Weekly Digital News Roundup: Dec 19 – 23

Weekly Digital News Roundup: Dec 19 – 23

50 Percent Increase in Google+ Fanbase

  • Last week, we discussed Google’s ability to use Google+ as an incentive for brands to create active profiles and circles. While the company hasn’t added Google+ to their search ranking algorithm yet, the possibility of this happening is enough for an increasing number of brands to create pages on the newest social network.
  • BrightEdge’s SocialShare report shows that 77% of the top 100 brands now have Google+ pages. November showed this number was at 61%. The difference isn’t huge, but it’s still edging closer to Facebook’s 93%.
  • Followers have also increased on Google+. Among the top 100 brands, Google+ brand pages saw an increase of over 50% in fans, with numbers rising from 147k to 222k in December. Of course, if Google makes the decision to incorporate presence and page activity into their search algorithm, we can expect to see a larger push for companies to create active Google+ profiles and bring more users to the website.

Paid Search Slows

  • The ad dollar’s future is leaning towards “progressively slowing growth rates,” as reported by Kantar Media. Paid search has declined by 14%, a trend which the company attributes to reduced spending by insurance companies, legal, and medical services. Display, on the other hand, shows a 15.8% increase in spending.
  • SVP Researcher Jon Swallen says, “From +4.1 percent in the first quarter, to +2.8 percent in the second quarter an dnow a barely palpable +0.4 percent for the July to September period. During Q3, an expanding number of the largest marketers became even more conservative with their ad budgets and these reductions have neutralized the healthy spending growth occurring among mid-sized advertisers.”
  • Theories are everywhere regarding why paid search is taking such a dive and display is on the rise. Maybe companies are shifting their focus to the possibilities surrounding display advertising, thereby lessening the importance of paid search – but I’m just guessing here. What are your theories?

Facebook Brings Sponsored Stories to News Feeds

  • In a move that surprised no one, Facebook has stated its plans to incorporate Sponsored Stories with users’ news feeds next year. The term might sound familiar – Facebook has introduced Sponsored Stories before, once appearing in 2006 and reappearing as a different product last January.
  • Sponsored Stories will be actualized by posting ads based on a user’s friends’ activities. A Facebook rep has emphasized that the ads will be used sparingly, appearing in the form of one ad per day at the maximum.
  • The fact that the company is taking this new ad action despite less-than-positive feedback from their users seems like a low blow, but it’s easy to see how Sponsored Stories can be lucrative for Facebook. Perhaps in an attempt to garner more pathos, Facebook has recently released a user-friendly diagram that describes how the company makes money from ads. This appears to be a way to temper their users’ inevitable backlash because it’s as though the company is saying, “Hey, it’s ads like these that keep Facebook free.” Thanks, Facebook. I guess.
Scott Kaufmann
[email protected]

Scott is Partner at Lucid Agency and a lover of all things technology, marketing, investing and entrepreneurship. Scott volunteers on the board of the Denver-based Nonprofit Celebrate EDU and as a mentor for SeedSpot (a Phoenix-based social startup incubator).

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