After high decibel campaign, Rajasthan, Telangana vote today: All you need to know

Police personnel march in front of the Hawa Mahal ahead of Rajasthan Assembly elections, in Jaipur. (Photo: PTI)

After a high-voltage campaign that saw a fierce war of words among the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and other regional parties, voting in two of the most crucial states, Telangana and Rajasthan, has started Friday.

What is likely to throw some light on how the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would turn out, these state elections will set the stage for the mega battle next year.

As soon as polling ends on Friday, media outlets, including India Today TV, will announce their respective exit poll results.


In Telangana, more than 1.50 lakh polling officials, including reserve staff were seen giving final touches on Thursday to make the election to the 119-member House a smooth affair.

Over 2.80 crore electorate are eligible to exercise their franchise in the state, which has a total of 32,815 polling stations for the 119 stations.

High pitched campaigns by political heavyweights across party lines ended at 5 pm on Wednesday.

Additional DG (law and order) Jitender told PTI on Thursday that about one lakh police personnel, including 25,000 central paramilitary forces and 20,000 from other states are engaged in poll duties.

A senior police official said security has been beefed up at bordering areas for the polling on Friday, which were identified as Left Wing Extremist-affected regions.

On Wednesday, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao and several others criss-crossed the entire state to give that final push to the campaign before the state votes on Friday.

While KCR was without doubt the star campaigner for TRS, the Congress and the BJP fielded their bigwigs for campaigning which turned out to be a shrill one.

A massive TRS rally in Telangana’s Vemulawada on Wednesday. (Image: TRSParty/Twitter)

The BJP relied on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party president Amit Shah.

The assembly polls in Telangana were originally scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections next year, but the House was dissolved on September 6 as per a recommendation by the state cabinet.

It is to be seen if KCR’s gamble to opt for early elections pays off while the BJP and Congress have alleged that KCR feared loss if the elections were held simultaneously with the 2019 general elections.

The Congress has stitched the ‘Prajakutami’ (People’s Front) along with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and the CPI to take on the ruling TRS, led by KCR.

The TRS, seeking a second term in office, is going alone, as also the BJP.

The BJP, which won five seats in alliance with the TDP in the last elections in 2014, said it ensured that there is a triangular fight in Telangana this time.

Polling will start at 7 am and end at 5 pm, while in 13 constituencies which were classified as Left Wing Extremist-affected, polling ends one hour before (4 pm).

For the first time, Election Commission is using Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in Telangana.

As many as 1,821 candidates, including a transgender, are in the fray in the election.


Delhi govt to launch campaign to control rising number of cases of dengue, malaria

New Delhi: In the backdrop of rising number of cases of malaria, chikungunya and dengue, the Delhi government has decided to launch a major campaign to raise awareness among people about methods of prevention.

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday, however, said the proportion of cases being reported in Delhi are “far less” as compared to some of the other states, like Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

At least 30 fresh cases of dengue were reported last week, taking the number of people affected by the vector-borne disease in the city this year to 180, according to the latest municipal report.

The total number of malaria cases recorded till 22 July has shot up to 230 while the chikungunya cases stand at 195, it said.

“In a week’s time we are going to start a big campaign to raise awareness about prevention of vector-borne diseases. We are already working in collaboration with MCD to put up hoardings on the theme, and we will also involve the masses in our campaign,” he told reporters.

Jain, quoting figures of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) said, till 16 July, at least 23,094 cases and 32 deaths due to dengue have been reported across the country, while Delhi has only 180 cases.

Also, two deaths due to swine flu have been reported in Delhi, but fatalities due to this disease recorded in Gujarat and Maharashtra are quite high, he said.

“We are prepared and have adequate stock of medicines and we will make more arrangements as per the situation,” he said.

Authorities in Delhi fear the cases in the city may rise as the season for the vector-borne diseases begins from mid-July and generally lasts till November-end.

Cases of all three vector-borne diseases have been reported much earlier this time, which doctors have attributed to early arrival of the monsoon.

Of the 230 malaria cases, 116 affected people were residents of Delhi while rest of the cases diagnosed were traced to other states. At least 57 cases have been recorded this month.

Of the 195 chikungunya cases, 127 of the affected people were residents of Delhi while the rest were from other states.


AdWords Smart Goals Gives Good Insights for Novice Campaign Managers

AdWords just unleashed an easier way for the small business to machete its way through the jungle of code typically required to track paid search performance, and it’s called AdWords Smart Goals.

AdWords Smart Goals

This is kinda big news for the less-sophisticated advertiser.

But, as expected, there’s no shortage of opinion on it. And spoiler alert: some people think Smart Goals are dumb:

AdWords Smart Goals

(More discussion on that here.)

Adwords Smart Goals Are Not Dumb, However

OK, so not everyone is a fan, but at least it’s getting smaller advertisers to finally get some form of conversion tracking.

Google created a cool new way to bring in machine learning that aggregates data from a ton of sites that have opted in to share anonymously. Based on some magical formula, advertisers can quickly see which visits are likelier to convert, and then optimize their AdWords campaigns to match.

From the help files, the technology uses a scoring method:

“Each visit is assigned a score, with the ‘best’ visits being translated into Adwords Smart Goals. Some examples of the signals included in the Smart Goals model are Session duration, Pages per session, Location, Device and Browser. (Remarketing Smart Lists use a similar machine learning model to identify your best users.)”

To determine the “best” visits, it does this:

“Smart Goals establishes a threshold by selecting approximately the top 5% of the traffic to your site coming from AdWords. Once that threshold is set, Smart Goals applies it to all your website visits, including traffic from channels other than AdWords.”

I get it: it’s not perfect. And yes, it has limits on what it can do:

AdWords Smart Goals

But it’s easy to say it’s garbage when you’re used to working with savvy advertisers that have limitless resources.

Adwords Smart Goals: Here’s Why People Need It

There are countless small businesses that don’t have any conversion tracking set up, yet are paying for clicks every month.

In fact, at WordStream, about HALF of the customer prospects that we talk to don’t have any form of conversion tracking turned on when we first meet them. And that’s a real shame.

Digital advertising is *supposed* to usher us into a new era where we actually track engagement, versus the days of yore when we sat around with our fingers crossed thinking, please let the right person see our billboard ad, please, please, please.

But conversion tracking is complex for many businesses to get right. Sure, Google makes it seem effortless to do (see the fanciful description in the video below):

… but, do you really think mom and pop shops would know how to properly implement this:

AdWords Smart Goals

Not to mention:

  • Even if the code seems like a simple copy/paste, it’s wrongly configured half the time — even high spenders often have messed up conversion code setups.
  • Conversion tracking needs to be maintained over time as you create new goals
  • What if whoever implemented tracking no longer works with you when you need her?

Bad conversion data is worse than no conversion data at all.

Right about now, some of you may be saying: “Exactly, Larry. That’s why this whole new Smart Goals thing sucks.”

But, guys, it’s better than the alternative. Obviously, I wouldn’t expect Smart Goals to outperform AdWords conversion tracking when set up correctly and professionally managed. But for all those countless businesses that are shooting in the dark by paying for clicks with no data or terribly wrong data, Smart Goals is a super move by Google for some of those smaller AdWords spenders who may need a little extra boost.

So if you have no AdWords conversion tracking, and be honest, don’t plan to ever mess with the code on your site, check out Adwords Smart Goals instead.

Image: Google

More in: Google, Publisher Channel Content


World AIDS Day: Apple Supports RED Campaign With Special In-App Purchases, Products to Raise Funds

World AIDS Day: Apple Supports RED Campaign With Special In-App Purchases, Products to Raise Funds

World AIDS Day: Apple Supports RED Campaign With Special In-App Purchases, Products to Raise Funds
Proceeds from RED products will be used for fight against AIDS
Company offering four new products as part of campaign
Users can donate directly using Apple Pay
Apple has been raising funds for the RED charity in the fight against AIDS for the past one decade. The company has continued the support this year as well as the Cupertino-based company is offering special in-app purchases in 20 of the most popular games on App Store and selling four new (RED) branded products to support the cause, starting World AIDS Day, i.e., December 1.

As a part of its support, the company is selling new RED (aka (RED)) branded products like smart battery case for iPhone 7, an iPhone SE case, Beats Solo3 wireless headphones, and Beats Pill+ portable speaker. The company is also offering other RED-branded products like cases for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Sport band, and iPod models. The purchase of every RED branded product contributes directly to The Global Fund in its fight against AIDS, the company said.

Apart from the products, the company is also offering exclusive in-app purchases, on account of World AIDS Day, specifically meant for the RED campaign. The proceeds from all the in-app purchases will go directly to The Global Fund. Some of the popular games among the total 20 taking part in this campaign are Angry Birds 2, Boom Beach, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, FarmVille: Tropic Escape, FIFA Mobile, MARVEL Contest of Champions, Plants vs. Zombies Heroes, and SimCity BuildIt. Notably, the special in-app purchases will be available for one week only.
“Through December 7, Bank of America is giving $1 per Apple Pay transaction to (RED) and the fight against AIDS – up to $1 million in total,” the company said on its campaign’s page.
Contributions will further be made for the campaign on every purchase of The Killers’ music album Don’t Waste Your Wishes. “The album features “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” their 11th single for (RED), and is available on iTunes,” the company said.

Those who are interested in donating money for the cause can do that by using Apple Pay directly at as well.

The contribution to this RED campaign is used to help people affected by HIV in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia. The company says that it has raised around $120 million in the last one decade since the campaign started.

Tags: Apple (RED) Campaign, Apple (RED) Products, Apple Campaign Against AIDS, World AIDS Day, (RED), Apps, Home Entertainment, Mobiles