Monthly Archives: May 2016

US ADULTS PREFER REDDIT OVER FACEBOOK AS A NEWS CONSUMPTION SOURCE, REVEALS A PEW SURVEY

reddit

According to latest survey by Pew Research Center, more than half of US adults get their regular dose of news updates from social media networks. Going by the survey, which was carried out on 4,654 members of Pew’s American Trends Panel, it was observed that 70% of Redditors get news updates from microblogging sites. Over 60% Facebook users get news from the social media network, whereas around 59% of Twitter users get their news updates from there. This leaves us the other social sites like Tumblr at 31%. Surprisingly Instagram is at 23% and believe it or not, YouTube is at 21%. LinkedIn does the catching up at 19% and the same goes for Snapchat at 17%. Vine features towards the end of the list at 14%.

According to Pew report, both YouTube and Twitter had equal amounts of exposure. As far as reach is concerned, YouTube has about 48% of US adults hooked on to its network, with 21% users getting their dose of daily news updates from there. While around 16% of US adults visit Twitter handle frequently, only 59% of them access the network for regular new updates.

Talking about social media as a source of news consumption, Facebook is frequently accessed for general news updates with over 60% US adults visiting the site on a regular basis. 26% of US adults use more than one social network to get their daily dose of news updates, whereas the remaining 10% visit three or more sites.

As per Pew’s latest social media news consumption report, Facebook’s social giant status doesn’t seems to help much as Reddit holds the top position in terms of news consumption on regular basis. This means Facebook is down at the second position, being widely used as a social sharing network. It is followed by Google’s own YouTube channel, which continues to hold the third position despite being viewed as a popular video uploading solution. The question is why YouTube is lagging behind Facebook in terms of news discovery. Credit to Facebook on developing its network as a news discovery channel; but it needs to evolve further if it wants to topple Reddit as the top social media news consumption network.

Reddit Replaces Imgur with One of its Own Image Uploading Solution

reddit

Reddit is parting ways with Imgur – the microblogging site’s image uploading tool, and instead introducing its own image uploading solution for the platform. Initially, Reddit was making the new image uploading tool available only to select communities/sub-redditors.

“Today, we are partnering with mods to launch native image hosting in beta to 16 default communities across Reddit, followed by 50 more next week. In this iteration, native image hosting will support single image and gif uploads”

Reddit’s new image uploading solution is a bit less efficient than Imgur. It allows users to upload high resolution images of up to 20 MB and supports GIF images of up to 100 MB resolution. In comparison, while Imgur allowed users to upload images of the same size, it also allowed uploading GIFs images with higher resolution – up to 200 MB.

It’s quality, not quantity that matters for redditors. As Reddit’s product team member claims, Reddit owned image uploading tool offers users a more seamless navigation experience than third party image hosting services.

Despite that, redditors would still be able to upload snaps to Imgur or through any other source. However, Reddit’s own tool will be now be the default image uploading service on the platform. This may divert users who happen to use the third party services, but its still a win-win situation for Reddit as it doesn’t have to share revenue with Imgur anymore.

At present, Redditors can make use of the image uploading tool through following sub-reddits:

  • GetMotivated
  • EarthPorn
  • Gaming
  • Space
  • OldSchoolCool
  • Sports
  • Art
  • Aww
  • Dataisbeautiful
  • Food
  • Funny
  • Gifs
  • Mildlyinteresting
  • Movies
  • Photoshopbattles
  • pics

Also, it’s important to know that in upcoming weeks there will be an addition of 50 more sub-reddits supporting the tool.

TWITTER ABRUPTLY CALLS OFF IT’S “BUY NOW” SERVICE, REVEALS BUZZFEED REPORT

twitter-buy-now

Twitter recently put brakes on its two-year-old eCommerce plan. The company is reportedly disbanding the team managing the “Buy Now” Button project. According to media reports, the company disclosed its e-commerce plans in September 2014 by rolling out the “Buy Now” button on its timeline. This button enabled users to complete the purchase of a product within their tweets on Android and iOS devices. On abruptly calling off its e-commerce plans, the company cited obvious reasons saying it’s plate is too full at the moment. This is the reason why majority of the team members handling the “Buy Now” project either opted to resign or shifted to other departments such as customer support desk or the Product Advertising section, which needed a beef up on an urgent basis.

Having said that, the decision made by the company hardly comes as a surprise, with the social e-commerce model not being in demand as seen in these two years. About the reasons behind the company calling off its e-commerce plans, Buzz media reports,

“people are not buying on social media right now.” If so, it doesn’t justify the continuation of development for a product that may not necessarily convert for the microblogging network. However, it appears that dynamic product ads are performing well, and customer service is a big focus for user retention. Social commerce may have been a consideration under Twitter’s former CEO, Dick Costolo, but with Jack Dorsey at the helm, it was important for the company to realign its efforts toward what makes sense for today, and social commerce just wasn’t part of that vision.

According to on-going social trends, the company’s dynamic ad platform is a proven performance model and as per the company, it is performing quite remarkably. This is the reason why the company wishes to keep investing in the platform. In its statement to BuzzFeed, Twitter stated that as per its current plans the company wishes to keep investing in the dynamic product advertising model.

But in distant future who knows if the company will again revisit its social e-commerce model.

GOOGLE HANGOUT MAY CONTINUE TO EXIST EVEN AFTER ‘ALLO’ ARRIVES

google-amp

At the I/O developer conference held earlier this week, Google revealed that it’s currently working on a voice-based messaging app assistant called Allo. Many thought that with the arrival of Allo, Google may bid adieu to Google Hangout, one of its other existing instant messaging app. But the company further clarified that Hangout will continue to exist even after Allo sees the light of day.

This means that the company intends to keep Hangout, despite knowing that the launch of Allo could possibly eat into Hangout’s audience. But the company stands to gain more, as the arrival of Allo could help Google win over an entirely new set of audiences; especially the frequent users of Apple’s iMessage and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Messenger apps.

Talking about comparisons, Allo is essentially a search messaging app that uses Artificial Intelligence, whereas Hangout is an instant messaging app that allows users to send text and video messages. On one hand, Hangout audiences include both desktop and mobile users, while on the other hand Allo will be made available only to iOS and Android based users. Through the Hangout app, Google is catering to a completely different set of audiences as opposed to Allo, through which the company’s trying to reach out to a completely new set of audiences.

According to media reports, the company says that it will continue to invest in Hangout. Moreover, the company justifies its stand to keep running both the apps with its research that suggests there are a majority of users who prefer more than one app for messaging.

Also, the company intends to keep running the app for regular Hangout audiences who prefer to use the app to communicate at large with their co-workers, just like Google’s webmasters. But the others can look forward to the launch of Google’s new messaging app assistant “Allo”, in the near future.

GROWING BING SEARCHES HARDLY AFFECT GOOGLE’S SEARCH MARKET DOMINANCE

google-analytics

If comScore’s last month’s search market report is anything to go by then the search market leader, Google has clearly been outperformed by the ever increasing Bing searches. On one hand, the second-ranked Bing searches grew by 0.2%, while on the other hand the number one ranked Google searches dipped by of 0.2%.

The last month dip reported in the number of searches takes Google’s overall existing tally of US-based desktop searches to 63.8% – a 0.2% dip in the previously held 64% mark, as opposed to Bing-powered US desktop searches which are sitting pretty at 21.6%.

The growth of Windows10 version could be the reason behind Bing desktop searches in the US overtaking Google, as Microsoft-powered Bing searches thrive mostly on integrated desktop operating platforms.

The other reason could well be the increasing number of voice-enabled searches being made on Bing’s platform, which rose to 25% largely due to contributions from Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. However, comScore’s report strictly takes into account only desktop searches.

Yet, Microsoft’s “Cortana” and the latest Windows10 version, both could have played a significant role in the increasing volume of voice enabled searches being made on Bing’s platform. Speaking of Windows10, it allows users to conduct a voice-based search from anywhere using “Hey Cortana” as the search command. This has led to more Windows users upgrading themselves to the latest Windows version, which could have contributed to the desktop voice search volume on Bing.

It will be interesting to see if the same trend continues in the next month as well. But Google, without any doubt still remains the desktop search market leader. It is next to impossible to see any change in that status in the foreseeable future, but credit to Bing for at least attempting to try the improbable.

GOOGLE UPDATES SEARCH ANALYTICS REPORTS TO HELP BUSINESSES TRACK THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR AMP ENABLED PAGES

google-amp

There’s great news in store for businesses who have not only got themselves a mobile friendly site but also upgraded their smartphone users’ experience with lightning fast Google AMP technology. After powering their websites’ pages with AMP technology, a lot businesses must be wondering how their AMP enabled pages are faring in the searches.

Well, seems like Google just heard you as it’s rolling out a new filter in the Google Search Console that will enable businesses to track the progress of their AMP enabled pages in the searches. Google’s reportedly added a new AMP search filter to the Search Console’s analytics report section that will allow businesses to filter those reports by AMP pages. This is how businesses can get find out how many searchers have come to discover their AMP enabled pages in mobile SERPs.

About the new feature, Google said that they’ve just started to roll out the new search filter as an addition to the Search Analytics report in Google Search Console. The newly added search filter informs businesses “which search queries lead to their AMP content being shown in the mobile SERPs?”

To track the progress of AMP enabled pages, businesses are required to set the filter in the Search Console’s Search Analytics reports by clicking on the drop down tag in the “search appearance” section. After selecting AMP pages from the listing, they will be allowed to compare how their AMP search metrics fared against other mobile SERP links. The feature will also inform businesses about the evolution of search visibility of their site’s AMP enabled pages over a period of time.

Here’s a screenshot.

amp-google-search-console

This is a welcome addition to Google’s AMP project after the addition of AMP error report to the Search Console in January, 2016, which allows webmasters to debug implementation errors in their AMP enabled webpages.

GOOGLE’S ROLLING OUT A NEW VERSION OF MOBILE-FRIENDLY TESTING TOOL

mobile-user-agent

After testing it out, Google’s officially announced the launch of new version of mobile-friendly tool on Google’s central webmaster blog post.

Recently, it was reported in some media circles that Google’s working on a new mobile-friendly tool that allows businesses to check the mobile-friendliness of their sites.

The new version of the mobile-friendly tool comes loaded with some feel good factors like a cleaner look with more space and loads faster than the previous version of the tool. Noticeably, Google had first launched the mobile-friendly tool 2 years ago, in 2014 and the latest update by Google seems to be the largest update to the tool since its inception.

Here’s what the new version of the tool looks like.

mobile-friendly-test

The new tool is slicker and less frightening than the original tool. Google said it brings more “room to continue to improve on its functionality, and over time, we expect it to replace the previous Mobile-Friendly Test.” The tool is mobile-friendly as well! So you can test if your sites are mobile-friendly right on your smartphone. It seems like they mainly upgraded the backend infrastructure so that they can scale it later.

Right after the launch, there were some reports that the tool’s new version is not working on smartphones. But Google’s John Mueller, through his twitter handle asked everyone to remain patient as the update is still to be rolled out completely.

So if you are encountering any such problems, you’ll have to wait for the update to roll out completely.

Here’s the error report as encountered by some smartphone users.

mobile-friendly-error-phone

For more detailed information on the subject, you can write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE WILL NOW DISPLAY AD UNITS IN ITS IMAGE SERPS

google-analytics

Google is reportedly introducing ads for the first time ever in it’s image SERP ecosystem. The search giant is launching its shopping ads on images in mobile. So the next time you do a Google image search for a particular product, you’ll start seeing a line of sponsored items next to the product on display. However, the update is rolling out slowly, starting with shopping ads which will take its own time to be rolled out completely.

According to media reports, Google Ads will occupy an entire line of screen space, taking a large share of screen space in image search results. As per Google, the reason why ad units find a place in Google’s image searches is the fact that most online shoppers prefer to do an image search on Google before actually purchasing a product online.

Also, most online shoppers are more or less faced with a similar set of queries pertaining to the purchase of a product like how much is the cost of the product and where they can purchase it. Online shoppers can expect most of their queries to be answered through Google’s new look of image search results, which will now include ad units displaying information regarding the product such as product pricing and the location where one can possibly purchase the advertised product.

Google’s new image search results containing ad units are now being officially rolled out to worldwide users. The Google Display network displaying images will display your PLAs in image searches, if you opted to become search partners as a part of your AdWords campaign.

GOOGLE RESTRICTS PAYDAY LOAN ADVERTISERS FROM USING ITS ADVERTISING PLATFORM

ppc

Google recently updated its personal loan advertising guidelines that will have an impact on a lot of financial players in the market. According to its new advertising guidelines, Google’s not going to let misleading ads and sites that openly promote dangerous payday loan offers to use its AdWords advertising space.

…we’re banning ads for payday loans and some related products from our ads systems. We will no longer allow ads for loans where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue. In the U.S., we are also banning ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher.

Because of the Short Payback Periods

As per new AdWords guidelines, Google will no longer accept and show ads promoting payday loans requiring repayment within a couple of months. The reason being, Google doesn’t intend to host brands that run ads promoting higher interest rates and short repayment cycles as they may lead a lot of borrowers to sink into unmanageable debts. By banning offers from websites that can possibly harm the end user, Google’s latest policy update will help businesses that offer better repayment options to the consumer.

This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products and will not affect companies offering loans such as Mortgages, Car Loans, Student Loans, Commercial loans, Revolving Lines of Credit (e.g. Credit Cards).

Taking a cue from Facebook and other online advertising platforms, Google’s banning ads from websites that mislead users into buying short repayment cycle bound personal loans. As per its existing Ad policies, Facebook bans any form of paid advertising on its platform that promotes payday lending, irrespective of their repayment terms.

Because of the High APRs

Also, Google intends to restrict advertisers that promote personal loans having more than 36% of APRs. This, in turn can impact several online businesses which offer personal loan schemes, with over 36% cap through their site content or via SEM ads.

Short Repayment Loans and Payday Loans are particularly infamous for offering loans at higher Annual Percentage Rates (APR). However, escalation in the rate of interest can reach over 400% mark, which totally depends on the borrowed sum. Leveraging these kinds of loans puts greater financial burden on the consumer, who finds himself unable to clear the debts owing to the saddling of high-interest rates.

When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that.

Google’s latest endeavor is so designed to protect consumers from getting involved in deals that could harm them financially. In order to protect borrowers, Google’s pushing for small loans at 36% APR cap on both federal and state legislationlevels, which will help counter the devastating impact that 300% loans have had on struggling families.

By restricting sites offering personal loans with high APR and short payback time, Google’s trying to protect the consumer from getting involved in deals that are difficult to pay off. However, this may take time, as the 36% Rate Cap is Gaining Renewed Acceptance and notices are being sent across to personal loan issuers to make their site content and offers compliant with the new personal loan based guidelines in the next couple of months.

Local News Sources to Get Special Mention in Google’s Dedicated Local News Section

google-travel-search

Google is giving due credit to local news service providers, which includes local reporters, media agencies and content publishers through a special mention of their stories in its local news feed section.

Noticeably, Google already has a dedicated local news feed section, but the company realizes the importance of local news coverage that can be of regional value or even turn into national news. Rarely do local sources get the mention that they deserve for breaking a news story that later assumes the importance of national level news.

But not anymore! Google is providing an opportunity for local news service providers to shine by earmarking their stories under the title “Local Source”, which will be displayed in the local news section of every Google news edition. This way, the locally covered news articles can be identified by searching in Google history pages.

However, the earmarked local news articles will only appear in the extended story space provided on the Google News & Weather app for iOS and Android and on news.google.com.