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Google seals Waze takeover deal

It was confirmed this week that search giant Google has completed the purchase of user-sourced navigation app Waze. The deal comes after**more** much speculation about a bidding war, which is thought to have also involved Facebook and Apple.

While the deal’s full details are yet to be released, it is thought that Google has paid around $1.3bn (£835m) for the popular app. If this price is correct, Waze would become the fourth priciest acquisition in Google’s 15-year life. The company’s top three acquisitions are the $12.4bn purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings; DoubleClick, which cost $3.2bn, and YouTube, which came at the bargain price of $1.76bn.

Speaking about the new addition to its portfolio, Google said in a blog post:

“The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.”

Waze followed this up with its own statement, explaining that nothing at the company would change. Noam Bardin, the company’s CEO, said:

“We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same.”

Waze’s appeal lies mainly in its user-friendliness, which, in turn, relies on its users sharing information with the app’s growing community. Many experts are expecting Google to look to integrate Waze into the services it already offers, particularly Google+, which hasn’t quite shown the same draw as its rivals Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The idea of social navigation has really caught on among the Android and iOS users who have already downloaded the app. It will be interesting to see how businesses are able to use the service as a part of their marketing strategies, especially with the arrival of Google Glass expected in 2014.

Vine overtakes Instagram with Twitter share-count

Data from Topsy has revealed that in terms of Twitter shares, video sharing app Vine surpassed rival Instagram only four days after it was released to**more** Android device users.

Vine was launched on Android devices on June 3, and amassed just over 1.8 milling Twitter posts, compared to two million mentions of Instagram in the same 24 hour period. By June 7, however, Vine had moved in front, with an impressive 2.5 million mentions beating Instagram’s 2.3 million.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, hasn’t always had the best relationship with Vine-owning Twitter. Last year, Twitter made the decision to remove Instagram’s API access, meaning the photo app’s users no longer had the ability to use their Twitter accounts to find new contacts. In December, it was announced that Twitter users would no longer be able to use images from Instagram profiles in their Tweets, after Twitter Cards support was pulled.

Vine was acquired by Twitter late last year, and the iOS app was unveiled in January. It gives its users the tools to create six-second looped videos, which can then be easily shared on Facebook and Twitter. Vine appeared on Android’s Google Play marketplace earlier this month, where it has climbed to fourth position in the list of most popular free apps – one place above Instagram.

The app has been popular for creating short stop-motion videos and, because of its six-second time limit, people seem more willing to take the time to view multiple clips in one sitting.

As a marketing tool, visual content can be extremely effective, but it must be easily accessible and shareable – both things that Vine focuses heavily on. As the app’s popularity continues to grow, its users are likely to want to share content more often, making it even more appealing to attention-hungry brands.

Content impacts buying decisions, according to study

A study carried out by the Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO) has revealed that most B2B buyers see online content as a valuable tool when (more…)

Premier league champions to boost social presence with new media boss

The owners of Manchester United, the Glazers, have appointed a new head of media in an attempt to boost the club’s online presence even further.

The newest addition at (more…)

Facebook simplifies advertising process for marketers

Social giant Facebook has announced that it will reduce the number of advertisement types available to marketers after admitting they have**more** caused confusion.

The site, which tops the social media popularity list, will still have advertisements on the sides of its pages and in users’ news feeds, but the options available to marketers will be reduced and simplified.

Facebook’s product manager, Fidji Simo, spoke about the decision at the firm’s headquarters in California last week, saying:

“What we realized is that even though every ad product is really good on its own, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. It should really be simpler.”

Facebook is expecting to roll the updates out within the next few months, but some changes could be made sooner. The company explained that the changes wouldn’t affect pricing at all but refused to comment on whether overall revenue would be impacted.

Advertising is crucial to Facebook’s survival, and accounts for around 85% of its revenue. The company is also trying to kick-start revenue growth after it hit a slow period in early 2012.

Part of this drive has seen it switch its attention towards a growing mobile user-base, with a particular emphasis put on ensuring advertisements are formatted properly to be displayed on handheld devices.

On top of this, Facebook has started to let advertisers access users’ web search histories to display relevant promotional content, and has unveiled tools which enable marketers to measure the effectiveness of the ads they publish.

While pushy adverts aren’t exactly loved by the average consumer, businesses can use Facebook to break down barriers between themselves and their target audiences. This is often achieved most successfully with the help of original, relevant and shareable content – this could be in the form of videos, useful articles or even podcasts.

Vine arrives on Android handsets

Twitter’s video-sharing platform, Vine, has finally arrived on the Android OS after amassing an impressive 13 million iOS users. The app is available as a (more…)

SEO firms should focus on consumers, according to Google boss

Matt Cutts, Google’s search spam boss, has taken to YouTube to discuss digital marketing with his followers. His latest post focuses specifically on some**more** common SEO misconceptions.

In the video, which lasts around five minutes, Cutts attempted to provide some clarity on one of the industry’s biggest misunderstandings: the difference between data refreshes and algorithm updates. He then went on to talk about the recent Penguin and Panda updates, rubbishing claims that they were financially-driven moves, and finished by offering advice to agencies regarding link building and the use of quality content.

As explained in the video, the main difference between a data refresh and an algorithm update is that the latter involves changes being made to the way the algorithm works to filter, index and rank the results of a search. Last month’s Penguin 2.0 update, for instance, came under the category of algorithm update.

A data refresh, however, as its name alludes to, refers to when the data of an existing algorithm is refreshed. This usually involves only small changes being made to how it functions overall.

Cutts also put the spotlight back on the importance of quality content, suggesting SEO agencies need to stop focusing their efforts on link building and trying to understand how site rankings work, and should instead look to please site users organically. It would be in the agencies’ interest, Cutts explained, to use social media alongside other genuine methods in order to generate awareness in a natural way.

It’s not the first time Google has tried to switch the focus to the use of original content. Many business owners have already successfully turned to professional content providers in order to increase their online presence. This change in emphasis has particularly favoured businesses that are able provide their users with relevant, useful information.

Sauce firm offers custom bottles for Father’s Day

HP Sauce has announced that it has launched a Father’s Day campaign aimed specifically at its Facebook fans, which will see 100 followers winning personalised sauce bottles as gifts for the special day.

The prize bottles will be professionally addressed to the winners’ dads, with a message reading ‘Happy Father’s Day’. It will also include the sender’s name and the date, perhaps making it a collectable item.

The competition, which is running until this Sunday, June 9, is only open to those who follow the brand on Facebook. Entrants will be required to submit their details online and can increase their odds of winning if they share the competition posts among friends and family members.

Commenting on the idea, HP Sauce’s brand manager, Shane Shortman, said:

“This is the first time HP Sauce has ever launched personalised bottles, and Father’s Day – the ultimate day to celebrate manliness – is the perfect time for us to share them with our fans.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to excite our audience and by personalising bottles and giving them away through a Facebook competition, this allows us to reward our most loyal fans (and their dads) in a new and exciting way.”

The company’s Facebook app is also set to heavily feature HP Sauce Man, the firm’s new mascot and face of the ‘Sauce of Manliness’ campaign, which has been pushed with help from radio, in-store POS and digital activity.

The new campaign has created a lot of buzz around a product which will be considered by many as just an everyday food item. It provides a good example of how big businesses often use social media creatively to build hype and promote a product and the brand itself effectively. This is something many smaller firms would do well to emulate.

Wal-Mart embarrasses itself with cake spelling error

The reputation of U.S supermarket chain Wal-Mart took a slight dent this week after a customer exposed a cringeworthy spelling error on (more…)

Teens turn to Twitter in the U.S.

An increasing number of teenagers in the U.S. are ditching Facebook in favour of other social media platforms, such as Twitter, says a recent report.

The study, which was (more…)

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