Facebook celebrated the International Data Privacy Day last month (January 28, 2012). Around only a month later, The London Sunday Times reports that Facebook accesses personal text messages of users who download the social network’s smartphone application. Fox News also covered this story saying that Facebook is spying on phone users’ personal data.
However, it’s not only Facebook that’s spying on users’ personal information. A number of other high profile web firms are indulging into this practice. Several similar cases have been reported lately.
Widely popular companies like Flickr (a photo sharing site by Yahoo), Badoo (a social discovery website) and Yahoo Messenger are stealing private data of smartphone users. Recently, Twitter also admitted storing users’ private data including contacts lists and address books.
Should web firms spy on customers’ personal data?
This is a burning issue for all high profile web firms, and the user. Today’s users are highly concerned about how their personal data will be handled. In fact, ‘user privacy concern’ is one of the emerging digital trends in 2012.
Though many web firms would claim to disclose the permission to use customers’ personal data, very small percentage of people actually goes through the terms and policies. According to a recent study, around 70% of all smartphone users scarcely or never go through the policies before they download an app on their phone.
Whether you’re an advertising agency, a retail marketer, an OS creator, a social networking platform or a search engine, you can never ignore the privacy issue regarding personal customer information. It’s, therefore, crucial to provide users with more knowledge and control over their personal data.
A Smartphone App – An Excellent Tool to Extract Private Information!
Your personal information is extremely valuable. Since companies know that they can cash in on this private data in many ways, they use different ways to collect the same. And smartphone apps give web firms an excellent opportunity to extract a vast amount of private information as users download the required apps on their phones.
The App Store features more than 500,000 iPhone apps, belonging to different categories. Android phone users, on the other hand, can download more than 400,000 different apps.
In the United States alone, 91.4 million people use smartphones. As texting is the most popular activity on smartphones, companies can go to any extent to collect this private data and use it to their business benefits. And the usage of smartphones worldwide is continuously on the rise as well.
How Comfortable (or Safe) are You?
It’s not just the location information that’s being disclosed while you download an app. Mobile application developers can get their hands on your phone’s contact lists, address books and text messages. Unless consumers are given clear notice about privacy policies and total control over their private data, downloading apps poses a big risk.
Are you a smartphone user? Please feel free to share your views and opinions on this burning issue.
Video marketing is hot right now, and chances are you may have already tried to capitalize on that with some videos on YouTube. You may think you are done once you have uploaded your video, optimized it for searched, and shared it with your audience. But if you’re only checking your number of views from this point out, then you’re missing out on some important data – your video statistics.
Public Video Statistics
When logged into your YouTube / Google Account, you can go to your video and click on the statistics button under the video.
First, you will see the public data about your video, viewable to anyone who clicks on it. This view will give you the overall traffic history, plus some details about specific “discovery events” that led to the most amount of views including search queries and sites it has been embedded on.
To make this data private, you can click on Private next to Privacy settings. Then, you can continue to the juicy data by clicking on the View more statistics link – the stuff only available to the video owner.
In-Depth Video Analytics
Within your private video analytics, you can set specific date ranges including the last seven days, last thirty days (default), this month, last month, this year, last year, lifetime, or custom range. I prefer using the lifetime option which will include data from December 2009 to the present. Then you can see the following information on the Overview screen for the data range specified.
- Number of views.
- Channel subscriber changes.
- Video engagement (likes, dislikes, comments, shares, favorites added, or favorites removed).
- Demographics (top viewer locations, male vs. female).
- Video discovery including top playback locations and traffic sources.
You can click on any of these boxes for more information. I find the most useful areas to be the following – you can access them using the menu on the left hand sidebar.
This will show you where the majority of your viewers are coming from and the gender breakdown between male and female viewers.
This will where most people watch your videos. You can also click on the link for Embedded player on other websites to see what websites have embedded your video. This information could come in handy in a variety of ways, such as asking someone who likes your video to link to your website, connect with you on a social network, or accept a guest post from you.
This is another hotbed of information about your video. Click on the links to see where on YouTube your video receives views (such as another member’s favorites or your own channel page), external websites linking to your video, YouTube search terms leading visitors to your video, Google search terms leading visitors to your video, and more. The search terms leading visitors to your video can be especially helpful when you want to create more videos but are unsure what keywords to target.
Not sure if your videos are too long or too short? Wonder what part of your video content makes people leave? Find out by looking at the Audience Retention graph which shows you what times during the video people start to exit. This can help you change the length of future videos to fit your audience’s attention span.
Engagement reports will tell you more information about people who subscribe to your channel, like or dislike your video, favorite your video, comment, or share. This can help you learn more about the audience that actually engages with your video as opposed to just watching it.
Do you use your YouTube statistics and analytics? How has this information helped you in future video marketing campaigns?
A resource page gives your blog readers one more reason to come back. But do you know what a resource page is? A resource page is actually a blog post that contains links to several other posts around a specific topic. Creating resource pages has become a habit with professional bloggers. First, they try to write posts on every useful aspect of an issue (or problem). Once they have written several blog posts addressing a similar topic, they go on to create a resource page that their readers can return to over and over again.
A resource page brings several benefits to bloggers –
It increases time spent for a single visitor.
It compels readers to visit a blog again and again.
It establishes a blogger’s expertise on a specific topic.
It works as an excellent link-bait.
Whether you want to get lots of organic backlinks or earn the trust of your blog readers (so you can convert them quickly), creating multiple resource pages on your blog is just the perfect way to go.
Think of ‘Resource Pages’ as Your ‘Biggest Hits’
Readers love to bookmark and share resource pages. Though you may have a lot of other top quality articles on your blog, packaging multiple top quality articles into a single post can prove to be the biggest hit. Such blog posts have the capability of going viral within a short span of time, attracting lots of traffic and generating lots of unsolicited (natural) backlinks for your blog.
How to Create a ‘Resource Page’
The best part about writing resource pages is that it doesn’t take as much time as writing a full blog post does. If you have multiple best posts around a similar topic, you can have a resource page up and running on your blog within minutes.
Here are the basic steps that you need to follow –
Browse all the categories on your blog
Pick those categories that have a lot of top quality posts
Select the best posts under those categories
Create the resource page(s)
Give the resource page a keyword-optimized heading
Write a brief but compelling introduction for the same
Add the titles of all selected posts to the resource page
Link the titles to their corresponding pages
Publish the resource page
It’s really important to package your resource page well. Make sure you optimize the resource page for the keywords you want it to rank for. Also you should remember to arrange all the posts in proper order, so that the resource pages looks like a useful guide or tutorial.
5 Good Examples
Since examples can quickly give you an idea on what a good resource page should look like, I gathered five of them you can have a look at.
How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners (Problogger.net)
How to Write Magnetic Headlines (Copyblogger.com)
Growing a Blog (About.com)
How to Build an Email List 101 (TrafficGenerationCafe.com)
Search Engine Land’s Guide to SEO (SearchEngineLand.com)
So, are you going to create resource pages on your blog now? Please let me know in the comments section below.
A customer of luxury brands seeks a connection and is looking for a brand that can improve their lives and simplify their lives too. If your site caters to this particular demographic, then you should check out Four Seasons recent report: The Luxury Consumer In the Digital World: Then & Now, 2012 Four Seasons Luxury Trend Report.
Quite a few tidbits stand out in the report that can help you market to a luxury customer.
Don’t forget about your global market. Luxury buyers aren’t just nationwide they’re worldwide. Attract visitors from overseas particularly European markets, China and Latin America. The global luxury market is expected to grow by 10% in 2013, according to consulting company Bain & Company.
According to the Affluence Collaborative, 34% of luxury buyers expect products and services to be customized to their needs. Offering cookie-cutter only products and services certainly won’t attract a large part of this demographic.
92% of Internet users read online reviews and 89% of reviews influence purchasing decisions. This is the case with the luxury buyer, so place importance on getting more reviews, responding to reviews and claiming all those profiles. New local search sites seem to pop up every day, so when they do be sure to claim your profile and ask for a few reviews.
72% of those wealthy that were polled were active on Facebook. This might not be an obvious choice, but using Facebook to market to your luxury customer can prove beneficial. If you aren’t convinced at first maybe try your hand at Facebook advertising. Test out different ads and see how they perform. If ads seem to be worthwhile it may be time to start a page, promote the page to encourage likes and update status messages regularly.
Location Based Services
Apps like Gowalla and Foursquare are perfect marketing channels for most brands. The luxury customer is utilizing these apps, since a large number own smart phones. The trend report showed large growth in this area and predicted more. Encourage check-in’s at your location, encourage reviews/tips and respond as appropriate.
As stated above, the trend report found that smart phone ownership in the luxury marketplace is high. Marketing via mobile devices – through apps, mobile advertising and SMS campaigns – is a growing trend in coming years. The cost can be expensive for some mobile marketing. Developing an app has a lot of development time involved and an SMS campaign can be expensive. Look at all options and don’t forget about mobile search advertising.
What trends stood out to you in the report? Share with us in the comments below!
Infographics (short for information graphics) have almost flooded the web in the recent years. I love infographics for their sheer capability to quickly translate complex ideas into a format that’s easy to scan and fun to look at. If you’ve adequate time and resources, you can definitely create your own infographics and publish them on your site while using them as part of a linkbait campaign. If you’re a blogger, you can use infographics to generate interest among users and attract their attention immediately by engaging them visually.
MBG (My Blog Guest) is already doing a great job bridging the gap between publishers and guest bloggers. I always recommend people who are looking for guest posts to visit MBG and experience how well it works.
This time, MBG has gone one step further. In addition to offering an ‘Articles Gallery’, MBG has now introduced an ‘Infographics Gallery’. That means you can now find both guest posts as well as guest infographics in one place. But before you head straight to MBG’s infographics gallery, you should make yourself clear on how it works.
Let’s have a look.
It’s a Win-Win Situation Again
The best part about MBG is its very pragmatic approach of thriving on their community members’ suggestions. The new feature – the Infographics Gallery – is also therefore a brainchild of user suggestions. And that leaves no doubt that leveraging this useful gallery can create a win-win situation for both the guest infographic author and the publisher. Publishing infographics on your blog, on one hand, diversifies the content. On the other hand, getting infographics published on someone else’s blog helps the content go viral quickly.
Bonus Tips on Creating Great Infographics
I would also want to use this opportunity to expand a little on how you can create infographics that look great and encourage more shareability. A lot of businesses (big and small), bloggers and internet marketing companies are already leveraging the exciting benefits that infographics have to offer. The dark side of the story is that there are still plenty of infographics that address trivial topics and ignore the most important principles of information design.
Here are a few quick tips that you can use –
Define your purpose of creating infographics
Identify the kind of audience you want to address
Gather insightful data that your target audience will be interested in
Synthesize the gathered data while cutting out the fat
Create an attractive design (consider data density, accuracy & Readability)
Infographics carry high shareability as compared to images or text. If you’re planning to spruce up your blog, make it more interesting and engage readers quickly, publishing and sharing infographics is just the perfect way to go. With a resource like MBG’s Infographics Gallery, it’s not hard to find infographics belonging to a range of niche industries.
Thanks Ann for giving us one more great reason to use MBG !
Don’t forget to watch this video that provides a detailed explanation of how the main gallery at MBG functions.
Please feel free to share your views too.
A siloed promotion strategy is rarely successful. Variety is key in any promotion that has even a shred of hope at taking off. You want to attract a wide array of visitors within a short period of time, so coordination is key. If you’ve ever put together a content promotion strategy then you know that the details count – and they count from the very beginning.
The first step is to start making a plan. Think of the different channels in which you can share your message. Social media, SEO, guest blogging and e-mail in my experience are four of the best ways to promote your content. Different channels may perform better for you such as paid camapaigns/PPC, mailers, tv, radio, etc… Cater your content promotion to the channels in which your inbound marketing performs best.
If you’ve done your job well on social media than it’ll be no problem to get eyeballs to whatever you’re trying to promote. Building a community requires brands to become experts, shed knowledge and provide answers. Every now and again it’s appropriate to have a self serving tweet or status message update. And some studies even show that asking for a RT or “Like” can increase the likelihood of it actually being done.
Optimize your promotional landing page or piece of content for search engines. This is one of the best things you can do to promote your content! Determine the terms that will yield the highest traffic with a bit of keyword research. During your brainstorming sessions when determining new promotions and content assets in the future think of these keywords to build a campaign around.
Long tail search terms certainly bode well for many industries so consider all keyword research tools to find the best variations. Searching Q&A sites and social sites, as well as polling your audience are great ways to get ideas.
Promote your content with a bit of guest blogging. Think about the type of guest post that would intrigue the audience but also allow you to slip in a little mention of your promotion. It will allow you to get your name in front of a new audience and help you build authority in your niche – if you do it right.
With a bit of research anyone can get their hands on the e-mails of awesome webmasters. Sure the research is hard, but once you get the hang of it you can be extremely successful. I always thank my lucky stars that I have had the chance in my past to be a link builder. I learned so many tricks and research skills to find awesome sites appropriate to literally any niche. Once you find the site and you if you can give a good enough, personalized enough, enticing enough pitch then you might just convince a blogger or webmaster to write about and link to your content.
These are just a few tips to help you along the way, as I stated before – it’s important to see which channel works best for you. Track your inbound marketing efforts with an analytics program and monitor data throughout any campaign.
Google is fast revolutionizing the face of SEO. It has almost vowed to take strict action against duplicate content and different types of web spam. The last year witnessed a range of Panda algorithmic updates, both major and minor. If your website gets its maximum share of traffic from Google, you should keep yourself abreast of the ongoing changes in the search ranking algorithm.
Most of the webmasters suffer from a feeling of apprehension, as to whether they would be able to survive the next algorithmic update by Google. They start shouting at even a slight indication of change in their website’s SEO, as an algorithmic update is announced.
Google only seems to expedite the process of algorithmic updates with the passage of time. If you paid some attention, you can easily remember the updates that Google launched last month. ‘Search Plus Your World’ rolled out on January 10. It updated its Panda algorithm with version 3.2 around January 18 while the ‘Page Layout Algorithm’ was announced on January 19. Such algorithmic changes show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
All you need to do is pay careful attention to every announcement that Google makes about a new change in its ranking algorithm. Don’t forget to confirm an update by checking out official resources (Google blogs).
SEO isn’t Spam, and It’s Not Dying Either
Officially, Google has always claimed that SEO is not spam or bad. After Google started the socialization of its organic search results, webmasters thought it was the death of good-old-fashioned SEO. No, SEO is not dying! All it means is that you can’t limit your SEO efforts to previous traditional tactics or best practices alone. You’ll now need to focus on many other things. It’s just the beginning of an era where SEO and social media marketing are getting intertwined intrinsically. But, does that weaken the title of SEO or make it only broader?
What to Do
SEO is continuously evolving. Since Google won’t miss to update its ranking algorithm at least 500 times every year, it only makes sense to plan out an effective strategy so that you can shield your website against any kind of sudden algorithmic update or a Panda smack down. Here are a few quick tips you can follow.
Don’t Panic – If you start to get panicky at each ranking algorithmic update or announcement by Google, you won’t be able to focus on the big picture.
Live up to the Expectations of Google – Get a clear idea of what a high quality website should look like or include. For more guidance on how to enhance the overall quality of your website, you can go through this post (published on Google Webmaster Central Blog).
Analyze Organic Traffic Trends – Analyze the organic traffic on a month-to-month basis. Most importantly, check out those periods where Google didn’t roll out any algorithm update. If your website’s organic traffic was impacted during that no-algorithm-update period, you might have some usability or other technical issues to focus upon.
Think Before Taking an Action – Don’t rush, as it won’t help. Whenever you notice a change in your website’s SEO, give it some time. Relax. Take all possible aspects of your website (including on-page and off-page) into consideration before arriving at any significant SEO decision.
Do you love Google’s Panda or Fear it? Please feel free to share your views on the changing face of SEO and how it impacts a site’s search rankings.
If you write about social media often, you might find yourself needing a few statistics. The following sources will give you the most current data available about social networking usage.
The following sites are a good place to start for statistics about most of your favorite social networks.
Wikipedia is a good first stop to get the latest stats about social networks. Their pages usually have each social networks launch date, current number of users, founders, revenue, traffic, and other information as applicable. You can see what I mean on Wikipedia pages for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and so forth. Be sure to click on the number next to each stat to see the official source for more information.
If you’re looking for traffic and demographics, Quantcast is a great source. See some interesting information about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and so forth. Use the search box to find even more domains.
The Top 10
All About Facebook
Facebook seems to have the most data out and about on the web. Here are some great sources.
Facebook Fact Sheet
Facebook itself offers some basic statistics about their network on their company info fact sheet. it includes the current number of employees, number of monthly and daily active users, board member names, and locations of Facebook offices worldwide.
Inside Facebook Gold
Need some in-depth statistics about Facebook? Inside Facebook has a gold membership that allows you access to the latest demographics about Facebook usage. While their membership is currently closed to new enrollment, you can still get some interesting stats for free on their membership page including the number of users in the top 25 countries on Facebook and global audience demographics.
Facebook Pages Leaderboard
All About Twitter
Not quite as detailed as the information on Facebook, but the following are stats about Twitter.
What is Twitter
There aren’t too many interesting stats on the What is Twitter page, but the ones that might catch your eye are the number of tweets per day and active users!
Top Twitter Users
TwitterCounter has a page for the most followed Twitter accounts. The top 20, with exception to Barack Obama, YouTube, and Twitter en espanol, are mostly celebrities.
All About LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s About Us page covers the latest LinkedIn facts including overall membership plus breakdowns of the number of members in 14 different countries.
YouTube’s Statistic page has tons of neat information including how many hours of video content is uploaded every minute, how many videos are viewed per day, unique users per month, user demographics, and more. There is even a section about social usage of YouTube such as the number of people connecting their accounts to other services (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), how many people auto share, and more.
What sites do you use to check social media statistics? Please share your resources in the comments!
Popups are certainly a very efficient way to communicate your message (and to nag your users, too) and almost any marketer knows this. Conventional popups that display when a user lands on a page (or after some delay, or at specified events, if you are using a more sophisticated tool, such as a WordPress popup plugin) might be the first thing that comes to your mind but since they are also the most used and many users will leave your site right after they see a popup, you might want to experiment with something different. How about exit popups?
What Are Exit Popups?
Exit popups, as the name implies, are those popups you show when the user is about to leave (i.e. exit) your site. Actually, exit popups aren’t that rare and I can bet that more or less every Web-savvy user has encountered them but you probably didn’t know them by name. Well, now you know how these popups that scream, “Wait! Don’t leave!” are called.
When Exit Popups Are the Better Option
The best thing about exit popups is that they are less annoying. Additionally, since you display them when the user is about to leave your site anyway, you are not losing visitors. With conventional popups displayed at startup, many users might get irritated and instead of reading what’s in the popup, they will leave your site altogether. This way you are losing a visitor and this is bad.
With exit popups this doesn’t happen – since the user has already made his or her mind he or she is leaving, you’ve got nothing to lose. What is more, if your message in the exit popup is convincing, you could even get the user back to your site to see more.
Well, with exit popups you have only one chance to show them. With standard popups in theory you can display them at every page refresh or every 30 secs or so but in practice this isn’t a good idea because such a high display frequency is very irritating to the user. Anyway, the fact you are using exit popups doesn’t mean you have to ditch standard popups completely, so in fact you can use on your site both standard and exit popups. You can make these popups with the same message, or use different messages – just decide what your needs are.
What is more, usually it is a question of quality not quantity, so don’t regret the fact you can show an exit plugin only once. Just make your farewell message convincing enough and you might be lucky to make a sale, get a new subscriber, or make the user do whatever you are asking him or her to do.
How to Use Exit Popups
As I already mentioned, WordPress popup plugins with an exit popup option are the best way to display an exit popup, especially if you are already using WordPress as your platform. The simplest way to display an exit popup is with some code you put in your theme (i.e. without a dedicated plugin) but this approach generally limits you a lot. For instance, you will be depriving yourself of all the configuration options that come with the plugin, which in turn will make your message less effective. This is why the best you can do is get a WordPress popup plugin, install it, and think of a cute message your readers will love.
Jeffrey Davis recently reported a 30%- 40% drop in his site’s referral traffic from StumbleUpon. There’s absolutely no doubt that SU is one of the most potential sources for getting a good amount of referral traffic. In fact, many blogs receive as much as 60%-80% of their overall traffic from SU.
After SU rolled out their redesign last year, users felt quite happy to know that the site was paying some careful attention to its on-topic features. But, as soon as, SU bid adieu to direct links recently, everyone was taken aback. Earlier, you could easily ‘x’ out a page and visit the original URL from inside the site. Now, while logged in, you can’t get out so easily.
There’s one way, though somewhat clumsy. If you want to visit the original source, you need to copy-paste the URL above, while leaving the SU part of the URL out.
Here’s what the URL looks like.
Well, SU is trying to confine users within its own eco-system. Funny, isn’t it?
On the other hand, Pinterest (a visual bookmarking site) is attracting eyeballs from many sides. Though it’s a new entrant in the social arena, it’s fast turning into a potential sources of traffic for a wide range of businesses. According to a recent report by Shareaholic, Pinterest is now rivaling Twitter in terms of driving referral traffic to a website or blog.
What’s more, Pinterest is generating more referral traffic than its elder social brothers like Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube are doing together. Though a lot of businesses are still quite unaware of the traffic opportunities that a social bookmarking site as young as Pinterest can bring, others are flocking to this Pinboard in large numbers.
Though Facebook still rules when it comes to driving referral traffic, Pinterest is fast picking up steam. The growth of this visual pinboard has been phenomenal over the last couple of months. Shareaholic recent findings (after analyzing data from as many as 200,000 publishers) reveal that Pinterest drove around 3.6% referral traffic in January this year, shooting up from merely 17% in July and 2.5% December last year.
Many have been reported to ditch SU as well.
So, Do You Need a Shift in Your Referral Traffic Strategy?
Absolutely! If you don’t evaluate your site’s referral traffic statistics now, it may be too late. You really need to know about the sources that drive the maximum traffic to your website or blog.
Log into your Google analytics account and click ‘Referring Sites’ under the Traffic Sources tab on the dashboard right away. Find out what those referring sources stats look like. When you know what sources work most in your favor, you can adjust your traffic generation strategy effectively.
Did you notice a sudden drop in your site’s referral traffic from SU? Which social platforms drive most of this traffic to your site? Please feel free to talk back in comments.