Internet marketing news roundup, September 9

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From insight shared at this week's Content Marketing World conference to news about rising social media usage, internet marketing headlines for the week ending September 9th remind businesses that the search and social landscapes are dynamic.

From recent developments with Google’s social network to headlines from Content Marketing World, this week’s news might remind marketers about the increasing overlaps in the search and social markets.

Yahoo, which hasn’t had a strong presence in the online marketing dialogue of late, found itself at the center of attention when it was announced that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz had been fired. Bartz oversaw the agreement that enabled Microsoft’s Bing to fuel searches on Yahoo sites – and many say this led to her dismissal. Indeed, the latest Hitwise report reveals that Bing now fuels 28.99 percent of the search market – less than half of Google’s share, but still demonstrating annual gains – and the inclusion of queries on Yahoo.com sites have fueled much of Bing’s growth.

Some speculate that Yahoo’s next CEO will not look on the Bing deal so favorably. Though the Microsoft/Yahoo agreement is reported to extend for 10 years, it remains to be seen whether Bartz’s dismissal will lead to renegotiation of the deal.

Potential Yahoo drama aside, this was a good week for Bing in terms of industry partnerships. As Brafton reported, the company (very) publicly renewed its deal with Twitter. As the companies forge onward in their partnership, marketers should be on the lookout for Twitter data in Bing search results (perhaps similar to the company’s inclusion of Facebook data for logged in searchers) that will make their Twitter marketing campaigns more valuable in a search sense.

Twitter marketing campaigns are gaining value – with or without Bing – as the company reported a new milestone this week. The microblogging site now boasts 100 million active users. Businesses hoping to catch the interest of this growing audience should consider the findings of a recent Market Research survey, which indicate that Twitter users follow brands on the site for content. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents say they follow brands because of interesting content.

Another social network that made the news this week is Google+. As Search Engine Land reported, Google+ has launched a new Suggested Users feature (among others). This feature may be especially useful for businesses that publish social content that will be relevant to convertible prospects… that is, once Google+ for Business pages become available.

No matter the social platforms they use, businesses will want to boost their marketing strategies in social channels. As Brafton reported, social media campaigns will account for more than 10 percent of marketing budgets next year.  At the same time, the Business Finance Store reported that a number of companies begin social media marketing without having clear goals in mind. Establishing a social presence is not enough to remain competitive in the social marketing space, and businesses investing in social media should plan to invest in branded and well-targeted social content, accordingly.

When planning social targeting objectives, marketers might want to consider new research from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, which indicates that it may be better to try to gain a social media marketing following among users with fewer social connections. While it is appealing to target social users with thousands of followers, the study suggests that connecting with consumers who are more interactive with their smaller groups of online “friends” is better for extending reach.

Another way to maximize social marketing reach is by strategically redistributing content on the channel. As Brafton reported, new data suggests the half life of a given socially shared link is three hours. With this in mind, brands might consider moderately reposting their valuable and relevant content pages on their social profiles (bearing in mind, of course, that doing this too frequently will make their content repetitive!).

Speaking of content, there was a lot of great marketing insight offered at this week’s Content Marketing World conference. For instance, one expert indicated that timeliness of content is key to success, though often overlooked by marketers. With this in mind, news content marketing strategies might help brands publish breaking and fresh information. The value of news and industry developments to content marketing efforts was cited by another CMW expert, who reminded attendees that it’s better to offer site visitors valuable industry information as opposed to overtly branding and selling.

To ensure the publication of content site visitors will find valuable, the CMW panelists emphasized that content marketing requires careful targeting. Businesses should remember to focus on the informational needs of their prospects, as well as the distribution channels they are most likely to engage, experts said. A report from the Association of Online Publishers seems to mirror this sentiment, with the organization suggesting that targeting across platforms will be a major content industry focus in the coming months.

Furthermore, a report from iPerceptions suggests website content that fulfills consumers’ goal “to learn” might ultimately boost conversions. iPerception’s Q2 2011 Retail/Ecommerce Industry Report reveals that more than one-quarter of consumers turn to websites to learn about products and services before making purchases, and content that effectively demonstrates the demand for business offerings may make these consumers convert.

Targeted, relevant content is also key to reducing bounce rates, which might especially be a consideration for mobile website marketers. A report from Strangeloop reveals that 85 percent of mobile web searchers leave a website after five seconds. Compelling content is one way marketers can try to increase mobile visitors’ dwell time.

Mobile marketers might also remember that social advocacy and local relevance are vital to catching the interest of on-the-go shoppers. As Brafton reported, 28 percent of Americans now use location-based services on their mobile phones. With this in mind, businesses might find developing a presence on geosocial sites pays off. Additionally, integrating local SEO and social media marketing can be a good way to put marketing campaigns aimed at traditional web users to use for social-savvy and local hunting mobile audiences.

Getting local, search and social-friendly campaigns in place to reach mobile audiences is something marketers might want to do sooner rather than later. New data from Google suggests that the upcoming holiday shopping season will find many consumers using their mobile devices to shop on the move, and businesses that are positioned to catch local-oriented mobile clicks will gain an edge.

Next week, marketers will await updates about the future of Yahoo without Bartz as it may impact the search landscape, as well as keep an eye out for new Google+ developments that could impact the social-search landscape… Plus, marketers across industries will be flocking to New York for SMX East September 13-15, and we can expect many internet marketing headlines from insight shared by the experts in attendance. Stay tuned!

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Katherine GriwertKatherine Griwert is Brafton's Head of Marketing Content & Communications. She has covered SEO, social marketing and new media news for several years. Katherine has a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing has been featured in a number of web publications.
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