Tag Archives: Google

Tim Wu, Author of The Master Switch Sees Deja Vu with Google’s “Do No Evil” Pledge

In a Q&A with the New York Times, author Tim Wu discusses Google’s “Do no evil” mantra and its uncanny resemblance to a similar pledge made nearly 100 years ago.

In the 1910s, AT&T promised the American public that they would do no evil. Their president, Theodore Vail, turned to the government and the American public and he said we are a public utility and our duty is to the American people before profit. In there was the grand bargain that we keep making between the great information monopolists and the American nation. AT&T was the 1910 counterpart to Google’s pledge to do no evil

via One on One: Tim Wu, Author of The Master Switch – NYTimes.com.

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Facebook 5th Largest Video Site

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Techcrunch reports today that Facebook has quietly become the 5th largest online video destination on the Web, tripling its video views over the past year.  Facebook has always been an important video destination in my opinion, because video is a powerful social object that can be extremely effective in social media optimization (SMO).  In fact, some spot data analysis I’ve done on my own news items shows that video posts to Facebook on average  receive more comments and likes than text and photo posts to the stream.

Couple the huge user base with a growing affinity for video content and video’s affinity for EdgeRank and there is no reason to think that Facebook will go anywhere but up when it comes to its importance as a video sharing and viewing site.

From Techcrunch:

Facebook is climbing the rankings fast enough: comScore pegged its number of unique U.S. viewers at 13.3 million in April last year, so that means its viewership more than tripled in a year, according to the audience measurement firm.

Thus, Facebook has quietly nestled itself in the number 5 spot, just behind Yahoo Sites, Fox Interactive Media and Vevo. According to comScore, Facebook videos currently draw a bigger audience than known names like Microsoft, CBS, Hulu and Viacom.

via And Now For Facebook’s Next Trick: Video.

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YouTube enables real-time feedback

Image representing Google Moderator as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

YouTube continues to evolve, today announcing the ability to add Google Moderator to your YouTube Channel.  This new feature will let you collect feedback from your YouTube audience while giving them tools to submit ideas and vote the best ones to the top.

From the YouTube blog:

YouTube is about starting a conversation. Every day, hundreds of millions of videos spark dialogues on everything from the future of the African continent, to what should be done about the oil spill, to the best slam dunk of all time. But until now, it’s been difficult to harness those free-flowing discussions.

That’s why, starting today, we’ve integrated the ability to use Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel.

There are a few channels that are using it already as part of the launch, including how-to video creator Howcast.

You can see Howcast’s YouTube channel here and video that accompanies the new moderator feature at the bottom of the post.

If you’re marketing on YouTube this promises to be a powerful way to solicit feedback from your customers and help test and drive new product and service offerings.  This could make YouTube a very powerful customer research and engagement asset for companies looking to make customers more connected and engaged with their brand.

A few ideas:

  • Ask for feedback on how to improve a product
  • Ask what type of support and training materials your customers need
  • Ask for feedback on prototypes or new initiatives

What do you think? How would you use this for your business?

Howcast’s video:

via: YouTube Blog: Google Moderator on YouTube enables real-time feedback from your audience.

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Making your video news more discoverable – tips from Google

Google New Logo For YouTube :)

Image by dannysullivan via Flickr

The Google News Blog has some tips up for news publishers on how to make videos more visible in search results.  And I thought I’d share them here because they’re pretty much good across the board.

They are:

1. Timely uploads
2. One story per video
3. Categorization
4. More detailed descriptions
5. Rich tags
6. Make it Embeddable

Read the extra tips they give in the description of each.  With more than 32 billion videos viewed every month, and 2 billion streams a day on YouTube, making video easy to find is a quick way to find new traffic, visitors and customers. No matter your business.

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Google loves video – set to launch WebM Project

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Dan Rayburn reports that Google is making a major announcement tomorrow around the open-sourcing of its VP8 video codec.  This is a big deal because if Google throws its considerable weight behind an opensource VP8 codec and HTML 5 it could be another serious blow to Adobe Flash as the developers’ video delivery platform of choice.

From Google’s New Video Platform Called The “WebM Project”

Between all the details that are starting to come out about Google’s announcement tomorrow, it’s clear that Google’s going to be doing a lot more than just open-sourcing the VP8 video codec. And if the rumors I heard from earlier today are true, and Google does in fact have or will have hardware support for VP8, then their announcement is going to be a really big deal.

Google is serious about video. Tomorrow’s announcement comes on the heels of YouTube’s 5th birthday where YouTube product manager, Hunter Walk, predicted the end of “online video” and the rise of ubiquitous high-quality video across any screen – streamed through just one channel, yours.

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Viral Video – Motorola Android Phone Solves Rubik’s Cube

Motorola Rubik

This video of a Motorola phone solving a Rubik’s cube has everything you could want in a viral video: surprise, cool tech, something remarkable and Lego robots.  They say there isn’t a recipe for viral video, and I agree, but the combination of the above is about as close as it gets.

Also, Google products have been on a roll with the viral videos lately. In addition to this one there’s Search Stories and the Chrome speed test.  Three for three.

Enjoy the video:

Search Stories:

The Google Chrome Speed Test:

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Belief and walking away from $500 million

The big news on the Web is Google’s reported $500 million offer that Yelp! turned down.  The deal itself is of less interest to me-what is really compelling is the idea that Yelp! executives walked away.  It’s really, really hard to walk away from a “sure thing” in anything, much less a $500 million exit.  And you only walk away from a sure thing when you have complete belief (or faith) that you can do much better on your own. No matter the price offered to give it up along the way.

Belief like that is rare.  Belief like that is what makes people and companies great.  People who truly believe are the heroes. Companies that believe are ones that we’re in awe of.  There are many reasons to believe, another big potential suitor, a big deal waiting to close, or simply belief that what you’re doing is so much better than anything else that it becomes nearly priceless. But regardless of why, the companies that believe are unlike any other out there.

How do you tell the difference? Look at Facebook, then compare it to Mint.com.  One believes that they’re changing the world, one believed that they built a cool tool for consumers to manage their finances.  Changing the world is something that doesn’t have a price tag. A consumer finance portal on the other hand?  Is worth no more than $170 million apparently.

One took the sure thing, one is swinging for the fences.  I guarantee we’ll remember the one that swung for the fences.

Why is this belief so rare and so awe inspiring?  Is it because the stakes are so high?  Maybe.  But I’d like to think it’s because deep down we all wish we had something we believed in so strongly that $500 million wouldn’t be enough to take it away from us.  It is so core to who we are that we root and celebrate those that go for it. Vicariously living off of passion without any of the scary realities of the trade offs involved.

The only questions left is why don’t more of us have that belief?  Do you believe in what you’re doing to the point that $500 million feels like settling?  If not, how do you find it? What’s keeping you from swinging for the fences?

Note: There’s some he said, she said about the deal; but I think the point still remains.  I guess time will tell if the Yelp! executives have that belief or not.

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The difference between ad:tech and Blogworld

I’m at ad:tech this week.  I just spent the last 10+ hours in a booth talking to people about online advertising.  All the big online agencies are here, WPP, Digitas, TribalDDB, etc. etc.  The big online players are here too, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, etc. etc.  And I’m here.  A couple of weeks off of my trip to BlogWorld and New Media Expo.  And to be honest, I might as well be on another planet.  If BlogWorld represents the latest in social media and where the internet is going, ad:tech represents Web 1.0 and its desire to cling on to its cash cow with white knuckles.

The event is so amazingly different that I wanted to share with you some of the drastic differences that I noticed while grinding out a day at the booth.

Foursquare: When I checked in on Foursquare at BlogWorld there were nearly 50 people checked in, and it remained that way over the course of 2+ days.  Fatburger had a special offer running on the service for free burger samples.  When I checked in at ad:tech there were a whopping 7 people checked in and none of the exhibitors were running any type of Foursquare promotion.  Since ad:tech is at least 4 or 5 times the size of BlogWorld I’d call that a vote of no confidence for the hottest location-based social network.

Twitter: I was very conscious of the stream at #bwe09 and have been monitoring #adtechny and #adtech in the stream to see if I could glean anything off of what is happening here at ad:tech.  The streams are completely different.  BlogWorld was a river of quotes, nuggets of information from panels, information and feedback from sessions and crowd feedback as they interacted with panels.  People using it to connect and meet up.  ad:tech?  None of that. Just promotional tweets from companies trying to drive traffic to their booths.  (Disclosure, we did it too.) Sessions weren’t tweeted, no one was quoted in the tweets. No one challenged speakers and ideas via the Twitter feed.  Nothing.  It was simply a bullhorn for brands looking for foot traffic.

The Schedule: Social media is not the core of the agenda.  It’s a tangential.  It’s a channel to push advertising through.  It’s all about how to monetize eyeballs. Nothing about conversation, nothing about connecting as people – all about how to spend ad dollars there effectively as a brand.  Even Facebook is here with the tag line “reach people before they start searching” [for the competition on Google].  Social isn’t about a new way of connecting with a community here – it’s another arm on the wheel of digital strategy where people are trying to find a way to throw dollars at it while justifying it to their clients.

The Money: The one thing that is here that wasn’t necessarily at Blogworld is the money.  The money is definitely here.  The ad buyers, the strategists, the big agencies that represent the Fortune 10 brands with multi-million dollar online budgets are here.  You don’t see them at Blogworld.  We started to see some more big brands at Blogworld with Ford and Bud Light; but those two sponsors are just two of a constellation of hundreds here.

What this means?

The people that control the money have yet to make the leap.  They’re still 1.0.  I’d argue that most of the industry is still 1.0.  It’s all ad networks, pay-per-something-or-other business models all about driving traffic, reach and views.  Things like loyalty, engagement and reaching a passionate community are all secondary to the traditional metrics, and social is just another channel to throw ad dollars at to maximize impressions and reach of traditional media campaigns.

It’s eye-opening to me, as someone who embraces the new media and social marketing community to the fullest to see how far behind the money and the people really are.  The people talking here aren’t talking about human connections and building lasting relationships between companies and people, they’re talking about how to extend banner networks to socnets.

It’s a different mind set.  It’s an old mind set.  It’s a scary mind set when you consider how many millions of dollars are managed by these people.

My Challenge to ad:tech

It’s time to start listening.  It’s time to bring in some of the social media people who are on the bleeding edge and really learn.  Stop thinking of social media as just another avenue for your media buyer/traffic department to spend ad dollars at and start thinking about what it means for your clients, what it means to how your brand interacts with real people online.

There are real people out there, who given the chance and a good reason will do the work of your ad dollars.  Tell your clients to spend their money differently, to think about their customers differently, and to figure out ways to delight their customers rather than simply finding the next sucker.

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If you’re not using Facebook search you don’t know what you’re missing

Tonight while I was going through some of the different social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook I decided to do a search on the name of the company I work for “TurnHere.” Now I do this regularly and automatically on Twitter and the Web. I use Google Alerts to monitor for TurnHere mentions on the Web (they’re pumped into my Google Reader), I have a column of Tweetdeck assigned just to listen for TurnHere in the Twitterverse and we have a paid subscription to Scout Labs for monitoring the brand.

But I hadn’t drilled down on Facebook search yet with the brand name and none of the above tools give you insight into that community. Talk about opportunity. The new and improved Facebook search is a gold mine for opportunities to connect with people who are talking about your brand or topic of interest. Previously, Facebook would only search people, names, events, pages and groups. But now that they have added status updates in the search it’s a whole new world.

Take a look at what I saw in the results for TurnHere (note that these are just my friends, you can also click on “Posts by Everyone” below the “Posts by Friends for a broader view, note you’ll typically only be able to interact or engage with your friends depending on people’s privacy settings):

Facebook search

Don is looking forward to his TurnHere shoot next week. That’s a great piece of information and an opportunity for me to engage with him around that. Is he feeling ready? Excited? Nervous? Can I answer any last minute questions for him? Or can I just give him a word of encouragement and let him know that we’re excited to see the finished video? All sorts of opportunities are there to create a meaningful connection with Don around his video shoot experience.

Or further down the page:

Facebook search 2

With Debbie I have the chance to help spread the word about her new video and also check in to see how everyone felt about the shoot and the finished product. The same for Cindy.

Lastly, notice the note from Paulo (who works with me at TurnHere) and the retweet posted to his Facebook profile about the kind words some gave about a recent speaking opportunity I had. This is a great find for me personally and allows me to reach out to that person and thank them and see if there is anything I can do to help them out as well. I am also able to add that kudo to my speaking page which will hopefully give people more confidence in extending speaking invitations to me and helping me grow that part of my career.

So now I know to make sure that Facebook search is a regular part of my brand and personal monitoring to catch more opportunities to interact with people talking about TurnHere.

For reference here are the tools that I use to monitor personal and brand mentions:

More than just brand mentions:

Obviously search goes just beyond monitoring brand mentions.  It can be used to find people talking about the things your company does or areas of interest to you personally.  It could be about events or needs or anything really.  Search across these networks is a powerful way to identify opportunities to make new connections and grow your influence, whether for your brand or yourself.

Check it out and let me know what your tips are for using search to build and strengthen your network!

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Which Way is Up?

Lately I’ve been asked to speak more and more on social media and online marketing. I love it because as a geek I’m thrilled that people are starting to pay attention to the powerful opportunities that are available to people who understand and make the Web an important part of their customer relationships.  Unfortunately most people start with questions like “Do I need to be on Twitter?” or “How do I put video on my Facebook Page?”  And so I counter with my favorite question, “What does success look like?”

Usually I get a stammering answer about community, new customers or something about being “with it.”  It’s astonishing to me that so many people can invest time, effort and money into an initiative without knowing what outcome they’re looking for.

Define “Which Way is Up”

So, let’s not let that be you.  If you’re going to start using social media for your business first answer the question “What does success look like?”  Write down what you’re trying to achieve.  This doesn’t have to be rocket science; but it should be goals that you can track to.  This will be your “up” and once you define your “up” you’ll be able to see how you’re doing and what you can be doing to optimize your climb to success.

One thing to caution against is thinking purely in terms of closed sales and transactions.  Those are important; but we have to look at the reality of the social space in terms of generating short-term revenue.  Of course, social media can provide closed sales; but the medium is not transactional in nature, and it’s relational foundation makes it unwelcoming to quick transactions.  By definition it favors meaningful and trusting relationships that are fostered over time and pay dividends over the long run.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a quick sale let’s look at Google Ad Words.  If you’re looking to build something of lasting value, let’s keep going.

If you’re not looking for immediate transactions (although we’ll take them if they come through) what are you looking to do?  In my opinion what you want to do is build assets.  Assets like an opt-in email newsletter, a Facebook Page with fans of your business, a Twitter following comprised of the people who are important to your business’s success.  All of these allow you to create an ongoing dialog and relationship with your customers, suppliers and potential customers.

Back to “up,” consider both qualitative measures as well as quantitative measures.  Here are a few things to think about:

  • Number of conversations you have with followers, fans, email list subscribers
  • Growth of all three assets over time
  • Number of mentions of your product or service over time
  • Number of referrals of your product or service over time
  • Number of comments, tweets, retweets, Facebook posts over time
  • Number of times your email newsletter is opened, forwarded
  • Number of times blog posts are shared
  • Number of reviews on Yelp (positive, negative, neutral)
  • Number of sales, repeat sales, referred sales
  • Average purchase size of members vs. non-members

To make sure you focus not just on the short term think of your success in terms of not just what’s in it for you; but answer the question “What’s in it for the people engaging with me online?”  By keeping that question at the front of your thinking while defining your goals you’ll find that you create success for both you and the people important to your business.  Avoiding one-sided benefit thinking ensures that you’re thinking of your customers and suppliers, etc. as partners in your success and not just as leads, cost centers and transactions.

Remember, you create your own definition of success; these are a just a few items to get you started.

How are you doing?

Once you’ve created your definition of success you need to properly track against those goals to see how you’re trending.  You can do this through a variety of tools such as the Facebook Page insights, Google Analytics, and social media monitoring tools like Scout Labs, Radian6 (for bigger firms), Twitalyzer and other tools.

The goal should be to keep the KPIs (key performance indicators) lightweight enough so that you can easily manage tracking them, while being robust enough to give you a clear indication of your success or shortcomings.

Then once you measure you need to watch for trends or turning points that may provide insight into the success (or lack thereof) of your efforts.  For example you may be trending below your goal Fan number on Facebook, or you may be seeing a jump in the number of reviews you’re receiving on Yelp.  Either way, for each number look at what the data is telling you.  Are you trending up? Trending down? Not making any progress or shooting through the roof?

Course Correcting

The greatest part about measuring is that it gives you the ability to see where you have opportunity for improvement.  It’s not just a gut reaction about whether something is working or not; but rather real insight that can help you refine and continuously improve or correct to get to your desired end state.  For example, if you’re tracking the number or tweets your blog articles get you may find some that resound more than others.  By having that data handy you can review your most-shared posts for clues on how you can continue to get that level of engagement across more of your content.

Of course this goes for traditional measures like Web traffic too.  If you track the number of conversions of people to your site to a desired goal (say placing an order, filling out a contact form, downloading a menu, etc.) then you can test different tweaks to your Web site copy, images, layout, etc. to see if you can optimize for that goal.  For example I recently tested the effectiveness of two lines of new Web copy on a form I had developed. By adding those two lines of copy and simplifying a couple of other elements on the page I saw a 3x increase in number of conversions I was getting.  A huge success.

The more data you have the more you can course correct on the fly.  It gives you the ability to reach your goals and turn lagging efforts into winners.  Without the data you can’t tell which way is up.

Constantly Test

The beauty of the Web is you can continuously test and benchmark.  Once you set a new high water mark you can use that as the number to beat.  If you have a certain number of Facebook fan signups you’re looking for over a given month you can track week over week signups.  If you run a giveaway or promotion in one week and get 100, and the previous week you got 50, you can learn from that giveaway and see what you can do to get 150 for the following week. Probably not the most elegant example; but I hope you get the point.  By continually refining and using bench marks you can continually optimize your social media efforts to reach your defined success.

And it’s not just good for you

While we’ve focused on your efforts in this post it’s important to look at the flip side of this article as well.  If people are signing up to your Facebook page or tweeting your articles you’re doing something right.  You’re providing them information, content an experience, or some benefit that is attracting more people to you.  Bravo.  If you’re headed in the wrong direction it gives you an opportunity to ask why aren’t people engaged with what I’m doing here?  Am I not listening to what they want? Am I blatantly, overly self-promoting?  Am I a bore?

You can make sure that you keep your focus on the people important to your business by defining your goals and successes as mutual successes.  This way you’ll be sure that your efforts are not solely driven based on what you want but rather on what is beneficial to both you and the people your business relies on to succeed.

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