This week Facebook announced their new search tool, Graph Search, with a lot of pomp and circumstance. The social media giant is launching a new way to search for things that you want to know more about and tying it to our connections.
Using the Facebook search bar, you can look for all kinds of information and it will use public Facebook user information to deliver your results. The new search functionality pulls something that Google is unable to – account holder information. Since people share so much on Facebook, there is loads of information to help searchers find what they are looking for. This could mean trouble for Google, LinkedIn and review sites like Yelp.
Instead of writing about a topic that has been so wildly covered on the news and in blogs, I made a list of good articles we found explaining Facebook’s Graph Search and what it means for users and businesses:
Facebook Cover Images cannot have contact information on them like this. Are your images playing by the rules?
In case you missed it back in late December, Facebook announced that it would be updating some of its guidelines to limit text on images, including cover photos. These changes officially went into effect yesterday.
Text on cover photos must now be limited to no more than 20% of the image area – including logos. Facebook’s cover image guidelines have always limited outright promotional information so chances are good that your current image may be fine as it is. It’s still not a bad idea to take a look just to be sure. And Facebook will remove photos that do not follow its guidelines – it’s been done before.
Whether your cover photo complies with the new rules or not, this is a good reminder to take a look at – and possibly freshen up – the look and feel of this valuable social media marketing real estate. Does your cover photo still effectively represent your brand’s message? Either way, it’s a good idea to switch out images on a regular basis to help boost visibility and community engagement.
Amanda’s blog outlining what you need to know about Facebook cover images provides great reference and has a lot of useful links to creative examples to help inspire you. Of course, Facebook’s page guidelines will continue to be a moving target, which is great motivation to keep things fresh and new!
I also want to see how Medium plays out, the new publishing platform from the founders of Twitter. It seems so mysterious right now and no one can seem to explain it clearly yet. I wonder if it will be a flop or if it will change how people publish content online.
I am also generally just excited to see how technology improves, what new services appear this year and how businesses use them to grow!
What the Hall staff is going to keep an eye on in 2013
I decided to ask some of my colleagues what they were going to keep an eye on this year and this is what they had to say:
Marc Breglio – Search Marketer
Bings attack on Google for selling shopping results
Google Shopping – Google ended free product listings as of fall of 2012. To be listed in Google Shopping, you must use the Adwords platform and pay per click now – Will this last? Bing is hardcore bashing Google for doing this and have coined the term Scroogled (see image). But, will other search engines follow? Will smaller stores/brands not be able to compete or will it prove to be beneficial for everyone? Either way, 2013 will be the testing year for this big change for e-commerce marketing.
Social media ads – The big social networks are growing up. They are no longer start-ups receiving loads of funding, working with teams that are too small, and just trying to grow their audience. Over the next few years they are going to need to start paying their bills. They will be paid with advertising. How will this shake out? What new ad options/developments will we see? Will some networks fail, not because they don’t have a user base, but because they can’t generate revenue?
Google Display Ads and other traditional digital ad networks competing with Social Media Ad options – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, are offering ad networks with precise user targeting that has never been seen before. Google has already shown changes that will help them compete (such as user interest category targeting for banner ads). How will the traditional ad networks begin to change the landscape even more to compete?
Tom Hall – President
I am going to keep an eye on coordinated mobile and social marketing programs, new and improved user targeting models and responsive design to meet not only devices but also to meet use cases where the site responds by changing content significantly.
Mike Johnston – Analytics Manager
I’m going to keep an eye on the switch from IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) to IPv6. Seems like it is slow to get going, but I have a feeling it will become more mainstream in the coming year once Europe officially runs out of IP addresses.
RC Lations – CMS Developer
CSS3 & HTML5 Canvas animations will continue to emerge as a replacement for Flash and bridge the gap between desktop displays and app-like animations.
Support for native gestures (touch gestures, accelerometer, compass, etc.) will become increasingly available in the browser, opening up the opportunity for websites and web apps to have even more of an “app-like” experience.
Dave MacElhiney – Director of Client Services
I am curious to see if the Instagram privacy blunder has any impact on the growth of the application.
The integration of all things web – I just fell in love with IFTTT. Let’s you script all kinds of platform integrations… so I can set it up to send me a text if it is going to snow tomorrow or I can have all my Instagram photos save automatically to my Dropbox account.
I got a WeMo for Christmas and looking to do cool things here.
I also am anxious to see bigger and better UX designs for responsive mobile, tablet and desktop sites.
Andre McKay – Technical Search Analyst
I’m also curious to find out how many people abandoned the Instagram ship after the terms of service snafu last month….I know I did.
I’m interested to find out about the Myspace / TV integration that Timberlake leaked earlier this year…nothing really came of it.
And finally, did you hear they are talking about making it possible for you to email someone on Facebook if you aren’t connected to them…for a fee?!? Crazy!?
Jess Wallace – Digital Marketing Analyst
Personally, I’m keeping an eye on MySpace – the new design is pretty slick and I think we’ll see a lot of people shifting to it from Pandora and Spotify. It mashes social and music together in a really smart way. ‘New’ social networks have a hard time gaining traction because users have a hard time starting over somewhere when all of their ‘people’ are on Facebook, etc. (Ahem, Google+) But with MySpace, there’s a different sort of value that makes it more attractive when it comes to adding another network. It’s easier to justify.
I’m also interested to see how mobile search changes over the next year. As it continues to converge with local/social, I think it will pick up an even more rapid pace as tablet use grows and people start to rely on info on-the-go more than ever. Spoken by a girl who never thought she’d own a tablet – who now cannot put her iPad down.
So that is what our office is going to keep an eye on in 2013! What are you excited to see?
I don’t know about you, but 2012 was a busy one over here! I think it is always fun to look back on the past year as we prepare for the next. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of our most popular blog posts again (determined by Pageviews in Google Analytics) from the previous year.
Here is the rundown of the most popular posts from 2012:
Facebook had a crazy year – growth, user experience changes, advertising updates, IPO, and its fair share of controversy. A big change this past year was how business pages worked and looked. Adding cover images was a huge change to the look of business and personal pages.
Do you know what your link profile looks like? Do you have unwanted spammy links coming in? In this post we look at how to assess both and if you need to use Google’s Disavow Tool to clean up your link profile.
One of the scariest aspects of social media for businesses is that barriers are down and anyone can say anything (good or bad) about your business. When someone leaves a negative comment on your business Facebook page, should you remove it?
Responsive website design also was a popular topic in 2012. With the use of mobile phones and tablets on the rise, creating a site that has a good user experience on any device is more important than ever.
Landing pages are a great way to increase conversions on your website. You can tailor content to be specific to what the user needs and is looking for. In this infographic, we break down the keys to successful landing page design.
Our most popular post again deals with the most popular social network – Facebook! With all the changes to Facebook over the years, some people made the mistake of setting up their business page as a personal page. This year Facebook gave us the opportunity to flip those without losing your page’s audience. This posts shows you how to make that switch.
Looking back at our top posts, they seem like a pretty good reflection of what was happening in our office last year. I looked back at the year before too (Ten Most Popular Blogs of 2011). Lots of times by looking back, it can help you prepare for what is to come. Do you do the same thing? What were hot topics for your blog and business this past year?