Google has taken the first steps toward monetising its social media arm, with the launch of +Post ads. But what are they, and why should your business care?
Rather than run ads directly on the Google+ platform, the search giant has created a new ad unit which can be used to turn Google+ content into an expandable display ad. Importantly, these ads can also run across the Google Display Network.
The introduction of +Post ads means that companies can repurpose their existing pictures, videos and Google+ hangouts to turn them into display ads. When a user clicks the ad they expand the content and can browse user comments or leave a comment themselves.
Naturally, as this is a social platform, users can also share the ad content or join live hangouts.
But the conversational aspect of the ad space, complete with social annotations, could make ads more successful in engaging their audience.
Household brands in the US and UK, including Cadbury, are currently among those to run +Post ads. Many more are expected to follow suit.
According to David Cobourne at Hit Search Limited, +post ads make sense for the advertiser and the platform, as both will benefit from the publicity.
He said: “As a social network Google+ has yet to really challenge Facebook and Twitter, but Google is promoting their platform strongly right now.
“The introduction of +post ads is a very good move for Google, as brands get to include social media interaction within adverts, which is a step forward. Meanwhile, Google gets to promote its social platform while getting paid to do so by big brands.”
The traditionally American shopping phenomenon of Black Friday and Cyber Monday gave the UK’s online retailers a massive boost, according to data promoted by eConsultancy last week.
Analysts cite the continued rise in online holiday shopping, particularly mobile sales, as the reasons for the trend catching on with Brit shoppers.
For years now, Black Friday has been known as the day that Americans flood retail outlets to take advantage of early openings and cut price deals. Falling on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is thought of as the beginning of the Christmas shopping period. The following Monday, or Cyber Monday has grown into the online shopping equivalent, since a blog was published in 2005 claiming that online retailers in the US saw massive spikes in business on the Monday after the holiday.
Now it seems the phenomenon has migrated across the Atlantic.
Retail sales from UK websites were almost ten times higher between Friday 29 November and Monday 2 December; thanks to an increase of almost five times as many visitors and a conversion rate increase of more than 75%.
Shopping online with mobile devices is expected to play a bigger role than ever in Christmas shopping statistics; particularly from tablets and smartphones. The rise of tablet shopping played a major role in Britain’s thanksgiving weekend spike; and was responsible for more than a quarter of total sales throughout the period. But smartphone shopping accounted for less than 10% of the surge.
Interestingly, on these shores Black Friday proved more profitable online than Cyber Monday. Online retailers in the UK welcomed over a fifth more visitors on the Friday than the Monday. Last year, figures showed the polar opposite, suggesting a change in the way modern consumers shop over the weekend in question.
Google has updated the in-depth articles feature within its search results, the company has announced via a post on its Google+ page.
In-Depth Articles were first introduced by Google in August this year, and is designed to bring long-form content from trusted, high quality sources to the forefront of the search results. These articles will generally appear for broad themes and current topics, and will not be displayed for each and every search term.
The latest updates introduce more ways to view more in-depth articles from within the search results page.
Currently, the In-Depth Articles sit in a block within the centre of the search results page, and Google has now added a link at the bottom of the box to “More in-depth articles”, allowing users to search for more long-form content relating to their search query.
Additionally, there is now an Explore feature under each in-depth article listing. This launches a new keyword search to show more in-depth articles on the search topic.
Speaking about the feature when it was initially launched earlier this year, a Google spokesperson said: “Our goal is to surface the best in-depth articles from the entire web. In general our algorithms are looking for the highest quality in-depth articles, and if that’s on a local newspaper website or a personal blog, we’d like to surface it.”
The introduction of the In-Depth Articles feature by Google means it now pays for brands and websites to introduce more long-form content into their online marketing strategy. Producing this type of content will call out to users that you are a trusted source for knowledge within your particular sector, which will help to drive traffic to your site.
Nicole Scherzinger has regained her crown of most talked-about X Factor judge on Twitter this week, seeing off her rival judge Gary Barlow, but only just.
According to data gathered by digital marketing specialists Hit Search, Scherzinger attracted 27.74 per cent of tweets relating to the X Factor judges in the lead-up to this weekend’s quarter-finals.
However, her lead over Gary Barlow is just 0.01 per cent, the narrowest gap between the top two judges that we’ve seen so far this year.
In fact, the gap between Nicole and Gary in terms of Twitter mentions this week amounts to less than 30 tweets.
Hit Search has developed a bespoke reputation management solution, and as a case study, will be monitoring all tweets that mention this year’s X Factor judges and contestants throughout the duration of the series.
As for the contestants, it is Louis Walsh’s act Luke Friend who is once again leading the pack, with 34.10 per cent of Twitter mentions.
The 17-year-old stole the show last week with his acoustic version of One Direction hit What Makes You Beautiful, and he’s been hitting the headlines this week as he suggests that he’d like to duet with superstar Adele in the final. Should he get there, of course.
Next in line is Tamera Foster, with 29.85 per cent of mentions. Mentored by Nicole Scherzinger, 16-year-old Tamera bombed during last week’s live performances, as she forgot the words to her song for the second time in the series.
Despite this, she escaped the Sunday night sing-off, as the public chose to send her through to the quarter-finals. Unsurprisingly, this week’s online buzz surrounding Tamera places her as favourite to be voted off at the weekend.
Hit Search Reputation Management collects hundreds of thousands of tweets on any chosen keyword targets, in this instance the X-Factor contestants and judges.
It can analyse this data in a variety of ways and identify negative publicity in order to combat it quickly and professionally. It can also highlight openings for good publicity.
In an age where every consumer has the power to talk about your brand and influence others, Reputation Management is an asset which allows companies to stay on top of their brand visibility; and work hard to improve it.
This year’s series of the X Factor has seen a close battle emerge between judges Nicole Scherzinger and Gary Barlow, on Twitter at least. This week, it was Gary Barlow who proved to be the most talked-about judge online, with 28.04 per cent of Twitter mentions.
The Take That frontman releases his own album this week, Since I Saw You Last, and the 42-year-old made a surprise appearance during the ad break of last night’s live show. In a collaboration with insurance comparison site Compare The Market, Gary performed his single Let Me Go on the set of Coronation Street alongside the company’s now famous meerkats.
As for the contestants, it was Luke Friend who took the Twitter crown this week, with 29.46 per cent of activity on the social network.
Having narrowly escaping being voted off the show in the previous week, 17-year-old Luke, mentored by Louis Walsh, came back fighting this weekend, with an acoustic version of One Direction hit What Makes You Beautiful, which blew the judges away.
There was a close battle for second place between both of Nicole Scherzinger’s acts, Tamera Foster and Hannah Barrett.
16-year-old Tamera, who gathered 24.79 per cent of Twitter mentions relating to the remaining contestants, took a battering from the judges on Saturday night, as she forgot the words to her song for the second time in the competition. Gary Barlow was particularly scathing with his comments, telling Tamera that her performance of Impossible was “hard to watch”.
With such a negative verdict from the judges, it seemed an inevitability that Tamera would find herself in the bottom two on Sunday night. However, the public surprisingly voted to send her through to next week’s show, and instead it was Hannah Barrett who faced a sing-off against Gary Barlow’s group Rough Copy.
Hannah, who had already been involved in two Sunday night sing-offs this series, took 24.19 per cent of Twitter mentions over the weekend. It proved to be third time unlucky for 17-year-old Barrett, as the judges voted to keep Rough Copy, and she was finally evicted from the show.
Overall, X Factor lost out in the ratings war this weekend, thanks to rival BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, and the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, and this was reflected on Twitter, as the level of activity surrounding the show declined compared to previous weeks.
Hit Search Reputation Management collects hundreds of thousands of tweets on any chosen keyword targets, in this instance the X-Factor contestants and judges. It can analyse this data in a variety of ways and identify negative publicity in order to combat it quickly and professionally. It can also highlight openings for good publicity. In an age where every consumer has the power to talk about your brand and influence others, Reputation Management is an asset which allows companies to stay on top of their brand visibility; and work hard to improve it.
X Factor hopeful Luke Friend has been busy this week and so has his barber — but the show’s Twitter community have also been busy; having their say on the stories of the week and making Luke the most popular contestant on the show.
Hit Search Reputation Management records mentions of X Factor on Twitter and then analyses them to create reports on the public’s perception of the singers and their judges.
This week, more Twitter users mentioned Luke Friend than any other contestant. Of more than 100,000 tweets recorded, 25 percent mentioned Luke, with the lions’ share coming in at the beginning of the week.
Monday’s are always bursting with X Factor talk on Twitter, and this Monday a lot of that talk concerned Luke. He enjoyed a high of 40 percent in terms of Twitter mentions, and this is likely the result of Luke’s dramatic sing-off victory over Sam Callahan.
Hunky singer Sam produced his very best performance in the head to head but it wasn’t enough to oust Luke. Teenage guitarist Luke, however, did do enough to set Twitter ablaze.
On Tuesday, Luke’s dominance on Twitter was down to 30%. But that was still more than twice the mentions of his nearest rival Tamera. Luke was likely still the talk of Twitter town on Tuesday thanks to a dramatic makeover. Luke’s new short haircut made the papers and the cover of this week’s Heat Magazine.
But Luke wasn’t the only X Factor star with reasons to be cheerful this week, as Gary Barlow knocked Nicole Scherzinger off her perch as the most popular judge on Twitter for the first time this series.
Gary received more mentions than any other judge this week, perhaps thanks in part to a duet with a certain bandaged bear for Children in Need 2013.
A look beneath the surface, however, reveals that a considerable amount of these mentions were negative in context as the singer’s weekend fundraising drive brought alleged tax avoidance issues into focus.
Hit Search were on hand to celebrate a fantastic year in digital marketing, at the MI Awards 2013 ceremony.
The event, held last week at Manchester’s beautiful Mercure Hotel, brought together a who’s who of the marketing industry; to recognise their achievements in marketing and PR — and share a few drinks in the process.
It was a brilliant night with plenty of laughs, thanks in no small part to Romesh Ranganathan, who warmed up the crowd with a blistering stand-up set; which tackled everything from relationships and kids to vegetarian food masquerading as meat. After Romesh’s rant it was on to the slightly more serious business of handing out awards.
Hit Search were nominated in the category for Best B2C Marketing Campaign and they were in the mix with some of the biggest agencies in the UK. While these international marketing and PR agencies worked with a number of household names, Hit Search were delighted to be recognised for the performance and innovation of their attribution campaign rather than a traditional brand awareness and PR campaign.
The northwest based online marketing agency attained the MI Awards nomination to reward the work completed over the past year in devising a new attribution modelling system to revamp their reporting infrastructure and the way they work for clients.
Andrew Donaldson, Director of Hit Search Limited said: “It was great to be nominated for the MiAwards in the Best B2C Marketing Campaign or Strategy category, alongside so many large and prestigious agencies
“We’re delighted that the work we’ve done developing our own attribution modelling system has been recognised by the Marketing Industry Network and we hope for even more success in the future.”
The celebration provided marketing agencies from all over the UK to come together and discuss the most turbulent period in the short history of digital. With Google rolling out a number of major updates in the past year, many agencies have had to change the way they work
Elizabeth McCarthy, SEO Executive at Hit Search said: “We had a lot of fun at the MI Awards show last night, but it was also very interesting to talk to other agencies about the ways they are dealing with the shifts of focus in SEO and online marketing.
“Hit Search went back to square one with delivering our services, billing our time and reporting on our campaign performance for clients. Attribution modelling is an important part of that because it gives us insight into every source of traffic to a site and how they affect each other.
“This has helped us to expand our output to include traditional SEO and PPC, but also PR, Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimisation and Social Media.”