Comic for October 23, 2014

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Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Article: Indonesia to Boast Double-Digit Ad Growth for Foreseeable Future

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Total paid media spending in Indonesia will rise by 22.0% to $11.16 billion this year, according to eMarketer estimates. Double-digit growth will continue through at least 2018, when spending will near $20 billion.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Article: Germany's Digital Shoppers Get Fashionable Online

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Digital buyers in Germany are more likely to purchase clothing and shoes online than they are any other product type. However, despite apparel's popularity among digital buyers, web users in the country still prefer the physical store when spending money on such items.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Article: Immigrants in Canada: Just How Big Is Their Spending Power?

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Canada is one of the most multicultural nations in the world—and especially so among developed countries. As a community, foreign-born residents' impact on consumer behavior is already profound. According to a new eMarketer report, they have robust spending power, and their spending is growing significantly faster than that of Canada's native-born population.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Article: Consumers Get Engaged with Rich Media

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Due to their high-impact formats and bigger sizes, rich media ads see far higher clickthrough rates (CTRs) and engagement compared with standard banners. Average playtime for rich media ads with videos is also longer than for regular video ads. Sports rich media ads lead all other industries in CTR and engagement, while rich media ads for the news industry have the highest average engagement time and video playtime.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Article: Why Marketing Tech Investments Will Change in 2015

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Technology has become critical to marketing, and marketers are adopting new tools in order to improve customer service, satisfaction and retention. When evaluating technologies to invest in, marketers say it is necessary for them to be able to fully integrate the new with the old.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Article: Smartphone-Toting Millennials Fuel Demand for Mobile-Optimized Sites

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Nearly 90% of millennial smartphone users say their phones never leave their side—both day and night. With their smartphones in hand almost every minute, it makes sense that millennial users would turn to such devices to surf the web. However, 86% have noted that a lot of websites still don't offer a good mobile experience—a problem when one considers that nearly half attempt to access a company's mobile site at least once a day.

October 23rd 2014 Uncategorized

Penguin 3.0 Update is Overwhelmingly Underwhelming

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Penguin 3.0 Update is Overwhelmingly Underwhelming was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

penguins-800x800For 12-plus months, organic search marketers have been waiting for the Penguin 3.0 update that would allow reformed corner-cutting clients to claim full penalty recovery and regain SERP rank. With six months between updates set as the standard through 2012 and 2013, a full 12-month cycle between updates created quite the build up for Penguin 3.0.

So, when an Penguin 3.0 update was announced by Search Engine Land on October 19, significant SERP rank fluctuation was expected. Instead, what we’ve seen in the six days since the update can only be described as overwhelmingly underwhelming.

Penguin 3.0: What We’ve Seen In the First 6 Days

  • In a post on Google+, Google UK Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far confirmed that the “update” (referred to as a “refresh” twice in the body of the post) started rolling out on Friday, October 17. Wording the change as a “refresh” in the body text gives us the impression that the event we’re witnessing this week is a minor algorithm reiteration more comparable to the quiet release of Penguin 2.1 than the massive release of Penguin 2.0.
  • The Mozcast barometer which monitors fluctuation in Google’s rankings and reports volatile conditions as hot, stormy weather, showed a temperature well over 100 degrees when Penguin 2.0 was launched in October 2013. Currently the Mozcast is showing a comfortable 71 degrees at the time of this posting, and an actual decrease in instability between Friday, October 17 (when the update was announced), and Saturday, October 18.
  • At this point the analysis we’re seeing from our SEOToolSet ranking tool aligns completely with the comfortable, stable Mozcast forecast: we’re seeing very little SERP fluctuation – for better or worse. In general, we have seen neither significant penalty removal or penalty increases. It was thought that sites would show marked recovery for repenting this last year while those continuing their spammy ways would see increases in ranking drops. We have seen neither.

Speculations: Why Release an Update That’s Not Really an Update?

With so much anticipation leading up to the long overdue (in our opinion) release of Penguin 3.0, we can’t help but wonder: after a year, why would Google release a Penguin “update” that is so insignificantly affecting so many?

Here are four speculations we’ve cooked up in our internal discussions:

  • One theory is that the public was getting antsy and Google took this recent action to appease a vocal industry. In this scenario we posit that Google, overwhelmed with millions of disavow requests, has yet to figure out a meaningful way to use the abundance of disavow data. If the elongated lapse in time between 2.0 and 3.0 updates is the driving catalyst for the update we’re seeing this week, then this week’s update may reflect the best they could do to throw us a bone, so to speak.
  • Another speculation shifts the blame toward the upcoming holiday season; reasonably, Google doesn’t want to create mass instability in the SERPs right before Black Friday ushers in the biggest online shopping season of the year. In this case, a bigger shakeup could be coming with a Penguin 3.1 update roll out just after the holiday season.
  • A third speculation takes Google at its word that the update is still rolling out, and the U.S. market will see a bigger impact in the days to come. In the above-mentioned Google+ announcement, Pierre Far says, “It’s a slow worldwide rollout, so you may notice it settling down over the next few weeks” (emphasis ours). Jennifer Slegg reports that the Penguin 3.0 update was rolled out on international Google sites Google.co.uk, Google.de and Google.fr, before roll out on U.S. sites. In other words, there still could be a tiny glimmer of hope that Penguin 3.0 is in fact still rolling out, and will begin to affect U.S. sites with more gusto in coming weeks.
  • The fourth and most pessimistic speculation suggests that this update-slash-refresh may actually be a sign of things to come; what if Google aims to make cheaters pay for their crimes with an unforgettable punishment, as Bruce Clay, Inc. Senior SEO Analyst Robert Ramirez proposed speculatively in an article last month, Does Google Have a Responsibility to Refresh Its Penguin Algorithm? What if this update is a sign that penalties for black hat marketing techniques may be in the initial phase of an exponential increase, evolving into website death sentences with no hope for the penalized to ever fully recover?

What Now? We Wait and See

With a substantial lack of data to show Penguin 3.0 significantly impacting the SERP space, or an at all, really, we can only continue to wait and speculate among ourselves.

penguin-3-underwhelms-3

Photo by Fod Tzellos (CC BY 2.0), modified.

If above-mentioned speculations one, two, or three are true (or near truth), the seismic Penguin update we’ve been holding our collective breath for could still, very well, be on the horizon. This means hope could still be in the cards for former corner-cutters who have been working hard to prune their backlink profiles and waiting patiently for the Penguin update that would result in penalty resolution.

If the more dramatic fourth speculation is closer to true, we’re in for a real game change. In the Search Traffic portion of their Webmaster Tools Help, Google goes to great lengths to teach webmasters how to disavow unnatural links and correct manual link penalties. We like to believe all this training and effort means something and that Google really does want what’s best for your site, and for the greater good. For that reason, we choose not to put too much weight on the Penguin-3.0-as-eternal-death-sentence speculation.

But, still, it all boils down to waiting and seeing.

The bottom line is that something has to give sooner than later.

We’ve been waiting over a year to see Google refresh the algorithmic elements that manage the analysis and judgment of backlink profiles so that reformers can see rank recovery. What we saw this week just wasn’t that update.

Here’s to hoping that update is coming our way…soon.

October 23rd 2014 Google, SEO

The new age of public relations

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For small businesses and enterprises alike, public relations (PR) is very important. Ultimately, PR is reputation management — how a brand is perceived — which is driven when end-customers read newspapers, magazines, review sites or learn about businesses, products, and services through social media and influential users on the web.


Traditional PR, which is rooted in relationship building through methods such as phone conversations and emails, has only been enhanced with the evolution of the web and mainstream adoption of media usage online.


The new age of public relations


While anyone can technically aim to generate their own editorial coverage, it continues to be a relationship business. That’s where a PR agency’s role is important. This partner is instrumental in the strategic definition of how a message will be conveyed and distributed to the public, how it’s unique, what words will be used, and when it will be pitched. They are also essential in the development of media lists — often times fueled by fancy media databases full of important media information, an editor’s email, interests, pet peeves, and more. These tools support streamlining the development of mass lists, because pinpointing who you are going to target manually across dozens or hundreds of media sources, can be trying. Not to mention the tedious tasks of pitching and following up with these sources. But most importantly, a PR agency is key to leveraging their relationships to secure coverage in relevant outlets that their clients’ target audience read.


As previously mentioned, a PR firm or in-house publicist plays a very important role in laying down the foundation for your messages. Everything from your “about us” page, to how you will be conveyed to the public, and deal with crisis management (hopefully planned in advance as no one anticipates a crisis), requires thoughtful messaging.


That said, when the foundation is laid — and if you have a communications specialist(s) in-house — social media and the web have afforded us the opportunity to learn about the media to build relationships and work toward securing editorial coverage.


Some PR firms have adopted social media in-house, but what we’ve seen most successful is pairing digital specialists with PR relationship builders. Digital specialists can leverage social media research and community management to learn more about a media outlet’s needs, the specific editor’s interest, and personal life, because at the core of everything, is a relationship.


If followed consistently and written effectively with a unique angle, here are four steps to generate authentic editorial coverage for a brand — online and off.

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October 22nd 2014 Uncategorized

How to build a social business

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Exactly what is a “social business?” We hear the term being bandied about freely these days as a kind of utopia every company aspires to be. In actuality, the attributes of a social business can (and should) move in several directions.


The most obvious is customer support and audience engagement. No longer can corporations operate from behind ivy walls that periodically send their news to vendors, partners, investors, and customers as they see fit and from behind the veil of one-way (and carefully corporate approved) communication.


The world is different now. Customers expect and demand to engage with the companies they do business with. And the companies that are succeeding are compelled to oblige.


But for optimal engagement and impact, a genuinely “social business” is willing to go well beyond behaving in a social way with customers via the social profiles the company maintains in the places where you know your customers are generally prone to hang out. Leading organizations (particularly within the Fortune 500) are formalizing their thought leadership and employee engagement programs, which compels them to share more and better information, but also to engage more fully with the audiences they address.


Smaller organizations excel by adopting these progressive characteristics as well, and are hard at work in the development of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who develop columns, articles, blogs, and a myriad of content pieces that are interesting, highly compelling, and most importantly, share educational material that their customer audiences really do want to know. For example, does your organization sell lawn mowers? Never mind the endless broadcasts about the speeds and feeds and the latest specials on the equipment you sell.


Instead, provide your customer and prospect audience with information about how to keep their lawns as green as possible during a drought, or how to find weed killers that are safe to use near pets and children, or the deciding factors towards buying a simple mower, a decked-out contraption, or simply planning to hire the job done. This is the information people are dying to know and will drive the appreciative audience to engage with your firm.


Next, your company should formalize an employee engagement program to give as many willing employees (willing being the operative word) the training and tools to make it easy and rewarding to share the material broadly, along with other suitable material from other aligned and articulate subject matter experts as well. This single step will magnify your audience and your engagement profoundly. As a provider of a leading social media amplification platform, we have compiled extensive data on the companies who use a social media platform for social sharing, and the impact is profound. Sharing through a platform increases reach by a factor of 38 times, and a company with an employee base of 1,250 can create $1.2 million in earned media advertising value and as much as $1.9 million in additional sales.


But being a social business, as described by social media expert Ted Rupin, goes even further beyond being present in the social media platforms. It involves connectedness within your company’s roles and processes too.


For example, in a surprising number of organizations, marketing and sales don’t connect. Instead, they behave like warring factions competing for the finite budgets they share.


But if the end goal is to drive more business, why not create an environment that allows these teams to collaborate together instead? Social media platforms should be used to help employees connect and align their agendas with each other (as well as with the personal networks they lead).


Likewise, social connection is a particularly significant advantage in customer service. In fact, companies that think of customer service as a mind-set as opposed to a separate department are already miles ahead.


Truly social businesses deliver the programs and mechanisms to connect everyone together who has input to allow them to collaborate on the education and information that can best benefit their customer partners, and can create new ways to deliver the best experience possible to the customer communities they serve.


In short, every organization should empower as many departments and as many employees as possible to leverage social media as a means of being present, communicating in two-way dialogues, and sharing. Every business should strive to be a social business. And the side benefits of being a social business are hard to deny: It is also the most efficient method available for empowering your brand.


Eric Roach  is co-founder and CEO at EveryoneSocial.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet. 

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October 22nd 2014 Uncategorized