Archive | 二月, 2012

3 Pinterest Plugins for WordPress

29 二月

Try and control your excitement, readers: It’s another edition of WordPress Wednesday at Website Magazine! Today we’re bringing you several interesting plugins that can be used right now to integrate Pinterest into a WordPress installation.

The popularity of the social pinboard site is exploding, reaching 10 million monthly unique visitors faster than any standalone site ever. Marketers across the Web are looking for practical ways to drive more traffic to their pins and, in turn, back to their Web properties.

Until the Pinterest API arrives (no specific date has been set), WM has selected three of the best plugins available to help make this a reality. If you’re using a Pinterest-related plugin that we have not covered here, just let us know by sharing your comments below.

 

Pinterst “Pin It” Button:

This plugin adds a “Pin It” button to posts and pages that will allow readers to easily pin your content at Pinterest. WordPress sites can indicate what types of pages the button should appear on and where (above or below content, for example). Several styling options are available and implementation is as simple as pasting a shortcode. The plugin has approximately 13,700 downloads at the time of this writing.

 

Pinterest RSS Widget:

A plugin that allows WordPress blogs to place a widget within their sidebars that fetches recent contents of a Pinterest user’s RSS feed, displaying corresponding thumbnail images. Some customization is available; bloggers can choose whether to show a description below the image, set the height and width of the thumbails, and elect to show different sizes of a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button. The plugin has approximately 3,400 downloads at the time of this writing.




Pretty Pinterest Pins:

This plugin definitely lives up to its tagline – Show off your pins in style. The plugin, which has just 1,800 downloads at the time of this writing, gives WordPress blogs a fully customizable way to display thumbnails and links from Pinterest. The widget lets WP bloggers pull the latest pins from any Pinterest user, choose the number of pins to display, and select whether to show or hide image captions. The plugin also includes a “Follow me on Pinterest” button.

By: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2012/02/22/3-pinterest-plugins-for-wordpress.aspx

Pinterest Optimization for Internet Retailers

29 二月

Virtual pinboard Pinterest is the hottest thing on the Web right now. That means that it deserves the attention of merchants and marketers as well as the millions of users who have made it one of the fastest-growing websites in history.

Some of the most recent numbers indicate that Pinterest currently drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, and that 9 percent of the top 300 online retailers are offering “Pin it” buttons on their own sites. That’s compared to about 60 percent who have Facebook Like buttons and 20 percent who have Google+ buttons – and Pinterest was a relatively unknown commodity until just recently.

The point is that an enormous opportunity awaits e-commerce merchants who understand how to leverage the popularity of Pinterest by utilizing the service itself as well as the rising number of ancillary tools. Here are some tips on how to do exactly that:

Get initiated
If you’re still unsure of what all the buzz is about, here’s a quick review of what Pinterest is, followed by how it can generate revenue for Web retailers. It is a social “pinboarding” site on which users share images with one another by “pinning” them onto their “boards”. Users can create multiple boards and give them specific themes, and other users can follow the boards in which they are most interested, sharing their favorite pins with still others by “repinning” them, liking them and adding comments.

The actual images or pins on each board can link back to a retailer’s online store, which is why many of today’s top brands are using Pinterest to display their products, create awareness and build communities of targeted, qualified users. That last part is of critical importance for merchants – visitors who land on retail websites by way of Pinterest are generally highly targeted potential customers who have already shown an interest in a specific product, category or brand; more so, in fact, than most users who share products on Facebook and Twitter.

This is what makes Pinterest such a potential gold mine for merchants, and here is how to optimize for the best results.

Add “Pin it” buttons to your online store
As mentioned above, about 28 of the top 300 Internet retailers have already done this, but expect that number to rise dramatically in the very near future. Pinterest users will have Pin it bookmarks on their own computers’ browsers, but this simple step is a must for merchants who want to get the best results out of the Pinterest experience. One more reminder to visitors of your online store that your product images are available for pinning can go a long way toward attracting and converting new customers.

Get creative with your use of images
If you have been delaying that update to your product catalog or website design, do not put them off any longer. Pinterest offers a rapidly growing community with which to share your images, but not just any images or use of imagery will do. Poor-quality, outdated or uninteresting product photos may even have the opposite effect and drive users away from your store rather than to it. Make sure that you offer a wide selection of photos that properly illustrates the different styles in which your products are available (see example).

And product images are hardly all we’re talking about, so start getting creative and generous with your overall use of imagery. Add compelling photos to each and every blog post and pin the images to Pinterest; update the “About” section of your website with photos of staff members and pin them to Pinterest; involve your customers in the process and ask them to submit their own photos of themselves with your products, perhaps as part of a contest, and pin them to Pinterest; take photos at industry events and your own company events and pin those to Pinterest, too. These are just a few ideas for how to get more serious about images and video than you may have been up to this point.

Take advantage of your tracking and referral data
Through Google Analytics, merchants can easily determine what referral traffic is arriving via Pinterest as well as keeping track of individual pins. This information can be used to determine the most popular items on your board that are receiving the most pins and how many actual conversions are resulting in each case. Based on this data, retailers can experiment with time-sensitive sales for Pinterest users or offer discounts for the products that users are pinning the most – and/or rewards for the most active pinners among your Pinterest community.

Don’t be a stranger
The most successful merchants on Pinterest are going to be the ones who actually use it the way other users do, and not strictly as a marketing vehicle. So have fun with it and interact with the community, and don’t be a stranger who drops in every once in a while. Get in the habit of spending some part of every day on the site, and also in the habit of pinning every interesting, fun and/or engaging photo or video that you come across. You won’t really be a part of the community if your only interactions are dropping by every other week to pin a new product photo. One way to ensure that you have a community of users from the start is by encouraging your existing customers to take the Pinterest plunge along with you, and build out from there. Another way to increase your Pinterest street cred is by playing on both sides of the ball, i.e. make sure that you are helping other users by pinning their photos and videos rather than just idly sitting by and waiting for users to pin your content.

Don’t stop at Pinterest
Just as the daily deals craze began with Groupon but then grew exponentially larger than the company behind it, the pinboarding craze has more than a good chance to outgrow just Pinterest. In fact, that process has already begun with sites such as Chill, a pinboarding site for video only, and tools such as this one for Joomla users and these WordPress plugins. Many retailers went this route at the height of the daily deals buzz and have enjoyed great success by running their own versions of deals sites, but at the very least you should keep an eye on the increasing number of Pinterest clones out there and give some of them a try as well.

BY: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2012/02/27/pinterest-optimization-for-internet-retailers.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

eMarketer Webinar: Key Digital Trends for 2012

12 二月

To listen and watch playback of the webinar, Key Digital Trends for 2012, click here. You can view the PowerPoint deck below.

The webinar will address these key questions:

  • What effect will economic conditions have on the online advertising landscape?
  • What role will social media play in companies’ marketing strategies?
  • How will emerging technologies affect marketers, retailers and content owners?

Demand Generation Strategies for 2012: 5 Emerging Trends in B2B Marketing

12 二月

State_Of_DemandGen_copy_1The proliferation of devices and changes in media preferences is dictating the rapid evolution of marketing strategies. As organizations work to cater to today’s time-starved buyer, the new sales and marketing landscape is driven by a variety of technologies and tools.

DemandGen Report polled leading experts in the demand generation space for their outlook on these key emerging trends. As highlighted in the upcoming State of Demand Generation 2012 Report, thought leaders pointed to the following emerging trends for 2012:

  • Gamification for B2B— Referred to as “nurturing at its best” by BlueBird Strategies Partner Cari Baldwin, gamification has already taken flight in the B2C world. In an effort to provide a recreation-based approach to marketing, gamification is poised to help organizations with both internal and customer-facing communications.

“Gamification is attracting marketers,” Baldwin wrote in the report. “But marketing automation has so far seen little gamification. It’s time for this to change.”

In the report, Baldwin offers tips on how marketers can use gamification, as well as a case study example of how one organization drove more than $200,000 in business via gamification.

  • Mobilization— As people are accessing more channels than ever, including email, social media, smart phones and tablets, marketers have even greater opportunities to collect the best customer data.

“Savvy marketers will know that in order to drive the most revenue, they will need to reach prospects on more than one channel,” wrote Bryan Brown, Director of Product Strategy at Silverpop.

Brown offers tips on how marketers can mix up marketing to mobilize campaigns via tablets and smart phones.

  • Bringing B2C tactics into B2B— Who says B2C has more fun? While industry research indicated that the vast majority of B2B traffic is typically coming from new visitors, it’s a reality for every marketer is challenged with — lesser opportunity to leverage any sort of stored history to personalize the experience for the browser.

“BtoB sells to accounts, not individuals, and yet most of the widely practiced personalization techniques are geared towards individual behaviors or browsing histories,” wrote Jason Stewart, Director of Marketing at Demandbase.

In the report, Stewart offers five steps B2B companies can take to implement an account-based personalization model on their web sites to drive conversions.

  • Connecting Marketing To The C-Suite— As Revenue Performance Management made significant headway as an important, emerging category, selling to the C-Suite has become an increasingly hot topic of conversation.

“Driving top-line growth is the universal C-suite challenge, which is why Revenue Performance Management immediately caught on so quickly,” noted Eloqua CEO Joe Payne, of the emerging category. “Simply put, RPM is a good night’s sleep for an executive who tosses and turns over revenue fears.

Payne offers 3 ways Revenue Performance Management differs from marketing automation.

  • Integrating Social & Traditional Media- The proliferation of media channels has tasked marketers with the critical challenge of being present across a variety of forums. Progressive marketers are integrating social initiatives into traditional media usage to optimize prospect reach, communication and engagement.

“At the end of the day, the goal for all marketers is to find new and compelling ways to engage with their leads and prospects,” wrote Shawn Naggiar, Chief Revenue Officer at Act-On Software. The one-two punch of marketing automation combined with social media added to your standard marketing mix enables you to elevate your marketing effectiveness with minimal disruption and cost.”

Naggiar offers 5 steps to up the ante with marketing automation.

A real need for new adopters is often “working out the kinks” of an automation system by subscribing to a process-based approach. This starts by identifying obstacles to then develop an understanding of how to integrate efficiently for the best results.

“Organizations using any technology alone to address their marketing and sales challenges can often experience a negative return,” noted Terry Flaherty, VP Marketing at Bulldog Solutions. “Implementing a marketing automation system can actually leave you with more problems than you started with prior to the implementation.”

Flaherty offers the 7 building blocks of successful marketing automation.

With industry expectations set high for rapid growth in technology-driven marketing automation, 2012 is poised to be a year of innovation and enhanced adoption. These and other key demand generation trends will be explored in the upcoming State of Demand Generation 2012 Report.

By: http://www.demandgenreport.com/archives/feature-articles/1026-demand-generation-strategies-for-2012-5-emerging-trends-in-b2b-marketing-.html

5 Essential Spreadsheets for Social Media Analytics

11 二月

Social media analytics and tracking can be very time-consuming and expensive. You’ll find quite a few smart social media monitoring tools, but what if you can’t afford them?

That’s why many social media marketers and power users are in constant search of free, efficient alternatives. Here, we’ll share a few ready-made spreadsheets you can copy (navigate File + Make a copy) and use for social media analytics. They are free, highly customizable and extremely easy to use.

Most of the scripts that run the spreadsheets are “public,” meaning you can access them from the Tools + Script Gallery menu (this also means they were reviewed and approved by Google Spreadsheets team).


1. Fetch Twitter Search Results


GetTweets is a simple and fast Google Spreadsheet script that lets you quickly export Twitter search results into a spreadsheet. You can play with the spreadsheets in two ways.

  • Increase the number of results returned — up to 1,500. I managed to fetch about 1,300.
  • Twitter search operators can help you filter out links (search “-filter:links“) and find tweeted questions (search “?“). Check out this article on advanced social media search as well as this list for more search terms.

Spreadsheet details:


2. Count Facebook Likes and Shares


FacebookLikes script evaluates Facebook user interaction for any given range of URLs. It will display:

  • Facebook like count.
  • Facebook share count.
  • Facebook comment count.
  • Overall Facebook interaction.

Additionally, the spreadsheet’s embedded chart lets you compare Facebook interaction for the number of pages provided.

Spreadsheet details:


3. Compare Facebook Pages


Like the previous spreadsheet, FacebookFans is a Google macro based on Facebook API. For any Facebook page ID, it fetches the number of fans. It also visualizes the data with a pretty pie chart. Track your as well as your competitors’ Pages using the script, and the numbers will update each time you open the spreadsheet — easy!

Spreadsheet details:


4. Monitor Social Media Reputation


This spreadsheet not only generates Google search results for the term you provide, but also fetches Twitter and Facebook counts for each page returned. Anyone can easily run a search for his or her brand name and see how actively it’s being discussed in social media.

Try using a few search Google operators, for example:

  • [“brand name" -intitle:"brand name"] to find in-text brand mentions you are most likely to have missed.
  • [inurl:"guest * post" search term] to find recent guest blogging opportunities on the topic of your interest. Note: if you are getting a “too many connections” error, try another search to refresh the scripts. Or re-save the scripts from Tools + Script Manager.

Spreadsheet details:

  • Public scripts? Yes.
  • Copy the spreadsheet here.
  • Spreadsheet credit here.

5. Extract and Archive Your Followers


This spreadsheet is the hardest to set up, but also has the most complex functionality. It lets you extract your friends and followers to easily search and filter your Twitter contacts.

The script requires your own Twitter API key (which is pretty easy to get), and provides easy-to-follow set up instructions. Try running the scripts a couple of times to get them working. Go to Tools + Script Manager and run Test script.

If you have done everything correctly, a Twitter Auth will pop up. Then, you’ll be able to authenticate your own application. After, go to Twitter + Get Followers and you should see the tool importing your following list. However, if you have large following, you likely won’t be able to import it all (for me, that meant about 5,000 recent followers).

Spreadsheet details:

Are you aware of any other useful, social media-related Google spreadsheets? Please share them in the comments!

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/09/social-media-analytics-spreadsheets/

How to Design the Best Navigation Bar for Your Website

11 二月

The navigation bar is the most important design element on a website. Not only does it guide your users to pages beyond the homepage, but it’s also the singular tool to give users a sense of orientation. With this in mind, it’s important to adhere to time-tested design and usability conventions. Doing so will give your users a comfortable and easy reference point to fully engage with your content.

Despite the necessity of an accessible navigation bar, usability studies on navigation across the web aren’t positive. One study by User Interface Engineering shows that people cannot find the information they seek on a website about 60% of the time. While this failure rate might be acceptable for your average blog, a business website simply cannot afford these stats. Even worse, many users often find navigation usability extremely frustrating, citing annoying hover errors and inconsistencies. Another study by Forrester found that 40% of users do not return to a site when their first visit is negative.

So how do you ensure that your users are able to quickly and easily find the information they need?


The Basics


Employ these basic concepts to help users move more efficiently through your website.

Start with content. Believe it or not, most websites start backward, meaning a designer will suggest navigation items before determining all the content possibilities. This isn’t entirely unusual — often the content isn’t ready before the design process begins. Jeffrey Zeldman, a usability guru, suggests, “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”

It’s important to properly analyze and organize all your content into a logical and highly usable structure before even considering design choices. Once you accomplish this, only add complexity if absolutely necessary for your users.

Don’t overwhelm. The main role of a navigation bar is to provide your user with a choice. Overwhelming a site visitor with too many options impedes his ability to quickly make a choice. A navigation bar with five to seven channel items is sufficient organization for most websites. Plus, it fits nicely in the width of most website designs. Once you reach eight navigation options, you severely limit readability and usability due to width constraints.

Keep it simple. Use precise and recognizable words in the navigation bar. Refrain from long phrases that consume screen real estate by limiting each navigation item to 12 characters or less. Also, don’t use words that an average user wouldn’t completely understand. People are used to conventions; therefore, err on the side of familiarity. For example, use “Contact Us,” not “Get in Touch” or “Let’s Talk.” Finally, leave out unnecessary words that don’t add anything to the navigation item. Instead of “In the News,” consider simply “News.”

Actions on the right. Because people read from left to right, they naturally expect action links on the right-hand side of the navigation bar because moving right suggests moving forward. Use the left side for more informational links. The exception is the “Home” link, which as a backward action, should be furthest left.

Avoid Flash, for the most part. While Flash is generally frowned upon by usability experts, it presents aesthetic possibility. Flash’s biggest problem is that it typically is not implemented in a way accessible to screen readers and mobile devices. And while you don’t want to implement the actual navigation with Flash, you can get away with embellishing an HTML/CSS Navigation Bar with Flash to add visual interest and retain usability. One great example of this is the Atlanta Botanical Garden website (above).


One-Level Navigation Bars


Now that you know a few basic principles about creating a highly effective navigation, let’s learn from already existing navigation bars, including one-level bars, drop-down multi-level bars and mega drop-down bars. While you’ll ultimately decide which type of navigation works best for your website, we can show you what to do and what not to do depending on the type of navigation bar you eventually choose.

Apple vs. CNN

Experts have often heralded Apple as the gold standard in web design. The company has managed to distill everything it does into seven links, not including the logo and a search bar. It’s the epitome of simplicity and straightforwardness — from one of the largest companies in the world.

To its credit, CNN has to cover an entire planet of news, which makes it somewhat understandable that its site features a whopping 16 navigation bar links. While this navigation structure might work for CNN, it’s highly unreasonable for your average personal or business website. Cramming this many links in the full width of the website hinders readability by forcing a small font size and very little negative space on either side of a link. On a practical level, it’s a huge chore to read through every single link to decide where you need to go.


Drop-Down Multi-Level Navigation Bars


Drop-down menus became very popular at the end of the ‘90s during the dot-com boom because they allowed a user to get to any page on a website with one click. While that may seem like a huge advantage at first, the option presents several usability problems if done incorrectly. Many users find these types of navigation bars frustrating because they require precise cursor movements in order to successfully move through deeper levels. With this in mind, it’s best to reserve ample vertical and horizontal space for each link so that users can navigate without clicking on the wrong page.

Denny’s vs. Sony

Earlier this year, Denny’s new website design that was met with mixed reviews. On one hand, the website featured an innovative and technically complex browsing experience, but for many critics, it was overdone. The navigation bar features gimmicky JavaScript “enhancements” that actually slow the user down. For example, when you hover over a link with the cursor, it takes a fraction of a second for the animation to fully reveal its contents. Even that fraction of a second is slower than our mind’s ability to move forward.

Sony, sticking true to its understated style, provides a no-nonsense drop-down menu that gets the job done efficiently. Sony’s helper icons next to links specify parent and action links. Overall, Sony’s navigation bar responds instantly and manages to stay out of the user’s way with its subtle yet effective design.


Mega Drop-Down Navigation Bars


Mega menus are the newest design craze for large sites with a lot of depth and categories, such as Zappos and The White House. These menus are usually only two levels deep, but the second level features a large panel complete with images or multiple columns of links. The benefit to these menus is that a site not only provides more links for the user, but also includes context and hierarchy within those links.

Target vs. Lowe’s

A mega menu’s blessing can also be its curse. Sure, these navigation bars give you more room to include links, but without proper hierarchy and context, mega menus can quickly turn into a sea of unnavigable options. Perhaps the best example of this is Target.com. It doesn’t take long to see that the company has crammed way too many links in its mega menu, without the proper hierarchy or context.

While it might seem convenient that a user can get to Target’s “Spice Storage” department directly from the second level of its menu, is that really necessary? Including links like this creates too much noise and doesn’t let the user focus on the important higher-level category items. Another big no-no is the sheer size of Target’s menu. Some of the mega menu panels exceed the height of a standard 13-inch laptop screen size. The last thing you want is to force someone to scroll down to use your navigation menu.

Target could learn a few things from Lowe’s website. Lowe’s has managed to provide a wealth of links with plenty of hierarchy and context. For every panel of links, the company has made the most popular and timely links stand out by elevating them to large blocks of thumbnail images.

By distinguishing the most popular items, Lowe’s makes it easy for users to access the links they’re most likely to click anyway. The thumbnail images also contribute greatly to context. By providing recognizable images for their most popular categories, the user doesn’t even have to read to understand which part of the menu he’s in. It’s akin to walking by Lowe’s brick and mortar store, and scanning the contents of each aisle to zero-in on your desired product.


Conclusion


When choosing a navigation bar type, start simple. Evaluate your content thoroughly and ask yourself what your users need to access quickly. More often than not, a complex navigation system is an indicator you need better content planning and organization. If you absolutely need to give your users so many options directly inside the navigation bar menu, follow the principles mentioned above to create an efficient and enjoyable experience for your users.

By: http://mashable.com/2011/12/08/design-navigation-bar/

3 Ways to Optimize Search on Your Ecommerce Site

10 二月

More people are flocking online to get their shopping done these days. But, an online shopper doesn’t necessarily equal genius website navigator. Your need to ensure that your business website’s search tools are simple and intuitive for those who are less technologically inclined — or risk losing customers.

About 60% of online purchases result from a customer search, according to ecommerce design solution Volusion. Not only should you do everything you can to land your business in the search engine sweet spot, but you should also optimize your in-site search for convenient user navigation.

The following tips will help improve your ecommerce company’s search functionality, both on-site and via organic search.


1. Navigation Bars and Filters


 

 

 

Usability studies indicate that a user’s eye naturally progresses from left to right; therefore, place navigation bars to the left. Also, you’ll probably have more room for detail if the navigation bar runs down the left side of the screen.

From there, you may choose to expand navigation bars into drop-down boxes that display sub-categories. For instance, a navigation heading displaying “Automotive” might expand into subcategories that include “Carburetors” and “Transmissions.” Just be sure not to get too specific (e.g. “Bi-Xenon Headlamps”) or else the user could become overwhelmed and discouraged.

 

SEE ALSO: How to Design the Best Navigation Bar for Your WebsiteOnce the user has moved beyond the navigation, he will be taken to a page full of products. Provide a filter option that allows him to narrow products further — by price, color, fabric, most recent, etc.

In addition to pairing products with colorful, high-resolution photos, make sure to include unique, intriguing product descriptions. Not only will the shopper be more intrigued to click through to the main product page, but Google is more likely to prioritize unique product descriptions versus unoriginal content.

Cross-link between product pages and categories. That way, the shopper will more easily find related products, all while spending more time on your site and lowering your bounce rate. Cross-linking is one of the most effective search methods for ecommerce customers, especially those browsing without a clear purchase in mind.


2. In-Site Search Box


 

 

 

If your site has a larger population of product pages, a search box can help with targeted navigation. Follow TasteBook‘s example and consider including brief search hints like “keyword,” “ingredient,” “fabric” or “sport.” Depending on the effectiveness of the tool, the search should bring the shopper to page full of corresponding products.

However, you still want to entice users on a mission to explore the site. Consider a floating sidebar of most popular products or categories that follows a shopper throughout her search or a feed of sales activity, like Fab.com’s social shopping page. And an ecommerce homepage should constantly cycle through featured products, sales and curated content so that repeat customers are more enticed to explore.


3. Organic Search


Speaking of homepages, Google will crawl the pages of a website that have the most SEO juice, which is usually the homepage. Therefore, the pages that you link to your homepage should be the most important. Keep in mind that these pages might not necessarily reflect the categories on your navigation bar. Give prominence to other highly-clicked pages like the “About” page, for instance — they’re more likely to be indexed by Google.

Be sure to index all of your main pages, category pages and even specific product pages. Use Google Webmaster Tools and Webmaster Central to learn how to effectively index pages, then track how users searched for and found those pages. You can even view the ratio of your total URLs compared to how many have appeared in Google’s web index.

In order to maximize SEO, be sure to attach strategic keywords (including long-tail keywords) to your site pages. Use Google’s free Keyword Tool to estimate the traffic you can expect from certain key words and phrases.

Finally, be sure to index user reviews as well — Google favors fresh, user-generated content. For this reason, you may also choose to invite curators to regularly contribute related content to your website, which will not only improve SEO, but will also add a community element to your business.

How does your website design and optimize its search features? Which are the most easily navigable ecommerce sites out there today? Let us know in the comments.

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/09/ecommerce-search/

10 Hot Web Startups Changing the Face of Retail

5 二月

Macala Wright is the publisher of FashionablyMarketing.Me, one of the leading fashion and retail industry business websites. She is a retail consultant and business strategist who specializes in marketing consulting for fashion, luxury and lifestyle brands. You can follower her on Twitter at @InsideFMM or @Macala.

In 2010, branded content was one the largest trends among retailers and brands. In 2011, branded content shifted to branded entertainment. Now, in 2012, we’ll look toward content cultivation and aggregation.

By creatively using Pinterest and Tumblr, brands are becoming enthralled with consumer curation, primarily because these types of curated sites create non-linear paths to purchases.

First, retailers post visually appealing images and ideas that are accessible to the online user/consumer. Then, consumers post those images to curated sites. From there, retailers can build brand awareness by directly linking to product pages and encouraging purchase conversions.

“We’re demonstrating the power of peer-to-peer shopping search,” says Buyosphere’s Tara Hunt. “Algorithms are a long way off from picking up nuances that a person can. And personal taste is full of nuance.”

The future of ecommerce, search and social marketing is now tied to personality-influenced consumer curation. Here are 10 product discovery and sharing sites worth paying attention to.

 

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tetsuomorita

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/03/social-shopping-content-curation/#view_as_one_page-gallery_box4165

Facebook: Here Are the 35 Things That Could Kill Our Company

5 二月

Here’s one of the more painful parts of taking a company public: You have to make an honest assessment, in front of the whole world, of all the things that could kill your business. Facebook is no exception.

In its SEC filing, as required by law, the company outlined a whopping 35 “risk factors” that could “materially and adversely affect” Facebook. It’s a comprehensive list of every threat the social network currently faces. Some are head-slappingly obvious (they could lose users and advertisers), while others are more revealing (Facebook isn’t making any money from its mobile platform — so what if that grows and web users shrink?)

That may seem like a lot, but not in comparison to recent tech IPOs. LinkedIn listed 42 risk factors in its filing, Zynga offered 44, and Groupon had 55.

Does that make Facebook a better bet for investors? You be the judge. What follows is a summary, in plain (or at least plainer) English, of the things Facebook says could kill it.

In other words, here is every single little worry that keeps Mark Zuckerberg up at night. We’ve bolded the ones that sound particularly troubling to us.

1. We could simply lose users, or fail to add new ones.

2. We could lose advertisers — and new technology may let users block ads.

3. Facebook’s mobile platform doesn’t show ads — so the more that grows, the worse for us.

4. The platform for Facebook apps might not be successful.

5. The competition from Google, Microsoft and Twitter could heat up — not to mention other social networks around the world.

6. More governments could restrict access to Facebook.

7. Users could turn their noses up at new products.

8. The Facebook culture is all about rapid innovation and getting users engaged — and that could come at the cost of profits.

9. Unspecified future events could tarnish our brand.

10. Bugs might give people access to users’ information that they’re not supposed to see.

11. The media could turn on us.

12. Our quarterly financial results could be difficult to predict.

13. Zynga accounts for 12% of our revenue. If we part ways, that could seriously hurt us.

14. Our revenue grew by 88% last year — and that’s simply not sustainable. Growth is bound to decline.

15. The U.S. laws and regulations we’re governed by could change or be reinterpreted.

16. If our patents and copyrights aren’t granted — or aren’t effective — it could seriously hurt us.

17. We have some patent lawsuits on our hands that could end badly.

18. We’re also involved in class-action lawsuits, and we could lose them too.

19. Mark Zuckerberg has a massive amount of shares, which concentrates power in the hands of one man.

20. There’s a complicated tax liability connected to a particular kind of stock unit we gave out — one that will be taxed at 45%.

21. If we need more rounds of investment, the terms might not be reasonable.

22. Costs might grow faster than revenue.

23. A lot of our servers are handled by third parties, and they might be disrupted.

24. We’ve started building a lot of our own data centers to handle traffic, and we’ve got limited experience doing this kind of thing.

25. Our software is incredibly complex and may have a lot of bugs.

26. We can’t say for sure that we’ll handle our growth effectively — we have more than 3,000 employees now, and that could spin out of control.

27. If we lose our leaders, like Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, that would really harm us.

28. People might sue us over all sorts of stuff posted on Facebook — intellectual property, copyright, defamation, and so on.

29. Viruses, hacking, phishing and malware. Oh my.

30. Payment systems in Facebook apps could mean new government regulations.

31. We’re continually expanding abroad, and we may not understand all the risks in new countries.

32. We’re planning to acquire lots of other companies, which could disrupt everything at Facebook.

33. We might default on our leases or our debt.

34. Our tax liabilities, in general, are bigger than we thought.

35. U.S. tax code reform, if it happens, might hit us where it hurts.

 

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/01/facebook-here-are-the-35-things-that-could-kill-our-company/

Facebook IPO: The Complete Guide

5 二月

Facebook took social media by storm on Wednesday after the company filed the preliminary prospectus for its long-awaited initial public offering. The company is seeking to raise $5 billion.

 

SEE ALSO: Facebook IPO: Reactions from the Social Web (and Zuckerberg)Still not sure what all of this means? If you haven’t already had a chance to read the document, we’ve embedded it below. For a breakdown on everything you need to know about Facebook’s IPO, read further.

 

Facebook S 1http://www.scribd.com/embeds/80163405/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-x1m5pgmpecxg3zpxaeo 


Inside Look


Within the document, some huge numbers about the company were revealed — from 845 million active users, to 2.7 billion daily likes and comments.

After initial news of the filing broke, a more extensive look at the document reveals hard evidence of the company’s business, growth, competition and a bit about what’s in store for the future. Certain terms, such as “advertising” and “mobile” appear more than 100 times throughout.

 

However, there is one thing missing — Facebook did not include how many shares it plans to sell, or the price, but that information will be added before it hits the market, likely this May.

The several-hundred-page document is some heavy reading, but Facebook also used illustrative screenshots and diagrams to explain its business mission and how it plans to raise $5 billion.


Salary


 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pulled in a base salary of almost $500,000, and COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman both made $300,000 each.

However, these executives are earning a lot more than just their base salary. Sandberg was the highest-paid employee at Facebook in 2011, raking in a total of $30.87 million when you include stock awards.

Zuckerberg’s total earnings were $1.49 million — $700,000 of which was in costs related to private plane use “chartered in connection with his comprehensive security program and on which family and friends flew during 2011.”

However, since he owns 28.4% of the company, he is worth significantly more. Zuckerberg’s salary will fall to $1 annually, starting Jan. 1, 2013.

If Facebook manages to raise the $5 billion, it will be on a shortlist of biggest tech IPOs of all time, and Zuckerberg’s net worth will skyrocket.


Advertisers and Partnerships


Facebook announced it generates a “substantial majority” of its revenue from advertising, more specifically from its partnership with Zynga. The gaming company contributed 12% of Facebook’s $3.71 billion — that’s almost $500 million.

 

SEE ALSO: Facebook IPO Reveals How It Made $3.71 Billion in 2011The gaming company’s dependence on Facebook as a source of revenue has been commonly viewed as a risk for Zynga investors. But the Facebook filing shows just how interdependent the companies really are.

Some have claimed that online advertising — which is due to surpass print ads in the U.S. for the first time this year, according to eMarketer — is the real reason behind Facebook’s IPO.


Risk Factors


Risks with advertisers and partnerships are a few things that could “materially and adversely affect” Facebook. As required by law, the filing included a list of 35 things that could kill the company.

Ten big ones are below.

 

The comprehensive assessment includes potential issues, such as competition from Google, Microsoft and Twitter, as well as other social networks that may not even exist yet. The company also brings up common concerns of users, such as changes in U.S. government laws that would restrict access or bugs giving access to private information.


Social Mission


Within an honest assessment, there was also a letter from Mark Zuckerberg to potential shareholders that emphasized Facebook “was built to accomplish a social mission.”

 

By law, when the company officially goes public later this year, it is then obligated to create more value for its shareholders. This brings up the future of the company — where Facebook is headed five or ten years from now. It’s something yet to be fully grasped.

However, as we have previously noted, “Stocks perform over a long haul; not over days, but over weeks, months, years.” Although it’s much too early to know what the future holds for a public Facebook, this could potentially take social networking to a more professional level, outside of the “bubble.”

By: http://mashable.com/2012/02/03/facebook-ipo-complete-guide/#view_as_one_page-gallery_box4147