Friday Roundup: Grumpy Cat, Twitter at the movies and more

grumpy cat christmasAnother Friday and a whole new month. Halloween is over and it’s full-speed ahead from now until New Year’s. For online sellers, these could be the most lucrative weeks of the year. For other types of online businesses, it’s just the opposite. Between the holidays and the travel and the parties, it can be hard to keep workers and clients on task. Trying to close a deal just days before half the people involved leave for a four-day Thanksgiving weekend is stressful and maddening.

My advice: (even if you didn’t ask for it) cut yourself some slack and enjoy the holidays. Easier said then done, I know, but give it a try.

In keeping with the less stress spirit, here are a couple of fun news stories from the world of online marketing.

Control your own news feed? Facebook makes it, sort of, so

Facebook is giving users control of their News Feeds. Sort of. Don’t get too excited. They haven’t decided to open the flood gates and let each of us control our own flow of information – that would be silly.

What they are doing is giving us new tools that will make it seem like we’re in control of our News Feed.

new Facebook optionsIf you check your News Feed settings (a section I didn’t even know existed) you’ll find some new groupings of information. At the top is “Seen Most Last Week” which is oddly phrased but I get the point. These are the people, Pages and Groups who had the most to say over the last seven days. And that might not be accurate since Facebook controls what we see, these might just be the top posters who showed up on your account.

Channel Sponsors

Whales vs wasted-energy: where should you spend your time?

SAVE_THE_WHALES___man____by_Porpoise_SongWhen I hear the word “whales”, I think of Las Vegas. Weird, I know, but that’s where I first heard the word used for something other than a sea creature. In Vegas, whales are those guys who drop huge sums of money on a single hand of blackjack. They leave tips equal to a week’s pay and pony up big bucks for crazy things like a bathtub full of caviar.

Your business has a whale or two but probably not the tub of caviar kind. The average business whale is simply a customer who spends a lot more money than most of your customers and does it on a regular basis. Now, here comes the big question; can you name the whales in your business and are you giving them special treatment?

Retailers are from Mars, shoppers are from Venus

It’s a retailer’s job (and by extension, a marketer’s job, too) to anticipate the customer’s needs so they can be satisfied because satisfied customers is what we all need to keep the doors open on our businesses.

But a new survey from Accent has me wondering if this relationship isn’t more of a Mars / Venus kind of thing. The report is called ‘Tis The Season For Customer Engagement’ and it’s loaded with inconsistencies between how customers think verses how retailers think. For example:

Accent Holiday Infographic

Only 16% of customers start their holiday gift shopping before Halloween but more than half of all retailers start promoting before the candy hits the bag. I was in a store the week before Halloween and heard a nine-year-old child complain about Christmas displays in the store. How bad is it when a kid says, ‘hey, it’s too early for Christmas’?

Black Friday: Millennials will spend more but 35+ will spend the most

Spend more22 Days Until Black Friday!

Are you ready?

CFI Group and eBay Enterprise just released a new report about this frantic weekend called “Holiday Shopping 2014: Shutting Down the Showroom Effect”.

As an online seller, you’re probably not all that concerned about showrooming but there are a few nuggets in the report for you, too.

First up is the actual Black Friday weekend. 30% of those surveyed said they expect to spend more than 50% of their gift giving budget between November 28 and December 1. This is up 27% over year. That means more retailers will pull in more revenue earlier in the season. On the downside, CFI says consumers will be spending less overall, that’s why they’re counting so heavily on Black Friday deals.

Taxi! Amazon considers a whole new way to deliver

taxi-bubble-sign-1442111-mShipping is one of the biggest issues for online buyers.  They want it fast, but they also want it cheap. Two-days and $10 could be all that’s standing between you and the sale. Now multiply that problem by a million and that’s what Amazon and other big retailers are facing. The closer we get to Christmas, the bigger the problem becomes.

Trouble is, until someone invents a transporter beam, packages have to be physically moved from one location to another and that takes time and time is money.

Smartphones beat tablets for mobile video views

adobe mobile growth 2013In 2014,  194.5 million people in the U.S. watched at least one digital video per month. That’s 41.4% of the overall population. By 2018, eMarketer says that number will rise to include almost half the US population.

Going hand in hand with that, is the rise in mobile viewing.  According to the new Adobe Digital Index “U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report”, 20% of online video views in Q4 2013 came from mobile.

What’s surprising is that smartphones are now outpacing tablets as the preferred mobile method. Smartphone video starts are up 86% year-over-year while tablets are only up 23%.

Looking strictly at growth, nothing beats gaming consoles with 365% rise in views year-over-year thanks to XBox One and PS4. The latest news from that front is the addition of RealPlayer Cloud which allows you to stream all of your personal videos you’ve stored on RealPlayer through your XBox gaming system.