Google has finally started allowing new businesses in the UK, Ireland and USA to signup to Google Places for Business with their new and improved dashboard but existing users will still have to wait for the gradual roll out.
There is also an upcoming update to their platform to managing multiple locations which should make using their platform a more enjoyable for anyone with more than 10 locations, but no firm date on this upgrade. Currently there is still no integration with Google+ which will enable you to upgrade your existing places listing to a Google+ page but don’t hold your breath.
The other big change with the new dashboard upgrade is that you have to use the auto-complete categories and cannot add SEO friendly custom categories anymore which maybe a sad moment for many who play in the local SEO place. Heads up to Mike Blumenthal for spotting the Google product forum update last week.
Twitter has moved to counter Google Offers integration into Google+ with their Lead Generation Cards that allow brands to capture user interest in their offers directly from within their feed.
The “richer” experience is a boom for marketers who can now capture their users email addresses from within Twitter without worrying about users having to leave the comfort of Twitter to fill out a lead for on their website. The upside is now signup rates are likely to be much higher for Twitter specific offers.
The downside is that brands are losing potential insight they can capture directly into their web analytics platform, they can’t tag visitors who subscribe with remarketing cookies to stalk at a later point and they have limited control over the form which means no real opportunity for conversion optimisation.
The platform is only available to big advertisers currently but you can expect this product will be available globally soon enough.
Pinterest have been following what both Google+, Facebook & Twitter are doing with their rich snippets and have finally rolled out their own platform called “Rich Pins” which enables products, movies and recipes to become more useful for users.
Their new product rich pin offers users the ability to see product pricing, availability and where they can buy it online from within Pinterest, you can see a live example for KIND Healthy Snacks .
The recipes rich pin offers users the ability to see product cooking times, ingredients and how many people this can serve which turns Pinterest into a little recipe goldmine, you can see a live example for Oven Fried Chicken.
The movie rich pin offers users the ability to see a movies scorecard, director and actor details from within pinterest, you can see a live example for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The benefit to marketers in these 3 spaces is that Pinterest just became your new marketing channel that you can no longer ignore and you can expect since their “Rich Pins” platform is built around oEmbed and Semantic markup (Schema.org & Open Graph) that other platforms will support these rich pins soon enough.
Foursquare continue to expand their commercial agreements for the use of their users check-in data and this time they have partnered exclusively with Gnip to distribute their real-time places data.
Why should marketers be interested? The big point is that Foursquare has 35 million registered users and 4 billion check-ins within their database that has been anonymised and ready for analysis by researchers and businesses. Some of the suggested uses has been getting a real-time pulse on holiday shopping trends, impacts to retail behaviour due to local weather changes such as heatwaves, snow storms, hurricanes or rain storms, the analysis and visualisations possible are amazing as seen by the WSJ Week on Foursquare study.
It now should also be possible to integrate Foursquare check-in data with your Google Analytics via Measurement Protocol Overview to see how local activity impacts your online activities.
According to a post by Laurie Sullivan from MediaPost during a Google webinar, it was announced the AdWords team has further expanded the market for AdWords by launching a new feature that allows for tracking in-app interactions and purchases, which sounds like Google are taking their tracking features beyond the current native application tracking via Google Analytics to a new level.
The expanded features also highlight the ability focus on a specific CPA figure but also will soon allow for remarketing based on pre-defined custom sections within your app allowing you to target “upgrades” to users who do not reach a certain level or offer discounted “upgrades” to heavy users who progress to a certain level.
This does allow for marketers with enough time and money the ability to produce some very targeted campaigns to lift in-app purchases and obviously spend more money on AdWords.
In an interesting move everyone’s favourite anti-spam search engine has done the opposite of what many websites are doing and taken their tablet format and brought it to the desktop format.
The change in platform is likely based on their design to offer a user-centric design that is consistent across platforms and based on their data the tablet format offered a better experience as users are slowly moving to touch screen devices.
They have a fairly detailed post about the changes and are encouraging users to send them your thoughts, feedback and ideas to feedback AT blekko.com
In a move that is going to help pay off the $1 billion Yahoo! spent buying Tumblr, they have announced that they will be now bringing sponsored posts to the desktop version of their platform, following their obvious success on their mobile app.
Some of the first partners onboard are fast-food restaurant Denny’s which have correctly appealed to the audience by producing an animated GIF for their Tumblr web ads. It will be interesting to see how the users respond to the changes to the platform but I think it’s just a business decision they have made and with the clear disclosure at the top right they have done it the right way.
I just hope that advertisers respect the channels audiences and follow Denny’s lead and produce something unique and tailored to Tumblr and not just rehash crap ads they are showing on other channels.
BuzzFeed is not content with being just the site for weird stories, funny pictures and animated GIFs on topics such as “10 Llamas who wish they were models”, “More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Rihanna’s Brazilian Waxing Habits”, “20 Sentences Every Grad Student Has Uttered”, “The 16 Cats You Meet On Grindr” and so many more.
They have been expanding their content marketing partnerships and partners, but have now set their sites on a serious play for video with a partnership with CNN.com.
The move into video should not be hard for BuzzFeed who has already produced more than 500 videos with 170,000,000 views but it will be interesting to see how the new original posts and video mash-ups based on CNN’s massive video archive of exclusive footage.
It seems that Twitter is trying to bring businesses back on-board with their Certified Products program, which started off with a US-centric list of companies. The 11 new additions to their program include companies from Japan, South America and Europe.
If you have a product that brings new users to their platform, encouragees increased use of Twitter or makes their platform more valuable to business you might want to check how your product matches to their requirements and apply.
The advantages to platforms is that you can add some social media street cred by being able to display the Twitter Certified Product badges on your website and you get a somewhat exclusive backlink from Twitter to your product page helping your SEO.
I think this is well overdue for Facebook as people share so much crap from fake pages it’s great to see a little blue tick of approval that the post they just shared is authentic and will also be added to individual profiles.
It’s great to see charities like Kiva, American Red Cross are some of the first on board with the new program but it would be nice to see some more international charities such as Lost Dogs Home, RSPCA Australia would be on-board from launch. It’s certainly a invite only list focused on US companies, celebrities and a handful of global sporting brands.
I do find it interesting to see 5 of the top 10 pages on Facebook are not yet verified: YouTube (72mil), Texas Holdem Poker (69mil), The Simpsons (64mil), Harry Potter (62mil), Michael Jackson (59mil) even with their giant fan-base.
For their verified pages platform to work they need to ensure it expands globally otherwise it will just shift the spam/issues across to international Facebook brands/pages that cannot yet benefit from being verified.