Monthly Industry Roundup: July, 2014

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN ECOMMERCE?

Magento announced the transition of Magento Go and ProStores merchants off of these products by February 1, 2015. Merchant stores will not be affected during the Holiday shopping season—they will continue to operate and perform normally and Magento will continue to provide the Customer Service until February 1, 2015. As a business, Magento now wants to focus on our flagship products, Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Community Edition, as well as developing the next generation of our platform, Magento 2. Magento Go and ProStores customers can take advantage of the checklists, planning resources, and special offers found in our Migration Center, enabling a smooth transition to a new eCommerce solution:

Start Me Up! Hubba: the free product information network  – At the moment, over $1tn of commerce is reliant on digital product information, yet only 25% of digital product information is correct. Brands are faced with an increasing amount of information to manage, an increasing amount of channels in which to distribute the information and an increasing demand from consumers to access this information. Hubba help solve this game of broken telephone between brands and retailers and make sure everyone has the latest and greatest content, updated in real-time by the brand. Hubba is a B2B product information network that help brands and retailers manage and share their product content for omnichannel commerce.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN .NET DEVELOPMENT?

The NuGet packages for ASP.NET MVC 5.2, ASP.NET Web API 2.2 and ASP.NET Web Pages 3.2 are now live on the NuGet gallery! This release primarily includes great new features for Web API OData v4 as summarized below but has bug fixes and minor features that bring in a lot more goodness to MVC, Web API, and Web Pages. Get Details!

Microsoft released various runtime and tooling updates for ASP.NET vNext in the Visual Studio “14” CTP 2. This CTP includes our alpha2 runtime packages for ASP.NET vNext. You can find all the details on the specific enhancements added and issues fixed in the published release notes on GitHub. For information on how to get started with ASP.NET vNext using Visual Studio “14” check out the article Getting Started with ASP.NET vNext and Visual Studio “14”.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CREATIVE?

What’s new for designers, July 2014? Click and explore! It includes new web apps, frameworks, grid systems, game platforms, inspirational resources, Photoshop plugins, text editors, and some really great new fonts. These design resources are free or very low cost, and are sure to be useful to a lot of designers and developers out there.

Here’s the bonus –

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEARCH?

Google Adwords introduces dynamic sitelinks: Automatically generated sitelinks that appear below your ad text, connecting potential customers to relevant pages on your website more easily. This is another example, like seller ratings, of AdWords tools adding value to your ads while saving time and simplifying campaign management.  However, it’s important to continue adding and optimizing sitelinks because impression share for dynamic sitelinks will be low. In fact, the sitelinks you set up will always show, except for the few instances when the dynamic sitelink might perform better.

Google reported on Thursday that the average cost-per-click (CPC) was down again in Q2 from the prior year, marking the eleventh consecutive quarter in which the average CPC fell year-over-year. Some analysts and news outlets have been pointing to this as evidence of Google’s “mobile problem” — the problem Enhanced Campaigns were meant to fix when introduced last year. The fear is that Google can’t figure out a way to monetize mobile ad clicks as the time consumers spend on their phones climbs. More…

Google Adwords introduces upgraded location extensions, a better way to display your business locations in every ad by linking your Google My Business and AdWords accounts. Consumers increasingly look online for information such as driving directions, store hours, and products and services available at local businesses. Research shows that 50% of consumers visit a store within one day of searching for local information on their smartphones. As people are likely to visit a store based on what they see in online search, it’s important to capture every opportunity to showcase your locations. Newly upgraded location extensions allow you to feature your store locations in all campaigns so that every ad can deliver the most relevant local information at the moments that matter. Read more

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MOBILE?

comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) and Google are partnering to offer a real-time audience metric designed to help brand marketers easily measure campaigns across screens. After a period of testing, comScore vCE will be available to DoubleClick marketer and publisher clients, built into the widely used ad management platform. comScore’s vCE metric will be built directly into the DoubleClick ad server that publishers and marketers use to deliver their ads. It will initially be available in the U.S. later this year for desktop-based display and video ads, with eventual plans to expand the service for mobile and cross-platform. Read more

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEO?

Google Panda 4.0 had a major negative impact on many press release sites including the largest one, PR Newswire. In response, PR Newswire issued a press release about them cracking down on “spammers” by removing and “taking action” on low quality press releases both before they hit the feeds and going back and removing a lot of the spammy older press releases. PR Newswire, according to SearchMetrics, saw a huge dive in “SEO Visibility” after Panda 4.0. What are their new guidelines that will fix this? They include:

  • Inclusion of insightful analysis and original content (e.g. research, reporting or other interesting and useful information);
  • Use of varied release formats, guarding against repeated use of templated copy (except boilerplate);
  • Assessing release length, guarding against issue of very short, unsubstantial messages that are mere vehicles for links;
  • Overuse of keywords and/or links within the message.

Google has officially announced the new feature we reported was in beta named International Targeting. The new International Targeting reports within Google Webmaster Tools helps webmasters debug common issues with their implementation of href-lang. The markup enables Google and other search engines to serve the correct language or regional version of pages to searchers. But often, webmasters implement the annotations/markup incorrectly. The new International Targeting reports within Google Webmaster Tools helps webmasters fix those common issues. Read full story.

Google announced they have updated their robots.txt testing tool in Webmaster Tools. The update brings you a few more features including:

  • Highlights which line in your robots.txt file is blocking a specific page.
  • Make test changes to the robots.txt tool and test it before you make the file live.
  • Google will also show you older versions of your robots.txt file to see past issues.

Google announced on the Google News blog a new portal for Google News publishers to use to help manage their news sites within Google News. The new portal is named Google News Publisher Center. As long as your news site is verified within Google Webmaster Tools and already included in Google News, you should see them already verified and ready to manage within the Google News Publisher Center. Those sites that are not already verified, can go through the process of verification. Check what the publisher center enables you to do?

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

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of the following releases in the month of July 2014 –

  • The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of the third release candidate of PHP 5.6. This is a bugfix-only release. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs in the bug tracking system.
  • The PHP Development Team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.5.15. This release fixes several bugs against PHP 5.5.14. All PHP users are encouraged to upgrade to this new version.
  • The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.4.31. Over 10 bugs were fixed in this release. All PHP 5.4 users are encouraged to upgrade to this version.

Find more updates here!

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SOCIAL?

A new tool (smo.knowem.com) is recently launched by Knowem.com that enables users to check to see if a website is optimized for social sharing. It checks for Facebook Open Graph, Twitter cards, G+ authorship, and other social channels. It also includes some testing for standard SEO, but the outcomes are not as strong as with other tools provided by Google and others.

Twitter-
Twitter is now showing impressions for all campaigns, paid and unpaid. The report displays impressions over the past 28 days, and equates to the previous timeline. Every personal and brand account can see these impression reports. Try this by visiting http://analytics.twitter.com.

According to a survey done by Lithium Technologies, response time is critical in social media, if you’re a brand. According to charts published on Search Engine Watch, 70% of surveyed Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to on Twitter and of those users, 53% want that response in under an hour.

Facebook-

Facebook conducted a psychological experiment with its users. To carry out the experiment, they manipulated some 700K users’ news feeds to only indicate positive or negative sentiment then observed what those users successively posted on their profiles. Facebook’s conclusion: “emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks, and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network.” Facebook apologized for the secret experiment!

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN ANALYTICS?

Now is the time to check out channel grouping in Google Analytics and how you can alter it based on your requirements, because you can now create channel groupings for branded vs. non-branded traffic. This does NOT help you see anything about Google organic “not provided” results. To make an analysis of brand and generic performance as easy as possible, Google Analytics introduced a new feature which automatically identifies brand-aware paid search clicks tracked in Google Analytics. They use a combination of signals (including the clickthrough-rate, text string, domain name and others) to identify query terms which show awareness of your brand.  You can review suggested brand terms and then accept or decline each of them.

A new type of filter has been added to Google Analytics, allowing you to remove any traffic coming from bots or spiders. Since Google claims to have always done this, it will be fascinating to see just how much traffic is in reality filtered out. If you would experiment this new filter, we suggest forming a new account and keeping the original to apprehend the difference over time.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CONTENT?     

Today, LinkedIn launched a “dark” version of its Sponsored Updates ad product called Direct Sponsored Content. These new native-style ads don’t get published to a company’s LinkedIn page, so advertisers can customize and test ad messaging and creatives to targeted audiences. Like Facebook’s offering, LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content ads gives companies the ability to target and test messaging without having to spam the same audiences with multiple posts. Read more.

The Content Marketing Institute, in its latest study (PDF) of content marketing budgets for small businesses, states, “On average, 30% of B2B budgets are allocated to content marketing.” Read more on How much does content marketing cost?

Contently, a content creation company, took a deep dive into how native advertising is perceived by audiences. A survey was implemented between users 18-65 that was administered online. While 48.2% of respondents believed that the sponsor paid for and influenced the article, another 20% believed that the news site wrote the content (but that the sponsor’s money allowed it to happen),  18.0% believed that the sponsor simply pays to have their name next to the ad, and 12.6% thought that the sponsor paid and wrote the article. Check out the other findings!

 

Upcoming – Industry Roundup, August, 2014

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