Twitter & SEO

March 24, 2009

Twitter recently made a big change to the way they format their title tags on profile pages. They no longer keep the Twitter…. tag, but rather list the User Name and Profile name. This will help out brands and individuals immensely who are trying to gain more traffic through the search engines.

Although the link drives the visitor to the Twitter profile, it’s there that the URL listed can be the corporate website. 

It’s no longer just MySpace and Facebook profiles showing up on the SERP’s. Twitter is there too!

TV and Social Media integration

March 13, 2009

As American Idol season 8 finally gets going (I couldn’t stand the new format the first few weeks) and we are down to the final 12 contestants, it has been interesting to watch trends on Twitter for Idol. People are not using Twitter to discuss the latest performance, outfit or comment as I suspected. This may be because the Twitter base does not care about American Idol, which I could completely understand. However, American Idol was the first show to really become “interactive” with the fans using SMS voting.

Twitter provides so much more than a short-code keyword combo for voting. Fans could talk about their favorite artists and how they want to see them next week. Each artist would have their own hashtag and Tweets would be tracked for a certain period of time. All comments might not be positive, so it’s possible groups like Vote For The Worst could try and game the system, but who cares. They can game the call logs and SMS messages.

Social media allows conversations to happen between like minded individuals. I may join a conversation with a group of people in California who love Megan Joy Corkrey just as I hear people here in Utah. After all, common interests are the new demographics. 

It will be interesting to see what the first major TV show is to incorporate Twitter besides news and talk shows. Social media is so easy and provides such a richer user experience. It might actually help decrease time-shifting as people want to be current and increase their “social currency”. To gain social currency, content must be relevant and timely. Users will have to watch “live” shows and watch the dreaded COMMERCIAL to be current in the socialsphere.

Come on Idol, be another first. Integrate with social media for voting and get the Groundswell going.

Is Facebook radius targeting big for local online advertising?

March 12, 2009

Facebook announced they are now offering language targeting and radius targeting through their platform. Personally, I have not had any conversations regarding targeting Spanish speakers, but I have had a lot of conversations about using Facebook for local advertising. Prior to today, there were a couple different ways to net down the audience size and “target” local markets. I also have an unfair advantage since around 90% of Utah’s population is along the Wasatch Front, which makes it easier. However, not everyone has that luxury of population density.

Imagine someone in California that had a few small locations that wanted to use Facebook, targeting all of LA might not be the best option. They could use Google for search and set custom targeting, but an issue with search is that people have to know what they are looking for and “search”. Facebook’s new targeting option allows advertisers to promote their services in a similar fashion that display advertising works, with much better geo targeting. Since social networks get so much traffic, small advertisers now have another viable model for local advertising on the web.

This could be a large move for Facebook along with their new Pages release which will also increase the amount of local businesses using Facebook. Rather than static pages where there was not many benefots of being a fan, the changes allow for a much more dynamic environment that allows brands to have a voice in social media.

Overall, I like what I am seeing from Facebook recently (hasn’t always been the case, remember Beacon and the T&C’s issue). Any move that helps more companies and individuals move online or move more money online is a good thing.

Google serving ads based on behavior

March 11, 2009

Google announced that they will begin serving ads based on users surfing behavior today. Finally, the deal with DoubleClick is driving something from Google that will place them in the ad serving space besides AdManager for publishers. Google considers their search ads through AdWords untouchable, and is using the AdSense program for their beta programs.  They also recently announced a beta program for expandable ads through AdSense.

Is this a sign that Google wants to make a bigger play against Yahoo! and their display advertising capabilities which is really their last strong leg? If Google can capture the display market that Yahoo! has built up, I can’t see Yahoo! surving very long and then Google gets the bost of both tactics, which equals $$$. It also will likely raise monopoly concrens.

If this works and survives the privacy complaints, it might be a huge success for bettering search results. If Google can tell what I am interested in generally, they will be able to take that data and add it to algorithms for search results as well as PPC ads.  Overall, this would lead to a better search experience which Google knows is the path to riches.

Twitter to replace SMS

February 23, 2009

In a recent post, I briefly mentioned how Twitter poses a large threat to SMS marketing platforms. I found proof today how a company used Twitter to start a campaign and then required the offer to be shown through a SMS message delivered to phone so that it could be redeemed. I understand not everyone has a smartphone, and they utilized Twitter’s SMS feature, but it is close. Companies will continue to see the power of Twitter and use it more and more.

The offer was a free burrito for anyone that showed the message on their phone at the counter. The success was more about the ability of Twitter to “broadcast” offers that people find relevant and think their friends will enjoy rather than mobile marketing. Who wouldn’t want a free burrito and what better way to tell friends then the immediacy of Twitter. Even though they required a text message at the end of the process, it was not done through an SMS platform like Cellit or Hip Cricket. The campaign started with Twitter and ended with Twitter’s SMS capability. A 100% Twitter campaign with great execution. They went from 80 followers to more than 450 in a day.

Twitter poses a significant threat to SMS marketing platforms as the scalability is endless and as of now, there are no costs associated with it. Along with those benefits, Twitter is growing at an enormous rate and no end in sight. SMS marketing platforms still have a few advantages such as privacy, but they need to keep a close eye on Twitter.

Twitter ads search to some home pages

February 19, 2009

Twitter announced they are beta testing a new search feature. Rather than having to use a third party application or go to search.twitter.com to search for trends or content, you will be able to search directly from a profile. This is a brilliant move for Twitter as it supports the notion they can become a “search engine”. The content is not static web content, but rather real time content and conversations.

Wikipedia was the most updated content during the shootings at Virginia Tech, now Twitter is the source for the most up-to-date news content on the web. Rather than seeing what is “indexed the best” and not necessarily the most recent, Twitter allows you to search what is happening right now as Tweets often have a half-life of a fruit fly. 

Making the search functionality easier to access is another arrow in Twitter’s quiver for changing the search landscape. Even though there are several different thoughts about Twitter and different uses, it continues to grow and make a legitimate threat to certain types of search queries once owned by the traditional search engines. Google needs to keep Twitter under a tight watch.

Start the conversation with a big seed

February 13, 2009

It seems there is a lot of buzz about Twitter and that it has finally been accepted in certain groups and hashtagging is a great way to see what people are talking about. I recently enjoyed a Monday night in front of my computer using TweetGrid monitoring #journchat and starting micro-conversations amongst the overall larger conversation. It was great.

I recently read Bill Tancer’s “Click” which is a phenomenal read about interesting trends found through Internet data and it rmeinded me of the Pontiac campaign a few years ago. The call to action was not “go to Pontiac.com” instead, it was “Google Pontiac”. That was a huge risk at the time. They were the first brand to utilize traditional mass media to drive people to Google rather than a corporate site. They also had to increase the cost of the campaign for the PPC tactics as well as feel confident about organic results. “Click” reports that only Mazda utilized this for their benefit as well and bid on Pontiac. That was a few years ago. 

Today, I am wondering who will be the first major brand to start the conversation on Twitter and monitor results through the conversations. This is based on the premise of “big seed marketing” where you merge viral and mass media to increase the opportunities for the message to spread.  I can’t see why a brand would not want to try this approach. It shows they understand their consumers and where they are talking. Lets face it, people are talking through social media whether a brand monitors it or not. It might not be brand specific since it’s tough in 140 characters, but products and categories for sure. So as I watch various trends start on Twitter such as #journchat and #followfriday, I am looking forward to the first brand pushing traffic to Twitter to start the conversation. 

Depending on the continual increase in smartphone adoption, this may give mobile SMS marketing a very short shelf life. Why pay for SMS messages when you can communicate for free through Twitter? Start the conversation.

Gatorade hits a home run with Quest for G

February 6, 2009

Gatorade hit a grand slam with their Quest for G campaign microsite. Not only do they have an online component to the popular “What is G” TV campaign, they created a fantastic entertainment masterpiece. King Garnett and his gang of knights go on an adventure spoofing the famous Monthy Python film “Search for the Holy Grail” for the Holy G. The sight is entertaining and refreshing. 

Not only did they relate to sports fans, they tapped into the loyal following of Monty Python. Several of the comments about the videos are about Monty Python rather than a drink or Gartorade. Taking athletes out of their elements and playing on their attributes was a perfect execution for Gatorade. This site has raised the bar for branded microsites.Refreshing original content along user comments You can check out the great work here.

If you don’t like Monthy Python, the site also has freestyle hip-hop videos, animated hip-hop music videos and the G Manifesto. The G Manifesto shows all the people in the “What is G” TV campaign.

Overall the site is amazing display of creativity and utilizing all the web has to offer.

Behavioral Targeted ATM transaction

January 19, 2009

I had a pleasant experience recently at a Wells Fargo ATM. They have begun behaviorally targeting customers who use their ATM’s. It was so nice to insert my card and the first option on the screen was to deposit a check to my checking account. Rather than have to click three of four times to get there, it was one click away. I see this as a big step in the financial industry, making it easier to transact personal business. 

The web has this capability as well, but I have yet to see it happen in the financial services category. I only have a Wells account and one other checking/savings account so it may be available through larger institutions like Bank of America or Chase. Imagine logging in and seeing the results that you look at the most. Wouldn’t that make banking so much easier. Log in and see all transactions, or see all income or whatever you would like to see based off your previous experiences.

I am sure people would raise a hand or two about privacy, but in the end of the day it’s behind a secure login and they aren’t doing anything with the data other than presenting it in a more usable format. At the end of the day, its’ better for the user. I saw the behavioral targeting of the ATM in a similar manner, until I realized it made it much easier for me to transact and leave.

Chalk up a win for behavioral targeting and the financial services industry and let it continue to the web.

Did Gatorade get it right with G Commercial?

January 5, 2009

A recent TV campaign talks about “G”. Several different athletes and celebrities are shown as the camera pans down the line. At first, I thought it was a Nike commercial until I saw Usain Bolt in his Puma gear strike his pose. That made me wonder, who is this for? It had all the makings of a Nike campaign. So I turned to the good ol internet and searched G commercial and the only PPC ad that was present was a YouTube listing. I clicked on the ad for the “The G Channel” and none of the posts or descriptions mentioned Gatorade.

I finally found out it was a Gatorade commercial and was not surprised, the “G” now made sense. There was more content about Kanye West and Lil Wayne (who does the voice over) then there was about Gatorade.

So, the question is did Gatorade miss the mark from an online standpoint. I would say yes. Even if they are trying to be discreet, the amount of money they are spending on this campaign must be a decent chunk of change. People are going online to see who the commercial is for. Even if though they did not do a PPC campaign (I think they should have), they should have at least had some sort of online presence through a website. Maybe there will be an online component later, but I believe that Gatorade is missing out on a lot of online traffic.

G Commercial search volume

G Commercial search volume