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Learn key insights that will help you understand how the algorithms of Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook work.

Here’s an old question that gets asked every year:

How do social media algorithms work?

But, you can often uncover strategic insights by looking at an old question like this one from a different perspective.

In fact, there’s a term for this effect.

It’s called the “parallax” view.

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For example, marketers often look for influencers on the social media platforms with the greatest reach.

But, influencers evaluate these same platforms based on their opportunity to grow their audience and make more money.

 

This explains why The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report found that the top five social media platforms for influencer marketing are:

  • Instagram (82%).
  • YouTube (41%).
  • TikTok (23%).
  • Twitter (23%).
  • Facebook (5%).

This list made me wonder why marketers focus on the reach of their campaign’s outputs, but influencers are focused on the growth of their program’s outcomes.

Influencers want to learn how the Instagram and YouTube algorithms work, because they want their videos discovered by more people.

And influencers are interested in learning how the TikTok and Twitter algorithms work, because they are thinking about creating content for those platforms.

Facebook’s algorithm, however, doesn’t seem quite as important to today’s influencers – unless Facebook represents a significant opportunity for them to make more money.

There are a lot of strategic insights that marketers can glean from looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.

How the Instagram Algorithm Works

Back in 2016, Instagram stopped using a reverse-chronological feed.

Since then, the posts in each user’s feed on the platform has been ordered according to the Instagram algorithm’s ranking signals.

According to the Instagram Help Center:

“Instagram’s technology uses different ways, or signals, to determine the order of posts in your feed. These signals are used to help determine how your feed is ordered, and may include:

  • “Likelihood you’ll be interested in the content.
  • “Date the post was shared.
  • “Previous interactions with the person posting.”

This has a profound impact on influencers – as well as the marketers who are trying to identify the right influencers, find the right engagement tactics, and measure the performance of their programs.

Relevance

The first key signal is relevance, not reach.

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Why?

Because Instagram users are more likely to be interested in an influencer’s content if it is relevant – if it’s about what interests them.

In other words, if you’re interested in football (a.k.a., soccer), then the likelihood that you’ll be interested in content by Nabaa Al Dabbagh, aka “I Speak Football Only,” is high.

But, far too many marketers are looking for celebrities and mega-influencers who have lots of Instagram followers (a.k.a., reach), instead of looking for macro-, mid-tier, micro-, or nano-influencers who are creating relevant content that their target audience is more likely to find interesting.

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Recency

The second key signal is recency, or how recently a post has been shared.

This gives an advantage to influencers like Marwan Parham Al Awadhi, a.k.a., “DJ Bliss,” who post frequently.

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Unfortunately, far too many marketers are engaging influencers to create a single post during a campaign instead of building a long-term relationship with brand advocates who will generate a series of posts that recommend their brand on an ongoing basis.

Resonance

The third key signal is resonance.

In other words, how engaging are an influencer’s posts?

Do they prompt interactions such as comments, likes, reshares, and views with the influencer’s audience?

And, unfortunately, way too many marketers assume that an influencer’s post that mentions their brand has increased their brand awareness, using bogus metrics like Earned Media Value (EMV).

If they’d read, Why International Search Marketers Should Care About Brand Measurement, then they’d realize there are a variety of legitimate ways to measure the impact of an influencer marketing campaign on:

  • Brand awareness.
  • Brand frequency.
  • Brand familiarity.
  • Brand favorability.
  • Brand emotions.
  • Purchase consideration.
  • Brand preference.
  • Brand demand.

Using this parallax view, it’s easy to see that too many marketers mistakenly think influencer marketing is just like display advertising.

They’re buying posts from influencers the same way they would buy ads from publishers.

So, marketers who only look at an influencer’s reach shouldn’t be shocked, shocked to discover that some influencers are using bad practices such as fake followers, bots, and fraud to inflate their numbers.

If you use a one-dimensional view of an influencer’s influence, then you reap what you sow.

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

Now, I’ve already written several articles on how the YouTube algorithm works, including:

But, these articles were written for marketers, not influencers.

So, what can we learn from looking at YouTube’s algorithm from an influencer’s point of view?

Well, according to YouTube Help:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction.”

So, YouTube influencers need to start by creating great content on discoverable topics.

Why?

Well, YouTube is one of the most-used search engines in the world.

People visit the site looking for videos about all sorts of subjects.

These viewers may not necessarily be looking for a specific influencer’s video, but they’ll discover it if it ranks well in YouTube search results or suggested videos.

Learn how to use Google Trends to find out what your audiences is looking for on YouTube.

The default results in Google Trends show “web search” interest in a search term or a topic.

But, if you click on the “web search” tab, the drop-down menu will show you that one of your other options is “YouTube search” interest.

YouTube influencers can then use what they see to inform their content strategies.

For example, you might learn that there was 31% more YouTube search interest worldwide in the topic, beauty, than in the topic, fashion.

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Or you might discover that there was 18 times more YouTube search interest worldwide in the sport, drifting, than in the sport, motorsport.

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YouTube’s algorithm can’t watch your videos, so you need to optimize your metadata, including your titles, tags, and descriptions.

Unfortunately, most marketers don’t use this approach to find the search terms and topics on YouTube that are relevant for their brand and then identify the influencers who are creating content that ranks well for these keywords and phrases.

Now, getting your YouTube video content discovered is only half the battle.

 

Influencers also need to build long watch-time sessions for their content by organizing and featuring content on their channel, including using series playlists.

As YouTube Help explains:

“A series playlist allows you to mark your playlist as an official set of videos that should be viewed together. Adding videos to a series playlist allows other videos in the playlist to be featured and recommended when someone is viewing a video in the series. YouTube may use this info to modify how the videos are presented or discovered.”

Fortunately, one of the guest speakers for NMA’s program was Mark Wiens, one of the most famous food vloggers in the world.

His YouTube channel has more than 1.4 billion views and almost 6.7 million subscribers.

Here are examples of the playlists that he had created, including Thai food and travel guides.

mark wien

Now, marketers could also look over the playlists on the YouTube channels of influencers when they’re evaluating which ones are “right” for a campaign.

However, I strongly suspect that this only happens once in a blue moon.

 

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

The TikTok Newsroom posted How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou just before I was scheduled to talk about this topic.

Hey, sometimes you get lucky.

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Here’s what I learned:

“When you open TikTok and land in your For You feed, you’re presented with a stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

 

 

So, how does this platform’s recommendation system work?

According to TikTok:

“Recommendations are based on a number of factors, including things like:

  • “User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
  • “Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • “Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimized for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences.”

The TikTok Newsroom adds:

“All these factors are processed by our recommendation system and weighted based on their value to a user. A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country. Videos are then ranked to determine the likelihood of a user’s interest in a piece of content, and delivered to each unique For You feed.”

TikTok cautions:

“While a video is likely to receive more views if posted by an account that has more followers, by virtue of that account having built up a larger follower base, neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system.”

It’s worth noting that Oracle has won the bid to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations after ByteDance rejected a bid by Walmart and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, YouTube released YouTube Shorts, a TikTok-like feature, while Facebook recently launched Instagram Reels, which is basically a TikTok knock-off.

So, it appears that some very big players are convinced that TikTok represents a significant opportunity to make more money, or a competitive threat to the growth of their own social media platforms.

I wish that I could add more, but I’m a stranger here myself.

How Does Twitter’s Algorithm Work?

When Twitter was launched back in 2006, it had a simple timeline structure and tweets were displayed in reverse chronological order from the people you followed.

 

 

But, like other social media, Twitter started using an algorithm to show users posts that different factors indicate they’ll like.

The biggest recent change to Twitter’s algorithm took place in 2017.

According to a Twitter blog post by Nicolas Koumchatzky and Anton Andryeyev:

“Right after gathering all Tweets, each is scored by a relevance model. The model’s score predicts how interesting and engaging a Tweet would be specifically to you. A set of highest-scoring Tweets is then shown at the top of your timeline, with the remainder shown directly below.”

Their post added:

“Depending on the number of candidate Tweets we have available for you and the amount of time since your last visit, we may choose to also show you a dedicated “In case you missed it” module. This modules meant to contain only a small handful of the very most relevant Tweets ordered by their relevance score, whereas the ranked timeline contains relevant Tweets ordered by time. The intent is to let you see the best Tweets at a glance first before delving into the lengthier time-ordered sections.”

How Does Facebook’s Algorithm Work?

The biggest recent change to Facebook’s algorithm took place in January 2018.

In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg announced:

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

He added:

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

That same day, Adam Mosseri, who was then the head of News Feed, also wrote a Facebbok post that said:

“Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”

He added:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

So, it isn’t surprising that influencers got the memo.

Which explains why so few believe Facebook represents a significant opportunity to make more money.

Ironically, it’s unclear that marketers got the memo.

Far too many are still cranking out Facebook posts and videos despite the fact that few people are reacting to, commenting on, or sharing them.

Or, as I wrote in Two Social Media Vanity Metrics You Need to Stop Tracking, marketers should stop tracking Facebook Page Likes and Followers because “you’re lucky if .0035% of your Fans and Followers even sees your post or tweet these days.”

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The Takeaway

These are just some of the strategic insights that marketers can discover by looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.

If you’re a marketer, then I suggest you move most of the people and budget that you’ve dedicated to creating branded content on Facebook into influencer marketing on Instagram and YouTube.

As for TikTok and Twitter, wait until after the dust settles later this year.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Greg Jarboe - Uploaded by the Association Member: Corey Parker]

Categorized in Social

Facebook is merging Messenger chats with Instagram direct messages, giving users a way to access both inboxes from the same place.

Facebook is giving users the option to merge their Messenger inbox with Instagram Direct, which grants the ability to send messages across platforms.

Users are seeing a pop-up when opening the Instagram app informing them about this update.

“There’s a New Way to Message on Instagram,” the pop-up reads.

The notice goes on to emphasize the following benefits of merging the two chat platforms:

  • New colorful look for your chats
  • React with any emoji
  • Swipe to reply to messages
  • Chat with friends who use Facebook

Before you choose to update, be aware that it will change the entire look and feel of your Instagram direct message inbox.

 

Instagram Direct will suddenly look more like Facebook Messenger. Even the icon at the top right of the screen will be replaced with the Messenger icon.

Those who prefer things the way they are will be happy to know this update is completely optional.

If you enjoy the classic design of Instagram DM’s, or you want to keep the two inboxes separate, select the “Not Now” option at the very bottom of the alert.

Users who are on board with merging the two inboxes can go ahead and select “Update.”

Here’s what the alert looks like:

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Note that even if you don’t update you will still be able to receive message requests on Instagram from Facebook accounts.

That appears to be the only way to message Facebook users from Instagram at this point – a Facebook user has to initiate the chat.

This may change in the future, but right now it’s not possible to start conversations with Facebook users from Instagram.

With that being the case, this update seems to be most useful for Instagram users who are not active on Facebook.

This gives non-Facebook users a way to keep in touch with friends and family who would prefer to communicate through Messenger.

Now, there’s no compromise needed on either side. Messenger users can communicate with Instagram users without having to leave their platform of choice.

This is an update that has been in the works for well over a year now, as Facebook gave the world a heads-up about this change back in 2019.

Facebook Cross-Platform Messaging

We reported back in January 2019 that Facebook was working on merging its messaging products.

As per a statement from a Facebook spokesperson:

“[We want to] build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.

We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

At the time, Facebook planned to have a solution in place by early 2020.

Those plans got derailed by the pandemic, which forced Facebook to focus instead on live streaming.

The live streaming boom was triggered by COVID-19 lockdowns, which lead to increased time spent at home on Facebook.

In order to keep up with the demand for live streaming Facebook had to pause work on other projects.

Presumably, merging messaging platforms was one of the projects that got put on hold.

After successfully beefing up its live streaming capabilities, it appears Facebook is now picking up where it left off.

 

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Categorized in News & Politics

Researchers point out social media and search engines have encouraged greater and more diverse news consumption, thus challenging the concept of filter bubbles and echo chambers on the Internet

Digital media have fundamentally changed the way we consume news. It is often assumed that the use of social networks and search engines has had a negative impact on the diversity of news that people access. This is often attributed to the algorithmic filtering used by these intermediaries, which only displays information that corresponds to the individual users' interests and preferences. However, a recent study undertaken by researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the University of Hohenheim, and GESIS - the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne contradicts this widespread conjecture. Based on an innovative analysis of the web browsing behavior of more than 5,000 German Internet users, the results show that the use of intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, or portals like GMX actually results in more visits to news sites and a greater variety of news sites visited. This runs counter to what has been postulated to date.

 

"Anyone visiting Facebook or Google is much more likely to come into contact with news items. Therefore the use of these intermediaries is an important mechanism in the consumption of news on the Internet," said Dr. Frank Mangold of the University of Hohenheim. The research team attributes this to the concept of incidental exposure to news. In the case of traditional media such as television and newspapers, people often only see the news if they deliberately choose to do so. On intermediary platforms they can also come into contact with news by chance, if, for example, their contacts share news content with them or they happen upon interesting articles when checking their emails. According to the researchers, the study's findings could have significant political and social implications, as they disprove the notion of the formation of filter bubbles and echo chambers. "Previous debates have, in many respects, revolved around the fear that online media would lead to new social barriers," said Professor Michael Scharkow of Mainz University. "However, our findings show that social media and search engines in fact have great potential to break down existing barriers."

"From previous studies undertaken by the University of Oxford in particular, we know that although access to news often happens partly by chance, it is also partly down to conscious choice. Some users even visit sites like Facebook and Twitter in order to consume news content," added Dr. Johannes Breuer of GESIS. For their study, the researchers used a statistical model to calculate the estimated daily usage of news content in order to isolate the extent of incidental or unplanned contact with news items. "Regardless of whether a user usually consumed a little or a lot of online news, on days on which someone spent more time on Facebook, Twitter, or Google than usual, they also came into contact with more news as well as more news from different sources than usual," stated Dr. Sebastian Stier from GESIS in the light of the findings.

Last but not least, the researchers also point out that further studies and more detailed insights into the algorithms of intermediaries are necessary in order to understand more precisely how these intermediaries promote unintended, incidental news consumption.

[Source: This article was published in eurekalert.org By JOHANNES GUTENBERG - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

Categorized in News & Politics

Facebook  is testing a new feature that aims to keep users inside its platform when they’re looking for factual information they would otherwise turn to Google or Wikipedia to find. The company confirmed to TechCrunch it’s now piloting an updated version of Facebook Search that displays factual information when users search for topics like public figures, places, and interests — like movies and TV shows.

For example, if you type in a movie title in the Facebook search bar, you’ll be shown an information box that gives you all the details about the movie.

 

The information is gathered from publicly available data, including Wikipedia. But instead of requiring users to click out of Facebook to view the information, it’s displayed in a side panel next to the search results. This is similar to the automatically generated Knowledge Panel format Google uses for these same types of searches.

SocialMediaToday was the first to report the news of the pilot, citing posts from Twitter users like JC Van ZijlMatt Navarra, and Giulio S.

Facebook confirmed with TechCrunch the feature is a pilot program that’s currently running in English on iOS, desktop, and mobile web. (Users may or may not see the information panels themselves, as this is still a test.)

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We’ve found the new feature can be fairly hit or miss, however.

For starters, it doesn’t always recognize a search term as a proper title. A search for “joker,” for instance displayed a Wikipedia-powered information box for the movie. But a search for “parasite” failed to do so for the Oscar-winning title that in 2020 became the first non-English film to win Best Picture.

 

Meanwhile, a search for “Donald Trump” easily returned an information panel for the U.S. president, but information for many members of his cabinet did not come up when they were searched by name. Information about leading coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci came up in a side panel when the term “Anthony Fauci” was entered in the Facebook’s search box, but not when “dr. Fauci” was used as the search query.

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Google’s Knowledge Panel doesn’t experience these same problems, as it’s able to make intuitive leaps about which person, place, or thing the user is likely searching for at the time of their query.

Facebook Search will also direct users toward its own features when doing so is more beneficial, it appears. For instance, a search for “COVID” or “COVID-19” will return Facebook’s own COVID-19 Information Center at the top of the search results, not a data-powered side panel about the disease. Google, by comparison, returns a coronavirus map, case overview, and CDC information in its Knowledge Panel.

And a search for the popular game “Animal Crossing” returns its Facebook Page and the option to add it to the titles you’re tracking on Facebook Gaming, but no information panel.

In other words, don’t expect to see an information panel for all the persons, places, or things you search for on Facebook at this time.

The update follows the closure of Facebook’s previous Graph Search feature. Years ago, Facebook attempted to reinvent its search engine with the launch of Graph Search, which allowed users to find people, places, photos, and interests using Facebook data. The feature was later shut down as Facebook dealt with the backlash from major security lapses, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Doing so hampered investigators’ ability to catch criminals and other bad actors, BuzzFeed News noted at the time.

Last year, Facebook also told Vice it was pausing some aspects of Graph Search to focus on improvements to keyword search instead.

Presenting “factual” information in the sidebar could also help Facebook claim it’s addressing concerns around the spread of misinformation on its platform. As a home for active disinformation campaigns, propaganda, and conspiracy theories, Facebook needs a tool that displays fact-checked, factual information. (There was a time when Wikipedia wasn’t considered a valid source of that kind of information, but we’re long past that point now!)

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tapped Wikipedia data to enhance its service. It used Wikipedia information on its community pages over a decade ago, for example.

Facebook didn’t offer additional details regarding how long it plans to test the new search feature or when it expects it to roll out more broadly.

[Source: This article was published in techcrunch.com By Sarah Perez - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Categorized in Search Engine

The removed pages are only a fraction of the reach of other QAnon groups and pages on Facebook.

Facebook said Tuesday that for the first time it had removed a handful of pages dedicated to the QAnon conspiracy theory for violating the same rules against fake personas and inauthentic behavior used by government influence operations.

Facebook removed five pages with titles like @RealQAnon41020, @RealTrumpQAnon and @AAnonTees. Around 133,000 accounts followed at least one of them, the company said.

 

QAnon is a conspiracy theory in which adherents believe President Donald Trump is running a secret war to rid the U.S. government of a group of child-eating cannibals, which includes some of the president's political enemies.

The pages that were removed are only a fraction of the reach of other QAnon groups and pages on Facebook, however, reflecting the difficulty of moderating content tied to extremism that doesn't necessarily violate Facebook's policies.

Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, stressed that the company removed only the content that violated its specific rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior, in which multiple accounts act in tandem and obscure their identities to push content.

Facebook created the rules in response to heavy criticism that it did little to stop Russia's Internet Research Agency, the "troll factory" that created an army of false personas to influence voters in the 2016 election.

"From my perspective, we have a very clear behavioral line," Gleicher said. "Whenever an actor crosses that line, we're going to take consistent enforcement."

A study by the social media monitoring firm Graphika, published alongside Facebook's announcement, found that the QAnon pages were egregiously coordinated, repeatedly posting the same links and text at the same time. The pages shared a number of administrators and were followed by many accounts that seemed to be slight variations of the same few names and profile pictures.

Last week, a QAnon supporter carrying 18 knives was arrested in New York City and accused of threatening Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. QAnon, which began on the extremist message boards 4chan and 8chan, has been tied to several real-life crimes and one murder in the recent past.

 

[Source: This article was published in nbcnews.com By Kevin Collier and Ben Collins - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Categorized in Social

As a business, you want to continuously be reaching out to new customers to expand your customer base. While getting found online is ideal, it is becoming increasingly difficult as search engines process over 3.5 billion searches every day. The good news is that if you are having trouble finding new customers through search engines, there are several other ways to gain new customers online.

Get Listed

One of the easiest ways to grow your online presence is to take advantage of the reputable online directories that exist online. Most directories and listings will remain for some time and all you have to do is submit your information once. The best part about directories and lists is that your business is listed where customers are looking.

 

Claim Existing Listings

Many sites, including Google, already have listings for your business. Make sure that you claim these listings. This means making sure all information included in the profile is accurate and up-to-date. This way when customers come across your profile they are getting the information they need to contact you.

Look For New Opportunities

Another option is to look for new opportunities. Actively seek out directories or listings that are in your niche. For instance, you may find a directory for wedding photographers in Boston and request to be added to the directory.

Another option is to keep an eye out for any writers looking for products or businesses to include in lists. Working with a site like HelpAReporter.com can help you connect with journalists and get your product featured in publications, reaching potential customers.

Online Advertising

Online advertising is another way to reach new customers. You want to get your advertisements in front of prospective customers and convert views into leads and sales. This means working with major advertising companies including Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Using these online advertising platforms can help you build brand awareness and provide reminders to curious buyers.

YouTube Ads

While YouTube is owned by Google, its ads hold a place of their own. There are some creative practices for YouTube video ads— TrueView in-stream ads (can be skipped), discovery ads (come up in search results), and bumper ads (cannot be skipped). With these ads, you have a captive audience that you want to engage in the first few seconds of video. If you can do this successfully you can quickly build brand awareness, as well as leads and sales.

Google Ads

With Google Ads, you can opt for either display ads (with a picture) or search network ads (top sponsored search results). Surprisingly, if implemented correctly, search network ads can yield high conversion rates.

This means users that click on these links are often ready to spend. By choosing search network ads, you can secure some of the top positions for keywords related to your products and services. In turn, your company can realize significant ROI.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are slightly different in that they are on a social platform, often when consumers are not actively looking to buy. More often than not, Facebook Ads are designed like other stories in the newsfeed, all to drive clicks. This means that your landing page is as important as your ad is in converting to leads and sales. However, sidebar display ads and carousel ads are available (and effective) on Facebook too.

Meet Customers Where They Are

While digital advertising costs money, there are other ways to find new customers online that only cost time. This often entails meeting customers where they already are online. This can be as simple as going to the sites that your customers already use and engaging with them as your brand or company.

 

However, it is important to note that to do this successfully, you actually have to post engaging content. Simply dropping your link or only promoting your product will not yield positive results.

Common places where you can do this is on Quora, forums like Reddit, and industry and related niche blogs. By posting content that is relatable and engaging you establish yourself as an expert in the field. This means customers will take you more seriously when you recommend a product or service that you offer if it is directly related to the topic at hand and could be beneficial for the user you are responding to. Again, it’s important to not simply drop links if you want to be seen as an expert in your industry.

Your Own Content

Creating your own content for prospective customers is another great way to get found online. You want the content to be engaging and helpful for customers. This could mean answering common questions in your industry, discussing popular topics in your niche, etc. There are several ways that you can create content that adds value to prospective customers.

Write a Blog

Writing a blog on your company website can help new customers find you, especially if you search engine optimization techniques when writing each article. This will help your brand get found for a wide variety of keywords. It also helps establish you as an authority in the field and develops trust with your reader.

In addition to writing your own blog, you can also opt to write guest blogs for other sites to further establish yourself as an expert in the field and to help get your name in front of a larger audience.

Email Newsletters

Start collecting emails from both existing and potential customers. This allows you to reach out to them directly. Create newsletters that provide them valuable information that can help them with problems they may be facing.

For example, if you are a lawn care agency you could focus your email newsletters on tips for raking leaves, reminders to clean their gutters, etc. Again, don’t always focus on pushing products, but instead, focus on providing potential customers with value.

Social Media Presence

There are approximately 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, spanning across several generations. Moreover, users spend an average of 3 hours on social media every day. Therefore, chances are that by maintaining a social media presence you’ll be able to reach your target market.

Use your social media to tell the story of your brand and how your brand can be the solution to the problem they are facing. Gain a following by posting content that is relatable and memorable. This will help you build brand awareness and will also help you start to develop a relationship with your potential customers.

 

Creativity is Key

Most of the world is online. While search engines are wildly popular for finding things, there are many different ways to reach your target market online. The key is, however, that you create content that provides value to your potential customers so that they begin to trust you enough to convert into sales.

 [Source: This article was published in customerthink.com By Margarita Hakobyan - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google has seemingly put the final nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash, the once-popular video and animation player that's become less relevant as newer web standards like HTML5 have taken over.

The company announced on Monday that its search engine will stop supporting Flash later this year, and that it will ignore Flash content in websites that contain it. The search engine will also stop indexing SWF files, the file format for media played through the Flash Player. Google noted that most users and websites won't see any impact from this change. 

The move has been a long time coming for Flash. Adobe announced in 2017 that it was planning to end-of-life Flash by ceasing to update and distribute it at the end of 2020, and Flash is already disabled in Chrome by default. When it made the announcement, Adobe said it was working with partners like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Mozilla to smoothly phase out Flash.

 

Flash was once a critical technology that enabled content creators to easily implement media, animations, and games  in their websites during the earlier days of the web. If you frequently played online games in your web browser in the early 2000s, you'll probably remember that Flash plugin was a necessity. 

But as new web standards like HTML5 and WebGL have risen in popularity, there became less of a need for Flash. Plus, as time went on, Flash became more prone to security concerns — including one vulnerability highlighted by security blog Naked Security which surfaced last year that would have made it possible for hackers to execute malicious code via a Flash file.

[Source: This article was published in businessinsider.com By Lisa Eadicicco - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff] 

Categorized in Search Engine

In Summary

  • Every time you use your Android device, access YouTube, Instagram or WhatsApp, even your internet provider is in on it - Big Brother is watching.
  • A fraudster now has key information that could allow them access banking details, government accounts etc.

According to University of Massachusetts psychologist, Robert Feldman, 60 per cent of people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation. Especially when you are trying to appear likeable, not offend, capable or competent. Do you know who you never lie to though? Google.

 

Indeed, there is a high probability that Google knows you better than your spouse. The phrases you search for reflect your likes and aspirations, fears and trepidations - whether that is: News from Migori…Causes of red rashes...Arsenal vs Tottenham results…Best colleges for accounting …or How to get divorced (sssh don’t tell the wife!).

If you think these are private conversations between you and your search engine, think again.

INTERNET

Every time you use your Android device, access YouTube, Instagram or WhatsApp, even your internet provider is in on it - Big Brother is watching. Who dares to say no when you are browsing the internet and the pop-up screen appears asking if you consent to The ‘Cookies’.

I normally agree to these vaguely threatening messages, as I wish to continue using the site and who knows what will happen if you don’t accept.

As Al Franken, former US senator, says of the tech companies: “Accumulating massive troves of information isn’t just a side project for them. It’s their whole business model…We are not their customers; we are their product.”

And the problem is not so much that your search for ‘how many calories in a chocolate bar’, makes you a good candidate for Cadbury’s ads.

The issue is whether all the other data that is collected about you is used as innocuously or in a worst-case scenario, is secure from hackers.

Do you use Facebook?

FACEBOOK

The people’s republic of Facebook has over two billion netizens. It’s bigger than China, bigger than India and more populous than the whole of the African continent.

Its de-facto leader, Mark Zuckerberg, has unwittingly inherited many of the same headaches as a world leader. For instance, how to keep the peace.

The fact that Facebook may know more about you than your own government, makes it vulnerable to the sophisticated deceptions of unethical players whether it is Cambridge Analytica or Russia interfering with US election results; or other rogue elements such as terrorists using your platform to recruit followers for their misinformed ideologies.

 

And you know how John and Mary post photos of their new baby girl Waceke on their timeline, telling you the birth was at 3.02am, and of course that mother and baby are well at Mater Hospital in Nairobi? Well, they have just unwittingly created a digital footprint that exposes their child to identity theft in the future.

SOCIAL MEDIA

A fraudster now has key information that could allow them access banking details, government accounts etc.

Dear parents, there is a name for what you are doing. It’s called ‘sharenting’ meaning the over-sharing of children’s information on social media.

And if you live in the land of the Eiffel tower, your child could sue you for this. Let alone that in 18 years’ time, Waceke may cringe at having her future beaus or potential employers viewing half-naked toddler pics.

And you know how these days if you take a photo on an iPhone, it will be stored together with the name of your exact location.

Without your knowledge, this information may be shared. The answer to protect our individual online privacy may be global regulation. However this will take eons and we can’t live without the internet till then. So in the meantime, be safe. Be careful what you share.

[Source: This article was published in nation.co.ke By ADEMA SANGALE - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google and Facebook collect information about us and then sell that data to advertisers. Websites deposit invisible “cookies” onto our computers and then record where we go online. Even our own government has been known to track us.

When it comes to digital privacy, it’s easy to feel hopeless. We’re mere mortals! We’re minuscule molecules in their machines! What power do we possibly have to fight back?

That was the question I posed to you, dear readers, in the previous “Crowdwise.”

 

Many of you responded with valuable but frequently repeated suggestions: Use a program that memorizes your passwords, and makes every password different. Install an ad blocker in your web browser, like uBlock Origin. Read up on the latest internet scams. If you must use Facebook, visit its Privacy Settings page and limit its freedom to target ads to you.

What I sought, though, was non-obvious ideas.

It turns out that “digital privacy” means different things to different people.

“Everyone has different concerns,” wrote Jamie Winterton, a cybersecurity researcher at Arizona State University. “Are you worried about private messaging? Government surveillance? Third-party trackers on the web?” Addressing each of these concerns, she noted, requires different tools and techniques.

“The number one thing that people can do is to stop using Google,” wrote privacy consultant Bob Gellman. “If you use Gmail and use Google to search the web, Google knows more about you than any other institution. And that goes double if you use other Google services like Google Maps, Waze, Google Docs, etc.”

Like many other readers, he recommended DuckDuckGo, a rival web search engine. Its search results often aren’t as useful as Google’s, but it’s advertised not to track you or your searches.

And if you don’t use Gmail for email, what should you use? “I am a huge advocate for paying for your email account,” wrote Russian journalist Yuri Litvinenko. “It’s not about turning off ads, but giving your email providers as little incentive to peek into your inbox as possible.” ProtonMail, for example, costs $4 a month and offers a host of privacy features, including anonymous sign-up and end-to-end encryption.

The ads you see online are based on the sites, searches, or and Facebook posts that get your interest. Some rebels, therefore, throw a wrench into the machinery — by demonstrating phony interests.

“Every once in a while, I Google something completely nutty just to mess with their algorithm,” wrote Shaun Breitbart. “You’d be surprised what sort of coupons CVS prints for me on the bottom of my receipt. They are clearly confused about both my age and my gender.”

 

It’s “akin to radio jamming,” noted Frank Paiano. “It does make for some interesting browsing, as ads for items we searched for follow us around like puppy dogs (including on The New York Times, by the way.)”

Barry Joseph uses a similar tactic when registering for an account on a new website. “I often switch my gender (I am a cisgender male), which delivers ads less relevant to me — although I must admit, the bra advertising can be distracting.”

He notes that there are side effects. “My friends occasionally get gendered notifications about me, such as ‘Wish her a happy birthday.’” But even that is a plus, leading to “interesting conversations about gender norms and expectations (so killing two birds with one digital stone here).”

It’s perfectly legitimate, by the way, to enjoy seeing ads that align with your interests. You could argue that they’re actually more useful than irrelevant ones.

But millions of others are creeped out by the tracking that produces those targeted ads.

If you’re in that category, Ms. Winterton recommended Ghostery, a free plug-in for most web browsers that “blocks the trackers and lists them by category,” she wrote. “Some sites have an amazing number of trackers whose only purpose is to record your behavior (sometimes across multiple sites) and pitch better advertisements.”

Most public Wi-Fi networks — in hotels, airports, coffee shops, and so on — are eavesdroppable, even if they require a password to connect. Nearby patrons, using their phones or laptops, can easily see everything you’re sending or receiving — email and website contents, for example — using free “sniffer” programs.

You don’t have to worry Social, WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage, all of which encrypts your messages before they even leave your phone or laptop. Using websites whose addresses begin with https are also safe; they, too, encrypt their data before it’s sent to your browser (and vice versa).

(Caution: Even if the site’s address begins with https, the bad guys can still see which sites you visit — say, https://www.NoseHairBraiding.com. They just can’t see what you do there once you’re connected.)

The solution, as recommended by Lauren Taubman and others: a Virtual Private Network program. These phone and computer apps encrypt everything you send or receive — and, as a bonus, mask your location. Wirecutter’s favorite VPNTunnelBear, is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It’s free for up to 500 megabytes a month, or $60 a year for up to five devices.

“I don’t like Apple’s phones, their operating systems, or their looks,” wrote Aaron Soice, “but the one thing Apple gets right is valuing your data security. Purely in terms of data, Apple serves you; Google serves you to the sharks.”

 

Apple’s privacy website reveals many examples: You don’t sign into Apple Maps or Safari (Apple’s web browser), so your searches and trips aren’t linked to you. Safari’s “don’t track me” features are turned on as the factory setting. When you buy something with Apple Pay, Apple receives no information about the item, the store, or the price.

Apple can afford to tout these features, explained software developer Joel Potischman, because it’s a hardware company. “Its business model depends on us giving them our money. Google and Facebook make their money by selling our info to other people.”

Mr. Potischman never registers with a new website using the “Sign in with Facebook” or “Sign in with Google” shortcut buttons. “They allow those companies to track you on other sites,” he wrote. Instead, he registers the long way, with an email address and password.

(And here’s Apple again: The “Sign in with Apple” button, new and not yet incorporated by many websites, is designed to offer the same one-click convenience — but with a promise not to track or profile you.)

My call for submissions drew some tips from a surprising respondent: Frank Abagnale, the former teenage con artist who was the subject of the 2002 movie “Catch Me if You Can.”

After his prison time, he went began working for the F.B.I., giving talks on scam protection, and writing books. He’s donating all earnings from his latest book, “Scam Me If You Can,” to the AARP, in support of its efforts to educate older Americans about internet rip-offs.

His advice: “You never want to tell Facebook where you were born and your date of birth. That’s 98 percent of someone stealing your identity! And don’t use a straight-on photo of yourself — like a passport photo, driver’s license, graduation photo — that someone can use on a fake ID.”

Mr. Abagnale also notes that you should avoid sharing your personal data offline, too. “We give a lot of information away, not just on social media, but places we go where people automatically ask us all of these questions. ‘What magazines do you read?’ ‘What’s your job?’ ‘Do you earn between this and that amount of money?’”

Why answer if you don’t have to?

A few more suggestions:

  • “Create a different email address for every service you use,” wrote Matt McHenry. “Then you can tell which one has shared your info, and create filters to silence them if necessary.” 
  • “Apps like Privacy and Token Virtual generate a disposable credit-card number with each purchase — so in case of a breach, your actual card isn’t compromised,” suggested Juan Garrido. (Bill Barnes agreed, pointing out the similar Shopsafe service offered by from Bank of America’s Visa cards. “The number is dollar and time limited.”)
  • “Your advertisers won’t like to see this, so perhaps you won’t print it,” predicted Betsy Peto, “but I avoid using apps on my cellphone as much as possible. Instead, I go to the associated website in my phone’s browser: for example, www.dailybeast.com. My data is still tracked there, but not as much as it would be by the app.”

There is some good news: Tech companies are beginning to feel some pressure.

In 2017, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (G.D.P.R.), which requires companies to explain what data they’re collecting — and to offer the option to edit or delete it. China, India, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, and Thailand have passed, or are considering, similar laws, and California’s Consumer Privacy Act takes effect on January 1.

In the meantime, enjoy these suggestions, as well as this bonus tip from privacy researcher Jamie Winterton:

“Oh yeah — and don’t use Facebook.”

For the next “Crowdwise”: We all know that it’s unclassy and cruel to break up with a romantic partner in a text message — or, worse, a tweet. (Well, we used to know that.) Yet requesting an unusual meeting at a sidewalk cafe might strike your partner as distressingly ominous.

[Source: This article was published in nytimes.com By David Pogue - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in techcrunch.com By Josh Constine - Uploaded by the Association Member: Olivia Russell]

Yandex, the Google of Russia, has built a voice-activated visual search engine for Facebook. Codenamed “Wonder,” the mobile app lets people ask what businesses friends have visited and what content they’ve consumed, sources confirm. The question is if Facebook will permit the app. Its policy prohibits the use of its data in search engines without permission, and Wonder resembles Facebook “Nearby.”

I talked to multiple industry sources who’ve seen Wonder first-hand or currently have a build of it on their iOS device (though an Android version may have been developed, too). The logo you see above is my attempt at an artist rendition of what sources say an early version of the app’s logo looked like. One source said Wonder is “about more than Facebook” which means it could pull in more traditional search results, or just make use of data from the partners I detail below.

 

A Yandex spokesperson said Yandex “can’t confirm and can’t comment” on Wonder. However, they did admit that “Yandex is working on mining social data. We are building social products.” It also noted it would have an announcement to make on that front in the coming weeks or months, which could certainly be a reveal of Wonder.

Here’s a rundown of how an alpha version of Wonder worked, but note that some design and partnership details may change if it’s released.

Welcome To Wonder

Wonder users can search using voice for things such as “restaurants in Los Angeles my friends have visited.” A horizontal, tile-by-tile scrolling interface lets them view one at a time the restaurants where their Facebook friends have taken photos or checked in. Wonderers can also type to search instead of using voice, or ask to see where a specific friend has gone.

Clicking on business shows a horizontal stream of photos and recommendations of that place posted by their friends. Another tap brings up Foursquare-powered venue info such as a map, address, and phone number.

Wonder isn’t just for local businesses like Facebook’s recently launched “Nearby” feature built by the acquired Gowalla team. Wonder can pull up music that friends have listened to, let you learn about artists thanks to Last.fm-powered profiles, or preview or buy songs from iTunes. There’s a news discovery component, too. You can see news articles recently read by all your friends or a specific friend and read them within the app through an internal browser.

Yandex’s Passport To The USA

yandex maps app

Yandex has largely limited itself to Russia and Russian-speaking markets over the years — a market where it is currently the largest search provider. But its share in its home market has come down and been hovering around 60 percent in the last year with competition from Google and others, so it is turning to growth elsewhere.

Just as Google has extended into mobile to expand the potential footprint for its advertising network, Yandex has done the same.

Chief among those efforts have been Yandex’s moves in mobile. A little over a year ago, it bought a company called SPB Software, which develops cross-platform mobile applications and user interfaces.

Some of projects SPB may have helped Yandex with include apps discovery for musicbusiness listings, taxi services (similar to Uber, with a very popular app in Moscow) and more (this Google Playlist includes apps for movie listings, eCommerce, Yandex’s Dropbox-like app Yandex.disc, and Yandex.market for ‘personal shopping’ ). In fact, you could think of these as a composite for some of the features of Wonder.

Perhaps most important of all, are Yandex’s location-based and mapping efforts. Yandex’s maps have replaced Google on iOS devices in Russia, and it also provides the search (but not native maps) on Windows Phone devices in the country. These location-based services might just be Yandex’s passport out of Russia (or so it hopes).

Yandex’s Dream, Facebook’s Nightmare?

So Wonder sounds great, especially compared to Facebook’s internal search engine, which is glaringly deficient. There’s no way to search for news read by friends, searching an artist’s name in the music category returns zero results, and if you figure out how to use the Places tab to search for restaurants, you’re met with standard-looking search results. Finding photos or recommendations of businesses from your friends is tough.

facebook search results places
Facebook tried to fix some of this with Nearby and did a pretty good job with the business search. Built into a tab in Facebook’s primary mobile apps, Nearby shows you places friends have been, Liked, or recommended. It took a browse-by-category approach to minimize mobile typing, in contrast to Wonder’s focus on voice commands. However, Nearby doesn’t surface photos taken by friends at places yet, and it might be better off as a standalone app rather than being buried in Facebook for iOS and Android’s navigation.

The problem is that Yandex’s Wonder may be a bit too great and employ too much of Facebook’s data. In May, Facebook updated its Platform Policies to include the statement “You must not include data obtained from us in any search engine or directory without our written permission.” Facebook tells me this was designed to keep your friends from volunteering your private information to public search engines. But Wonder could definitely be interpreted as a search engine, especially considering its built by Yandex, and the policy doesn’t only apply to private data.

facebook nearby map titled

In fact, Facebook apparently learned that Yandex was developing Wonder around the time it changed its policy, and the line could have been added to protect Facebook’s future endeavors in search from invaders like Yandex. Therefore, Wonder might get it's public Facebook data to access to shut down if it doesn’t have permission, and I’ve heard Yandex is actually worried this will happen pre- or post-launch.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself explained at TechCrunch Disrupt SF that Facebook is getting into search:

“Search is interesting. I think search engines are really evolving to give you a set of answers…’ I have this specific question, answer this question for me’. Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have. ‘What sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York in the last six months and Liked?’ These are questions that you could potentially do at Facebook if we built out this system that you couldn’t do anywhere else. And at some point, we’ll do it. We have a team working on search.”

Facebook Nearby, since it launched, could answer that sushi question, but so could Wonder thanks to Facebook’s data. With local business, the discovery comes lots of opportunity for monetization through sponsored placement and other channels. Facebook may not want some other company cashing in on this.

There is hope, though. Facebook struck a status update licensing deal with Yandex in 2010 to allow public posts from Pages to appear in the Russian search engine. In exchange, Facebook got a widget on the Yandex home page that helped it sign up Russian users when it was still fighting off local social network VKontakte. Russian news outlet Ria Novosti also reported that Zuckerberg visited Yandex’s headquarters in Moscow in the Fall and held talks with management there.

Perhaps Facebook and Yandex could come to some sort of partnership around Wonder, such as a revenue share or allowing it to use Facebook data in exchange for more promotion of Facebook on Yandex. Other possibilities include Facebook buying the app from Yandex, cloning it the way Facebook copied Snapchat to build Poke or working out a larger deal where Yandex assists Facebook with its search strategy. If Facebook was really feeling generous, it could just give Yandex permission to use the necessary data in Wonder.

No matter the outcome, sources say Yandex has proven there’s wondrous potential for Facebook in mobile search.

[Additional reporting by Ingrid Lunden]

Categorized in Search Engine
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