so, it is, uh, TinyCakesOfficial is their YouTube channel.

It has, uh, 6. 3 million subscribers. And, um, I mean, it’s exactly what it sounds like is it’s literally somebody making on camera, these really tiny, intricate cakes and they’re all sorts of different things. I mean, what is this? A mini burrito? Um, there’s, I mean, they’re cakes that look like other things, like objects.

Uh, if you will, there are all these miniature. I don’t understand it. It’s a whole thing. Like everything is miniature. The tools they use, uh, the cake ends up being this just teeny little thing that, um, I’m sure is just a lot of fun to watch, uh, has to take a lot of skill to do as well, but lots of their videos, right, are getting 19 million, 17 million, um, 13 million, 12 million views.

Of people just watching all of this, uh, and I shared another screen of a social blade that just kind of gives an idea of how much traction, uh, they’re getting it gives like the overall like lifetime views um It shows how many subscribers they’re gaining all the time. So at the top there was that 960 960 million views, uh, since, you know, since their channel was created since 2010.

But, you know, most of us, I look at how many views I get in a year and it’s like, if I get a million views in a year, right? Like that’s a good year, right? 900, almost a billion views. For all these tiny cakes, it does look like, um, they’ve slowed down recently that there’s been less videos posted. And so there’s less subscribers weekly, uh, and those sorts of things.

Um, I don’t know why it shows estimated earnings is zero, um, unless they don’t have any ads. Um, I, I didn’t see that they were sending people to a shop, but, but maybe they are. Maybe they have a, uh, A shop where you can buy stuff. That’s the only reason why I could see maybe they wouldn’t have any ads, uh, on their YouTube videos, but, um, just kind of a fun niche, right?

Sort of out of the box. Uh, something that is not just cake decorating, but these tiny cakes, um, A weird niche, for sure. 

Jared: It’s interesting, their, their thumbnails are very on point in terms of like following a very bright, you know, theme, if you will. But, um, at the same time, like, their thumbnails almost buck the system of what you would say a, a strong call to action, text overlay, you know, it’s, it’s just the image, it’s just not.

Right. It’s a well taken image. It’s not like a screenshot from the video, but it’s, and it’s obviously thought out because it follows a color pattern that makes sense across their, their, their brand. But I wonder if they’re leaving money on the table and views in the table by not optimizing for that, or maybe they have optimized for that.

And that’s what we’re seeing. 

Spencer: Right? Yeah. I don’t, I don’t know that answer, right? Maybe it’s just that the subject matter itself of the thumbnails is enough to catch people’s attention, right? Um, if I’m looking at. you know, something else. And I, not that I watch miniature cake videos, but if I just saw something that’s so out of the ordinary, right?

Things that stand out like that, that maybe is what’s maybe because they’re bucking the system, they get more clicks. I don’t know. Or maybe you’re right. They could optimize even further. I, I have no idea, but it’s fascinating, uh, to see. And I’d be curious to dig into their business model even more because I, I did not see a website attached to it, uh, at all.

Jared: You know, Spencer, I’m gonna, uh, I don’t see one either. Um, my brother in law is a, um, is a, it paints miniatures, uh, miniature, uh, action gaming figurines. And, uh, Is an educator in that space gets goes all over the world teaching people how to do it Um as a community around that and it’s all about painting these miniatures, man I could go on and on about the intricacy the glasses he has to wear the tiny tiny intricate details He paints but it’s a whole community of people Uh talk about niches We had to have him on the podcast, but, um, that’s fascinating.

Yeah. It reminds me of this in the same vein and, and, you know, how fascinating it is that there’s niches everywhere and there’s a lot of people that are interested in this kind of stuff. It’s really interesting. 

Spencer: Yeah. So maybe it sparks some ideas for people out there. 

Jared: You have a Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.

Um, but, uh, to your point, I don’t see a website listed. So, 

Spencer: yeah, I. I really don’t know. 

Jared: Well, uh, we can move on from one weird niche to the next. Um, this website I’m going to share and I will say website cause I did stick with the original website is, um, it is higher. It’s famous for a day. co and you can hire a paparazzi for the day.

Yes. Let that sink in. Uh, you can hire a paparazzi and I’ll just read what it says. Famous for a day is the nation’s number one source for hiring your own personal paparazzi. You can rent any number of our professional reporters and autograph hounds to follow you or an admired friend around for the day and give them an experience they will never forget when you hire our fake paparazzi.

You get to feel the fame and leave it all behind at the end of the day. 

Spencer: I have to imagine this is used more as a prank for a friend, almost like to embarrass them or just have fun with them. Right. Then you hiring it for yourself. 

Jared: So there’s a gallery here. And I’d say, Spencer, because I had the same attitude you did, I’d say the results are mixed, based on what I’m looking at.

You can definitely, where is this, like, you can definitely see right here, I don’t know how big it is on the screen, but this, uh, lady in a blue dress and this gentleman in a tie, like, This was clearly a surprise and they’re laughing out loud about it, but it does feel like some of these other pictures, they are not surprised and very much embracing it.

Spencer: I, I guess maybe that’s, you know, that’s what people want, right? Is they want a paparazzi following them around. 

Jared: So, um, they do say in their FAQ, because you pointed it out, you, you have to do it for someone, you know, um, uh, uh, Makes sense. You, you, you just need it to be in person to keep your friend from getting too freaked out.

Notice we said friend. Don’t ask to do this with someone you don’t like. 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly. 

Jared: Um, here are the packages. If you’re interested, they don’t have pricing. Um, and I did call the phone number, by the way. I, first time I’ve called a weird bitch phone number. I know. And it’s totally legit, I guess. I mean, there’s a recording that says, Hey, welcome to famous for a day.

Um, you know, we’re going to answer your questions, press one for this. I’m like, Oh man, I don’t actually want to talk to someone. Uh, so they got the a list package. So you get four personal paparazzi for up to 30 minutes. The superstar gets you a bodyguard as well. The mega star package, you get six personal paparazzi, two hours, a bodyguard and a publicist and you get a limousine to go along with it.

Spencer: You know, it’s kind of cool. I guess I could see it as, I don’t know, just like a fun date or a fun activity you could do with friends just to like pretend, I don’t know, a girl’s night out. I, you know, I don’t do that. 

Jared: Can you imagine taking your wife out to, you know, Outback Steakhouse for the night but surprising her with that?

I mean, what would she say? 

Spencer: She would not like it. She would, she would demand a refund. Neither would mine. I guarantee you that. Yeah. 

Jared: My wife got really angry at me just for throwing her a surprise party one time. 

Spencer: Yeah, yeah. So 

Jared: this would not 

Spencer: go over well. Would not go well. Would not go well. So, you don’t have any 

Jared: idea of pricing?

No, I have no idea on pricing. I call them. Yeah, I actually called him. I didn’t end up bothering to wait on the hold and all that kind of stuff. I can so just one more note and I don’t know where they said it. I think on the homepage they said that they partnered up with BuzzFeed on this. So this isn’t just, uh, you know, I would imagine it’s not just a random idea that somebody had, but you would think that by partner with BuzzFeed, maybe you’d get a little bit of traction, but as it were.

So they are a DR 14. But they only rank for 60 keywords and we’re only getting about 45 monthly organic visits. And if you look at their keywords, they’re really not, um, ranking for anything. I S it might be surprising to you, Spencer, but people aren’t really searching for this stuff very much. Uh, they are ranking number six for their location page, higher paparazzi, New York.

For the keyword higher paparazzi nyc, but unfortunately that only gets 30 searches per month 

Spencer: pretty low search volume Yeah, 

Jared: yeah feels like nyc would be one of the areas you would want to do that. So, uh, here’s paparazzi los angeles I don’t know if that’s has quite the same search intent as higher paparazzi nyc That’s only 20 per month, but they are building out location pages that are very much targeted at these.

Um, Uh, at these locations, here’s the location page. Uh, I think I have it on the screen here. This is for Los Angeles. Um, and, uh, so it’s very much targeting LA. And, uh, you know, they’ve got pictures and would love to see them have an embedded map if they could hear, but you know, they’re doing a local play, which is what I would say they should do.

Now I did see it looked like this website was only about a year old, so maybe early days, but, um, but yeah, I just don’t think the search volume is there for the idea as much. 

Spencer: Right, it’s probably not going to be much of an organic play, like you said. It’s going to have to be a word of mouth or viral type thing.

You know, somebody does a YouTube video that takes off, right? And it refers a bunch of, uh, you know, business or something. But, uh, definitely a 

Jared: weird, 

Spencer: uh, weird business. Bachelor and 

Jared: bachelorette parties. 

Spencer: Mmm, yeah, I could see that. That’s, 

Jared: that’s, just think it out loud. That’s what I would target. 

Spencer: Yeah. Yep.

Yeah. Just kind of, you know, almost over the top. Goofy, you know, just Totally, yeah. Having fun, uh, splurge. 

Jared: Have a good time. Mm-Hmm. , make your buddy feel like, make your, you know, the bride, whatever your, your best, your girlfriend feel like, you know, kind of a, kind of a, a laugh, you know, definitely something that gets you caught up in it.

I feel like that’s what they maybe should target. 

Spencer: Yeah, and and maybe they’re maybe they have other marketing avenues that they’re trying But I mean 

Jared: I’ll finish on this I don’t know how they’re coordinating all this like they have Do they have people set up and ready to go in Los Angeles and New York City and and and but if they’re able to pull that off super interesting 

Spencer: Yeah.

Yeah. Um, I like it. That’s a good one. Good find. Uh, you know, it kind of gets the wheels turned in there. very much. Good job. Even while you were traveling this week, that’s uh, that’s impressive. 

Jared: Yeah, thank you. 

Spencer: So, yeah. 

Jared: The jet lag was good for something. 

Spencer: Yeah, there you go. Uh, Well, there you go. I guess we got through all the news, the side hustles, the weird niche sites.

Thank you so much, everybody, for listening in to this week in niche pursuits news. Next week, I will not have, you know, sort of this hotel room behind me. I’ll back, be back home, back to usual. And of course, we’ll be covering the news then. So thank you so much for everybody for listening in. 

Jared: Thanks, everyone.

Spencer will let you go hit the beach now. 

Spencer: Thanks a lot.



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