Facebook, as a public company, reports every quarter on the state of its business. This week it released its highlights for the third quarter of 2014, with numbers that are more than likely to please stockholders.
Growth In Active Users
There was growth in active users reported across the board. Daily active users (DAUs), as of September 2014, were an average of 864 million which is an increase of 19% year over year.
Mobile DAUs saw even more growth, with an average of 703 million as of September 2014, which accounted for an increase of 39% year over year.
Monthly active users reached an average of 1.35 billion as of September 30, 2014, an increase of 14% year-over-year. Again, mobile saw significant growth in this area with the number of mobile monthly active users reaching an average of 1.12 billion for an increase of 29% year-over-year.
A majority of those users are connecting with small-to-medium sized businesses, as Facebook reports 67% of users globally are connected to at least one SMB in their home country. There are more than 22 billion connections between SMBs and users in total.
Growth In Advertising And Sales
Facebook reports that its age targeting is 45% more accurate than the digital industry average.
Here is an interesting stat. If you do a lot of advertising on Facebook but don’t receive a lot of clicks, don’t let that discourage you. Facebook reports that over 90% of ad driven in-store sales come from people who see ads but don’t click on them.
Growth In Other Areas
Here are some other miscellaneous stats included in the report:
- Around 700M people use Facebook Groups every month
- There are more than 1B interactions every week between public figures and their fans on Facebook
- Globally, people spend around 21 minutes a day on average on Instagram.
I honestly thought the Instagram stat would be a little higher, I guess I’m way above average where that is concerned. The amount of people using Facebook Groups is surprising as well, much higher than I would have thought.
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According to a report released today, the European Parliament is reportedly calling for Google separate search from the rest of its service offerings.
The motion specifically calls for an “unbundling” of Google’s search engine from its other services as a way to curb Google’s dominance. This is being supported by Europe’s two main political parties, the European People’s Party and the Socialists.
This motion originated from concerns that Google’s tremendous reach has the potential to stifle competition. However, the European Parliament doesn’t have the power to break up companies.
There is a precedent for this type of case in the United States. In the 90s Microsoft was challenged by US regulators over bundling its Internet Explorer web browser with its Windows operating system. In the end, the US government chose not to force Microsoft to split its operating system from its browser.
For years the European Commission has been investing allegations against Google that the company favors its own products and services over those offered by competitors in search results.
A settlement in February saw Google agreeing to display its own services in search results exactly as it would for competitors. This particular case is still under investigation and the agreement has yet to be finalized.
Neither Google or the European Commission have responded to requests for comments from media outlets, nor have they made any public comments of their own regarding the call to split Google Search from the rest of the company’s services.
A vote in Parliament is expected to take place on Thursday, at which point I will update this story with new information if any becomes available.
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Let’s get to it starting with my favorite social network. . .
Twitter’s been coming on strong lately and I like it. It’s as if they suddenly realized there was actual competition for second place and they knew they had to step it up if they didn’t want to lose out to Pinterest or Instagram.
First, they added the ability to share a Tweet as a Direct Message. This doesn’t sound like much at first but it’s another step toward making Twitter more conversational and less of a bulletin board. Using this feature you can add your own comment then send the original Tweet as an attachment of sorts to another person privately. Think it through, it’s a more useful tool than it seems at a glance.
If you’re in the travel biz, Twitter has some new stats you might be interested in, including these:
- A third of users access Twitter before or after a trip
- 39% use the platform mid-journey
- Nearly 20% of users Tweet to share feedback throughout their travel experience.
Pinterest is in a particularly holly, jolly holiday mood. They’re posting a series of articles called Project Holiday with stats and tips to help you both make the most of Pinterest this holiday season and convince the powers that be that Pinterest is worth the time.
Right now there are “more than 604 million holiday Pins and 244 million gift-related Pins on Pinterest” but that’s not enough. Pinterest says you should not only be adding more boards but pins to old boards. Last year’s holiday boards are still relevant since they already have followers and search engine cred.
Product pics are big on Pinterest but they want you to know that the site is good for other types of content, too;
Publishers can curate lists of longreads or under-the-radar stories from the year. Travel and hospitality companies can add Pins around winter escapes and family-friendly activities. Entertainment and media brands can add must-watch clips from fall TV shows or funny memes. Winter break can be a time for people to take on those someday projects around the house.
My favorite story of the week comes from TubeFilter: Utah Family Earns $7,000 To $10,000 A Month From Disney Cover Songs On YouTube. It’s crazy, but apparently, it’s true.
That’s it for me. Have a great weekend, I’ll see you back here on Monday.
A frosty reception
If you looked on Maps for Buffalo, you wouldn’t find it. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the city is buried underneath six feet of snow… literally. While people across the country are just getting ready for Turkey Day, Buffalonians are dealing with a snowstorm that’s set to break several records and may keep them trapped in their houses for a while–white Thanksgiving, anyone?
In the court of public opinion
People were searching for more information about famed comedian Bill Cosby this week after sexual abuse allegations made headlines.
And in the political world, Democrats in the Senate blocked the Keystone XL proposal, a hotly contested initiative to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. While searchers were wondering how this bill would affect gas prices, the door is closed on the issue at the moment.
Teens Aren't What They Used To Be
A toymaker with a mission decided it was makeover time for Barbie, the doll everyone loves to hate. Nickolay Lamm created “normal Barbie,” a doll that everyone could relate to -- less “material girl” and more “girl next door”—non-size zero waist included. Reflecting the body of the average 19-year old woman, both parents and kids have taken a liking to the fact that toy actually...looks like a real person (she looks like my sister!) Complete with freckles and acne sticker expansion packs, we think Lamm’s got the awkward teenage years down pat.
Speaking of teenagers: 16-year-old and 14-year-old celebrity siblings Jaden and Willow Smith, heirs to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s throne, were in the spotlight this week after giving what some might describe as a pretty spacey interview to the New York Times’ T Magazine. The wide-ranging piece covered their thoughts on topics like Prana energy (what?), the duality of the mind (how??) and goals of imprinting yourself on everything (why???) — and baffled social media and searchers alike. Time Magazine got in on the fun and released a poem generator made from the interview’s most interesting quotes. Here’s our Jaden and Willow Smith haiku (spoiler: it doesn’t make any sense).
The most craziest person of all time Driver’s ed? What’s up?
Colonel Mustard in the library
There’s always time for a tale of murder and mystery. This week the Internet played the role of detective as people were curious to learn more about NPR’s new serial Podcast which explores a 15-year-old real life homicide case. The series is insanely popular, hitting the 5 million downloads and streams mark more quickly than any other podcast before it, but not without its fair share of controversy. The victim’s family members have expressed concern about the sensationalization of the case.
Tip of the week
Bored on the bus or subway? Just say “OK Google, flip a coin.” What do yo have to lose?
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [the opposite of apple] and [cellulite stickers].
When I first set up my campaign, I bid only on “Exact Match” for my keywords, as I assumed anyone searching for these exact keywords would be the most likely to purchase my product. While this approach proved satisfying for a while, and provided me with a high CTR and a low CPC on Bing Ads, I expected my impressions to be higher. At this stage in the game, I was really interested in more exposure. How do I get more people to see my ad and click on it?
Here's what I did, thanks to the latest time savers and Opportunities from Bing Ads.
Note that broad match casts the widest possible net for capturing search traffic, so it may not be the right fit for your particular campaign's goals, but if you could benefit from using it, that recommendation will show up on the Opportunities Page.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below, or ping us on Twitter.
Mobile is growing at an incredible rate. Mobile DAUs were 703 million on average for September 2014, an increase of 39% year-over-year. Super numbers.
The bad news is that they’re reducing the number of branded Pages posts that hit the average user feed, again. Facebook softens the blow by saying that this new culling will only impact spammers – which isn’t you, right? But I’m not so sure.
Facebook says that users say they want to see “more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.” That makes sense. Then Facebook follows with this:
We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.
Wait. . . who’s at fault here? The next part really slays me;
This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts.
So, what they’re saying is. . . we’re careful with how many ads we show people so it’s not our fault they’re getting annoyed, it’s you guys.
Translation: all you brands who are reaching Facebook users for free are ruining it for all the big companies who pay to get their content in front of people.
As a result, Facebook is going to stop showing organic posts that feel to promotional, such as:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
This is what Facebook calls a spammy post:
Really? I don’t see anything wrong with that. If this was a post about my favorite TV show, I’d be totally onboard. Now, if Tiger Therapy posted this every day, three times a day for a week, that’s a problem. But as a single instance? What am I missing here?
All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.
Crazy. Then they follow this with a paragraph about how Pages are an important part of Facebook and how they’re working on new features all the time and they cherish their Page partners. I understand the need to . . . forget that, I don’t understand. I will never understand how blocking content that I, as a Facebook user, specifically request via my Page “Like”, makes any sense at all. This isn’t the marketer in me talking, this is the me who would like to see the coupons from my grocery store and the new recipe from the pasta company without having to go look for it.
Ending on an up note:
Globally, people spend around 21 minutes a day on average on Instagram
I think that’s an up-note. If nothing else, it’s darn interesting.
Perhaps in an effort to keep up with Google's new mobile-friendly labels in its search results, Bing is also taking some time to discuss the importance of mobile to search.
Though back in March Bing's mobile search results weren't any different from those you'd see on desktop, Microsoft's chief executive (CEO) Satya Nadella spoke then about our "mobile-first, cloud-first" world. Since then, Bing has taken to using device-specific crawlers that probe websites to gauge the user experience and inform algorithms on various devices and platforms. In other words, mobile friendliness.
According to comScore research, the number of mobile Web users has been on a steady increase, jumping from 400 million in 2007 to nearly 1.8 billion in 2014. comScore expects this year to be the first in which mobile Web usage is expected to surpass that of desktop, despite mobile's inherent difficulties. Those include the difficulty of typing URLs correctly on a tiny phone keyboard, sites that aren't optimized for mobile with tiny fonts or Flash pages, and the frequency with which URLs redirect users to mobile versions. All of these challenges are taken into account when Bing ranks pages on its mobile searches.
The rankings are based on general mobile friendliness, taking into consideration factors like content compatibility, content readability, and mobile functionality. Since different devices don't automatically direct users to the appropriately optimized page, Bing recommends responsive Web design and granting its crawlers access.
"The recent update marks the beginning of our journey toward increased mobile relevance and is now improving a small but steadily growing percentage of our mobile queries," wrote Mir Rosenberg, principal program manager, in a blog post, promising more enhancements in the near future.
Good news, we’ve heard your feedback and are excited to announce that Microsoft Advertising now supports PayPal payout for developers. This means that, in many countries, developers using the Microsoft Advertising SDK to monetize their Windows and Windows Phone apps can now choose to have their payment for ad revenue sent directly to their PayPal account. This includes existing developers. Switching to PayPal is easy and has no impact on payouts or payment history.
You can find answers to common questions about using PayPal as a payment method in this documentation here.
In addition, we thought we’d highlight some basic functionality, along with PayPal availability by geography, right here in this blog.
To add a PayPal account in pubCenter:
- Click on the “Manage account” gear icon on the left side of the screen
- Next to “Payment details”, click “Create payment method”
- Under “Choose a payment method”, select PayPal.
- Fill in your PayPal email address and billing address.
- Click “Next”.
- Once the PayPal account is saved, you can see the account details under “Payment details”.
Developers can get paid via PayPal accounts in the following 25 markets:
Hong Kong SAR
We hope that you find this new functionality to be helpful and look forward to your feedback. We are always looking for new ways to improve the developer experience with Ads in Apps.
One of the most important decisions that you’ll make as a podcaster is the microphone that you’ll be using. After all, you want your podcast to come across to listeners as a credible and professional – which you can’t accomplish if you’re using a subpar microphone. Your podcast needs a professional sound. Yes, listeners know!
That’s not to say that cheaper options, such as that generic headset microphone you’ve used for Skype, can’t handle the job if you’re in a pitch, it just means that you get what you pay for. So, what mics should you be using if you want to have a proper podcast?
Before we make some suggestions, here are some friendly reminders to keep in mind while shopping.
What’s the Difference Between Dynamic and Condenser Microphones?
The two most common mics that you’ll come across are dynamic and condenser microphones. Since I’m not an audio expert, I’ll have the fine folks at Sweetwater Sound Inc. and the Podcast Host explain the differences between the two types.
With a “dynamic microphone, the audio signal is generated by the motion of a conductor within a magnetic field. In most dynamic mics, a very thin, lightweight diaphragm moves in response to sound pressure.”
These mics are less sensitive to sound pressure levels and high frequencies, less expensive than condenser mics and typically don’t have to have a power supply. Furthermore, dynamic mics record less surrounding, but aren’t always as rich.
Condensers, on the other hand, “are more responsive to the “speed” and nuances of sound waves than dynamic mics. This simple mechanical system consists of a thin stretched conductive diaphragm placed close to a metal disk (backplate).” These mics must have a power supply and are usually more expensive. When used in a proper and quiet setting, you can’t beat the quality of a condenser mic. Just be aware that they pick up a lot of background noise.
How to Hook Up a Microphone to Your Computer
This really isn’t that major of concern nowadays. Why? Because USB microphones that are compatible with computers and tablets are becoming more common. This means they work just like any other gadget that you would plug-into a USB port – just simply plug the mic into your device and you’re good-to-go.
But, what if you really love that mic that has that old school XLR plug? That’s not necessarily a problem either, you’ll just have to spend a little extra money to make it work. You can either purchase an adaptor (like the Roland Duo capture UA-11 UA-1G), or a mixer (such as the Behringer Xenyx 802 or the Mackie 402-VLZ4).
If you’re a lone podcaster, or not all that familiar in this area, you just want to stick with a USB mic. It just makes life easier. However, a mixer does have benefits for your podcast, like the boosting the tone of your voice and being able to add multiple mics. Since this isn’t about mixers, I suggest you visit what the Audacity of Podcast has to say on the matter.
Hopefully, you can a better understanding of the different types of microphones that are available on the market. Now it’s time to make some suggestions – in no particular order- that have been based on quality and price. These are top-notch mics that any of us can afford.
1. Heil PR-40
- Type: Dynamic, XLR
- Cost: $327 (Amazon)
- Website: www.heilsound.com/pro/microphones/pr-40
If you’re an advanced podcaster than you definitely need to invest in the Heil PR-40. According to Dan Benjamin, author of the Podcasting Handbook, the “Heil PR-40 is the best dynamic mic I’ve ever used, and I’ve used most of them.” This mic is also recommended by Cliff Ravenscraft, aka the Podcast Answer Man, because it will help improve the quality of your podcast.
Other features, via Amazon, include:
- Generating element: Copper-wound dynamic with neodymium magnet structure
- Body: Steel body with zinc die-cast bottom ring
- Frequency response: 28Hz to 18kHz
- Impedance: 600 ohms balanced
- Output level: -53.9dB @ 1,000 Hz
2. Samson Meteor
- Type: Condenser, USB
- Cost: $49.99 (Amazon)
- Website: http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/microphones/usb-microphones/meteormic/
For the price you can’t beat this nifty portable and durable mic. Even if you don’t take your podcast on the road – which again, is no problem because the legs fold-up-, the Samson Meteor is a great option if space is limited wherever you conduct your podcast. Another great feature with this mic is that since it plugs directly into devices like an iPad, which means that using Garageband to record and edit your podcast has never been easier.
3. Audio-Technica AT2020
At Pubcon 2014 in Las Vegas the SEJ team had the opportunity to catch up with Jake Bohall of Virante, and Joe Youngblood of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, about SEO trends.
Jake discusses how he’s starting to see a shift towards SEO being integrated into all company practices, while Joe discusses some interesting new ways to build links.
Hear them explain more about this in the videos and recaps below:
SEOs Tools: An Interview with Jake Bohall
Here are some key takeaways from the video:
- Jake believes the future of SEO is shifting more towards using tools and having people on your team who are capable of using those tools, instead of some of the more specialty skill sets people have.
- Technical SEO will always be there, says Jake, but certain aspects are becoming more integrated within other business units in a company. For example, link building has become more of a PR strategy with a growing focus on outreach and relationship building.
- Jake thinks the days of writing content by following an SEO on-page checklist are going away in favor of using tools like nTopic to help you create authoritative content.
- To clarify, SEOs will never be replaced. SEOs bring a very valuable skill set to the technical side, whereas developers don’t have that strong marketing sense when they’re building a site. Adhering to Google’s guidelines is not as much of a concern for developers as it is for SEOs.
- Jake says our role as SEOs is going to be more based on the technical side, and then taking that technical expertise and building innovative tools that companies can use in house.
- As SEO becomes more and more complex you’re starting to see more SEOs specializing in individual areas, like keyword research, or local search, etc.
- Jake says the biggest thing an SEO can do right now is identify what their core competency is and focus on that. For a company, the best thing you can do is find a way to educate your staff about SEO practices so you can integrate it throughout your organization.
Quality Link Building: An Interview with Joe Youngblood
Here are some key takeaways from the video:
- Stop being so afraid of building links, Joe says. A lot of site owners try to take the shortcut of buying links due to the instant gratification, rather than putting in the work to try to earn links.
- Instead of asking “What if I do this content marketing thing and I don’t get any links out of it?”, site owners should be more concerned about angering Google by taking the easy way out, and having your site buried in the search results.
- Link building takes time, but you have to stop being afraid to do it.
- One of the biggest concerns Joe sees from site owners is the thought that they might invest a lot of money into creating content that doesn’t gain any traction.
- Instead of second guessing yourself, just start putting in the work. You’ll never see if it works if you don’t do it
- Something Joe pushes a lot is a tactic called “scholarship link building.” You can do a scholarship for as little as a few thousand a year and hand over the management to an entirely separate company, then you’ll get a number of high authority links from universities.
Please visit SEJ’s YouTube page for more video interviews.