Twitter Might Lose Its Wings

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What do the president, the pope and Grumpy Cat all have in common? They are all on Twitter! The micro-blogging site has changed the way people communicate since its creation in 2006. The short and sweet social site has been known to spark revolutions, bring instant fame and get people in hot water, as well as creating the infamous hashtag, of course. You would think with 302 million influential users, including world leaders, celebrities, athletes and top journalists, Twitter would be a force to be reckoned with. In reality, after nearly 10 years, Twitter has never made a profit. Are you surprised? We were, too.

Despite last week’s announcement of the CEO’s departure and dropping stock prices, the site still has potential, according to industry experts. However, some bugs need to be worked out in order to do so. The challenges Twitter is facing include, user interest, ease of use, trolls, application options and advertising.

After 10 years in business, Facebook had 1 billion users. After nine and a half years in business, Twitter only has 302 million. Why isn’t it catching on? We’ve seen the media catch onto it in a strong way with hashtags and Twitter handles displayed on most shows, but for some reason, users just don’t seem to care. Is it too hard to use? According to tech investor Chris Sacca, almost 1 billion users have tried Twitter, but most haven’t stuck with it.

Trolls have also become an issue on Twitter, and not the spiky haired, jeweled tummy trolls—online bullies. The ability to make fake profiles is much easier on Twitter than some other sites, allowing people to hide behind the ambiguity, causing alienation of potential and established users. In April, Twitter updated its policy against violent threats to include people promoting violence, in addition to specific threats.

If Twitter, or any other social site for that matter, is looking for advice on how to be successful, look to Facebook. The powerhouse has obviously done something right over the years to be worth $192 billion. One thing Facebook has done that industry experts feel Twitter needs to do is capitalize on their brand and offer separate apps for certain functions, the way Facebook has created the Messenger app. A lot of other popular social sites, including Snapchat, have been focusing heavily on direct messaging, an area where Twitter has simply dabbled. However, Twitter recently announced that they are removing the 140-character limit to their direct messages, so there could possibly more changes coming in the future.

The last thing that Twitter needs to do in order to stay aflight, is to better optimize its advertising. Twitter currently offers a variety of ad placements and has recently announced video ads and objective-based ads—similar to Facebook. Is this all too little, too late? Can Twitter make the tweaks it needs to keep from getting its wings clipped? Only time will tell.

Online Ads Are Pushing ‘BUY’ Buttons!

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Automobiles, the Internet, auto-brewing coffee makers; every now and again there is an idea that sweeps the nation—or the world—and changes the fundamental way we live our lives. Though this idea may not change the world as a whole, it has been changing the digital marketing world for the better—the “buy” button.

Facebook started this call-to-action trend last summer, and Twitter soon followed with its call-to-action Twitter cards. Last week, we wrote a blog about Instagram’s new advertising changes, which included call-to-action buttons, and two weeks ago, it was announced that Pinterest was toying around with the buy button, as well. In addition to these top social media platforms, Google has recently confirmed the enabling of buy buttons on search ads. The idea is still in its inception phase, so specific details on how it will work are still mum; however, the general idea is that after clicking the buy button on a mobile search ad, users would be taken to a special Google landing page to complete the transaction.

This is moving Google from a search engine to a marketplace, similar to Amazon, and people are on edge. Some industry influencers feel this change on Google could hinder retailers by decreasing their website traffic and preventing them from obtaining consumer data, since the transactions will be happening through Google and not the retail website. However, Google’s intention is to speed up the mobile buying process in order to strengthen the consumer’s shopping experience, which in turn will increase the retailer’s mobile conversion rates that have stayed low even though mobile usage rates have continued to rise. Only time will tell.

Call-to-action and buy buttons have made it easier for retailers to capture leads and conversions in this social-media-newsfeed-surfing era. Call-to-action buttons, in most cases, will increase traffic and conversions to a retailer’s website by leading consumers directly to what they are interested in, but in some instances, such as on Facebook and Google, transactions will happen in a limbo land between the platform and the retail site, essentially allowing consumers to purchase items without having to leave the site they are on.

Back in September we wrote a blog about this “new idea” of a buy button and wondered if it would take off or not. I guess we have our answer! Have you seen any call-to-action or buy buttons while on your favorite social media network? Have you used them? We would love to hear from you!

Further Reading:

http://searchengineland.com/google-buy-buttons-could-start-showing-on-mobile-shopping-ads-in-a-matter-of-weeks-220997

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/251395/the-buy-button-is-coming.html

Facebook Has Changed Its Algorithm… Again

Facebook has been taking notes from Google, and has been changing their algorithm more frequently than usual. On average, Facebook would change their algorithm every two to three months, in attempts to cut down the amount of spammy promotions and deceitful links. However, most recently, there have been four updates in just the past two months, and if you manage a business page, you’re probably not going to like it.

The first update, which we discussed back in March, was when Facebook deleted inactive profiles causing business pages to lose several “likes” from their pages. The next three have been slowly rolling out over the past month, all of which affect the News Feed and subsequently your business page.

It began with Facebook relaxing a previous algorithm change that prevented the News Feed from displaying multiple updates in a row from a single source. This update alone wouldn’t be too bad for business pages if it weren’t for the second change, which reduces the organic reach of posts posted by pages. The change specifically places higher priority to content posted by a user’s friends, and a lower priority on that posted by pages, in turn limiting a pages organic reach to lower than the current 7% reach.

The last algorithm change will adjust the way users see interactions between their friends and other updates. If a user’s friend interacts with a page’s post, and the user is not a fan of that page, their friend’s activity with that page will appear significantly lower on the News Feed, if at all. This will considerably limit a page’s visibility to those users who are not already fans, and also contributes to the reduced organic reach.

By making these updates, Facebook is somewhat forcing pages to pay to boost posts in order to increase their reach. This doesn’t mean that businesses should abandon Facebook; however, these changes do underscore the need, now more than ever, for a thorough social marketing strategy and plans for thoughtful, engaging content.

Robmark Web offers social media services and is happy to assist in developing your new Facebook strategy. Call 912-921-1040 to find out more about our social media and web services in Savannah.

Decrease in Facebook Likes, Increase In Engagement Ratio

Whether it’s managing a billion dollar company’s Facebook Page or a Page set up to sell Younique mascara, social media managers constantly track Page activity, especially the number of likes a brand has earned.

Well, Page managers have probably noticed over the last two weeks that Page likes have decreased—in some cases significantly. Don’t worry. Fans didn’t unlike the Page due to any reason a manager could control. Facebook took the liberty of removing Page likes from deactivated Facebook accounts in order to keep the Page like count more accurate.

According to Quintly, Pages lost 3% to 4% of their likes due to this adjustment. We have seen a range of decreased likes in the Pages we manage, from losing 7 likes to losing close to 45. Now that’s enough to make any Page manager freak out!

All in all, this is a positive adjustment when it comes to analyzing data. Figures will be more accurate and reliable in the future. When it comes to using Facebook as a business tool, it’s all about the engagement ratio. User engagement with Page content increases that Page’s organic reach. If you have a million likes and only 10 people engage with posted content—a.001% engagement rate—then the Page cannot be considered a successful business tool. However, if you have 150 Page likes and 10 fans engage regularly—a 6.7% engagement rate—now that is a success. So by clearing out these inactive accounts, which are obviously not engaging, this in turn increases the Page’s engagement ratio.

Never truer has been the adage “quality over quantity.”

Pinterest is on the Manhunt

A lot of big news has been coming from the popular social bookmarking site Pinterest recently, including their updated “guided search” feature and their venture into advertising with Promoted Pins.

Plagued by the stereotype that Pinterest is only for women, many men have been “afraid” to join the site, causing the site’s visitors to skew 80% female since its inception four years ago.

The San Francisco-based company is looking to change that.

In an effort to attract males to the prominently female-driven site, Pinterest is trying to make the site more gender neutral. The pinning powerhouse has been making changes in an attempt to attract the opposite sex, and their first step was to add more categories that men would be interested in. Since then, male-focused content has increased, specifically in the following categories: “Geek” increased by 175%, “Cars and Motorcycles” by 134% and “Men’s Fashion” by 122%.

Pinterest is also targeting search queries based on gender. Before this change, if you typed in “Shoes,” a variety of shoe images would appear, mostly female with some male shoes tossed in. Now, if a man searches for “Shoes” men’s shoes will appear, and if a female searches for “Shoes,” women’s shoes will appear.

Female shoes Pinterest Male shoes Pinterest

Pinterest has also modified the site sign-up process. On sign-up, a list of “suggested interests” recommended by the site is now generated based on gender.

Further, Pinterest has been pushing gender neutral content when introducing the site to new markets, including Japan, Korea and India, and they have seen a sign-up ratio of 1-1, men and women. In the U.S., however, the sign-up ratio remains at 3-1.

comScore estimates that 71% of the 72.5 million visitors the site saw in December were women, making it the most female-skewed social network, while most social networking sites are closer to a 50/50 split on gender. However, with the recent changes, those numbers are beginning to change. According to a recent Pew survey, 13% of online men in the U.S. use Pinterest, up from 8% last year.

With the fastest growth rate of any social networking site, there is no doubt that Pinterest is successful. The executives at Pinterest state that they want to do for discovery what Google did for search, and that is in part why they are reaching out to new target markets.  If you have an interest, Pinterest has something for you to discover. So far, there have been 30 billion unique entries pinned to the site. Not only does this speak for the growth of the website, but it also provides marketers with valuable information about what users may be interested in. With all of these changes still in their infancy, our attention will be pinned to Pinterest to see how the site evolves over the next year.

Further reading:

http://marketingland.com/pinterest-search-customized-gender-115292

http://www.wsj.com/articles/pinterests-problem-getting-men-to-commit-1421944331

http://marketingland.com/pinterest-continues-manhunt-115362

 

Pinterest Now Offers Advertising Units – Promoted Pins

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Back in May, Pinterest announced the release of their first advertising unit—Promoted Pins—for select brands. The first rollout was not geared toward small- or medium-sized businesses. According to AdAge, Pinterest was seeking a sizable commitment of over $1 million from participating advertisers. Promoted Pins are a form of native advertising within the site for tasteful, transparent and relevant ads.

But, after a successful beta launch, the popular image-bookmarking website announced its decision to give all users ability to use the Promoted Pins ad unit. Access to the ads opened up on January 1, 2015, and they are on a “reservation-based” availability.

Since the full rollout happened so recently, it is presently unknown what the current rates are and if “all users” truly means all users or if there are certain business stipulations that apply. We do know that the ads are based on CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions/views) and some of the benefits discovered during the eight months of beta testing are as follows:

  • Promoted Pins perform as good or better than organic/unpromoted pins.
  • Brand advertisers achieved an approximate 30% bump in earned media from people who saw a Promoted Pin and saved it to one of their boards.
  • Promoted Pins are repinned an average of 11 times or more versus unpromoted pins.
  • Promoted Pins continue to draw engagement from users even after a campaign has ended.
  • Businesses outside of Pinterest’s core categories, which are Food and Drink, Crafts, Home Décor and Women’s Fashion, were successful with Promoted Pins.

For the first few years, Pinterest was focused on building a user base—or audience—rather than on earning revenue, but it has become obvious in several ways that their focus has evolved with businesses and advertising in mind. For one, in addition to the new advertising units, Pinterest has introduced a useful marketing tool for businesses—Pinstitute. With Pinstitute, businesses can learn how to connect with users and see an even greater return on investment. Only certain businesses will be invited to Pinstitute workshops, but webinars and other online learning tools will be available to smaller businesses. Currently there are roughly 500,000 business accounts on Pinterest, but with these new marketing opportunities, we could see this number increase over the next few years, especially if the price of ads drops and the ad options increase.

Pinterest was the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10-million visitor mark, ever. Now with 70 million users, the site is a powerhouse at driving referral traffic and ecommerce sales. In fact, Pinterest referrals spend 70% more money than visitors referred from non-social channels. Pinterest now joins Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on the list of popular social media sites to rollout advertising opportunities. It’s been apparent that having active accounts on social media is an important marketing tactic, but now advertising on these media platforms is the easiest way to cut through the noise.

Are you interested in putting your business on social media or revamping your current social strategy? Robertson & Markowitz Advertising and Public Relations can help you by creating and implementing a plan that is tailored to your business. Call R&M today, 912-921-1040.

Further Readings:

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/pinterest-roll-promoted-pins-us-users-starting-january-1-2015/122689/

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/pinterest-begin-rollout-promoted-pins/105329/

https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/big-year-ahead-promoted-pins

http://adage.com/article/digital/pinterest-seeks-7-figure-spend-commitments-advertisers/292242/

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats