Will Social Media Kill The Search Engine?

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While most people in the U.S. still use traditional search engines such as Google to find their needs online, more users, especially younger users, are discovering websites through social networks.

According to a new study by Forrester Research, last year half of the internet users between the ages 18 to 23, and 43 percent of users ages 24-32 used social networks as their go-to internet discovery resource.

As social media and search marketing are becoming increasingly intertwined, it is important for marketers to learn the benefits of both methods. How does social media marketing compare to search marketing? Search Engine Marketing (SEM) still makes the biggest impact when it comes to lead generation. For many businesses lead generation is a top goal, and SEM is more effective at generating leads than social media. When it comes to local businesses, consumers are still more likely to rely on search engines over social media sites. In terms of visibility, SEM is what marketers rely on to get business exposure and increased ranking on search engines.

In terms of generating brand awareness and exposure, social media offers the most benefit to marketers. Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a powerful tool for marketers looking to increase their website traffic, but it can also be helpful in improving search rank by capitalizing on the recent trend toward social media optimization in search algorithms. Above all, social media is a valuable interactive marketing tool, and consumer engagement is becoming the most sought after prize in the online world.

Even though 54 percent of Americans still rely on traditional search to find the information they are looking for, this number is on the decline. As consumers are rapidly changing their behavior, marketers should not be prioritizing SEO and paid search efforts over engagement on social media.

The changes in search algorithms to incorporate social media are here to stay, it’s called social media optimization. The growing impact of social media on search rankings suggests marketers will have to embrace both SEM and SMM in order to stay ahead.

RIP Google Reader

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While it’s certainly not the first product Google has axed, the loss of the Reader service today has received more backlash than any previous cut from the tech giant’s team. For the past eight years, millions of loyal users have relied on Google Reader for their daily dose of internet news, all provided in one simple feed. As of midnight on July 1st, these fans will have to find a new RSS home for good.

So, if there were so many loyal fans, then why did Google put an end to Reader?

There are several clear reasons, and more will become apparent after the shutdown is complete and we get a better sense of what to expect for Google’s next move. What we know for sure is that the proliferation of social media platforms has been the biggest detractor from Reader’s user base. The decline can be traced back to 2006, the year which saw the rise of Twitter as well as the introduction of Facebook’s News Feed feature. Both immediately provided a syndicated, continuous feed bringing users personalized micro updates at speeds far faster than your standard online newspaper, and together they drew consumers away from the suddenly clunky and comparatively slow world of RSS.

Fast forward to 2013, and two of the tech world’s biggest stories are again focused around news feeds. Just as Google Reader lives out its final hours, we are hearing more and more about the impending launch of a new feature that will turn Facebook into an even more functional and powerful online newspaper. For now, those who are coping with the loss of Reader will have to find an alternative. Luckily, the fight to claim the empty throne of the RSS world is turning out well for consumers. With everyone from AOL to Digg vying for your usership, there’s no doubt that newly launched services will be stacked with attention-grabbing features.

If you’ve been a longtime Google Reader user, what service have you switched to? If you couldn’t care less about Google Reader’s departure, we want to know why.
Leave us your comments, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Official Velocity Agency WWDC 2013 Report

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The 2013 WWDC has come to pass, and the tech world is buzzing with a wide range of reactions to Apple’s major announcements. At Velocity Agency, we were glued to our computer screens yesterday as we waited anxiously to see what would be unveiled, yet we remained acutely aware that the news would most likely make all of our current smartphones and laptops immediately obsolete. But that’s fine by us, because nothing is more exciting for a marketing agency than the prospect of a new line of cutting-edge gadgets to power our day to day operations.

The office consensus is that Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7, is what we are looking forward to most. Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling the new iOS the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since its initial launch, so clearly some big changes are on the horizon. What we know so far is that the new operating system is going to feature a completely rethought and redesigned look built from the ground up. The biggest change will be a shift away from Apple’s previously skeuomorphic based design. For those of you who don’t know, skeuomorphic designs are based off of physical objects and real-world textures, such as the green felt and wood theme to the current Apple Game Center app. For iOS 7, Apple will be moving to cleaner, flat looking designs, which we think will provide a generally more aesthetically pleasing mobile experience.

Now, let’s talk about iTunes Radio, Apple’s long awaited Spotify competitor, which was also unveiled at the WWDC. The biggest news is that it will be free for all users, and ad free for subscribers to iTunes Match, the cloud-based storage system for cross-device listening. This means that for about $25 a year, users will be able to store all their downloaded music in the cloud and stream all the music they don’t own for free. Pretty sweet deal. But, Spotify has a big head start on Apple, so it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to convert users who are already signed up for other streaming services. More often than not, Apple is on the cutting edge, but in terms of streaming services they are basically the last on the bandwagon following Google’s big announcement just a few weeks ago.

The only major letdown from yesterday’s event: no new iPhone. But, we’re not worried. We all know the iPhone 5 S can’t be far off, and at the very least we will see it by the time iOS 7 launches in the fall. Until then, we will be keeping a close watch on all things Apple. Be sure to keep with us as we track the release of all the new products announced at this year’s WWDC. We will be posting our up to date commentary on Facebook and Twitter, so join in on the conversation and let us know what you think!

TBT Etiquette – 5 Rules To Follow

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#TBT Holiday Spirit circa ’94 – Andrea Hernandez , Social Media Director

Do you #TBT?  It’s Wednesday afternoon and there are already more than 44 million photos that include #tbt hashtags, not to mention the 24 million from the original #throwbackthursday. Since the unveiling of Instagram, we can confidently say that Throwback Thursday is the most popular installment yet. For those who have tried to make #FlasbackFriday and #TransformationTuesday happen you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Powered by our nostalgic narcissism, TBT is here to stay. We are all guilty of endlessly scrolling down our Instagram feeds every Thursday to soak up the flood of our friend’s diaper-laden days or nonsensical, and sometimes funny photos. However, as in anything in this over-exploited age, Instagram users have become convinced that anything goes on Throwback Thursday.

At Velocity Agency, we are all about proper digital and social media etiquette. For this reason we find it our obligation to come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for the infamous hashtag.

1. TBT is all about comedic nostalgia. We know you looked cute as a baby, but posting angelical pictures of yourself is not nearly as amusing.  Throwback Thursday was founded on principles of comedic relief. Embrace it.

2. Timing is essential. So refrain from tagging #TBT pictures when it is in fact not Thursday. This should be a no-brainer.

3. Throwback Thursdays are all about commemorating vintage moments. Try and aim for non-digital photos that were probably taken from your Polaroid iZone. If you are #TBT-ing to last week’s Thursday, you’re doing it wrong. Try to have a gap of a couple years.

4. You can’t be hashtagging pictures that are not even throwbacks but just a clear abuse to the popular hashtags. This also includes “Celebrity Throwbacks.” Unless you were childhood friends with Ryan Gosling, this is a major DON’T.

5. #SelfieThrowback: Unless you were rolling around as a baby taking pictures of yourself, there is no such thing.


And so, remember the next time you #TBT you need to do it right. The internet will call you out. Respect Throwback Thursday

 

Weekly Absolute #18 – Hackathon

velocity The Weekly Absolute

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Strategic marketing is now less focused on research and more on cross discipline integration. Companies now require total solutions that span beyond their current infrastructure, not just raw data. Whether in-house or outsourced, CMOs must coordinate back-end development, front-end content, and conversion based initiates to achieve upticks in demand capture.

Weekly Absolute #17 – LOADED

velocity The Weekly Absolute

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Dying companies are those convinced of hyper-targeting, bypassing the basic prerequisite to LOAD the top of the funnel with impressions and micro-conversions. Marketers trying to economize and target their customers are only achieving two things:
  1. Preventing market expansion.
  2. Significantly increasing their cost per acquisition.

The Cool Kids Club: Yahoo Wants In

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Ya-who? The faded Web pioneer announced on Sunday that they are moving forward with their plan to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion–in cash. The company is desperately trying to reposition themselves as the tech industry gets increasingly more social media focused, but can Tumblr save Yahoo from oblivion?

As a spunky, social media startup, Tumblr has a well-defined experience that attracts a loyal following among millennials. Tumblr has a lot of credibility among the audience that Yahoo is desperate to grasp; yet the concern among users is that Tumblr will loose its appeal once they take over. Some have even taken to Twitter with threats to leave the site if the deal takes place.

The merger would represent the largest acquisition of a social networking company to date, topping Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram last year. For Yahoo, Tumblr brings a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to make up for missing out on so many technological and social media revolutions.

Yahoo is no stranger to paying big money for startups, but they are known for letting their acquisitions fall into darkness, i.e. Flicker and GeoCities. Can Yahoo step up to the challenge or will this be the end of Tumblr as we know it ?

Battle of the Sexes 2.0: Which side are you on?

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Even though men and women have come a long way, the eternal battle goes on, this time it’s a social one. There are around 130 million social media users in the US alone. When it comes to social media, men and women have very different appeals. Of all the adult social media users, 71% are women and 62% are men. Here’s the breakdown:

 

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Women Rule:

  • Women make up 62% of Twitter’s user base. (Each month there are more than 40 million more women than men visiting Twitter!)
  • The ladies conquer Facebook with over 58% female user base and more than 300,000 status updates every minute.
  • Pinterest is no interest to men. The social media is dominated by women having a 70% user base. They enjoy tutorials, DIY and recipe pins more than any other type.

 

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Men Dominate:

  • Men take the lead with Google Plus, claiming 64% of their user base.
  • LinkendIn is also a male favorite making up more than half of their user base.
  • Males on LinkedIn use it for research purposes, reconnecting with past business associates and face-to-face networking opportunities.
  • Men spend more time on YouTube as well. They makeup more than half of the user base and spend 25 minutes more on Youtube compared to women.
  • 84% of Reddit’s users are male
  • There are more males on LinkedIn then there are women in Google+. Reddit and LinkedIn combined!

Overall, females are more active on social media than males. In fact, women between the ages of 18 to 29 are the most active social media users.

 Do you agree? Share your thoughts with Velocity.

Weekly Absolute #15 – We Want You! (or a spot in your news feed)

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Marketers are calling all hands on deck to get their brand into your news feed, now backed by solid data on what a “Like” is worth. While fighting to harvest the demand via web and mobile marketers know that a news feed “slot” creates real opportunity in terms of both Customer Acquisition and Lifetime Value.