Fast Five in Search – Week 52, 2014

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Well, it’s hard to believe 2014 is nearly done and dusted. It’s even harder to believe that I managed to publish a new Fast Five post every single week of the year!

Sometimes blogging comes easy and sometimes life gets in the way, but I’m proud to have made it through the whole year without a missed post. Thanks for keeping me company along the way and I hope you found the series enlightening.

Given the emphasis on shopping during the festive season, my final Fast Five for 2014 feature articles and blog posts about e-commerce and online shopping trends this year.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Special Report: Will People Ever Buy Through Social Media? by Martin Beck via Marketing Land. This post looks at how social channels are starting to monetize using methods other than sponsorship and advertising. While Twitter and Facebook are testing Buy Now buttons in-feed, Pinterest and Instagram are showing unexpected potential as motivating direct purchases as well.

2) Amazon’s 2014 Holiday Sees Mobile Shopping Approach 60% Of Total Volume by Darrell Etherington via TechCrunch. In their annual holiday sales performance review, online etailer Amazon revealed that 60 percent of their shopper activity came from mobile platforms, including dedicated apps and mobile websites. That’s a staggering figure and something that should make any etailer rethink their mobile marketing strategy, pronto.

3) Why People Buy Things Online by Eric Siu via HubSpot. You’re going to want to bookmark this one, trust me. I love fresh Internet statistics and this post is a collated collection of statistics gleaned from the latest reports undertaken about our online purchasing trends. For example, did you know that free shipping is the second highest factor influencing purchasing decisions on Internet retailer sites behind product quality?

4) Is Social Media Very Good for E-commerce Conversions? by Chris Crum via WebProNews. Another post looking at the monetary value of social media marketing and how it contributes to online conversions. This article concludes that social media marketing efforts only account for about 1.2% of total site conversions on average.

and finally…

5) E-commerce: Metrics That Matter by Kristin Wilston via SiteProNews. A brief post that serves as a reminder that if you run a e-commerce site, you need to track consumer behavior on your site. Kristin provides some examples of the most important metrics you should be tracking to help understand your customers and guide them towards conversion.

That’s it for 2014 folks and this will be my final Fast Five post for the time being. Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and I’ll catch you all in 2015/.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 51, 2014

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So it’s nearly Xmas and 2014 is drawing to a close. Most of you will already be on vacation, which means you have more time to read longer articles and editorials rather than just skim the blog post headlines like you usually do, right?  With that in mind, this week’s Fast Five consists of 5 in-depth articles and recent blog posts that are a bit meatier than the usual pieces I link to. Enjoy!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) 26 Ways Brand Succeed With Social Media Marketing by Debbie Hemley via Social Media Examiner. A nice round up of how some well known brands are leveraging social media to spawn higher levels of engagement. Take note and see if you can replicate some of these ideas into your own social strategy for 2015.

2) Technology, Self-Promotion and the Death of Public Relations by Shane Paul Neil via Technorati. Having completed my undergraduate degree with a major in Public Relations, this article – joyfully declaring PR to be dead – leapt out at me. Has technology killed off traditional corporate Public Relations and sent spin doctors to the unemployment queue? Best read it to find out.

3) Smarter Education: The Rise of Big Data in the Classroom by Lindsay Rothfeld via Mashable. If technology has killed Public Relations, it has injected new life into education. This written piece (and accompanying video) looks at the role technology plays in the modern-day classroom and how it is contributing to lower school drop-out rates in the U.S.

4) A Brand New World in Which Men Ruled by Jodi Kantor via New York Times. Keeping with the theme of technology and the impact it has had on education is this fascinating editorial delving into Stanford University’s pioneering class of 1994. The class churned out a very large number of (mostly male) tech graduates who each established or contributed to dot com success stories, including Netscape, Yahoo, WhatsApp, Google, PayPal and Facebook.

and finally…

5) Brands That Have Been Naughty and Nice on Social Media (Infographic) by HootSuite via Marketing Land. Well I couldn’t avoid Xmas forever! Here’s a fun Infographic from the clever team at HootSuite that ranks some of the big brands as naughty or nice, depending on their brand sentiment and popularity on social media during 2014. I won’t give too much away, but it looks like Santa won’t be visiting General Motors or US Airways this year. Oh dear.

Have a joyful, safe and memorable Xmas dear readers. I’ll catch you next week for the final Fast Five for 2014. santa-sack

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Fast Five in Search – Week 46, 2014

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Social media seems to be dominating my newsfeeds more so than search marketing this week. Both Facebook and Twitter have released some interesting usage data, while content marketing trends seem to be favoring social media over traditional search when it comes to online conversions. Accordingly, this week’s Fast Five reflects the trend.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Facebook says Government data requests up 24 percent by Josh Wolford of WebProNews. This month, Facebook released something they call a transparency report, which provides info on how many data and content removal requests it receives, as well as national security requests initiated through FISA. According to the report, US Government requests for data increased by 24 percent in the first half of 2014.

2) How many college students tweet daily? New and updated Twitter stats by Craig Smith of Digital Marketing Ramblings. Twitter revealed their latest usage data late last month, as well as their third quarter 2014 financial results. In this post, Craig links to the report and shares some of the more notable highlights from the released figures.

3) Though people trust other consumers most, brands still have a role to play by Katy Keim of Marketing Land. In this intriguing article, Katy looks at the tug-of-war going on between traditional brand-driven marketing campaigns and consumer trust-driven social marketing campaigns when it comes to purchasing decisions. Online reputation and consumer trust are proving to have more influence over brands than ever before.

4) Search vs. social: How to drive website traffic with evergreen content by Skip Besthoff of SiteProNews. Another tug-of-war going on in digital marketing is the competition for traffic between search marketing and social marketing. This post looks at why webmasters can’t afford to ignore either when planning their content marketing strategies.

and finally…

5) 9 Real life conversion rate optimization tests to try yourself by Ginny Sosky of HubSpot. Just for fun, we’ll end this week’s Fast Five with some conversion rate tests that seem to buck the trend. The one that surprised me was the Call to Action form placed way below the fold resulting in over 300 percent conversion increase!  Looks like I’ve been designing my landing pages wrong all this time ;-)

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 35, 2014

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in search and social. Some new features have been announced and some old ones switched off, with backlash in tow.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Search Marketers Tear Into Google Over AdWords Exact Match Change by Matt McGee. Google have isolated the search marketing community this month, with their announcement that Exact Match keywords will be phased out of AdWords, forcing all advertisers to use close variants. I’ve blogged about this before, when Google first introduced close variants as the default option for match types, but at least then you could opt-out of close variants. Not anymore. I’m not happy and judging by the backlash on social media, neither is the rest of the search community.

2) Google at Work on Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Products by Chris Crum. While we’re talking about Google, some more positive news. The company is apparently working on a new system that would let parents set up accounts for kids under 13 and control how they use services and what information is collected about them.

3) Buying Stuff Within a Tweet is Reportedly Coming to Twitter via Stripe by Mike Butcher. It seems there are businesses that want to sell products from inside tweets. Twitter is reportedly planning to add *Buy Now* buttons within tweets that will make this a reality, by allowing users to enter payment information without leaving Twitter.

4) The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page by Jesse Aaron. I really like case studies for how to use social media effectively and this article on Social Fresh contains some goodies. In this post, Jesse Aaron shares 7 neat tactics to use on a business Facebook page to drive engagement and inject some personality into your brand.

and finally…

5) 30+ Advanced Google Search Functions You May Not Have Known About by Craig Smith. This Infographic caught my attention because I like to think I know a lot about Google Advanced Search and I wanted to see how many of the 30 functions I already use. Turns out I knew most of these already, but not *location:* and some of the short-code searches like < tracking number >, < flight number > and so on. Neat!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 20, 2014

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I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you this week. We have articles about Google Analytics, link building, Facebook, SEO and Twitter. Let’s get stuck in…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Integrate Your SEO Data into Universal Analytics – by Bhoomika Joshi. This post talks you through how to create Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics that will help you gain more insights into your SEO data.

2) 10 SEO Myths Reviewed - by Duane Forrester. In this post, Bing’s Senior Product Manager debunks some of the most common SEO myths and legends, including my all time paranoid favorite: “Buying ads helps my rankings”.

3) Facebook Audience Insights Tool Gives You More Info About Those You’re Trying to Reach – by Chris Crum. A good introduction to Facebook’s new Audience Insights tool, which lets marketers learn more about their target audiences, such as aggregate information about geography, demographics and purchase behavior.

4) Link Building Does Not Equal Content Marketing, But Here’s How They Fit Together – by Erin Everhart. At last, somebody said it. Link building and content marketing are not the same thing. This article explains why and how you can focus on both.

and finally…

5) Twitter for Small Businesses: Five Universal Tips to Get the Right Perspective – by Andrew Smith. In this post, Andrew gives small businesses some tips for how to use Twitter for their social media marketing purposes.

Happy reading!

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