As you’ve probably heard, Google just wrapped up its developer’s conference known as Google I/O. The annual conference is the venue for new product releases, major updates and announcements that have the potential to impact consumers and businesses.
Here are the biggest announcements from the conference:
Google+ has been gaining momentum, and Google unveiled a new design to go along with all the growth. It’s true that Google+ may not exactly be Facebook, but it does have 190 million users, and the value it can bring to search engine optimisation campaigns is no secret.
The new multi-column layout displays posts in an entirely new way, which is reminiscent of Pinterest, and boasts bigger photos and makes it easier to use hashtags. Google Hangouts has updated messaging features, notifications and saved conversation features.
Google’s browser, Chrome, has more than 750 million users. At Google I/O the company announced that users will now see faster video speeds and payment processes. It has also launched a few experiments and projects that show off just how fast Chrome is and to give businesses an idea of how they can benefit from the speed.
Talking Search and Google Now Geographical Reminders
The way users use Google’s search engine has changed: people can now ask Google a question (vocally) and the site will speak an answer. This feature is available for laptop and desktop computers using Chrome. Google Now also received a major update with the ability to provide geographical reminders. Users can now get a reminder at a specific location (like at the office or at the store) on their mobile devices.
Google Play Music All Access and Google Play Leader Boards
This new product may signal that Google is interested in competing with companies like Rhapsody and Spotify. Google Play Music All Access is a subscription-based music service that lets users listen to millions of songs for a flat monthly fee.
Google Play was updated with real-time multilayer leader boards, so players can more easily compete with their friends.
Google Maps has been enhanced with added features, and better images, that are intended to make the service more personal. Users can star favorite places, write reviews, and see business descriptions on maps. Google Maps is already a powerful app and it was widely celebrated when it debuted on the iTunes store, making it available to iPhone users. More personalization and more unique features will likely make this app even more popular.
This year’s Google I/O updates didn’t disappoint and developers, businesses and users everywhere are excited about the changes. Will your business benefit from these announcements?
The Guardian has reported that mobile spending in the UK tripled between 2011 and 2012, going from £203m to £526m. This is an incredible increase of 148 percent in just one year. Marketers are recognizing the opportunity mobile devices bring and have found that mobile advertising is an effective way to reach a large portion of the population.
Interestingly, in 2009 only 1 percent of the total amount spent on advertising in the UK was spent on mobile ads. That number went up to 10 percent in 2012. Social media advertising has increased by 24 percent in the past three years, and In general, Internet advertising is also steadily increasing.
What’s all the Fuss About?
So why are marketers increasing their mobile advertising budgets so quickly and by so much? Because a growing portion of the population is spending more time on mobile devices. According to the Westminster eForum in 2012, there are now more mobile phones in the UK than there are people.
Since Internet-ready mobile gadgets are more affordable and common than ever before, people are spending more time browsing the Internet, using apps, reading blogs and connecting through social media while on the go.
A few statistics, all from the Westminster eForum, illustrate the growing trend of mobile Internet use:
28 percent of UK citizens have bought something with their smartphone.
12 percent of the population has a tablet, and tablet sales are growing by about 378 percent each year.
38 percent of people who have tablets spend more time using it than watching television.
53 percent of people in the UK use two screens at once (both a smartphone and the television, for example).
There is no doubt that mobile Internet use is on the rise, and advertisers are wise to begin using this channel to reach their markets.
How Your Business Can Use Mobile Advertising
If you’re interested in taking your advertising to the next level by implementing mobile advertising, there are several ways you can do it. First, making your website mobile friendly and using mobile ads on your site is an excellent way to reach your smartphone-using market. You can also use advertising on apps or even release your own company app.
Social media advertising is extremely popular and can be very effective. Social media users are turning to mobile devices more and more as they connect with their friends and follow brands. You can leverage your current social media campaign so it will target mobile users.
As markets become more reliant on mobile Internet use, brands need to follow with mobile advertising campaigns. If you analyze your market and find that it is likely to consist of smartphone users, your brand would be wise to begin advertising through mobile websites, apps and social media.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPotos.net.
Before you launch that new website, there are a few things you should do. In fact, failing to check off these important factors could bring negative consequences. When you launch a new site or blog, you only have one chance to get it right. Many of your new customers or readers will visit your site at launch, and if they don’t like what they see, they likely won’t come back.
But, don’t let this idea scare you. It’s entirely possible to make sure everything is in its place and working properly so you’ll have a successful site launch and start your business or blog campaign off the right way.
1. Perfect Your Design
Make sure your design is exactly the way it needs to be before launch day. Make sure things flow well and that there is enough white space so your readers aren’t overwhelmed. Now is the time to make sure everything looks sharp.
2. Proofread Everything
When the design is done, you can proofread all your site content. Double check that all the details your audience needs are included. Edit for the usual things like spelling and grammar, but also check for things like style, tone and flow.
3. Set Up and Link to Social Media Accounts
Image courtesy of SalFalko/Flickr.
If you don’t already have some business or brand social media accounts set up, now is the perfect time to do it. You can use your new site’s design to personalize your account pages and add the URL of your new site in your biographical information. Then, link the social media buttons on your website to the accounts. There’s nothing like a broken social media button to make you lose a crowd of followers.
4. Make Sure All the Links Work
Go through your entire site to make sure every link, including buttons and tabs, work. The ones that interlink the pages on your site and the ones that link to outside pages are both important for optimal search engine optimisation and ease of use. Depending on the platform you use, you may be able install a plugin or program that will detect broken links for you.
5. Have Some Blog Posts Live and a Plan Ready
You can’t launch a website, especially a blog, without any posts. Have a handful of posts already live when you launch your site. It’s also good practice to have a blog posting plan for the next month or so ready. Even better, write several posts ahead of time and schedule them to go live over a period of time.
6. Create a Means of Contact
Your readers need to be able to contact you. Whether it’s to buy your services, ask a question or to report a problem, a contact form or readily available contact information is absolutely vital. If it’s not easy to contact you, your audience will lose faith in your customer service and may turn to blog comments or forums for their answers, giving you less control over how you serve your market.
7. Apply SEO Tactics to Pages
Before you launch, have a basic SEO plan in place. Part of this plan should include some on-site optimisation strategies, which should be done before you launch your site. Including keywords and meta descriptions before launching will help you influence your rankings from the day your site goes live.
8. Advertise Early and Decide How to Hook Readers
Build hype in your market before launch by using traditional marketing methods, social media and other sites you own, if applicable. You may also want to implement a way to entice new readers to visit your site, subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media. Some ways to do this might be through a contest or giveaway or by offering early followers a discount.
9. Set Up Analytics Software
Image courtesy of Colin Zhu/Flickr.
If you don’t set up analytics software for your site before you launch it, you won’t get a clear idea of how well your site is doing. You should see a surge in traffic at launch, followed by a steady stream of visitors. If you have no idea how well your site has done over time you won’t be able to measure your success.
10. Back Up Your Site
Backing up your site is extremely important. Having a backup ready can save you from disasters like a site hack, server failure or a mistake on your part. If something happens to your site during launch, postponing your launch to fix your site could ruin your campaign. Play it safe and back your site up often.
This checklist will help you launch a working, professional site and help you prepare for a successful launch. Your market will be met with a beautiful site and everything they need to respond to your calls to action and become customers or brand advocates.
The United Kingdom has hit an amazing benchmark: it has become the most mobile country in the world. Surpassing Japan, which used to hold the number one spot, the U.K. uses 424 megabytes of data each month, which is an astounding 60 percent increase from last year. Japan uses 392 megabytes per month.
More people in the U.K. use the Internet from a phone or other mobile device than any other country. Only a few years ago the vast majority of Internet usage came from desktops and laptops, but the gap has slowly been closing as mobile technology becomes more common and more affordable.
Not only are more and more people getting online from their cell phones, tablets and other mobile gadgets, but people are also spending a considerable amount of time online. According to Ofcom, people in the U.K. spend an average of just over 12 hours online each week. This may be due to the fact that 58 percent of the country’s citizens own a smartphone.
We’ve written before about how the world is going mobile, and how it’s absolutely vital that companies follow this trend. With the introduction of high Internet speeds and mobile apps that can connect people to social media, news, shopping and almost any other type of website, combined with affordable and popular technology, it’s no wonder the U.K. has reached this milestone.
Making Your Business More Mobile
Taking your business to the mobile market takes some thought and creativity. Knowing that a huge portion of the population is using the Internet on their mobile devices, you may find this is one of the best ways you can reach your target market. There are literally dozens of mobile digital marketing tactics you can use, but here are a few ideas to consider.
Your Own Mobile App
Depending on what kind of business you have, creating your own mobile app may be one of the best ways to reach your mobile market. Retail, travel and technology businesses are just a few of the types of organizations that boast their own app.
Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Making sure your site is easy to navigate and view for your target market from a mobile device will most likely decrease your mobile bounce rate, so your traffic will stay on your site longer and respond to your call to action.
Use Social Media
If you already use social media, your audience is probably already connecting with you from their smartphones and tablets. Keep your social presence strong and consider using it to host a mobile-centered contest or event (think a scavenger hunt, live tweets from an event or a photo contest). Social media ads and sponsored posts are also effective tactics.
Bringing your business’ digital marketing strategy to the mobile world is a smart way to target your audience. When it comes to mobile digital marketing, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Assess your business’ goals, publics and needs before you implement any mobile marketing strategy.
Let’s start the weekend off with what is arguably one of the most adorable things spreading like wildfire across the Internet at the moment. You won’t be able to stay angry at the horrible British summer rain once you’ve seen this.
YouTube Comments Censor
Following on with the silly theme (I have some serious new coming up, honest) if you’ve ever grown angry with the relentless drivel that can be found in the YouTube video comments section, fear not, there is a chrome extension out there with your name on it! The Herp Derp web extension takes all the usual offensive YouTube comments and turns them into harmless Herp Derps which I’m sure you will agree are much easier to stomach. No more “omg justin bieber”, no more “FIRST” and no more “your dumb”.
iPad & Nexus Drop Test
If you’re in the market for a tablet computer at the moment, no doubt you’ve done your research into which one offers the best storage, connectivity and screen resolution. But did you ever think about the drop test? The team at SquareTrade have dropped an iPad and a Nexus 7 so you don’t have to! The results are incredible! Check out the video, and then enter the competition to win a free Nexus 7.
Google Revenue Up
Great news for Google as they’re up in Q2 by 35%, giving them a net income of $2.79B. This is largely down to bringing Motorola into the Google family, and increased interest due to the release of the Nexus 7.
Advertisers can now target their promoted tweets at specific Twitter users. They’re calling the new featured targeted tweets, and it allows brands to only target specific groups of their followers. For example, BA sent a targeted tweet just to their UK followers.
Promoted Vs. Sponsored
SEOMoz gives us a guide to the effectiveness of Facebook promoted stories versus Facebook sponsored stories.
Be Careful What You Tweet
One fan learnt the hard way that if you don’t have anything nice to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all. A fan was kicked out of an MC Chris show for sending a negative Tweet about the performers support act. After a twitter storm with the hashtags #TeamProNicky #TeamProMCChris exploded on Twitter, the rapper eventually apologised to the fan for his harsh actions.
We’ve all heard the warnings about sharing too much information online, but what do social networks actually know about us. This infographic aims to dispell the myths and clue up social network users on the type on information stored about them.
They say data is the new oil. As much as I hate to use these over-used cliché analogies, which it comes to getting your marketing message across, this is probably a dead accurate truth. The Internet is chock-full of companies that have figured out some pretty cool ways to mine data about their users, and this data is invaluable to companies that wish to advertise to those users.
The same applies to Social Media Marketing; what started out as a way for companies to extend their reach and interact with their fans has now been transformed into a data minefield. Despite the claims from some that this removes the social element from social media, there is a case for companies who simply wish to make their business as efficient as possible, right down to individual social media posts.
Last week I posted a blog about the invisible nature of ROI in Social Media Marketing; thankfully there is one company aiming (and succeeding) to measure the unquantifiable ‘social’ element. SocialFlow is the first social media optimisation tool to provide insight into the value of social content using the ir unparalleled access to Facebook and Twitter data streams. They launched in 2009 and have gained over $7 million in funding to date.
SocialFlow is a social media optimisation tool that applies scientific analysis of content to help users understand the value of what they’re posting. To do this they using a scoring system called AttentionScore, which aims to show users the true value of the content they’re posting, and thus the best time to post it. This can be seen on an individual post level, right up to an entire account, so you can easily see which are your most successful posts, and how this reflects in your online presence.
The service also includes an instant analysis of your message with the Resonance Predictor; this gives users a percentage score based on how successful the message will be once posted to social media sites. The service is also fully integrated with Google Analytics, meaning that you’ll see real-time conversions, and also have the ability to tie in with your previously assigned goals.
This is great news for companies aiming to make use of Twitter’s promoted tweets feature, as this takes the guess work out of deciding which tweets to promote. The only downside is the $99 per month price tag, although for a larger company I’m certain that the benefits would far outweigh the costs.
Just when you thought every possible reality TV show concept had been done -and overdone – a new show is announced with an entrepreneurial twist. The show, 20 under 20, will be aired on CNBC in the US and will follow 20 young hopefuls as they chase the prize of a $100,000 investment in their start-up scheme.
The show is backed by Silicon Valley veteran Peter Thiel, he was one of the first investors in Facebook, so he clearly knows a thing or two about spotting a visionary entrepreneur and winning idea. Thiel was also a co-founder of PayPal, and was an angel investor for some of the today’s biggest tech companies, including Yelp, LinkedIn and Quora.
The aim of the show is essentially to find the next generation’s Mark Zuckerberg, who is arguably one of the most successful individuals of his generation. A coding prodigy from a young age, Zuckerberg started The Facebook in 2005 while he was studying at Harvard University. In 2010 Facebook had over 500 million registered users worldwide, and in 2012, it was valued at $104 billion.
With Thiel holding a 2.5% stake in Facebook, he added an additional $1.5 million to his net worth. Proving that it certainly pays to have faith in the start-up culture. Hence his search for the next generation of start-up superstars.
Although not all under 20, here are some of the most successful movers and shakers on the Silicon Valley/ Palo Alto scene, their success will make you green with envy – proceed with caution!
1. Dan Porter
The man who made a mint from selling his company OMGPOP to Zynga for $210 million. OMGPOP is famous for its social drawing app Draw Something, which is available for both iPhone and Android. What’s humbling about Porter’s story is that he wasn’t content taking all the money for himself. It is rumoured that Porter hired back every employee he’d had to let go due to financial difficulties before the Zynga sale went through, ensuring that they got their fair share of the OMGPOP pie.
2. Nate Drouin
Prepare to get jealous! Drouin is only 20 years old, and already he has raised $1.2 million for his online donation site Fundraise.com. After starting the website with an initial investment of $250,000 from his father, the teen has now raised $1.2 million in investment and forecasts $2 million revenue in his first year.
3. Brian Wong
Brian Wong is the CEO of Kiip.me, an mobile advertising platform that bridges the gap between gaming and mobile. He started the company when he was only 19 years old and received $200,000 in investment from venture capitalist Phil Black.
4. Jessica Mah
At the age of 20 Jessica Mah received $1 million of investment into her banking start-up inDinero. A ‘graduate’ of the Y Combinator class of 2010, Mah is on the fast-track to success. A definite one-to-watch.
5. Sahil Lavingia
One of the original Pinterest design team, Lavingia branched out to start Gumroad , an e-payments platform which received $7 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins.
It’s certainly refreshing to see the next generation being ‘disruptive’ in a positive way.
The digital world is moving forward in leaps and bounds. This can be daunting for SMEs just trying to keep up with the crowd, never mind getting ahead of the curve. You’re running a business here, and the digital world is repeatedly pulling the rug out from under you!
What’s hot and what’s not in the world of digital seems to change as often as trending topics on Twitter. More than ever before, all we can do is “wait and see” and hope that any new social networks, ad platforms, mobile marketing strategies and developments in TV are easy to adapt to.
Two thirds! Meaning only one in three companies could actively claim that they were confident about their digital endeavours? This seems shockingly low, although not entirely surprising when you consider the changes taking place.
As an SEO agency, Bigfoot Digital has to stay ahead of the curve and keep up to date with new developments. If we missed an algorithm update, our clients wouldn’t be very happy. If Facebook rolled out an ad network and we didn’t notice, again, we’d have some grumpy clients on our hands.
So how can you stay ahead of the game?
Read, read, read. And when you think you’ve read enough, read some more. News that is – not the Richard and Judy book club summer reads! Learn to identify which changes and developments affect you and your business. Encouage everyone in your business to do the same, everyone will approach this from a different perspective, so it will be interesting to see what you missed.
According to CBS news, you should be focusing on the strategy rather than the technology. Try to be less concerned with which social networks you’re on, and try to focus your attention on how you’re utilising it to attract and retain customers.
The report by Panlogic revealed that businesses’ digital strategy short term, project by project management, rather than an overarching concrete ‘plan’. I can see no problem with this, as it shows a flexible and responsive approach. However, as Panlogic point out in their report, there are cost-reducing benefits to having long term plans in place. If you aren’t pioneering the shifts in technology, just make sure you’re following closely behind those who are.
Do you agree with the report? And what actions are you taking to future proof yourself?
There are many reasons you may want to boost your productivity and monitor the results. If you’re starting out with a new business, then every second is precious and could mean the difference between reaching your targets this month and not. Likewise, if you’re an established business owner, you may want to look for ways to cut down on time wasting activities such as scheduling and communication.
There are many tools available for free online which will help you streamline your working process and keep a close eye on how long you’re spending on productive and unproductive tasks. If you’re running a social media campaign alongside your regular business activities, then keeping track of how long you dedicate to this can be a real eye-opener. It’s amazing how often 30 minutes on Facebook can turn into 2 hours.
I’ve been test driving a few this week, partly out of curiosity, and partly out of a desire to brush out the cobwebs and have a bit of a productivity spring clean.
Ever wonder how much of your time per week is leeched by unproductive habits? Well now you can see it – plotted on a graph – and you may need to sit down to read the results. This program will quietly judge you in the background as you go about your daily business. You’ll then be able to see a round up of which programs and websites you use most often, and when.
Why is this so great: If you’re running a social media campaign this is a must have tool for ensuring you stay on target with your timing. I wouldn’t suggest you use this to monitor your workforce, as that would be intrusive and show a lack of trust, but it may be a good idea to encourage everyone to use it for their own benefit. If you’re a tight knit team, your productivity could even get competitive.You’ll find yourself competing, with yourself, to keep your productivity high throughout the day.
77% - MUCH higher than anticipated!
Cool Tricks: My favourite feature is being able to decide which activities are productive and which aren’t. While I was setting up my profile I had to select news and opinions as a productive task, whereas most people would consider this distracting. Likewise, if Social Networking is productive to you, but you find scheduling an endless chore, you can incorperate these preferences into your profile for more accurate results.
Reports from the Google blog say “Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist.” Well, my Google Drive ‘isn’t ready’ yet, so I’m more inclined to believe that there’s a prehistoric monster hiding out in Scotland, rather than a cloud storage service that will revolutionise the way I work any more than DropBox already has done.
So, starting with Google; what do they have to say about their cloud?
Like the rest of their products, they want to help you seamlessly blend everything in your Internet experience. So files you upload to the Drive will be automatically available to post on your Google+ profile. And it will also make for easier integration with Google Docs, allowing you to open files for programs you may not even have on your computer (Photoshop, for example.)
“Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works… “
Mashable offers a very practical comparison guide to help guide you through the many options which are no available to you cloud wise. Their conclusion is that users already deeply involved with Google Docs can only stand to gain from the new Google service.
And finally, Engadget offers up an in-depth review of the service, covering everything from interface to apps. They’re not overly thrilled with the service:
“As Google mentioned in its introductory blog post, this is just the beginning. And for the company’s sake, we hope it is.”
They conclude that the service is little more than an expansion of Google Docs, which is great, if you’re a fan of Google Docs. Otherwise, there are plenty of other more established and functional cloud based storage services available. Looks like Google has attempted to reinvent the wheel for what could be a very short Drive… ha ha ha. No? ok.