Tag Archives: business

Foursquare Updates Mobile App Again

Not too long ago Foursquare announced a new app for mobile devices. The app was streamlined and faster and now Foursquare is announcing that it has updated its app again to make it even faster and more streamlined. This app also introduces a couple of other new changes. There are now personalized search categories to make it easier for the user to find what she is most likely looking for. The new app also makes it easier to save places to lists as well as to see only previously visited places as well as places visited by friends. The new app is compatible with iOS 6 and is also optimized to take better advantage of the new iPhone 5.

In a world where Apple Maps has credibility issues for helping the user find businesses, this update will help users find businesses. The social media agency can see this as an opportunity to not only appeal to Foursquare users but also an opportunity to recruit new users into the social service. The updated app does not require any additional effort from the social media agency, but should increase the number of people that return to the service as well as the frequency they use the network. It is a valuable resource for the business as a way to attract customers.

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Local Business Directories Are Error Filled

In April Implied Intelligence, a data service provider, conducted a study that measured for accuracy the listings 1,000 independent local businesses across 19 local search providers and directories. The 19 providers included the usual suspects such as Yelp, Bing, Google Maps, and Foursquare. There were also some less well known ones like Superpages, DexKnows and YellowPages. The results were quite surprising.

The same study was conducted in early June and the results were then compared. The most improved service was Bing. Bing ranked fourth in April and now stands at third. YellowPages and Superpages remain the most accurate sites—YellowPages ranked second in April but is now the most accurate site—and Google Maps is the loser of the top four, falling to fourth in the current rankings.

The lesson for the social media agency is not necessarily clear. Foursquare had the most incomplete data set, but that is also because Foursquare depends upon user input, which limits it to certain business types. Foursquare also provides a different sort of interaction with the business than Superpages does. What is important for the social media agency, however, is to continually check up on the listings for accuracy. There are rumors, as yet unsubstantiated so it may just be urban myth, that some businesses will altar the data of a competitor to be false thus driving traffic to its business.

Even if the source of error is not conspiracy, vigilance remains important for when confirming data. This study shows that even though progress is being made by most of the services, there is still error that will remain undiscovered without outside prompting.

 

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Google Builds Trusted Store program

Google unveiled its Trusted Store program and on Monday it was announced to have purchased KikScore, which offers a similar and more comprehensive service. The original KikScore service will function until June 28, when it will shutter its services and integrate into the Google system of store guaranteeing.

Trusted Store provides the customer with $1000 in purchase protection and also makes sure shipping and customer service issues are monitored. KikScore monitors customer service issues as well, but offers more comprehensive monitoring. KikScore made its money by charging businesses a $14.99 monthly fee. Google will provide the same service and remove the fee, using its massive bankroll to subsidize the service.

This is more good news for the social media agency. Referring clients to the program will help build trust with customers. KikScore did a good job, but it was limited in scope. If the icon did appear sometimes customers would not know what it meant. The fee may have also prevented some businesses from wanting to sign up. The new free service will not be better available and Google may find a way to integrate the service so customers are aware of it before they even visit the site.

 

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Twitter Is Better For Brands Than FaceBook

The current debate over the value of FaceBook for brands has opened a direct comparison between FaceBook and alternatives. B.L. Ochman is president of whatsnextonline.com and has a new essay with Advertising Age about why Twitter is better and will continue to grow long after FaceBook has begun its decline. Before listing her reasons, she has a slight snapshot of the current state. FaceBook is making news for losing advertising partners, whereas Twitter is making news for enlisting new partnerships with ESPN and also with Pepsi.

The main difference between the two is about intrusiveness. FaceBook users are there to have fun with friends and to have conversations, so the ads are automatically considered intrusive and off-purpose. Twitter, however, is about disparate conversations being pooled together. Twitter is also less intimate, so an ad is not seen as intrusive. Twitter is, according to Ochman, a truly curated news feed. People subscribe to journalists and taste makers and seek out experts.

For the brand Twitter is also for functions besides non-intrusive ads. It is also a good customer service channel. Customers can reach out to a brand without having to subscribe to their feed. Replies can be done publicly, which build trust with other customers that may be on the fence about the brand. The 140 character limit is seen by Ochman as a benefit. It forces crisp and clear writing, whereas FaceBook posts can meander and create more ambiguity when dealing with potential customers.

Ochman argues that the social media agency ought to focus on Twitter. Even though it’s numbers are dwarfed by FaceBook’s it is on the uptick. More and more people are using Twitter and 60% of users also tweet. Twitter is a more valuable future resource for the brand than FaceBook will be.

 

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Freemium Games To Take a Hit

While it is no secret that gaming apps for mobile devices are popular, the business models used by them vary and recently one of the most popular models has taken a hit. One of the more popular business models is a freemium game, where the basic game is free but then there are purchase options available. The most popular Zynga games, Farmville and Cityville, are examples of this business model. Freemium games also draw in money by using ad servers to render small ads in a non-obtrusive manner. This is why the social media agency needs to take note of the recent court happenings concerning freemium games.

A San Jose court recently denied a motion to dismiss a class action suit against Apple. Children are playing some of these games and then making purchases in the Apple Store which later sends parents the bill. What is at issue is how the Apple Store functions for its purchases. Instead of changing the Apple Store’s mechanics Apple is instead taking the fight to the courts and is, so far, losing.

If the courts hamstring the business model, then it could go either way for the
social media agency. Apps will rely more and more on advertising or move to a user purchase model. The overall change, however, might be a drop in the number of games being developed because of the apparent superiority of the freemium model. The industry might keep up with a slackening of new projects in development, but there will be less diversity for digital advertisers to work with.

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Google+ Now Open to Business

On Monday night Google+ launched Pages, the option for businesses and brands to be present on the nascent social network. In the meantime, Facebook has become the preeminent location for brands to make a public presence and push engagement with customers.

The Google+ user base is speculated to be around 40 million users, but that number has surely been stumped by the lack of full integration with brands of the sort Facebook has offered.

There are already many criticisms of Pages. Facebook offers brands several different options, whereas Google+ does not even offer administration access to a brand’s page. That level of customization will change as Google+ figures out what brands are looking for and what brands need. This is the first step in a complex environment. This change will surely help drive more traffic to Google+ even if it is slow going at first.

The internet marketing firm needs to make sure clients are represented on Google+. Even if the system is (currently) far from perfect it brings increased exposure with little cost. The other benefit of a Google+ presence is access to Google’s huge database of individual preferences. The conversations and engagements on Google+ will help inform Google searches and will also (eventually) be integrated to help AdSense users. Facebook’s integration with Bing is nice, but pales in comparison to the sort of data available for Google’s monetization abilities.

 

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