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Posts Tagged ‘traffic driver’

‘Pinning’ Has to Become Bigger Than ‘Liking’

February 16th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

pinterest150_good.jpgPinterest has officially become a household social networking name in the U.S.

As we’ve already reported, the majority of users are female. According to data from Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner, of 19 million U.S. users, 82% are female and only 18% are male. With all these eager-to-shop female audience members who are most likely interested in fashion designers, style, collections and craft, it’s rather surprising that Pinterest hasn’t really figured out how to cash in. “We have one hundred ideas but no execution yet,” Jeremie Levine, a board member of Pinterest and a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners told the Wall Street Journal. If Pinterest is going to succeed, “pinning” has to become the Internet’s new favorite thing to do.

Sites are seeing a huge uptake in traffic. Pinterest has also been utilizing affiliate marketing, which allows merchants to drop in links to their Web stores in exchange for a percentage of sales from such links. Take Amazon.com, for example. Every time someone clicks through to the Amazon.com site from Pinterest and actually buys something, Pinterest collects a percentage of that sale.

StumbleUpon was once a major traffic driver for many sites. Its latest redesign is focused on keeping the StumbleUpon user on the site – the company explained that many users were accidentally leaving the site during their stumbling experience, which turned out to be quite frustrating. StumbleUpon sends traffic to outside sites, however. As a result, more marketers may be turning to Pinterest for new ways to increase traffic.

British Ladies Aren’t Flocking to Pinterest… Yet

As of January 2012, Pinterest UK users numbered 320,000, with 55% are male and 45% are female. The crowd is still mostly early adopters, as evidenced by this infographic from Visual.ly. Note that the numbers on this are culled from December 2011 data.

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“I bet you in a few months, the usage will change,” says Visua.ly Editorial Director Aleksandra Todorova. “It will be just like Twitter and Facebook. Companies are going to start using it, professionals…it’s not going to just be women planning their wedding or scrapbooking or sewing quilts and all that.”

In any case, perhaps the shift toward Pinterest will move social networking fiends away from what everyone else is doing or not doing on Facebook and into the land of pictures, ideas and interests.

Source: ‘Pinning’ Has to Become Bigger Than ‘Liking’

The Huffington Post UK: Masterstroke or Misstep?

July 7th, 2011 07:30 admin View Comments

A few weeks ago, an interesting proposition landed in my inbox: would I be interested in contributing to the politics section of the soon-to-be launched Huffington Post UK?

To be clear, when I say the proposition was interesting, I don’t mean I was interested in accepting it: as a general rule, I try to only write for free when I have something to promote. I mean I was interested to learn that Arianna Huffington and Aol were willing to direct time and resources into launching HuffPost UK: a project that, if you believe some UK media critics, is so clearly doomed to failure.

You don’t need me to tell you that the Huffington Post US [Disclosure: HuffPost is owned by Aol which owns TechCrunch which BLAH BLAH BLAH] has been a huge success. With its mixture of partisan editorialising and celebrity soap-boxing, it provided a counterpoint to the stuffiness and balance of much of the American news media. At the same time, thanks to a billion slideshows of cats suffering wardrobe malfunctions, it managed to generate sufficient advertising dollars to hire a team of full-time reporters to cover real news, thus positioning itself as a semi-credible rival to traditional newspapers.

And yet, for all of HuffPost’s undoubted success in the US, it’s hard to see how a dedicated UK edition can do anywhere near as well — and not just because Britain has barely a fifth of the population of the US (California and Texas combined offer more potential readers than the whole of the UK).

For one thing, as Toby Young argues in the Telegraph, UK readers are less interested than their American cousins in what celebrities think about the world. Articles like Rob Low complaining about the “Household Betrayal” of his former housekeeper are a real traffic driver in the US; in the UK they would be met with howls of indifference.

But, of course, celebrities represent a tiny percentage of HuffPost’s roster of contributors. For every Hollywood actor, the site boasts a hundred left-wing politicians with votes to win, a thousand authors with books to promote and a million professional writers with axes to grind — surely they’ll keep the high quality content flowing? Perhaps — but there too HuffPost UK has a problem, in the form of the Guardian’s highly trafficked, left-leaning blog platform Comment Is Free (CiF). Named after the mantra of the newspaper’s former owner and editor, CP Scott (‘Comment is free but facts are sacred’), CiF already boasts an impressive list of high profile contributors, opining on everything from the recent elections in Turkey to the emotional depth of a cow.

More impressive still, is the fact that CiF pays many of its contributors (including, occasionally, me) for their work, with rates hovering around £90 ($140) for an 800 word column. It’s not much, but it’s infinity times more than HuffPost UK is offering. In the US, Arianna Huffington was able to use her considerable personal influence (and magnetism) to seduce high-profile contributors into helping get her site off the ground. Since then, times have changed: Huffington’s unwavering magnetism has to compete with the fact that many people would rather sell their kids into slavery than work for free for America Online. And in any case, if writers really want to work for free, they can always contribute to the HuffPost’s US site and enjoy far, far more visibility.

All of which raises the sickening specter of a site filled only with the linkbait crap and celebrity gossip that HuffPost UK can get for free. But even there HuffPost UK faces a challenge in attracting an audience, with stiff competition coming from the UK’s rich and vibrant tabloid press. The London-based Daily Mail is sucking up page impression by the million in both the UK and the US with its populist mix of celebrity fluff, royal rumors and
‘x-gives-you-cancer’ horseshit. Toggling quickly back and forth between the front pages of HuffPost UK and DailyMail.co.uk, one could be forgiven for thinking the former is simply a differently formatted version of the latter, albeit with the odd bit of CiF mixed in by mistake.

So why then, given all those challenges, would Huffington think that launching in the UK is so important? Could it be that, having studied at Cambridge, Arianna craves some approval from the old continent? Hardly. Or perhaps now that she’s spending AOL’s money rather than her own, Huffington simply doesn’t give a damn about the economics. That theory doesn’t stand up to scrutiny either: as any starving HuffPost contributor will testify, Arianna’s grip on the purse strings hasn’t shown any signs of loosening since the acquisition — with dead-weight staffers being fired to pay for new editorial hires.

Which just leaves one tantalizing possibility: that, as with the sale to AOL (which proved to be a breathtaking external coup d’etat), or even founding HuffPost in the first place (many media pundits wrote it off as a vanity project doomed to bankruptcy and failure), Arianna Huffington understands the economics of online content better than her critics.

Huffington has made no secret of her desire to expand the HuffPost internationally, having already tested the waters with HuffPost Canada — so why not choose the UK as her first overseas outpost? The US and the UK are, after all, two countries divided by a common language and, if anything, the existence of the Comment is Free and the popularity of the Daily Mail prove that there’s definitely a market in the UK for the HuffPost’s editorial mix. In any case, it’s hardly a huge financial risk: by all accounts the HuffPost only employs a handful of staff in its UK office, certainly far fewer than can be found at either Daily Mail or Guardian HQ. If Huffington gets the original journalism / aggregation balance right — as she has in the US — the site could become profitable, very quickly. At worst, it can add a few million page impressions to HuffPost’s global reach without hemorrhaging too much cash.

Certainly Huffington seems pleased with the initial performance of the site — and rejects the idea that the HuffPost has to compete with existing publications like the Mail or the Guardian at all. While working on this post, I emailed her some of my concerns about the UK launch and asked her for an on-the-record response. Less than a minute later, her reply arrived…

“We don’t need to beat anyone to succeed. This either-or is a very old model…not about the linked economy in which we operate. We are launching in 12 countries. Launching in [the UK] first outside North America made perfect sense. And we were lucky to launch on a big news day [the News of the World phone-hacking scandal] that showed how Huffpost — liveblog and all-original reporting and aggregation — delivers the news in real time with all the engagement tools our readers want.”

So there.

Source: The Huffington Post UK: Masterstroke or Misstep?

How Small Businesses Are Missing Huge Web Traffic Opportunities

February 16th, 2011 02:00 admin View Comments

analytics-visits-chart.jpgIs your company’s Website updated more than once a week? Is it integrated with social media tools like Facebook and Twiter?

These may seem like rather basic, obvious matters at this point, but a surprising number of small businesses are not updating their sites frequently or utilizing social media as much as they could be. The cost? Lots of traffic.

Fifty-four percent of small businesses update their sites less than less than once a month, according to a study of SMB Website usage released by SiteKreator, a drag-and-drop site creation tool for businesses.

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The small number of sites that were updated more than five times per month saw 300% more traffic than sites updated less frequently. As we’ve discussed previously, maintaining a solid company blog can go a long way toward driving traffic to your company’s Website.

Shockingly, 75% of businesses included in the study did not integrate social media directly into their Websites. Not surprisingly, those that did saw 400% more unique visitors. Facebook turned out to be a much bigger traffic driver than Twitter, which makes sense considering Facebook’s larger user base and the fact that using Twitter may not make sense for all types of businesses.

The study is based on a sample of 5,000 business Websites hosted on SiteKreator, out of a total of approximately 100,000 using the platform. They used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to hire people to review each site. At least two different people reviewed each site independently.

This sample may or may not be statistically representative of business Websites in general, but the results are interesting nonetheless.

Learn more about social media managment from experts — check out the ReadWriteWeb Guide to Online Community Management. It highlights the hottest issues in online community management (Download a free sample of the document here), and you get access to a password protected online aggregator that automatically serves up the most-talked about blog posts concerning community management each day — a great resource for ongoing professional development.

Source: How Small Businesses Are Missing Huge Web Traffic Opportunities

Huffington Post Unique Visitors Surge To 28 Million In January

February 10th, 2011 02:47 admin View Comments

Huffington Post, our soon to be sister site (assuming government clearance of the AOL acquisition goes through), had quite a January. Unique U.S. visitors surged to 28 million in January from 24.5 million in December, according to Comscore. They’re nearing half a billion monthly page views in the U.S. as well, up from 439 million in December.

Why the jump? The site was hovering around 22 million U.S. monthly visitors for most of last year. There was a small jump in December, then the January surge. And that’s despite the fact that a cobranded Yahoo/Huffington Post page deal ended at the end of 2010.

The Tucson shooting was a big factor, says Huffington Post. As well as the 13th Zodiac sign ridiculousness. We also note that Huffington Post is the third result on Bing for “sex,” and Comscore says it’s the second biggest search query traffic driver, after “Huffington Post.”

I’m thinking if they could just increase the font size on those front page headlines, traffic could increase even more. :-)

Source: Huffington Post Unique Visitors Surge To 28 Million In January

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