More Than Half of App Downloaders Do It For Free

You have a mobile phone, right? How many apps are on it? How many did you use today? How many did you pay for?

If you’re typical, each answer should be a smaller number than the one before it.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project says that we’ve crossed the halfway point for mobile phone app usage. A full 50% of all adult cell phone owners have apps. That’s double where we were only two years ago.

But even with the rise in usage, the demographic remains the same. App users are younger, more educated, upwardly mobile urban or suburbanite. Adding tablets into the mix hasn’t changed that at all. The only real difference is that women have nearly caught up to men in regard to app downloads.

Marketing Execs Say Local is Critical to Success

The internet may be the great global equalizer, but big brands are going local in order to make shopping more personal. Earlier this month, Walmart set up Facebook pages dedicated to each of their stores and Sears is offering local ads online.

A new report from CMO Council says this is just a small sample of what we’ll be seeing in the future. 86% of the marketers they surveyed said they’re actively looking for a better way to localize their efforts. 49% said that localization was essential to business growth.

In the past, local advertising meant the Yellow Pages, but not so much anymore. Local deal networks such as Groupon also came in at the bottom of the list.

Facebook Pulls in Top Social Media Ad Dollars, But is it Enough?

US Social Media Network ad revenues are expected to surpass $3.90 billion in 2012 and a large portion of that money is going straight to Facebook.

New numbers from eMarketer show that Facebook will likely earn 72% of social media specific ad spending next year.  That’s equal to 7.9% of total online ad spending.

Sounds good to me, but the Wall Street Journal says Facebook is still struggling. They point to a recent Ford Focus campaign that pulled in 43,000 “likes.” Ford spent more than $95 million to advertise their new car, but very little of it went to Facebook.

To add insult to injury, Ford turned down a suggested sponsored stories buy on Facebook, then paid Yahoo and Microsoft to send traffic to the Facebook page. According to WSJ, Ford did eventually spring for an ad but stopped it long before it stopped those on competing sites.

Google Expands Search Results for Places

Google continues to test new and interesting ways to provide information when searching for places of interest. While many have complained about how information was in a sense taken away from Place Page results, we now see some of the information resurfacing in the SERP’s. Take a look at the example below of a local restaurant in Raleigh, NC. Normally there would be a simple map in the right column but Google now providing pictures, information about the restaurant and a pegman street view option to click on as well. All in all, it’s a nice result page.

The Inside Search blog gives some more information about this move.

Study: Fortune 500 Social Media Usage Leveling Off

Remember the days not so long ago when there would be disappointment in Google’s numbers when they they “only” had increases in revenues and profits of 40%? It was ridiculous to even think that disappointment would be associated with those numbers.

The same kind of irrational exuberance tends to follow social media growth these days as well. No one ever wants to believe anything that doesn’t indicate outrageous growth and continued upside to all things social.

Well a report conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth will certainly be a buzzkill for social media hype agents if you believe that the Fortune 500 is an indicator of just how hot something is or is not. The chart below shows that as far as Twitter goes the Fortune 500 has decided to go into a holding pattern

@twitterStories: Get Inspired

A man in need of a kidney gets one. A famous movie critic regains the voice he lost. An innocent man finds refuge when snipers invade his neighborhood — all thanks to Twitter.

If you don’t already believe in the power of Twitter, you will when you read Twitter Stories. Twitter says they’re publishing these stories because showing the humanity behind the Tweets will make the world a smaller place.

That’s a little too global touchy-feely for me, but I do think that these stories are worth a look because they’re all about creativity and the “can do” spirit. They’re also mostly about marketing.

In Japan, a fishing association uses Twitter to sell the day’s catch before the boats return to port. Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan used Twitter to promote her children’s book and, in turn, her culture.

Facebook Comments Being Indexed by Google

So Google doesn’t have a relationship with Facebook. Now, however, they can say that they are at least indexing comments on blogs that use the Facebook commments functionality.

Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration has brought this to everyone’s attention

Googlebots, or the spiders that crawl web pages, are now reading Facebook comments on websites just like any other text content and the more interesting part is that you can also search the text of these comments using regular Google search.

The implications are obvious in that now what people are commenting on a blog (or wherever) it has the potential to now become much more public than just that blog. This will likely inspire more comment spam as well which is an unwelcome offshoot of this development. In the Internet space though that just rates another “Oh well. Time to move on. Nothing to see here.” response. It’s expected.