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I Know You 'Like'? Me, But Can I Get a '+1'??

Getting a '+1'? doesn't only apply to guest lists anymore. Google recently launched its new social sharing button, which will compete against Bing's recent partnership with Facebook and the 'Like'? button. While Facebook is one of the most popular sites on the Internet, Bing still doesn't compare to Google in terms of search engine user percentage. Even after last year's Bing/Yahoo! merger, the two engines combine to make up only about 14% of the total market share in the United States (Google has an impressive 85%). So even though Facebook activity may be influencing Bing's organic search results, the Bing user base is still relatively small for the partnership to have shown great impact thus far. With unsuccessful past social media experiments of their own, Google is using their new +1 button as a means of influencing their own search algorithm. The social aspect of +1 comes from the fact that users need to be logged into a Google account (Gmail, YouTube, Webmaster Tools, or other Google powered channels). From there, Google users can see which of their friends liked certain content, whether it's displayed on a link from a search engine results page, or an actual piece of content from a website. A recent study showed that 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they already know, and 71% of online consumers admit that reviews from family members and/or friends influence purchase decisions (Econsultancy July 2009, Harris Interactive June 2010). This data, coupled with the growing popularity of Gmail, and the worldwide popularity of YouTube should help get the +1 button to penetrate the psyche of a large amount of Internet users. I mentioned above that the +1 button can be applied to pieces of content and search listings, but the +1 button isn't only limited to organic listings. Paid listings can also benefit from the button. Google separately monitors which people clicked the +1 button sildenafil using a color coded display, which shows whether a user clicked the button on an organic listing, a paid listing, or on a website. The implementation versatility of the +1 button, combined with the social experience could have a great impact on click through rates for both organic and paid listings. Google has also rolled out detailed tracking solutions to support the +1 button. In Google Webmaster Tools, a user will soon be able to track detailed +1 activity, search impact, and demographic data. In Google Analytics, users will soon be able to track visits that were affected by social media engagement, which will pull data from all social media sites (Facebook, Twitter'?¦etc). It remains to be seen if the Google +1 button will catch on with Internet users, but if it does, the tools are in place to revolutionize the Google algorithm and bring social based search to the mainstream.

Applying Apple's Success Factors To Our Brands

Apple overtook Google in this year's 'Top 100 Most Valuable Brands'? BrandZ study, which brand consultancy Millward Brown recently released. The technology giant nabbed the top ranking after receiving an 84 percent increase in brand value this year while Google dropped by two percent. As a result, Google (which held the number one spot for four years straight) took the second ranking, followed consecutively by IBM, McDonald's, Microsoft and Coca Cola. The annual BrandZ study identifies and ranks brands using a number of factors, including an 'estimate of the brand's contribution to earnings, valuation of intangible assets, measures of customer perception and an estimate of growth potential,'? according to the Financial Times. While it's no wonder Apple received the number one ranking this year due to the wild success of its iPad and iPhone, it makes me wonder, 'What are the overarching communications and business factors that lead to Apple's success?' And better yet, 'How can we apply them to our brands?' Constant innovation. Apple is a leader, not a follower. It's continuous how much is prednisone advancement and groundbreaking product line sets the company apart. 'By nurturing its brand and constantly innovating, Apple is able to command a high price premium and weather economic turbulence, providing a global business success story that other brands can learn from,'? said Eileen Brown, CEO of Millward Brown. We need to push our brands to persistently strive to do greater things instead of taking breathers after bouts of success. Whether it's creating new products or developing new 'outside of the box'? marketing initiatives, the need for reinvention is critical in today's competitive landscape. Selling an experience. Apple doesn't just sell products, it sells an experience. It leverages eye-pleasing store aesthetics, 'user experience'?-focused commercials, and smartly-crafted communications messaging to convey the experiential benefit of its brand. In fact, check out its recent press release announcing the latest version of its iMac; Apple used 80 adjectives in 10 paragraphs to describe the experience! We should guide our brands to focus on user experience through our marketing strategies. Oftentimes, consumers may not remember specific product details, but they remember their overall experience and related feelings associated with the product. Capitalizing on this notion is a great way to generate effective marketing campaigns. Understanding the target audience. Apple researches and understands its consumers. It launched its iPod in 2001 and despite the fact that digital music players had been around for the previous three years, Apple wanted to be the first to 'make a big splash'? by understanding what consumers want in their portable digital music players. Apple's research revealed that consumers want to bring as much music with them as possible when on-the-go, but in the least obtrusive way. This revelation inspired Apple to make the iPod sleek and small, yet able to hold 1,000 songs. By 2004, Apple had sold more than three million iPods, creating a billion-dollar business for Apple. We should encourage our brands to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research. By equipping our brands with a fresh perspective, they will have a strong competitive advantage. After all, what 'works'? may not be obvious to the naked eye. In today's competitive world, the race to the top can be challenging and downright taxing. Inputting basic principles from Apple, the wizard in the world of tech, can give us the competitive advantage we need for success.

Google +1 Button for Websites Set to Go Live

In a matter of weeks, website owners will be able to insert the all new Google +1 Button to their websites, according to an announcement at the most recent Google I/O conference in San Francisco, California. During the event, Google gave a sneak peak at what the +1 button misoprostol abortion will look like, and provided examples of functionality and data analytics webmasters will have access to. The +1 button will look very similar to the current Facebook 'Like' Button, and will provide a greater amount of behind the scenes information to webmasters that Facebook/Twitter currently do not. In terms of functionality, +1 will allow website visitors to endorse either a web page or an article, ultimately giving Google the signal of quality content that is being voted on by others. The installation of the actual +1 button will be quite easy and as simple as adding a piece of HTML code provided by Google to the page of your choice. The button will be available in different types and sizes, depending on your preference. During the I/O Conference, Google mentioned the following statistics will be available to webmasters using Google Webmaster Tools after incorporating the +1 button on their website: Demographic Information (by age and sex) Number of +1 votes, broken down page by page User location Language Article impressions and click-thru metrics The data will be available in a graphical interface and offer visual charts to help website owners interpret the information and activity around the content that is being voted on. With the +1 Button set to go live, and likely become available in late May/early June, this could potentially be a major step by Google to make an effort to continue to incorporate social media metrics into their standard search ranking algorithm.  Google's goal is to better understand what content is being shared to help determine quality, and possibly include social factors into their standard organic search algorithm. Additionally, the Bing/Yahoo alliance and Facebook partnership makes Bing a bigger threat to Google as it continues to gradually gain market share, therefore Google is definitely feeling the pressure. It is up for debate whether the new +1 feature will open the door for aggressive SEO tactics and manipulation to try to game the system. Ultimately though, quality content remains KING. Ongoing development of buzz-worthy content for your website is about to become more important than ever with the introduction of +1. Get notified when the Google +1 Button becomes available. Sign-up here

Thoughts from the Search Desk: Google +1

Social media scored big points yet again last week as Google announced the new +1 feature to its search listings. Essentially, this is their response to Facebook's 'Like'? as it integrates social signals into their search results.  Searchers will be able to select a +1 button listed next to paid and organic search results (and in the future can be placed by webmasters next to content a la Facebook connect) for listings deserving of positive feedback. Why is this important? It indicates Google's continued transition toward weighting personalization and actual user feedback into their results beyond algorithm based indicators such as inbound links.  It is also a direct counter move to Microsoft's Facebook integration into their Bing search results.  Yet it moves one step further in enabling +1 on both paid and organic search listings. At this point distribution of +1 is extremely limited (less than 1% of searches) but will expand over the coming weeks. Initially, my thoughts surround a few topics. How should advertisers respond? The bottom line remains the same. It's rather simple actually - create value for the customer. Provide relevant, fresh content and a quality user experience and you will be liked, +1nd, retweeted, friended, shared and rewarded. Paid search: For advertisers we've relied on CTR as a measure of relevance, adding the +1 feature will help provide insight into consumer perceptions of messaging. Advertisers will be able to leverage this data in their search copywriting. As for other measures, according to Google, Quality Score will not be impacted. Campaigns should therefore be monitored for performance variations as the +1 buttons are distributed more widely. Organic Search: Google's evolution toward personalization is a good thing in my opinion and should be encouraged. Yet, whenever they make changes to their algorithm there are always those that are going to try to beat the system. We can expect a whole new suite of black hat SEO tactics to surface. While I certainly do not condone these antics, they should be acknowledged and monitored. Some general items to note: Google +1 is currently available only by the opt-in method by using the Google Experimental link: http://www.google.com/experimental/index.html A Google profile must be activated. Full +1 functionality will be available when a user is logged into a Google account; When logged out ' users will be able to see the total of +1 votes without the user names Search Results: Paid Search:  All Adwords listings will get +1 buttons. Advertisers will not be able to shut them off; quality score will not be affected.  Advertisers should monitor impact on CTR. Organic: +1 feature will influence search engine rankings based on activity within an individual's social network Reporting: Google Webmaster Tools will be able to provide stats behind both organic & non-paid listings For Webmasters: +1 buttons (similar to Facebook 'Like'? Buttons) next to content are expected to roll out within months and should be added to content Privacy: By enabling the +1 feature, Google will take note of the following: Gmail/Google chat contact lists, Google Contacts, and people you follow on Google Buzz/Google Reader

Putting Some Love into SEO

As someone who has spent the majority of my life around music, I recently wondered what it would be like if artists sacrificed their artistic integrity to make their songs more searchable within search engines.  Call me a dork, but yes, this thought actually entered my brain and it intrigued me enough to write a blog about it. This idea would be terrible for musical integrity, but it would be great for sales and artist related search traffic. So I thought about what some of the more popular music related search terms might be, and the first thing that came to mind was 'love song.'?  Maybe it's because I just got married, maybe it's because Valentine's Day just passed,  or maybe it's because I recently sang a karaoke version of 'Endless Love'? with our office manager Patty. Regardless of the reason, after researching the search volume of the term 'love song,'? I discovered that there are 2,240,000 monthly searches for that exact term across the world. When you think of artists who made their living off love, who comes to mind? Luther Vandross? Lionel  Ritchie? While I'm sure many of today's 20-30 year olds were probably conceived to the music of these two men, neither Luther or Lionel were ever smart (or simple) enough to have a hit single called 'Love Song.'? So naturally I asked, "who HAS had a single called 'Love Song'"? The only 3 artists that came to mind were The Cure, Sara Bareilles, and 80's rockers Tesla. After doing a quick Google search for the term 'love song,'? videos and lyrics for all 3 of these songs showed up on the first page of Google. That is pretty amazing considering the high search volume, and the number of popular love songs that exist. Tesla also had an album called 'Bust a Nut,'? but that's a different search for a different day,  on a different computer. Give them some slack'?¦it was the 80's. Tesla just might have predicted SEO would be huge while they were just learning Prodigy! Sara Bareilles may have struck SEO gold with 'Love Song,'? but she sure didn't gain any SEO points by keeping that last name. How many people do you really think can spell Bareilles? I know I had to look it up! Note to Sara: There's probably a reason why Lady Gaga doesn't go by Stefani Germanotta. How about going by Sara Ellis? Just a thought'?¦

What's New In Social Media This Week...

Let's see what's new in social media this week'?¦ Facebook now allows business' to unmerge their page with Facebook Places. Apparently, the number of Facebook friends you have may be linked to the size of your amygdalae. Facebook accounted for 8.93% of all US visits in 2010, beating Google who had 7.19%. This holiday season: 5% of people were influenced by social media when buying gifts 19% were influenced by promotional email 14% used phones to access retailer website Only 2% purchases gifts using their phone Fun News ' the first Groupon marriage proposal has resulted in a 'YES!'?

What's New In Social Media This Week...

Let's see what's new in social media this week'?¦ Facebook now allows business' to unmerge their page with Facebook Places. Apparently, the number of Facebook friends you have may be linked to the size of your amygdalae. Facebook accounted for 8.93% of all US visits in 2010, beating Google who had 7.19%. This holiday season: 5% of people were influenced by social media when buying gifts 19% were influenced by promotional email 14% used phones to access retailer website Only 2% purchases gifts using their phone Fun News ' the first Groupon marriage proposal has resulted in a 'YES!'?

  • 1 min read
  • January 7, 2011

What's New In Social Media This Week...

Let's see what's new in social media this week'?¦ Facebook now allows business' to unmerge their page with Facebook Places. Apparently, the number of Facebook friends you have may be linked to the size of your amygdalae. Facebook accounted for 8.93% of all US visits in 2010, beating Google who had 7.19%. This holiday season: 5% of people were influenced by social media when buying gifts 19% were influenced by promotional email 14% used phones to access retailer website Only 2% purchases gifts using their phone Fun News ' the first Groupon marriage proposal has resulted in a 'YES!'?

This Week in Social Media

What's new in social media this week?  Check it out: Google may be in talks to buy Groupon ' then again, there was a rumor earlier this year that Yahoo was going to buy the website, which turned out to be false. Diaspora, the new 'Facebook alternative,'? is sending out invites to a select group of people for testing.  The website has raised tens of thousands of dollars in funding. Thanks to a privacy backlash at Facebook, Diaspora has been pitching that it is a more private alternative and allows you more control over who sees your information. Facebook founder, Chris Hughes, has launched Jumo ' a social network that helps like-minded people work together for social causes. ReSearch.ly, the Twitter search engine, give brands insight into micro Twitter communities by allowing users to search tweets around specified keywords. Once the search begins, tweets are shown in the application and the user can filter the stream by several factors. In the spirit of the holiday season, this post would not be complete without a mention of NoradSanta! This year people everywhere can monitor Santa's flight courtesy of Norad and Google Maps.

Millennials are Looking for the 'Shop-erience'? this Holiday Season

I'm a Millennial and I like to shop, both on- and offline. Of course, marketers and advertisers already know this simple fact. They also know that I have attended university and am just starting out my career, live in an urban-setting with a moderate household income, like to feel good about donating to philanthropic causes, and spend a large amount of time pilfering away on social networking sites. However, do marketers really know why I like to shop? It's all about the experience. Over this last week, I came across not one ' but two ' unique shopping experiences that provided value above-and-beyond the traditional mall excursion or product search online. Last week, Google launched Boutiques.com, a 'personalized shopping experience that lets you find and discover fashion goods through a collection of boutiques curated by taste-makers ' celebrities, stylists, designers, and fashion bloggers.'? The website is built with technology-software that 'learns'? about your style and trend preferences to be able to provide more relevant search results and recommendations over time. The user has the option to create their own boutique, share outfit ideas with friends, leave comments for other fashionistas, and source similar looks within a variety of price ranges. Prior to the launch of Boutiques.com, online shopping could seem like a chore. This is not to say that Google completely revolutionized the online shopping realm; rather the search giant combined the search for and purchasing activities into one, cohesive website. Everyone wins: retailers are able to advertise their products directly to consumers and shoppers have all the necessary tools at their fingertips to stay ahead of the fashion-game. The experience is convenient, easy, and customizable and as a millennial, I appreciate that. My second shopping example is more experiential in the traditional sense, bringing the high-brow fashion of Cynthia Rowley to neighborhoods throughout the United States via a mobile boutique. The fashion truck contains Rowley's entire fall 2010 collection, as well as select pieces from her spring and summer lines. Shoppers have the opportunity to learn of the truck's whereabouts via a live Twitter feed, and can visit the 'shop on wheels'? in their local market for a fun, fashion splurge. With a limited number of stores across the US, the Cynthia Rowley mobile boutique provides shoppers with the opportunity to experience the look-and-feel of the brand. The experience is fun, conversational, and out-of-the-ordinary, enhancing the brand image and helping to establish a positive association in the minds of consumers. As the holiday shopping season is fast-approaching and I'm looking to buy gifts for family and friends ' and to take advantage of those sales to update my own winter wardrobe ' I will be looking for the brands that provide an engaging and memorable shopping experience. I hypothesize that these brands will come out on top in the New Year.  After all, it's all about the 'shop-erience.'?

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