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The Monday Briefing ? 25 April 16

This week?s Monday briefing has two parts: News and Interesting Reads.

In News: Google now allows users to listen to Podcasts directly from the Google app on Android, Facebook starts counting time spent on content, to rank third-party links in people?s feeds, Facebook Messenger launched group-calling that can hold up to 50 participants, and Google pushes AMP-powered web pages to a top spot on Google News.

In Interesting Reads: An article on the reasons why business listings on Google get suspended, an article about a survey conducted by Alignable, which among other information revealed that SMBs spend less than $50 per month on Facebook Ads, and an extensive guide on WhatsApp marketing.



Google enables listening to podcasts directly in Google app on Android

Google has now made it possible for users to listen to podcasts directly from its Android app. Google had launched podcasts in Google Play Music earlier this week; this comes as a great utility for users interested in listening to podcasts. The functionalities of the service include play, pause, rewind and fast-forward. It also allows users to browse the web or turn off their screen while listening.

With the increasing demand for podcasts, it would be worth looking for ways to rank podcasts for extra plays.

Read more at: SearchEngineLand


Google gives AMP-powered web pages a top spot in Google News

Google had last year released AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), in competition to Facebook?s Instant Articles, to Googles search algorithm.? Now Google has announced that it will give higher priority in Google News for publishers who have embraced AMP. The AMP articles will be flagged with a lightning bolt next to the word ?AMP? which will help users identify that these articles could be read and load quicker than the others.

This move by Google of giving preference to AMP in Google News, might very well be an experiment that can lead to mobile search results overall giving higher preference to AMP-enabled sites soon.

Read more at: Techcrunch


Facebook will consider “time spent” when ranking links in people?s mobile feeds

Facebook has been making changes to its news feed over the years and this time its considering the time spent by users reading an article. Essentially, the more time you spend reading an article, more importance will Facebook News feed give to place it on top. This change will be applicable only for mobile ? to sites that load within the Facebook app or in Instant Articles ? and not for desktop as it will only take into consideration the time spent on the Facebook browser. Again, this change will be applicable only to organic posts and not sponsored ones. This move will further prompt publishers to create quality content so that their links are ranked higher and their articles are displayed on the timeline and thus read more; posting click-baity links will no longer work.

Read more at: MarketingLand


Facebook Messenger launches Group Calling for up to 50 users

Facebook is rolling out its new group voip call feature this week which will enable users to make group calls using Facebook Messenger. This is an interesting feature that was overdue from Facebook for a long time. One can just click the phone button in the group and the call will be made to all the members in that group. As of now, the participant limit for a group call is 50. This feature can be very useful in conducting small seminars for up to 50 users.

The way Facebook is progressing, adding more and more features to its Messenger, especially in calls category, it could soon be a replacement for Skype. The only difference between the two services right now is the group video calling feature that Skype offers, which Facebook is?also likely to include in the future.

Read more at: Techcrunch


Interesting Reads:

Top reasons why your business listing on Google has been suspended

Google has been suspending local business listings for apparent violations of its rules, and business owners are getting panicky not knowing what they have done to face Google?s wrath. But Google won?t tell you what got your listing suspended.

So here are the top reasons why Google suspends business listings:

  1. The website field contains a forwarding URL to landing pages: This is clearly against Google?s guidelines, ?Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ?refer? users to landing pages?.
  2. Marketing taglines or keywords are added to the business name field: Google has specified that ?Adding unnecessary information to your name?is not permitted?.
  3. Address isn?t hidden in a service-area business listing: This is against Google?s guidelines on service-area businesses that say that you should only show your address if customers show up at your business address
  4. There are multiple verified listings for the same business: This is against the rule that reads ?Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts?.
  5. A business type that is sensitive or not allowed on Google Plus: There are certain types of businesses that are not allowed on Google+, for example, a gun shop. As the verified listing appear automatically on Google+, a listing might not be possible.
  6. The listing is for a virtual office or mailbox: Google doesn?t allow pages for virtual offices unless they are staffed during normal business hours.
  7. The listing is for an online business without a physical storefront: If you are running just an online store without a physical office where customers can contact you in person, you are not allowed to create a local business listing. You should rather create a brand page on Google+.
  8. The listing is for a service or class that operates in a building that is don?t owned by another entity: Google guidelines specify, ?Ineligible businesses include: an ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don?t own or have the authority to represent?.
  9. There is nothing wrong with the listing, but the industry the business is in is cluttered with spam, so the spam filters are tighter: This is an unfortunate scenario, where spam filters can accidently take your business listing down. Such cases can be escalated to Google.

Read more about these and the types of suspensions at: SearchEngineLand


SMBs spend less than $50 per month on Facebook Ads

The local business networking site Alignable, in a new marketing survey to analyze the marketing scenarios for small and medium businesses (SMBs) on Facebook, has found that most SMBs spend less than $50 per month on Facebook advertising. The survey data also revealed the following:

  • Generating awareness is the most common and successful reason local business use Facebook for marketing. This is followed by generating new business and user engagement.
  • 61% of SMBs spend $50 or less per month on Facebook advertising.
  • 50% of SMBs only use the organic “free” marketing of Facebook.
  • 63% of SMBs use Facebook on desktop and 37% on mobile.
  • 38% of SMBs uploaded a video to Facebook to promote their business in Q1.
  • 69% of SMBs are likely to upload a video to promote their business on Facebook in Q2

The survey questioned 1,200 local businesses, which included B2B and B2C and from multiple industries in North America which had fewer than 50 employees.

Read more at: MarketingLand


A guide to WhatsApp marketing

With SMS fading into oblivion due to the onslaught of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, etc., marketers are looking at how they can leverage on these apps to reach out to customers.

In this scenario, WhatsApp, which has just joined 1 billion users club, is a social channel that they are trying to tap into. Out of the three options using which you can communicate through WhatsApp ? personal one-to-one messaging, group chat, and broadcast lists ? marketers prefer broadcast lists where the same message can be sent to everyone in the list but each member sees only the message sent to him and not the others?.

The advantages of WhatsApp marketing are as follows:

  1. Cost-free and algorithm free: There is no cost involved in sending messages to many subscribers and WhatsApp has no organic reach?limiting algorithms as in the case of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  2. Message alerts: WhatsApp push notification on your customers? mobile tells them when you have sent them a message. This can lead to high conversion in record time.
  1. Scalable yet private conversations: Direct one-to-one interaction with your customer shielded from public view is now possible.
  2. Uncluttered environment: Right now, WhatsApp offers a quieter alternative in comparison to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram because there is less competition.
  3. Extremely loyal subscribers: Low opt-outs and high traffic and conversion rates and are among the best from any social channel.

And there are some disadvantages as well:

  1. Broadcast list limits: There is a 256 people limit for each WhatsApp group. This means if you have to send messages to a large database of customers, you need to have many lists and duplicate the messages for each group which takes a lot of time.
  2. Lengthy opt-in process: You will need to ask the customers to add your WhatsApp number to their address book or capture their phone numbers and send them a request to add you to their contacts. Compared to ?like? or ?follow? this is a lengthy process.
  3. WhatsApp is linked to one mobile number: As the device and phone number are tied to each WhatsApp account, you will need a dedicated number and a phone.
  4. Lack of detailed analytics: WhatsApp doesn?t provide detailed analytics as many other social networks do. But there are workarounds such as UTM tagging the post links as well as sharing buttons.
  5. Message load: Depending on mobile handset capacity, WhatsApp has a tendency to crash if you send data-rich messages to more than one broadcast list at a time. This can at times lead to delivery failure.

WhatsApp marketing is still in experimental phase and you will need to spend a lot of time to successfully carry out an effective marketing campaign mainly due to its limitations as a marketing channel. ?However, it is worth noting that the open and click through rates are incredible and can outshine email marketing performance. Many companies such as Huffington Post, BBC, British Vogue, etc., have either setup successful campaigns or have tried and abandoned marketing on WhatsApp.

Read those case studies here: SearchEngineJournal

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