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Pinterest’s interest-following feature could be advertising gold mine

Digiday

Pinterest today made it that much easier for consumers to explore specific interests, and agency execs are already looking toward its potential advertising uses.

Previously, Pinterest curated pins around broad categories such as “outdoors.” Now, when users click on “Outdoors,” they’ll be able to find pins curated to interests as narrow as “ultralight backpacking” and “saltwater fishing.”

Pinterest is in the midst of introducing ads to its platform, but a Pinterest spokesperson said there are no immediate plans to allow advertisers to target users based upon the interest pages they chose to follow. But this being a platform whose only revenue source is advertising, it’s fair to assume that, if interest pages catch on with users, ads will be sold against them.

At least agency execs, always looking to target consumers based upon their interests, hope so.

“All we’re trying to do is go deeper based upon targeting people on interest. The ability to hit them in that context makes a lot of sense,” Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer at media agency Mindshare, said.

Pinterest’s 32 categories — such “travel,” “animals” and “kids” — were too broad to serve finely tuned ads, according to Jill Sherman, group director of social and content strategy at Digitas. Agency execs routinely describe Pinterest image as a visual search engine. Adding interest collections — essentially more-nuanced tags – can only enrich that database.

“It was basically a collection of boards. Now it’s much more: a very deep directory of interest,” Chris Bowler, Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, said.

Interest pages are also a way for Pinterest to broaden its appeal, or at the very least, prevent it from losing users. Pinterest’s user-base still skews female despite its incredible popularity, Providing more pinpointed collections could attract even more users.

“This is where the entire social world is going; niche communities that have much higher receptivity than your broad-based Facebook and Twitter platforms,” Chris Bowler, Razorfish’s global vice president of social media, said. “This is Pinterest’s way of serving a community of rock climbers versus someone creating another online community around rock climbing.”

Bitterman added that the tool would also likely increase the amount of time Pinterest users stay on the platform in a given session, another selling point for Pinterest as it ramps up ad selling efforts. The prediction speaks to the power of catering to people’s interests: it makes Pinterest more appealing to consumers, and more alluring to ad buyers.

2014 B2B Tech Content Marketing Trends: Tailoring Content, Tactic Effectiveness, Social Media

Looking for insight into how technology marketers are using content marketing? Check out Content Marketing Institute’s newest research report, 2014 B2B TECHNOLOGY CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS — BUDGETS, BENCHMARKS, AND TRENDS, NORTH AMERICA, sponsored by International Data Group (IDG).

This infographic video focuses on how tech marketers tailor content, tactic effectiveness, and social media usage.

Click here to view an INFOGRAPHIC on this research

To register for this event, click here

Please or in order to access this content.

 

Coming soon to Facebook: Video ads that follow you from device to device

VentureBeat

Advertisers on Facebook see the emerging method of sequential mobile advertising as a way to better control their branding message with consumers on social media.

Sequential video advertising allows marketers to place targeted video ads in front of a user when they click an ad on their mobile device. Based on what the person clicks, and what the product or message is, marketers are then able to follow up with similar video ads as they hop from one device to another.

By creating a sequence of targeted ads, marketers can build up a pitch from one video to the next — starting with a “pitch” video and ending with a “sell” video intended to close the sale.

VentureBeat spoke to two sources who requested their names not be used because the information they were describing was based in conversations with Facebook executives.

“Video is where its going,” an advertising executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat. “With unique profile IDs, you have the ability to better sequentially target content for users as they embark on their journey through the social media funnel.”

The same executive added: “Sequential video advertisers gives marketers the ability to place different messages that can build upon each other. This gives you greater control over the delivery of your message.”

Another mobile executive who works with Facebook told VentureBeat that advertisers want to better control, and deploy, product messages. But they are content, for now, in permitting Facebook and others obtain user data to target their ads.

For its part, Facebook uses a combination of its own in-house analytics and partners for the task of ad targeting.

Facebook is able to amass tremendous amounts of user data based on information contained in in its users’ profiles as well as their activity. That includes information on who you interact with and where you like to shop, for example. That data is gold to advertisers, keen to take advantage of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users.

“The writing is on the wall. Sequentially targeted ads are hugely efficient and ultimately cost effective. They have greater relevance for advertisers and better targeting,” said the second source, who has knowledge of Facebook’s mobile ad strategy.

“Anecdotally, it’s very promising. Facebook is putting a lot of effort into it,” the same source added.

Indeed, Facebook bought the video advertising outfit Liverail for an undisclosed sum earlier this month. Liverail’s technology optimizes video ad deliveries for mobile devices utilizing bidding and proprietary data. Liverail was considering an IPO this year but threw in its lot with Facebook instead, media reports said.

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Nadella’s Microsoft is obsessed with data-driven growth hacking

CITEworld

Satya Nadella’s message to the Microsoft troops yesterday underlines the way consumerization has changed computing already: To Microsoft, everyone is now a “dual user” who uses technology for work and play. That’s two chances to lose a customer if Microsoft products don’t delight them.

To make sure that those products do delight, and do what people need, Nadella is turning to some of the tenets of Silicon Valley startups like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, and Netflix: Data science and growth hacking.

Change agents and growth hacking

If you talk to people who work at Microsoft, you’ll have heard them use some new language this year, with phrases like “change agent” and “growth hacking.”

Getting comfortable with change and being involved in changing things is what Nadella pointed out that everyone at Microsoft is going to have to do; “Culture change means we will do things differently. Often people think that means everyone other than them. In reality, it means all of us taking a new approach and working together to make Microsoft better.” One Microsoft, as you might say.

And growth hacking is a Silicon Valley startup term that’s a lot more than just viral marketing, SEO, and A/B testing. It’s about turning product development and marketing into a virtuous, data-driven cycle where you get more users by figuring out what users do and don’t want; how they find your product and how they use it.

Josh Elman, now a VC at Greylock, tells a story about growth hacking in the early days of Twitter, when lots of people were signing up but few of them carried on using the service. Instead of emailing those users or trying to show ads to people who might be more likely to stick around, they focused on understanding what was going on.

“We dug in and tried to learn what the ‘aha’ moment was for a new user and then rebuilt our entire new user experience to engineer that more quickly.”

The key was getting people to follow other Twitter users, so they were seeing tweets they would be interested in. “As we kept tweaking the features to focus on helping users achieve these things, our retention dramatically rose,” says Elman.

His advice for growth hacking is very like Adam Pisoni’s principles for turning a company into a responsive organization (something he’s been doing at Microsoft as well as for Yammer customers). Find your heavy users who already love your product and find the features and the pattern of usage that made them into active users. Build things that attract new users — whether that’s your marketing or sharing from existing users — and make sure there’s a way for new users to get started that turns them into active users quickly. Then build more features that your old and new customers will love, and keep on going.

That means getting everyone involved in growth. Early on, Facebook had a growth team that included marketing, business development, product development, finance, and HR. It wasn’t just trying to get more users; it was behind projects like the system for importing email contacts, making Facebook available in multiple languages by crowdsourcing translations of the interface, and even creating the Facebook Lite experimental interface (a slimmed-down version of the site).

 One of the first times I heard “growth hacking” from someone at Microsoft was talking to Jeffery Snover about his “Just in time, just enough admin” toolkit for PowerShell at TechEd this year, when he compared fast releases and agile development to balancing on a bicycle. “You don’t get stability by going slowly,” he pointed out.

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How to win followers and influence journalism: lessons from journalists with the most followers on Twitter

Muck Rack

In the Mid-Year Social Journalism Report, Muck Rack CEO Greg Galant ranked the broadcast and print/online journalists with the most followers on Twitter. With more than 5 million followers, Anderson Cooper ranks far ahead of all other journalists. Several standout journalists boast over 2 million followers at press time: Rachel MaddowLarry KingChris HardwickAdam Schefter, and Bill Simmons.

We aren’t all aiming for millions of followers. But even if we start with an audience of dozens or hundreds of followers, we can look to the Twitter habits and strategies of these most-followed journalists for tips on gaining more followers and readers for our work.

Using the ForSight social media analytics platform, built by Crimson Hexagon (full disclosure: I work there), to monitor tweeting and engagement tactics and trends, distinct patterns of highly successful journalists on Twitter emerge. These patterns suggest that visibility through high-profile jobs like Anderson Cooper’s gig at CNN aren’t they only thing separating most followed journalists from the rest of the pack. For this study, I analyzed the activity around the Twitter handles of the five print/online journalists with the most followers as of June 2014 (Adam Schefter, Bill Simmons, Arianna Huffington,David Pogue, and Nicholas Kristof) from January 1, 2014 to July 4, 2014.

There are plenty of ways to gain followers aside from having a daily gig on a major television station, including getting widely retweeted, inspiring people to mention you when they share your work and participating in conversations that are important to your audience.

Here are five concrete lessons I took from my analysis of highly-followed journalists that you can incorporate into your approach to tweeting and using Twitter in your journalistic work to gain a larger audience and more influence: 

1. Tweet Every Day. Regular engagement is the key. If you want to build your follower count, put out Tweets every day. Think of Twitter like a Giga Pet, those electronic toys back in the day that needed to be fed and watered. Each of the five exhibit peaks and valleys in sending Tweets, but send them they do – nearly every single day, weekends included.

2. Send a Flurry of Tweets About Events. Intensify your Twitter presence around events related to your beat or expertise. Each of the journalists’ owned media profiles on Twitter exhibited significant daily activity, as well as distinct spikes in sent Tweets and engagement, including mentions and Retweets, around events.

For example, Arianna Huffington’s Twitter handle saw its most engagement on a single day on Mother’s Day, a day when @ariannahuff Tweeted actively. With 360 million total possible impressions from Tweets and Retweets in one day, you can be sure @ariannahuff picked up new followers as a result of her Mother’s Day Tweets.

Bill Simmons saw a burst of engagement in late April of this year when he Tweeted 22 times about Donald Sterling, Adam Silver, and the NBA from April 26-29. During that time, an on-location Tweet from the Clippers game garnered 2,422 Retweets. Over four days, @BillSimmons added 6,000 new followers.

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Twitter Is Cracking Down On Companies That Provide Stats About Its Users

Business Insider

Twitter has taken the unusual step of shutting off its datapipe to certain companies that have published their own stats on how big Twitter’s user base really is, according to two sources.

The move comes after Twitter’s stock was hammered in the early part of the year when investors discovered growth in monthly active users (MAUs) was slowing or stagnant, and that measures of engagement per user were on the decline.

Since then, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has ordered a revamp of the Twitter user interface in order to make it easier and more attractive for people to use. He also reshuffled his management ranks, getting rid of a COO with largely financial background and replacing him with a product chief from Google.

At the same time, Twitter’s stock price rose nicely. Some analysts see it hitting $60 a share (see disclosure below).

But third-party companies that published their own measures of Twitter’s user base were a thorn in Twitter’s side. While Costolo touted the company’s growth to 255 million MAUs, Business Insider was able to report that the number was only a fraction of the 1 billion people who had tried Twitter.

Most people who sign up for Twitter abandon it, it seems. Also, most people on Twitter don’t tweet, according to third-party apps that accessed Twitter’s data firehose.

Now, companies that used to provide that data have been axed from Twitter’s application programming interface (API), the firehose of data that software development companies can plug into in order to build useful products for Twitter and its users.

Twitter declined to comment when reached by Business Insider.

We don’t know why Twitter has begun culling developers from its API, but one theory might be that it has nothing to do with wanting to restrict who sees user data. Rather, Twitter has been slowly building a very nice data business of its own, which will probably book $100 million in revenue this year. The company may simply have decided it is time to end the free ride for developers who give away for free what Twitter would rather charge for.

“They shut me down last Friday night after the market closed,” one developer told Business Insider.

 

 

LinkedIn tries again to keep people connected, with a redesigned app

IDG News Service

LinkedIn is trying again to build a service on mobile that helps keep people in touch, even when they’re not actively job hunting.

On Thursday the company launched a redesigned standalone app to do that, called Connected. It’s an overhaul of the company’s Contacts app, which launched last year but was not as interactive as the new service. People who have that app downloaded will be prompted to upgrade to the new app on Thursday.

The new app will focus on bringing updates about people’s connections to their mobile device. Events like job changes, work anniversaries or mentions in the news will show up as cards that people can swipe through left to right. Swipe up on a card to dismiss it. Reach the end of a series of cards, and LinkedIn might recommend some other people to connect with.

Users can interact with the cards like they might a Facebook post, such as with a “like,” a comment, or even a follow-up phone call.

The app is available in English for iOS, but plans are in the works for Android and international versions. People do not have to manually add again their existing contacts; they show up when they sign in with their LinkedIn credentials.

LinkedIn’s main service already provides updates on people in the feed on mobile and desktop, and through email notifications, in addition to content like news articles, sponsored posts, and job suggestions.

But the cards interface of the Connected app, and its singular focus on people, is different. The app won’t let users, for instance, edit their profiles, search for jobs, or follow companies. Think of it like checking Facebook or Twitter to see what your friends are up to, but in a professional context.

David Brubacher, head of relationships products at LinkedIn, called it a new way for people to invest in their network of connections. Specifically, LinkedIn hopes the app will give people an easier way to keep in touch with their connections, particularly if they don’t have time for a face-to-face meeting.

“This app helps you invest in your relationships today, so opportunities blossom for you tomorrow,” the company said in its announcement.

LinkedIn, in other words, is trying to make its service more of a destination like Facebook or Twitter, rather than a means to an end. That’s a tough goal though for a site aimed at professionals. Whether LinkedIn’s new service takes off may depend on whether people really want to check another app to stay up to date on people who may not all be close friends.

But the app also aims to provide some smarts, by letting people sync their phone’s contacts and calendar. If you enable notifications in the app, you can receive push notifications like reminder alerts before meetings, or prompts to follow up or connect with people on LinkedIn after.

Users will be able to adjust these notifications in their settings. “It’s not our goal to bombard you with push notifications throughout the day,” said Vinodh Jayaram, LinkedIn’s director of engineering.

Sharing On Twitter And Pinterest Leans Mostly Mobile

MediaPost

By now it’s clear that mobile and social have become more than a shotgun marriage.Findings from comScore last month showed that more than 70% of time spent in social media takes place on mobile devices (including tablets). And total mobile engagement on social is up 55% in the last year.

In its latest quarterly report, ShareThis took a closer look at sharing activity among top social platforms on mobile. Twitter and Pinterest emerge as the most mobile-centric networks, with 75% of all content sharing on those platforms happening in mobile. By comparison, half of sharing activity on Facebook is mobile.

However, because of Facebook’s size (1 billion monthly mobile users), it accounts for 72% of sharing on smartphones, versus 14% for Twitter, and 12% for Pinterest. On tablets, Facebook’s share falls to 64%, and Twitter’s to 7%, while Pinterest sees a bump to 22%. “There is a clear preference for channels based on different devices. Pinners are more active on tablets whereas tweeters flock to smartphones,” states ShareThis blog post today.

Furthermore, Facebook is where people go to share content about politics and parenting, while Twitter — because of its real-time DNA — leans toward sports and business, and Pinterest sharing is focused on shopping. That’s a natural outgrowth of Pinterest’s emphasis on visual presentation and consumer products.

In that vein, mobile users are twice as likely to interact with desktop content as any other category.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, Android users are more active on Facebook, while iOS users are more likely to share material on Twitter and Pinterest. In terms of demographic trends, sharing on tablets among people 55 and over nearly doubled over the first quarter. And 43% of social activity on tablets is driven by people in that age group.

Social interaction on mobile devices also grew 13% among African-Americans and 6% among Hispanics in the quarter. Overall, sharing from smartphones and tablets grew more than 30%, while that on the desktop fell 5% between the first and second quarter. The mobile gain was driven mainly by activity on smartphones, which was up about 28%.

Across desktop and mobile, Facebook accounted for almost two-thirds (64%) of sharing, with Twitter and Pinterest each claiming 9%. But the two smaller competitors together gained 2% share on Facebook from the prior quarter.

The Best Tactics to Generate More Leads from Facebook and Twitter

SocialMedia Today

Social Media is a great way to connect, share and interact with others beyond the known periphery. Savvy business people are interested to explore this opportunity and reach maximum number of potential customers via social media. You will come across many online blogs discussing the best ways to enhance your social media reach. We will not delve into that same matter further. Our focus will be on something else…… Lead Generation.

Likes, pins, followers, comments, friends, and engagement- these are popular social media metrics. But, what is more vital to consider whether such metrics result on sales at the end of the day? Otherwise, all of them are completely useless.

Change your perspective

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media sites is that they are just only for brand awareness and not for generating leads. If you consider the same, your business is missing out a lucrative marketing channel.

Instead, of getting distracted with the counts of Facebook “likes “and Twitter “followers”, focus on the statistics that can contribute to your revenue. It will be impossible to track ROI, if your organization’s social media strategy is not constructed to support lead generation. It is high time to change your outlook and concentrate on generating social media leads.

If you are planning to start a lead generation campaign, Facebook and Twitter profiles are great places to begin with. Here are a few tips that you should consider to generate leads from these two well-known social media profiles:

Facebook

There are 1.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook and therefore, this channel is the prime focus of the business owners. However, this platform is often not conducive for direct sales, but by distributing quality content and engaging with the customers in one-to-one communication it possible to build trust among the Facebook users. What else you can do to generate leads from this popular channel? Let’s see-

Attracting the customers

First, it is important to understand the kind of information your potential customers are looking for. Sweepstakes, contests and group offers on your Facebook page are good to attract the attention of the customers. Do you remember “Do Us a Flavor” campaign from Lay’s? The brand just asked for a new flavor that the customers may like in their chips. The idea was simple and it clicked. This campaign generated huge publicity and the brand has no doubt gained lots of new customers.

Try to know your customers

You should also think about the information that you might like to know from your customers. It will be easier for you to convert your visitors into lead once you are equipped with more information about them. For that, you may use Facebook tab to ask them few simple questions. However, a social media user does not like these tabs and rarely visit them. You have to think of ways to encourage a visitor to fill up the questionnaire. A giveaway or offer can be enticing and works well to gather customer insights. You can also reveal the content of your website, if the user is ready to fill the signup form. Always try to keep such forms concise with minimum questions. You may ask for email address, demographic data or geographic location information. But, before that, customize your tab and make it brand related.

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What’s REALLY the Best Time to Post on Social Media?

SocialMedia Today

There are a heap of posts and infographics floating about the web which detail the best days and times to post to the various social media platforms. Some even have studies and data linked to them, showing the optimum times to get the most engagement and reach when posting on your chosen platform. While these generic guides are helpful – following this advice is better than just posting at random – the one thing I always think is, “Yeah, but…”

You see, generic data can be useful and can provide you with a level of guidance, but the generic audience they’re targeting with those times is not your audience. For example, the data might show the best time of day to post to Twitter is 11am on a Thursday, because that’s when the majority of users are active – but the specific audience that you want to reach might not necessarily be in that majority. And because of that, it’s also possible that the optimum time to reach them might not be 11am on Thursday. Maybe it’s a different time, a different day entirely – optimum times can vary significantly from industry to industry and business to business. With this in mind, here are a couple of methods you can use to ascertain the optimum times to reach the audience you really want to reach – your audience (and the audience of your competitors).

How to Locate Your Optimum Time to Post on Facebook

Anyone with a Facebook business page will also have access to Facebook Page Insights. While Insights tracks a tonne of data about your page interactions, this data is sometimes not as clear as you’d like when trying to work out optimum times to post. Enter Fanpage Karma. Fanpage Karma provides detailed analytics on your Facebook page, including helpful charts that show which days, times and post types are best for your audience.

Using this, you can work out what times you should post, and what type of content you should post, to maximise reach, response and engagement, based on your specific business data.

But what if that’s not enough? That data might be great, but that doesn’t necessarily show you the best times to post, just the best times to post based on your own previous behaviour. What if you’re just starting out and you haven’t posted enough for that data to be indicative? What if you’ve only posted at certain times of day, say, morning and night, but maybe, if you posted at midday, that might be better? That won’t show up in the data, right? The best way to get around this is to also analyse your competitors.

To do this, you can either look up your competition, based on what you already know, or you can research who your competitors are by looking them up in Google (make sure you search in incognito mode so the search results are not specific to you). Search for the top five keywords or phrases you want/expect people to associate with your brand – you can also enter a location, if your main competitors are local. For each search, note down the top results, then look them up on Facebook and run their pages through Fanpage Karma too.

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