This Week’s Top Stories
The dress is white and gold. Or, why BuzzFeed won
“And chasing BuzzFeed was probably the right decision. After all, this is what a lot of people were talking about, briefly. But the long-term effect of this is a growing sameness of digital media. It’s hard to differentiate any sites from each other. Designs are mimicked, viral content is regurgitated. The result: viral sameness. The digital media world is about pageviews. They pull in advertising. That means you need to produce a huge amount of pageviews — it’s why the digital media execs can’t go an hour without talking about “scale” — and keep costs low enough to make up for low ad rates. That’s a tough set of circumstances, and they don’t leave ad-dependent publishers with a ton of options.”
PNConnect Insight – This isn’t about what color the dress was or wasn’t. Nor is about how Twitter can be used not just for important reasons about also massively trivial ones. It’s about how essentially all, or at least most, media publications are all chasing the same cheap pageviews, a process that’s hurting the overall media landscape. So the next time you read a story about how Buzzfeed and its ilk are the future of media, keep in mind that future includes a race to an ever-shifting bottom, where everyone picks up the same “viral” story to try and eek out their .4% of the traffic the story as a whole will generate.
How Marketers Use Social to Promote Events
“US marketers were most likely to use social pre-event to increase awareness, cited by nearly nine in 10. Driving attendance and providing event details such as schedules, information and news were also main use cases. Just under half of respondents were focused on building engagement among their social communities. Facebook was the most effective social media platform during this stage, while Twitter and LinkedIn ranked second and third.”
PNConnect Insight – Keep in mind two things: 1) Mileage will vary from project to project depending on the company, its goals, its audience and other factors So the results of the study won’t be completely applicable to all case studies. 2) The idea that community engagement is so low is once again held up as de facto negative. But again, not all programs will have community engagement as an essential element. Nor will all programs have the staff scale to make that anything near a reality.
Google Plus might be dead, as ‘Streams’ and ‘Photos’ take its place
“Photos and Streams are likely an attempt by Google to take the more popular and successful services that are integrated within Google+ — such as its photo editing tools and its integration with other software — and ditch the Google+ branding. The service was launched in 2011, but has struggled to find regular users with many mocking the service for remaining largely dormant.”
PNConnect Insight – While Google+ has had elements that have been very popular, the network as a whole has been a resounding failure. This move by Google to allow the popular photo elements to stand alone may be the final acknowledgement by Google that Plus hasn’t worked, and may be the equivalent of the patient being placed in hospice. For all intents and purposes, Google+ is dead and should not be a focus for any more content updates by brands — although brands with a significant amount of photo content may still wish to use the Photos feature.
Gen Z Influencers to Brands: Let Us Be Ourselves — and Forget Tumblr
“And marketers want to reach them, too, which is why they are increasingly turning to content creators with fame on mobile platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Vine. And they’re shelling hefty fees to do so — sometimes as high as five figures per snap, photo or video. The market’s potential became clearer two weeks ago, when Twitter agreed to buy Niche, a digital talent agency for social influencers. It makes sense. The influencers, like the YouTube stars before them, understand the platforms. And they can often execute two of the most desirable, difficult tasks for advertisers targeting younger audiences: mobile and native.”
PNConnect Insight – Influencer marketing is a whole thing that, in many ways, has outgrown the traditional kind of research and outreach that used to be done through Technorati back in the day. Not only that, but this reinforces the idea that young influentials are all over the place and not tied to one network or another, but instead can be scattered across the social media map.
What The Hell Are We Doing With Apps?
“As we thought about what the best experience for each of these things would be, it became increasingly apparent that shoehorning all the ways to experience BuzzFeed into one app doesn’t make sense. We don’t see it as “unbundling” as much as focusing. Instead of having one baseline for all types of stories and media we need to build apps that can excel at providing the best experience for each.”
PNConnect Insight – In short, Buzzfeed is going to keep throwing apps out there for different niche experiments to see what works and what doesn’t. This isn’t a lesson that’s applicable to all media organizations, though, because they lack the scale to do this kind of trial and error with something as important as apps. But the attitude that audience interest and interaction is more important than protecting the almighty brand is a lesson that *can* be used, at least in most cases.
“Today we’re very excited to announce that http://circanews.com is finally ready for your reading pleasure. Our new homepage has many of the same features as the app does and over time we’ll finish that off so that the web is just as capable as our app experience.”
PNConnect Insight – There’s sort of a reverse form of evolution going on where, instead of websites becoming apps, apps are embracing the web and realizing it’s important for them to have a presence online. There are all sorts of implications to that, though it’s of note that the new Circa site doesn’t include such Web 1.0 functionality as an RSS feed. Nor did they deem the site important enough to put the official announcement on-domain.
Google will begin ranking mobile-friendly sites higher starting April 21
“Big changes to Google’s search algorithms are coming: beginning April 21, the company will increase the ranking of sites that are mobile-friendly and surface app results much higher. The company says that the change will have a “significant impact” on all mobile searches in all languages worldwide, but as a result Google says that users will find higher quality results.”
PNConnect Insight – The debate has always been whether to optimize for the mobile web or build a native app. The answer has always been “both” but this change reinforces that. If you haven’t looked at how your site performs in a mobile browser, it’s time.
Embed Twitter-hosted video on your website
PNConnect Insight – Twitter, like Facebook, wants to own more of the media experience. This update, which isn’t all that different from being able to embed any other Tweet, at least shows that Twitter understands there’s a bigger web out there and wants to play well with it.
Publishers love the Whatsapp’s potential, but struggle with execution
“Still, for the publishers putting work into WhatsApp, the platform is worth the effort. York said that the click-through rate for WhatsApp alerts is “insanely high” compared to Twitter and even Facebook. While the numbers vary depending on the story, click-through rates for Huffington Post WhatsApp can be as high as 60 percent.“If we had as many people signed up on WhatsApp as on Twitter, that would translate to some massive numbers,” York said. Likewise, WhatsApp is an attractive platform for publishers because it helps them look beyond Facebook, which still dominates their social strategies.”
PNConnect Insight – Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat are still a great unknown quantity for brands and other media publishers. The returns being seen, either in clicks or in engagement, are sometimes massive but it’s a time- and resource-intensive process. And since the landscape has shifted so dramatically as to not just dethrone incumbent social networks but to eliminate the position altogether there’s no guarantee that the substantial effort being dedicated now won’t be needed on something completely different in eight months.
Twitter Vets Launch OneShot, An App For Highlighting And Tweeting Screenshots Of Text
“A pair of Twitter vets today launched a handy mobile application called OneShot that makes it easier to share screenshots of text to Twitter, along with your comment and a link to the page in question. The new app also optionally allows you to crop the image, highlight a selection of text, and even add a brightly colored background to make your screenshot stand out better when displayed in Twitter’s stream.”
PNConnect Insight – This is an interesting dedicated app for what amounts to a Twitter hack, the posting of screenshots of highlighted text as an image to get around Twitter’s character count limit. Medium rolled out something similar recently, adding a tool that automatically took a screenshot of highlighted text that could be easily shared to Twitter. It’s not clear why this is the ultimate tech problem to be solved, but here we are.
92% of B2B Marketers Use Social Media to Share Content
“More than nine in ten business to business (B2B) marketing executives use social networking sites to distribute content, but just one third rely on mobile, reveals a new study.”
PNConnect Insight – Businesses from all over the world have been discovering how social media aids in success and growth. Geo-targeting is an effective way to deliver messages to specific visitors based on their location. One of the most important things about using social media is it allows your business to engage with its customers. Companies can receive instant feedback from its consumers’ perspective. With the help of social media, sharing content is fast and easy. Your social media efforts will have optimum results if they’re adapted by platform. In order to get your customers to share content with their followers, you want to be sure your social media content aligns with your target audience.