THIS WEEK’S ROUNDUP IN SUMMARY
- Social media experts discuss the profound effect that the domination of image based media across social channels is having on data collection, and what we can do to utilise it to our advantage.
- We summarise the three main barriers that are stopping your content from being organically linked from others.
- Sharing tips from experts on how to get your subscribers more likely to open marketing emails.
- Is Facebook scared? We update you on Facebook’s latest rip off of Snapchat…
- Amazon plans to break into the middle east with acquisition of Souq.com.
The Effect of Memes On Social Media Insights
Agencies and brands are developing ‘visual listening’ techniques to better understand the sentiment expressed in emojis and gifs on social media. Gifs and memes completely dominate social feed and the rise of this could mean trouble for those using social media for consumer insight as image based media becomes the new norm of communication.
Over 80 million photos are uploaded each day to Instagram alone and users watch 6 billion videos on Snapchat daily according to Brandwatch, while twitter says over 100 million gifs were shared on the platform in 2015. Darren Jones, Social Media Leader at Post Office says “It’s a growing space as more people take and share photos on the likes of Instagram – that is something that’s on my mind for the next campaign.”
Pollyanna Ward, digital and social media manager at Mondelez says brands need to, “move forward with consumers.” She adds that image content is just a new way for customers to talk about us. If someone is posting a meme about Oreos, it’s more for us to know that it is positive – if it’s negative, we can try to understand why.” And so visual listening is the next frontier for the providers since it’s their platforms that need to develop in order for brands to see this data. Many can already identify sentiment through emojis and others can even identify brand logos in images using AI and computer power advancements.
Another expert, Richard Bassinder, head of social media at Yorkshire Building Society, said,
“there are things like image listening coming in on the emoji side, that is interesting as it gives a universal way of understanding sentiment – and if we can search and categorise by emoji, that gives us an interesting way of looking at things.” He noted that it does “make it tougher” but adds that “part of the new world of marketing is adapting to how people want to communicate and if they want to communicate through images and emojis, we need to be supportive of that”.
The 3 Major Barriers to Being Linkable
Columnist Julie Joyce has explored some of the most common issues that could be interfering with you naturally attracting good links in a post for Search Engine Land. There’s a lot more to consider when it comes to being link-able besides poor quality writing, low end design and boring content. Of the many issues that can cause people to ignore your content, here’s three that Joyce sees constantly: avant-garde design, gated content and excessive pagination:
She first shares an anecdote of when she had to call management in order to figure out how to put the plug in the sink at her hotel:
“Years ago, my friend and I went to New York City and ended up having to call the hotel staff to come help us figure out how to put the plug in the sink. While he was up there, I realised we also didn’t know how to turn on any of the lamps. As the trip wore on, it became obvious that the bathtub placed right in front of the bed, protected only by a sheer curtain, was really not as cute as we first thought. Oh, and let’s not forget that the only reason we even found this hotel was that I recognised a potted tree that was at the entrance, as I’d seen a photo of it on the web. Cool designs for everything overall, but I’ve never been back.”
This, in essence sums up her point about avant-garde web design, “when a cool design hides basic functionality, it’s not that beneficial unless you’re a site that exists to sell cool designs that hide basic functionality.” People tend to bounce from these types of websites and if they did stick around to check it out, they’d either find only a good resource or two on the site or they’d just find it far to difficult to navigate, lose their path and leave. And no one wants to recommend that experience to others.
As a tactic it’s good to narrow your visitors down to the serious customers, but as a link builder it’s preferred that you don’t put your content behind a gate. Here’s a cool article on when to gate vs when not to, but of course if you want to gate content like a live demo or anything proprietary then that’s fine – but gating a normal blog post is just silly. No one needs to give their information to you just to read a blog post. In Joyce’s case she says that “the only gated content that I have is an e-book where you have to enter your email address to get a link to the download. If I did on-site quotes, I’d gate that area, too. If I had a blog or a video where I was explaining our process, I would not gate that.” She continues, “while there are some good guidelines about when to gate content and when not to, it still comes down to what you want from your content. Conversion rate optimisation, usability and SEO don’t always seem so black and white.”
There’s only really one time when it’s worth clicking through page after page on a website and that’s mostly for memes, or hysterical images of cats and dogs being cats and dogs. But when it comes to finding a source to link for an article that isn’t about the above, there’s no way anyone is going to waste their time clicking around about 7 pages just to find the one they want. She says that she “bolts immediately” when she gets to those websites.
Google apparently has guidelines for paginated content that’s good for sites that need to do it, and the issue isn’t with articles that could be in four parts for example, the issue is when a piece of content that requires you to click 20 times just to get to the end of it. If content exists to show advertisements and make money, she’s not into it – plus you can tell what their real objective is and it certainly isn’t providing you with key information.
Tips to Get Subscribers to Open Marketing Emails
Our inboxes are constantly overcrowded with marketing emails, so how do we make an effort to stand out from the crowd? We spotted Scott Heimes who discusses ways to increase your delivery and open rates. We’re going to share with you his top tips to making sure you get seen by your recipients:
Encourage Double Opt-In During Sign Up
Implementing a double opt-in requires a secondary action from the subscriber to confirm their participation and this would appear to be the best way to identify those who are consciously consenting to receiving your marketing emails. They explicitly want to be included. Heimes notes:
“Pestering your recipients leads to decreased open and delivery rates. To avoid this, it’s best not to present users with a pre-selected opt-in, which requires them to change the default option of receiving promotional emails. Furthermore, do not have third parties send emails on your behalf.”
Monitor and Remove Subscribers Who Don’t Engage
The larger the list of recipients the better it might seem, but Heime claims that it’s actually more effective to have a nice, lean list of users who actively engage rather than a bunch of dormant contacts. In essence, quality over quantity. “Subscribers who don’t open your emails are harming your email program by skewing your sender reputation — i.e., a smaller list of highly engaged recipients will perform better than a heavily populated list of unaware and unengaged users.”
Make the Time for Quality Subject Lines
Since there’s a limited amount of characters you have for your subject lines, it’s difficult to find the sweet spot between a focused headline without having to add in quantity. If you can strike a persuasive and creative balance between characters and the core message, it’s still going to require thought, and time. Scott says that it’s imperative that you dedicate a sufficient amount of time to writing copy and headlines that will pique interest and do not remain excessively vague or mysterious. “Clear and concise subject lines encourage higher engagement and open rates. Subject lines consisting of three words often hit viewers’ sweet spot — but to be sure, run A/B testing to see which headlines are resonating with your subscribers.”
And a final parting tip we’re including from Scott Heime is the fact that it’s better to introduce yourself sooner rather than later. We mentioned the double opt-in earlier. Make sure they receive a triggered or welcome email that sets a tone between you both for your relationship shortly after they sign up. “Consumers can be fickle with their decisions or have a short memory. Thus, the longer the delay in sending your first email, the more likely that consumers will forget or lose interest in your brand.”
DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS
Facebook Copies Snapchat… Again.
Facebook has unveiled yet another upgrade that allows users to post disappearing photos and videos, just like Snapchat. We covered the disappearing statuses that they introduced to WhatsApp, and now we’ll tell you about the new updates for the platform itself.
The latest in the Snapchat knockoffs (as well as Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram) is not only a big raging signal towards how much Facebook sees Snapchat as a threat, but also how Snapchat faces the risk of all it’s key features being available on one platform. Jamie Chung, the forecasting analyst at eMarketer says,
“As Instagram and Facebook Messenger adopt features previously unique to Snapchat, potential new users may reconsider adding Snapchat to their social portfolio when they can post stories and play with filters on other networks.”
And this trend is especially prevalent in the younger age groups.
For a few years now commenters are suggesting that Facebook is falling behind when it comes to keeping younger users interested, but according to eMarketer estimates it’s still the most widely used social media platform. Among users aged 18-24 Facebook has a higher penetration level of 79% compared to Snapchat’s 69%. This stat doesn’t tell the whole story though. A variety of surveys found that there’s higher enthusiasm for Facebook’s rivals (including some of their own units). For example LendEdu in March this year found that over half of college students in the US said they check their Snapchat notifications first compared to the 27% who check Instagram and the 13% who check Facebook. Is Facebook plucking at every feature it can get at in anticipation of a reduction in usership? We smell fear.
Amazon Reaches Deal to Buy Middle Eastern Souq.com
In a quick eCommerce news bulletin this week, we’re here to tell you that the the eCommerce giant Amazon announced last week it plans to expand its presence into the Middle East by buying the largest online retail platform in the Arab world – Souq.com – for an amount yet to be disclosed. The Arab eCommerce platform reportedly attracts above 45 million visits per month.
The Amazon Senior Vice President Russ Grandinetti said in a statement: “Souq.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers …Together; we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East.” The Emirati company has been the target of chatter about its future for a few months now with a few potential buyers eyeing it up. Prices as high as $1bn have been cited by media reports. We’re led to believe that the price Amazon are offering is lower than this threshold with TechCrunch suggesting that the winning bid was more towards the $650 million mark.
Since Souq.com launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2005 it has sought to branch out into additional regional countries. Until this week Amazon didn’t have a presence in the Middle Eastern region which has a population of around 50 million consumers, but currently displays a very low level of online retail spend penetration. Only 2% of retail transactions take place online today. It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out over the next few months.