Social Media

Football fans up the price tag on Super Sunday to $68 per person

Bing Football Spend

The average person spends $ 130 on Valentine’s Day. According to Bing, consumers will spend just about half that amount to celebrate another truly American holiday; Super Bowl Sunday.

Bing says the average consumer will spend $ 68 on game day food, fan gear, decor and new TVs. This is up 18% over last year and is an even bigger increase than we saw the year before.

A lot of that money goes to the massive amounts of junk food Americans will eat while watching the game. Fans will consume 1200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks alone making it the second highest day for food consumption. (Thanksgiving is number one.)

Chickens dread Super Sunday because on that day, Americans eat more than 1.23 billion chicken wings. Pizza franchises love Super Sunday; last year, searches for “pizza” soared to 5xs the height of Bing’s graph both the day before and on the day.

Not in the pizza business? Here are other food related keywords that are expected to score on the days leading up to the game:

Bing Football Foods

Once the ball is in motion, searches for football-related terms slowly rise peaking at half-time. Then they drop off considerably during the second half. If you can hook your marketing wagon to the half-time show, you’ll have a good chance of rising to the top of the search heap. Katy Perry is headlining, so start creating your social media posts and search ads now!

Once the game is won and done, searches related to the Super Bowl commercials begin to rise. Usually these are the people who missed them during the game and want to know what their friends are going on about. These searches peak a full day after the game, so this is a great time to post your commercial countdowns and other related content. You don’t have to be a Super Bowl advertiser in order to score on Super Bowl commercials.

If you want to take full advantage of Super Sunday, you need to park yourself on the couch during the game with mobile device in hand. Then hit those social media accounts hard; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Every network is going to blow up for a good 24 hours straight.

65% of Football Championship viewers told Bing, they think that social media has made the game even better in the last 10 years. Make plans now to get a piece of that for your company.

For more on searches, click-throughs and cost per click during the game, check out this free presentation from Bing.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Social Media

As Yahoo slips further down, Apple reports record profits

two companiesComparing Yahoo! and Apple may seem like I’m comparing oranges and. . . well. . . apples but I think it’s more like a Tale of Two Cities.

Though Yahoo is still having a tough time remaining relevant, we have to give them props for being internet pioneers. In the early days, the company broke records for stock prices and there wasn’t a person on the net who didn’t visit Yahoo for search, content or webmail.

But time hasn’t been good to our old friend Yahoo. Recently released Q4 reports show another decline in revenue. CEO Marissa Mayer tried to put a positive spin on it saying that the company was finally showing signs of stability. Then she pointed to the gains in mobile advertising.

“Our mobile strategy and focus has transformed Yahoo and yielded significant results. In Q4, we saw $ 254 million in mobile revenue, up 23% quarter-over-quarter. Across all of 2014, we saw gross mobile revenue of $ 1.26 billion and GAAP mobile revenue of $ 768 million”

That’s nice, but display advertising, which used to be a huge part of the business is down 4% over the same quarter last year. Oddly, they sold more ads but the lower price tag on those ads led to the decline in revenue.

Then we have Apple. When Yahoo was in its prime, Apple was a fading computer company. But everything changed when they found a way to pack your entire music library into a pocket-sized, portable player.

Now, thanks to even more miniature, mobile devices, Apple is reporting record-breaking revenue for the quarter.

The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $ 74.6 billion and record quarterly net profit of $ 18 billion, or $ 3.06 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $ 57.6 billion and net profit of $ 13.1 billion, or $ 2.07 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.9 percent compared to 37.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold 51 million iPhones this past quarter, breaking another record. Chief Executive Tim Cook said that’s an average of 34,000 iPhones every hour of every day in the quarter. Nice.

Apple also sold 26 million iPads and 5.5 million Macs in the quarter.

Now we have the big questions; can Apple continue breaking their own records or will some other company come out of the night to challenge them?

As for Yahoo, I think their glory days are over. The question now is simply, can they hang on and for how long?

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Social Media

Snapchat under fire for ‘racist’ Bob Marley filter

Gettyimages-84912887

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Update 4/20 10:54 a.m.: Snapchat issued a statement about the filter, quoted in full below.

Today is April 20 (also known as 420), a date of special significance for people who enjoy cannabis in any of its formsSnapchat, which has a new selection of face-altering filters every day, jumped on the bandwagon by offering a “Bob Marley” filter. 

The problem? A lot of people think the filter is offensive and racist. 

SEE ALSO: Snapchat is now the most popular social network among teens, according to new study

The way the filter works is it adds a Bob Marley cap and dreadlocks to your face, and it makes your skin tone darker. 

For many, that’s a bit too reminiscent of blackface or painting your face black to represent a black person. Blackfacing was used a lot in U.S. theater in the 19th century, but has been abandoned in modern times and is widely considered to be a racist act or, at the very least, insensitive. 

As you might imagine, the Bob Marley filter was recognized by many folks as inappropriate, with some Twitter users calling it “digital blackfacing.” Read more…

More about Blackfacing, Filter, Bob Marley, Snapchat, and Social Media


Social Media

Social Media

Facebook Place Tips: check-in benefits without checking in

Place Tips

Facebook just released a new feature for mobile called Place Tips that has a very familiar ring to it.

You stop for lunch at a popular restaurant near your work and suddenly a notification pops on the top of your Facebook mobile news feed. Tap and you get information about the very restaurant you’re sitting in. Dig deeper and Facebook will serve up all the reviews, photos and videos your friends have posted about the location so you’ll know to avoid the Clam Chowder and go with the Cranberry Walnut Salad instead.

Could be a lifesaver.

In order to serve up this feast of relevant info, Facebook has to first determine your location and that’s going to rile some people up. But there’s no need to worry. Place Tips is not a check-in service. Your location is not going to post to Facebook if you access the offered data. But you can bet that Facebook is going to use your location data for other purposes such as local advertising. And why not? If they know where you are, doesn’t it make sense to offer you a coupon for $ 5 off your lunch or a free appetizer with dinner?

Let’s look at this from the flip side; the person getting the information is getting a benefit from the service. What about the people whose accounts are being accessed to serve up the data. Is that something to worry about? I post about my trip to Universal Studios last month and you’re handed my post when you visit this week? For anyone trying to generate more views on their content, this feature could deliver a big audience – except for one thing – it looks like it only works between friends, so unless you have a ton of followers it’s not going to help at all.

There is one exception; in addition to posts from friends, Facebook Place Tips will also serve up posts from the businesses’ Facebook Page as well as scheduled events and other Page info.

In other words, Facebook Place Tips gives you all the benefits of Foursquare without having to actually check-in to a place in the first place.

 

 

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Social Media

App usage is up, but only for the chosen few

Android and IoS owners spend 80% of the time on their device using an app and only 20% web browsing. With a stat like that, it sounds like you should abandon your mobile website and get someone to work on a branded app. But don’t place the ad for a developer just yet.

Forrester just published a new report called “2015 Mobile App Marketing Trends” and we’ve got some data from that report to share with you.

The biggest issue with creating your own app is that you’re going to have a hard time breaking into the market. Forrester says the average US consumer uses 24 apps per month but 80% of their time is spent on the same five apps.

That’s certainly true for me, but my apps aren’t the average apps. Here’s the breakdown.

Forrester Top App Time

Facebook and YouTube are the most popular. YouTube is probably my number one but Facebook – rarely touch the stuff on mobile. Maps, Pandora and Gmail fill out the top five and again I’m not “normal”. You have to drop a little lower on the chart to find my most accessed apps including Netflix and Candy Crush. One of my big favorites didn’t even make the list — eBay!

Given the tight race, Forrester recommends you think more about app advertising than creating an app of your own. Eventually, all of the big players will give in and turn to advertising or partnerships in order to pay the bills.

But before you turn to paid advertising, you should be trying out content on apps such as Instagram or Snapchat. Users of these apps are highly engaged, so if you can catch their eye, it’ll be worth the effort and it won’t cost you anything but time and the salary of the person who updates your feeds.

If you’re already in the app biz, Forrester says you should think long and hard about a couple of things;

First, the number of apps. Stop trying to be everything to everybody. Pick your top apps and dedicate your time and money to making it the best it can be rather than spreading yourself too thin over two dozen apps.

Second, pay attention to retargeting and deep linking. Don’t pay to show your install ads to people who have your app. Not when it’s as easy as checking or unchecking a box on your ad dashboard. Deep linking is a very effective way of getting users from your app to your site — when it works. Double check all of your links and make sure users are getting the experience they expect.

Bottom line here is that apps are a very effective way to reach new and current customers but at this stage, you’re better off teaming up with an app developer who’s made the charts than trying to create your own experience from scratch.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Social Media

An SEO’s Advice: the importance of fixing outbound links

Fixing linksThis is a guest post by Michael Martinez.

As Bing and Google rule out more beloved link building strategies, marketers increasingly turn to supposedly “safe” strategies like broken link replacement (a form of “link reclamation”).  I’m not convinced this is as safe a link building strategy as its proponents want to believe, but so far the search engines are not hinting at future changes in their guidelines.

You will always have the right to ask for a link.  No search engine can take that away from you.  But when you do ask for a link because you believe it will help you build up your search referral traffic then you should assume there is some potential risk involved with that request.  The fully realized potential risk is that you will be penalized (delisted) by a search engine for acquiring the link.  But you should think of potential risk as a partially-filled balloon that may or may not inflate until it explodes.

Risk potential changes over time, but not all the risks you face concern search engine guidelines, penalties, and algorithms.  Let’s just talk about the simple act of placing a link in an article that you publish today.

WIKI LINKS:  One of my favorite examples of a high-risk outbound link is a link to any Wiki site that can be changed by its visitors or an active user community.  Wiki articles may seem very good to you today but in 2-3 years (or 10 years) they will be very, very different from the content you linked to.

I am a long-time critic of Wikipedia because of the amateurish revert wars that experienced Wiki editors start in order to pervert the content.  The way Wikipedia handles these disagreements is to penalize the 2nd person (the one who responds to the reversion) instead of the trouble-maker.  Many tens of thousands of people have gone into Wikipedia, made good changes, and then watched in horror as some more experienced user comes along, changes everything back, and watches the article to ensure that the original contributor is blocked by Wikipedia’s reversion rule from keeping the good changes in the article.

If you want to link to a Wiki site that is your choice but you are linking to every idiot, troll, and well-meaning but clueless admin who uses the rules to make good content look bad.  There is a lot of risk entailed in linking to any Wiki site, especially if you are expressing an opinion and you feel you are linking to an article that supports your opinion.  Someone who disagrees with you can change the Wiki article to contradict what you are saying.  Good luck fixing that.

LINKS TO BLOGS: As bloggers we should be linking to other people’s blogs.  After all, supporting the community that supports you keeps the community strong.  But most bloggers don’t stay with their blogs.  If you just link to the home page of the blog in 3 years you may be linking to a dead blog that hasn’t been updated in 2 years.

If you deep-link to an article on a blog your link may survive for a few years but eventually something will change.  Blogs are often deleted.  They are often moved.  The URL structures are changed.  And the worst part of this is that you may be the worst offender in your rogues gallery of bloggers who have changed things without notifying you.

I started the SEO Theory blog as a subdomain on Blogspot in December 2006.  In early 2007 we moved it to the SEO Theory domain everyone knows today.  So that was a double-whammy on changes in URL structures: we went from subdomain.domain.tld to domain.tld.

The article URLs were converted to use the correct root, but at the time we decided to go with just seo-theory.com instead of www.seo-theory.com because we thought the shorter domain URL would be the visitors’ preferred choice (that turned out not to be the case).

When we finally added the www-prefix to the domain and redirected the non-www version I decided that would be good enough.  But another decision I made at the time was to host the blog in a subdirectory.  I did that because I thought that my employer (who at the time owned all legal rights to the blog) might want to develop some marketing content on the root page.  But they already had an “official” Website and, frankly, their offline sales channel was bringing in enough business that they didn’t feel like marketing directly to the Web.

Eventually we dropped the “/wordpress/” folder from all the URLs and moved the content up to the root folder.  But I never went back and changed all the links (it would have required far too much time for review because I was writing 5 posts a week at the time AND doing my day job).

And yet as the years rolled by I often found myself linking back to older articles, and the more of those links I generated with the domain.tld/wordpress/ format in the early days the more I unintentionally set up TWO automated redirects.  This is one reason why pages on the site sometimes flash when you load them (another being the speed optimizations we have implemented).

Search engines can now handle up to 5 hops in a redirect chain.  That’s great for SEO but frankly it creates a bad user experience for me.  As I reshare old articles that I feel are relevant I occasionally find to my amused horror that the self-referential links do not reflect the correct structure.  I have learned that leaving too many legacy structures in self-referential links eventually leads to trouble so now I review old articles on a random basis to improve the quality of self-referential linking.

REBRANDING KILLS LINKS: I don’t have an estimate of how many sites I have linked to through the years that moved to new domains, but there are a LOT of them.  Given the number of Websites for which I write content it is humanly impossible to monitor all the outbound links and keep them updated.  Even my close personal friends, who have listened to me rant on and on about how Websites break with rebranded moves, occasionally break links by rebranding their sites.

“Oh, but we always advise people to set up 301 Redirects,” you say.  Yes, I tell people to do that, too.  In my daydreams people listen to me.  In real life they “just don’t have time” or “forgot to do that” or “asked IT to take care of it” and have a thousand other explanations for why it never happened.  And there are many of YOU digital marketers whose content I have linked to who have broken my outbound links.  Even the most experienced marketers don’t always fix their problems.

Old content may be taken offline simply because it’s “old, outdated, and irrelevant”.  And for fear of incurring some sort of imaginary search engine penalty people won’t even redirect the dead URLs to a “that content is gone” page.  So there I am, left with dead outbound links on my page and my visitors have no clue as to what I was linking to or why.

Whenever possible I replace rebranded links either with the appropriate URLs or, if the content has changed (or if the page now loads 20 advertisements) I just link to the oldest legible copy I can find on Archive.Org.

But even Archive.Org can fail me because if you set up a “robots.txt” file that disallows ia_archiver it won’t show people the page.  I have done this myself simply to fight Website scraping (which, thankfully, is not nearly as bad as it used to be).

My final choice for fixing a rebranded link is to convert the anchor text to an italicized expression, to indicate to me (not so much to you) that there was once a link there to something I felt was useful and the other guy killed it.

iStock_000001241176XSmallIDIOCY KILLS LINKS: Sometimes I will link to an article written by someone I don’t know.  They may be saying something I agree with today but eventually it becomes apparent to me that they got lucky with that first article.  It’s a bit like being a Skeptic who links to an article about the silliness of Paranormal Research, only to find a year later that the writer is someone who advocates an alternative form of paranormal research (for the record, I try to stay out of Skeptics-vs-Paranormal debates as much as possible).

So there you are, linking to a Website that you now believe is full of nonsense.  What should you do?  Keep sending your visitors to a lunatic asylum and they will eventually assume you must belong there, too.

Maybe you feel I’m using too strong language here: “idiocy”, “lunatic asylum” are insulting, after all.  But think about the way a site you linked to in the past now makes you feel.  Would you link to it today?  If not, why not?  And if you did link to it in the past then you need to realize that you ARE linking to it today as long as your old link is still published and indexable.

Your feelings should play a huge role in how you decide where to direct your links.  Trust your feelings, Luke, the Force of your emotions will guide you.

When I see that I once linked to a site that I now feel is substandard I kill the links.  If possible I’ll find something else to link to but about half the time I just throw the carcass out into the cold and don’t even italicize the old anchor text.  I want to forget that I ever linked to such a site.  I want the search engines to stop passing credit, too.

OPTIMIZATION KILLS LINKS: If you have written 10-15 articles on the same topic over the past 3-5 years you’ll eventually come to the realization that you need to clean up that mess.  It doesn’t always turn out to be a mess.  News sites, for example, need to keep their content differentiated chronologically (and shame on the sites that continually add updates to old content).

But we as digital marketers realize that eventually we start repeating ourselves, and so we either reduce the amount of content we publish on a site or we start consolidating content.  I recently did that on SEO Theory and I have done it for other sites.  Content consolidation is a great way to reset the clock and give you some breathing space so that you can write about the topic again.

But every now and then when I am reviewing old links I find they now lead to redirected destinations which are terrible attempts to consolidate old content.  For example, just before I decided to write this article I reviewed some outbound links on an old SEO Theory article.  One of them led to a specific article that has been included in some sort of a category page.  I could not find any trace of the article itself on the first page of results in the category listings, so I replaced the link with a link on Archive.Org.

When you redirect your old URLs to a consolidation page you need to show visitors who follow old links that the content they want is still there, easily reached, and important to you.  Just following my (and may other SEO bloggers’) advice to implement redirects when you consolidate old content is not good enough (at least not for me).

I want to know what happened to the old content.  I want my visitors to know that I am still providing a meaningful linking experience.

I rarely receive any requests from marketers for link reclamation.  I would almost never agree to such a request anyway unless I knew the person and thought they were legitimately making a good recommendation for my site.  Sorry, digital marketing world, but most of you appear to be hawking really bad content with your guest posting and link reclamation strategies.  I have probably agreed to two link reclamation requests in the last five years.

Optimization outreach may lead me to replace old links, but the new links may not be as good as the old links were.  At best I am improving a degraded user experience; at worst I am compromising with reality and killing bad links.  What I would prefer is for the old article publishers to be consistent in supporting the sites that linked to them in the past.

Sure, it may be hard to show that those links still exist (or still help in any way), but if people are visiting your site through old links you owe it to them and yourself to give them the most relevant experience possible.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO ME

As an advocate of writing timeless content (and I concede that not all my content is timeless), I feel that the links are just as important as the words and images on the page.  I want people to know that when they land on an old article (and those old articles get a LOT of traffic) that they can trust what I am telling them.

Sometimes I do update the old articles.   It’s necessary to provide some context (such as “this article refers to a service that went offline in 2012”).

Sometimes I take the old articles offline.  When I do so I have to decide if I want to redirect the URLs to some other content or leave them “dead”.  Yes, I do occasionally orphan inbound links that other people gave me in the past (or that I gave myself).

I know I am creating a bad user experience, but if you have done this then you’ll probably agree that you are compromising with reality and substituting a less bad user experience for a worse one.  We may be right or wrong in our judgements.

Eventually I’ll figure out what to do about the content I have taken offline.  I don’t want to leave a bad experience in place.  But at least now that I can mark posts a PRIVATE on WordPress installations I can quickly see which articles are no longer useful and I’ll be able to think of ways to manage that user traffic.

To me, it says a lot about a marketer’s dedication to the consumer experience when I see them make an effort to resolve dead link problems in a meaningful, user-friendly way.  When you just do it for search engines you really imply that you don’t think much about what kind of impression your site makes on visitors.  I feel YOUR pain when I take content offline.  I want you to feel MY pain when you take content offline.

About Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez has been developing and promoting Websites since 1996 and began practicing search engine optimization in 1998.  He is the principal author of the SEO Theory blog. 

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion