This week, the internet marketing community was buzzing about mobile and local developments, as well as insight from Affiliate Summit West, but the piece de resistance was the much-anticipated announcement that the iPhone is coming to Verizon.
On Tuesday, Brafton reported that Apple and Verizon announced the iPhone will be available to Verizon users in February, much to mobile marketers' delight. Many consumers are left to wonder why the phone won’t be 4G enabled (for more, see Brafton's technology news roundup). Nonetheless, Google Realtime results reveal that this issue dominated social chatter throughout the week.
The announcement comes at an opportune time for marketers who want to deliver ads via the iAd platform. StatCounter data reveals that mobile searches showed year-over-year gains in December 2010. Desktop searches, though still the leader by a wide margin, showed an annual decline last month. Plus, Google has reportedly experienced a 130 percent increase in mobile searches in the past year.
It seems Google doesn't want to miss opportunities to benefit from competitor Apple’s potential Verizon popularity. The company unveiled a Google Places with Hotpot app for iPhone. Hotpot is Google's location-based service and, as Brafton has reported, executive Marissa Mayer believes this social recommendation tool will give the company a competitive edge in the local market.
Google is trying hard with Google Places, but the popular location-based service foursquare is not going down without a fight. Marketers were buzzing about foursquare’s business page released this week, which helps brands understand how to maximize their foursquare campaigns.
Groupon, another platform targeting local consumers, also made headlines this week. The company is reportedly expanding into new markets, and it raised $950 million in funding, which Brafton reported the company hinted at earlier this month. Competitor LivingSocial is also generating buzz, with The Wall Street Journal reporting it, too, expanded its reach this week. This suggests the local market is truly on the rise.
An eMarketer report released on Tuesday indicates that explosive growth in the location-based market means local marketing is worthy of more investment this year. Experts at Affiliate Summit West supported this data, with Brafton reporting the buzz at the conference indicates SEO and paid search campaigns must consider a local audience.
Google may be getting ready for more local marketing with updates to its product pages, announced this week. Still, brands optimizing their sites and ads to catch local traffic should remember the value of Bing and Yahoo.
As Brafton reported, early data indicates that the transition from Yahoo to Bing could be paying off for advertisers. Plus, the latest Hitwise data shows that Bing gained 5 percent in the search market in December 2010.
Perhaps in an effort to counter these gains, Google is trying to make its paid ads more efficient for marketers. The company announced this week that it is updating AdWords tools and ad URLs. It will allow AdWords users to more easily control negative keywords, and over the next few weeks it will display all ad domain URLs in lowercase letters to maximize value for partners.
The search giant also made headlines this week when Google News crashed on Monday. As ComputerWorld reported, the news aggregator site shut down for about half an hour, and TechWorld reported that Twitter users vented about the crash on the microblogging site. In a blog post, Brafton discussed how the uproar over Google News’ crash may inform content marketing strategies.
Content marketing strategies were also a key topic of discussion at this week’s Affiliate Summit West. As Brafton reported, experts in attendance said targeted content is key to branding.
They also emphasized the need for original, relevant social content. One presenter demonstrated that social plugins can also drive traffic to quality content pages on websites. This relates to a similar buzz idea at ASW11 – blogs boost both SEO and social outreach. Plus, we reported that CMOs say engaging content is essential to blog success, and it makes sense that engaging content would be shared on social channels.
Speaking of social outreach, Facebook marketers were talking about the site's new profiles this week. Brafton reported that the new Facebook profile might help marketers with targeting on the site. Now, Facebook has announced that the new profile is reaching all users.
While social marketing is generating ample buzz, Brafton reported on a survey that indicates email marketing is still effective in generating results. According to Aberdeen Group, 83 percent of companies believe email is core to marketing campaigns. Still, an Oracle Digital report circulating the web this week indicates email is dead – the jury is out.
Email's future as a marketing channel is still being decided, and Myspace's future is similarly unclear. Brafton reported earlier this week that Myspace laid off nearly half of its staff, even as the revamped site is reportedly gaining new users. The next day, Reuters reported that NewsCorp is looking at several options for sales or spinouts to try to help the struggling site.
On a more positive social note, YouTube announced this week that it has 200 million daily mobile views. As Brafton reported, this news speaks to the overall rise of the mobile video channel, and marketers may want to plan campaigns accordingly. Experts at Affiliate Summit West suggested this week that original, optimized video content is key to success.
Another social site that has piqued interest this week is Quora. As Brafton reported last week, the site experienced a surge in membership in early January, and it seems to be on consumers' minds as Realtime results show minute-to-minute updates about the Q&A site.
Next week, internet marketers might expect to hear continued buzz about the Apple/Verizon partnership, and perhaps social marketers will monitor how Facebook users respond to the new profiles. Stay tuned!