Yahoo and Amazon go after the small business business

ALR_Customer_Checkout_SalonAmazon and Yahoo are both diving deeper into the small business business with tools to help online and offline sellers. (While attempting to squash competitors in both areas.)

First is Amazon Local Register. This is point-of-sale gizmo that allows anyone to accept a credit card as payment. It’s a direct competitor to Square which I see being used in the brick-and-mortar world all the time.

The app doesn’t do anything the competitors don’t already do but Amazon Local Register is doing it for less money. Amazon is charging 2.5% on all transactions, Square charges 2.75%. If you sign up before October 31 you’ll get a drastically lower promotional rate of 1.75% percent per card swipe¬† until January 1, 2016.

Twitter and Pinterest have fun with video

twitter videoVideo may have killed the radio star but it’s doing wonders for online marketers! Today both Twitter and Pinterest have video-themed announcements.

First, Twitter rolls out Promoted Video Tweets. This is the paid version of the Twitter Video Card they began testing earlier this year. With this new, streamlined experience, Twitter skimmers can watch videos right in their feed with a single click. Naturally, this has led to more video views because who isn’t going to click when they see that tempting blue button?

Want more people to see your video? Simply pay to promote it and Twitter will insert it in millions of feeds all over the world. Or not. Because Twitter likes to play favorites and right now this option is only available to a select few.

Facebook launches cross-device tracking for Facebook ads

"The iOS family pile (2012)" by Blake Patterson Yesterday, we were talking about how email marketers tend to use open rates rather than revenue as a measure of success. Today, we’re moving over to social media marketers and their version of the same problem.

We’re living in a cross-device world. Susan uses her smartphone to skim Facebook while she’s waiting for her coffee. She sees an ad for a product but before she can buy, the barista calls her name. Phone goes in her purse and she’s off to work.

Later in the day, she remembers the ad (if the advertiser did a good job of branding), visits the store online and buys the item. The ad worked. But you wouldn’t know that for sure because you couldn’t link the two.

Guess what. Facebook says, they can link the two.

Majority of email marketers don’t use sales numbers to measure success

Lionsbridge email reportHow do you measure the success of your email marketing campaigns?

74% of marketers who responded to the 2014 Global Email Survey from Lionbridge Technologies said it was all about the open rate.

An important number, for sure, but what about an email’s impact on revenue? Less than half of the respondents said they connect the dots from email to sales and it makes me wonder why? Opens are great, but they don’t pay the bills.

In the recent past, matching sales to email opens was tricky and time consuming, but surely that’s not the case anymore. We have tools that can tell you when a customer mentions your company at a cocktail party (an exaggeration, but you get the point), it can’t be that hard to follow the clicks from email to checkout.

23 million Twitter bots! Relax, it’s not as bad as it sounds

BeetleJuice BotMarketers have a love / hate relationship with numbers. We’re always looking for tools to calculate the number of viewers and the percentage of clicks. How many minutes did he spend and how many dollars will it earn. Numbers are how we tell if what we’re doing is working or not. It’s also how we decide if an investment is worth it.

For example, a banner ad on a blog cost $500.

Is it worth it if the blog has 50,000 page views per month? What if they only have 50 page viewers per month?

What if Twitter admitted that up to 8.5% (around 23 million) Twitter users weren’t human? They’re actually bots – Twitter accounts that update without a “discernable user action” like my friend #Betelgeuse_3. Call his name three times and he’ll respond.

Google tests ‘listen now’ ads for music searches

Have a sudden craving for some Monkees music. Google has you covered. Simply type the band’s name into the Google search box and you’ll be presented with three online options. Google Play, where you can buy individual songs for $1.29 each or streaming through Rhapsody or Beats.

Music ads

I don’t listen to a lot of music online, so I wasn’t familiar with Beats. Turns out it’s a new streaming service from the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone folks. Inexplicably, Apple bought the service this past May for $3 billion dollars. The move does give Apple control of two large streaming services; iTunes Radio and the commercial-free, trendy Beats. Apple says they’ll continue to operate the two as separate companies which makes sense because they each satisfy a different audience. iTunes Radio is good for the casual listener while Beats pulls in those who are serious about their music.

Facebook quietly bans the like gate on contests, coupons and other rewards

Like This pageIt’s a common practice to require people to ‘like’ a Facebook page before entering a contest or claiming a coupon. It’s quid pro quo and though consumers often complain about the practice, they click anyway because they want the prize. Why they bother grumbling is beyond me since liking a branded page has little effect on what shows up in your News Feed anyway. This isn’t the “old days.”

According to a small note on the Facebook Developer Blog, this practice is about to end. Two funny things about that – I thought it used to be against the rules and why bury the announcement on a blog few Page owners read?