Archive | March, 2013

The All-New Pinterest! Virtual Pinboard Unveils New Look!

25 Mar

Avid Pinterest users, prepare for some changes to your pinboards. Recently the content-sharing site, which allows users to “pin” photos, videos, articles, graphics and other objects to their own boards, announced some slight changes to the design of the site and some new discoverability features.

Don’t worry: the redesign, which the site started testing with users in January, isn’t a drastic change. Or at least it won’t require the same adjustment as Facebook News Feed. The site still has the big photos laid out in a grid (they are even bigger now), but along the top of your homescreen is a new navigation bar. A new button in the top left, next to the search bar, gives you a list of categories, including Animals, Art, and Design.

There are also some changes to the pin pages. When you look at a pin, you will now see other pins from that board (no need to click back), other pins from that source, and similar things to the that pin. The idea is that you’ll stay on the site longer and continue to pin and repin items.

Pinterest has become one of the most popular social networks, albeit behind Facebook and Twitter. In November 2012, it was reported that the service had more than 40 million users. The site has become especially popular with women. According to a Pew Internet and American Life survey, 12 percent of online adults use Pinterest and one fifth of women on the Internet use the social pinning site.

The new design and discoverability features will start rolling out to all Pinterest users today. Just remember to put those baby or engagement pins on private boards if you don’t want anyone to know your news just yet.

Pinterest Releases Analytics Platform for Businesses

18 Mar

Pinterest introduced a web-based analytics tool last week, allowing site owners to track users’ engagement with their sites on the social network.

The free tool allows site owners to track the number of pinners and pins collecting material from their sites, and the number of repinners and repins those initial pins received. Site owners can also track total impressions and reach on the network, as welll as referral traffic, both in cilcks and unique visitors, sent back to their sites.

The analytics are pretty basic, and don’t pose much (if any) threat to more robust third-party Pinterest analytics systems like Pinfluencer and Curalate, which allow site owners to identify their most engaged and influential pinners, and track the popularity and reach of their own boards and pins. Still, it could prove a powerful motivator to site owners who have never examined their site’s engagement on Pinterest and want to improve it.

Although Pinterest has not yet launched any ad products, the startup is laying a foundation for their arrival, first with the introduction of business accounts and tools late last year, and now with its analytics platform.

In developing its ad strategy, it seems Pinterest took note of Tumblr’s missteps. Advertisers were annoyed when Tumblr began asking for large sums without offering them any analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Pinterest has been careful to roll out those tools first.

What the New Facebook Newsfeed Means for Marketers!

11 Mar

Facebook unveiled its long-awaited changes to the news feed today, and it looks to be the most major overhaul of the look and feel of the site since, well, the original news feed was introduced in 2006.

The new feed will be rolled out to users over the next few weeks, but if you want to impress your friends by being the first on your block to get it, you can sign up for the waiting list and beg to be let in here.

In the meantime, here’s the major things to expect from the new Facebook (Nasdaq: FB):

A unified design

It used to be that the experience of using Facebook was very different across devices — using it on the Web was different from using the mobile site, which was different from using the iOS app, which was different from using (god help you) the Android app. While those designs have gotten closer, there was still a lot of fragmentation in Facebook land. No longer. The new design is supposed to look exactly the same across devices, although to start it’s only being rolled out on the Web. It will be moving to iPhones and iPads after that, and then predictably to Android last.

Personalized newspapers, a web design trope that won’t die

Mark Zuckerberg introduced the philosophy behind the new news feed with a chestnut that will be familiar to anyone whom has been following Internet content companies for any length time — wouldn’t it be great if there was a newspaper that only had those news stories that were most relevant to you in it?

Putting aside the fact that people who regularly read their news on paper represent a rapidly shrinking group, the new design is more newspaper-esque than feed-like. Rather than showing all content in a single column, arranged chronologically or by the dark magic of Facebook’s ranking algorithm, it splits it into sections by type: activity by friends, posts by news organizations and things you like, posts by people you follow, music, etc. The goal is clearly to make the act of engaging Facebook more dynamic and engaging, so that rather than scanning down a single column until you start seeing posts that you’ve already read, you flip between content types as the mood takes you.

That’s good for Facebook, of course, since it will probably mean more time on site. But it could also make for a more relevant and engaging Facebook browsing experience — if you just want the news, you won’t have to slog through a lot of pictures of your friend’s kids anymore to get at it.

Lots more multimedia, lots more professional content. Lots more ads?

One thing that will be immediately noticeable in the new feed is how dominant multimedia is now. Photos, which used to just be bigger than everything else in the feed, will now be huge. Facebook is saying that the minimum size for photos should now be about 550 pixels wide, but recommends images that are as large as 1,500 by 1,500 pixels. “‘Mo pixels = ‘mo bettah,” said Facebook developer advocate Christopher Blizzard. Facebook is also going to be highlighting video, which will get a large player that plays right in the feed.

That of course leaves open the question of advertising, since more and richer media generally means more and richer ads. There’s a lot of potential for Facebook around video ads especially, which are extremely attractive to mainstream brands because they’re similar to produce to the television ads they understand and tend to have higher engagement than static banner ads.

The CMO Survey: Social Media Spending by Marketers to Skyrocket

4 Mar

I’ve been super busy this week with our sweet Pitbull Parris in the hospital, selecting a wedding dress/bridemaid dresses, quite a few new writing projects, and other critical wedding planning elements!  I had all good intentions of writing a blog (and still probably could find the time to!), but I wanted to share this great article I read this week from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.  I found it VERY informative and insightful and hope you will too!

 

Until next week!

Jessica Sala

Source:  Duke University

Social media spending as a percentage of marketing budgets will more than double over the next five years, according to a survey of 468 U.S. chief marketing officers.

The CMOs noted they are spending 8.4 percent of their budgets on social media. Over the next year, that number is expected to increase to 11.5 percent, and in the next five years it will reach 21.6 percent, survey respondents said.

“Companies are searching for novel ways to interact with their customers that will drive the growth of their companies,” said Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey and T. Austin Finch, Sr. professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.“Unfortunately, marketers are behind the curve with their current levels of social media expenditure, given the amount of time customers spend engaged with one another and with companies online. The good news is that marketers are seeing the imperative to rectify this through increased investment in social media marketing in the upcoming years.”

The dramatic increases in social media spending were universal across different business sectors: business-to-business (product), business-to-business (services), business-to-consumer (product), and business-to-consumer (services).

Social media spending in all four categories is now less than 10 percent and is expected to be more than 20 percent in the next five years, the survey found. The business-to-consumer (product category), including companies such as Procter & Gamble (P&G) and The Coca-Cola Company, expects the most dramatic increase, from 9.6 percent to 24.6 percent.

Along with the expected increases, marketers will need to continue addressing how social media is integrated in their organization’s overall marketing strategy, Moorman said. On a scale of 1-7, only 9.9 percent of respondents believe that social media is “very integrated” to the firm’s strategy (the highest rank for the question), while 15.2 percent believe it is not integrated at all (the lowest rank for the question).

The average is 3.8, which is the exact number recorded the first time this question was asked two years ago in the February 2011 CMO Survey.

“This ‘integration gap’ is a legacy of the way in which social media was adopted in many companies — outside of strategy, outside of typical organizational structure and outside of typical pathways of development for marketing managers,” Moorman said. “It is therefore not surprising that firms still cannot figure out how to use social media to achieve organizational objectives. Leaders have not reconciled that this strategy should be planned, implemented and controlled like all marketing strategies. The integration gap findings should serve as a call to action.”

One reason for this lack of integration is that companies are still struggling with how to measure the impact of social media. “Given that ‘what is measured gets managed,’ a more complete integration will occur when social media begins paying for some of the bills,” Moorman said.

The CMO Survey finds that companies have, over time, shifted from direct financial measures of social media’s impact, such as sales and profit, to intermediate referral metrics, such as willingness to refer the brand to others, buzz and friends and followers.

Moorman commends this direction, noting, “These social measures are now rightly viewed as leading indicators of company revenues.”

Fueled by the big data emerging from social media and digital marketing, CMOs expect their companies to increase their marketing analytics expenditures by 66 percent in the next three years. However, the number of projects using marketing analytics is expected to drop from 37 percent now to 30 percent over the next 12 months.

“Marketing analytics will only fill its ‘strategic shoes’ by impacting firm decisions, so CMOs will need to work on the use, not just the generation, of marketing analytics,” Moorman said.

With the rise of social media and other forms of digital marketing, spending on traditional advertising continues to plummet as CMOs expect a 2.7 percent decline.

The CMOs in the survey expressed cautious optimism for the overall economic outlook. When asked to rank their optimism for the economy on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 100 (highest), the survey respondents registered a 62.7 score.

In a separate question in which the CMOs were asked to state whether they were more optimistic, less optimistic or no change compared to the prior quarter, CMOs who were more optimistic increased from 29 percent of the sample in August 2012 to 56 percent in the current survey. Moorman observed, “This 93 percent increase offers a strong signal that economic uncertainty is resolving.”

Moorman also notes this improvement in economic outlook coincides with improvements in many of the customer metrics tracked by the survey. “Marketers expect improvements in purchase volume, price paid and purchase of related offerings. They also predict that customer priorities will shift away from low-price to focus on quality, innovation, trust and brand.”

Other noteworthy findings from the survey include:

  • Growth strategies are expected to take on more risk as diversification is up 28 percent.
  • Canada (25 percent), Western Europe (22 percent) and China (15 percent) are the highest revenue growth markets for U.S. marketers.
  • Marketing hiring is expected to increase 5.4 percent, down 1.1 percentage points from the last time the survey was administered.
  • The outsourcing of marketing remains flat (3.5 percent).
  • Apple once again was the top marketing company across industries, while P&G, GE, IBM, Coca-Cola and Google led their respective industries.

Founded in August 2008, The CMO Survey collects and disseminates the opinions of top marketers in the United States two times per year. A total of 468 CMOs responded to the survey. Learn more at www.cmosurvey.org/results.