Category Archives: Google+

Fastest Growing Online Retail Channel: Social Media

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Social for retail is a growing space, from embedded Buy buttons on social to referring traffic to retailers’ websites and apps via social posts. Platforms are creating more and more options for brands and consumers, and brands need to consider social as a serious avenue for sales. According to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500, the top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, up 26% from 2013. That is well ahead of the 16% growth rate for the overall e-commerce market in the U.S.

Business Insider recently published a report showing that social is driving more retail traffic than any other online channel. Additional findings below:

7.22.15A

Key points from the report:

  • Social media increased its share of e-commerce referrals nearly 200% between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.
  • For retailers to maintain these social gains, they will need to pay special attention to mobile, where social engagement with retail content is still limited.
  • Facebook continues to grow its lead as the dominant social commerce platform. Facebook accounts for 50% of total social referrals and 64% of total social revenue. The site’s changing demographics could make older consumers a strong target for retailers leveraging the platform.
  • Pinterest is a major social commerce player despite a relatively small user base. The pinning platform drives 16% of social revenue despite an audience 6.5 times smaller than Twitter. New buy and action buttons on retailer posts should make Pinterest an even stronger referral and revenue engine for brands.
  • Twitter is losing its influence for mass-market merchants, but it could still have a role to play among sporting and event marketers, especially for location-based promotions. Recently, NFL and NBA teams have used Twitter to sell game tickets and merchandise.
  • Instagram doesn’t drive significant sales activity for retailers, but high-end companies have been leveraging the platform for branding purposes. New Buy buttons on paid posts, as well as increased targeting capabilities, could make the app a more important direct-response driver.

It is no surprise that people are spending more time on social not only consuming content but also making purchase decisions, and ultimately purchases. As we think about helping our brands navigate the digital space, social provides enormous value for retail, mobile, and beyond.

To read the Business Insider article that inspired this post, click here.

Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Hashtags…

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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You may be surprised to learn that there are very specific and different rules for using hashtags on each social platform. This red, yellow, and green guide will explain how lenient and indulgent one should be when including hashtags in a post.

  • Red = Steer clear of using hashtags
  • Yellow = Use hashtags sparingly
  • Green = Go hashtag crazy.

FB logo Facebook
Red. Stop. Move away from “shift” and “3” keys. Hashtags should not be a priority on Facebook. When applicable, tag a partner page instead of using a hashtag. Hashtags should only be implemented when it complements a call to action as part of a larger, cross-platform campaign.

Twitter logo Twitter
Yellow. Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags and still their most natural home. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without, and 55% more retweets. However, using MORE than two hashtags in a tweet actually decreases engagement by 17%, so use them wisely.

YouTube logo YouTube
Green. Feel free to go hashtag crazy. Hashtags (in the tagging section) on videos are important for search and discoverability. Use at least 3 tags on videos to increase the likelihood that users will find your content.

GPlus logo Google+
Yellow. Like YouTube, Google+ is a platform that is important for search. Google will automatically tag certain posts with relevant and popular hashtags. Hashtags can also be added to comments on a post. It is often good practice to tag or add search terms used for paid SEO and webpage strategies on Google+ posts as well. Use one or two hashtags that will help users discover content.

Instagram logo Instagram
Green. Instagram is home to #ThrowbackThursday, #TransformationTuesday, and other alliterations that allow users to post baby pictures. #There #seems #to #be #a #hashtag #epidemic #on #Instagram, but believe it or not, these people have the right idea. Hashtags are the primary way to find and browse new content on Instagram, and data has shown that interactions are highest on posts with 11+ hashtags. While over-hashtagging is distracting and considered poor etiquette, do not hesitate to include as many hashtags as are relevant to the post to increase discoverability.

Tumblrlogo Tumblr
Green. Like YouTube, hashtags are hidden on the back-end on Tumblr. This allows users to post more hashtags that cover all the aspects of the content. Use 9-12 terms that are both specific and general to completely represent the post content and the interests of the audience. Just remember that only the hashtags that are entered into the tag section will be clickable and searchable.

Pinterest logo Pinterest
Red. Believe it or not, hashtags may harm the reach of content on Pinterest. Clicking a hashtag will actually take you away from the content on the page, and to a list of all posts using that hashtag. This means that you will end up driving users to a list of other similar brands and competing content. Keywords, without a hashtag attached, are a better way to label content and help users discover it.

Vine logo Vine
Yellow. Like Instagram, hashtags are really the main way to find content, and like Twitter, Vine features trending hashtags and topics. It is best to include any and all relevant hashtags, but over-hashtagging isn’t proper etiquette. #DoItForTheVine

LinkedIn logo LinkedIn
Red. LinkedIn is unique in that the platform does not support hashtags at all. They are not clickable or searchable. A hashtagged word will just show up as normal text, and what good is a pound sign if doesn’t automatically hyperlink? Steer clear.

The Power of Google in Social Media Marketing

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Hannah.pixOn March 7, Google knew it was my birthday and served me a birthday Google Doodle. When I left work, my Android phone told me that it would take me 32 minutes to get home, that an Amazon package was waiting on my doorstep, and that a new episode of my favorite show would be on TV that night. I didn’t set up any of these alerts; Google just knew to tell me.

Since Google implemented a new design and Single Sign-On (SSO), requiring Google Plus accounts for all users, it knows what I search for (Google Search), where I’ve been/where I’m going (Google Maps), and what I buy (receipts in my Gmail). Google Plus ties this all together to create a database of information to deliver custom digital experiences.

As a user, I love this integration. It makes my life easier and makes running errands more efficient. And I am happy to let Google learn more about me and deliver these custom ads and experiences if it means that this wonderful service will remain free for users.

As a marketer, it’s exciting to think about how this will impact the work we do for our clients. Google is tracking loads of behavioral data on what consumers are doing online and offline every single day, creating an opportunity for incredibly innovative and targeted marketing.  For example, if we know that our target consumer is reading reviews of pet food during a lunch break, we could potentially send them a coupon when they’re about to pass by our pet food store on their way home.

Users’ experience on Google Search is becoming more custom, as well. Based on variables like a user’s connections, friends, search history, and location, Google Search results are unique. As a marketer, I want to give consumers a voice and a platform to publicly talk about and review my clients’ products and services to help insert them into more search results. I want to make sure our clients have a strong, optimized presence on all things Google – from Google Plus to YouTube – since Google social channels are the only social channels indexed in Google Search, unlike Twitter or Facebook.

Google is becoming a foundational platform on social, and the brands that win will be the ones who are harnessing its influence across platforms.

5 Ways The Facebook Paper App Could Change the Future

Written by: Tom Edwards
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With the recent rollout of Facebook’s new mobile news reader app Paper we see the next step in their single purpose app strategy. This post does dive into what Paper is, but more importantly, it focuses how brands can potentially capitalize on Paper now, and into the future.

The launch of Paper is directly targeting Google News, Flipboard, Twitter and other more visually centric news services. The key differentiator for Facebook is by integrating core functionality (engage and post across the Facebook ecosystem, native functionality like messages and notifications) combined with a highly visual, curated user experience, it goes beyond the simple utility of consuming news into an engaging experience built on top of Facebook’s social graph.

Here is a brief overview of the app

Having talked to numerous Facebook representatives it appears that there is NOT YET an opportunity for brands to create a unique experience or impact the curated content in categories… the key word is yet. The following section is speculative based on potential directions Facebook may take the Paper application to create value for brands and potentially monetize the platform.

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BRAND OPPORTUNITIES WITH PAPER?

Having worked closely with Facebook over the years I am projecting that in the near future there may be opportunities for content rich brands to infiltrate the experience with the goal of driving content discovery. Below are a few thoughts on how content rich brands may be able to leverage Paper in the future.

1) Category Inclusion – As the application gains adoption, there will be an increased desire from content rich brands to be included in specific category feeds. I would project that there may be a tiered approach to content positioning based on relationship factors such as Facebook media spend.

At this point there is not any type of self serve option or a rep based option to influence the content sources for each category. The natural next step is to expand the categories and sources or allow groups to create and curate their own categories. Very similar to how Flipboard (For more information on Flipboard, here is a previously written article on how to incorporate Flipboard into your content strategy) enables brands by allowing them to create custom curated brand magazines.

Here is an example of the Paper category user experience

Paper Categories

Here is a brand example of a Flipboard Custom Curated Magazine

Callaway Apex Irons MagazinePhoto Oct 08, 2 01 25 PM

2) Recommendation Engine – Going beyond simple inclusion would be the coveted ability to gain visibility through a category recommendation engine. This could be in the form of category/content specific feeds. An example would be creating a “Gaming” category and having a content provider such as Game Informer feeding relevant content.

Example of Google+ Recommendation Engine

interesting-on-google-plus-box

Example of OutBrain’s Content recommendation engine

Screenshot 2014-02-05 10.09.38

3) Sponsored Content – This will most likely mimic some of the native advertising approaches we see from other native publishers. Eventually I would expect sponsored content to become the primary monetization option for the application.

Example from Buzzfeed and Sponsored stories inserted into the organic “news” streams

Buzzfeed

4) Social Graph Enabled Personalization – Facebook Paper is more focused on discovery vs. personalization and the initial roll-out reflects this approach. The Paper application is more about self-selection from the user against predefined categories vs. customizing their curated feeds. Over time there may be an opportunity for the application to be more connected with a users social graph and personalize the news experience in a more targeted manner. This could lead to further aligning targeted media based on consumption habits of the apps users to create a truly personal experience.

If this were the case the value to brands is the ability to potentially target specific messaging to drive engagement into conversion.

webofgraphs_320x245

5) Geolocation Based Content – Another area of opportunity would be associating content recommendations based on location. This could either be curated location based content that is relevant through your social graph connections or simply mapped to a specific location with relevant news and tips.

One of the core benefits of Facebook as a platform is the ability to connect with local content that matters. Including geolocation based content could extend the reach of the platform to support event specific content and drive additional value for brands sponsorship dollars. An ideal use case could be to create curated feeds tied to an individuals NCAA College Football preferences and inject native sponsorship messaging into the experience that outlines where the sponsor may be setting up during gameday with a compelling value proposition.

Here is an example of the AT&T Fanzone Tour. A new point of discovery could be a personalized sports category that also aligns content recommendations based on locations with events that can enhance gameday and provide great value for sponsorship dollars

att-fanzone2

All of this is speculative, and Paper may go the route of Home & Poke but it is fun to think about the possibilities of extending the Facebook ecosystem. If the application drives a healthy install base eventually content rich brands will become a more prominent part of the equation.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

Stats of the Week

Written by: Jackie Mendez
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Every week (or so) we compile lots of interesting stats here at Fanscape and we try to share a lot of what we learn with you in these posts. This week we’re posting a little early because these stats are all about the Super Bowl. Turns out there are a lot of infographics about the Super Bowl and the role social media plays. Here are 3 we like…

Super Bowl Ad Shares

Unruly, a marketing technology company that specializes in video marketing strategy built this great infographic to showcase what is going on with Super Bowl advertising.

10 Facts Every Brand Should Know About the Super Bowl

 

Source: Unruly

Social Super Bowl

Meanwhile Crowdtap shared this infographic adding to the social sharing of all things Super Bowl (including the ads):

The-Social-Side-of-Super-Bowl-Ads-1

Source: Allfacebook.com

TV vs. Facebook vs. Twitter Super Bowl Infographic

Meanwhile social marketing company Ampush created this infographic to show the battle for supremacy between the TV networks, Facebook, and Twitter.

AmpushSuperBowlInfographic

Source: Allfacebook.com

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Google+ Users Get An Automatic Year-In-Review Video
Users who actively uploaded photos and videos throughout 2013 are being rewarded with a short (1 minute) slideshow that pulls from their photo and video gallery on Google+. The videos are being created through the company’s new Auto Awesome feature.

4.6 Million Snapchat Usernames and Phone Numbers Leaked
More than 4.5mm Snapchat usernames and phone numbers were leaked online Tuesday after anonymous hackers posted the information on a website called SnapchatDB.info.  The hackers claim to that their motivation was to raise public awareness around privacy issues and put public pressure on Snapchat to fix what’s broken.  In other happier Snapchat news, the platform updated filters and added message replays which allow users to replay one snap every 24 hours.

YouTube is Going 4k
YouTube announced this week that it will roll out a new way to watch 4K high-definition streaming at CES in Las Vegas next week that allows users to watch better quality videos faster than ever before. The new level of streaming is enabled by a Google-created codec called VP9. YouTube will be showing off its new 4K streaming at the LG, Panasonic, and Sony booths in hopes of helping tech users see a new alternative to video streaming capabilities.

Twitter Advertising Share Climbs 52% in 2013
Twitter is gaining shares in advertising as the number of marketers using sponsored tweets increased to 52% last year. Pinterest’s new sponsored pins gained a 29% share while sponsored blogs declined to 51%. According to a report released by IZEA, quality of content, shares and click through rates are the most important measures of success for social influence by marketers. Interest in display advertising is on a steady decline.

Facebook Sued for Scanning Private Messages
Two Facebook users have sued the social network for allegedly scanning “private” messages to share information with advertises and marketers – for a profit.  If such searching is in fact taking place, it would violate the Electronics Communications Privacy Act.  Facebook denies any wrong doing. Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn have all been accused of similar privacy violations over the past year.

Global Social Media

Instagram Gets Blocked, The Unblocked in Iran
For approximately 12-hours, Instagram became the latest apparent victim of Iran’s internet censorship system commonly known as the “Filternet.” The blocking of Instagram was reported last Sunday.  The government, which has promised more Internet freedom under the leadership of President Hassan Rouhani, quietly unblocked the service a few hours later and denied any wrongdoing.  Many suspect the government was “testing the waters” to see what sites they can easily cut off from public use if and when the time comes.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Twitter Connected Sharks Alert Swimmers to Potential Attacks
Western Australia is known for the number of shark attacks it receives each year, which is why the Department of Fisheries has introduced a new system that gives people more of a warning if and when sharks are near. Instead of relying on helicopter spotters and public sightings, the sharks will actually announce their own presence with a Tweet. Known as the Shark Monitoring Network, the system uses buoyed monitoring devices to pick up the signal from acoustic tags that scientists have attached to individual sharks. When a tagged shark swims within range of one of the monitors, its species, size and location is automatically recorded. That information is then transmitted via satellite to a computer which posts the information on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia (@SLSWA) Twitter account.

Google Blurring the Line of Native, Traditional & Social

Written by: Tom Edwards
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There is a reason Google is trading over $1,000 a share and closed platforms such as Facebook & Twitter are at $55. Google owns 66% of search marketshare in the US, the #1 online video site with YouTube and Google claims 540 million monthly active Google+ users and 300 million monthly active “in-stream” users. Now Google is looking to change the game when it comes to paid amplification and content discovery by extending social content through their entire network with +Posts.

Here is a graph outlining Google Plus user growth

google-plus-usage

Content discovery, distribution and streamlining the user experience across the the Google ecosystem appear to be the future and the future is now. Recently Google deployed single sign on across the ecosytem, rolled out new content discovery options within Google+, refined the TruView suite of paid tools via YouTube and further integrated main properties such as Google+ comments embedded within Youtube.

Here is an example of the latest SSO option for Google properties

Screenshot 2013-11-04 11.11.00

Here is an example of Google+ comments embedded within YouTube

Screenshot 2013-12-18 14.25.20

I recently published what I call Google+ Circle Impact Theory outlining the intersection of social & search. Google+ represents the intersection of search & social via contextual search driven by engagement. The launch of +posts is a significant addition that truly leverages the breadth of the Google ecosystem vs. simply driving discovery of content within Google+.

The +Post is built to support content discovery. Taking organic content from a brands Google+ page and allowing distribution through Google’s Display network. The key difference is the “open” approach to boosting the content through Google’s Display network and replacing a traditional banner with a piece of relevant social content that can create conversation within the unit itself.

Here is a video overview of +Posts

 

Here is an example taking from Toyota USA’s Google+ brand post. The brand post is published via Google+ and aligned contextually with individuals through Google’s display network.

+Post Toyota

The +Post is extensible through Google’s display network combining Native & Traditional elements. The boosted posts can create more points of engagement and expand the reach to look-a-like individuals further boosting post level engagement.

+Post Native

Once expanded the +Post opens via a lightbox and allows the user to +1, share and comment to that single piece of content directly from the unit.

Screenshot 2013-12-18 12.50.12

Then the CTA will direct the user to whatever the specific action is to engage with the content.

Screenshot 2013-12-18 12.50.44

From a Circle Impact Perspective, the higher the post level engagement, the higher the probability that content will rank in SERP even for those not following the brand via Google+.

Screenshot 2013-12-18 14.04.20

From a pricing perspective, charges for brands boosting +posts is only incurred when a user hovers over the ad for two seconds.

This approach is a major shift from Facebook & Twitter’s closed native platform approach of boosting posts within the confines of their networks. Google’s approach increases the likelihood of content discovery and potentially extends the shelf life of content. Further driving value as the organic reach of some of the closed platforms continues to decrease for brands.

This is an important launch for brands and marketers focused on shopper marketing as delivering the right message at the right time is key to driving a shopper to action. The ability to create a content centric shopper strategy that can be targeted and deployed next to key publishing properties where users can create conversations directly is very appealing.

A final thought is that Google’s display network offers multiple tools for contextual & affinity segmentation across multiple screens. This means that not only are they enabling the syndication of social content but also offering the robust targeting capabilities of Google’s ad tools. +Post ads are currently in beta but you can sign up here.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360