August 2, 2012 “In the News” – [LINK]
Bing Deepens Facebook Integration
Allows Users to Tag Friends within Search and Share Instantly to Facebook
Bing announced earlier this week that they’ve further enhanced their integration with Facebook, enabling users to tag Facebook friends directly within search results and share queries instantly on Facebook. Using this functionality, users will now be able to more readily involve friends in decision-making by soliciting their advice while searching online.
There are obvious implications for digital marketers and online vendors—and for automotive dealers in particular. Imagine a car shopper searching “Toyota dealer” on Bing, receiving results, and then instantly asking specific friends on Facebook if they’ve had any experience with a given dealer. This deepened integration with Facebook further illustrates the importance search engines are placing on social media in order to deliver relevant search results to consumers.
The subtraction of a step in the sharing process will not only make it easier for people to share search-related content on Facebook, but also to tag friends, which will then cause those results to on those friends’ timelines, thus exposing the question to their social networks. Typically, the easier you make an action, the more people will use it. Think of the ease of the “like” and “+1” sharing buttons that millions of websites have adopted. This makes it even more important than ever to ensure that your Bing presence is optimized, reviewed regularly, and filled with positive customer testimonials.
If you want to see more about how it works, check out Bing’s video by clicking here.
August 3, 2012 “Stat of the Week” – [LINK]
One million users in 6 hours.
That’s how many people signed up for Microsoft’s re-vamped Hotmail email service, which they relaunched as Outlook.com this past Wednesday, August 1. Many reviewers, such as Gizmodo, are declaring Outlook email the “biggest victory since Gmail.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s Microsoft’s attempt to capture more enterprise customers by integrating themselves into workers’ personal lives. This news should interest online vendors and digital marketers alike. That’s because many consumers favor the use of anonymous-type email addresses (Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, etc) when shopping online or communicating with vendors–including car dealers–because they offer less personal information up front. Chances are good that you will start seeing Outlook email addresses showing up in leads. You need to ensure that your CRM isn’t going to view the new outlook.com email addresses as spam.
On another note, if you were part of the land grab of e-mail addresses on Wednesday, you might have been able to get some really sweet e-mail addresses–maybe even using just your first name. The momentum of sign-ups is sure to plateau, but as long as desirable and easy e-mail addresses are available, we believe many people would make the switch rather than have a long, hard-to-remember Yahoo or Gmail address because of the lack of availability. Would you rather email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? The choice seems easy.
August 10 “Stat of the Week” - [LINK]
What drives up to four times as much retail traffic as Facebook and is #4 out of the top 7 web-traffic-driving social networks in the world? Pinterest.
We came across this article on socialmediatoday and were shocked to learn that Pinterest is responsible for so much traffic to websites. We were also surprised to learn that StumbleUpon is the #2 social media site in terms of driving traffic, but the steep downward trajectory that it’s on means it will most likely be overtaken in the near future.
Pinterest interests us so much because it is driving almost as much traffic YouTube and, although YouTube certainly isn’t something to disregard, Pinterest definitely has the momentum right now, with major brands adopting the platform for marketing purposes. YouTube will always be relevant (well, as “always” as anything can be in the fast-paced world of the internet), but we don’t see their traffic spiking anytime soon. In fact, it could very well decline now that YouTube’s license with Apple has expired and the company’s will no longer be available to iPhones.
Not only that, but Pinterest currently appeals largely to women, making the site both a unique challenge and an especially tempting nut to crack for businesses like automobile dealers. Have you experimented with Pinterest for your business yet? If so, tell us what your experiences have been!
August 14 “In the News” – [LINK]
Recently, two major automotive manufacturers released innovative apps designed to enhance consumers’ buying experiences by making the process more interactive using technology developed for mobile and tablet devices.
This past spring, at the Geneva Auto Show,Volvo unveiled an iPad/iPhone app that “reads” markers placed around Volvo vehicles, allowing users to walk around the cars and experience an x-ray-like view of the vehicle’s skeleton and inner workings, complete with callouts featuring patented Volvo innovations.
Then, this past Monday, Ford released an iPad app designed to assist consumers at the dealership by allowing them to virtually build vehicles equipped to their specifications, then use that information to locate vehicles in the dealers’ inventory that most closely match their desired specifications.
These apps are likely just the beginning when it comes to vehicle manufacturers adopting mobile and tablet technologies in ways that allow salespeople at the dealership level to integrate the latest tech into the sales funnel and make the buying process more informative and interactive for customers. Auto dealers: what’s your take? How do you think car shoppers will respond to these apps and others like them? How would you incorporate them into you showroom experience? And what app would you design for use in your showroom if you ruled the world?
August 17, 2012 “Stat of the Week” - [LINK]
Whether or not you liked how NBC handled their coverage of the Olympics, as this articleillustrates, the network ultimately fumbled a golden opportunity (McKayla would so not be impressed)—and damaged its reputation in the process.
As you may know, NBC made live-streaming of the Olympic Games available only to those users with an eligible cable provider account. Needless to say, this tactic left many frustrated, would-be viewers—many of whom rely exclusively on the internet rather than cable to get their TV fix—fuming. So much so that they took to Twitter and decided they were going to talk about the Olympics anyways, namely by creating the hashtag #NBCFail.
During the month of the Olympics, netscore counted 93,000 tweets utilizing that hashtag, which accounted for a whopping 148 million negative impressions. This number is made all the more damaging when you consider that NBC itself reported that only 157 million people actually watched the live streams.
Imagine if NBC had made the live streams easy to access, available to everyone, and free (by which we mean, ad-supported). Those 93,000 negative tweets probably would have been replaced by positive, patriotic tweets that included NBC mentions and hashtags. Instead, they chose monetize the content in a different way—one that earned them 157 million short-term internet viewers whose attention shifted elsewhere when the Olympics ended and almost 100,000 negative comments that will live on the Internet forever.
August 27, 2012 “In the News” [LINK]
During the 2008 presidential elections, Barack Obama made waves (and ultimately won the presidency) by enlisting the grassroots support of voters. What made it all the more remarkable at the time was that much of the campaign’s grassroots action took place online, in the context of social media.
So it comes as no surprise that the 2012 presidential elections would continue the trend. According to Fox News, political parties are increasingly recognizing the importance of social media within their campaigns. Both Republicans and Democrats have opened up their conventions and debates to be live-streamed on the internet, hired full-time bloggers and teams of people whose only jobs are to engage with voters via social media channels.
To put some perspective on how much social media channels have grown in importance since the last presidential elections, consider this: according to Twitter, the number of tweets sent on Election Day 2008 was “equal to about six minutes worth of tweets today.” Like businesses, politicians stand to reap huge rewards from social media—that is, if they manage to keep a handle on the conversation. With the help of social media, politicians (like businesses) are able to reach more people and, in circumventing traditional media, they are able to do so without compromising their messages. But social media is a live wire, and if businesses and politicians aren’t on their game, they also stand to get burned (a la #McDStories).
It remains to be seen which party manages to finesse social media to greater advantage, but either way, new media will play a role in deciding the next president of the United States. The good news for businesses is that, no matter how much political activity is taking place on social media channels, businesses won’t be priced out of social media they way they will with traditional media. Traditional media is finite, while digital media is unlimited. [TL/AT]