Friday, 30 September 2011

Social Media Around The World 2011

This beautiful presentation is the result of a survey done by Insites Consulting; amongst over 9,000 consumers in 35 counties about their social media usage.

Some interesting statistics:
- people don't just use Facebook: in Europe the average person joins 1.9 social networks
- the average Facebook session lasts 37 mins
- more than 50% of Social Network users are connected to brands
- 58% of Facebook users log in at least daily
- 42% have had a conversation with a brand via social networks

The interesting part?
60% don't want any new social networks, and 93% is happy with what they have and won't increase or decrease. So, what does this mean for Google+ ? When it removed the invite-only feature last week, membership increased  by 30%, taking it to over 40 million members. While this may seem a lot, it's still tiny compared to Facebooks 750 million strong base.

We're thinking that the role the +1 button has to play in SEO will be a huge part in determining the success of Google+. And with the news that brand pages are coming soon (at the moment it's just open to individuals), perhaps we won't have to wait too long to find out!

Friday, 23 September 2011

The History of the Internet [INFOGRAPHIC]

We've come a very long way since 1996 !

It's hard to imagine that just 15 years ago, we had to wait 30 seconds for each page to load, flashing bright coloured gifs were the norm and the concept of white space hadn't yet been invented.

In 1996, advertising was pushing out "AOL keywords" at the end of TV spots - rather similarly to the "Find us on Facebook" logos we are bombarded with today. Sifting through old web pages using the WayBack machine reminds us how excited we were to discover animated dancing cats, or that we could look at the weather forecast online. That is, in the brief 30 minutes you used the internet per month - as remember, it was tying up the phone line and you were paying by the hour.

Today, it's the battle of the social networks. Just yesterday, Google+ opened its gates to the masses - and the battle is on between Facebook (who is rolling out updates quicker than you can update your status) and the online super-power that is Google.

What will happen in the next 15 years? Where will we be in 2026? Answers on a postcard please!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Je t'aime Paris: Successful Online Marketing

This campaign from EF languages, illustrates beautifully the concept "content is king" for online marketing.

Yes, we know. SEO professionals love repeating the mantra-like phrase "Content is King". But it's not an exageration to say that quality content is key to online success. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't mean an article vaguely related to your industry full to bursting with keywords (this wouldn't fit the "quality" part!). It's something that people will find of value. On a small scale this could be an article with handy hints and tips, a tutorial, or an opinion piece. Or with a larger budget, a short film, comic strip, infographic or even an online service.

This film, one of a set comissioned by EF Language schools, was launched in 2010. It consisted of 4 short films, shot in London, Paris, Barcelona and Beijing, to entice viewers to "live the language" and "make you want to pack your bags". The combination of beautiful typography and playful visuals capture perfectly the emotions of being young and learning a foreign language in a new city.

It's not a story of small business success (EF has around 400 schools in 50 countries), but it certainly is an inspiring one. These quirky and artistic films were not backed by any impressive media budget - it was in the blogosphere and Social Media that they caught on and created a "buzz".

It's all about the campaign, not the platform. The beauty of these films is that they are essentially a "stand alone" product. We're not bombarded by "Like us on Facebook" and "Follow us on Twitter" messages at the end - as after all the aim is to increase sales of language course bookings. A handy link under the video invites viewers to "order a free brochure".

Could this be the future of online marketing? After all, in terms of SEO, EF languages doesn't rank on the 1st page of Google results for the competitive search term "language school abroad". But the Paris video alone has over 200,000 views on Youtube. Social Media means that it's possible to successfully market products through innovative ways - if you're ready to be creative that is!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Impact of Google+ on SEO

We've been gripped by Google+ here at Art Division!

Mostly because Google+ is so much more than a competitor to Facebook. It could, and probably will  transform the SEO world and the way we do online marketing. It means the search engine giant is placing a higher importance on social signals than ever before.

Up to now we've seen the integration of Twitter real-time results in the search results - and of course,  the value of links from blogs and other social sites such as Facebook. But since the end of June and the launch of Google+, we've been seeing sure signs that the future of SEO is social...

The +1 button

The +1 button on Google+ (the equivalent of the Facebook "like") is a social indicator of how valued a webpage is. The reason it's a bigger deal than Facebooks "likes"? Because Google can interpret these +1's in its search algorithms.

So, for example, if your blog has been shared many times by users on Google+, it could rank higher than another with zero "+1's". After all, it makes sense. You want to visit the sites, blogs or content that other people find valuable - not the ones that an automated algorithm (however good it is) thinks you might like. If there's a restaurant with many positive reviews (or signs of approval such as visitors using the "+1" button, you're likely to choose this one).

Eventually, search will be completely social. Instead of having to rely on the opinions of strangers (let's face it, we're all a little sceptical about those 5 star reviews sometimes), or even an automated search engine, in the results page will be the reccomendations of your friends and colleagues. Just as it would be in real life, it's the people around you - your network - or indeed your "circles" that you would go to for advice.

Google+ user profiles 

Google+ lets you set up Google Authorship - this means you can link up articles or posts to your Google+ profile. This creates many possibilities for personal branding - and to provide exposure for yourself as an author.

The greatly awaited Google Brand Pages... 
Even following the confusion and deletion of many branded or "non-personal"pages back in July, it's safe to say that businesses can't wait for branded pages to be released. Better search opportunities (as naturally we're expecting the search engine giant to give more importance to it's own social platform), integration with Google Analytics and a cleaner design.... It will also be interesting to see how the pages will tie into other Google products - such as Google Places for example.

Looking forward...
Google is certainly a late entrant to the Social Network market. But we reckon the potential synergies with other Google products such as Search, Google Places, Picasa Web Albums, Youtube, Gmail, mean that this new Social Network will prove a force to be reckoned with.

Google+ is not yet open up to the public (still invite only for the moment!), and there's no sign of the business pages. For now? We suggest you add the Google+ button to your site or blog- it can only help your search engine rankings. And we'll keep you updated when the social network is open to everyone.

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