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LinkedIn Hits 300M Users, Pushes Mobile Options

MediaPost

LinkedIn on Friday announced it has surpassed 300 million active members worldwide, up from 277 million at the end of 2013. The roughly 36% growth rate in the first quarter from a year ago is on par with 2013. The professional networking site said 67% of its users come from outside the U.S., with more than 100 million in the U.S.

“While this is an exciting moment, we still have a long way to go to realize our vision of creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce,” stated Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior vice president of product & user experience, in a blog post.

Mobile has become a growing focus for LinkedIn in the last couple of years, as more users access the service on devices. Later this year, Nishar noted that LinkedIn will hit the point where more than half of its global traffic comes from mobile.

“Already, our members in dozens of locations, including Costa Rica, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, use LinkedIn more on their mobile devices than on their desktop computers,” he wrote.

Overall, the site each day gets an average of 15 million profile views, 1.45 million job views and 44,000 job applications in over 200 countries through mobile. As the company expands its mobile portfolio, with new releases such as its slideshare app, LinkedIn plans more strategic partnerships with major mobile players like Apple, Nokia and Samsung.

LinkedIn made a splash earlier this year with its push into China. In his post, Nishar said the goal now is to connect more than 140 million Chinese professionals with each other and the worldwide work force.

In a research note on Monday, however, analyst Michael Purcell of Stifel Nicolaus pointed out that LinkedIn still monetizes international users per member at one-third the rate of their U.S.-based counterparts. That translates to average revenue per user (ARPU) of $3.76 abroad versus $11.30 in the U.S.

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Can we talk? Internet of Things vendors face a communications ‘mess’

Computerworld

Vendors will tell you that the Internet of Things (IoT) is here today. We’re here to tell you that it isn’t.

This is your warning label. It’s the small print on the prescription that outlines all the nasty complications.

The first thing to realize is that many wireless communications protocols that allow home devices to exchange information aren’t interoperable.

Second, installing a home automation system will likely require investments in bridges, which are separate pieces of hardware that connect with home routers. But in time, this may be an unnecessary expense.

Third, the market is filled with vendors taking shots at one another’s wireless technology. There will likely be some disruption as protocols are sorted out and settled on.

Behind the scenes, groups and vendors are promoting a range of machine-to-machine wireless communication protocols, including Z-Wave, ZigBee, Insteon, Bluetooth Low Energy and new arrivals such as the Weightless standard. These are protocols that enable devices, light bulbs, thermostats, door locks, wireless speakers, security systems, lawn sprinklers and sensors of all kinds to talk with one another.

Features these wireless protocols all have in common are low energy and low bandwidth requirements, the goal being to extend battery life for as long as years. Most use mesh networks that enable devices to pass signals to one another, extending network range, reliability and redundancy. Wi-Fi is a big part of this, too, and cellular technology will be as well. Each has role to play in connecting things.

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Connected stuff is catching on — just don’t call it IoT

CITEworld

Many organizations today are looking for things that talk to the Internet. Sensors, cameras, medical equipment and even snowplows are on that wish list.

The “Internet of Things” is not.

The municipalities that come to systems integrator AGT International are already sold on so-called IoT technologies, such as wireless traffic sensors embedded in streets, said Gadi Lenz, a senior technical fellow at AGT.

But they aren’t interested in IoT, nor in “smart cities,” another term that’s been getting a lot of play lately. What they want, Lenz said, is a solution to their problems.

Even Cisco Systems, one of the biggest evangelists for IoT, thinks the concept still needs some explaining. Enterprises, cities and utilities all could stand to benefit from IoT, but first they need a better idea of how it can help them do their jobs.

“We definitely need to spend more time educating the market,” Inbar Lasser-Raab, vice president of Enterprise Network Solutions, said last week at a meeting at Cisco. Leaders from IT vendors, industrial companies and governments came together there to hash out issues for IoT.

Networked devices have been talking to each other for years. What’s new in so-called IoT is the scale of those networks and the way advanced data analysis can draw conclusions from them. But getting this broad vision off the ground, including getting enterprises to adopt the new technology, raises several challenges, according to participants at last week’s meeting.

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We are drowning in data about readers and attention, but which metrics really matter? You won’t like the answer

Gigaom

Thanks to the web and real-time measurement tools, the media industry has gone from having virtually no hard data on readers and attention to an embarrassment of riches — not only can we measure what people click on, but we can measure how far down the page they got when they were reading, whether they posted a comment, which social networks they came from, and a hundred other pieces of data. The only problem is that this is very much a double-edged sword.

New York Times media writer David Carr recently looked at some examples of media companies that are rewarding their writers based on traffic statistics and other measurements, including The Oregonian — whose efforts I wrote about here. But is paying your journalists based on pageviews or other metrics a smart way to align their incentives with your goals as a business, or does it poison the well when it comes to enhancing or encouraging creativity?

This fear of well-poisoning has even led some outlets — including The Verge and MIT’s Technology Review — to deny their journalists access to the statistics about readers and attention, because they’re concerned that it might distort their judgement about which stories to cover or how much time to devote to them. But then how do writers know whether their work is reaching an audience?

Be careful what kind of incentives you use

In a piece he wrote for the American Journalism Review this week, Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile (who is also an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia) looked at both sides of the data sword. One danger of using the wrong metrics to reward your journalists, he noted — as I also tried to point out in a recent post — is that you wind up incentivizing the wrong thing, and that can take your site far away from what its original goals were:

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5 Tips And Even More Reasons To Integrate Search And Social Campaigns

MediaPost

Consumers clicking on an advertiser’s paid-search and social advertisement will double conversion rates, compared with those who only click on the former. Consumers who click on search and social ads also spend more. The ads generate four times more revenue per click than users who only click on a social ad, per a study by Marin Software.

Findings from the report, titled “The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising,” provide insight into the ability of searches to pull in users based on a brand’s message, as well as the ability of social to push a message to targeted audiences.

Despite the differences that audience search and social foster, experts suggest each media helps the other in the path to conversion far more than directly than contributing to conversions on its own. A fragmented path leads consumers down multiple steps and can last for days. In fact, the report points to a Google study, which suggests that 65% of revenue comes from purchases made in more than one step, and 47% of revenue comes from purchases made in more than one day.

Marketers who manage social advertising campaigns in silos ignore roughly two-thirds of the channel’s influence in the path to conversion and are most likely undervaluing their performance. Search campaigns managed alongside social campaigns have 26% higher revenue per click than search campaigns managed in isolation, per the study. It also benefits an advertiser’s revenue per conversion. Advertisers have 68% higher revenue per conversion from their search campaigns when managed alongside social advertising campaigns.

The report also guides marketers through the process of how to integrate search and social marketing programs (You can come to the MediaPost Search Insider Summit in Key Largo, Fla., April 27-30, to learn more.)

Here are some tips from the report. Conduct an honest assessment of the organization’s cross-channel capabilities. Adopt a multichannel digital marketing platform with audience retargeting across search and social publishers. Of course, the Marin report suggests theirs, but there are others from BrightEdge or Kenshoo. Monitor, measure, and gain insights from analytics that aggregate search and social marketing campaigns in one interface. Optimize toward lifetime value across search and social or run the risk of developing a myopic view.

IDG Connect Buyer Research Proves Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors’ Bottom Line

IDG Connect 0811 IDG Connect Buyer Research Proves Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors’ Bottom Line

IDG Connect’s survey of over 200 enterprise technology decision makers within organizations of 1,000 or more employees shows that vendors are not creating content that is relevant to their needs when making purchase decisions:

“A strong potential ROI case can be made for attaining a sufficient level of relevance”

  • 66% of technology buyers feel that digital content needs to be more aligned with organizational objectives and relevant to the decision making process.
  • 79% of buyers said that vendors’ level of relevant content affects their likelihood to make the shortlist.
  • Vendors are 25% less likely to make the shortlist if their content does not meet a minimum level of relevance.

This highlights an urgent need for vendors to understand the full buying process and the various content types and formats buyers need at different stages of the journey.

“If vendors do not improve their understanding of what makes content relevant, they will continue to frustrate buyers,” explains Bob Johnson, principal analyst and VP at IDG Connect.

Johnson adds, “Vendors need to realize the impact that their digital content has on not just filling the funnel with leads but in moving buyers through the funnel. A lack of alignment with organizational needs and relevance to the individual buying team member will cause vendors to lose opportunities before they come into view. This will impact their bottom line.”

“A strong potential ROI case can be made for attaining a sufficient level of relevance,” he concludes. “Now lines-of-business exert even more power over technology-related investment decisions; the requirement is more complicated but also has never been more important.”

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Facebook’s Declining Organic Reach a ‘Real Nightmare’ for Marketers

Eye on Media, Matt Kapko Blog

Facebook can’t be faulted for following the same path as other mass media channels that came before it with regards to advertising, but there are many marketers who are still hoping for something different this time around.

Over the past couple weeks numerous reports have surfaced indicating a sharp decline in the organic reach of Facebook posts. The slowdown is nothing new. In a short pitch for ads in April 2012, Facebook calculated the average organic reach of page posts at 16 percent of all fans.

So what’s changed? A survey last month of more than 100 brand pages by Ogilvy concluded that “it’s only a matter of time” before the organic reach of content published by brands is “destined to hit zero.” The analysis found that organic reach of those brand pages was hovering at 6 percent, marking a 49 percent decline over a four-month period.

The organic reach of brands with more than 500,000 likes was barely hitting 2 percent in February, according to the Social@Ogilvy report.

“Right now we’re very mad at Facebook,” Dave Martin, Ignited’s senior vice president of media, said earlier this week at the Mobile Media Summit. “The reason we’re so mad at Facebook is because Facebook won’t allow us to share content with our followers and fans as we could a week ago.”
Pay for Play? No Thanks

The pay-for-play option isn’t exactly paying off in spades either, he says. Now when Ignited purchases ads for its brand clients on Facebook it “takes longer and costs more than it ever has and our engagement scores go down,” says Martin.

Worse yet, because there’s so much uncertainty about the genuine interest of many brands followers, far too many ads are simply “reaching people that don’t even care,” he adds.

Continue reading…

Report: Digital Transformation and the New Customer Experience

Brian Solis

We’re under attack! Social, mobile, real-time, cloud, big data…it’s coming at us all at once! Rather than miss out, many brands are jumping from trend to trend as a way of staying relevant in an increasingly digital market.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest…we’re covered. We have and had a strategy for a while now.

Mobile. Yep, we’ve got an app for that…plus we’ve got adaptive and responsive web design that makes old sites new again!

Snapchat…our brilliant strategy vanishes in 5,4,3,2,1.

Jelly? We’ve got the answer.

Whisper, Secret…shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’re already marketing there.

There’s a difference though between marketing AT people in new channels and learning about their behavior, values, and expectations to optimize their digital experiences and introduce mutually-beneficial outcomes.

Social, mobile, and real-time strategies are not enough. These disruptive technologies are merely just the beginning of a still shaping era of connected consumerism.

Each in its own right is significant affecting how business is done. But customer behavior and expectations, and that of employees for that matter, continue to evolve. And, the list of disruptive technologies that’s pushing business leaders and processes out of their respective comfort zones is far more exhaustive and constant.

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World Tech Update- April 17, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU this week Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace, NHK shows off 8K television and we go inside the world’s most powerful X-ray laser.

 

Steer clear of these 15 social media mistakes

Ragan

Social media is the most popular online activity, so it makes perfect sense for businesses to want to tap into it to increase sales. More than 90 percent of businesses use social media.

But simply opening an account or sending out some tweets is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of your marketing strategy. By avoiding some missteps, businesses have the ability to increase their return on investment (ROI) and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

Avoid these mistakes:

1. Not having a strategy.

Less than 20 percent of businesses say their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are constantly inundated with information and messages. Businesses that don’t have a social media marketing strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audiences.

Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind. Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the Web but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets.

Social media works best when you integrate it with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should you link the accounts together, but tie them directly to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns.

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