IMcyclopedia: Inbound Marketing, A-Z

IMcyclopedia: Inbound Marketing, A-Z

Instagram is About to Change in a Huge Way: An Algorithm Based Timeline is Coming

Instagram is about to change in a massive way. The photo and video sharing app is taking a page from Facebook and testing an algorithm based timeline.
This means that photos and videos shared to Instagram will no longer appear in chronological order and will instead appear based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content and your relationship with the person posting.
The change could mean that if your best friend posted an image while you were away from your phone for a number of hours, Instagram might place that content at the top of your feed the next time you open the app.

In a blog post announcing the change on March 15, Instagram says that they’re focusing on optimizing the ordering of posts and that most users miss on average 70% of their feeds. The post goes on to explain:
As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.
To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.
Speaking to the New York Times, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, also made reference the fact that users miss 70% of their feed, explaining: “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
Systrom appears to be very mindful of how the change may feel to the Instagram community too, “if it’s one thing we do really well as a company, it’s that we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us,” he said. “It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.”
Though the change is in testing with an unspecified single-digit percentage of users as of now, it’s yet to be confirmed when the change could be rolled out to all users. In their blog post, Instagram simply says the new experience will be seen in the coming months.

Using an algorithm could seem like a natural progression for Instagram. The platform currently has more than 400 million regular users. And with 75% of Instagram’s audience coming from outside the United States, Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder, and chief technology officer, believes this change may face less pushback as time isn’t quite as important to Instagram’s content as it is on other platforms.
“Look at my feed now. I follow accounts from all over the world,” Krieger said to the New York Times, “it doesn’t really matter to me what time it is.”
The announcement comes fresh off the back of some research by Quintly, who analyzed 10,000 Instagram 
profiles during the full year of 2015, and found that while the number of times brands are posting to Instagram is up, their engagement is falling.
Quintly’s study found that marketing-led post frequency has increased from 0.84 posts per day to an average of 1.04 posts per day. At same the time interaction rate dropped from 4.96 to 3.10 during the year.

The results of this study could simply be down to Instagram maturing as a product. And the switch to an algorithm-lead timeline could help brands to reach their most loyal followers and improve their interaction rates.
The change could also bolster Instagram’s advertising product in the long run. If the algorithm-based timeline can succeed in showing users the most compelling and relevant content, then time people spend using Instagram could also increase, providing more opportunities to serve targeted ads to users.
Over to you
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this update. Does an algorithm based news feed feel right for Instagram? Should Twitter maybe follow suit?
Share your thoughts in the comments and I’m excited to join the conversation.
➤ Sources: Instagram, New York Times, Quintly
The post Instagram is About to Change in a Huge Way: An Algorithm Based Timeline is Coming appeared first on Social.

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Blog Post Freshness: Can it be Faked?

Over the years, you've certainly read something about how Google loves fresh content. Perhaps you've read that sometimes it takes its love of freshness too far.Now it's the middle of 2015. Does freshness still play a significant role in how Google ranks search results?To find out, I decided to conduct a small experiment on a blog. Specifically, I wanted to see if my test could answer the following questions:If you update a blog post's date, will it receive a boost in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? Can you fake freshness? Do you have to make changes to the content?If there is a boost present, how long does it last?Details of the testThis test was performed on 16 blog posts on the same siteAll posts were originally published between September 2010 and March 2014. Each post was at least one year old at the time of this experiment.Each post (except No. 16) received organic traffic throughout 2014, showing an ability to consistently rank in the SERPsURLs for these posts did not changeThe content was not edited at allThe content of focused on evergreen topics (not the type of queries that would be obvious for Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)Only the publishing date was changed. On April 17th, the dates of these posts were set to either April 16th or April 15th, making them all look like they were one to two days old.Each blog post shows the publishing date on-pagePosts were not intentionally shared on social media. A few of the more trafficked posts likely received a couple of tweets/likes/pins, but nothing out of the ordinary.Google Search Console, Ahrefs and Open Site Explorer (OSE) did not show any new external links pointed at the posts during the time of testingBaseline organic trafficBefore starting the test, I took a look at how the test posts were performing in organic search.The graph below shows the organic traffic received by each of the 16 test posts for the four full weeks (March 15 – April 11) prior to the test beginning.The important thing to note here is the organic traffic received by each page was relatively static. These posts were not bouncing around, going from 200 visits to 800 visits each week. There is little variation.The blue line and corresponding number highlights the weekly average for each post, which we will compare to the graph below.Turning the test onThis one was pretty easy to implement. It took me about 15 minutes to update all of the publishing dates for the blog posts.All posts were updated on April 17th. I began collecting traffic data again on April 26th, giving Google a week to crawl and process the changes.Organic traffic after republishingAll 16 posts received a boost in organic traffic.This graph shows the average organic traffic that each post received for the first four full weeks (April 26 through May 23) after republishing.I expected a lift, but I was surprised at how significant it was.Look at some of those posts, doubling in average traffic over a one month period. Crazy.Faking the date on a blog post had a major impact on my traffic levels.Post No. 16 received a lift as well, but was too small to register on the graph. The traffic numbers for that post were too low to be statistically significant in any way. It was thrown into the test to see if a post with almost no organic traffic could become relevant entirely from freshness alone.Percentage liftThe graph below shows the percentage lift each post received in organic traffic.Post No. 14 above actually received a 663% lift, but it skewed the visibility of the chart data so much that I intentionally cut it off.The 16 posts received 3,601 organic visits in four weeks, beginning March 15 and ending April 11. (That's an average of 225 organic visits per post, per week.) In the four weeks following republishing, these 16 posts received 6,003 organic visits (an average of 375 organic visits per post, per week).Overall, there was a 66% lift.Search impressions (individual post view)Below you will find a few screenshots from Google Search Console showing the search impressions for a couple of these posts.Note: Sixteen screenshots seemed like overkill, so here are a few that show a dramatic change. The rest look very similar.What surprised me the most was how quickly their visibility in the SERPs jumped up.Keyword rankingsIt's safe to assume the lift in search impressions was caused by improved keyword rankings.I wasn't tracking rankings for all of the queries these posts were targeting, but I was tracking a few.The first two graphs above show a dramatic improvement in rankings, both going from the middle of the second page to the middle of the first page. The third graph appears to show a smaller boost, but moving a post that is stuck around No. 6 up to the No. 2 spot in Google can lead to a large traffic increase.Organic traffic (individual posts view)Here is the weekly organic traffic data for four of the posts in this test.You can see an annotation in each screenshot below on the week each post was republished. You will notice how relatively flat the traffic is prior to the test, followed by an immediate jump in organic traffic.These only contain one annotation for the sake of this test, but I recommend that you heavily annotate your analytics accounts when you make website changes.Why does this work?Did these posts all receive a major traffic boost just from faking the publishing date alone?Better internal linking? Updating a post date brings a post from deep in the archive closer to your blog's home page. Link equity should flow through to it more easily. While that is certainly true, six of the 16 posts above were linked sitewide from the blog sidebar or top navigation. I wouldn't expect those posts to see a dramatic lift from moving up in the feed because they were already well linked from the blog's navigation.Mobilegeddon update? In the Search Console screenshots above, you will see the Mobilegeddon update highlighted just a couple of days after the test began. It is clear that each post jumped dramatically before this update hit. The blog that it was tested on had been responsive for over a year, and no other posts saw a dramatic lift during this time period.Google loves freshness? I certainly think this is still the case. Old posts that rank well appear to see an immediate boost when their publishing date is updated.ConclusionsLet's take a second look at the questions I originally hoped this small test would answer:If you update a blog post's date, will it receive a boost in the SERPs? Maybe.Can you fake freshness? Yes.Do you have to make changes to the content? No.If there is a boost present, how long does it last? In this case, approximately two months, but you should test!Should you go update all your post dates?Go ahead and update a few blog post dates of your own. It's possible you'll see a similar lift in the SERPs. Then report back in a few weeks with the results in the comments on this post. First, though, remember that the posts used in my test were solid posts that already brought in organic traffic. If your post never ranked to begin with, changing the date isn't going to do much, if anything. Don't mistake this as a trick for sustained growth or as a significant finding. This is just a small test I ran to satisfy my curiosity. There are a lot of variables that can influence SEO tests, so be sure to run your own tests. Instead of blinding trusting that what you read about working for others on SEO blogs will work for you, draw your own conclusions from your own data. For now, though, "fresh" content still wins. Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!
The post Case Study: Can You Fake Blog Post Freshness? appeared first on IMcyclopedia: Thinkers and Doers.

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3 Ways to Incorporate Mobile And Social Analytics In Your Ad Campaigns

In today's competitive business environment, most advertising agencies are using data analytics to hone their clients' campaign strategies and to improve their job of targeting, tracking, and engaging customers.

With mobile commerce growing at an annual rate of 42 percent, and with one-third of online shoppers making at least one purchase via smartphone over the last 12 months (and 20 percent via tablet), marketers that ignore mobile analytics are doing themselves a major disservice. The same goes for social, where tracking, measuring, and engaging consumers via sites like Facebook and Twitter is absolutely crucial.
As an agency that was in on the ground floor of both the mobile and social advertising movements, and that has been employing analytics to create accountable advertising for decades, we can clearly see that everything digital is moving in a mobile direction. In fact, with some campaigns, we're seeing as much as 70 percent of orders coming through digital platforms – and the majority of those are being made via mobile devices, even for large, international brands.

To get a better idea of how mobile and social campaigns are performing, consider using one or all three of these ways to leverage analytics:

1) To track consumer activity via their mobile devices. While mobile devices may appear to be "untethered" and therefore more difficult to track and measure, the reality is that it's quite easy to get a grasp on "m-commerce" activity. Not only can you track the direct sales that are coming in – and what devices are being used (phones, tablets, etc.) – but you can also tie that information back to specific consumers.

This will help you create more accountable and profitable advertising in the future, and it will allow you to harness those 70+ percent of orders that will soon be coming in via mobile devices (if they aren't already). One of the simplest tools available to you is Google Mobile App Analytics, which allows you to track and measure activity taking place on your app, establish and measure goals, determine conversion rates, keep track of campaign consistency, and apply the resultant data for actionable insights.

Having this information in hand, and then analyzing it for key points and patterns, will help you develop even more effective mobile campaigns in the future.

2) To parlay social activity into key campaign goals. What started out as a fun way for friends to keep in touch and share photos with one another has transformed into a powerful advertising and sales tools for organizations of all sizes.

Today, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are being folded into the campaigns of even the largest, most well known brands. And while tracking the performance of such efforts was elusive until recently, today's companies are keeping closer tabs on their social activity and using the information garnered to hone their campaigns.

"In 2015, there are now companies whose sole job is to sift through social data and find emerging clues and patterns. Facebook has a billion users, Twitter has hundreds of millions, and LinkedIn is the de facto professional networking site," writes Jonathan Hassell in CIO.

Remember that social allows you to track more than just "who is Tweeting about you" or "who is posting information about your firm on Facebook." It also helps you measure brand awareness, hone campaign goals, and determine the best possible approach for a specific marketer (brand awareness vs. direct sales vs. consumer engagement, and so forth).

3) To "listen" to your customers in new and innovative ways. There was a time when companies had to rely on "live" focus groups, written surveys, and customer feedback forms to find out exactly what their target customer groups were thinking. Today, most of that information is available online and a lot of it is at the marketer's fingertips (as in, the company doesn't have to ask for it).

"If your customers are talking about you, you want to hear what they're saying. If you're spending good money to talk at them, why not devote some percentage to listening to what they have to say?" writes Mikal E. Belicove in Entrepreneur. "Research shows that the conversations your customers have among themselves drive about 13 percent of business decisions and can amplify your advertising by 15 percent."

Becoming that "fly on the wall" is fairly simple. If you're running an engagement campaign, for example, look at whether customers are tweeting and/or re-tweeting information about their experiences with the product. If it's a direct sales campaign, then pay close attention to how those social interactions parlay into mobile and/or online sales.

In the end, the only way to determine the effectiveness of a campaign's mobile or social efforts is by taking a hard look at the data and then using that information to take action. While this step was easy to ignore just 5-10 years ago, agencies that don't take the time to effectively measure their mobile and social efforts are doing their clients a disservice and overlooking a large chunk of potential business.

This guest article was written by Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne Direct.

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8 ways to use data to tell a compelling story

This article is part of SWOT Team, a series on Mashable that features insights from leaders in marketing, brand-building and public relations.
The increased use of data in journalism has paralleled the overall rise of big data. Today's strongest stories use real data that can enhance, corroborate or even challenge facts. In Newhouse’s [email protected] program, we are exploring this very topic.
Based on some of the key takeaways from our data-driven journalism course, we’ve compiled best practices for making the most of your data.
See also: 3 ways small businesses can use video marketing Read more…More about Storytelling, Big Data, Business, Marketing, and Media

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Your Connected Product Could Be Your Best Customer Engagement Tool

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, futurist and author of X, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business As Usual.In a time when connectedness is part of everyday life and people have become online media platforms, customer experiences either work for a company or against it. Those experiences, now widely spread and shared so easily, have become the new brand. Brands are, as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos once put it, "what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” See also: The Biggest Digital Marketing Mistakes Entrepreneurs MakeThink about all the ways businesses have to engage customers before, during and after the transaction: social, mobile, digital (i.e. web), wearable devices, email, POS, signage, packaging, word of mouth, and so on. There’s also an entirely new channel arising that's flying under the radar of marketers today.While not new to engineers, developers and savvy tech execs, the Internet of things (IoT) is set to become the next big trend for marketers and anyone leading service and support, product management and e-commerce initiatives. Connecting The DotsMy colleague at Altimeter (now part of Prophet) Jessica Groopman learned in her latest research on IoT that consumers are expected to own over 20 simultaneous connected devices by the year 2020. Some of us are already close. For those unfamiliar with IoT and its relationship to customer experience, think of it this way: Imagine that everything is connected to the Internet via a private network—your camera, watch, car, printer, oven, thermostat, lights, and more. Now imagine that each device learns how you use it. Not only does the user experience improve through technology, but the information is managed through an intelligent customer relationship management (CRM) system of sorts. The manufacturer can learn about the customer's usage, behavior and preferences, and also anticipate needs—all in the name of personalizing and improving the user experience. Doc Searls, author of the groundbreaking book The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999), introduced the concept of "Products-as-Platforms” a couple of years ago. He asked businesses to look at possibilities beyond marketing gimmicks. He envisioned a scenario in which customers were in control of relationships before, during and after transactions. He called this VRM, or vendor relationship management. His point was that people should be in control of relationships and products, acting as conduits, not dumb terminals. Products, As Customer Engagement ToolsImagine that your printer is running out of ink. Instead of merely displaying an alert, the same screen could connect you to Amazon or your favorite retailer to order replacements. See also: How Your Need For Detergent And Coffee Will Fuel Amazon's Smart HomeAmazon’s Dash button offers a similar premise, but requires manual input. However, this could happen even before you’ve run out, because the printer already knows your usage behavior and has anticipated the need. This idea of “in product communication” is what companies like Aviata are working on. If they succeed, VRM not only becomes a viable option, it may even change the game for customer experience and ultimately the mathematics of the lifetime value of a customer. Within the context of IoT, products can continue to work for your company, even after they’ve been purchased. These items could open new channels of proactive engagement, allowing you to redefine customer engagement beyond all of the channels you lean on today.In other words, the product itself becomes a tool for engagement and personalized "experience architecture.” This is basis for the future of customer experience, a foundation based on personalization, meaningful engagement and additive value. This new type of product communication is incredibly promising. It could change the dynamic for how companies build relationships with their customers, beyond warranty registrations and product support. This is the future of customer relationships. What it takes is to get there is vision, purpose, a sharp eye for what your users need, and the drive to give it to them. Lead photo by William Murphy

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Google Docs now lets you type with your voice

Getting stuff done in Google Docs just got a lot easier.
Google unveiled a series of new features for Docs, Sheets and Slides Wednesday, including voice typing and new collaboration tools for Docs. The new features are aimed at students but available to anyone who uses the company's productivity suite.
See also: Productivity startup aims to make the Internet less distracting
Google Docs now supports voice dictation from Chrome and the Docs iOS and Android app. When the feature is enabled (from the Tools menu in Chrome), you can dictate documents using the microphone icon from Docs on Chrome, or with your phone's voice commands when using the Docs app on iOS or Android app Read more…More about Google, Android, Google Docs, Tech, and Chrome

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Web Analytics vs Mobile Analytics

Jason Wells, CEO of ContactPoint notes that marketers must approach mobile analytics differently from online analytics. The vast differences between mobile marketing and online marketing. The biggest difference, he points out, is in user engagement with mobile media...

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First Steps in Google Adwords |Infographic

An infographic by the Promodo Company on the first steps in to take in developing a Google Adwords advertising campaign. Related articles Google AdWords introduces automatic conversion of Flash campaigns to HTML5 Google Analytics, AdWords & Website Optimizer...

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Real World Marketing Syllabus

The Real World Marketing Syllabus is a new hybrid of original content from the likes of Brian Clark, Geeta Sachdev and Todd Defren, along with curated content featuring lectures, readings and lessons from the best marketers out there. It’s our attempt to spice up the...

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Google Tag Manager | Playlist

Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags — including conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, and more—with just a few clicks, and without needing to edit your website code. Take a quick look at...

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Six Brand Building Stories

Mark Lightowler defines these six types of brand stories and the roles they play in brand building: Six Brand Defining Stories Why I am here stories: for the right to speak, authenticity and relevance Who I am stories: for authenticity, relevance & personality...

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