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Affiliate Summit Offering Virtual Passes Starting with #ASE13

Pretty cool:

Introducing the Virtual Pass Option for Affiliate Summit – Affiliate Summit: “This pass will provide access to all of the videos, and they will be available approximately four weeks after the conference.”

Instagram Videos Get More Brand Engagement Than Vine


How does Instagram video stack up with Vine? | InsideFacebook: “Some findings, studied among the Interbrand 100 from June 20 to 26:

  • Instagram videos are being used by twice as many brands, and more videos are being posted.
  • Instagram videos are seeing significantly higher (over 2X) engagement than Instagram photos, suggesting brands should focus more time and energy on them.”

Instagram is the older company of the two, so brands were already familiar with the medium prior to its addition of video back in June. On top of that, Instagram gives users 15 seconds rather than Vine’s 6 which enables brands to create longer videos that push out bigger messages.

Instagram has a key advantage over Vine: it also has pictures. Instagram originated as a picture-sharing service which had a huge adoption rate, so it had a strong user base even before it launched video. Vine, on the other hand, originated as a pure video sharing service and had a niche user base which is hard to build on, especially when it comes to trying to get brands to use their platform.

In my own circles, I saw a very quick shift from Vine to Instagram when their video feature launched. There were lots of comments along the lines of “well, if Instagram has video now, why should I have an extra account on Vine? I’m already on Instagram.” Users (especially the prized 18-24 demographic which lots of brands market to) want a syndicated experience rather than having to jump from service to service just to get caught up.

These brands know that and have seen significantly bigger engagement from the audience on Instagram.

In simple words, Instagram tends to get better results and higher engagement for businesses looking to foray into the video space with their marketing campaigns.

Update Your Email Lists Before July 15

Shawn Collins has a good post this morning explaining why you need to update your mailing lists before July 15 since Yahoo! is cleaning out inactive email addresses by then:

Clear Old Yahoo Addresses Off Your Email Lists – Affiliate Marketing Blog by Shawn Collins: “So you’ll either be mailing to dead addresses, which can impact your deliverability, or the new owners will start getting your newsletters, and will be upset that you are emailing them.

They will either unsubscribe or mark you as spam. The latter can negatively affect whether ISPs such as Gmail and Outlook accept your emails.”

More specifically, Yahoo! will be deleting any email accounts that have been inactive for 12 months or more. The folks at AWeber also have a good post outlining what you need to do to clean those addresses of your mailing lists:

Updated: Yahoo Releasing Email Addresses Monday, July 15: “You need to identify what email addresses on your list will be released. Search subscribers from Yahoo who haven’t opened an email from you in 12 months – but were added before that point (so you don’t unsubscribe recent subscribers who haven’t yet opened an email). Save them as a segment.”

Go update your mailing lists and make sure you’re not going to be sending email to the wrong people (in case some of those deleted accounts get claimed by new owners). Yahoo! has said they’re taking measures to unsubscribe accounts on the hit list, but there’s no way to make sure they catch everything.

We use MailChimp at Harrelson Agency, so here’s their post on how to clean up as well:

Yahoo Is Recycling Email Addresses | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog: “If you don’t perform regular list maintenance, let me suggest you start. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to segment out any inactive Yahoo addresses.”

MarketingTrends v2

It was time for a redesign:

» theme :mnmlist: “I developed a pretty minimalist WordPress theme for, and I’d like to share it with my fellow bloggers.

This theme is offered for free, uncopyrighted, as is.”

As you can see, we changed the site theme, added a logo, and there’s a few more links in the nav bar up top (we’re also going to start a weekly newsletter on the fantastic MailChimp service soon).

Let us know if you see anything weird on the site. I’m still working on getting some older images to look right with the new theme and we’ll have commenting functionality back by next week.

If you’re not subscribed yet, go grab the RSS feed.

Thanks for reading :)


Content Is King In Marketing

Coca Cola’s marketing agency (evidently) has a magnificent video on their content strategy for the next 7 or so years:

It’s an in-depth look at what Coca-Cola wants to do to grow its content marketing strategies over the next couple of years and leverage the idea of storytelling via social media. Rather than try and dominate by doing everything themselves, CC also wants to use consumer stories to drive their brand success. The video also has some great examples of other companies that have done this successfully. Go watch the whole thing.

SixRevisions also has a great post about creating and maintaining good content now and in the future:

Content is All That Matters on the Web ( “Instead of aiming for a spectacular one-time-big-time viral success, it’s necessary to build a solid foundation and plan for the long haul. It can take months, even years, to develop an effective content strategy.”

Rather than try and create something yourself that will go “viral”, tap into existent spaces, memes, trends, etc for your own needs. Take advantage of what’s already on the web and build on it for the long haul rather than trying to aim to create something that will be relevant for x amount of time and then fade out. It’s not worth it and your business is more valuable than that.

IFTTT Comes To iOS

This is huge:

MacStories: IFTTT for iPhone: A Different Kind of iOS Automation: “IFTTT brings a different kind of automation to iOS that doesn’t need URL schemes or bookmarklets, but that instead looks into native pieces of data to connect services together. It’s an innovative approach to monitoring photos, contacts, and reminders that are added or modified on an iPhone, but it should be familiar to users who already rely on IFTTT for their daily web automation tasks.”

After I hooked the service up to various services (WordPress blog, Pinboard, Instagram, et al) last week, I’ve once again fell in love with the idea of automating a few things that I do on the web. It’s a little nerdy and has a learning curve until you get things just the way you want them, but this service is hugely useful for both affiliates and publishers. I like it because it’s an easy way to bring things onto my self-hosted WordPress site (which I’m trying to make my home base for everything) without having much fuss about it because IFTTT works quietly in the background as long as everything is set up right and working.

Now that IFTTT is on iOS as well, there’s so even more potential with iOS7’s new background tracking for apps. The native features that you can use in the iOS app with Photos, Contacts, and Reminders aren’t much to shout about (yet), but the web recipes you can use are immensely powerful. I rely on IFTTT to do a lot of heavy lifting for me in the background and have it plugged in with various channels such as Pinboard, Instagram, foursquare, WordPress, a few RSS feeds, and even SMS. I’m kicking myself for not using the service more earlier because it’s added so many new channels and features in the past year.

Whether you’re an affiliate, a publisher, or just want a web service that does things in the background for you (e.g. back up your Instagram photos to Dropbox, text you the weather every morning, or really just about anything else), go try IFTTT. You’re missing out if you’re not using this service.

Here’s my recipes, btw:

IFTTT / devintonhaeuser’s Shared Recipes

Google’s Matt Cutts on Link Building and Memorable Websites

Matt is right… create an experience and work towards the big picture rather than just make something for the moment…

Link Building Is Not Illegal (or Inherently Bad) with Matt Cutts: “Their goal should really be to make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.”

Go read the whole interview and pull your own conclusions from it. It’s not a short read, but it’s worth it.

Be unique and do your best work in all that you do.

Dropbox Adds Cloud Syncing For Apps

This is huge:

Dropbox moves beyond files, looks to offer seamless cloud syncing for third party apps | The Verge: “Dropbox wants to provide the cloud backbone for all types of mobile apps and websites. At its first ever developer conference today, the company revealed a new service that takes Dropbox away from just files and folders. With a new API called Datastores, the company is offering developers of mobile apps a platform that can sync real data — like contacts, to-dos, game saves, and more — with the cloud and across devices.”

I love Dropbox and use it religiously. It’s a dead-simple way to keep things in sync even if you only have 2 devices. Whenever I’m looking at a new app, I try and avoid apps that use Apple’s good-in-theory-but-shaky iCloud service and go for those that use old-fashioned Dropbox sync. I guess you could say I’m superstitious but if you’ve ever lost a big document because of iCloud, you understand me.

The great thing about this change is that Dropbox’s app data syncing will be universal. Sure, devs have been hacking together syncing solutions for years using Dropbox, but this opens the service’s API up to more than just text editors and things like 1Password.

A good example is OmniFocus. I love OmniFocus on Mac and iOS and use it as a sort of catch-all for my GTD system. However, I also like the Android platform and have been wanting to experiment with it for some time. One of the main reasons I haven’t given into the urge to give up my beloved 4S for an Android device is the fact that I’d be losing a lot of apps (like OF) that I’ve come to love and rely on.

In 2013, having a decent cloud service to keep things up-to-date and backed up is a must.

That’s why I love Dropbox :)

Dropbox – News: “Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere, and share them easily. Any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your phone or iPad, and the Dropbox website. Dropbox also makes it easy to share with others. And if your computer melts down, you can restore all your files from the Dropbox website with a couple clicks.”

Podcast: What Wakes You At 4 AM?

Sam gives a description of what it’s like (scary) to jump off the ledge (nail-biting) and start something new (exilerating) in this 25 minute podcast:

ThinkingDaily: When To Start Something New | Thinking.FM: “I’m scared.”

What wakes you up with fear and excitement at 4 AM?

Google Embraces Content Marketing on YouTube

Using content that you create inside of your businesses marketing efforts is becoming so important for real success and reach on the social web. Whether it’s graphs on Facebook, pictures on Instagram, snippets on Vine or (especially crucial) videos on YouTube, your business should be creating engaging and creative content.

Google understands this and is throwing its weight behind a developing program aimed at helping advertisers make better YouTube videos that embrace content marketing:

Google Wants to Help Advertisers Make YouTube Videos | Digital – Advertising Age: “The move comes as more brands look to become custom publishers themselves and create content that consumers care about. As a result, agencies across disciplines have set up devoted content groups to advise clients and create, produce and distribute content featuring their clients’ brands.”

While this program is initially open to just a few select brands, it doesn’t mean your brand should wait things out. Now’s the time to start making the kinds of videos that shows off your company/services and what makes you different in a world of cookie cutters.

“How Can I Get Free Advertising on Google?”

It’s a question we hear all the time, and a very good one for small businesses looking to make the most of their budget. Fortunately, Google has done a lot of the heavy lifting for you already and offers a ton of resources on its “Think Insights” portal.

For instance, here’s a link to their “Marketing Objectives” sub-category, which contains thousands of helpful articles, videos and case studies on various marketing topics related to small (and large) businesses:

Marketing Objectives – Think Insights – Google

If and when you’re ready to spend a money on AdWords, let us know. We’re a Google Engage partner and would love to help you out.

Todd Crawford the Podcast

Todd Crawford joins Sam for 45 minutes of fascinating talk about domains, online marketing, mustard bbq and knives (and what exactly Impact Radius is doing today and in the next few years).

There’s a different performance marketing landscape in 2013 and Todd has a great vision of what might lie ahead for networks, advertisers, agencies and publishers.


(Cross published with our Thinking.FM network and about 45 mins and change)

Stock Images and Your Search Results

Google’s Matt Cutts assures us that using stock images on our sites doesn’t affect search results, but you should care about the type of images you’re using nonetheless.

Google’s Matt Cutts: Stock Images Do Not Impact Search Engine Rankings: “Matt’s answer was very short, he said ‘no.’ There is no positive or negative impact on your organic Web ranking if you use stock imagery versus original imagery.”

While using stock images might not negatively impact your site on a search ranking level, it can (and does) impact how users landing on your page interact with your content and navigation.

Almost as importantly in some cases, Google Image Search is a major source of traffic for many sites that use mostly original images instead of relying on stock images.

With our own clients, we’ve seen very impressive numbers from Google Image search when we’ve worked with them on custom images targeting specific keywords.

Instagram is Facebook’s YouTube

Instagram adopting short videos will be insanely popular and businesses should be brainstorming ways to put this functionality to use for their (and their followers) benefits…

Source: Instagram Will Get Video On June 20 | TechCrunch: “Getting video on Instagram is a move that would make sense. Specifically, it looks like a direct response to the rising popularity of video-sharing services, namely Twitter’s Vine. It, and others like Viddy, Cinemagram and Socialcam, sometimes get described as ‘Instragram for video’ apps.”

From the many reports on Techmeme following an invite from Facebook central, it looks like video addition to the service will be formally announced on June 20.

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for one billion dollars last year raised more than a few eyebrows as bloggers, skeptics and business papers wondered how people’s pictures of sushi could be worth that much to Faceobok (who was already dealing with a flopped IPO at the time).

However, Facebook’s acquisition of the photo sharing service was brilliant.

Instagram has become a major social network in its own right and the social interactions there go well beyond photo sharing. Middle schoolers, high schoolers and influentials in the highly prized 18-24 demographic are using Instagram at an incredibly high ratio and that’s only going to continue to expand upwards on the curve (even as the mothership of Facebook has shown slower growth and some fatigue from this demographic).

To put it another way, the kids are all moving to Instagram (and Kik, Snapchat etc) as the old folks flood into Facebook.

Adding video functionality to Instagram is a no-brainer as Twitter’s similar Vine service has been growing in popularity with its ability to broadcast looping 6 second videos.

Whether or not you understand what Vine and (soon) Instagram videos can do for your business, it’s important that you put on your thinking hat. This is going to be big.

To put it simply… Instagram is the YouTube of Facebook.

Make Sure Your Mobile Site Is Working Well or Get Penalized by Google

Google has so much to gain (and lose) on mobile as the web continues to evolve from the desktop to the device. Don’t get caught with a bad mobile site according to Google…

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Changes in rankings of smartphone search results: “This kind of redirect disrupts a user’s workflow and may lead them to stop using the site and go elsewhere. Even if the user doesn’t abandon the site, irrelevant redirects add more work for them to handle, which is particularly troublesome when they’re on slow mobile networks. These faulty redirects frustrate users whether they’re looking for a webpage, video, or something else, and our ranking changes will affect many types of searches.”

You don’t necessarily need to develop an app, but you should implement either responsive design or a design that allows for e-commerce to flow well on your site.

And no, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a mobile responsive site designer despite what designers might throw at you. There are so many fantastic resources to make your site more mobile friendly in 2013:

– If your site is on WordPress, do a quick Google search for “WordPress responsive design” and boom.

– If you have something of a website but are paying way too much for hosting (probably the case), check out SquareSpace. It’s dead simple.

– If you’re on Joomla, Expression Engine or some sort of variant of Drupal, don’t spend $30,000 a year. Demand better from your web developer or marketing agency. It seriously doesn’t cost that much to make a site responsive.

– If you have no idea what any of this means but you’re spending way too much on a poorly designed site, we’d love to chat.

Otherwise, if you have any questions, get in touch with us.

Mobile is your friend (and a better web is ours), so let’s all embrace it.

Why Content Is Important for Your Marketing

Whether you’re creating unique content or curating existing content into forms that your viewers/users/readers will find relevant, having some notion of a content development strategy is essential to doing successful business on the web going forward.

The PR World’s Play For Content Marketing Clout – Holmes Report: “I just cannot envision how any organisation cannot have a content-first approach to their communications, whether’s it’s for reputation management or marketing purposes,” states Perry. “Clients are attracted to some of the shiny object stuff – what’s far less sexy but more important is making sure your organization is oriented to a new way of doing business.”

Folks like Scott Jangro talk a great deal about content marketing (and curation) as a rapidly growing channel for marketers, advertisers and publishers to find solid footing in what can often feel like a topsy-turvy media landscape.

The real trick to understanding content marketing is that there is no one template for doing it right. Content marketing is a very subjective exercise and should be carefully planned (even if you’re doing spontaneous events or collecting and curating web media for your audience in a “real-time” manner).

As the interesting article above points out, content marketing is becoming essential across various channels of advertising from PR to branding and leaving this variable out of the equation will cost you in the long-term. It’s a major part of what we mean when we talk about discovery marketing.

Original link via Steve Rubel on Twitter

Start Thinking About Your Company’s Facebook Hashtags Now

How to use Facebook hashtags safely and effectively – TechHive: “As part of the rollout, Facebook says you will also be able to click hashtags that originated on other services, such as Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. It also plans to roll out additional features, including trending hashtags, in the near future, it says.”

Since announcing the launch of hashtags on its platform earlier this week, Facebook has since cautiously said that hashtags aren’t for sale (yet) for marketers but that marketers should start using hashtags on their pages and in Facebook advertising campaigns.

It’s no secret that hashtags are important, though you probably aren’t using them yet in your marketing (you should be).

Numerous companies have sprung up just to provide analytic insight into the nature of hashtags on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram (HashTracking, TwitAHolic, Statweestics (winner for most clever name in this category) and to name a few).

So why should you care about Facebook hashtags?

– hashtags provide users across various social networks the ability to find information they care about… Facebook announced their hashtags will inter-operate with other services (this is important)

– hashtags are the best vehicles for in-the-moment advertising such as a power outage at the Super Bowl

– hashtags are going to be the main supplier of relevant results for Facebook’s floundering (but soon to be insanely powerful) Graph Search feature…FB knows they have to get this right and they’ll turn their full force of algorithmic magic towards making this a sticky feature that makes people want to use their service

As I’ve said before, spend less time trying to create clever hashtags that might (but probably won’t) go viral yourself and instead use your creative energy to tap into existing hashtags trends that already exist.

So start doing your research and thinking on Facebook hashtags now. It’s going to be an important part of your company’s bottom line very soon.

Let us know if you need help.

@garyvee Nails It: Don’t Try to Create Hashtags

Ride the Hashtag, Don’t Create it. — I.M.H.O. — Medium: “You’ll get much more success if you pay attention to what is trending on Twitter , try reverse engineer the nature of the hashtag, and then try to bring value to the conversation – joke, a piece of information – rather than what most people think about which is ‘How can I create a hashtag and start my own trend?’”

I wish I could count the number of times I’ve had to sway a client away from the idea of creating a hashtag on Twitter or Pinterest or Instagram that would “go viral” and instead focus on conversations that are already happening.

Gary Vee nails it as usual.

Facebook Replacing Sponsored Search Results with Hashtags?

I think it’s pretty obvious the answer to that is “yep”..

Facebook to eliminate sponsored search results: “When asked about potentially having sponsored results in hashtag searches (for which Facebook launched support on Wednesday), the Facebook spokesperson told Inside Facebook that the company couldn’t comment on speculation, but one could imagine how it could work. Right now, the company is focused on figuring out how everything fits together with regard to advertising and search.”


ShareThis Advances Web Marketing with SQI

ShareThis has always been something of an enigma for me. I’ve discussed how companies like ShareThis really are the future discovery motors that will ultimately replace search engines. Google itself gets this and is doing great things with Google Now to prevent itself from being usurped as the prime player in the mobile ad ecosystem.

You might have noticed I’ve added the ShareThis functionality (and a couple of our client blogs) to this site as I’ve been making the most of their platform. It’s been an interesting test to add the type of sharing functionality that moves conversations from a blog to a social outlet the way a commenting system might have done a few years ago.

More specifically, ShareThis has just added a new backend dashboard for publishers that really makes use of their data and your site’s data in a unique way (with a tie-in to Google Analytics).

Particularly interesting is the concept of SQI that plays into the dashboard:

Social Quality Index, SQI, measures the social quality of a website against the ShareThis Publisher Network. By favoring social interaction over broad reach, SQI puts the publisher’s audience and content into the spotlight. The SQI score measures social quality on a scale of 1 to 200, with 200 representing the highest social quality. This proprietary formula evaluates social metrics such as: outbound shares, inbound clickback traffic and page views to calculate the audience engagement of your site. Social quality denotes a good match between the publisher’s audience and the content and it is directly correlated with the number of times users return to the same page and the level of interaction with other media on the page, like ads.

It’s more than a semantic difference in approaches to marketing that ShareThis is promoting with the SQI concept. Rather than focus on silos like pageviews or clicks that (in reality) measure nothing, SQI provides a metric that actually has meat on the bone. It’s not a scarecrow but a tangible measurement that advertisers and publishers should be demanding in their campaigns. In effect, SQI take us beyond links as the currency of the web and gives us good reason to do so.

I’ve been a long time advocate of the idea that HTML and the web should evolve beyond the concept of a link for traffic flow. The “social web” of the last few years has definitely made that reality more possible than ever. However, companies and advertisers (and agencies) have been slow to pick up on that trend and we’ve been focusing most of our efforts at making a linked-based web marketing approach fit into what is now a share-based network of people.

My own mistake in the past has been to think of ShareThis as mostly a way to drive traffic on Facebook based on recommendations from readers/users/consumers. However, the real beauty of ShareThis lies in the analytics suite and API that allow for some pretty interesting implementations of data analysis.

Tools like ShareThis are taking us beyond a realized version of the web that still operates on the foundation of links (as it does in the HTML I’m writing this post in or the RSS pipes that you probably used to find out about and/or read this post) and even search but puts a layer on top that advances the discovery of relevant information, products or services.

The function of discovery through shared social currency is the key benefit of betting on services such as ShareThis over traditional and limited marketing channels that rely on more costly and less targeted consumer acquisition methods.

We’ve seen our clients marvel at the real benefits of discovery marketing compared to their previous methods of siloed channels because the reach, scope and golden fleece of “social media marketing” success becomes readily apparent when you analyze the data points between these methods.

That is the transformation that is so hard to grasp for many companies. Going from a model based on having results that come from money poured into a model based on time and cultivation is difficult. ShareThis and the whole economy of “sharing” changes the conversation from intention to attention.

Traffic flows on the web and that flow is very powerful if you properly set the channels for that flow to occur rather than trying to build irrigation channels for the flow to take right angles.

ShareThis functions very much as a link, or vehicle, to get web users/interested buyers from one place to another in much the same way Google has been our chauffeur for years. Those places include the traditional Facebook and Twitter malls but increasingly Google+ (and Google Now) is making an interesting stab at becoming what the search engine could not (which is why Google is throwing the mass of its own juggernaut behind the project).

SQI could evolve into something very important for this next iteration of marketing on the web. We’ll certainly be pushing our clients towards that realization. Conversation at scale is the real ingenuity here and something to keep an eye on.