A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week at Ford, I compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, social media, mobile, communications and marketing in order to keep the wider team up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in their jobs. These are those links.
If you have additional links, sources or ideas that might be helpful, I'd encourage you to add some via a comment below or tag me in Google+. And if you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links in my new This Week in Social Media Magazine.
Monday was April Fools Day, during which seemingly every brand got in on it and pranked the internet with a gag or two, poking fun at themselves or their products. One particular favorite was YouTube, which announced that as of this month, they had received the maximum number of submissions and would be shutting down for a decade, after which time they would reopen and announce the best video on YouTube. Take a look at the star-studded (okay, Internet stars) video they produced to announce it:
- More small business owners say they find LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube more effective than previously. Google+, Pinterest and Yelp also have made strides since the last year's survey from Constant Contact. Still, Facebook dominates in this space.
- Flipboard has launched user-created magazines and is partnering with Etsy.
- According to Appinions, Ford is the #1 brand among OEMs driving technology conversations on the Internet.
- We're not alone out there. Lots of content is making its way onto the web; in fact, here's a look at what happens in just one minute on the web.
- Video is a great way to do brand storytelling - particularly when 57% of consumers rely on videos to get product information.
- Context, as well as content, is key to reaching the right people at the right time (h/t to Alan Belniak @abelniak).
- Trends in consumer marketing are showing that consumers want less advertising and more interaction. Some examples include: continuous product development, deeper customer relationships, more transparency, and measurement of influence, not impressions.
- More on content marketing: Writing sucks, and it’s hard. The people who enjoy writing are already making a living from it, they are called authors. For the rest of us we have to try a bit harder.
- Newsfeeder is a collection of the most creative Facebook posts from brands. Set up as a database, you can search for inspiration from some of the most successful posts to date. Quite the opposite of the Condescending Corporate Brand Page (which is good for a laugh).
- In addition to the crowd-generated advocacy for gay marriage on Facebook last week, we now see Facebook taking on issues itself: last week, Facebook two lobbyists in Washington, DC to advocate for immigration reform.
- Facebook Exchange (FBX) is an advertising service that allows brands to serve targeted ads based on interactions on Facebook. Typically reserved to the right column, Facebook just announced that these targeted ads will now come to the News Feed. What's in question is how users will react to it.
- Related: Brands need to walk a fine line, as consumers may be wary of social listening
- Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences are a great way to target advertising on Facebook, and there are ways to maximize the results.
- Facebook is making an announcement this week; speculation is that they may be announcing a Facebook phone.
- Google and Facebook still lead in digital display earnings, but according to a recent report, Twitter revenues will surpass AOL in 2014 and Microsoft by 2015.
- Storify is a platform that allows you to curate content from other social networks - videos, tweets, blog posts, etc. and may very well point to the future of content.
- In the "what took them so long" category, Amazon will acquire the social reading site Goodreads. This makes great sense, as more people are discovering what to read from recommendations from friends, and Goodreads catalogs over 360 million books each month.
Big Data / Measurement
- Big Data and its use in real world scenarios: Google has been able to capture search data and accurately predict the flu season over the last six years. Twitter is being mined for similar uses as well.
- Big Data is not a cure-all. Nate Silver, the noted statistician, is very careful to address this in his new book The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't (disclosure: http://cmp.ly/5). Separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, is going to be a key element in making sense of the crush of data we're currently under.
- Putting all of this together is hard work, but here are Three Brands that Used Data to Transform Their Media Strategies and The Marketer's Guide to Creating Data-Based Content.
- How to tell if your social media efforts are paying off - InfoWorld with a deck of social media analytics solutions.
- The CMO Council has a new report out: Big Data's Biggest Role, Aligning the CMO & CIO. Currently, only 12% of marketers find it to be a total partnership and alignment.
- After the CEO of Netflix was a little loose with his language on Facebook, the SEC has decided that "most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors" - but with caveats. For example, the access must not be restricted and investors need to be given advance notice as to where to find information. Disclosure cannot be selective.
- Dan Primack at Fortune has a healthy perspective on the announcement, basically saying that the SEC social media policy doesn't go far enough to accomplish an effective update of Reg FD and that more clarity is needed.
- Facebook and IDC have released How Smartphones and Social Keep Us Engaged that includes a good deal of data about usage habits. One nugget: from Friday to Sunday, users spend twice as much time on Facebook daily as they do during the rest of the week.
- Google Think is a constant source of rich insights and research. The latest in their automotive segment notes that consideration is constant, and that although 63% of shoppers enter the purchase funnel with one brand in mind, only 20% end up buying that brand.
- An interesting pairing of articles from Inc. takes a look at the role of how well brands are loved: Do Customers Love You? 5 Questions to Ask and You Might be Too in Love with Yourself - and Your Product both help marketers look at themselves and think like consumers view them.
- As always, all of the links above are available on Delicious; and this week, I've added my This Week in Social Media Magazine on Flipboard.
Commentaryan Applebee's employee get fired over a photo of a receipt went viral. This week a redditor posted an image showing an Olive Garden receipt in which his family was comped for their entire meal after his 3 year-old told the waiter that her grandpa's house burned down. The image has received over 1.5 million views and Olive Garden has been complimented on the actions of its waitstaff. But some commenters claim that it was an elaborate hoax by Olive Garden or one of its agencies to elicit positive support.
One redditor even claimed he knew it was fake because, "I work in advertising and have spoken to the people who plan these campaigns." Reddit's general manager says that the platform is always on guard against brandjacking and that it's usually fairly easy to tell when brands are trying to do something like this.
He also said that "I've seen something similar before" is not conclusive proof.
But what's important to understand is not that Reddit has the tools to ferret out any kind of fake effort by brands, but that in communities like this, brands have to overcome attitudes of cynicism and skepticism. Is it that individuals are becoming too savvy for this, that brands don't have a place on such platforms, or that sloppy work by some has ruined it for all of us?
Photo Credit: Ludwig Gatzke