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Hootsuite Adds New Creative Tools for Sharing Social Media

Published on December 11, 2012
Tags: Web Design London

Hootsuite, the social media management tool which allows users to preview and schedule social media updates, has introduced a range of new features to make sharing updates even easier. The enterprise tool has now added Vimeo for video, self-hosted Wordpress.org blogs as well as the picture, video and audio sharing service, Via Me.

Alongside these features, they’ve also added a Pinterest tracker – Reachli. They have also added Scripted, which is a freelance writer marketplace to its third-party App Directory. This has taken the number of sites and services which Hootsuite supports to 41 in total, for all Hootsuite Free, Pro and Enterprise users.

What are the benefits of these new services?

Hootsuite’s most important app for tracking images is Reachli, as it’s the first one that allows users to upload and track images on Pinterest, the popular image sharing website. This is a positive move by Hootsuite and a step in the right direction when it comes to the future of content sharing. It allows you to pin pictures, campaigns and to view metrics on pins.

As Hootsuite already has a range of similar services in its App directory – i.e. YouTube as a video service, Wordpress is the first traditional blog platform to be integrated, although Tumblr which is an alternative type of blogging system, is already supported by its services.

The Vimeo feature allows users to upload, share and view videos using the dashboard on Hootsuite. There is also the option to cross post the videos to other places. Wordpress.org blogs can now be created and pages edited via the Hootsuite dashboard.

Users also have the option of moderating comments. Using Via Me you can upload a range of different visual and audial media to your account and then follow the feed to others too. Meanwhile, Scripted allows you to promote your freelance writing services and find other people for your writing jobs.

Why has Hootsuite added these new creative features?

The move by Hootsuite is to expand their presence on the web from being just another social media management tool to becoming a dashboard for business engagement. Eventually this will be used by more than just social media managers and marketers as it extends across the web and continues to support other websites.

These new additions have been made to encourage content creators to have the necessary tools to get more creative with their updates. This is ideal for Hootsuite’s user base which they claim is mainly made of artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers. As social media and web design is becoming increasingly more image based, Hootsuite’s decision to integrate these design tools means they remain a relevant service for sharing web content.

The decision also puts Hootsuite in a good position, by differentiating itself from other social media dashboards for enterprises such as MediaFunnel, SocialText, Sprinklr and Spredfast. These new creative tools will enhance their services while appealing to a broader audience, not just social media managers.

By Chelsey Evans

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Survey suggests customer mobile adoption is still in its early stages

Published on December 10, 2012
Tags: Mobile Application Development

A recent report by MarketingSherpa found that many marketers’ understanding of how their business’s customers use their mobiles to generate sales is still in its early stages. 27% of respondents surveyed said that their organisation didn’t know the customers’ adoption rate, while only 8% thought that their organisation knew it very well.

Meanwhile 22% of respondents said they presumed that their customers would adopt mobile devices early on in the conversion path, but that they didn’t understand it very well. 17% claimed this wasn’t applicable or that they didn’t know, while 16% believed that mobile adoption could be used somewhat well.  Finally, 10% presumed that customers wouldn’t use mobile devices in the conversion path.

Overall, these figures suggest that organisations need to take the time to understand customer mobile adoption and how it can generate sales. This is particularly important as internet usage on mobile devices is increasing and by 2014, the estimated number of mobile users worldwide is set to overtake desktop internet users.

Why marketers will have to move fast in the mobile age

According to Torni Ahonen of Mobile Web Africa, “The average person looks at their phone 150 times a day, or once every six-and-a-half minutes of every waking hour.” Taking this into account, it’s vital that organisations learn how to expand their sales by keeping hold of their customers during this fast paced digital age.

As customers are increasingly using their mobiles to make more purchases, the organisations who stand out against their competitors are the ones which know how to optimise their web pages for fast and efficient transactions.

MarketingSherpa asked organisations which factors would prevent them from allocating more resources towards gathering this information, or whether a lack of internal resources is preventing marketers from understanding the mobile market. Does your organisation know how to collect data on customer mobile preferences for example?

Then there is the issue of updating your website to make it more mobile friendly. There are many tools you can use to optimise your web pages and make them easier for the average mobile user, but many organisations might not be aware they can do this.

Do you understand customer mobile adoption?

According to the MarketingSherpa report, of the 34% who did understand customer mobile adoption, only 8% claimed to have a strong understanding through internal data collection. While encouragingly, many within this category knew this topic ‘somewhat well’, which suggests they were using outside research to create a company mobile strategy.

Of the 10% of respondents who presumed customers wouldn’t use mobile devices to make sales, it could still be worth implementing some mobile tactics to see if it makes a difference to your conversion path. If it does, you can then start deciding if your organisation sees mobile sales becoming a big part of your sales strategy in the long term – which is looking likely given the future direction that information and sales are being directed.

By Chelsey Evans

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Website optimisation has a huge impact on offline marketing strategies according to recent survey

Published on December 7, 2012
Tags: Usability, Web Design London

A recent chart by MarketingSherpa surveyed a number of marketers and found that 70% of respondents believe that their online optimisation efforts have made an impact on their offline campaigns or other marketing strategies.

Respondents were encouraged to answer this question so that it could be analysed whether online marketers had any plans to integrate optimisation lessons within their larger marketing plans. Part of this can be that website optimisation gives marketers the opportunity to test elements of value and use these results to isolate products, messages and campaigns that will resonate with their audience.

This then begs the question of why marketers don’t use web optimisation findings to improve their overall results and attain more sales. In fact, data by the 2012 Website Optimisation Benchmark Report found that marketers who had advanced their levels of optimisation within their marketing practices were 57% more likely to take what they had learnt from testing optimisation protocols in offline campaigns and any form of broader messaging.

How online strategies can improve offline sales

This survey is an encouraging sign that website optimisation is the future when it comes to influencing marketing strategies. Any marketers having problems with improving sales offline might need to know how to utilise their web marketing efforts to interpret the results. From this a strategy can then be formed which will ultimately convert to both online and offline sales.

Consider the example of Hewlett Packard and how they combined their offline and online marketing strategies to boost their sales by 2,050%. The computer manufacturer did this by creating a targeted email database and website with content to connect a niche audience and drive sales.

HP faced the challenge of how to better communicate between their IT managers on college campuses and they wanted to convince their target market that HP had the hardware and the expertise necessary to make the IT managers stronger assets to their schools.

By arming the IT managers with as much information about HP’s products both offline and by creating a targeted email database and website, it meant that the HP brand was at the top of their mind when it came to making a purchasing decision.

HP built a database of IT managers by creating a microsite to host content which was specific to each audience, launching a lead-generation campaign involving direct mail which was sent to IT directors and managers. This direct mail encouraged them to visit the InformED microsite they had created and to register to receive the newsletter in return for a free T-shirt.

By enrolling the managers into subscription lists and then continuing to grow and nurture these lists, HP’s 18 month campaign saw 100% higher average revenue per subscriber than their average revenue from higher education customers.

The HP case is a perfect example of how website optimisation can interlink with an offline marketing strategy to have a huge impact on your marketing sales. 

By Chelsey Evans

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Google and Bing are hitting all-time highs in the search engines

Published on December 6, 2012
Tags: SEO

Google and Bing have hit all-time highs in US search engines, according to comScore’s  October 2012 search activity and rankings report. These new scores show that Google’s market share has risen two-tenths of a point from 66.7 per cent in September to 66.9 per cent in October, while Bing gained a tenth of a point, reaching 16 per cent in October.

While it’s no surprise that Google still owns most of the search engine market, these figures are showing record highs for these respective search engines. Other search engines in the report either remain static with Yahoo! remaining at 12.2%, AOL at 1.8% while Ask’s share of the market was down from 3.5% in September to 3.2% in October.
What these records mean
While this is a US based report, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Worldwide statistics show that Google has a market share of 82.80% as of May 2011, while Yahoo! has 6.42%, which is 2.51% higher than Bing whose worldwide market share is 3.91%. 
In reflecting on the bigger picture, this is great news for Bing who are marking their territory as the US’s second choice of search engine. Yahoo is the third most popular search engine, but worldwide they are still the second choice as an alternative to Google.
So what has made Google and Bing so popular?
Part of the reason why these two search engines have seen such great success is that they provide users with customised results based on their search activity history. This causes what is known as a filter bubble effect, where a website’s algorithm selectively guesses the information that the user wants to see. This is based on the user’s location, search history and previous clicks. 
As a result of this, users find information which agrees with their viewpoints and they become isolated in their own ideological or cultural bubbles. This causes the user to find personalised results based on what they were looking for. For example, search for ‘The House of Commons’ and it will come up with their website, along with other informative sources. This is due to search engine algorithms which change as the user’s search history is built up over time.
What can the other search engines learn from these results?
Internet marketers use search engines such as Google and Bing because they make it easy to find information about users so that marketers can target their advertising. They do this by making their search terms appear more prominently in a search results query page.
While Yahoo! has increased its number of clicks by 270% since it introduced its ‘Today’ box in 2009 to personalise the search engine results and make them more efficient, other search engines will have to follow the methods which Google and Bing have applied. In replicating their methods and helping internet marketers with their targeted advertising, search engines will then start to see their own forms of success.

By Chelsey Evans

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Will HTML5 change the future of web design as we know it?

Published on December 4, 2012
Tags: Web Development London

When HTML5 is finally released in July 2014, it will change the face of the internet. This was recently reaffirmed by Designer and Consultant Jen Simmons who spoke at Event Apart, an annual design conference which this year was held in Chicago. In her speech she said that, “HTML is more than paving the cowpaths. There's a lot of stuff in the spec about databases and communication protocols and blahdiblah backend juju. Some of that stuff is pretty radical. And it will change how you design websites."

In the near future this means that HTML5 will allow designers to think without any restraints and use this new technology to change the way that users interact with the web. This is because there are a whole host of technologies which web designers will need to be aware of and these include HTML5 APIs and beyond.

What will HTML 5 change?

While still in development at present, when it is finally released, HTML5’s core aims will be to improve the language of HTML, provide support for the latest multimedia while being simple to use and compatible across all computers and devices. This completely new version of HTML will mean web browsers will have to support it to correctly display web pages using HTML5 functions.

The changes that HTML5 will bring include increased speed due in part to removing the extra elements needed inside the actual code. This means that in a HTML5 browser, no extra information is needed to render the same content on a screen, as it will already know what needs to be shown on the screen, using a more concise amount of code to show this.

Input fields for forms will also become more simplified; at present when an input field is required, a script has to be generated to validate the form. In HTML5, a simple component will be added to each element which indicates that a field is required, so there’s need for Javascript. This is just one example of the many benefits which HTML5 will bring to forms.

Another advantage of HTML5 will bring is providing web technology which no longer relies on Flash for watching animations on websites. The new HTML5 will provide a more efficient means of drawing and animating objects.

As the web is becoming more mobile with many people accessing the internet over their smartphone, there are multiple problems with viewing Flash files as they tend to load very slowly. This could soon be a thing of the past as it becomes easier for servers to load, so downloading files won’t take as long to parse the information.

Simmons says that all these developments will allow designers to “Break from design’s past in order to fully take advantage of its future”. As the internet is becoming increasingly more app based, this could open up a whole new world of opportunities, allowing people to rethink the way that content is created. 

By Chelsey Evans

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