Tagged with social network

Bit.ly Releases API

4614306718_da0d350f06Bit.ly has been making moves lately to become the premier link shortener for the internet. The service has also changed its layout to become more social. Now users can friend other users to see what links they are shortening and where they are being posted. The new design has already logged millions of users and looks to become more important in the future. Now there is an API, which allows quick access to the data about which links are being shortened, and the sorts of traffic those shortened links are generating.

The social media agency can use this API to better keep track of what is going viral and possibly use it as a way to spot a trend early in the making. One of the benefits of the API is the realtime tracking. Not only is data delivered nearly instantaneously but it is in a format that can be quickly parsed for immediate results. The new API also delivers “burst spikes” which are those sudden interests that were not expected. This is the best new feature for the michigan social media marketing firm. Now there is a way to see what is happening without having to know keywords prior to finding the data. This allows better discovery for the brand that is concerned with timeliness issues.

Bit.ly Releases Search API To Discover Hot Stories & Discussions

 

 

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Twitter Testing New Star Button

A small group of Twitter users now has access to a star button. As of now the star button seems to behave similarly to FaceBook’s ‘like’ button, but it does not flag in the newsfeeds of people following the one who invoked the star. The star button does, however, flag in the newsfeed of the person whose tweet was starred. Most commentators are so far comparing it to a ‘favorite’ button, which makes the tweet easier to find after time has elapsed.

This change will probably not be a significant change for the social media agency. One of the great things about FaceBook’s ‘like’ button is that it allows an interaction that does not require much from the viewer. Twitter has been missing an easy interaction. Retweeting has been the method and it is still cumbersome for the viewer, especially if the RT function drives the message over the 140 character limit. One good thing about this is it signals Twitter’s willingness to experiment and try to improve the service. Twitter is also eager to make things better so it can provide a better experience for advertisers. The star button may not help much when it is implemented, but it will help some and it shows a future for social media outside of FaceBook’s domination.

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New Study About Social Networking on Conversions

A new study by Forrester casts doubt on the role of the social media agency in the purchasing of goods online. Email and Search are useful expenditures of advertising budgets, but social media influences less than 1% of online purchases. The firm analyzed 77,000 online purchases during early April and found that most of those purchases first went to numerous sites online and that social media only affected about 1% of those transactions

The problem with measuring influence is how to credit the different websites visited. The normal methodology is to count the last site visited before the purchase was made. This study explodes that metric by pointing to an amalgam of influence as people visit many different types of sites before making a purchase. While the study concludes in a direction that is not favorable for the social media agency, it also contains the kernel of wisdom that the agency thrives upon: the inaccuracy for attribution of conversion.

Forrester concludes that social media may be most beneficial for small businesses and that it is also important for general brand maintenance, which goes undetected in its study. The agency can use this study as proof of its importance. Email and search need to also be used (email is best for repeat customers and search is necessary for those customers that know what they want) but social media helps raise awareness of a product or a brand and helps prepare the customer for a future purchase.

 

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Parsing Zuckerberg’s Interview

On Tuesday FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference. It was a lengthy interview and there were several items that are of importance to the social media agency. The first revelation is about the rumored FaceBook phone. Zuckerberg says it is not in the works and will not happen because it is the wrong strategy for the social network. He claims only a few million would use it and that would not be enough to move the needle. This is sad news for the social media agency. While it may not move the needle for that social network, having FaceBook’s social graph collecting data about where the user is and what the user is listening to and how the phone is being used would be very useful. The key to targeted ads is combining data points that seemed unrelated. A single piece of hardware always running and always collecting would help provide those linkages, even if the population size was only a few million.

The good news for the social media agency is Zuckerberg’s reaffirmation about FaceBook as a mobile company. One of the mistakes was developing HTML5 and not focusing on native apps for mobile devices. But that error has since been corrected and so brands can expect better apps in the future that integrate into FaceBook’s social graph. Again the key is the social graph and measuring users’ preferences to enable more pertinent advertisements. A proliferation of apps that work better on mobile devices and upload data to the social network will do precisely that.

Placement of mobile ads was also addressed. The initial placement of ads within a mobile FaceBook feed were seamless, but there was doubt this would remain. As the mobile apps improved, some though FaceBook might create a dedicated column for ads to be placed. This would keep the ad always on, but it would take up valuable real estate. Zuckerberg set that rumor aside, saying that there is not enough room and that mobile ads will always be featured within a user’s newsfeed. While a dedicated advertising space might work better for the social media agency, it would diminish the user’s experience and jeopardize the allure of using FaceBook on mobile devices. A newsfeed based serving also allows more ads to be rendered as users scroll through updates.

The final big piece of news is about FaceBook Search. “It is coming,” is all Zuckerberg said. The network is currently serving up over one millions searches a day and they have not yet even begun to emphasize that ability. Most of those searches are for other people, but even a share of millions of searches for brands is a large volume. One place that FaceBook has an advantage when it does enter into the space is for answers. Google and Bing are moving to provide answers, instead of just links to potential answers. FaceBook’s accumulation of status updates and experts offers it an advantage in the answer delivery industry. There is a FaceBook team working on this and when it does happen it will help the social media agency by sending people directly a brand’s presence when a question is asked. All the agency needs to do is position its clients as experts capable of answering those questions. This is a very exciting opportunity in the pipeline.

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Pinterest Metrics Will Be Here in Time For Holidays

Pinterest is now the social network with the third largest active user base. It started 2012 amid enthusiasm and hysteria and while that seems to have leveled off, Pinterest is still actively used and seems to be a goldmine for the social media agency. A tracking service in May found that Pinterest linked back to 30% more domains than Twitter did. One problem for brands is that Pinterest does not provide API access to its data. Unlike the other social networks, though, developers have been able to develop tools despite this setback.

It is possible, likely even, that Pinterest will soon open itself up to data miners. Until they do, however, the social media agency can take solace that there are some new entrants into Pinterest measurements. Four of the most promising metrics are Viralheat, Pinerly, Pinfluencer and Curalate. They all have different methodologies and pricing structures, but the social media agency should look into these. Settling upon a Pinterest measurement strategy will be important as this holiday season will be its coming out party.

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Groupon Bankruptcy Is Predicted to Land Soon

To financial experts Groupon is on a downward slide into bankruptcy. The stock price is continuously sliding and its ability to last much longer is questionable. The slide is caused because of small margins and the inability of Groupon to hold off behemoths in online selling is suspect. Amazon and Google and Yahoo all launched competing services and each of them seemed to offer exactly what Groupon offered.

Financial services are not wiling to grant any business credit for merely being first. Neither should the  social media marketing agency. Even though Groupon has some brand name recognition, this might not be enough to keep it relevant as a publisher for deals for small businesses. The social media marketing agency that looked to Groupon and similar offerings as a way to spread messages about its clients should begin to reevaluate that strategy.

As part of its effort to stay afloat, maybe special rates can be reached with Groupon. The prudent social media marketing agency, however, will look to other channels and mediums for spreading information and deals about tis clients.  Taking discounts on Facebook or Twitter might be a better solution, or at least a more long-term solution.

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Mobile Advertising Does Pay

All the buzz these days is about mobile advertising and how lucrative it will be. For now though, advertising on social networks on mobile devices is almost nonexistent, so the buzz is almost completely speculation. New research from Prosper Mobile Insights makes the hype seem worthy.

Of mobile users 74% say they do look at mobile ads they encounter. 35.3% say they regularly pay attention to the ads and 38.7% say they occasionally pay attention to the ads. That number is about general internet usage and not specific to social media sites, but that number is still encouraging as almost 60% of smartphone users either regularly or occasionally pay attention to the mobile ads served when browsing social networks on mobile devices. In fact, it is precisely when on social networks that users are most attentive to ads. When downloading apps or music, when shopping or when playing games is when attentiveness drops significantly.

Another interesting find is that men pay more attention to the ads than women do. The male viewers are also more likely to be influenced than women are. The other good news for the social media agency is that almost half of mobile users are unwilling to pay money for an app that is not ad supported. Women are less likely than men to make this purchase. Even though men pay more attention to mobile ads, they are more willing to spend money to not be served ads. It’s an interesting paradox, but the numbers seem low enough that it need not affect the social media agency’s strategy for reaching out to mobile users.

That study comes out at the same time as SocialCode, a FaceBook API partner, releases its findings about mobile ads on FaceBook.  These ads have not been rolled out to the masses yet, but for almost a month some users have seen sponsored stories in their mobile newsfeeds.

Social code has found that sponsored stories in a mobile newsfeed receive more likes than they do when placed in other locations. The study measured between June 8 and June 18 over 7 million ad impressions, which included almost 242,000 mobile impressions.

There were five locations measured in the study: mobile, desktop news-feed only, desktop right sidebar, news-feed only on either mobile or desktop, and a control group with uniform bids. The average clickthrough rate of all five placements was .148% whereas mobile ads had a rate of .79%.

The future of mobile ads is a cash cow, assuming FaceBook can get the frequency balanced enough that users do not rebel at the clutter. For the advertiser and the digital media agency, however, these ads are highly effective and need to become a mainstay of a campaign strategy.

 

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Bit.ly Overhauls Its Design and Service

Bit.ly is the premier URL shortening service and on Tuesday it overhauled its service. It comes as shock as most observers were just expecting a change of design. The service is now more social network than URL shortener. The ability to shorten a URL is not even on the front page anymore. That requires an additional click to move to a different page. What is on the front page, however, is a list of content shared by the viewer and others in the viewer’s circles. The viewer does have control over FaceBook and Twitter integration, so the network can be quite large.

This is good for the social media agency for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because the new service potentially increases the lifespan of a share. The previous incarnation of Bit.ly created a URL that was then shared over some other channels. Those channels have notoriously short lifespans where the link is no longer discovered and no longer generates clicks. The new service will make seeing older links easier and might increase the lifespan of those links.  The social media agency should encourage users to use Bit.ly to drive traffic to those pages where older links are discoverable.

The second reason, and the better reason for optimism, is that Bit.ly will now better allow collection of links. The social media agency will now be able to see users and see what URLs they are shortening. It can be helpful to learn what else a user is interested in this data collection of preferences is what has made FaceBook so powerful and even Bit.ly will not provide that scale of collections, it will be helpful. The usual helpful tools such as a useful analytics package are still in the new format, even if finding them might take some effort the first few times.

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Microsoft Launches New Social Network

Over the weekend Microsoft launched its new social network, Socl, over at www.so.cl. It offers up the same functions as FaceBook and Google+ but is the sole property of Microsoft. Despite the offering, the social media agency should not rush to join this party. The main issue with the new network is the lack of anyone knowing about it or being on it. When creating a new profile there are suggestions for whom to follow, but even then there is very little content for people to view.

It also does not seem likely that many people will come to the network. Google+ was well known before it launched and it seems to have stalled in its anticipated market penetration. The new network also has little to offer that is unique. Microsoft’s pitch is that users can share content, discover new things and have video parties. Video Party seems strikingly similar to Google+’s hangout. None of these features seem new or different enough to bring people to another social network, especially one that few people are on.

Microsoft would love to see the network take off, but it seems mainly to serve as a hedge. It seems entirely possible that Socl was developed independently of the Bing team. Bing’s integration with FaceBook brought about social search, which is the reason for having Socl in the first place. Socl might not be around for long if Microsoft is confident that Bing and FaceBook will remain partners for the foreseeable future.

 

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Mobile Devices Make Emails More Effective

New data points to the growing effectiveness of email as a marketing platform thanks to the mobile revolution. Almost 70% of respondents said they see an email on a mobile device before they see it on a desktop. More than half the respondents also said they would be willing to purchase a product they first received notice of in an email they read on their mobile device. 37% of the people also said they share well-crafted emails on social networks.

Email has always been effective as a marketing tool, but the mobile explosion makes it even more effective for the social media agency. Many people will peruse an email when they are not near a desktop or not near a desktop they can check personal email accounts on. Brands need to make sure, however, that the emails are well-written and formatted correctly for display on a mobile device. Emails that do not display correctly are almost immediately deleted and the content of it is lost. Emails need to also be pertinent to the request made when the user granted permission to receive emails. The consequence of violating this principle is, again, deletion and possibly angering the customer.

It may also be possible for the agency to craft an email that rewards a user for sharing over a social network. Emails are a great way to capture customers, but they can also be an effective method of capturing that customer’s social net and going viral. The social media agency needs to reconsider the importance of emails, especially since they are likely to be read on a mobile device.

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