Number of Internet users to pass 3 billion

New figures by the ITU today predict that, by end 2014, there will be almost 3 billion Internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world, and that the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally. Fifty-five per cent of these subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.

Mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach almost 7 billion by end 2014, and 3.6 billion of these will be in the Asia-Pacific region. The increase is mostly due to growth in the developing world where mobile-cellular subscriptions will account for 78 per cent of the world’s total.

Source: ITU

There are now nearly 18 million business pages on Facebook — a stat shared during today’s earnings call by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Facebook Director of Small Business Dan Levy announced a milestone of sorts during a small business roundtable in New York: 1 million advertisers have been active on the social network in the past 28 days.

We present results from a series of large-scale field experiments done at eBay that are designed to detect the causal effectiveness of paid search advertisements.

Results show that brand-keyword ads have no short-term benefits, and that returns from all other keywords are a fraction of conventional estimates.

Just taking a look at this new research from eBay on PPC investments.

It shows the importance of questioning and testing media investments.

But I think it’s dangerous to read too much into the research since eBay’s brand strength is such that they have limited competition for the type of purchases made there and you would expect PPC ads to cannibalise the organic listings. I’ve seen tests from UK brands that show that brand-bidding DOES drive incremental business. You will also notice that Amazon continues to bid aggressively on AdWords and I know they test AdWords ROI extensively.

You may also know that eBay used to advertise on a huge range of keywords in a less targeted way than most businesses. The report acknowledges that eBay advertises on over 70 million keywords – you maybe saw the eBay ads for “nuclear fission”?

What businesses want from paid search is to drive awareness and sales from people who don’t know a brand and behind the main headlines and articles written about this report there is evidence that PPC is effective:

”_We find that SEM accounted for a statistically significant increase in new registered users and purchases made by users who bought only one or two items the year before.

For consumers who bought more frequently, SEM does not have a significant effect on their purchasing behavior_”.

This review of the research in Search Marketing Standard Does eBay’s Research Reflect The Effectiveness Of Paid Search? reminds us that other general studies such as that by Google (naturally) showed that across their advertisers “89% of paid search clicks are “incremental,” while roughly 66% of all ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic search result”.

V2MOM: A planning mnemonic from Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com:

  1. Vision: What do you want? Write it down in 10 to 15 words

  2. Values: What is most important about that vision? What are the values of the vision? Is it growth, is it quality, is it excellence? Write those things down and prioritize them.

  3. Methods: How are you going to achieve it? What are the actions that you’re going to specifically take? In priority, write them down.

  4. Obstacles: What is preventing you from achieving that outcome – right now? Write it down. What other obstacles may occur?

  5. Measures: How will you know if you’re successful? What are the measurements of success? Write it down.

Focus… is tough! These ideas on how to get it in this post on Marketing Focus from Danyl Bosomworth were new to me and look useful.

V2MOM is a clunky acronym, but I like the focus on Obstacles – often when setting objectives we don’t look at what will get in the way. When I used to manage software dev, looking at project risks was a big part of planning, so why not in business/marketing strategy:

Amazon soon to give customers money (virtual) – watch out from May onwards

Introducing Amazon Coins – the official announcement

_Coming in May, Amazon Coins is a new virtual currency for purchasing apps, games, and in-app items on Kindle Fire

Amazon Coins is an easy way for Kindle Fire customers to spend money on developers’ apps in the Amazon Appstore, offering app and game developers another substantial opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increase monetization even further

Amazon will give customers tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Amazon Coins to use on developers’ apps in the Amazon Appstore-apps and games must be submitted and approved by April 25 to be ready when Amazon Coins arrive in customers’ accounts_

Read more from the FT

Digital contributed half of all ad revenue at Wired magazine in the final three months of 2012, a first for the title and an encouraging sign for an industry where most big brands still rely overwhelmingly on the difficult business of print.

Across the year as a whole, digital ads comprised 45% of total ad sales at Wired, according to the magazine.

… Zip drives ate floppies.

CDs ate Zips.

DVDs ate CDs.

SD cards ate film.

LCDs ate CRTs.

Telephony ate telegraphy.

Text messaging ate talking.

Tablets are eating our paper …

Challenging + interesting times for traditional publishers written up in this excellent post by Craig Mod on Subcompact Publishing.

The way Mail Online runs its SEO is that it has a team of about four junior people who get sent through all of the content from the journalists. So the journalists and the editorial staff don’t really have anything to do with the SEO side of things.

The SEO team receive stories from journalists and then change the headlines and add some key words before launching them on the site. It’s like a sub-editing job using SEO, a machine churning through the content. The journalists and sub-editors continue to do the job they would be doing while the SEO team’s brief is to drive traffic.

Source: The Drum

One of the comments on this piece says this is bad practice, but I think it’s smart using specialists; it seems to have delivered results.

  1. Big Data — Big Data is the biggest buzzword. It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the US place in global economics, and more. Now if only we could agree on exactly what this means and how we get there.

  2. ‘The Cloud — The Cloud, in various manifestations has been ranked No. 1 for 2008, No, 4 overall for the decade, and now as No. 2 for 2012. Still all very nebulous.

  3. The Next Big Thing — A cliche rendered nearly meaningless by the innumerable daily claims made by VCs, entrepreneurs, college drop-outs, etc. Actually, you can count the history of next big things on your fingers, and possibly toes.

  4. Social Discovery — Webster’s 1910 definition. “Consisting in union of mutual converse,” might be an excellent corporate strategy.

  5. Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on) — Ranked as the 1,000,000th English-language word in 2009, it just keeps morphing along.

  6. Solid State — As in Solid State Disks (SSDs). Remember ‘solid-state’ televisions switched from vacuum tubes (Paleozoic)? How about LED watches from the ’80s (Mesozoic)? Today, it’s all-about Solid State Disks.

  7. CERN — You might want to understand the acronym before the Earth is swallowed up the ‘mini’ black hole it just might create . (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)
    Solar Max — In the 1850s telegraph wires melted. Best not to shuck off the hype here.

  8. De-dupe — First we dupe, then we de-dupe; Flash forward to 2014: Re-duping! Ah, the next big thing!

  9. 3G/4G/5G — One of the benefits of having an open, open standard (AKA, no standard). Anybody can claim to lead as the (Generation) ‘standard’ expands into meaningless.

  10. SoLoMo — This is not an oh-so-trendy neighborhood like Soho or Dumbo, at least not in the sense of brick-and-mortar. This is the convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile. The Talk of the Town at SXSWi this week in Austin.

’Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the The Global Language Monitor.

No surprises here – SOA is still rightly top of the tree.