The week in web marketing ended Friday with the close of Facebook’s first day as a publicly traded company. News of Facebook’s IPO broke earlier, and it opened trading at $42.05 per share – the second largest amount in U.S. history – signifying the broader rise of social media marketing and advertising.
By the end of the day, the fervor resulted in a bit of disappointment, as the stock price closed at $38.23 per share, which fell short of expectations. According to ABC News, some experts believed the first day of trading could see growth of 5 percent to 10 percent. For Facebook, becoming a publicly owned company represents a major step for Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild and the social media industry as well. Zuckerberg has insisted that this move will not affect the service delivered to the more than 900 million users on the site, which is good news for Americans.
Experian reported this week that 9 percent of all website traffic in the U.S. is goes to Facebook, with the site garnering more than 1 billion page views every week.
Brafton highlighted the report, detailing the value of the platform as part of social media marketing campaigns. As traffic to the site continues to grow and more people and businesses make the network part of their everyday activity, the potential to improve traffic, generate leads and drive conversions grows as well.
For companies looking to improve social marketing, Facebook released a comprehensive report this week that detailed the types of content best for engagement. Brafton found that those using Facebook to boost prospect interaction saw different levels depending on the type of post. Photos and visual content were best for shares, as fans enjoy distributing attractive, engaging visuals from the businesses they Like. However, compelling users to actually Like content requires a different approach, with explicit encouragement to Like content working the best to this end.
Driving conversation and engagement is a matter of using posts that ask questions of a fans, according to Facebook. That’s a principle that many marketers and, now, stockholders are investing in.
The news of the IPO led the Associated Press and CNBC to conduct a poll of consumers’ opinions on premier technology companies.
Despite its popularity, Facebook scored quite low in the survey in comparison to others. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they maintain a favorable view of the social network. Still, 43 percent said that they view it as a fad that will eventually be replaced by other websites consumers find appealing. Google achieved a stronger rating than Facebook, with 71 percent of respondents saying they maintain a favorable view of the search giant, Brafton reported. Given recent controversy regarding adjustments to search and the integration of Google+ data into SERPs, the high rating for Google was an interesting development.
Despite this positive perception of Google, the company’s social network has struggled to make the impact others have. According to RJ Metrics, the number of accounts on the network continues to skyrocket, but activity on Google+ still has not taken off to the same extent. Brafton reported on Friday that 30 percent of those commenting on the website do not return to contribute content again. Essentially, users interact with the site after creating their accounts or when initially prompted, then seem to forget that they have a Google+ profile. While companies using content marketing for SEO can still find great value in Google+ with its +1 and Share plugins that promote content advocacy, the network itself still offers little in terms of engagement.
Its struggles in social, however, have not discouraged Google from continuing its goal of bringing the most relevant content to its users through search. In its official blog, Google revealed the latest addition to search, the Knowledge Graph.
The Knowledge Graph is the latest step in trying to ensure that SERPs contain all the information a user looks for when conducting a query. According to the company, focusing its search algorithm on contextual elements of search will help users find data quickly. Brafton reported that when a user conducts a search, they will see the standard results, while filters based on multiple meanings will show up on the right sidebar. Using the example of the Taj Mahal, Google presented a SERP containing results for the palace in India. However, the additional results contained links to other SERPs for the recording artist and casino of the same name.
As users conduct more searches, the algorithm will adjust to their behavior and bring them the information most likely to suit their needs. Moreover, users can find background information on the subjects of their queries directly on the search results page. The data is aggregated from popular websites and cited as such.
Brafton reported that this move is further in line with Google’s desire to bring users information that they want. In the past, the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates worked toward providing the most qualified results, but the Knowledge Graph takes this concept to a whole new level.
Providing the right information quickly is increasingly important for all websites, not just search engines. Brafton cited a study from Adobe Systems on Tuesday that projected 10 percent of all website traffic will come from tablets by the end of 2014. The mobile devices have continued rapid growth in recent years. According to the study, tablet traffic has increased 10 times as fast as smartphone traffic in recent years, with consumers using the devices similar to desktop and laptop PCs.
Google’s Knowledge Graph will be especially useful for these users as they look for data quickly. Brafton reported on Friday that consumers are using their mobile devices more frequently in the home to find information on potential purchases and other topics. The Interactive Advertising Bureau conducted a study, asking people to provide details on their most recent mobile commerce activity. Twenty-eight percent said they looked for information on a product or service from their devices. Moreover, 47 percent of these users said this activity took place in their home. No longer are smartphones and tablets solely reserved for on-the-go use.
Despite Google’s announcement and its impact on search marketing as whole, the news likely leading discussion into the weekend and the early part of next week will be Facebook’s IPO, its initial performance and the value of its stock. Zuckerberg insists that nothing will change for users now that the company is publicly traded. This was true on Day One. We’ll know more in the next few weeks.