Bug Bytes is a weekly roundup of the Web’s best links, blog posts, and news articles related to web design, application development, and online marketing. Continue the conversation and share your thoughts on these stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear your own insights!
Ted presenter Kevin Slavin provides an eye-opening introduction into a world that surrounds us, but that few realize: the world of algorithms. Many are already familiar about algorithms roll in stock trading and search engines, but may not realize that algorithms also recommend movies, predict the box office of movie scripts, run elevators, and even vacuum floors. The growing importance of algorithms and how we interact with these complex mathematical properties will continue to drastically shape our world.
Insight: Increasingly, we’re creating a world run by algorithms; however, we do not yet fully understand the implications of such. Over time, the consequences of handing over so much control to lightning quick mathematics will become more evident. Whether these outcomes are positive or detrimental will rely significantly on the human oversight provided to guarantee true benefit and effective implementation.
The Financial Times recently published a report indicating that the cost-per-click (CPC) of Facebook ads has increased by 74% over the past year. Additionally, CPCs are expected to continue rising as more and more brands adopt social networking and contextual advertising as part of a digital strategy. Facebook saw growth beyond other digital advertising channels, including display advertisements, which saw a substantial 45% increase over the past 12 months.
Insight: Not long ago, Facebook ads were a great way to drive traffic and prospective leads to a brand’s website with low cost clicks. Now that big brands are adopting social advertising as a fundamental part of their digital media campaigns, costs have increased, and are expected to rise by 80% by the end of 2011. Facebook can still drive traffic at a reasonable rate for businesses and brands looking to increase awareness at a relatively low cost; however, as CPCs rise, brands will have to invest more to achieve the same results.
Betsy Sparrow, a psychologist at Columbia University, conducted a study to understand the implication of “Google Effects on Memory”. Four part tests were conducted, emphasizing individuals ability to rate the difficulty of trivia statements, as well as recall questions (over the short and long-term) and access answers amongst online data. Ultimately, Sparrow and her team found that people tend to emphasize knowledge of ‘where to access information’, rather than remembering the information itself.
Insight: As we are inundated with more information on a daily basis, we find ways to compartmentalize information in a more approachable format. Just as we organize folders on our desktop or build circles on Google+, we streamline our recognition of data channels into more basic, context-based groups. For marketers, this study only reiterates the need to build resources of brand value, rather than just telling customers ‘do this because’.
According to eMarketer, 80% of companies with 100 employees or more will utilize social media marketing during 2011. Likewise, another study found that 78% of business executives believe that a SoMe strategy is either somewhat or very important to ongoing corporate success. However, despite these high percentages, the actual prioritization of strategy development and implementation is still lacking immensely, often due to de-emphasis by ‘final decision makers’. As a result, the best intentions often fall short in actual action.
Insight: While businesses are fast to acknowledge the potential value of social media emphasis, owners and ‘ultimate priority setters’ are hesitant to prioritize spending within the category. As a result, not only do these brands risk ‘falling behind the curve’, poorly executed social media attempts could prove detrimental to others attempting to market through SoMe efforts. Ultimately, if you do decide to journey into the promotional space, make sure you’re ready to invest in the development and execution of a smart, effective strategy.
In today’s world, you will be hard-pressed to find someone unfamiliar with Google; however, many still can’t put their finger on the main source the giant’s income. At the end of the day, the answer is simple: advertising. To quote Wired.com, there are big bucks in the placement of those “little text ads next to search results”. As such, the five most profitable terms for ad focus (as determined by topic competition) include: insurance, loans, mortgage, attorney, and credit.
Insight: While Google’s current focus appears to be personal social networks and exchange, the company’s main money-maker will remain helping marketers position themselves in front of potential customers. Every click, arbitrary or not, spells fast and easy income for the company. Furthermore, the nature of these advertisements inherently encourages the aligning investment in and use of other Google properties, such as Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and Website Optimizer.