Weekly Digital News Roundup: February 1 – 5
Small Firms Say LinkedIn Works, Twitter Doesn’t
- According to the Wall Street Journal, six out of 10 small-business owners say they believe social-media tools are valuable to their company’s growth—but most aren’t impressed by Twitter Inc. Just 3% of 835 business owners surveyed earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International said Twitter had the most potential to help their companies.
- Professional-networking service LinkedInCorp. topped the survey, with 41% of respondents singling it out as potentially beneficial to their company. Sixteen percent picked YouTube, the video service owned by Google Inc., and 14% chose social network Facebook Inc. The findings illustrate the challenges facing Twitter in demonstrating to small-business owners the benefits of using the short-messaging service to reach customers.
- Owners of small firms generally have limited money and time to figure out the most useful ways to tap into social media. In the survey, just four in 10 business owners said they have employees dedicated to social-media campaigns. Nearly half of them spend between one and five hours weekly on social media, and one-third spend no time at all. Twitter says it is just beginning to court small businesses, which make up the bulk of U.S. companies, and are an important revenue source for many tech giants, including Google.
Bing Is About To Get Some Product Listing Ads Of Its Own
- According to WebProNews, David Pann, GM of Microsoft’s Search Network, says that we can expect Bing’s version of product listing ads sometime this year. This may raise a few eyebrows, considering Bing’s heavy campaigning against Google’s PLA-based Google Shopping model, but rest assured, Bing’s not about to start doing what it’s been criticizing Google for.
- Though there isn’t much in the way of details about Bing’s coming product listing ads (even their official name), Pann says it’s not going to result in a pay to play system for Bing Shopping the way Google Shopping is set up. Google Shopping (as of October in the U.S. and since in other countries) is based solely on PLAs, but Bing will retain free listings as well. Pann says there is room for free and paid to co-exist.
- Pann attributes the Bing Ads momentum to a variety of factors. One is new ad formats like its version of sitelinks, which Pann says have seen rapid adoption. According to Pann, advertisers come over with the mentality of “It performs well over there [Google], so it will here too.” Another factor, Pann says, has been Microsoft’s efforts in reducing friction for advertisers and making the system easier to use. He says Microsoft has adopted the philosophy of “what takes 45 minutes in AdWords should take 15 minutes with Bing Ads”. Microsoft and Pann appear quite pleased with the level of success Bing Ads have seen in recent months, but Pann says, “We’re not finished by any means.”
Facebook’s Solid Results Are Greeted Cautiously
- According to the New York Times, Facebook made a lot of money in the last quarter. It also spent a lot. And that made investors once again cautious about the company. After an eight-month roller coaster ride on the public markets, Facebook did well in the fourth quarter of 2012 by aggressively ramping up advertisements aimed at its users, including on mobile phones. In its financial report on Wednesday, it beat expectations, increasing revenue by a handsome 40 percent from the same period a year ago.
- But its expenses also climbed rapidly as the company hired engineers and built data centers, causing profit to dip from the last quarter in 2011. With that, Wall Street lost some enthusiasm. Facebook shares, which had closed at $31.24 on Wednesday, fell more than 3 percent in after-hours trading after the results were released.
- Facebook remains a shadow of its principal rival, Google. With about $5 billion in revenue in 2012, Facebook earned a little under one-tenth of what Google brought in. Even in the mobile advertising business, Google takes in over half of all revenue, compared to about 8 percent by Facebook, the research firm, eMarketer estimates.