Connect

Feb. 02, 2012 | by Gregory Lyons 2012 Mobile Market Share [Infographic]

As has become tradition in February we’ve taken a fresh look at the state of the mobile web and who are the main players with respects to Mobile Operating System (Mobile OS) market share. We looked at 15 countries from all corners of the globe to see what the predominant mobile platforms are in that country and how the situation has changed in the last year.

2011 has been a big year for Android, with the platform seeing massive growth in many countries, growing from 17% to 47% in Spain in the last year and from 6% to 45% in Peru. In the UK Android has grown by 10% which has mostly been at the expense of Nokia and BlackBerry which have fallen 2% and 7% respectively.

Of the 15 countries we looked at, BlackBerry only had a significant presence in two markets (USA & UK) and has lost a significant amount of market share in the USA dropping 26% in the last 12 months, with both Apple
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Jan. 26, 2012 | by Sam Zindel Google privacy announcement: “will benefit us…I mean users”*

[*not an actual Google quote]

On Tuesday Google announced via its blog that from 1st March, more than 60 of its privacy policies will be helpfully consolidated into one, easy to read document. What a fantastic idea! We all know how sensitive the issue of internet privacy has become and anything that provides transparency in a simple way has to be of great benefit to internet users.

But before we shake Google by the hand for doing the honourable thing and distinguishing themselves from privacy flouters like Facebook, let’s investigate what this privacy update actually means…are Google demonstrating transparency or are they pursuing a commercial agenda under the cover of advocating privacy?
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Jan. 23, 2012 | by Daniel.Fernandez Is Google using gamification to increase engagement on Google+?

A new game of Google maps will be available for Google+ customers next month.

Below is a screenshot of the video called “Play Your World with Google Maps” released by Google a few days ago.

Google maps game

It is not a surprise that Google and other large companies such as Nike, McDonalds or eBay amongst others are taking the online gamer community very seriously.  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Gamer community stats

According to Jane McGonigal, author of the book ‘Reality is broken’ the online gamer community –including console, PC and mobile phone gaming – counts for:

  • More than 4m gamers in the Middle East
  • 10m in Russia
  • 105m in India
  • 10m in Mexico
  • 13m in Central and South America
  • 10m in Vietnam
  • 15m in Australia
  • 17m in South Korea
  • 100m in Europe (31m in the UK)
  • 200m in China
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Jan. 20, 2012 | by Sam Zindel The BIG Fight – Internet Privacy vs Google Analytics 5

Following the connect post on the content battle by Jeremy Head there is another head-to-head brewing in 2012…

With the old Google Analytics (GA) interface being phased out later this month, I take a look at the duel between Internet Privacy and Google Analytics that is likely to be more heated than ever in the coming year. Analysts like myself are preparing to wrestle with reduced data samples and doubts over the reliability of tracking data in Google Analytics.

[The purpose of this blog post is to inject an element of humour whilst identifying some of the new GA5 features and privacy-driven issues undermining GA’s performance upgrade - likely to impact GA in 2012. In the week that ‘The Greatest’ turned 70, there is only one way to sort this out…]

Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Let’s Get Ready To Rummmmblllllllllllllle!

In the red corner representing the interests of personal internet users across the globe, weighing in at 201lbs, the rising challenge to tracking data and analyst insight – Internet ‘it’s the law’ Privacy

In the blue corner representing web analytics and e-commerce marketers from around the world, weighing in at 220lbs, the undisputed heavyweight champion of website statistics – Google ‘Real-Time’ Analytics 5

“Ding-Ding”

 

Google Analytics 5 comes out fighting early in 2012 giving the crowd what they hoped for. Packed with new features that not only look pretty but fill some of the gaps that have frustrated data enthusiasts for some time.
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Jan. 20, 2012 | by Mark.Williams Google addresses sites with too many banners

Have you ever clicked on a search engine result and been presented with a page heavily laden with adverts above the content you are looking for? Well over the coming weeks Google will be rolling out a new algorithm update, the direct target of which will be these pages.

The algorithm change is being referred to as a “page layout algorithm” and is in response to complaints that Google has been receiving from its users. It looks as though it will work in a similar manner to the Panda updates that we have seen in previous months. The algorithm will assess the amount of advertising above the fold on pages. If the level of advertising is deemed too high on any site, the entire site will be down-ranked in the next update.

So if this algorithm affects a site that you are working on, how can you resolve the issue? You will likely have to remove some of the banner adverts, when Google next visits the changes will be noted and then when the next algorithm refresh occurs your site will return to its original rankings.

We will have to see how far this algorithm change goes, however initial thoughts are that this could heavily affect download sites which are commonly known to heavily use (often unrelated) banner advertising. This could also affect publishers and retailers who rely on banner advertising revenues. It has been stated widely though that this change will not affect sites that use roll over, overlay or pop up banners, which have become more common these days. With this in mind maybe this change may just mop those sites which are clearly filling the entire screen with banner ads. What are your initial thoughts on this change?

 

Jan. 20, 2012 | by jelly Hidden Facebook messages

If someone told you that there is a hidden folder of messages waiting for you on the internet, full of elapsed party invites, unclaimed competition prizes, missed connections and even job offers from months ago, would you believe them? Of course not.

But this is no scam or hoax. Facebook – that very website you rely on to keep you in touch with friends, family and important messages like these – has been deciding on our behalf which personal messages we are likely to want to see, and which it thinks won’t be of interest to us. The messages we receive notifications for on a daily basis have been deemed worthy of our attention, and everything else automatically ends up in a buried folder. Because these less-worthy messages don’t show up with a notification, you wouldn’t know about their existence unless you specifically know to check the folder.

As soon as I found out about this quirk, I looked through my buried messages folder. I had missed out on some festival tickets I won back in July as a Facebook competition prize. I also missed out on a speaking invitation and an enquiry from a journalist, amongst countless messages from interesting people trying to get in touch with me. Facebook, that’s a fail. I trust you to connect me with these people and opportunities, and you’ve let me down.

What have you missed out on? To find your hidden messages folder, sign in to your Facebook account and go to your main news feed page. On the left hand side of the page, click ‘Messages’, and then click ‘Other’ that appears underneath this link. Be prepared to be very annoyed.

I posted my frustrations on my Facebook wall, and it turns out that many of my friends have missed equally important messages.  One said, “I’m so angry! Had four messages under ‘other’ offering to buy a festival ticket I desperately needed to sell for a lot more than I ended up parting with it for.” Another ran a boat owners’ association Page on Facebook and missed messages from potential members asking for information about their boat.
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Jan. 19, 2012 | by farah.alkhalisi Latest automotive apps and in-car tech news

The recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the annual Detroit Auto Show both saw the unveiling of new apps and tech for in-car connectivity – and highlighted the speed with which this technology is developing.

The Chevrolet Volt research concept vehicle at CES showcased General Motors’ second-generation OnStar system. Users can stream content from the cloud using the Verizon  Wireless 4G LTS network, and share this between users; two rear-seat passengers can enjoy different music, video, games, news and other cached or streamed files, thanks to independent controls, as well as making Skype video calls.

The existing OnStar telematics system has been developed to enable owners of the Volt (a range-extended electric vehicle) to remotely access data on the state of its battery charge and remaining battery range, locations of nearby charging points, reservation of charging points, and vehicle diagnostics thanks to a full integration of the RemoteLink mobile app. OnStar also allows home energy management – control of thermostats, lights and garage doors whilst on the road. OnStar is also to open up its application programming interface to third-party developers, reports Gizmag, with the first partner to be car-share company RelayRides.

Useful apps are available for electric cars already on sale, such as the Nissan Leaf and its Carwings app, but BMW takes things a stage further with the app it’ll offer with the i3 (on sale 2013). A preview on Facebook advises drivers on how to integrate their car journey with other forms of transport – whether train for a long-distance trip out of battery range, or going it alone on foot.
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Jan. 19, 2012 | by Modestos Siotos A Timeline Of Google’s Actions Towards the Social Graph and Author Authority

In 2010 it was the first time that both Google and Bing confirmed that links shared through Facebook and Twitter had some impact on rankings. They even went a bit further highlighting author authority (Google) and social authority (Bing) as the most important social signals search engines take into account. In simple words, a link tweeted by an authoritative person would carry more weight and could potentially help the linked page rank higher in the search results. Several interesting experiments have been carried out since then confirming Google’s and Bing’s arguments like this, this, and this.

In a research paper published in 2010, Google openly unveiled their intent to establish a new, interaction-based metric in order to shape the social graph. The following excerpt which appears in the conclusion of the paper,  is in agreement with most of  the updates Google introduced in organic search over the past 12 months:

“We studied the implicit social graph, a social network that is constructed by the interactions between users and their groups. We proposed an interaction-based metric for computing the relative importance of the contacts and groups in a user’s egocentric network, that takes into account the recency, frequency, and direction of interactions”

Terms like Author RankAgent RankSocial Rank and Interaction Rank are likely to become part of the daily jargon in internet marketing very soon. The following series of events depict evidently how the social graph is influencing search results more than ever before shaping a trend that will continue to grow.
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Jan. 18, 2012 | by Jeremy Head Let the content battle begin!

I think 2012 is going to be a really interesting year for content creators like me.

Regular readers of connect will know we’ve talked a lot about the Panda update to the Google search algorithm. A key reason for this update was to try and stamp out the really poor quality content that mucked up search results. Content farms were publishing 1000s of pages using search term research to create content that did just enough to fool search engines into ranking them high up in their search results. This was seriously impacting the quality of people’s search experience.

Panda kind of worked –a lot of the junk has dropped right off the search results. Many bonafide companies would argue they have been unfairly demoted too, whilst big brands seem to have done rather well.

The changes to Google’s algorithms in 2011 make it clear that it is increasingly serious about ensuring that quality content from trusted brands gets pushed further up the search results.

Content will matter like never before in 2012 – I see a really interesting battle on the horizon.

In the blue corner! Brands

‘Brands as publishers’ is a buzz phrase that has been around a while. With the arrival of the web, publishing was democratised. The right to an opinion that can be widely published is no longer exclusive to traditional publishers like newspapers, magazines and TV.

Up to now, brands have only dabbled with publishing online content for engagement and conversation, rather than to sell products. Why?

Firstly, cost. Creating great content involves serious investment. Why bother if sales are ticking along nicely? Just because you can publish content aimed at engaging with people before they’re serious about buying doesn’t mean you actually need to.
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Jan. 11, 2012 | by Adam Skalak Google gets personal with search plus your world

Just 11 days into 2012 and Google is launching a major change. Anyone signed in to Google will start getting results personalised based on their Google+ network in the main Google search. Google announced that the main new features include Personal results, Profiles in search and People and Pages. So content from Google+ together with content from other social sites integrated in the main web search results. This merge of content, people and relationships is a big shift for Google that isn’t about Google bringing the Facebook (Google+) experience to your regular Google. They are bringing search into a Facebook (Google+) experience and re-hosting it as your normal Google.

A more narrow SEO view could be an expansion of Universal results. Depending on the query and its context Google’s algorithm blends the standard webpage results with images, videos, news, blog content, maps and so on. With Search plus Your World Google is going to blend personal and even private results into the existing Universal results (e.g. Google+ photos into Universal image results) and also add new boxes with content from People and Page profiles (status updates).

From a digital marketing perspective this change is going to make our lives and campaigns even more interesting. Just like with the launch of Universal results we will be looking to gain and sustain visibility in these new verticals. Our Google SEO strategies will need to be expanded to analyse keywords, customer segments and industry verticals for which we will need to come up with content strategies that gain enough social signals to appear in Google’s new results. Imagine a situation where you search for a keyword in Google and the new personalised results feature prominently. While these results will be personalised to every searcher, brands that produce content that is useful, engaging, relevant and timely will be able to gain visibility and clicks. Google’s algorithm filters out duplicate content therefore strategies for Google+ should provide content that is unique and refrain from duplicates of Twitter or blog posts.
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