Category Archives: Search Engine

Facebook’s Potential Adoption of Hashtags a Bid for Ad Revenue

facebook-hashtagsSocial media giant Facebook is reportedly planning to co-opt the use of hashtags, a search trademark of their rival Twitter. The move has the potential to put the two social networks in direct competition for advertising dollars from social media marketing services.

Facebook is now testing a new feature that would allow users to click on hashtags in posts, which would send them to a page where content and discussion utilizing the hashtag would be grouped. This is similar to how Twitter currently integrates hashtags into their search functions.

The new Facebook feature is notable for its integration into the Graph search function, which allows users to search their social networks in very specific terms. The Graph search currently uses Facebook likes to catalog and deliver results, but this is flawed because users like posts and content on an impulse or whim, or out of social obligation. Hashtag use, and therefore  search, signals a more deliberate use of the term, and is more valuable to digital marketing companies seeking high ROI.

Facebook is making a play for the audience’s eyeballs during live or ongoing events, like The Superbowl, NBA Finals, or the Grammys. However, the major hurdle Facebook would have to clear is its own privacy settings. Unlike Twitter, many users keep their posts private or contained to their personal networks of friends, and therefore wouldn’t show up in a hashtag search. It means that the public posts that would show up would only be a very small portion of the conversation actually happening on the platform.

Facebook Hashtags: a Play for Real-Time Ad Dollars

Photo by Mike Cogh

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Bing Testing New Social Sidebar Look

Bing’s social sidebar is probably the single best feature that distinguishes it from Google. That is important because of Google’s seemingly impenetrable hold on search engine market share. Bing is now testing a revamped social sidebar.

One of the main differences is cosmetic. The gray background is now white. The header now reads “social results” and the “post” button keeps the same Facebook terminology people are used to. This change is good because it makes the sidebar seem integrated into the search results. The previous version was easy to dismiss and not look at because it looked more like a large display ad. It is possible that several users did not look into the box to see what was happening for this reason. The new integration highlights that it is indeed a search result.

There is also a behind the scenes update to the sidebar. The search is now more discriminating in what is returned. Often the social results would return if just a word was shared with the search query. Now, however, Bing is doing more to measure the relevance of what is offered up from social networks. This will help make Bing better at pointing users to experts. It might be enough of a boost to help Bing make up some ground on Google in total marketshare. It will also help the Michigan marketing firm that works on making its clients thought leaders in an industry. That expertise will help put brands onto more search results.

Bing Testing Social Sidebar With New Look, More Answers

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Twitter Releases White Pages Of User Accounts

In a move that is sure to draw fire from privacy enthusiasts, Twitter has published a white pages of its user accounts. When asked why this was done, the company replied, “to help people find the accounts they’re looking for with various search engines.” The white pages are now crawlable by Bing and Google.

For the social media agency this means it will be easier to search the profiles of Twitter users. This may not present much gain, because many of the profile pages had already been indexed and crawled, but this development does mean that all of them will be searchable once the engines are done crawling them. Once it is done, then doing a search for user accounts will be simple for the social media agency. The agency will be able to discover all the Twitter accounts that have registered “Minneapolis” as location. Even if the location is not specified, if there are links in the profile, then the search engines will pick up those connections. Because most user accounts are not secret identities, this means the agency will be able to significantly increase its catalogue of relevant Twitter accounts, such as those liking cupcakes or certain brands of motorcycles.

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Latest Data About Search Engine Marketshare

Internet analysis firm comScore has released the latest statistics about marketshare for the major search engines. This data does not measure mobile searches, just desktops. Google and Bing both grew, cannibalizing Yahoo’s percentage. From May to June Google jumped .1% to 66.8%, its all time high. Bing came in second at 15.6%, which was a .2% change from May. Bing’s number is also an all-time high. Yahoo is continuing its downward slide as it fell from May’s 13.4% to 13% in June.

The field is consolidating, which does not change much for the social media agency. A presence on Google and Bing has been important for months now. The agency, however, might begin thinking about jumping ship from the Yahoo ecosystem. Yahoo has been declining for 10 straight months, giving up over three percentage points.

That decline will probably be helped along by the latest reveal that Yahoo Voice users have had their usernames and passwords hacked and that data was then uploaded to the web. Not only are people turning to the other search engines, but the reason why Yahoo remains as high as it does is because they have other products. Trust in those other products is waning. Thinking about jumping ship seems to be the prudent move, although maybe Yahoo can stymie the flight by offering discounted advertising rates. This needs to be investigated by the social media agency before finalizing plans.

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