Tout and the WWE Universe- a Match Made in Heaven

The WWE began promoting Tout like crazy last night on the broadcast of Monday Night Raw (make sure to watch RAW # 1000 next week, at the very least we’re getting a title match between John Cena and CM Punk) with various interstitial commercials and numerous references from the commentators encouraging the WWE Universe to use the new service, which is, in a nutshell, “Twitter for video”. Tout, which was born at the Stanford Research Institute, is a new social media channel using both web based and mobile applications to allow users to make real-time status updates designed for instant sharing through other social media platforms. Users record short 15 second videos using their PC, tablet or smartphone, and then “Tout” them to other users a la Twitter. Right now, Tout has about 25 million users, and the CEO claims that 6 million of those joined after the WWE began promoting the service. The WWE is all in on this one, with a dedicated page showing users all about the new service.

Tout recently closed a round of funding for over $13 million, and the WWE contributed a big piece of that pie, which explains their heavy promotion of the site/service. Zack Ryder (the WWE Superstar best known for “getting over” using Twitter and social media (check out 1:15, since I can’t seem to get the embedding to work, grrr):

…is featured heavily on Tout’s home page:

…and when I signed up (I’ll likely never use it, but what the hell, better to have and not need than need and not have) all of my recommended followers were WWE personalities, likely because of the search history on this machine while writing this article:

The WWE is purportedly going to let the WWE Universe determine some of the creative direction of the show and help steer programming- by Touting to the WWE, of course! Touts will be added to both live and pre-recorded broadcasts.

Personally, I think this is a smart move by the WWE. Consumption of online video is only growing; a study in 2011 showed that people watching Netflix were accounting for as much as 30% of all Internet traffic during primetime:

 

 

Not only is Netflix 30% of primetime traffic, but look at what else is up there, with YouTube at 11% and Flash video at 5%. That means that nearly 50% of all traffic during prime time for March 2011 was essentially “people watching videos”.

More and more phones are being released with front-facing cameras, more and more tablet devices include similar cameras, and the price of webcams has dropped to the point where an HD webcam can be had for as little as $35. The speed at which video can be uploaded and downloaded on mobile devices is increasing all the time as faster, cheaper better phones come out and the major carriers upgrade their networks. The Kindle Fire 2 and Google Nexus 7, the summer’s splashiest entrants into the small-form tablet fray, both have front-facing cameras- the only practical application of which is really video chat, as taking pictures with a front facing camera is sort of a ridiculous proposition.

People love to consume video because it’s easier than reading, and you can be a lot more creative with video than you can with text. We are moving towards a web primarily composed of video, and getting in on the ground floor allows the WWE to remain in its position of relative dominance of social media, when compared to other entertainment brands. The WWE is especially good at using social media to maintain intimacy with the fans even when they aren’t watching the show or interacting with the various digital properties, and since pro wrestling is such a visual medium, Tout seems like a perfect fit for their strategy of continuing storylines and fan outreach and promotion through social media. A service like Tout is also right in the WWE’s wheelhouse demographically. Let’s look at some data about video sharing:

 The age of users engaged in social networking:

 

and finally, the WWE’s audience demographic, straight from the WWE Ad Sales page (the data is from 2009, so take it with a grain of salt):

Demographics

61% are male

15% are ages 12-17

67% are ages 18-49

41% are males 18-34

33% are non-white

29% have a HHI of 75K or higher

15% have a HHI of 100K or higher

Internet Activity

63% played games online

52% listened to music

51% watched streaming video

Mobile

87% of our visitors own a cell phone

32% downloaded something to their cell phone within the past 30 days

15% downloaded a ringtone to their cell phone within the past 30 days

 

The service, the brand and the demographic all intersect nicely, making this practically a no-brainer. I’d be willing to bet that they see a better return on their Tout investment than they do for the WWE films division in 2013- especially if the site takes off.

As an avid WWE fan, the constant references to social media during broadcasts have become tiresome- maybe because I work in marketing also- and adding Tout is only going to irritate media-savvy viewers even more; though it’s not likely many will even realize the WWE’s financial interest in Tout. For the company and stockholders though, this is a very smart move.

Tout and the WWE Universe are a perfect fit!

 

 

SEO 2.0- What’s a Traditional SEO To Do?

Have you ever heard the expression “if you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got? Usually, I find that to be very much true. However, when we look at the process of SEO after the earth shattering Penguin and Panda algorithm updates from Google, it’s pretty clear that SEOs are going to have to change to adapt.

SEO to this point has been a pretty straightforward process of onsite optimization, content syndication, and back link acquisition. Many agencies and SEO professionals even have a routine down for doing this kind of formulaic SEO, however, it’s simply not going to work any more- at least for Google. In fact, it’s almost as if Google looked at those tactics and specifically decided to smack them down as part of these latest “P” updates (is Pirahna next? OH NO!). Many of the SEOs that I know are really struggling, as the way they’ve done SEO has always worked, basically, if you were doing SEO and your competitors weren’t, you’d have the upper hand on the SERP. Not so any more; so, what do you offer clients in place of those “old school” services? It’s time to change the model, and I have some suggestions here that I think can replace “traditional” SEO services.

Before I get into the list, I definitely want to point out that I do think there is still a place for on site optimization; that will never change, but it’s really a commodity now, nearly everyone does the same type of onsite optimization of meta tags, navigation, internal linking, and the like. The only real opportunity for creativity there is the keyword research, after that part is done the rest of an SEO campaign generally plays out the same way in most cases. Content production and distribution also have a place but the way we do that has changed, as well- Ezine Articles doesn’t work any more, folks! Linkbuilding, which I, in white hat SEO snob mode, have never really considered to be SEO, is (thankfully) going the way of the dodo- at least the old way of getting hundreds of crappy directory and comment links every month is.

The biggest piece of advice I have for SEOs in the Post-Penguanda era is STOP TRYING TO BEAT THE ALGORITHM. Let me repeat that- STOP TRYING TO GAME GOOGLE’S ALGORITHM. You are a marketer now, you always have been, but you are going to need some new techniques to fill the gaps of all the old crap you used to sell that worked only because Google hadn’t caught up to it. Here are some services you can offer to keep the value of your services in your clients’ minds.

Back link audits and removal of poor quality inbound links- I really feel that all SEO campaigns should be taking a month off right now, to audit all the inbound links to the site and spend some time getting any shady ones removed. You need to start fresh with a clean link profile. This can be a long and arduous process, and it might not show much fruit as it can be very difficult to get bad links removed (when you can find them) but especially if your client has received a notice from Google in the form of a Webmaster Tools message or even a letter, you must scrub that profile. This could take months but it is totally worth it moving forward. In fact, I would take the drastic step of halting all SEO work to solely commit to the backlink audit, until it’s clean.

Social marketing integration- Social signals are being used in the major search engines’ algorithms and most clients are clueless about how to use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube to send the proper signals. Using an application like Buffer, a client’s social media campaign can be largely automated, and it is about an hour’s work to write 20 Tweets, 2 G+ posts and 2 Facebook posts to then trickle out over the course of the week. You can’t make them participate but you can give them a voice, if nothing else. Showing clients how to connect with a social media audience using appropriately hash tagged and linked content is a very valuable service, and it’s not separate from SEO. In fact, I’d like to get that out there right now- social media and SEO can’t be placed in separate buckets any more. They are one and the same.

Blogger Outreach- this is the new linkbuilding. Spending time building an inventory of bloggers that are willing to write (and disclose) sponsored posts, with inline links back to your site, is the new linkbuilding. Stop thinking of how to get 100 links in a day and instead focus on getting 2 really good ones, if you insist on retaining the “linkbuilding” title for your job. Some of the old techniques still work here, as well, such as contacting webmasters with dead links on their pages and asking them to replace those links with links to your site, but in the future “linkbuilding” is really going to be about relationship building.

Conversion rate optimization- what good is it bringing a horse to water if you can’t make them drink? By using advanced techniques such as geotargeting or behavioral segmentation, you can make the traffic that does come to the site more valuable. A/B testing and multivariate testing are also very valuable, and can provide insights into the client’s customer base that they’d never be able to get anywhere else but online.

Business analysis- a good SEO makes themselves a partner with their client. It’s not about squeezing another month of fees out of them with a song and dance about the latest update and how valuable your knowledge is, it’s about partnering with them to learn their industry, learn their customers, and learn their demographic. Again, this requires a lot of work, and you might have to get outside your comfort zone. I’m always surprised at how many SEOs claim to be able to help their clients make more money and do better business, yet lack any basic business training themselves.  This sort of business analysis also requires regular phone calls with the client, but don’t go too crazy- anything more often than a biweekly call is probably pushing it and is going to strain the relationship. Nothing drives me crazier as a marketer than having meetings just to have them, it wastes everyone’s time as both sides scramble to have something to talk about. Every two weeks is plenty; and regular meetings should be counted as a very valuable deliverable.

Multi-channel attribution- Google has made this even easier for us to do with their new multi-touch reporting, which is able to give insight on what the purchase/conversion funnel looks like. From “the percentage of visitors who touched the site first via PPC, but then purchased via organic search” to “how to drive traffic to the site using social media”, SEOs can provide business owners great insight about how their clients behave online. For example, if you have a product that skews young, there’s a good chance that people are first discovering your brand on Social Media- how can you capitalize on that? How can you optimize for the right channel and purchase path? How can you keep that sales funnel full? Multi channel attribution and the resultant optimization can answer all of these questions and many more. This is a newer area of SEO/marketing- unless you have an analytics solution that does these things already- and it’s a great first step towards selling an integrated campaign, as well.

Content Creation and Marketing- Wait a minute, didn’t I say that wasn’t going to work any more? Well yeah, but not the way you’ve traditionally done it, which is likely to pay someone in Asia or India $2 an hour to put out some terrible content that barely makes sense with a few exact match anchor text links back to your site, then put the content somewhere like eZine Articles or Article Alley. Content marketing now is about the same thing I’ve always personally advocated- give people some value! Give them a reason to come to your site, give them a reason to click that inline link. Infographic link bait, guest posts, and at the heart of it- good, original, valuable useful content- are the future of content marketing. Google needs good quality content to wrap its ads around, and the best way to get to the top of the SERP isn’t a secret to be figure out- it’s to be the most valuable resource. Part of our job as SEOs is to inform clients when they simply don’t deserve to rank higher for a given term, and then propose solutions such as going after longer tail keywords to make up the shortfall. Content marketing also includes SEO optimizing Press Releases when the client actually has something interesting or valuable to say. Optimzation or re-optimization of existing content can also be quite a valuable service, especially if the client has “old” content that hasn’t been updated in a while.

Adaptive/Responsive design recommendations- It’s important that client sites are flexible, as web content is being consumed on a dizzying and ever-increasing array of devices from phones to tablets to desktops. Architectural recommendations about how to build a site to scale properly so that all visitors see  all the clients’ content, in the best possible presentation, is part of both SEO and the previously mentioned conversion rate optimization. Schema.org markup is also very important, as Google builds its semantic web sites that feed the beast are going to get better SERP placements. This is also important as different devices proliferate- who knows what a browser will look like 5 years from now? Semantic markup is what the web was meant to be, if we’re only getting around to it 40 years later, so be it. Be on the cutting edge! Use the schema.org markup data to ensure maximum visibility.

Mobile website recommendations-  It doesn’t make sense for every brand to have its own mobile site, but it does make sense to build the site in a way that maximizes visibility across a lot of different devices. There’s a whole separate mobile algorithm that takes things like scalability and site speed into account; so it’s important to optimize for that algorithm. Some clients would be better served by building an App for their customers- it’s an SEO’s job to make that consideration/recommendation as well.

Site speed optimization- Regardless of what you sell or to whom you sell it, the Internet is getting faster, connected devices are getting faster, and mobile website access is becoming more common. Site speed is an important part of the algorithm and an especially important part of the mobile algorithm. Any recommendations to make sites load and parse faster are very valuable, and while most SEOs aren’t programmers, there are lots of resources out there that can tell you in plain English what’s causing a site to be slow.

Have you noticed a theme to these recommendations? They all require actual work :) SEO has always appealed to people because hey, it’s on a computer, that means you can automate and replicate and duplicate and not really have to do ACTUAL work, right? Wrong. SEO has never been about that, and now,  those SEO chickens are coming home to roost. Get on it! Improve yourself, improve your knowledge, improve your techniques, and improve the service you give your clients to be an SEO 2.0 superstar.

More Android Phone Bone Ownage- Android App Review, Round 2

Android Logo

Since the most popular post on this blog ever is the original “These Apps Own Bones on Android Phones“; I thought I’d do an update type post. I’ve had my phone for about a year now, and I’ve both added and gotten rid of some apps. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my recommendations and maybe add some of your own!

First, the casualties from the original post. I no longer use:

  • Car Home  was novel but there’s really no use for it as I only use my phone for 1 of 2 things in the car- music or GPS
  • doubleTwist with AirSync has been totally replaced by the kickass Google Music (more on that later in the post)

There are quite a few very underused apps still hanging on too, such as HBO GO, that I just feel I need to have installed for whatever reason. The apps I’ve added in the past year include:

Battle.Net Mobile Authenticator and Star Wars: The Old Republic Mobile Security Key Both of these applications serve the same purpose, which is essentially to upgrade my logins to Battle.Net and TOR with two-factor protection. The apps are very straightforward, once you’ve entered your account info and synced your clock with the server, when you go to log in you will be prompted not only for a password, but for a key code that appears on your phone. This means that no one can use the account without having the phone, which is also locked, so it’s essentially 3-factor ID :)  Both companies provide inexpensive dongles that serve the same purpose, but hey, the app is free!

CardioTrainer is a cool app that acts like a pedometer on steroids. With different settings for different types of exercise and GPS tracking, you can always get a great readout on your workout. The program also keeps a history of when and how much you’ve worked out, calculates calorie loss, and features integration with Twitter and Facebook so that you can post your workouts publicly and keep yourself honest. Not sure why I’d ever need to upgrade to the paid version, but I may sling these guys a few bux anyway, just because I love their app. I’m afraid to turn it on at Disneyland because I think the constant GPS pinging would eat the battery but I’ll give it a shot one of these days. I really want to know how many miles it is to walk around there all day!

Currents is on my phone because I am sort of evaluating it for job-related things, but I can’t figure it out. It’s a lot like an RSS feed reader but with a more graphical and easy to use layout- maybe it looks better on a tablet? Darn thing never updates in the background, and when I manually update the little progress wheel just spins and spins. Maybe I don’t need this after all!

Cut the Rope was I think supposed to be the next Angry Birds, but I don’t see it taking off the same way. You actually have to think quite a bit starting with the second tier of puzzles, which doesn’t always suit a quick 2 minute break too well. To be fair, I haven’t really given this one a fair shake at all; I mean, I liked the demo enough to buy it! I’ll have to take a more determined shot at it some time soon.

Yahoo! Fantasy Football 2011 and Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball 2011  are cool programs that let you run your entire fantasy enterprise from the palm of your hand. I just use them to check realtime stats while I’m in line for the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland :)

Foursquare is a fun app, though I was asked by a buddy “why do you do that? why do you check in?” The short answer is “for the deals”, the long answer is that I wanted a program to keep me honest about how much fast food I eat, so I got Foursquare and started checking in religiously. Nowadays, I use it to look for cheap lunch check-in deals, read recommendations for what to eat at restaurants I haven’t eaten in before, stalk my friends (seriously! it’s fun) and lifestream Disneyland trips to Facebook and Twitter. There’s something that’s just…fun about it, without needing to be productive or justified. Try it out! The people  I know that give it a shot love it. Careful, though, if you opt in to mayorships people will be able to see details about your most checked into categories and individual places. Not a fan of that part; you won’t see me with any mayorships.

FruitNinja Free is ALMOST as fun as Angry Birds, with the added benefit that it’s probably even easier for your 4 year old to whoop your butt at it. I’ve also seen this one full size on big HDTV’s at Dave and Buster’s, but the handheld version is just a lot of fun.

GoToMeeting is on my phone because I know one day it’s going to save my ass. All the functionality of GoToMeeting, even if I’m in the middle of a traffic jam (as long as I have cell or wifi reception)? Um…yes, please!

Lapse It Pro is a badass application that shoots and renders time-lapse videos. Check out this one of my wife doing our Christmas tree this year! Fun, fun stuff. I’m going to do one of my hour+ commute, soon.

Minecraft PE is the pocket version of the full-sized Minecraft game. I have to be honest, I have not even opened this up- it was ten cents to buy it one day around the holidays and I could not pass it up. Maybe next surgery :P

Google Music is probably my favorite app of 2012. You upload all of your music to the cloud by pointing the Google Music Manager at either your iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries, and then not only is it available online from any browser (awesome for getting around “no, we can’t let you have iTunes at work” restrictions), but it’s all available via streaming wi-fi any time you’re connected. You can also mark as much or as little of the music as you want to be available offline, depending on how much memory capacity your phone has. If you’re like me, and have just about 8 gigs of music you carry around with you, getting Google Music means you can go on a pocket diet and chuck the iPod. The player is not as nice or feature rich as the iPod (no live-updating Smart Playlists, only thumbs up or thumbs down instead of a 1-5 star rating on songs, etc.) and if you are using it on a G2 as I am, you’d better have a good external amp to plug into because it’s just not that loud. Other than that, I think Google Music absolutely rocks (heh).

What else is good? Any apps you really like? Put ‘em here and I’ll shout out to you with a link. Thanks!

 

Twitter, Buffer and Patterns of Attention

I’ve been a bad digital marketer, I must confess. Though I have been working on SEO initiatives for clients for nearly 4 years, I only recently started using Twitter to try to do some proactive reputation management, and ensure that the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) show the picture I want to show when someone Google searches my name. I’ve been using Twitter to run social media campaigns for clients for years- even before we had any analytics at all and had to guess at the ROI of social media- but just never took the plunge personally, until recently. I’ve been using Twitter with a nice little free app/Chrome extension called Buffer (http://www.bufferapp.com) which allows you to trickle out your tweets in well, a buffer, so that you don’t bomb your followers with 15 links back to back in their Tweet streams, as you read your RSS feeds over coffee.  The nice thing about Buffer is that you also get statistics about how many times your links were clicked and re-tweeted- this got me to thinking about analyzing some Twitter data to see what effect Tweeting on different days of the week, at different times of day, using different categories and hash tags and personalizing my Tweets would have. The data is interesting and a little surprising, too.

First, here’s a little background about how I conducted this (admittedly non-scientific) test. Here’s my Twitter biography:

SEO Account Manager @WebMetro, where I work to build value for clients through Internet Marketing. I’m also a Daddy, Disneyphile, WWE fan and avid PC gamer. http://franirwin.com

So, this is definitely a public, promotional Twitter account and I watch what I say on here. Very seldom will I curse, I’m quick to thank people for re-tweets, and I keep things industry/work related and squeaky clean. The main reason I have this account is to drive traffic to my blog and also maintain an active social media presence for services like Klout, which gives me cool perks for sharing my opinion, and of course, just to keep up with the news for myself! I frequently am asked “how do you SEO’s keep up with everything that’s going on, especially with Google changing the algorithm so frequently”? The answer is, with Twitter and with a good RSS reader (Google Reader, in fact).

The period of time we’ll analyze runs from September 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011. Now, sometimes, I will actually use the Twitter interface to manually tweet about things and send messages- those types of interactions aren’t covered here. This piece refers solely to tweets scheduled with bufferapp to go out during business hours on weekdays. I do this purposefully- Tweeting is not something I want to do full time or even in my free time; so I have a pattern set up with Buffer to start tweeting at 5 AM PST- this is for my West Coast followers, so they have Tweets to read as they come in to work- and ending at a little after 5 PM PST, at the end of my workday. I tweet approximately once an hour, with a higher concentration around the beginning, middle, and end of the day. Sometimes, I will be at home reading something that seems worth Tweeting but, if it seems like it will “keep” to the next scheduled Buffer trickle time, I will just add it to my buffer, which has a max capacity of 10 scheduled Tweets. I’m too cheap to pop for the full version J (Actually, the free version works just fine for me; though you may want to pay the very inexpensive fee to get unlimited space in your buffer.

I mainly tweet about SEO related stuff, lots of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Klout posts, with some personal stuff about my hobbies- namely going to Disneyland and playing PC video games- sprinkled in. It’s about 90% “professional” Tweets though- I am mainly cultivating others’ content. I try very hard not to put things out there that I’ve already seen- for that reason, I’m always looking for the next obscure RSS feed loaded with great information to source. I don’t have a lot of followers, but I did gain about a 30% increase for the time period I’m discussing here.

Let’s summarize my Tweet habits, shall we? First, I sorted my posts as granularly as I could without being ridiculous, into the following categories (followed by the number of Tweets and total % of Tweets for the topic, in September):

Google

44

18.26%

Blog

3

1.24%

SEO

33

13.69%

Foursquare

3

1.24%

Industry News

27

11.20%

Hulu

3

1.24%

FaceBook

21

8.71%

Netflix

3

1.24%

Gaming

12

4.98%

Amazon

2

0.83%

Social Media

11

4.56%

Yahoo

2

0.83%

Twitter

11

4.56%

Advertising

1

0.41%

Electronic marketing

10

4.15%

Bing

1

0.41%

Self-Promotional

10

4.15%

Business

1

0.41%

Personal Interest

8

3.32%

Microsoft

1

0.41%

YouTube

7

2.90%

Nestle

1

0.41%

Technology

6

2.49%

Panda

1

0.41%

Video

5

2.07%

Politics

1

0.41%

Deal

4

1.66%

Sports

1

0.41%

Groupon

4

1.66%

We’re looking at a pool of 241 Tweets that got a total of 907 clicks and 3 re-tweets, an average of 3.73 clicks per Tweet and about a 1% re-tweet percentage. The raw numbers themselves don’t look great, but we’re going to dive a little bit deeper and look at what posts scored “applause”, meaning they somehow got attention from my followers beyond my adding them to my Twitter. I’m glad to see that most of my posts are on topic, with “Google”, “SEO”, and “Industry News” speaking for 42% of my total Tweets. Looks like I’m doing a good job, staying on topic.

For the rest of this post, Clicks will be the main metric by which I measure engagement. I’m making the assumption that if someone clicks a link, they are interested in what lives behind it. Here are the times when the most clicked Tweets were…tweeted:

2:20 PM

92

5:11 AM

91

11:42 AM

90

4:17 PM

89

5:09 PM

58

7:05 AM

49

12:47 PM

44

1:05 PM

33

5:11 AM

33

9:12 AM

16

Remember when looking at these numbers that I am on the West Coast of the USA and a lot of my followers who actually KNOW me personally are on the East Coast. There doesn’t appear to be much rhyme or reason to correlating the time of the post with its popularity, but we can see that I’m getting my heaviest concentration of clicks in the times around the beginning and end of work, and lunch breaks. This makes sense on its face because that’s when most people have some time to spare for social media, running down their Twitter stream in the elevator on the way to lunch or while standing in line for a latte. I have timed my Tweets specifically to try and hit these lulls in activity, and that’s also why I don’t Tweet on weekends. High rates of adoption aside, I just don’t know a lot of people that turn to Twitter to kill 5 minutes; they are using Facebook or playing a game during most of those times.

Next up, let’s look at personalization. In other words, does it make a difference if I add a personalization to the Tweet, or is the page Title and bit.ly link (which is what buffer tweets when you use the Chrome extension if you don’t modify it) enough? Basically, are my followers following my content or my comments? Let’s take a look at the most clicked tweets again:

Personalized?

# of clicks?

NO

92

NO

91

NO

90

NO

89

NO

58

NO

49

NO

44

NO

33

NO

33

NO

16

At least in my stream, it doesn’t matter if I add a witty bon mot or comment, or answer the question in the headline- my Followers want to read the content, not my take on it. In fact, here are the numbers for all of my personalized Tweets:

Personalized?

# of clicks?

YES

5

YES

5

YES

3

YES

2

YES

2

YES

1

Yes

1

YES

1

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

YES

Yes

YES

Yes

YES

Yes

That’s…discouraging. My followers seem to prefer robotic re-tweets of the content that interests me. I don’t blame them, I get up from my desk for 5 minutes to get coffee and when I get back there are sometimes as many as 30 new Tweets in my stream. I’m not going to read all of those and it seems unreasonable to expect my followers to.

Now, let’s move on to days of the week. Here’s the breakdown by Day of the week, number of Tweets, and number of Clicks:

Tweets

Clicks

Ratio

Saturday

2

2

1.00

Friday

57

90

0.63

Sunday

2

5

0.40

Thursday

54

215

0.25

Tuesday

41

177

0.23

Monday

37

186

0.20

Wednesday

44

232

0.19

We have to take this data with a grain of salt as I really don’t tweet on weekends, but if we toss Saturday and Sunday out as having too small a sample size, it seems that Friday is the best time for me to Tweet something and get it clicked- this probably correlates with most offices’ relaxed Friday atmosphere, and the fact that people usually have more time to devote to secondary activities like social media as the week winds down. I also seem to Tweet more on Fridays, probably for the same reasons. Wednesday looks to be the worst day for me to Tweet if I want my message to resonate- maybe due to stress from the mid-week crush people just don’t have time for Twitter?

Next, I wanted to see if my followers are picking up the messaging I am putting out there. To check that, I will compare the number of clicks with the number of “on-topic” Tweets- that is, Tweets where I speak specifically about my professional area of expertise and where a stranger might be compelled to follow me, were they to see those Tweets.

Posts Clicks Ratio
Industry News

27

70

0.39

SEO

33

86

0.38

Facebook

21

86

0.24

Google

44

200

0.22

Total

125

442

0.31

 

So for Tweets that I am actively trying to get clicks for, namely, the self-declared topic of my Twitter, I have about a 30% click rate which I feel is very good. However, this is right on pace with the overall click rates on my general pool of Tweets, so I can’t (as much as I’d like to) attribute this to being an outgrowth of my fabulous Twitter content curation skills.

Next up, hash tags. I want to ask two questions here about hash tags: does using a hash tag make a difference in your click through rate, and which hash tags get the best click through rates? (I have an inkling on the answer to the second question but we’ll let the number play out and then I’ll make an observation later. Of the 241 Tweets I made in September, 176 of them or 73% contained at least one hash tag. Those tweets resulted in 556 clicks, whereas the posts without hash tags resulted in 351 clicks. That’s a rate of 2.3 clicks per Tweet, compared to 5.4 clicks without a hash tag. It seems that not using a hash tag will actually result in a higher click through rate!

Facebook- 20 Tweets resulting in 86 clicks

Google- 42 Tweets resulting in 94 clicks

SEO- 31 Tweets resulting in 73 clicks

Twitter- 8 Tweets resulting in 183 clicks

The takeaway here is that if you’re posting information about Twitter, on Twitter- you’ve got a highly engaged audience! Social Media topics do well on Twitter because of the service’s high rates of adoption among those that live and breathe the topic. Speaking of Social Media topics on Twitter…


Hey, that’s not cool! At least 30 of my followers liked my Tweet well enough to click on it twice, but not one single re-tweet?!?! I’d be willing to bet that at least a few of them simply copy/pasted into their own Tweet stream- but savvy social media Users, like the ones that would click on a link about Klout, appear to be pretty stingy with the re-tweet love! This spotlights one of the problems with Twitter- people aren’t as altruistic as they tell you you should be. I will re-tweet things that I think are particularly funny or amusing, or that I haven’t already seen before- but I’m generally not LOOKING for things to re-tweet, either. It’s sort of like no-following a link on a page- sure, the link out doesn’t hurt anyone, but why give away my expertise/time/attention currency for free? Next time I get a similar topic, I’ll try an experiment- I’ll put the same tweet out twice, once with “PLEASE RT” added to see if that makes a difference in people’s generosity.

According to my (admittedly limited in scope) research, my best chance for getting a Tweet clicked is to post non-personalized Tweets that are specifically about Internet Marketing industry news, with no hash tags after lunch on Fridays.  What do your Twitter statistics look like, and what do they tell you?

These Apps Own Bones on Android Phones

Android Logo

I realized that I have quite a few apps on my phone now that I’ve had it for 6 months, and since a lot of people I know are getting new handsets I thought I’d do a quick rundown of my tried-and-trusted Android apps.  I have an HTC G2 on T-Mobile, and while their coverage isn’t the greatest I’m quite pleased with the phone and with their customer service.  It’s not the newest phone on the market but it is currently sold out at T-Mobile.com, so I guess it’s pretty popular! I had the G1 before this, a Blackberry Curve before that, a Blackberry Pearl before that, and bricks before that.

Apps What Done Come With the Phone

Adobe Reader- I don’t even notice that this app is installed, but it is nice to be able to review a presentation’s notes, for example, on my phone in the car on the way to the client’s office. Integration is pretty seamless, and it does what you think it does- it lets you read .pdf files on your phone.

Car Home- This is kind of a strange app to include, considering that you’re expressly verboten from using your cell phone while driving.  However, it does put all the buttons you’d need on the screen in one bigass 2*3 grid-Navigate, Phone, Voice Search, Contacts and Music- it’s nice and customizable, too.  I would buy an app that would use the GPS and the accelerometers on the phone to kick into Car Home mode any time I’m going over say, 50 miles an hour, and then revert back if I slow down for more than 5 minutes.  I like that you can customize the buttons and colors, and intended to use the app in the car, but I really only use the Navigation feature while I’m actually driving, so I don’t use this a lot. I included it because I think the concept is sound.

Google Maps/Navigation- The hands down single best app that ships with the phone and a strong contender for the best app on the phone, period.  I use this every single day, to gauge how long it’ll take me to get to work, decide whether or not to take the toll road, and get turn-by-turn voice assisted directions in new areas when on client calls.  They recently added the ability for mass transit systems to update in real-time, meaning that if you have Google Maps on your phone and your bus is late, you’ll know about it ahead of time.  I leave this on in the car constantly- in Traffic view- and it usually is dead on with the estimate of how long it will take me to get somewhere, as long as an accident doesn’t happen on the same route after I’ve left.  It even updates in real time as you slow down and speed up! Good stuff. Sorry GPS companies! Google saved me a couple hundred bones with this app, easy.

Apps I Done Downloaded

doubleTwist with AirSync ($5)-fools your iTunes/PC/Mac into thinking that your cell phone is an iPod, and pretty much makes your phone function that way as well.  Make sure you don’t try to transfer DRM-locked tunes, though, as it will automatically not sync those files. We all know the workaround for that already, so I won’t mention it here. doubleTwist by itself is free, but the AirSync add-on allows you to sync data between your phone and your Mac/PC/iTunes account wirelessly, provided that you have a Bluetooth card or dongle built in to your laptop or desktop.  To be honest, I don’t use this app much; but it was nice when I went in the hospital to be able to just have one device, instead of my iPod AND my cell phone. I’ve used it occasionally in the car when my Nano runs out of juice and it works fine; it doesn’t sound great but that isn’t anyone’s fault. The phone just isn’t designed to be a music player.

Amazon Kindle (Free)- just what you think! It’s a Kindle for your phone.  Not as nice to read on the harsh white screen as it is on an e-ink screen, but still, it’s handy in a pinch, especially if you are on an ongoing pocket diet, as I am.  I just don’t like carrying a lot of electronics, and between Kindle and doubleTwist you’re effectively eliminating the need for an mp3 player or a reader.  Granted, the controls and interface aren’t as slick as they would be on dedicated devices, but it’s great to have in a pinch. There’s a large selection of free classics to get started, so it won’t cost you anything to try it out!

Angry Birds (Free: ad-supported)- come on. It’s freakin’ Angry Birds! It’s not THIS cool:


…but it’s cool. And, your 4 year old is already better at it than you are. :)

AntiVirus Free (Free)- This terribly named app- AntiVirus Free, like the app is free of antivirus? Isn’t that a double positive or something? Anyway, it’s just what you think it is; free antivirus software for your phone.  It comes from AVG, who’s been protecting my personal home PCs for years, and it works great- I havent’ experienced any extra load on the processor or slowdown since installing this app. I can’t figure out what the $14.99 version does differently, but that’s mainly because I can’t be bothered to look. The free one works just fine, just like the home software!

Barcode Scanner (Free)- Reads barcodes and QR codes.  I originally got ShopSavvy but it’s too unwieldy with too many options.  This program reads the code, and then gives you buttons to push to visit the site if you like the URL the code returns.  Basic, functional and simple to use!

Facebook (Free- HAH!)- Do I really need to say anything about this one? I frankly think the app could be a little better, I get weird “unable to fetch data” errors all the time in areas where other programs work just fine, but for a smoke break or waiting for tea to brew, FB is the perfect way to kill 5 minutes.  I do like that the notifications seem to update in real time much more reliably than they do with the Google Plus app- there’s always a pretty good synchronization there; whereas with Plus, I get notifications 2 days after I upload photos at times. I also have a very hard time doing check-ins in high traffic, multiple network areas such as Disneyland, where I like to lifestream what I’m doing for my friends. Yes, I am a big lame-o.

Fandango (Free)- Used it once.  I have a smart phone and I can just go to the site.  Don’t need an app. Why haven’t I deleted this thing already? Oh wait, there it goes. Gone.  That actually brings me to an aside- I love that you can manage your phone’s apps solely in a browser with Android. Dunno if you can do that with the other app store(s) but I lahk it uh loht.

Google Authenticator (Free)- This is essentially a security dongle so that when you try to log into your Google accounts from a new computer, you have to enter the verification code displayed on your phone, a six-digit string that changes every minute or so (usually right when you’re trying to enter it).  This means that no one can access your Google accounts unless they HAVE the phone.  Sometimes this can be a small pain in the ass, such as when logging into a client’s machine to show them an ad-hoc search result, but the extra layer of security is worth the very minor hassle of having to take 10 seconds to authenticate your account.

Google Plus (Free- HAH)- had this for about two weeks now and I think it blows the Facebook mobile app out of the water; especially the Huddle feature which is essentially a mobile IRC room (the text-only version of a Hangout) for multiple Users.  I could see people at a conference huddling up, people coordinating movements at Comic-Con, people group heckling their professors right under their noses…Huddles are great.  The automatic photo and video synchronization with Picasa is amazing as well.  Check this out: read more of my profound and insightful Google Plus thoughts! Waka Waka!

HBO Go (Free with an HBO subscription- maybe $13 a month)- Whoah, whoah whoa.  If I subscribe to HBO I can go to the park at lunch, leech off of the unsuspecting neighbors wi-fi and check out Game of Thrones- or The Sopranos, or Big Love, or…anything HBO offers- any time I want? And on-demand kids movies for my 4-year old as an alternative to 10-minute YouTube clips? OKAY! All kidding aside though, I think that this is the future of original content distribution.  If HBO can distribute their own content without needing the cable company; um…I think the sooner the cable company starts thinking of itself as just the pipe, the better.  They’ve enjoyed far too large a piece of the pie for far too long and they need to take a step back from the content side. They can’t keep up and should give us a la carte pricing already!

I Heart Radio (Free)- at the few times I find myself without a radio, I use I Heart Radio to listen mainly to KFI 640 in Los Angeles.  One of those “surgery apps” that I downloaded because of convergence…and then kept because I can’t think of a good reason to delete them.

I P Webcam (Free)- stream audio and video from your phone to a password-protected IP!  Awesome! Haven’t used it…but I know I’m gonna! Someday! Don’t let Metallica find out!

MouseWait (Free)- This is for the Disney geeks out there; crowdsourced wait times for rides and park information. I love this app; I can check on whether or not it’s too crowded to go to the park right from my cell phone at home, work, wherever.  (I’ve found that an index below 82 is pretty good, if you’re wondering).  The only problem I see with this app is that I get distracted with wanting to time how long we’re in line and upload the times to the site- however, it has problems because there are about 75 different wireless networks just on Main Street alone.  The app checks to see if you are entering valid times by using GPS to see where you are in the park, meaning you can’t go to the next ride and enter the wait time on the last one while you’re in line.  This leads to me spending more time than I normally would staring at my phone, so my wife and I have come to  a compromise- I only update wait times every other trip. We go a lot, so I get my geek on plenty.

Phonalyzr (Free)- tracks detailed statistics on inbound and outbound calls and texts, who you talk to the most, who you talk to the longest, when you use your minutes- and displays everything nicely in pie charts and line graphs. Doesn’t track data though (at least the free version doesn’t).

Pinball Ride ($1)- For a dollar, this game is amazing.  Cool music, realistic physics…it’s one of only two pinball games on the Android Market that don’t suck. Syncs with Facebook so you can show off high scores, too!

Google Reader (Free)- Come on, it’s an RSS reader. One of those great “kill 5 minutes” apps that also syncs nicely with the cloud. You can read on your phone and then go to your PC…and the stuff you read is marked “read”! WOW!

Tricorder (Free)- a fun app that measures all kinds of stuff using your phone’s sensors. It measures: absolute vector and magnitude (what direction the phone moving and how fast it’s accelerating), decibel level (how loud something is), audio waveform and spectrum (sine wave graphs), detailed GPS and compass data (on all the GPS satellites and your relation to magnetic North), the EM spectrum (to check on cell signal and local wireless network strength), even solar activity like sunspots and flares-though I don’t think that uses the sensors, I think it’s just for fun!

Trillian (Free, ad-supported, $12 to get rid of ‘em for a year)- instant messaging. I’ve tried ‘em all and this is the best one.  Seamless integration between PC and handset and none of the wireless connectivity issues I’ve had with the others. Meebo and Nimbuzz do not stack up, and the native Google chat uses text messages that count against your limit.  Trillian wins hands down.

Twitter (Free)- derp

WordPress (Free)- derp

Words With Friends/WordFeud (Free)- I can’t decide which of these to play because both of their interfaces for finding opponents really suck, and they don’t update you when it’s your turn, so you have to constantly check or you lose due to timeouts.  I’m just waiting for someone I know to challenge me- SonOfADiddly- so I can smoke them with my massive vocabulary.

 

Did I miss any? What apps can’t you live without?