Change is a permanent part of the marketing landscape. But change is never easy and this week was full of change.
We get to review updated data on mobile payments; test a new version of bitly; transition from Google Places to Google+ Local; prepare for a rumored Facebook smartphone and assess a new Google Shopping experience (and business model).
“We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 42 percent annual growth between 2011 and 2016, and we are forecasting a market worth $617 billion with 448 million users by 2016,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. “This will bring opportunities for service and solution providers who will need to cater to the local demand patterns to customize their offerings.”
These numbers are big but not surprising. You’d have to be living in a cave not to see the vast opportunity for mobile commerce. In the last week, I bought coffee at Peet’s via Google Wallet and a photography print at a local art festival using Square. It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when it becomes mainstream.
What you see here today is the new bitly! We’ve been hard at work adding features that make it easier and faster to find and share interesting stuff. Special thanks to the hundreds of users who helped us through all our rounds of testing.
Why do you make me cry bitly? You did not make it easier and faster, you made it more complex and slower to do what I want to do. No amount of rationalization makes up for poor user experience. What do you think of the new bitly?
Google Places pages have been entirely replaced by new Google+ Local pages. As of this morning roughly 80 million Google Place pages worldwide have been automatically converted into 80 million Google+ Local pages, according to Google’s Marissa Mayer. It’s a dramatic change (for the better) though it will undoubtedly disorient some users and business owners.
Of course Google was going to integrate local into Google+. This new makeover brings search, social and local closer together. Waiting in the wings are things like Google Wallet, Latitude and Google Offers to complete the full circle of offerings.
Yahoo began working on Livestand in 2010 after it became clear Apple Inc.’s iPad was going to be popular. But the tablet magazine didn’t hit the market until last November, well after a similar iPad application called “Flipboard” had already attracted a large audience.
Could Yahoo’s woes be most closely tied to long product development cycles? As agile shops spring up around Silicon Valley (and elsewhere) is Yahoo simply not iterating fast enough for today’s business environment? It certainly hurt them when it came to core search and we saw how that turned out.
Facebook would not necessarily challenge Apple if it entered the smartphone marketplace. Instead, it could be Facebook vs. Google, which makes the Android operating system, with both companies going after a huge number of buyers of lower-priced smartphones.
Last week I commented on Google’s Dune Strategy. The Motorola Mobility deal now approved and Android the dominant platform, Google has a clear advantage in mobile. But Facebook doesn’t want Google to control the spice. Can Facebook pull this off? I’m not sure, but I’ll be interested to see them try.
Buddy Media helps many major brands manage their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ presence. Presumably, Salesforce could add Buddy Media to its long roster of services targeting the enterprise like Chatter and Force.com. It’s unclear how much crossover there would be with Salesforce-owned Radian6, another social media management service.
Salesforce has been quietly acquiring companies like a hungry pellet-eating Pac Man. Seriously, go look at their offering today and you might be surprised. This new potential acquisition seems like a way to roll up the social media management vertical.
The new round, backed by Battery Ventures, Google Ventures, and InterWest Partners, will give us an opportunity to arm ourselves for the battles that lie ahead. We have been truly thrilled to have recently reached a significant milestone. In terms of adoption by the top 10,000 global websites we recently surpassed Google Website Optimizer and are on pace to surpass Omniture Test & Target later this year. In addition, we’ve become the world’s fastest growing website optimization platform, and have over 2,000 enterprises now using the Optimizely platform.
You’re A/B testing right? I hope so. If you are, you could do worse than giving Optimizely a try. The reason they’ve gotten such high adoption is that the product is seriously easy where Google Website Optimizer is not. They score points for being honest and bold with their goal to topple Omniture.
There are many methods to develop link relationships. Based on the client strategy we deploy a variety of approaches to link development, and in some cases we’ve allowed financial compensation as a tool. Removing financial compensation from the link development toolset has been a long term goal for us. We are using these recent events to be a catalyst to expedite those plans effective immediately.
iAcquire was recently outed for running a paid link program and was subsequently banned by Google. In response, iAcquire has stopped their paid link efforts … or will soon. See, I’m a big fan of words, so this type of marketing speak makes me wary. Or am I being too critical?
First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall. We believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date. Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.
That’s right, the free ride is over and now Google Shopping is going to be a paid product. All the way back to Froogle (what a great name by the way) and Google Base, I never quite understood why Google didn’t charge for these listings. I know that some will shriek about paid inclusion and squeezing the ‘little guy’, but the Internet has evolved and products must change and adapt to the new environment.
(Image from Felix Burton via Creative Commons.)