Biz Stone’s Return to Twitter Boosts Stock

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Twitter’s prodigal son has returned after six years, and shareholders are sitting up and taking notice.

According to multiple reports, shares of the social media company were boosted by the return of co-founder Biz Stone. Following the announcement, midday trading saw stocks climb by 2% before closing at 1.35% to $19.49 in New York. Company shares have surged by 21% in the past three months.

The rebound was a welcome development for Twitter, which took a blow last year after the exodus of its top executives, retrenchment of 9% of its total workers, and a stock plunge. The company hit rock bottom when acquisition talks with Salesforce collapsed.

Apparently, Stone accepted the invitation of Jack Dorsey, another co-founder who returned to the front office two years ago, to usher the company into the future amid the threat posed by growing competition.

In a blog post, Stone revealed that he’s not looking to replace anybody in the company. Instead, he will be resuming the role that he played before he left Twitter in 2011.

“My top focus will be to guide the company culture, that energy, that feeling,” he said. “It’s important that everyone understands the whole story of Twitter and each of our roles in that story. I’ll shape the experience internally so it’s also felt outside the company.”

But a bump in Twitter’s market value after Stone’s return doesn’t necessarily mean a bright future ahead for the company. In fact, there are a few reasons why the Jelly founder probably won’t make much of a difference.

Aside from his ambiguous role in the company, which can still change in the future, things were really not that great when he was there. The issue with Twitter has always been its continued struggle with user growth. Only 60% of its 100 million monthly active users actually post a tweet.

The fact that Stone’s baby, Jelly, folded up and sold to Pinterest in just three years also does not provide much inspiration.

Finally, it’s unclear how Stone will be able to reverse Twitter’s fortunes, particularly when the company hasn’t significantly increased its social media footprint in recent years, unlike Facebook, Instagram, or even Snapchat, for instance.

Nevertheless, Stone is confident about Twitter’s future. As he wrote in his Medium blog, “Twitter has woven itself into the fabric of our global society. The world needs Twitter, and it’s here to stay.”

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May 18th 2017 Social Media, Twitter

Facebook Releases New Plan to Fight Its Problem With Fake News 

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the social media site can be used as a propaganda tool or for the propagation of fake news. Now, the social media giant has released a report to outline what it’s doing about this potential for misuse and abuse.

The whitepaper, penned by Jen Weedon of FireEye, William Nuland of Dell SecureWorks, and Alex Stamos of Facebook, revealed that Facebook is not turning a blind eye while false information, violent images, and sex videos are being shared by its users.

Among the ideas recommended were:

  • Collaboration with stakeholders to come up with a united agenda
  • Choke the financial sources, if the purpose is for economic gain
  • Creating new products to counter fake news
  • Educate users on how to spot which information is false or true

The paper also identified the three main purposes of creating false content: first is to target and collect data in the ultimate aim of “controlling public discourse;” second is to manipulate public discourse by amplifying an issue through the use of fake accounts; and third is to produce fake content and seed them to journalists and news agencies.

The paper cited the recent US elections, where Donald Trump emerged as a winner, as a good example of the three ways to control public discourse using Facebook. The study found several instances where private information was phished, fake accounts were created, and legitimate accounts were used to share news content.

“From there, organic proliferation of the messaging and data through authentic peer groups and networks was inevitable,” the report added.

But the paper said much more is needed to be done to stop people from gaming the algorithm to advance their own agenda, particularly during electoral exercises. Governments, for example, also have to strengthen cyber-security efforts to protect candidates from external attacks.

As to stemming the tide of fake news, it said, “Journalists and news professionals are essential for the health of democracies. We are working through the Facebook Journalism Project15 to help news organizations stay vigilant about their security.”

About a week ago, just a couple of days when a murder was posted live on Facebook, Zuckerberg acknowledged the social media giant’s role in the proliferation of the violent video while he addressed the audience during the F8 event.

“We have a lot of work [to do] and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” he said.

While the act of Steve Stephens, who gunned down Robert Godwin Sr., was grisly enough, the Facebook Live video stayed on air for about two hours. The shooter later killed himself during a police manhunt.

The Verge noted that the whole paper did not lay down a clear-cut strategy on how to cut the legs out of those people who produce the fake news in the first place. It also did not call out Facebook and its accountability when propaganda or a violent video is being shared by millions.

While Facebook should not be scored for the creation of fake news, once the propaganda piece finds its way into the social media network, fail-safe measures should be in place to prevent those from being shared, the article said.

Meanwhile, Gizmodo blasted Facebook for trying to sanitize its complicity by releasing a whitepaper that is essentially 13 pages of hollow words that amount to nothing. The article said that Zuckerberg would be better off admitting that it doesn’t know how to resolve the proliferation of fake news than make false promises to its users.    

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May 3rd 2017 Facebook, Social Media

Millennials and Affluent Prefer Mobile for Brand Connection After Purchase

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Registria has released results from a new study which found that younger and more affluent consumers would prefer to connect with brands through their mobile device, over email and paper literature, immediately after purchasing a new product.

According to the study, 47% of consumers aged 18-34, and 47% of consumers who make $100,000 and above, say they would like to receive product setup instructions, tips, and service and warranty information directly to their mobile device.

“Consumers want to connect with the brands they buy. Their reasons for wanting to do so not only provide value to them as customers, but they are also significant revenue-generators for manufacturers,” said Chris McDonald, CEO of Registria. “The process of product registration has evolved over the past 40 years, and mobile technology makes it even easier for brands to use product registration as an engaging way to onboard customers.”

According to Registria, product registration has been the main vehicle for durable consumer brands to identify and understand their consumers. However, the traditional process of filling out paper or online registration information can be a barrier. In the study, 68% of all consumers say they never register their products, and of those:

– 38% intend to, but forget or just never get around to it
– 16% say it’s a hassle, and
– 12% don’t want to share their personal information.

56% of consumers say that receiving warranty and service plan information is the most important reason to register a product, while 25% cite safety and recall notifications as the most important reasons to register.

These priorities shift among younger consumers aged 18-34, who think it is more important to register products in order to be notified of deals on accessories and complementary products. In addition, consumers with higher income of $100,000 and above say staying connected with a brand for loyalty and VIP programs is the most important reason to register.

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April 27th 2017 Social Media

Instagram Influencer Marketing Expected to Double in Two Years

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With the decline of traditional TV and the growth of social media, influencer marketing has become one of the fastest growing advertising mediums. A recent study by Mediakix found that Instagram alone is expected to be a $1.07 billion market this year and $2.38 billion in 2019.

In the past six months alone, Instagram added over 100 million users and growth shows no signs of slowing. With over 600 million global users and over 400 million of whom check Instagram every day, Instagram is one of the most far-reaching and highly engaged social media networks in existence today, according to Mediakix.

Though there is no official number on the size of the Instagram influencer market, the study tracked common sponsored hashtags, including #ad, #sponsored, #spon, and #sp. In the past year, there was an increase of 4.8 million uses of these hashtags over years prior.

In looking at a sample size of 500 recent sponsored posts, 58% were from accounts with more than 1,000 followers. The average follower size for accounts posting sponsored content was 32,000. Applying an average $10 cost per thousand impressions (CPM), an estimated $320 per post and an estimated total monthly spend of approximately $90 million resulted. This would put the overall total annual spend at over $1 billion.

With the current annual growth, the market could reach a $130M/month spend by March 2018 and up to a $200M/month spend by March 2019 (nearly $2.4B spent on influencer marketing on Instagram alone).

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April 25th 2017 Social Media

Highlights from Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference

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At this year’s Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference in San Jose California, the company announced their short and long term plans. The announcements ranged from updates to existing offerings in the short term and long term plans bordering on science fiction.

Facebook Wants to Read Your Mind

In a surprising announcement, Regina Dugan told the F8 audience about a project with two goals, typing with your brain and hearing with your skin. In a Facebook Post Dugan says, “Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech… We also described a system that may one day allow you to hear through your skin.”

360-degree cameras

Wednesday’s keynote from CTO Mark Schroepfer announced the second generation of its Surround 360 camera design. The Street reports, “The new cameras are called the x24, featuring 24 cameras on an orb, and the smaller x6, which features six cameras on an orb. Unlike the original Surround 360 camera announced at last year’s F8 event, these cameras use six degrees of freedom (SDOF) to allow a VR headset wearer to move around in about a meter and a half of space to observe an object closer or to simply walk around a space. This effect allows users to feel more immersed in a scene. In addition, while last year’s camera became an open-source project on GitHub, Facebook is planning to work with partners to manufacture the x6 and x24 to bring them to market later this year.”

Beam the Internet from helicopter

CNN Tech reports: “Facebook said it’s created something called a Tether-tenna, a small helicopter connected to an internet cable and a power source. In an emergency, the Tether-tenna would connect to an existing piece of fiber line and fly above the ground, becoming a tower that people can use to get online

This disaster zone tech is still a long-term plan. But Facebook says it could eventually be deployed for months at a time, providing connectivity while a community rebuilds itself.”

Updates to Workplace by Facebook

TechCrunch reports: “Facebook announced updates to its Workplace by Facebook team communications tool, including a slew of new partnerships and new bot integrations, which all show a product that’s maturing to meet the needs of larger enterprise customers.”

Updates to Facebook Analytics

Facebook’s VP of Partnerships, Ime Archibong, announced updates to Facebook Analytics as well as Facebook Login and Account Kit during his F8 keynote address. TechCrunch: “Analytics is getting greater customizability and a machine learning boost while Login and Account Kit are benefiting from additional transparency and accessibility.”

Facebook Spaces Announcement | F8 in Under 10 Minutes from Engadget:

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April 21st 2017 News, Social Media, Technology

Boost Your Social Media Advertising Success with These 6 Pro Tips!

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Social media has become an important and necessary tactic within the digital marketing strategies of companies large and small—and it’s not hard to see why. Social media is part of the fabric of our daily lives, which gives brands and marketers the opportunity to create important connections with their desired audience.

But with nearly every brand using social media—as well as frequent tweaks to platform algorithms—brands and marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to stand out using organic tactics. As a result, more are paying to play these days by investing in social advertising to drive awareness and engagement, as well as sales and other conversions. In fact, late last year Statista forecasted worldwide social advertising spend to nearly double between 2014 ($16 billion) and 2016 ($31 billion).

But like every marketing tactic, social media advertising needs strategy and deep audience knowledge in order to be effective. Below we offer a few tips and tactics that can help you hone your strategy and get more out of your social advertising efforts.

#1 – Use organic tactics to test what resonates with your followers.

Your existing audience of followers can be one of your greatest social advertising tools. These people and businesses have clicked follow or like for a reason—and they’re likely a good representation of the larger audience you’re trying to reach.

Since you’re probably already posting on a regular basis for “free”, use that as an opportunity to test out different types of content to see what resonates most. Track which posts are getting the most clicks, likes, shares or comments so you can draw some conclusions of how a similar promoted post or ad would fare when released to a larger, targeted audience.

Your existing audience can be one of your greatest #socialadvertising tools. @CaitinMBurgess
Click To Tweet

#2 – Do your homework on how ads are sold on each platform.

Each social media platforms offers an array of ad types. As a result, if you want to keep your budget under control and get the most bang for your buck, you need to be able to choose the right format for your objective.

For example, if you’re looking to boost brand awareness, choosing a campaign based on the number of impressions—or how often your ad is shown—may be the right path. However, if you’re looking to engage a specific group of people who would benefit from your services, an engagement campaign—based on interactions such as clicks, shares, likes and comments—may be the way to go. In addition, ad text and the type of content you’re driving will also depend on the type of campaign you’re running.

#3 – Get granular with your audience and ad creative.

Select the Right Audience

Simply put, if you don’t target the right audience, it doesn’t matter how compelling your ad copy or imagery is because it won’t resonate—and then you’re wasting money.

Use the deep audience knowledge you’ve gained from your other marketing activities to create highly-specific, granular audiences to target. While this approach casts a much smaller net, you’ll likely see more success since you’re hitting a more specific audience.

In addition, don’t limit your ad to just one specific audience. Create multiple granular audiences to connect with the unique subgroups you want to reach.

For example, let’s say you’re promoting a pre-summer sale on grills. A specific audience could be urban-dwelling male and female vegetarians between the ages of 25 and 35, and another could be rural dads between the ages of 35 and 45.

Make the Creative Match

Once you have your specific audiences defined, the next step is to create unique imagery and ad copy.

To go back to our grill example, for your vegetarian audience, your imagery could show a spread of delicious seasonal veggies roasting on the grill. For your rural dads, your imagery could show a similar-aged male manning the grill while family hangs on the patio overlooking open green space.

Also, don’t limit your creative to just one version. Consider creating two or three with the same text, but different imagery—and vice versa. This will allow you to further understand what your audience finds most compelling.

Embrace Retargeting

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced the creepiness—and effectiveness—of retargeting. Retargeting, or remarketing, allows you to keep your brand top of mind for those who’ve left your website without converting. And, of course, social media platforms provide you with a great retargeting opportunity.

However, that opportunity is not limited to simply reminding your audience to check their abandoned cart or to download your new eBook. It can also help you accomplish the previous recommendations in this section. In fact, simply getting ready to retarget social visitors have its rewards.

Facebook allows you to build custom audiences based on who your current website visitors are. To get this up, you simply place a Facebook pixel within your website code to start building.

Facebook Retargeting with Custom Audiences

(Photo Credit: Facebook)

As a result, Facebook can then provide you with a wealth of information about the makeup of your audience. For instance, you may be thinking that you need to target young and hip urban dwellers. But when you take a look at your audience, you may find it’s made up of retired wealthy suburbanites.

In the end, this information can be used to create more targeted ads across all social platforms—and you’re set up for great retargeting on the most popular social platform.

#4 – Launch a test.

Now that you’ve defined your audiences, and the respective imagery and ad copy, launch a test with a small budget. The beauty of this is that you’ll be able to get pretty instant feedback on what’s working and what’s not.

In addition, consider going a step further in your test by experimenting with different ad formats. As mentioned above, each platform offers different types of ads and they should align to your ultimate objective. But it may be worth testing out the different formats (i.e., impressions, engagement or conversions) to see where the best opportunities are.

#5 – Start a campaign with multiple ads in the queue.

If you hit your target audience with the same ad over and over again, fatigue will start to set in and you could do more harm than good.

Whether you’re planning to run a campaign for one week or one month, include multiple ads within the campaign to serve your audience with multiple versions. This not only helps reduce fatigue, but again gives you the opportunity to see what’s working and what’s not so you can make tweaks or abandon ship.

Don’t hit your audience with the same ad over & over. @CaitlinMBurgess #socialmediaadvertising
Click To Tweet

#6 – Design with mobile in mind.

With nearly 80% of social media time spent on mobile devices, creating social ads with mobile in mind is paramount.

Choose images that are easy to view on a mobile devices. In addition, if you’re attempting to drive users to a content asset on your blog or website, make sure that page provides a good user experience and is mobile friendly.

How have you achieved social media advertising success? Or where are you looking for more insight? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Boost Your Social Media Advertising Success with These 6 Pro Tips! |

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April 20th 2017 Social Media

Blog Searches on Google Get Rich Results

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Google has a new look for blog searches. Searches for blogs now return carousels and rich lists of popular blogs.

The new feature which appears in mobile and desktop searches show rich results for queries about blog topics, like “cooking blogs” or “tech blogs.”

This is the carousel look for a cooking blogs search:

Here is the rich list style for a fashion blog search:

The rich results seem like a helpful feature for users wanting to find new content. For blogs, the feature may not be quite as useful. Clicking on the blog logos does not take the user directly to the blog but opens a search query for the blog name. With the extra step, this feature may not be a huge new traffic driver for blogs. It will at least increase visibility for blogs that make it in the rich results.

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April 19th 2017 Search, Social Media

Pre-Roll Most Informative And Engaging Video Ad Format in Study

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The results of a scientific media trial by YuMe examining the impact and value of pre-roll, mid-roll, outstream and social video across multiple screens, including mobile and PC, found that pre-roll is distinctly the most preferred video ad formats

Compared to mid-roll and outstream, pre-roll is considered the least interruptive across devices, with only 17% of mobile device users feeling the ad interrupts the content, compared with 60% on outstream and 72% on mid-roll.

54% of consumers found pre-roll ads on mobile engaging, compared to 37% on outstream and 44% on mid-roll.

“We are big advocates of marketers using a mix of video formats and strategies to effectively reach target audiences, but it also comes as no surprise that pre-roll remains a dominant cornerstone in a multi-format approach. This artful balance of formats meets brand objectives while delivering memorable experiences for consumers,” said Michael Hudes, Chief Revenue Officer, YuMe. “Through this trial, we’ve been able to clearly outline and reveal the power and impact of video formats across devices. This type of data and insights will prove invaluable for brands continuing to innovate in this space.”

Other key findings From the YuMe research trial of 6,864 users:

Despite being less intrusive than mid-roll and outstream formats, it achieves the greatest break-through (ad recall).
Even with pre-roll being such a strong format, the multi-format exposure of a pre-roll ad followed by an outstream ad performs equally as well as 2 pre-roll exposures.

Consumers have mixed attitudes about mid-roll. It feels most intrusive, but consumers were less likely to want to close out the ad immediately compared to the newer outstream.
Mid-roll communicates brand messages particularly well on larger, more TV-like screens.
Mid-roll ranked higher in message recall for desktop viewers at 27%, compared to 8% for outstream.

Social Video
Social video offers a unique environment on mobile, allowing ads to feel the most integrated with the content.
67% of viewers agreed that social video did not disturb their browsing experience compared to 53% who agree for pre-roll.

Outstream is rated much more positively among those who complete the video, indicating targeting is key.
When consumers complete the oustream video, they are about 3x more likely to remember the ad.

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April 18th 2017 Social Media

Essential Search and Social Media Promotion Tips for News Content

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Serena Ehrlich BusinessWire

Marketing and PR greatness must include equal parts intelligence, creativity and a focus on results. But there’s one more important ingredient necessary to help you stand out: enthusiasm.

Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire has all of these characteristics and at the Digital Summit LA conference, she shared a cornucopia of practical advice about media relations and promotion of news content with zest and gusto.

Here are a few highlights.

Serena EhrlichIt’s common sense and supported by research that industry media is a source of news and trusted information for buyers of every kind. Consumers and journalists have changed right along with the technology used to discover, consume and engage with content.

Therefore, it’s essential that marketing and communications professionals empathize with their audience to understand their preferences and give them what they want.

Because newsrooms have shrunk and journalists are overwhelmed with bad pitches along with a news cycle that runs 24/7 it’s a challenge to stand out. But no fear,  you can really increase your chances of successful media pickups by following a few news release tips from Serena:

  • Include usable support data
  • Be interesting
  • Be relevant to target audience
  • Be catchy
  • Include quotes
  • Include multimedia

Of course, outbound media pitching isn’t the only way journalists can be exposed to your news content. Search engines and social networks can deliver thousands of additional readers that are actively looking for information that your brand has to give.

That means making sure news releases and newsroom content is optimized for the right keywords and promoted through social media. Serena suggested using Google Trends to find keywords to add to your release headlines to increase opens, which is great. You can also use tools like, Moz Keyword Explorer or if you have a Google AdWords account, their Keyword Planner. (we’ve covered press release optimization extensively here in the past in case you want to venture that way)

Serena brought up that since journalists are increasingly judged on the traffic or page view performance of the articles they write, be sure to let them know when they cover your story, that you will share what they write across your social networks. If they know you’ll help promote the article, they might be more inclined to use you for the story and again in the future.

When it comes to social media promotion, Serena stressed the importance of earning trust. How do you do that? Here are her tips:

Share smart content:
– News releases and coverage
– New ideas
– Stats and data
– Ask provocative questions
Share happy content:
– Case studies
– User generated content shares
– CSR content
– Employee life
Share negative-fix content:
– How can you solve this pain point?
– Share consequences

Social networks are where people spend their time, period. And to engage with customers, brands need to be where the customers are. To help you promote your news content where people are actually spending time, Serena shared these tips for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube:

LinkedIn Tips: Professional Competition
– Link with coworkers: Trigger LinkedIn’s algorithm by sharing updates simultaneously
– Include contact information in your release: LinkedIn promotes people mentioned in news releases
– Use LinkedIn blog opportunities to reach new audiences and drive traffic via company blog teaser
– Write content that includes the 6 Ws, you, lists, hacks, psychology, careers, talent and multimedia

Twitter Tips: Smart, Clever, First
– Format: 118-character count – include a headline, link, comments
– News content types to post on Twitter: Stats, releases, coverage
– Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags – up to 3
– Include up to 4 images, GIF or video
– Join hashtag chats
– Add Influencers to Twitter lists
– Create RT DMs groups – people you can reach out to for mutual sharing of content

Facebook Tips: Personal, Smart, Visual
– Increase Your Reach
– Facebook parses content by type
– Facebook matches word use in updates
– Use free audience targeting
– Upload video in early afternoon

Use Facebook Live for reach:
– 10 minutes in length
– Include surprise material
– Comment pinning pending

Be sure to try Facebook Notes for the SEO value

Reddit Tips: Passionate, Smart, Informed
– Reddit has a large audience with 45,000 targeted communities
– Share links to drive traffic, but be sure to participate with the Reddit community first to build relationships (don’t just dump your links)
– Only share relevant information

Instagram Tips: Fame, Recognition
– Instagram is a visual social network, so be sure to use high quality or interesting imagery
– Showcase behind the scenes, physical products, physical locations
– Highlight employee engagement

On Instagram, be sure to:
– Sign up for a business page
– Drive traffic via URL in profile or Stories
– Be descriptive
– Use hashtags (up to 30)
– Like other people’s images to increase interactivity

Pinterest Tips: Showing off + Smart
– Pinterest is the most aspirational network
– It is very focused on B2C, but there are opportunities for B2B
– Extremely high CTR

On Pinterest, be sure to:
– Fuel the smart board
– Be hyper-targeted
– Be descriptive
– Use hashtags

Snapchat Tips: Unvarnished Truth
– 71% of Snapchat users are 18-34 years old.
– Users have an average of 15 friends
– To maximize your impact on Snapchat, buy a geofilter!

On Snapchat, be sure to:
– Provide VIP/exclusive access to content
– Be highly relevant with real time discussion
– Include offers and coupons
– Consider takeovers

YouTube + BizWireTV Tips: Video News
– 33% of YouTube searches are for news
– YouTube TV is launching in 2017

On YouTube, be sure to:
– Create content for all sales funnel steps
– Determine what your audience watches in long form and shorten it
– Create a video of text content
-Try FB live to announce news
– Try
– Try Sponsorships with BizWireTV

There’s a lot to think about if you want to do well with your news content across so many social channels. Hopefully these tips are useful for your efforts at getting news content noticed by journalists through both outbound and inbound efforts.

You can connect with Serena on Twitter @Serena and on LinkedIn.

This is the first of two posts from the recent Digital Summit Los Angeles conference I attended. The second will feature Loren McDonald of IBM (Is Cognitive Technology the End of Marketing As We Know It?).

Loren MdDonald, Serena Ehrlich, Lee Odden

Loren MdDonald, Serena Ehrlich, Lee Odden

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April 17th 2017 Social Media

Clone Wars: Revenge of Zuckerberg About to Snap Spiegel

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Yes, the headline is campy, but there is no denying the battle for supremacy and which side has gained the upper hand.

On the very day (April 13th) that Facebook’s Instagram Stories announced over 200 million daily users, shares of rival SnapChat dropped 1.2%. This is a notable dip in the continuing downward drag of SnapChat’s stock since the company’s historic IPO on March 1st. And the recent announcement of “Snap to Store, which mimics Facebook’s location based ad-targeting capabilities to increase retail sales, likely won’t slow Instragram’s user and ad revenue light speed.

As noted here a few days after the IPO, Facebook had already fired lasers into SnapChat’s mothership. Advertisers have seen their SnapChat marketing ROI slump due to poor targeting, unreliable performance measurement and a decrease in both user engagement and open rates. The recent launch of Messenger Day, seen by some as a SnapChat Stories clone, has already snagged over one billion users for Facebook. Combining that with Instagram’s 300 million daily active users, Snapchat has a big challenge in building on both its projected 2017 seventy million user market share and $900 million revenue increase.

But what make this far most intriguing is when and how it began…which was not a long time ago in a galaxy far away. No, this digital media clash began in December of 2012 with Mark Zuckerberg inviting SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel to Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters to get to know one another. Zuckerberg had swallowed up Instagram 9 months earlier for $1 billion and had been mocked from all corners of the internet galaxy. Ever the star rebel, Spiegel said that the media giant overlord would have to fly to his hometown in sunny LA.

As Forbes’ January 2014 Profile of Spiegel so eloquently point out, the battle thus began:

And so, armed with the premise of meeting with architect Frank Gehry about designs for Facebook’s headquarters, Zuckerberg flew to Spiegel’s hometown, Los Angeles, arranging for a private apartment to host the secret sit-down. When Spiegel showed up with his co-founder Bobby Murphy, who serves as Snapchat’s chief technology officer, Zuckerberg had a specific agenda ready. He tried to draw out the partners’ vision for Snapchat–and he described Facebook’s new product, Poke, a mobile app for sharing photos and making them disappear. It would debut in a matter of days. And in case there was any nuance missed, Zuckerberg would soon change the large sign outside its Silicon Valley campus from its iconic thumbs-up “like” symbol to the Poke icon. Remembers Spiegel: “It was basically like, ‘We’re going to crush you.’”

Spiegel and Murphy immediately returned to their office and ordered a book for each of their six employees: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War*.

In what would soon after be Spiegels rejection of a whopping $3 billion offer, Zuckerberg launched an all-out aggressive strategy in the photo-sharing space and it’s been nothing but victories for him ever since.

Now it seems that order in the digital galaxy will not be restored by balance in the force.

* Note: As pointed out poignantly across the digital galaxy including here: Yoda, the wise old Jedi Master introduced in the first Star Wars trilogy, is partly modeled after a Chinese philosopher named Lao Tzu from 2,500 years ago. Lao Tzu is a contemporary of Sun Tzu, and his philosophies, recorded in the Chinese Tao Te Ching (Way of Life), form a cornerstone of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. The influence of both Lao Tzu’s and Sun Tzu’s philosophies on George Lucas’ descriptions of the Jedi Warrior philosophies is deliberate. For example, George Lucas’ invention of “the Force” borrows directly from the Tao Te Ching’s concept of “the Way.” Both Lao Tzu and Sun Tzu discuss “The Way” in their text as a force that connects all life and represents the how things are.

To illustrate the commonality of ideas, switch the words “the Way” with the words “the Force” in the following sentence:

“Those who act in accord with the Way/the Force, will succeed; those that act against the Way/the Force will find only peril.”

This sentence could logically appear in any of the Star Wars movies, The Tao Te Ching, or The Art of War.

It seems that Commander Speigel should have also included Yoda’s wisdom on that Sun Tzu book order.

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April 15th 2017 Social Media