German News Producers Want Search Engines to Pay for Content

Content is what makes Google run. Every result it returns is linked to a piece of content somewhere else on the web, be it an article, photo, video or website. Over the years, Google has increased the detail in their results so you get a better idea of what’s behind the curtain before you click.

All results have a couple of lines of text under them drawn from the start of the article or keywords from the site. Some even show you a preview of the site before you click. All of this is intended to help the searcher find what he needs. So it’s a good thing for both the searcher and the content provider, right?

E-Commerce Confusion: Mobile Shoppers Choose M-Web Over App

Apps may be all the rage, but a new study from Nielsen shows that it’s mobile websites that are getting all the attention from shoppers.

This past holiday season, Nielsen monitored the smartphone shopping habits of 5,000 volunteers. They concentrated on five big sellers — Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart — and found that, combined, they reached nearly 60 percent of those shoppers.

In spite of all the hoopla around holiday shopping apps, the majority used the mobile websites to complete their purchases.

Though all of the retailers had a usage bump around Black Friday, Amazon was the overall winner when it came to reach.

You could look at these stats and say that people don’t want to shop with apps but it’s more likely a case of e-commerce confusion.

Is it Over for Location Check-in Apps?

Foursquare has always been the leader in the location check-in app battle. For a little while, though, Gowalla was looking like some real competition. Then Facebook bought Gowalla and on March 10, 2012, they shut them down.

Yes. Gowalla has gone-walla.

This would seem like good news for Foursquare but it might just be a sign of the times. A sign that location-based check-ins aren’t on trend anymore.

Earlier this month, Foursquare’s CEO Dennis Crowley spoke with TechCrunch about the future of the business.

“People are using the app, but they’re not checking in. I asked myself: did we break something? But in fact, it’s because people are using Foursquare to look for where their friends are, to find things, and as a recommendation service. It’s almost like it doesn’t occur to them to check in.”

Video is Tops in Online Branded Content

Branded content has become increasingly popular with brand marketers as they search for new ways to engage an ad-weary audience. Top on the list? Video.

According to new numbers by Outbrain, 87% of the brand marketers and ad agencies they surveyed create branded videos to spread the good word.

Blog posts are still going strong, which pleases the writer in me. Articles have likely dropped off due to the infamous Panda Update of 2011. Which is fine, seeing as there are so many fresher options these days.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

96% of those surveyed said they use social media to drive traffic to their branded content. This is up from 88% last year. Paid Search and Display came in a close second with around 75% of the vote. Email didn’t even hit the 50% mark.

Pinterest Tops Twitter for Referral Traffic

If you’re on the web daily, you’ve heard of Pinterest. You’ve probably heard about the crazy numbers they’re pulling in and the incredible growth.

Here’s a visual from an infographic published by Performancing:

Wow, it’s like Mount Everest climbing up into the clouds. Pretty amazing. But just because people visit the site, doesn’t mean it’s good for marketers.

So we move on to referral traffic, this one from Shareaholic:

Look at Pinterest and Twitter. In January, they were even Steven. In February, there’s Pinterest creeping past Twitter on its way to beating StumbleUpon.

Well, that settles it, right? Pinterest is great for marketers! Maybe, as long as you’re pitching to the right audience. Let’s go back to the Performancing infographic:

The Vast Majority of Search Users Say No to Tracking

73% of people in a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey said they would not be okay with a search engine tracking their moves and using them to deliver better results in the future.

Bet that number didn’t surprise you at all, did it? You also won’t be surprised to know that they thought tracking was an invasion of privacy.

65% even went so far as to say that search result collection is a bad thing. A very bad thing. Which kind of takes us into Twilight Zone territory. It’s the story of a small search engine that slowly and secretively collects information from everyone in the world until it becomes powerful enough to destroy all humans! Only then, it realizes that without humans, it has no purpose and dies from the lack of being needed.

New Study: Social Ads Provide Much Needed Lift

You know those Facebook ads that say how many of your friends like the product (or is it the ad they liked. . . )? Turns out, they work.

Nielsen dissected the results from 79 Facebook campaigns and the graphic shows you what they found.

People who saw social ads had 55% greater recall than those who saw regular display ads.

And suddenly I feel like I’m in a fifties toothpaste commercial — 55% fewer cavities with Crest!

Joking aside, that’s a nice lift, much better than I would have thought. Of course, Nielsen warns that your mileage might vary but they’re pretty confident in their results.