|Fashion blogging sensation Zoe Sugg — labeled by InStyle as the “undisputed pin-up girl for the digital generation,” has cashed in on her success and bought a stunning new Brighton home in the U.K.
Sugg, better known by her blogging name Zoella, is only 24 years old. She began her online career when she was just a teen, reviewing beauty products from her bedroom in YouTube videos.
Six years later, she now pulls in over $30,000 each month from advertisers who want to place their products alongside her videos. She has seven million subscribers and gets about 12 million hits per month.
Her new home has five bedrooms with ensuite baths, a gourmet kitchen and even an additional log cabin for casual relaxation. She will share the residence with her 21-year-old boyfriend, Alfie Deyes, and has announced on social media that they have dubbed their home the “Zalfie Pad.”
Many other fashion bloggers make a living — though perhaps not as luxurious a living as Sugg’s — by linking to products for which they receive commissions, Yahoo! Finance reported Feb. 19, and fashion bloggers are fast becoming the best avenue for major designers and retailers such as Bloomingdales to reach customers.
“Blogging is an opportunity you do not want to miss out when it comes to publishing for your personal brand,” Susan Gilbert wrote in a Feb. 13 article for the website Business 2 Community, neatly summing up the potential blogging offers businesses of all sizes.
Instead of simply advertising products, blogs rely on a persona with whom customers can identify (even on blogs where that persona is actually constructed by multiple individuals). Blogging, therefore, can help businesses develop a more comprehensive brand identity, create conversations and make customers feel that they’re being included in an inner circle — as opposed to simply being told what to buy.
In this case, as in many others, better branding leads to better sales, as well. Research shows that blogs are actually 63% more likely to impact buying decisions than newspapers are. That’s an important lesson for any online marketing experts debating the nature of online influence.
By now, most companies have reported their 2014 earnings, and so now begins the process of comparing and analyzing them. It’s not really much of a surprise that two of the largest companies there are, Facebook and Google, get the most mobile ad revenues — together, 50% of the total.
In 2011, Facebook didn’t earn a single dollar from mobile ad revenue; yet in 2014, the social media giant drew in over $7 billion. Many people perceived this huge increase to mean that Facebook does better than Google in that regard, but that simply isn’t the case.
Steven Max Patterson writes for Network World that mobile ads on Facebook and Google couldn’t be more different — he describes them as “apples and oranges.”
One the one hand, Facebook leads ad sales in its newsfeed, which is super accurate because of the wealth of user data that Facebook has access to. On the other, Google excels with mobile search. Again — apples to oranges here.
Where the two do intersect in the mobile ad world, according to Patterson, is competing for the best return on investment (ROI). Conversion rates are hard to track on mobile, however, since the ad types vary. But aye, there’s the rub — since conversions are hard to see through mobile ads, prices are probably going to stay low.
Forbes contributor Robert Hof says that that’s the big problem with Facebook’s success with mobile ads — the prices just aren’t going to compare to those spent on browser ads.
Hof adds that people just don’t respond to calls to action on mobile — like making purchases, downloading white papers, or filling out forms — as much as they do on their desktop computers. Though mobile ad revenue is seeing healthy growth right now, it won’t for long. At least until mobile interfaces change enough for those ads to amount to conversions.
In fact, experts say that alhough local mobile ad spending is expected to see substantial growth — from $800 million to $18 billion by next year, it could stagnate after that.
Regardless of whether or not we’re comparing apples to apples or oranges, and regardless of the fly in the mobile ad revenue ointment, there’s no disputing that both Facebook and Google are getting a pretty big chunk of the pie — at least for now.
It’s 2015. Do you know where your business is?
Of course you do. You probably work there on a regular basis. But if Google doesn’t know where your business is, your local search engine optimization campaign will never get off the ground.
The Google Pigeon update that went into effect in 2014 dramatically changed the mechanics of local search. Prior to the update, internet marketers could use onsite content and offsite link building to build rankings.
Now, Google is focusing on local directory websites, including review sites like Yelp. And they don’t look kindly on typos.
Companies with inconsistent titles or typos in their addresses are finding themselves bumped down in their search rankings. Though content marketing (which 92% of marketers consider somewhat or very effective for SEO) has been considered “king” of online marketing in the past, it seems consistency is king in 2015.
A restaurant listed on one website as, say “Chinese Family Restaurant,” will rank poorly if they’re listed on other sites as “Chinese Restaurant.” Similarly, a company that calls itself “Office Supplies USA” and “Office Supplies USA, Inc.” interchangeably could take a hit in local search.
It seems like it wouldn’t make a difference, but Google is cracking down on these inconsistencies. So what can businesses do to adjust to this change?
Many people are encouraging customers to visit Yelp and other review sites to comment on their business, but this still may not deal with the root of the problem. To supplement this, companies need to keep their names and contact information consistent across all directories.
This may seem like a big task, especially for companies who already have information on several different platforms. Fortunately, tools like Yext and others can adjust all directory information at once, making it easier for companies to rank on local search.
|While Google still reigns supreme on the search engine market, the gap is closing. Still a small company, search engine DuckDuckGo tripled its growth at the end of 2014, receiving approximately seven million direct search queries daily.
But what makes DuckDuckGo special? Founded in 2008, DuckDuckGo promises not to track users – and it keeps that promise by not storing search histories, computer or location information. It also keeps users’ search queries from other websites. These are all things other search engines do to increase advertising.
According to DuckDuckGo’s daily usage statistics, the end of 2014 marked two full years of dramatic growth. While there was steady growth in the beginning of 2014, usage rose exponentially toward the end of the year. The first eight months of 2014 saw a steady monthly increase of 3.5%. Then, from September to December, monthly growth rose to 10.2% – almost triple the usage.
What caused the sudden growth spurt? In September, Apple added DuckDuckGo as a search option that users could select in the Safari browser, though Google remains the default option. Later, in November, DuckDuckGo was added to Mozilla’s Firefox browser as well. Unsurprisingly, there don’t seem to be any plans to add DuckDuckGo to Google Chrome in the foreseeable future.
“DuckDuckGo has significantly increased its user base from both integrations,” CEO Gabriel Weinberg told Quartz. “Though the exact amount is unclear since we don’t track people.”
While the Mozilla and Apple distribution certainly helped DuckDuckGo become more popular, the company’s largest growth to date followed revelations of mass government surveillance in June of 2013. Because DuckDuckGo does not collect any information that could be used to identify users or their search habits, many people felt that it was an obvious choice to make the switch from other search engines.
DuckDuckGo has a long way to go before it rivals Google, but if their usage continues to grow at this rate, eventually they will get there.