Linkedin Showcase Pages Create New Points of Discovery

Linkedin has proven to be an incredible asset for B2B Social Media Strategy & execution. With Hubspot defining Linkedin (45%) as the most effective B2B source for lead generation followed by Facebook at 33%.

Linkedin continues to focus on creating relevance for company pages. The latest roll-out called “showcase pages” allows businesses to highlight specific brands or products by creating product centric content hubs that allow users to further align with relevant content.

Each showcase page is setup to exist independently from the company page while still showing (below the fold) a connection to the parent page as well other showcase pages.

Here is an example from HP focusing on their Converged Infrastructure offering with the company & additional showcase pages expanded.

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.21.22

Users can follow specific showcase pages and connect directly with the content they are most interested in. This natural segmentation can create more targeted opportunities for brands to connect with audiences who are interested in specific product lines.

Here is an example from Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.09.23

Brands can easily create up to 10 showcase pages that also includes access to page insights & analytics. This combined with the 3 million existing company pages can exponentially increase the amount of content in the platform.

It is easy for an organization to create a showcase page

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.39.30

The organization has the ability to define the showcase page URL, define the industry and connect up to 3 existing Linkedin groups.

Here is a screenshot of the creation screen for the showcase creation.

BlackFin360 Digital Strategy POV: Overview Edit | LinkedIn 2013-11-21 10-42-30

Here is an example of a MIcrosoft showcase page. Linkedin Company pages have worked well from a search discovery perspective and showcase pages provide an additional option to create new points of discovery for products & services.

Linkedin Office Showcase

Here is an example that shows the Microsoft Office example was indexed almost immediately upon launch. At the time of this writing the page was posted 20 hours before.

Linkedin Office Search

This latest addition will allow Linkedin to align paid advertising with in network content hubs to create engaging & targeted experiences within the platform vs. driving off-site. The more content that is created and housed within Linkedin means higher amounts of eyeballs which essentially means more potential advertising revenue for Linkedin.

This new showcase option will need to be carefully considered though when deploying. As determining which products have enough content to support the audience in addition to further segmenting the brands following into subgroups and aligning master brand content against product specific content will need to be considered prior to rolling out showcase pages.

Company pages vs. Showcase Pages

Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.33.20  VS  Screenshot 2013-11-21 10.09.35

The benefits though of having subsets or micro-content hubs is that the audience that engages is truly interested in the product and is actively searching for information. This also allows more flexibility in terms of search discovery as well as one of the issues with other platforms such as Facebook is that you are limited in terms of new points of discovery via organic search.

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Next Gen & Twitch.TV

With last weeks launch of the PS4 selling more than a million in the first 24 hours as well as the launch of the Xbox One this week we are being ushered into the next generation of consoles with a bang! Having pre-ordered an Xbox One months ago I am ready to make the transition.

xbox one

Ready to carry over my gamerscore to the new platform!

Tom TheBlackFin Edwards 111813

One consistent element across both consoles is the integration of Twitch.TV into the experience. For the PS4 it is directly tied to the share button on the controller. What is Twitch.TV? Why does the average user spend 90 minutes on the site daily? And why as a brand would I care about extending my reach to this audience?

PS4

I was recently briefed by the Twitch.TV team and here is a brief overview before getting into how to leverage their community. Twitch.TV is a live video platform and community for gamers with more than 44 million unique viewers per month. Twitch.TV connects gamers globally by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play.

home

In addition to 44 million unique viewers per month, the Twitch.TV community is highly engaged with the average user watching an hour and a half of live stream content per day. Twitch is available as a mobile app that supports both iOS & Android and as I mentioned above will be integrated into both of the next generation consoles.

Twitch-Mobile

For brands interested in publishing, Twitch has a partner program with over 4,000 members and is build on an ad revenue share model with top content producers such as Machinima, Electronic Arts, Mojang, Major League Gaming.

For brands interested in reaching this audience there are three primary ways to engage & activate the Twitch.TV community.

1) Publishing – The Twitch.TV platform is predicated on live streaming content and the option exists to create a branded Twitch channel. This option represents the largest barrier of entry as the best practices for a channel call for unique & relevant content in addition to a broadcast programming guide and would require resources and time to build an audience, create compelling content & invest in media to further drive discovery of the content. Note that this is a Live Streaming platform so content curation is not an option.

Machinima

2) Advertising – Twitch offers multiple advertising opportunities in the form of traditional video (pre-roll) and display, event based advertising. custom event programming. This is the more traditional method of reaching the Twitch.TV community. When I spoke recently with the Twitch team there is a strong desire to create unique & compelling programs that can drive value for for brands beyond simply advertising.

Advertise on Twitch — Twitch Media Group - Ad Types

3) Custom Programs – The Twitch.TV team is very motivated to partner with brands to create unique and compelling programs. This can come in the form of “never been done” types of executions that incorporate both online & offline elements.

Twitch Media Group

With 44 million uniques and a 90 minute dwell time there is definite value to Twitch.TV as a media platform and the ability to create custom programs in partnership with Twitch.TV opens up unique possibilities to connect beyond traditional ad types. Be sure to keep an eye on the monthly uniques as I am projecting growth with the direct integration with the next gen consoles.

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Visual Storytelling Twitter Style

In celebration of Twitter’s IPO, I recently put together the following POV on the new visual Twitter experience outlining what changed, potential impact for programs as well as best practices directly from the Twitter team.

Twitter_IPO_1_610x436

When: This update was rolled out to the public on October 29th, 2013

What: Images, Videos & Vines in users Twitter feed for both web client & mobile apps are now auto expanded (contingent on users updating their iOS & Android apps to the latest update version of the Twitter app).

New Look

Why: Twitter wants to make the service a more visual experience heading into their IPO. One of the core goals of Twitter is mainstream adoption and user growth. In Q3 their user growth rate declined slightly so the goal is to make the product more approachable by incorporating a more visual feel to the timeline similar to Facebook & Tumblr.

Screenshot 2013-11-07 10.32.42

Impact: Previously, a user would need to click on a link to see the preview of the image or video. Now, the user will see a preview of the image and have the ability to zoom in or watch the clip in stream. The visual redesign has also streamlined the ability to replay, retweet or favorite a tweet without leaving the timeline as before.

Xbox

Currently there is no way for a user to turn off the visual previews via the web. However, users can opt to turn off the visual option in the mobile application via settings. Based on past behavior though, this extra step may not be taken by a majority of users.

From a metric standpoint, this change may have an impact on the total interactions per tweet as prior to the update users would need to click on the link to preview an image and that would count as an interaction.

Thus interactions via the tweet may go down, but providing more visual content directly in the stream may impact overall engagement in a more positive way as the visual content will stand out from the traditional text based tweets.

Vine

Final notes: The new visual Twitter update still does not support animated GIF’s and there is currently no filter or blocking functionality for the individual user. Also, Instagram and other services are currently still represented as links vs. auto expanded.

Note this example highlighting Instagram as a link & images uploaded to Twitter as expanded

instagram v twitter

Recommendation: The new best practice associated with image posting per Twitter renders at 440 x 220 and uploaded via pic.twitter.com in order to be auto-expanded.

Twitter Visual Dimensions

Here is additional info that I just received from Twitter RE: Image pixel size and file size:

The longer side of your photo should be 1024 pixels and the shorter side should be proportionately fewer pixels. This applies to horizontal, square, and vertical photos with any aspect ratio. For example, a horizontal photo with a 4×3 aspect ratio should be sized 1024 x 768 pixels. A square photo should be 1024 x 1024 pixels
Photo file size limit is 3MB

To show your entire image in the Tweet preview:

Use an image in horizontal/landscape orientation with a 2:1 aspect ratio (e.g. 1024 x 512 pixels)
If you do this, the preview image will be the same as the image shown when the Tweet is expanded and/or when the photo is fully revealed.

Currently, there are no text restrictions on the images, so there is an opportunity to maximize the real-estate of images. One key point of consideration is that mobile users still need to update their Twitter app to get this feature so that is still a barrier to removing legal copy from photos as only 6% of Twitter users use the web client. Also note that Twitter has been very strict with 3rd parties who use their API, so at some point this update will push through that ecosystem as well.

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Social Search And Circle Impact Theory

One of the questions I receive a lot is the relation between Google+ and search. I commonly hear “of course Google+ impacts search”, but when pressed most don’t fully understand to what extent. Google+ is one of the more misunderstood properties when it comes to mapping it’s value for a social strategy. The key is not to look at Google+ from just a social lens.

Google provides an incredibly powerful ecosystem for a brand but when it comes to strategy Google is often a secondary area of consideration because of the separation of traditional SEO and the entities that manage social properties or the disconnect between paid & owned strategy.

google ecosystem

Think about the three primary points of entry, Google, YouTube & Google+. Google is the primary search engine for a majority of the world, YouTube is the #2 search engine and a key point of distribution for video content and the Google+ represents the future of where Google is building the intersection of search & social via contextual search driven by engagement.

You can see more emphasis on the ecosystem via Google’s new authentication Messaging

Screenshot 2013-11-04 11.11.00

So I thought it would be interesting to test the impact of Google+ content on search and the impact of content discoverability. I continue to be impressed by how timely Google is mapping newly created content into search results.

Contextual

You can see that a Google+ post that I added is already associated with the topic in a search query for a broader topic “5 Reasons to Consider Flipboard”. I wanted to understand the point of differentiation from a contextual placement vs. standard.

Circle Impact TheoryGoogle+ Post Tom

I enlisted the help of various team members to test the contextual mapping of the post:

Step 1: Please google a recent Google+ post topic such as “5 Reasons to Consider Flipboard”
Step 2: Try this while logged into Google+
Step 3: Try this while logged out to see if you get the same result.
Step 4: If I don’t appear in your results please follow me on Google+ and see if that changes your results.
Step 5: Please send me a quick note directly to me that outlines at which step the content appeared to you if at all.

Why the experiment? One of the key elements we need to constantly consider from a content strategy standpoint is the impact that posting through Google+ can have from a search perspective vs. engagement. If the domain is verified and the author is mapped as a contributor via their personal Google+ profile, content created will associate elements of the authors Google+ profile in search results (You can see my Google+ profile pic is shown in conjunction with the post). Understanding the reach of the end result of Google authorship and if this is purely contextual vs. standard is of interest.

The Results: For those who were not following me prior to the experiment my social content did not have any association with their Google results either logged into Google+ or logged out.

Here are the results without any contextual association

Google

The association did not become apparent until the user had added me to their circle, then 100% of the users saw the content within the next 24 hours.

Here is what users who added me to their circles saw upon searching for the topic

Google+ Post Tom

Content that is optimized for contextural search, including correct usage of hashtags, keywords, etc… will show in search results within minutes of posting to Google+. If a user is following you via a circle and happens to search on the topic you just posted about in the traditional google+ ecosystem, they will see your post towards the top of the 1st SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

As a brand, topical content shows towards the bottom of the 1st SERP for those that in your circles. I am a follower of Callaway Golf, and their Google+ topical content now displays in my SERP.

Callaway Brand
The final signal to Google is via engagement. If the content gets a significant amount of engagement (Threshold TBD) then the content has a higher probability of the content shifting from contextual to standard, meaning the content is now discoverable outside of those in immediate circles. This is one of the driving factors behind driving circle growth within Google+. It is less about Google+ as a social platform, and more about mapping social content into a more traditional point of consumer discovery.

Google will continue to be a key ecosystem to consider in mapping larger integrated digital campaigns. Especially with the increased focus on content creation, discovery & distribution, understanding how to amplify the content and create contextual associations between socially created content and search will be a key point to consider as contextual search moves to the center of the Google ecosystem.

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