Facebook Updates News Feed: No Boring Posts Allowed

headstoneAny update from Facebook is usually met with resistance from users, and the recent announcement that they’re changing the way they sort the News Feed is no different.

The switch from Facebook’s usual algorithm, EdgeRank, to new ranking methods, Story Bumping and Last Actor, has people asking why they can’t just choose what they see from their friends. The reality is that the average user has 1,500 possible stories a day filtered through their News Feed. More than anyone could hope — or want — to read. Facebook is constantly evolving it’s algorithms to make sure that the 20% of posts you do see are the ones you’re most interested in seeing.

Story Bumping changes the way you view the stories on your News Feed. Each story is given a score, which, Mashable reports, are determined “using a number of factors, such as the relationship you have with the user who posted it, the number of comments, the number of shares, and the number of likes that the story has accumulated”. With Story Bumping, stories with a higher score that you may not have seen yet are found near the top of your newsfeed with newer stories. This way the posts that are relevant and of interest to you are not buried underneath more recently posted but less interesting stories.

This is good news for users, as it’s far more likely that you wont miss the updates you care about. Facebook reported there has been a 57-70% increase in stories read since the updates were introduced.

The other development is Last Actor. This feature takes into account the last 50 interactions you had on Facebook and ranks your News Feed accordingly. So if you commented on your friends post in the morning, your friend may receive a higher score and you’ll see more of their posts later in the day. This works for brands, too. If someone engages frequently with a page, it’s more likely that they’ll see that page’s content. This makes your News Feed highly curated towards your own interests.

Anyone worried about not having their posts seen needs only follow one golden rule: don’t be boring. Interesting posts guarantee interaction, and interaction is what gets your posts seen by more people.

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Photo credit (without text): Graham Allard

Google+ Hands Beats Down Facebook In Customer Satisfaction Scores

LikeThe American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measures customer satisfaction across different industries and releases results monthly to bring stakeholders in-depth coverage of various sectors of the economy.

In previous years, the ACSI has measured the customer satisfaction rates of Facebook and YouTube, but this year, it has added Facebook competitors for the first time, including Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google+ (G+ or Google Plus).

So who came out on top for customer satisfaction? Did you say Google+? Because it most certainly was. With a score of 78 out of 100, it came up 17 points stronger than Facebook’s score of 61 (down 7.6% since last year). LinkedIn and Twitter were only a few points above Facebook with scores of 63 and 64, respectively.

The Big Winners For Google+

ACSI points out that some components of Google+ keep users incredibly faithful:

  • Protection of user privacy
  • Clean interface without ads in prime space
  • Superior mobile presence

There are still not nearly as many users on Google+ as there are on Facebook or Twitter, but those that are there seem to be happy there – a lot happier than the other social networks.

But Why Is Facebook Down There?

ACSI offers that privacy issues and a user interface overladen with ads is partly to blame for Facebook’s low score. It points out that the drop in Facebook’s score coincides with the introduction of the Timeline redesign:

Facebook’s drop coincides with the release of its Timeline profile, a significant change to the look and organization of its pages. Users complain that they cannot opt out of the new profile design. The big drop in user satisfaction—coming on the heels of Facebook’s somewhat disorderly IPO—doesn’t bode well for reversing the company’s sliding stock price.

Interesting. We’ve talking for the past year about the user experience, customer engagement, and the need for mobile strategy. Connect with us — we’ve got plenty more to say and want to hear your opinions as well. iQuarius on Google+  and Facebook.

Facebook: Nearly Half of Americans Think It's A Passing Fad

FacebookThere is a new study out there that is suggesting that the all mighty Facebook is just another fad, at least according to half of Americans. Could it be another MySpace?

According to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and CNBC, an astonishing 46% of respondents think that Facebook will slowly fade away as new platforms are created in the future.

Picture-heavy communities like Pinterest and Instagram are on the rise. On the other hand, the other 43% of the responses may indicate that there is still faith in the ability of Facebook to stay relevant for a while longer.

This study was conducted among 1,000 Americans that were ages 18 and over, with a margin of error of 3.9%.

Respondents on the Facebook IPO

The survey was conducted partly in response to some of the frenzy surrounding the Facebook IPO. Before it went public, almost 50% of the respondents in the survey said they believed the expected stock market value was overvalued. About 51% believed it would be a good investment, while 31% disagreed and thought if they bought shares, it would not be a good investment that would outperform others.

Respondents Speak Out On Zuck’s Abilities To Lead

So what about the creator being a 28-year-old? Can Mark Zuckerberg run a large publicly traded company? 18% said they were “extremely confident” about that. Almost 40% said they were somewhat confident, and 20% said they weren’t confident at all. 21% of respondents cited age as helping his ability to run the company whereas 11% thought that it hurt his ability.

So what do you think? Is Facebook is just another passing fad? Leave your opinion below or on Facebook.com/iquariusmedia.

 

 

 

Pinterest Jostling for Place Among the Top — And Winning

pinterestPinterest is still invite-only but new aggregated data indicates that it is taking its place among the social media behemoths in referral traffic:

  • Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Twitter
  • Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Google Plus (G+), LinkedIn, and YouTube combined

The data was collected from more than 200,000 publishers who collectively reach more than 270 million unique monthly visitors each month. Facebook still accounted for more than a quarter of the referral traffic. Subculture-centric Stumbleupon held on to its number-two position, while similar bookmarking site Reddit was also among the top.

This is Huge: Pinterest > Twitter

The biggest news here has got to be the Twitter connection. Twitter’s micro-blogging platform found its power in its concise, 140-character bursts of information – posts are quick to craft and easy to share. Along with its URL shorteners making it more than easy to put active links in posts, Twitter was a powerful source of referral traffic for businesses and marketers.

It now looks as if Pinterest is occupying a similar niche, with the added dimensions of being visuals-focused. There is power in pictures — and Pinterest is remarkably beautiful, and its content is infinitely clickable.

We’ve blogged about Pinterest before. We’re also marketers who have been eagerly watching Pinterest grow since the beginning. If you’d like to know more about how we can leverage Pinterest for you, contact us. Ask your questions. We would love to share what we know.

 

Best Western Takes Booking to Facebook

best western on FacebookBest Western has stepped up their use of social media to engage with customers — they are now offering hotel booking through Facebook.

Big business is just doing on a grand scale what we as small- to medium-sized businesses can do with similar return. Businesses like Best Western look to social media to cut costs left and right and engage directly with customers. Social media is where businesses is conducted these days, period.

[see vide0 here]

 “Best Western introduces Facebook booking, so you can now reserve your hotel without ever leaving Facebook. The company joins other hotel brands who’ve already taken business to the social network.”

Credit Mashable.

Social Media Ads: Facebook Users Click Ads Twice as Often than Twitter and Google+

Facebook ad campaignsChitika, a data analytics company, has released a study that reports Facebook users click on ads more than twice as often as Twitter and Google+ users.

“Given the announcements and roll out of new social media advertising programs on platforms including Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, we wanted to investigate where advertisers will have the highest potential to engage with users based on CTR (Click Through Rate),” a representative for Chitika said.

The study measured the Click Through Rate (the likelihood of a user clicking on an ad) of different social media users, taking data from referrers. Essentially, what it looked at was which social media advertising platforms were bringing in the most traffic. It examined which social media networks provided the Click Through links that landed users on websites in their sample. For example, if a user saw a link on Facebook and clicked it to get to iquariusmedia.com, Facebook would be considered the referrer. The data was narrowed to include the Click Through Rate of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+  — and it was this data that was the basis for the report.

The compiled data set included millions of impressions from social media, which yields the Click Through Rate of the average user on the three social media networks.

In the same report, it was stated that social media users click on ads on Google+ and Twitter with about the same frequency (Google+ at .1% and Twitter at .09%). Facebook measured a .24% Click Through Rate.

There were several key points about social media advertising addressed in the report.

  1. The best social media network to run an ad campaign on is highly dependent on the type of campaign being run.
  2.  A time-sensitive ad campaign may benefit from Twitter’s promoted trends
  3.  Simply using Google+ to promote products or services may have new benefits to search visibility
  4.  It is possible to optimize for all segments of web traffic

“As always, a cost-benefit analysis is key to identifying which platform (if any) is worthwhile for your product or service,” Chitika says, “…and when making the final decision on an ad campaign, it is essential to keep your target market in mind.”

Optimizing Your Social Media Ad Campaign

As marketers, we are excited about the possibilities of optimizing your ad campaign for different types of audiences. We are incredibly optimistic about Google+’s new functionalities and interconnectivity with Google Search — and what that can mean for your marketing strategy and search visibility. We like the growing sophistication of analytical tools for Facebook and Twitter and are confident that they can help us design an ad campaign that is optimized for you as well as for your product or service.

What to do:

1. Call us to tell us what product or service you’d like to promote.

2. We’ll make our recommendations about which social media networks to run your ad campaign on.

3. Then we’ll work with you to custom-fit the ad campaign around your needs and budget.

4. After you make your final choices, we’ll execute the plan within hours.

Google Starts Getting More Personal Today (1/10/12)

google peopleStarting today (Tuesday), Google search results will start looking different more frequently for different people. Google will start including content from their social network, Google Plus (G+), including photos and comments, when it performs a search. This way, search results will be more intimately tailored to each user. The search engine will even start incorporating content from their older photo service Picasa.

This feature will automatically be made available to all English-language searches conducted by users who are logged into Google. This is just one step toward one of Google’s most ambitious goals. Eventually, Google hopes to amass enough information about each person’s individual preferences and interests in order to provide custom-fit search results. Google is calling this functionality “Google, plus your world.”

People signal what’s important to them through what they do and share on the social networks, and it’s this information that Google is in the business of curating. Facebook has greater insights into personal tastes, though, because of its 800 million users sharing 1.5 billion photos each week. This is the territory that Google is hoping to encroach on with these new additions to their search.

Here’s the part we wanted business owners to hear.

In more general searches, like “music”, “sports”, “fishing”, “design”, you name it, Google will generate a drop-down box of suggestions from companies, people, and places that have accounts on Google Plus. Couple that with Google’s ability to localize search results — and the fact that Google Plus signed up 20 million users in December alone – and the implication for companies is huge. This brings the idea of targeted traffic to soaring new heights.

[Existing clients: Call us, as always, if you want more information on how Google fits into your marketing strategy and what we can do for you. Potential clients: Ditto.]

It's A New World and Social Media is Here to Stay.

At iQuarius Media, we speak and interact with company owners, as well as marketing and advertising professionals, on a daily basis about things such as social media, web marketing, online video marketing, email marketing, and even text message marketing. It’s an exciting field to be involved in. Without exception, every business owner wants to solve the same dilemma: how do I get the absolute most bang for the buck out of my advertising and marketing budget? It’s a tight economy today and maximizing resources is an important component of business if one wants to attain — and maintain — success in the marketplace.

Cue internet marketing and social media.

Where else does one tap a potential client base as large as the Internet for pennies on the dollar? Nowhere. If you’re not taking advantage of this precious opportunity to advance the growth of your business, you may want to move into the right lane because passing is in the left lane. If you’re not utilizing this cost-effective means of promoting your business and/or website, you risk losing your loyal clients, as well as a vast well of potential clients, to those entrepreneurs who have the foresight to understand that social media is not just a trend. Social media is a new way of life.

Before you get started…

Once a business owner has decided to make use of the social media platform to help their respective business progress, there are a few things they should keep in mind.

  1. Definitely do some research and ask some questions about the company you are considering hiring. Hire a reputable and well liked company that has some experience and tact. The company you decide on could make you or break you.
  2. Make certain to negotiate a contract before venturing into business together, so that both you and your social media company are legally protected.

Those are the basics. Now we  can move on to the main purpose of this article: to accentuate the benefits of having a social media presence to make your business more effective and far-reaching.

Social Media is global.

Building a social media campaign is THE most cost-effective method of online advertising and promoting. Think about it: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter are free. In addition, there are literally hundreds of other less popular websites that can help your business get the exposure it deserves.

All of these networks have a reach that spans the globe. Why not attempt to reach out to this global market? A perfect example of this is Twitter, where one can log in at any time of the day or night and see real-time tweets from Japan, England, France, and India, to name a few.

Social Media is the new momentum.

Social media enables you to join groups of people with the same interests and goals. On LinkedIn and Facebook, one can join groups on yachting or interior design or web design. The possibilities are limitless. Think limitless when you think of all of the potential clients out there in this massive world of ours. The ability to have direct contact with people who have the same interests and hopes and dreams as yours is amazing. So get on board the greatest momentum shift to happen in eons. You have no excuse not to.

So Why Social Media Marketing? Why Bother?

Based on a current Razorfish Consumer Experience Report, 49% of Internet users now buy something according to suggestions they acquired via a social media site. Yet, only 25% of companies employ a Facebook page. Is it just us, or are the numbers a little off here?

Social networking online communities are breeding grounds for connections. Consumers are discussing your products, your services, as well as your organization itself, on social media sites such as Facebook. It’s inescapable. Are they going to understand how to locate you? Social media networks are where the PEOPLE are.

Let’s say there was an expo taking place in which 300 million people would be attending, and we offered you a totally free presentation area. Would you accept it? Of course you would. Facebook, for instance, keeps growing at a rate of 600,000 new users a day. Attention spans continue to keep getting shorter and trust in advertising and marketing will continue to deteriorate. The only real option you’ve got is to take part in the already occurring conversation. You probably know this. We trust our friends a lot more than those overly pleasant folks in commercials. You could be the voice on television that gets ignored, or you can befriend your customers on Facebook, or Twitter, or the ever-expanding Google Plus. The call is yours.

Social Media : Ups, Downs, and All Arounds

Social media channels and social networking websites continue being among the most popular commodities in the global online sector.

Ups, Downs, and All Arounds

As the number of users to these websites increases, the software applications and venues broaden at the same time. We’ve seen sites decline and some have gone up in a glittery, moving unicorn gif-filled ball of fire (like, you know, MySpace). But even sites like MySpace are not necessarily declining – they are evolving, partly to jostle for position in the social media space, which they don’t want to lose.

That being said, the level of popularity of Facebook and related gaming apps continues to increase and will likely see even more growth in the coming years. The explosive growth of Google+, only a few months old, is changing the game. So much so that Facebook continues to roll out massive changes to their interface to incorporate some of the functionality of G+ and to try to stay on top.

Twitter continues to offer immediate gratification for millions around the world, while specific niche market networking sites are gaining a share of the market as well. A look all around the world reveals an infinitely diverse social media market and a great deal of possibilities.

(We will be getting more in-depth about Google+ Pages for Businesses in a very near future post. We’re excited about it!)

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