Weekly Digital News Roundup: January 18 – 22
Facebook Announces Its Third Pillar “Graph Search” That Gives You Answers, Not Links Like Google
- Tuesday at Facebook’s press event, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced its latest product, called Graph Search. Zuckerberg made it very clear that this is not web search, but completely different.
- Zuckerberg explained the difference between web search and Graph Search. “Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers.” Linking things together based on things that you’re interested in is a “very hard technical problem,” according to Zuckerberg. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer.” For example, you could ask Graph Search “Who are my friends that live in San Francisco?”
- Zuckerberg says that Graph Search is in “very early beta.” People, photos, places and interests are the focus for the first iteration of the product. He then announced a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing, so Facebook, in a way, is a true Google competitor. This is a huge lift for Microsoft. Graph Search won’t just change the way we use Facebook. It could also pull users away from other services like Yelp and Foursquare, and create huge advertising opportunities for Facebook.
The New MySpace: Music Meets Social, Done Right
- According to Mashable, MySpace is back, and it’s no exaggeration to say it’s better than ever. The service opened in limited form last fall, and now it’s available to anyone who wants to join. From the first minute you spend on the site, it’s clear that the new MySpace has learned a lot from successful social networks, especially those that emphasize visual media, such as Pinterest.
- The site is clearly intended to be first and foremost a music service, mixing a Spotify-like player (and radio) with elements of Facebook and Pinterest. MySpace has a top-notch music player, which interacts with the site content extremely well. It constantly resides at the bottom of the screen, and whatever media you select enters the queue and starts playing as soon as you click on it.
- From the user experience alone, it’s hard not to declare the new MySpace a success. However, the challenges it now faces are of marketing and overcoming its own past. In that way, the new MySpace reminds one of Windows 8: All the tools for success are now in place, and now it just needs to overcome prejudice and convince the audience to respond.
Adobe: Google PLA Spend Nearly The Size Of Yahoo-Bing Spend (US)
- According to WebProNews, Kenshoo recently released some research about Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs), the ads that power Google Shopping. The report indicated that PLAs are more effective than text ads, with higher return on ad spend, clickthrough rates, and conversion rates and lower cost-per-click. In Q4, PLAs accounted for 10.7% of overall spend indicating that Google’s PLA program is only a little smaller than the Yahoo Bing network, which is 13.8% of total retail ad spend. Perhaps this has something to do with why Bing has been campaigning so hard against Google’s switch to the current PLA-based Google Shopping model.
- “Comparing PLA vs. standard text ads provides us with some interesting insights,” says Sid Shah, Director of Business Analytics at Adobe. “First, PLAs have a 34% higher Click Through Rate (CTR) than non-PLA ads, which is not surprising given the ads pictorial format (compared to standard Google text ads). Second, the average order value (AOV) for PLA ads is 12% lower than standard ads. Again, this is not surprising given that prices are shown on PLA ads. Third, ROI and CPCs on PLA ads are comparable to standard ads too. Thus, the market has seamlessly rationalized the price of PLA ads so that their performance is comparable to the standard ad ROI.”
- One of the main takeaways, Shah says, is that retailers should consider how PLAs played such a significant role during the past retail season, and think about optimizing coming PLA campaigns from both the bid and feed management perspectives.