Monthly Industry Roundup: August, 2014

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN ECOMMERCE?

On August 6 2014, Google announced that it is starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal within the search results. Google has said that right now HTTPS is a very lightweight signal which will affect less than 1% of search queries globally, but it has stated that this may change over time as Google encourages all site owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Read more…

With the aim of helping small businesses get started online, build a thriving company, and grow to be a successful enterprise, Yahoo has relaunched its venerable software-as-a-service (SaaS) eCommerce platform, and, frankly, become significantly more competitive in the modern eCommerce platform market. The new, redesigned Yahoo Stores should do four things for users, according to Amit Kumar, vice president and head of Yahoo Small Business:

  • Make it easier for businesses to get online;
  • Provide mobile first eCommerce;
  • Help new companies make a first sale sooner;
  • Scale with ease to support growing eCommerce businesses.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN .NET DEVELOPMENT?

Microsoft announces the general availability of Katana 3 – This is an important update to Microsoft’s OWIN implementation, which offers you the powerful new functionality. In a nutshell:

  • Katana 3 takes full advantage of the .NET 4.5 async-await model, affording significant performance improvements in respect to former releases. Note: if you require .NET 4.0 support, you can still use earlier Katana versions.
  • Katana 3 introduces a new set of middlewares meant to support enterprise grade authentication and claims based identity via standard protocols, making integration with Azure Active Directory and ADFS straightforward.
  • The new middleware follows a proven extensibility model, which grants you the ability to customize every stage of the authentication pipeline while maintaining an extremely simple programming model for the default cases. Existing components (such as the cookies middleware)have been updated accordingly. At this time, Katana 3 supports the following protocols:
    • WS-Federation
    • OpenId Connect (id_token and id_token+code, via form_post)
    • OAuth2 bearer token authentication for Web API
  • This release includes fixes for issues related to Twitter and Google API changes. If you have an app using Google authentication and you are updating to Katana 3, please make sure you read this post!

Mirosoft released various runtime and tooling updates for ASP.NET vNext in Visual Studio “14” CTP 3. They included all the features that were included in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 in this release. This release also has ASP.NET vNext runtime and tooling improvements like –

  • No files listed in the .kproj file
  • Unit testing
  • Support for Configuration
  • Command line scaffolding
  • And more

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CREATIVE?

The best new fonts, August 2014  Click and explore! Top paid and free fonts that made their debut in the past two months.

  • Sinkin Sans (free)
  • Fira Mono (free)
  • Cooper Hewitt (free)
  • Roboto 2014 (free)
  • Swashington ($27 approx.)
  • Peaches and Cream (from $18 approx.)
  • Riga (from $50 approx.)
  • And more…

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEARCH?

At the end of August, regular Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns retired and were replaced by Shopping campaigns. A majority of you have started upgrading to Shopping campaigns, but if you’re one of the few who haven’t yet, Google has introduced a new upgrade tool that’ll help you upgrade in a matter of clicks. This tool creates a Shopping campaign from your regular PLA campaign, with a campaign structure and bids based on your regular PLA campaign and historical performance data. Read more.

Starting in late September, Google Adwords is applying close variant keyword matching, an intuitive way to connect people with the businesses they’re searching for, to all exact and phrase match keywords. Read in detail about Close variant matching for all exact and phrase keywords.

Seventy percent of all mobile searchers have called a business directly from search ads. AdWords click-to-call ads, call metrics, and calls as conversions help you connect with these customers and gain insight about those calls. However, many customers also call your business after clicking through a Google ad and learning more about the products and services you offer on your website. That’s why Google Adwords launches website call conversions, a powerful way for you to identify and measure calls from your website that occur after an ad click. – Introducing Website Call Conversions

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MOBILE?

ComScore reveals that Radio, Maps and Instant Messengers achieve a greater audience reach on apps than a desktop. It comes as no surprise then that some categories such as Radio, Maps and Instant Messengers achieve much higher reach on mobile, while others, such as Search and News reach a greater percentage of the audience on the desktop. The Photos category also tends to invite larger mobile audiences, due to the immense popularity of apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. Read more

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEO?

Google has announced that going HTTPS — adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site — will give you a minor ranking boost. Google says this gives websites a small ranking benefit, only counting as a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm. In fact, Google said this carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.” Based on their tests, Google says it has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global queries” but said they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Low quality guest blogging is considered little or no original content by Google. Google has updated their webmaster guidelines, specifically in the little or no original content guideline, to add “low-quality guest blog posts” as an example of “scraped content.” Since then, Google has penalized several guest blog networks and continues to set their targets on low-quality guest blogging that aims at manipulating their search results. Read full story.

Seth Godin, the founder and owner of Squidoo, announced the social content platform, has been acquired by HubPages. Squidoo was founded back in 2005, where users can create “lenses” of topics and content.

Google announced a few changes to the search box you find within the Google search results. Often, when you search for a brand name, Google will add a search box within the search snippet result for that site. That box allows you to search within that specific site only. More…

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WEB DEVELOPMENT (PHP / OPEN SOURCE)?

The PHP Development Team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.6.0. This new version comes with new features, some backward incompatible changes and many improvements.

The main features of PHP 5.6.0 include:

Find more updates here!

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SOCIAL?

Social media management firm Hootsuite announced today that it is adding the ability to manage contests, UGC galleries and other customized social campaigns. The new feature — Hootsuite Campaigns — is based on a product created by Brightkit, a Vancouver-based startup that Hootsuite has acquired (the acquisition was also announced today). Campaigns offers digital marketers the ability to run 13 types of contests, sweepstakes and galleries that can be embedded on microsites, viewed on social networks and mobile devices. Read full story!

Twitter-

At the Citi Global Technology Conference in New York, Twitter’s chief financial officer (CFO) Anthony Noto discussed what’s on the horizon for Twitter in 2015 – and a new Twitter timeline is one of the initiatives. Recently, Twitter began tinkering with the feed by featuring content that users didn’t sign up for, and, according to reports, reactions were mixed. For the uninitiated, this new function would surface favorite tweets from accounts a user follows; in other words, if a user you follow “Favorited” a tweet, it would end up in your Twitter feed. Read more.

Facebook-

Facebook just announced a platform policy change that states it will no longer allow, as of November 5, “like-gating,” the longtime practice of enticing users to like a page by taking advantage of a special offer such as a coupon or contest. The announcement, which appeared on the Facebook Developer blog, said, “You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page.”

If you’ve been on Facebook since you were a teenager, we’ve got some bad news for you: Facebook is reportedly working on a feature that will let your friends search through your old posts… by keyword. So if you posted a ridiculous ode to your ex in 2009, this feature would make it a lot easier for your friends to dig it up. All they’d have to do is search for it. More on this!

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN ANALYTICS?

Facebook has updated its Events feature to include analytics, giving Page administrators more information about how events are performing. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed today that the company has added Insights for Events:

“This is the first step toward helping Pages gain a better understanding of what’s working and not working when promoting their events. These insights include reach, views and connections. Events created starting July 24 will be able to view insights in the right-hand column of the event page.”

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CONTENT?     

For the first time in seven years, the use of a corporate blog among the Fortune 500 has dropped. According to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 31 percent of this year’s Fortune 500 companies have a public facing corporate blog. That’s down from last year’s high of 34 percent, and it’s also the first time that blog use has dropped since Umass Dartmouth started tracking back in 2008. Read more.

Kelsey Libert surveyed over 500 digital publishers to discover what you can do to improve your content placement pitches. While Moz’ founder Rand Fishkin complimented the research, he mentioned that he “might have wished for a larger sample set across more verticals.” Check out the other findings!

“Eighty-seven percent (87%) said they now have content that moves buyers through the purchase funnel, or they plan to have it in the next six months. It is clear that marketers understand a shift in how we approach content has occurred.” Content marketing is hitting a very important inflection point. What do you need to do to keep up with its development? Most brands got on board with content marketing by creating general, untargeted content. Now, those brands are evolving past that; they’re creating content that maps to the position of the buyer in his or her journey. Brands’ new content paradigm recognizes that a “one-size-fits-all” approach may be insufficient. After all, a buyer’s content needs differ based on where in the buyer’s journey they are. What more?

Upcoming – Industry Roundup, September, 2014

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