In a recent post for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson investigates what drives people to read content online. As a writer for a popular news site, it’s of interest to Thompson to find out what people are clicking on and why when navigating through the endless amount of web content available. Though it sounds like a boring study of analytics at first, his findings and references are actually super interesting.
Investigating how the consumer interacted with traditional media and how the social media differs is one of the most fascinating studies for marketing and communications fold to undertake.
Some (myself included) would argue that very little has changed since the newspaper was King of the Hill. The same rules to engaging with carefully selected demographics apply, the same headline rules, the same intro paragraphy rules.
Grabd the reader's attention and make sure they stick.
The difference is the social media channels go far beyond simple print in sharability, targeting can be much more precise and engagement is taken to a whole new MEASURABLE level.
So, everything changes, but everything stays the same.
What's so new about content marketing? The "nothing new here" brigade has a point: Content has always been an important part of many marketing plans (generally the better ones).... As content marketing grows more popular than Justin Bieber, there’s one question I keep hearing from those who are innately suspicious of fads (i.e., people like me): “What’s so new about content marketing? It’s just what good marketers have always done.” This is one of the content marketing backlash arguments that I’ve talked about here on CMI and on my company’s blog, but I think it’s worth drilling down into this one a bit further. Of course, the “nothing new here” brigade has a point: Content has always been an important part of many marketing plans (generally the better ones). But clearly, something unique is going on here. Somewhere along the line, something changed to turn that “little thing we’ve always done” into this big, voracious thing that’s eating up every budget. Something had to have happened to release the beast we now know as content marketing. So what was this catalyst? (Insert drum roll… add cymbal crash!)...
Santiago Swallow may be one of the most famous people no one has heard of. His eyes fume from his Twitter profile: he is Hollywood-handsome with high cheekbones and dirty blond, collar-length hair.
Steven Mallach's insight:
Creating a persona out of thin air?
That's hardly news, brands do it all the time.
The way it was done, now that's news.
I wait with bated breath to see the first online brand avatar based on this approach.
This was an experiment to gauge the power of the social media, it was incredibly successful. Marketing folk need a wake up call, the focus on the power and reach of the social media makes it a tempting focus area. However this just emphasizes once again the need for integrated marketing campaigns that allow consumers to interact with brands (and brand spokespeople) in the real world.
The Google Panda update recently turned one year old. By now, you've probably heard about it and how it has everyone up in arms.
Steven Mallach's insight:
Google Panda rewards creative and engaging copywriting. By creating articles that engage the audience, individuals and companies can grow their social media influence.
This has implications for copywriters. A familiarity with the new(ish) Panda algorithm and the latest Penhuin tweak allow skilled copywroters to provide a valuable service to clients that goes beyond the 'traditional' SEO approach.
brands and social-media marketers need to develop a strategy that puts google+ at its center. it will need to be quite different than your facebook strategy.
Steven Mallach's insight:
I gave a lecture / presentation to a bunch of very inspiring young university students today. Although the content ranged right across the marketing spectrum, I did spend some time (actually quite a bit of time) on the social media.
There are a lot a younger social media users turning away from Facebook and using their time on other platforms, but Google+ is definately making inroads into this demographic.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Google is the Gorilla in the Search Sandpit, with access to huge amounts of data and ownership of Android and other platforms it is a company that plays in a different league when it comes to online across the entire BYOD spectrum.
I knew that Pinterest skewed towards women, however if you use Facebook or even other social media then have a look.
For consultants who are advising clients on the social media this is excellent info. Every bit of audience segmentation and demographic data helps with the development of key messages and channel identification.
Facebook might be the world's largest social network. But so was MySpace, once.
In the last month, Facebook has lost 6 million US visitors, a 4% drop, according to an independent analysis firm SocialBakers.
Why are users being lured away so quickly? In the past six months, 9 million monthly visitors in the US and 2 million in the UK have stopped visiting. There are plenty of reasons, and plenty of other possible destinations. Newer, shinier social networks like Facebook-owned Instagram could be tempting users away from the same old interface. There are issues with complicated user privacy settings and constant redesigns, which make quieter networks like Path even more appealing. And maybe Facebook is just going the way of MySpace – it's old. But there's also a chance independent analysis could be off: Facebook will update investors on its performance for the March quarter Wednesday, and Wall Street is expecting a revenue gain.
Are you spending less time on Facebook?
In the meantime, we've asked Guardian and Guardian US Facebook readers why they think users are spending less time on Facebook – or why they might be spending more. Here are some comments from the first hour, and we'll add more as the day goes on – you can add your thoughts to the Facebook thread here.
Craig Kanalley: 'Nope, more time'
It's an interesting study, but I just don't think it reflects everyone. For many, Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, and I don't see how that has changed. If anything, some of the design tweak and mobile upgrades have made Facebook better. But that's just my opinion.
Rita Chakrabarti: 'Privacy comes up, but it's not the main issue'
I've seen both phenomenons within my friends/family circle. When I ask why to those spending less time, privacy comes up, but it's not the main issue. The best answer I've got is that FB is superficial and does not lend itself to deeper relationships, which is much better done in person. But, like Craig, I find it a great way to stay in touch. And with subscribing to news, information and entertainment pages, it's a great way to stay on top of that as well.
Fleur Defries Marais: 'It's too gimmicky'
"Because it's too gimmicky, and feels more and more like I'm being advertised to, and less like I'm catching up with old friends and acquaintances – which is the only thing I really liked about in the first place.
Ryan Garry:'Too much fighting'
"Too much fighting about the last election. Obama won. Get over it!
Jessica Hackney Williams: 'It's boring now'
"The main problem with Facebook is it's boring now. The model limits what content you're able to recieve from others, and now seeks to impose advertising on those who are already considering jumping ship. It's no longer a place where you can keep up with what's going on with your friends and family – it's a place where business can farm your information from. And with the continuous changes, who wants to bother trying to sort out a new layout every six months?
Christine Clifford: 'Hardly surprising'
"Well: unwanted advertising, perceived political interference in campaign pages, lack of action on racist and sexist pages. Poor and confusing privacy and content rights. Hardly surprising.
Paul Farrant: 'It's like having to have a conversation in a pub but being forced to use megaphones'
"While I love how it lets me keep in touch with people, I despise how it notifies people with whom I have a friendship about things I say to completely unrelated friends on their walls. It's like having to have a conversation in a pub but being forced to use megaphones - or having the bar staff go around with a dictaphone to replay conversations to others. Yes it's a public forum and in theory anyone nearby can hear unless you intentionally whisper, but you shouldn't have to expect it to be broadcast as widely as possible.
My settings are very strict, I have lists to communicate only with who I choose to at any given time on my timeline, but the moment I stray and make a comment elsewhere, this become an irrelevance and Facebook can share it (pretty much) however they please.
Tom Watson: ' I never use it for more than 2 hours a day, and that is pushing it'
I think I use it more, but I never use it for more than 2 hours a day, and that is pushing it. I have no urgency to visit Facebook but I use it to read news from pages like this and to see posts from pages related to my interests! Friends don't tend to post much, so if it were for friends I would use it a lot less because they do! I'm not fussed about privacy, anything I want private I say somewhat anonymously via Twitter, or don't say at all.
it's worth noting that originally Facebook privided a way to connect to people. At it's core that's what it was, jusr another channel to connect human being to one another and share common interests and information.
Human beings are social animals and Facebook allowed you to in essence create your own "tribe" with you as alpha male / female, without the messy business of hunting down and killing Woolly Mammoths.
Once you start adding functionality (i.e. widgets etc) and pushing advertising you muddy the waters of the user experience. what was once fun becomes a chore.
Is this the fault of Facebooks' 'always on' quest for revenue? Perhaps, however with alternative channels springing up daily has Facebook got the staying power? Only time will tell.