Monthly Archives May 2014

Flightpath’s Social Session: Facebook App Cutbacks, Instagram’s Most Liked Photo & More

A roundup of the latest and greatest social media stories and news:

Twitter got a font update late last week and users had plenty to say about it.  Days after pushing the font update live, Twitter confirmed they did indeed make the switch from Helvetica Neue to Gotham.

Facebook keeps us on our toes once again by changing their News Feed algorithm to deemphasize stories automatically shared by third party apps without actions by the users.

Yahoo takes on YouTube with plans to launch their own video platform this summer.  Reportedly, Yahoo plans to lure users from Google with higher revenue percentages.

Twitter growth predicted to skyrocket in Asia-Pacific and reach 400 million users by 2018, according to an eMarketer report.  A long wait for Twitter execs, who previously hoped to reach that mark by 2013.

Instagram face-off: A study using 1.1 million Instagram photos analyzed with face-detection software showed that pictures with faces are 38% more likely to get ‘likes’.

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Twitter users cash in thanks to anonymous donor @HiddenCash who recently began posting clues to the whereabouts’ of envelopes of money in LA.  His social good experiment has gained widespread attention and new pay-it-forward twitter handles have popped up across the country.

Best brand tweet of 2014 goes to Denny’s Diner for their real-time response to Apple finalizing a $3 billion deal to buy music-streaming company Beats Electronics.

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And The Most Liked Instagram Ever goes to….Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.  The reality star posted their wedding photo to her account last week and it has since gotten 1.98 million likes (and counting).

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Responsive Web Design vs. Standalone Mobile Site: Which is Better for SEO?

It’s no secret that mobile visitors are taking up an ever-increasing amount of visits and pageviews across the web. According to StatCounter, 23.56% of worldwide Internet traffic was on a mobile device in April 2014. Another 5.83% came from tablets. That leaves the traditional desktop with a 70.61% share.

One of the more common questions we get at Flightpath is how best to address these two distinctive segments. Should a separate mobile site be created on its own domain, such as ‘m.website.com’ ? Or should a single website be developed responsively so that the regardless of what kind of device is used to access the page, it is delivered in a way that provides a user-friendly experience?

The answer to that can be complicated, and that’s not really the point of this article. The point of this article is to address the question from a search engine optimization perspective. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each, and more importantly, what does Google want? If there’s one thing any seasoned SEO strategist knows, it’s that you’ve got to keep Google happy.

Well, first things first. Google absolutely gives preference to mobile-friendly sites for mobile searches, regardless of the technique used to achieve a positive mobile experience. This goes back to one of Google’s most basic tenants used to guide ranking factors: provide a good user experience. Sending mobile visitors to a completely un-optimized desktop oriented site is definitely NOT providing a good user experience.

Now, on to the question at hand.  As it turns out, Google has more or less directly answered this question: they prefer responsive websites.

 Google supports smartphone-optimized sites in three configurations:

  1. Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.
  2. Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.
  3. Sites that have separate mobile and desktop URLs. 

For once, we have a seemingly candid response from Google. Hurrah! And oh, hey, the folks at Bing agree.

Why is this Google’s preference, though? Think about it this way, responsive sites serve the same set of URLs with the same HTML to all devices. A straightforward crawl as far as Google is concerned. Now when you introduce multiple domains, URLs, directives and redirects – the elements necessary to run a proper mobile site, it makes Google’s job a lot harder. Google is certainly up to the task, but it’s going to take more time and computational power to perform the same task of indexing the site accurately.

Keeping Google happy isn’t the only SEO-advantage of responsive web design. Responsive sites are actually much easier to optimize around.  You’ll notice that I said “easy” and not “better”. The fact is, you can circumvent most of these issues with proper planning, implementation and maintenance. However, it would be a folly to ignore the element of human error. Furthermore, if you can achieve the same result without adding layers of complication, always go with the more straightforward route. Finally, something SEO’s and Google can agree on.

One of the complications avoided by going to responsive route is duplicate content. Serving the same content on separate URLs is always a bit of a dangerous game. Proper use of canonical tags can alleviate this, but again, this introduces complexity and the opportunity for human error (and let me tell you, I have audited a lot of websites, there is an abundance of human error when it comes to things like canonicalization and proper redirects).

Link-building is also a much more manageable process when there is only a single domain or URL to worry about. All of your link authority is concentrated on a single set of URLs. This applies to social sharing as well – there’s no need to worry that someone will share a mobile URL and send a bunch of desktop users to a mobile site.

One last point that I’ll mention is that setting up a new mobile site usually involves the creation of a new sub-domain, most typically ‘m.website.com’. This means starting from scratch as far as domain authority is concerned.

Are there reasons to consider a separate mobile site over the responsive route? Yes, absolutely. When mobile users follow significantly different usage patterns (restaurant searches, for example), it’s probably a good idea to serve them unique content based on device. There are also sites that have enormous amounts of content that simply can’t be made easily navigable with reasonable load times on today’s mobile technology (imagine trying to make nytimes.com responsive – it would take ages to load and likely be even more difficult to navigate).

While there are situations in which a separate mobile site is the correct answer, responsive sites are still more SEO-friendly. It really comes down to the fact that operating off on one URL is much easier for Google to crawl, simpler for Google’s algorithms to process and easier for visitors to interact with.

Umbraco Roundtable Highlights from Internet Week NY 2014

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Umbraco Roundtable & Intro to Merchello event on May 20 as part of Internet Week NY.  A good time was had by all and we were thrilled to meet fellow Umbraco developers and enthusiasts.  The event was the first official gathering for the NY Umbraco Meetup group, a community we are excited to continue growing and hosting events on behalf of.  

Here are some highlights and takeaways from the event:

What To Consider Before Changing Your Brand’s Facebook Page Name

Change and evolution are inevitable in the marketing world. Luckily, if your brand outgrows its Facebook fan page name and the name no longer reflects your brand’s intent, Facebook offers the option for a “Significant Page Name Change” once per calendar year.  Flightpath recently helped a client with the rebranding of their Facebook page and after experiencing the intricate process firsthand, we compiled the essential information you need to know before moving forward with a page name change.

What Classifies As A “Significant Name Change”?

A “Significant Page Name Change” is any change that falls outside of the general Facebook page name guidelines, which Facebook cites as, “name changes and migrations that do not result in a misleading or unintended connection.  For example, we will allow local to global migrations, such as “Facebook France” to “Facebook”, but will not allow global to local migrations, or location to location migrations, such as “Facebook France” to “Facebook Russia”. Additionally, you may not request a name change or migration that would result in re-categorizing a product Page to a brand Page, a generic or opinion Page to a brand Page, or a Group to a Page. All migrations are at our discretion and are final.”

What Is Different About This Process?

The major difference that occurs when making a “Significant Page Name Change” versus a standard page name change is that your brand’s Facebook audience will be notified of the change via email 14 days prior to the name change taking effect. Users then have the option to visit your brand’s Facebook and unlike the page.  For those worried about a large amount of their fans dropping off, Facebook says they have “seen a very low percentage of users choosing to unlike a Page based on a Significant Page Name Change. There may be an initial spike in unlikes when the email is delivered, but that spike in the unlike rate typically settles within 2-3 days.”

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What Should You Consider Before Making the Change?

Before making the leap to significantly change your brand’s name on Facebook be sure to take into consideration how your Facebook community will feel about the “new you”.   When launching your new brand to existing customers, you do not want to risk losing followers or alienating your audience.  Make sure you have a content marketing strategy in place that allows you to clearly communicate the changes to your audience. Knowing why a company is changing its name, and more specifics about what is and is not changing, may make the transition easier for customers.

Learn More

For more information on Significant Page Name Changes, refer to Facebook’s official documentation.

 

The Finishing Touch: Minwax Launches New DIY Inspired Site

For over 100 years, Minwax has provided professional contractors and craftsmen with high-quality wood finishing products.  However, the wood care brand also services another loyal group of users: DIY-ers.  With the rise of Pinterest and novice home improvement, this group of enthusiasts, many of whom are new to wood finishing, turn to Minwax to help beautify the wood throughout their home and beyond.

As part of an integrated digital marketing campaign, Minwax has teamed up with Flightpath to launch an innovative website that better delivers their products to their diverse customer base.  Serving as a vehicle to inspire and educate their consumers, the new site seamlessly showcases DIY photos, tutorial videos and project plans while also providing detailed product information for all wood finishing needs.

“Our goal for the site was to convey that the completed wood finishing project is the true hero, and the [Minwax] product is the best means to achieve that result,” said Everett Hutton, Senior Account Executive at Flightpath.

Starting from the elegant homepage, Minwax encourages visitors to “Get Inspired”—showcasing beautiful user-generated images of DIY projects they’ve created.  There is even a section proudly dedicated to the ‘Minwax Fan of the Month’–a Facebook contest where Minwax fans upload their own wood finishing projects and vote on a winner.  By displaying real projects made by real people, the site captures an undeniable sense of personal achievement and individuality that goes hand-in-hand with the DIY experience.

“We are all very excited with the result of our intensive collaboration. The site is clean, contemporary, easier to navigate, and is sure to meet the needs of our diverse end users,” said Jacquelyn Ferrara, Director of Marketing for Minwax.

Visit the new Minwax site to explore and get inspired for yourself.

Update: In July 2014, Minwax Australia also partnered with Flightpath to launch a new version of their site based on this same design.

Why Emotion-Driven Marketing Can Increase B2B Sales

Traditionally, B2B marketing focused on product attributes and business value.  While great product features are key for selling, we cannot ignore the influence emotions play on buying decisions even in the B2B marketplace.

A recent study showed that personal value has 2x the impact business value does when it comes to making a B2B buying decision, with 71% of buyers claiming they will make a purchase if it has personal value.

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Here at Flightpath, we firmly believe in the power of emotions and storytelling.  We have a rich history of helping organizations create, connect or use emotional currency via digital channels to maximize potential and opportunities.  Whether it’s on your website, in a marketing video or even throughout your social media strategy, highlighting the personal value of a product can increase your chances of making a sale and strengthen brand loyalty.

Download our case study to learn more about how emotional currency is the key to staying relevant with your consumers in a highly competitive digital landscape.

Flightpath Teams Up With Umbraco Developers For Internet Week New York 2014

New York’s annual technology festival– Internet Week New York–is slated to have it’s biggest year yet and Flightpath is excited to announce we will be hosting our own IWNY event for the growing Umbraco developer community.

What’s Umbraco? Built by a Denmark developer, Umbraco is an open source CMS platform known for it’s user-friendly interface and hassle-free customization.

In collaboration with the NY Umbraco Meetup group, Flightpath will open our offices on Tuesday, May 20 for a casual meet-and-greet for fellow Umbraco developers to get to know one another and chat about general Umbraco discussion topics. There will also be a special presentation on Merchello, the newest ecommerce package for Umbraco 7 led by Flightpath’s very own Director of Technology, Alex Lindgren.

Register for the event here and add it to your schedule on the IWNY website.  Space is limited so make sure to RSVP before it fills up!  Spread the word about the event using the hashtag #UmbracoIWNY.

 

Calling All Superstar Interns! Apply For A Social Media Internship At Flightpath

Flightpath is searching for a intern extraordinaire to join the social media team for summer 2014. We’re looking for someone with an unrequited love for all things social whose communication skills are sharp (if your wit is too, that’s even better!).

Our ideal candidate:
• Hates going a day without checking Buzzfeed, Upworthy and all the other pop-culture sites he/she loves

• Can name a favorite internet meme (or five!) in a heartbeat

• Makes his/her friends jealous with the number of likes they get on Instagram pics

• Sees an awesome Facebook picture with a lame caption and immediately gets sad.

Think you might be a good fit? We would love to hear from you. To learn more about this internship and apply, please visit our careers page!!