This Week in Social: Expiration Dates for Social Media

Does the saying “The Internet never forgets” still hold up? This reverse amnesia of the Information Age has sparked many global discussions on privacy and online reputation, and it is reflected more and more in the changes made by those in charge of our online information, like social networks and ISPs.

But there’s a different side to our collective online footprint: with so much data constantly streaming into your email inbox, smartphone notifications, and social media feeds, it’s no wonder some things escape our attention. Our weekly roundup delivers what’s happened in the world of social—so you hear about the latest social media news, even if it’s past their expiration date.

Now that you have some time, let’s retrace our (online) steps.

Latest from the Big 4

Every week Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ announce policy changes, updates, design tweaks, new features and other changes that can affect how you use their tools. Here are this week’s highlights:

Facebook works on a more timely News Feed

Can you remember a News Feed that delivered the most recent posts from your Friends, instead of the ones with the most “congratulations”? It seems that many of Facebook’s recent changes are going back to the basics: first, Facebook cracked down on click-bait in articles shared on your Feed, and now the company has announced a move towards deliver you more timely news from your friends.

This means two changes to your Feed: first, you will see more posts your Facebook friends share about topics trending in real-time (for example, those also reflected in the Trending bar at the top right corner of the Feed). Additionally, instead of seeing posts that received a lot of attention earlier, you will see posts being liked, shared and commented on at the time you open Facebook.

There have been some reports from Facebook for iOS users about seeing an option with expiration dates for their posts. A spokesperson for the social network has confirmed Facebook is indeed toying with the idea, where users could determine whether their posts will remain live for times ranging from one hour to seven days.

expiration dates facebook
Image via @jenflitter/Twitter

Twitter shows off a slick new iOS 8 interface

Excitement about new Apple products hasn’t abated since last week’s Apple Live event, with the launch of both iOS 8 and new Apple devices steadily keeping the company in the trending topics on social media. Part of this buzz was generated by major social media networks rolling out new iPhone features to match the new capabilities of iOS 8. Twitter rolled out the biggest change to the profile design on their iOS app, with a prominent user bio, and separate tabs for easier viewing of Tweets, Photos and Favorites. The new version also allows you to retweet, favorite and follow directly from push notifications. The update is available to anyone with iOS 7 version and higher.

Twitter interfact TWIS

The next big thing

Reduce your online footprint with Xpire app

While Facebook tests out expiration dates for posts, iOS users can already download an app that allows them to do so. In addition to Facebook statuses, Xpire lets you schedule content for Tweets and Tumblr posts that automatically self-destructs after a given time. Xpire’s creator Jesse Stauffer told Techcrunch this was inspired by the increasing concerns with the online footprint on social media, and how that can affect your real-life reputation and credibility. But Stauffer says the expiration dates have a more practical use, too: a Facebook status inquiring about the happenings on a given Friday night soon loses its relevance, so it would only make sense for it to disappear once its purpose is served.

Xpire app expiration dates

This new app lets you make your own GIFs

We love GIFs: we use them to tweet our reactions to news, and some even find ways to incorporate it into their social media strategy. Since moving images are such a big part of our Internet lives, it’s surprising an app like PHHHOTO is only emerging now: this app lets you create GIFs out of your photos, and then share them on popular social networks, such as Instagram. The app’s creators made a smart move to launch on the eve of New York Fashion Week. The GIFs are made up of four photos taken in succession, which apparently is a great way to show off outfits and accessories.

Phhhoto app GIF

Another fun thing about PHHHOTO app is trying to figure out how to refer to this social network when trying to convince your friends to join. “F-h-h-oto”? “Ffffoto?” I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Netropolitan wants rich people to feel included

Have you ever been plagued with a tough choice between a new Aston-Martin or a Lamborghini, with no one to advise you? Are you tired of your social media followers tagging each one of your posts with #richpeopleproblems? The Netropolitan Club, a new “global online community for affluent and accomplished individuals,” is here to help. This social network costs $9000 to join, with $3000 annual fees to stay connected to like-minded individuals in the upper economic classes. If you think those fees are outrageous, think again: at least this social network, unlike the plebeian Facebook, is totally ad-free.

Long read: Why social media failed to predict #Indyref results

On Thursday, the much-discussed referendum vote on the Scottish independence from the United Kingdom has come to a conclusion, with the No votes leading by just over ten percent.

However, just a day prior to the final vote count, social media predicted the opposite outcome. As with the majority of the campaigns that garner a lot of attention, a social media battle between the two sides has been developing for the past few months, culminating in thousands of interactions in the weeks leading up to the final count. A summary of direct interactions and Likes on Facebook saw the Yes side in the lead by several thousand, while the Twitter accounts of the party leader Alex Salmond and the official campaign account Yes Scotland also beat the No side by several thousand followers.

What went wrong? Since this is far from the first time social media fails to predict the outcome of a political campaign, those who follow social media trends were not surprised. A recent Pew Internet study revealed that social media, much like any other way of public polling, doesn’t yet provide a safe platform where people who perceive their opinion to be unpopular feel free to express their views. This means that what is repeatedly liked and retweeted on social media does not necessarily reflect which box is checked off on the ballot—all it shows is what is considered a more socially accepted opinion.

Schedule your social media posts without a need for expiration dates with the Hootsuite dashboard.

Lightning Talks: Bring Your Organization Closer Together in 5 Minutes

After attending Vancouver’s Polyglot Unconference in May 2013, Beier Cai and Rahim Lalani approached me with an idea: kickstart short, unconference-style talks on technical topics within our Engineering group. I loved this riff on the traditional lunch-and-learn and decided to set a short time limit of just 5 minutes per talk.

Why so short? Short is all you need to start a conversation. Short also defines our modern day attention spans, and short is hard because this constraint requires you to think critically and creatively about how to convey only essential information. We started out with only technical topics but soon expanded to include non-technical topics and now include speakers from other parts of our organization as a way to expose our audience to different roles and functions.

My Rule of Fives

A maximum of 5 talks, for 5 minutes each, in a session that lasts no longer than 55 minutes. Fifteen months later, our boardroom has hosted 50 sessions, 64 different speakers, and heard 200 talks. From our high school summer student, to our co-ops, to guests, to Senior Engineers, to our CTO, these presenters and their talks sparked innumerable conversations and friendships.

Software Engineer Chris Bolton on “The Lives of Hyperconnected Teens”

Why it Works

Language makes us human, and I believe we all love to listen to a story; so every second Thursday, 40-50 of us get together in our small boardroom for Lightning Talks. These bi-weekly sessions let us hear from people who we may not otherwise talk to in our day-to-day, and reveals a different side of our coworkers: their hobbies, pursuits, or talents. One speaker described his time as a professional oboist with the VSO and then delighted us with a snippet of Mahler’s 9th. Another walked us through how she and her partner designed and painted the murals in our meeting rooms. These kinds of surprises keep things interesting, spark laughter, start conversations, and so we come back for more and our intimacy grows organically.

External Communications Manager Sandy Pell on creating two Hootsuite murals

As a speaker you have an opportunity to teach, inform, and inspire others by expressing what you do and what you care for. While you expand your knowledge by preparing for a presentation, you also solidify it after your presentation when you answer questions from the audience and explain yourself in more detail.

Presenting in front of an audience isn’t always easy, but here you can speak in a safe place and practice your ability to think and communicate about what you do and love. This ability to express yourself and communicate by telling a story is critical as you move up in any organization because you must be able to express your ideas more succinctly, to more people, more often.

I encourage every new hire in our technical groups to attend at least one session and to strive to deliver two talks a year, because I know they all have something fantastic to share.

Sample Talks

  • Coding Bootcamps: Not Actual Camping
  • Cold Talk: DJ’ing a Winter Trip
  • How I ran 2013 km in 2013
  • Being a Witness in a Software Patent Trial
  • Blind Drawing
  • Analyzing Disasters with Elasticsearch 1.0 and Kibana 3.0
  • How to Travel Japan (Hacks and Tips)
  • Designing + Painting our Elf + Barn [meeting room] Murals
  • Three Seminal Events in Cryptography
  • WTF is a Monad?
  • Making a Reddit App for Hootsuite’s App Directory
  • Design your Migration Script the way Spammers do
  • LESS is More (and more cheap CSS jokes)
  • Rubik’s Cubes and why they’re Awesome
  • Speeding Up Layout Implementation on Android with Jimu Mirror
  • A11y Tools or Why the Heck is my Computer Talking to me?

Blog Editor David Godsall on “Writing Blog Posts”

Our Model

  1. A comfortable meeting room with good lighting and a projector
  2. A curator who carries this torch for this idea, sets up the room, and influences people to attend and talk
  3. Voluntary sign up to a list of upcoming (and past) talks that is visible company-wide
  4. A way to crowd-source ideas and vote up popular topics for talks
  5. A calendar invite that repeats bi-weekly, has optional attendance, and near to lunch-time (11AM, 12PM, or 1PM)
  6. A time-keeper that gives a 1 minute warning and an audible alarm after 5 minutes
  7. Q&A for around 3 minutes following the talk
  8. Video recording to benefit both the speaker and the audience afterwards

I’d love to see this model adopted at each of our physical office locations so I’m taking this show down the road to our HQ2 building to promote the concept and see if I can inspire someone to make it happen there.

Connection

You may or may not realize how much talent, experience, and insight is hidden within your organization. Lightning Talks are a simple and inspiring way for you to surface those people, celebrate their stories, and bring your organization closer together.

Noel focuses on training, development, employee engagement, and outreach for Hootsuite’s technical groups. He loves to exchange ideas and would like to hear how you do these things at your organization. Get in touch via twitter @noelpullen.

Bing Ads Launches Campaign Planner Feature to Boost Ease of Use

Bing has been busy. It just announced the launch of its new campaign planner feature, which aims to add ease of use for webmasters and, earlier this week, Bing rolled out tablet device targeting into the same category as desktops for Bing Ads.

So, what is all the fuss about?

Campaign Planner in a Nutshell

Similar to Google’s AdWords tool, Campaign Planner provides insights from data collected from Yahoo and Bing. This information helps advertisers make decisions based on data, not hunches. Further, Campaign Planner is a research tool that can be used for:

  • Keyword suggestions
  • Information on trending search traffic
  • Insight into industry benchmarks and competitors

From the left sidebar, users are able to select which vertical most closely represents the brand (or search for a specific product name). Once a user has selected the vertical, Bing displays results for the following metrics:

  • Product Name
  • Search Volume
  • Desktop Volume
  • Smartphone Volume
  • Tablet Volume
  • Average CPC
  • Best Position CPC
  • Sidebar CPC

insights-recipes

To dig down even further, advertisers can click on a specific product name to glean more information. This feature is most important for showing trending information.

recipes-trending

Keyword Recommendations

Access to a set of keyword recommendations takes so much of the guesswork out of advertising and organic search. Advertisers have to strike the balance between having relevant keywords, choosing keywords that have a good monthly search volume and being realistic about what they can actually rank for.

keyword-recommendations

View the Competitive Landscape

It’s important to understand not only what the most competitive keywords are, but also who the competition is. Once a specific set has been identified, users are able to access the top brands or URLs for ad coverage for that particular category.

competition-zeckman

Keep Tabs on…Everything

The option to add products to track or watch is maybe one of the coolest features of this new release. This eliminates the need to create a complex report or search for the particular product each time an advertiser logs in to Bing Ads.


The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start – to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Celebrate Social Media Week Around the World With Hootsuite

With another Social Media Week (SMW) approaching, Hootsuite has outlined our events and activities around the globe to help spark the conversation around the use of social media. Hootsuite will be involved in over 35 events, both online and offline. We have brought together our global team members and worldwide Hootsuite Ambassadors to present a selection of official SMW panel discussions, Hootups, Twitter chats, Google+ Hangouts, and other online activities to collaborate with passionate social media practitioners around the world.

Social Media Week is a global event starting September 22 through to September 26, 2014 with local presence and global reach across five continents; Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. The event hosts activities in a number of cities across cities like Miami, London, Sydney and São Paulo. The global theme is The Future of Now: Always On, Always Connected.

In the next week you’ll see an increase of conversations using the hashtag #SMW14 on social. To stay up to date with the latest activities from Hootsuite in your region, make sure you follow the following Twitter handles: @HootClub (North America), @Hootsuite_BR (Brazil), @HootsuiteAPAC (Asia Pacific), @Hootsuite_UK, @HootsuiteDE, HootsuiteFR, HootsuiteIT, @HootsuiteES, @HootsuiteNL (regions in Europe).

Check out our interactive map of all Hootsuite Social Media Week 2014 events:

[VIDEO] Brian Solis – Social Insights

In this four-part Social Insights series we sit down with Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and best-selling author, to discuss the most important trends happening in the world of social business.

In the third instalment of our interview with Brian Solis, we learn what his vision is for the future of work, and what expertise businesses will need in order to harness the full potential of channels like social media.

Stay tuned for new episodes added to this playlist and subscribe to Hootsuite’s YouTube channel for our most up-to-date video content.

For more on how social media is shaping customer relations, download the Hootsuite Social Customer Service Toolkit.

5 Social Media Campaign Ideas for Small Businesses

You know the desired outcome of your campaign, but what is the best way to achieve that? Whatever the goal of your brand’s social media campaign may be, the first step is to give your audience a good reason to be engaged.

We’ve talked a lot about social media campaigns: what tools you can use to create them, optimize them, and track their results. But first, there’s always an idea—and that idea is often the most important determining factor in your social media campaign’s success.

For inspiration, we turned to a few companies that use Hootsuite for social media management, searching for creative examples of social media campaigns.

Here Are 5 Social Media Campaign Ideas To Inspire Your Business

Add a personal touch

Since one of the most important things a brand can improve on social media is customer service, it’s easy to turn this into an opportunity to reward your fans and get potential customers. The Virgin Group, notorious for their expansive campaigns, made waves in the social media advertising world with their Flying in the Face of Ordinary campaign. One part of this campaign involved Flying in the Face of Ordinary, or #FITFOO, crews scouring social media for people who could use some cheering up, and messaging them with a surprising offer. Those who received such pleasant surprises could then tweet about their experience using the official campaign hashtag.

You don’t have to have the resources of an international business to create a similar campaign—there are tools to help you find people who may be interested in your product in your area. For example, your brand can use Hootlet’s “Tweets Near Here” feature to find people on social media who could benefit from your services, and pay it forward.

Crowdsource for engaging and authentic content

No one can tell a better story about customer experience of your brand than customers themselves. A bare minimum of social media strategy for businesses nowadays is to create a memorable official hashtag to track your customers’ interactions on Twitter and Facebook. Many businesses go beyond that: for example, Contiki Holidays team up with YouTube celebrities to share traveller-generated video and photo content in the annual Contiki Road Trip campaign. The road trip gives fans an opportunity to meet with their favourite YouTubers, and engage with the business by adding the official hashtag #ContikiRoadTrip2014.

The experience doesn’t always have to be a direct description of the brand, but rather a story representing your company’s core values. One of the most heartwarming examples of this is Airbnb’s short film made entirely out of Vine videos filmed by their social media fans. This massive campaign started on Twitter, where Airbnb posted instructions on how each shot should be filmed. The participants then had 48 hours to submit their Vine, along with the hashtag #Airbnb and shot number, for a chance to be included in the final project and receive Airbnb credit. The result is a beautiful story of paper boats and airplanes adventuring on different terrain.

Make the campaign a part of a lifestyle

In order to track the social conversation around your campaign, use a hashtag that is easy to spell and remember. Naturally, customers would want to tag your brand, so the campaign hashtag doesn’t have to include your business’ name. Instead, think of a lifestyle your customers embrace: whether they are foodies, do yoga, or seek out the latest makeup trends, take advantage of that fact that your brand is a part of that lifestyle. For example, Vega encouraged their customers to share how they include Vega supplements in their healthy lifestyle choices for the upcoming year, using the hashtag #OneChange to track the campaign. Customers shared smoothie and snack recipes that included Vega products, thus creating brand awareness through favorable association with healthy diet and positive change.

Herschel Supply Co. is another brand among the leaders in lifestyle content. Herschel’s #WellTravelled campaign encouraged their fans to share photos of their journeys on Instagram, for a chance of their travels being featured in a photo series on the company’s official site. The best thing about a memorable, versatile hashtag? It can be repurposed for several campaigns: Herschel Suppy Co. used the same hashtag for a contest where fans had to answer questions to win a Herschel backpack.

Let your customers decide

One of the most important campaigns is the launch of a new product. Brands spend a lot of time and resources on researching how the customers respond to the new offer—the prevalent reaction often determines the fate of the new release. So why not let the customers give their feedback on social media? When Five Guys restaurant, notorious for their bare-minimum menu of burgers and fries, decided to introduce milkshakes to their menu, they encouraged customers to share their thoughts on social media using the #ShakeYourShake hashtag. The campaign generated thousands of interactions, thanks to a simple, easy-to-remember tag that made it easier for customers to share visually engaging content.

Make the customer a part of something bigger

Everyone is attracted to the idea of helping out someone in need, but not everyone can commit to volunteer hours or charity trips. This may be the reason why customers respond so well to one-for-one campaigns, such as the one that made TOMS shoes their name—campaigns that allow you to help out by simply making a purchase. A recent campaign by DAVIDsTEA followed the one-for-one principle by donating a warm beverage to a local hunger relief shelter for every cup of tea purchased at their stores. They encouraged customers to share their Cup of Warmth post on Facebook, and retweet Tweets that mentioned the campaign.

Now that you have ideas for successful social media campaigns, Hootsuite Campaigns can help you manage them.

Getting Inspired: 5 Ideas to Help Refresh Your Ad Copy

Refreshing ad copy is one of those optimization tasks that I have a very bad habit of putting off. For me, writing ad copy requires a certain Zen — a deep concentration and focused frame of mind. And let’s be honest — when you’re trying to manage PPC campaigns every day, it’s tough to tap into that creative mojo when you need to.

And sometimes you can struggle coming up with different ways to say the same thing. Or trying to come with a different spin on how to present your product. All within the headline and two 35-character description lines of text. It can be challenging.

But it’s important to not to use the same old ad copy. Writing great PPC copy means keeping your ad copy fresh. Even if your ads have a good CTR — you should always look for ways to make them better.

So how to come up with new ideas for ad copy? Below are 5 ways to get some creative and different ideas:

1) Pay Attention to Commercials

We often find commercials insanely annoying — but they can be a great way to see how advertisers are messaging their products. Next time you’re watching TV, pay closer attention to the commercials and see if you can glean some new phrases or tagline ideas.

2) Check Out Online Advertising Sites

Going to advertising sites can provide interesting insights on the latest ads and creative. Not only do you get updates on the latest in advertising news, but they provide some of their showcased work on their sites.

Below is an example of an ad from Adroit Digital that creatively uses its name in the ad, but also has great tag lines:

adroit

Here are some advertising sites that can help inspire you:

www.mediapost.com
www.adage.com
www.adweek.com

3) Look at Competitors

Hey – it doesn’t hurt to see what your competitors are doing! In doing a search on “wedding invitations,” while incorporating offers such as free shipping and discounts is important, sometimes adding another word such as “stylish” or the phrase “make it yours” can resonate more with a prospective customer.

wedding-invitations

4) Read…

Magazines are a good way to get creative ideas — check out this example from Dunkin Donuts:

snackWhile the association of a smoothie and a scary snack isn’t something most of us would connect together, it does result in a very unique message.

5) Don’t forget site links and callouts

When updating your ad copy, don’t forget to revisit your site links and callouts. Changing your ad copy may result in your site links and callouts needing to be changed. And incorporating callouts into your message can help create a more relevant and compelling ad.

Are you feeling more energized to write new ad copy?


The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start – to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Don’t Forget to Invest in Content (Not Just “Content Marketing”)

More and more clients are beginning to understand the benefits of content marketing. Sitting at the table, I’ve found I’m having a far easier time “selling” clients on the importance of creating that culture video, putting together that marketing ebook or using animation to tell stories in unique ways. Clients are riding the content marketing bandwagon, and they get it. It’s great.

But as that respect for flashier content grows, the respect for the rest of the words on their site — their home pages, their product pages, their About pages, their calls to action — hasn’t grown in suit. Six-figure websites are still being sold without an ounce of budget going to traditional content creation.

Instead, we hear the client’s niece will write the content.

Or, an intern they just hired.

Or, a guy they just met on the street who seems really, really capable.

It’s enough to make a grown content person cry. How can you help your clients understand the benefit of true content creation? Or, if you are a client or brand, why is this something you need to invest in? After all, anyone can write.

Right?

Content is branding.

Sure, part of the content creation process is an informational transaction. It is about getting across the important, relevant, needed information about your products and/or services. But it’s also more than that. It’s about how you convey this information. It’s about how you position your brand, how you message it, the voice you create and the experience you’re laying out.

There are a lot of great writers here at Search Engine Watch. But my bet is that you have a favorite or two. And that you can identify your favorite author just by reading the first line of his or her posts. It just sounds like them. It feels like them. Similarly, I bet you can recognize your favorite television show by the first note of its opening jingle. Or your favorite brand of coffee by its smell.

It’s emotional DNA and every brand has it. Good content is filled with the stuff and it’s what makes you instantly recognizable from your competitors. Anyone can write the 5Ws of who you are. But a skilled content writer can make sure you are visible, from start to finish, on every page of your website to make you recognizable in the dark to your target audience.

Content is user experience (partly).

There are plenty of designers, and even content people, who may disagree, but I believe it’s a content person’s job to guide the user experience process. Even if this role falls mostly inside your design department, as a content person it’s our job to:

  • Consider how the words we’re putting on the page affect a user’s path through the site.
  • Understand how the site’s information architecture conveys the company’s business goals and purpose.
  • Think about how the site functions, as a whole, and how it’s helpful to user and brand.
  • Evaluate how the site works on different platforms, the goals of different user types and whether they’re being met.

To me, and at Overit, this is all part of the content process. It’s not traditional “content creation” where we write up your products and list your service, but it’s a content person’s user- and brand-focused eye that makes sure your site is set up to achieve your business goals. When you leave out that process, disastrous things can happen. Like, designing a beautiful website that doesn’t actually convert or lead anyone to do anything.

Content is a sales/upselling tool.

Good content does more than simply inform; it educates and sells.

The content on your website educates your customer on what they’re interested in right now. It allows you to go over, in great detail, how to use that product, how to hack it, how to accomplish current goals and the capabilities of the product or service in question. This saves your support and customer service teams valuable time having to answer these questions on the phone, writing up lengthy email responses to questions (over and over again) and also gives them somewhere to point customers to help them find their answers. In this way, by writing great content you give yourself a powerful customer retention tool.

For your sales team, content helps to upsell current customers when the time comes, again giving them something to reference and giving you an ability to show how products complement one another, how a bigger need is solved and how customers can achieve more. You make your case before ever picking up the phone or engaging in an official sales call. The upselling process becomes a natural part of the site’s conversion process and your customer’s experience.

Content helps conversions.

Content fuels your conversion process. It does so not only in your ability to describe your products and services, but in the calls to action and other conversion areas on your site. To not invest in content, is to not invest in the profitability in your business. (See how silly that sounds when you put it in print? I know, but businesses do it every day.)

Content isn’t just about the words on your page, content is about the action those words are meant to inspire. By investing in content, you set your site up for success by writing stronger, emotion-backed calls to action; by removing conversion roadblocks like excess links or images that distract; by naming buttons, tabs and fields appropriately; by building customer confidence with clear benefit statements and value propositions and by removing friction from the conversion process.

Can your intern do that? Are you really going to bet the profitability of your business on it? I wouldn’t.

As a content person, I love seeing the excitement our clients have for larger content marketing efforts like video, animation and long-form content. But don’t let that excitement blind you against the other uses content has on your site — to build your brand, to increase conversion, to set up a proper framework and to sell to customers. Without them, you have the best designed, best developed website that doesn’t push anybody to do anything.


The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start – to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Search Agency Covario Acquired, but its Saas Tools Remain Independent

This week, the announcement of a new acquisition hit the wire: search and content marketing agency Covario is to be acquired by media and digital communications company Dentsu Aegis Network by the close of 2014. 

The announcement said that “following the completion of the deal, Covario’s agency business will become part of Dentsu Aegis Network, and will transition toward operating as iProspect – Dentsu Aegis Network’s global digital performance agency.” 

Covario logo

Jeremy Cornfeldt, president of iProspect U.S., said iProspect and Covario are kindred spirits, culturally, “which when united, will create one dynamo agency poised to make waves in the market,” and that “Covario’s San Diego-based headquarters also provides a powerful West Coast presence that is critical for iProspect’s growth.” 

Michael Gullaksen and Jeff Johnson, co-CEOs of Covario, will take on senior executive positions in the new Covario/iProspect organization. 

In a separate announcement, Covario highlighted the future of its SaaS-based platform, Rio SEO.

According to the announcement, Rio SEO will “remain an independent SaaS company and continue to power the software behind Covario clients’ search solutions,” and that it had “raised additional funding from FTV Capital, Dubilier & Co., Voyager Capital and Stratim Capital to pursue further development and sales of its technology platform in the fast-growing areas of local search, mobile search and social media measurement.”

One of the original founders of Covario, Dema Zlotin, will be serve as CEO of Rio SEO moving forward. 

Bill Connard, vice president of local search solutions at Rio SEO, said the platform’s “recent expansion of international business listings management couldn’t have come at a better time. Working with an agency like Covario as it becomes part of the Dentsu Aegis Network’s iProspect global performance agency will expand our reach and help us deliver our local search expertise to customers around the world.”

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 


The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start – to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Google’s My Maps Upgrade Presents Opportunities for Local Search

Google has announced upgraded My Maps features, which, by the end of the year, will replace classic Google Maps, it says.

How Does Google My Maps Work?

When users land on the My Maps homepage, they are immediately prompted to either create a new map or open an existing saved map.

my-maps-home

They can begin searching for location-based businesses and begin adding them to their maps.

See a search for “Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA” below.

pike-place-1

Next, they can add specific locations to the maps.

pike-place-2

Once they have added a few different locations, they are able to connect maps to form a route and even determine the exact distance between locations.

pike-place-3

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the ability to add descriptions of locations as well as images. Currently, users cannot upload images, but they can do Google image searches or enter specific URLs.

pike-place-4

Once users have completed their maps, they can share them publically, keep them private or provide access to select users.

What Does This Mean for Local Search?

Perhaps the biggest potential impact on local search is tied to the ability to create “experience” maps that include information about businesses.

For example, if Seattle-based Café Campagne wanted to draw in consumers, it could simply create a “Tour of Pike Place Market” map. This map could include a morning starting with the best stores to find art, clothing, etc. and end with a fantastic lunch at the café.

There is definitely opportunity for businesses to utilize My Maps to their benefit. It will just take some creativity and additional effort to drive users to them via local search.


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