A new Pew study on getting news from social networks, the Reddit soap opera continues, Amazon Primes the pump, Google on the search for an SEO leader, Facebook gets serious about ecommerce, NASA turns to Instagram to debut Pluto, the guide to building a social brand, things get hot for Uber in the political arena, the future of content marketing, calculating the ROI of podcasting, the marketing technology stack dilemma, the dawn of a golden age of marketing and more, it's This Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week, we compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. Please subscribe - either to the full feed or just to this newsletter to keep up to date on developments.
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- The news cycle still isn't done with Reddit.
- More details emerged on the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, Reddit's community manager. It turns out that Alex Ohanian, the executive chairman, wanted her out, and then CEO Ellen Pao couldn't do anything about it.
- Reddit's chief engineer quit shortly after Pao's departure, after only two months on the job, citing a loss of confidence in the direction of the company.
- Reddit then updated its Content Policy, noting that the site is was never intended as a "bastion of free speech," upon which a former Reddit CEO replied, "LMAO".
- The community at Reddit has grown out of control, and the former CEO's amusement at the current state of affairs comes with the knowledge that the trolls need to be reined in. Even Ellen Pao acknowledged that the trolls are winning. The hateful speech and the hurtful mob mentality are issues that need to be dealt with, yet the leadership at Reddit seems to be taking half-steps to address it.
- Is this more of the same at Reddit, or does it portend the future of the Internet at large?
- July 15 was officially Amazon Prime Day. If that sounds like an invented holiday, you're correct. While the sales were not all that thrilling, the intent was to boost enrollment in Amazon's Prime membership, which gives access to their streaming video product. The event gained a good deal of press and buzz:
- Negative tweets about Amazon were up 241% during the day, giving the brand's reputation a bit of a hit.
- Lots of folks had fun at Amazon's expense, tweeting things like "LOL at Amazon getting everybody excited about Prime Day & then showing up like that clearance table at TJ Maxx."
- But while you were laughing, Amazon was laughing all the way to the bank, with more orders placed than during the previous Black Friday.
- Even Walmart took note and offered its own discounted program - one that they were careful to note would last longer than a single day.
- Does it seem like you're getting more news on Facebook and Twitter? Well, you are. According to the latest study from the Pew Research Center, 63% of both Twitter and Facebook users get news from the platforms - up from 52% of Twitter users in 2013 and 47% of Facebook users in 2013. Facebook's embrace of traditional news outlets and its pending release of Instant Articles are clear indicators that it continues to push into this space, with no abatement in sight.
- Twitter is still the place for breaking news, as 59% of users turn to Twitter for breaking news, as opposed to 31% turning to Facebook. Certainly, Twitter's acquisition of Periscope will continue to play into this strength as live video for breaking news and developing situations is needed.
- About one in 10 adults gets news from Twitter, while one in four gets news from Facebook - statistics that indicate the relative use of each overall.
- Twitter users see a wide variety of news, while Facebook's users are more likely to see news stories about local government and politics, crime, health and medicine and people/events in their community.
- Younger users (18-34) are more likely to turn to social sites for news than those 35+.
- Google had a spectacular week in the market, gaining some $65 billion as its stock rose on Q2 earnings that were stronger than anticipated, and the debut of its new CFO. In making its numbers, Google is getting more serious and efficient with its spending.
- Google Fiber is expanding and is making its priority bringing Internet access to low-income housing with ConnectHome, an initiative in conjunction with the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Google is hiring an SEO manager to help them with their search rankings - on Google. Let's hope they don't need help with the job search as well.
- Let's face it: Twitter isn't what it once was. But it's still here. So is The Atlantic's A Eulogy for Twitter premature? Or perhaps they're just lamenting the previous iteration.
- Facebook is getting more serious about e-commerce. It has build the ability to shop directly on Pages, without leaving the Facebook app or site. This continues the erosion of inbound marketing, as it surrenders to Facebook bit by bit.
- You keep saying Facebook's News Feed. I do not think that word means what you think it means. Here's how Facebook's News Feed works.
- People love to complain about Facebook and how it doesn't work for them. Just in case you weren't paying attention to the previous item, you might want to take note of these fixes for the biggest complaints about Facebook. Hmm. They still haven't figured out how to make it stop sucking all the time out of may day.
- Move over, Siri and Google Now - Facebook is working on a new digital assistant named Moneypenny that may help research buying products and services. I hope she doesn't incessantly drop hints and hit on me. I don't know that I could be as suave and fair-minded as James Bond.
- Snapchat got a redesign - one that focuses on the Discover feature, making it easier to find and better for publishing partners.
- From the You Can't Fix Stupid department: two teens decided to steal an ice cream truck. And they decided to stream the whole thing on Periscope.
- NASA chose Instagram - not its own website - to debut its first image of Pluto this week.
- How do you build a social brand? It's not rocket science: satisfy your customers; create value, not ads; don't be repetitive; listen and glean insights from your observations; collaboration and co-creation are better than one-sided marketing. It's all in the deck below.
- The cleaning services company Homejoy announced that it will close its doors as of July 31, due in large part to four lawsuits it's facing in the shakeout of the classification of workers (covered in our 6/21/2015 issue).
- Then, in the blink of an eye, Google hired all of Homejoy's technical staff, in a move into the home services market.
- Uber is in trouble with the state of California for not reporting data on how frequently handicap-accessible vehicles are requested. The company is facing a $7.3 million fine and a suspension of its operating license if it does not comply within 30 days.
- Hillary Clinton isn't a fan of the sharing economy, citing the movement as an instigator in stagnant wages. She probably doesn't have to worry about making enemies of Uber drivers; the one who picked up Jeb Bush not only didn't know him but said he'd be voting for Hillary in the presidential election. Sounds pretty much like every other voter demographic. Now all we need is Uber for voting.
- New York mayor Bill De Blasio doesn't like Uber either. To the point that he's promoting a bill that would regulate and limit the number of licences available to ride-sharing companies. So, Uber has amended its app for New Yorkers with a "De Blasio" option that shows no cars available.
- Even so, it pays to drive a ride-sharing car in New York City: the disparate fares of Uber and Lyft drivers in various cities.
- Mitch Joel has been podcasting for many years. So when he has something to say about the business of podcasting, it's worth noting. Figuring out "the money thing" when it comes to the medium is not easy, but Mitch makes a case that podcasting has helped him grow his business (one which was acquired by WPP earlier this year).
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- If there's one guy with his finger on the future of the marketing world, it's Mark Schaefer. And Jay Baer is a master of content. Put them together and see what happens as they discuss the future of content marketing.
- There are some helpful tools out there to help you with your content marketing efforts. Here are nine content marketing tools that you're probably not using. Yet.
Metrics / Measurement / Data
- Want to know how to ferret out questionable statistics? Try this trick called Benford's law.
- Map out your measurement plan early and constantly reassess. Don't get caught unprepared, as illustrated in the ant versus the grasshopper fable.
- Picking the right marketing technology is hard work. But should it support operations or innovation? Should the priority be on strategy or technology? Are the needs primarily for now or the future? Hence, the marketing technology stack dilemma.
- Social media has a greater impact than previously thought, according to McKinsey. Naturally, it depends on the product category, but a new purchaser is roughly 50 percent more likely to turn to social media than a repeat buyer and a small number of influencers are responsible for a disproportionate share of total recommendations.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Yelp is on the receiving end of a lawsuit. As part of its Eat24 acquisition, it offered food delivery to customers. Unfortunately, Eat24 drivers are claiming that tips were withheld and is suing Yelp for $5 million.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- We are living at the dawn of a golden age of marketing, according to McKinsey. Boosting precision, broadening scope, moving more quickly and telling better stories are all part of how marketers are succeeding in the 21st century.
- At one point or another, we're all faced with rejections. Here are seven rejections that Brian Chesky encountered when trying to raise $150,000. Sometimes the rejectors don't know what they're missing. In this case, it amounted to 10% of Airbnb.
- A fascinating timeline on the rise of the smartphone and the death of open standards. It's Apple vs. Google and we're on the sidelines.
- You should subscribe to Behind the Brand, a video series by Bryan Elliott featuring people who make things happen at brands small and large. Here's an excerpt from an interview with best-selling author and entrepreneur Peter Shankman:
I consult with agencies and brands to help them improve their corporate and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project, to advise your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.
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