A Smorgasbord of Social Media: 2/25/15

Welcome back to another Smorgasbord of Social Media, your weekly roundup of all things social. We’re back for another round of social media news, and there are some really interesting changes and updates that we want to catch you up on!

 

FACEBOOK

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Gone are the days when you advertised one product for your company on Facebook. Dynamic Product Ads will now give marketers a huge tool (we’re talking about a tool that can change the course of history). Dynamic Ads will allow marketers to advertise specific products to specific people by using an automated avenue. Now when uploading your product catalog into Facebook and creating separate Custom Audience pixels for your products, you can retarget people who have viewed a specific product or even type of product on your site. This new tool will work with both single and multiple product ads, and some marketers are already seeing results of up to a 34% increase in CTR and 38% reduction in cost per purchase. Ok, so maybe it won’t change history, but it can definitely help your bottom line.

fb_dynamic_ad copy

 

Facebook Shows Your Ad’s Relevance Score

Have you ever created a Facebook ad and simply sat back with such satisfaction because you know you just made an unbelievable ad? Well now you can actually tell if you’re being smug, or if it really is a very relevant kick-ass ad. How you might ask? Facebook just announced late last week that marketers will now be able to see a “Relevance Score” that shows how relevant your ad is to the targeted market you are trying to reach. The score is on a 1-10 scale, and is calculated based on the positive and negative feedback expected from Facebook. This score continuously updates while the ad is live, so make sure to always check it to see if tweaks need to be made.

relevance_score copy

 

Facebook Photo Posts Drive Lowest Organic Reach

Yes, you read that title right. A recent report from Socialbakers that analyzed 670,000 posts and 4,445 brand pages showed that photo posts generated the lowest organic reach at 3.73%. The posts that garnered the largest organic reach were video posts at 8.71%, followed by text only (5.77%), and link posts (5.29%). The video posts should come as no surprise to marketers, but who would have thought that image posts would be so low? That isn’t to say you shouldn’t post photos, however, try to make sure they are engaging and compelling whenever possible.

socialbakers-organic

 

PINTEREST

Pinterest Coming Out With ‘Buy’ Button

We’ve all been there; scrolling through Pinterest and finding an amazing product on Etsy that we want to buy. But who wants to click on that pin to have to buy it? Not I! That’s why I am waiting desperately for Pinterest to release their ‘Buy’ button that allows me to purchase the product right on Pinterest. According to a Re/code story, the button should be available as early as three to six months from now. (While in all seriousness, this will help businesses improve their conversion rates on Pinterest) I guess I will have to wait till then to actually buy something.

 

Thanks for keeping up with A Smorgasbord of Social Media! Check back each week for a fresh batch of updates. Feel free to leave a comment or tweet @Wpromote if you have any questions or comments about any of these updates!

A Smattering of SEO News: 2/23/15

Hey folks, welcome to another Smattering! Sorry for the lateness, but the holiday threw me off. That said, it was a pretty quiet news week, but there’s still fun stuff to talk about, so let’s have at it.

Google News:

  • Google Webmaster Tools Data Currently Delayed – Last Friday, several websites were reporting that data for Webmaster tools hadn’t updated since 2/7/15, which at the time was a week without valuable Webmaster Tools data. Looking today, the data has been updated up to 2/12/15, but as I write this, that’s still about a week behind. As far as I can see, Google has issued no statement or update about this outage, but we’ll keep you posted if we find out more.
  • Restlessness Over Lack Of Any Recent Panda Update – Over at Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz noted that it’s been around four months since the last Panda update, and he found that webmasters on Twitter and Webmaster World are getting restless over the lack of an update to the algorithm. Since many webmasters claim to have worked hard and cleaned up any problems they previously had with Panda, they are hoping an update would put them back in stronger positions amongst the SERPs. Unfortunately Google hasn’t talked about Panda in a while, so it’s anyone’s guess as to when the algorithm will be updated again.
  • Google’s John Mueller Gives A Direct Answer On Link Building – In a recent Google Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked, point blank, whether he thought link building was “in any way good.” In response he said, “In general, I’d try to avoid that.” He went on to say that basically your content should stand on its own and be easily shareable, rather than focusing primarily on links. It’s actually refreshing to get a direct answer like this.
  • GoogleBot Can’t Crawl Recursive Redirects – In the “not really news but still technically interesting department” this week, in another Hangout, a webmaster asked Google’s John Mueller why his website isn’t being indexed. Mueller pointed out that the webmaster’s homepage was redirecting to itself, and Google can’t crawl sites that do that at all. Again, not really news to anyone who has run into this problem, but it’s interesting to read an official response to the issue.

google_loop

Other News:

  • Facebook Hopes To Fix The Mobile Reading Experience – In a discussion with Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, he said that Facebook has been approaching content publishers with offers to help host their content in order to offer a better mobile experience to Facebook users. Apparently these unnamed publishers have been “wary” about Facebook’s perceived control over their content, so right now all of this is VERY early. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone takes Facebook up on their offer.

Amazon SEO – An Introduction to Vertical Search on Amazon.com

One of the primary areas of focus for any SEO or content strategy is that of user intent. Whether you are B2C Ecommerce, B2B lead generation, or anything in between, it is very helpful to consider the sales or lead “funnel” relevant to your business. For example, a potential sale in retail starts with awareness, the forming of an opinion, a period of consideration, determination of preference, and then, if those hurdles have finally been overcome, the purchase.

Being aware of this funnel is important when selecting the keywords to target in search and the relevant content you can create to speak to potential buyers at every stage. It is something we look to on the SEO team and across all Wpromote digital marketing service channels to dictate our clients’ content strategies and attract qualified visitors to their sites.

That sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Especially when, as a B2C Ecommerce brand, you’d rather just skip straight to the sale. However, people use search engines like Google and Bing for a whole host of reasons including answering queries, research, consideration, comparison, and post-sale follow up. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a search engine that was, for the most part, just for those people that wanted to buy something?

Well – There is one. You already know it, and probably use it pretty often, but it is regularly neglected when it comes to “search optimization”. Does this look familiar?

 

amazon

 

 

It’s the behemoth that is Amazon. For product searches, Amazon has about three times the search volume of Google and has the obvious benefit of being purely product-focused. Obviously, to take advantage of this, you have to sell your products on Amazon which can eat into your profit margins more than if you were selling directly from your own site. However, if you are already an Amazon seller, there are plenty of Amazon SEO tactics you can employ to get the top “ranking” in this search engine too. These tactics are very different from traditional SEO. Here’s a high-level overview:

 

1. Amazon Conversion Rates

The objective under-mining the Google algorithm (and the basis for every strategic decision in your organic search campaign) is to display the most relevant pages for any given search query. That furthers Google’s business goal of being the most helpful search engine so people choose Google over other competitors. Amazon, on the other hand, wants to sell as much as possible, as it makes money off each sale. Therefore it wants the products that are most likely to sell to appear at the top of its search results. This means that when it comes to Amazon, conversion rate is king.

amazon-seo-experts-logo

Obviously, that leads to something of a catch-22. You need high conversion rates in order to appear at the top of the search results, where people are more likely to find your product to buy it. However, you will struggle to get higher conversion rates without that sort of visibility.

So how can you improve conversion rates quickly?

In order to kick-start an Amazon SEO campaign, some sellers deliberately undercut the competition (and even their own website) to get the initial boost to conversion rates, before adjusting prices to more realistic levels once a higher position is secured. Obviously that strategy has inherent risks. While this article is not necessarily advocating this approach, it is worth noting for the sake of completeness.

You also have the option of Amazon paid search – or “Sponsored Products,” which might be a smart way to drive traffic and sales for a new product. Unlike Google search, utilizing Amazon paid search should have an impact on the organic side due to improved conversion rates through increased visibility (whereas paid search success is not a ranking factor for the organic algorithm in Google).

 

2. On-Page Factors

Given that selling at a loss is not the most appealing prospect, and a Sponsored Products campaign would involve a larger upfront investment, let’s focus instead on other elements an Amazon seller can control, such as the Amazon equivalent of “on-site optimizations”.

One cool thing about Amazon is that every product page already has the equivalent of schema (i.e. structured fields) that its search engine uses to organize listings. Therefore it is extremely important to fill out as many of the filter fields as possible so that Amazon’s algorithm knows exactly what you are relevant for.

Here are some other helpful hints for adding pertinent on-page information:

  • Product Category – Choose this carefully as it is commonly used to refine searches or in the “Browse” search feature. Few things will hurt your product visibility more than being lost in the wrong category.
  • Search Terms – These are like the meta keyword tag of SEO-past. You have 5 fields of up to 50 characters each, and you shouldn’t be shy to use as much space as possible. There is no room for keyword repetition or misspellings, but the order of words may matter (as it does for Google with regular Page Titles) and synonyms or correct spelling variations may also be useful.
  • Product Titles – The character limit for this field varies by category, so take a look at your top competitors to see what the standard is. The title can include the brand, description, product line, material, color, size, and even keywords, but focus on clarity and don’t be tempted to add offer language to the title. Amazon offers title guidance for certain categories, so be sure to leverage that information, as well as seeing what’s working well for that category already.
  • Images – Images are very important in Amazon listings. Be sure to follow all the guidelines Amazon gives you. They recommend a minimum size of 1000 x 1000px to ensure effective zooming, and it’s good to have at least 4 or 5 images in the selection. All pictures of products should have a plain white background and 80% of the image should be the actual product. We also recommend adding product videos if you have them.
  • Price – Much of Amazon’s functionality is based upon providing extensive options for prospective buyers, so choose your price carefully, as this is the easiest metric for instant comparison. It is also key (along with shipping costs) for winning the “Buy Box,” i.e. the list of sellers Amazon displays for the same product.
  • Bullet Points & Description – The product details are broken down into bullet points up near the top, then a longer description further down the page. The bullet points appear to carry more weight in Amazon’s algorithm, so pay careful attention to the information you use here. It is always helpful to explore your other digital marketing channels for data on what might play well with buyers. For example, you can utilize the most successful ad copy from your paid search campaign or the email marketing subject line with the highest clickthrough rate.

Another benefit of Amazon is that there is plenty of advice, so make the most of the resources they give you to optimize your page. Their Getting Started Guide is particularly helpful.

 

3. The Customer Experience

Reviews are huge in the Amazon universe, and the feedback in them also seems to contribute to Amazon’s algorithm (as well as having a big impact on conversion rates of course). Have you ever noticed that a significant number of the poor reviews have nothing to do with the product itself, but are more geared towards customer service issues?

Here are some of the most common complaints seen in Amazon reviews and definitely things to look out for:

  • Item is out of stock
  • Item is not as described
  • The shipment was late
  • The incorrect item was shipped
  • The product didn’t match the image exactly
  • The return process was overly complicated

The main takeaway is that optimizing your product pages is only step 1 to Amazon success. Pay close attention to availability, the ongoing accuracy of the description and images, and the customer service element of delivery or returns for sustained Amazon success.

 

4. Other Considerations

Obviously the idea of appearing at the top in Amazon is an attractive one to get those sales rolling in, but there are a number of other elements to consider before embarking on an all out Amazon SEO campaign.

  • Competing Against Your Own Site – Although the point of Amazon SEO is to appear high in Amazon search, keep in mind that Amazon product pages also appear in other search engines, like Google and Bing. You could end up competing against your own site for product-related keywords.
  • Duplicate Content – Amazon does not appear to mind if your product description is identical to other listings on the site or indeed, other pages on the web, but be warned, Google definitely still cares a lot about this. Be careful not to use the same product descriptions on Amazon that you use on your own website.
  • Tracking – Do you ever get frustrated with Google Analytics? Does implementing tracking code correctly drive you to distraction? Well, after a little time with Amazon, you’ll be begging GA for forgiveness because Amazon tracking for sellers is woeful in comparison. Some metrics Amazon does provide that may be helpful are the “Best Seller Rank” where you can find your ranking within a certain category, and the “Unit Session Percentage” which is equal to the number of units sold divided by the number of relevant sessions. A quick point to note is that a “session” is actually a specific user’s activity within a 24-hour window, not per visit like in Google Analytics. There is also no search volume data for Amazon, so you’ll have to rely on your standard SEO tools such as the AdWords keyword planner for relative comparison data.

 

OK, so what are the main takeaways for businesses selling on Amazon?

  • Conversion rate is king!
  • Use every field you can when creating a product page.
  • Pay careful attention to images.
  • It’s very different from organic search so don’t feel weird about getting keyword-happy.
  • Remember that ultimate Amazon success may come at a price when it comes to product keywords on Google.

 

A Smorgasbord of Social Media: 2/13/15

Welcome back to another Smorgasbord of Social Media, your weekly roundup of all things social. We’ve been away for a bit, but we’re back with some really interesting changes and updates to catch you up on!

 

FACEBOOK

Facebook Keeps Showing Their ROI

Gone are the days when you had to explain the value of Facebook to your boss who just didn’t get it. Or are those days still around? Despite more and more evidence of Facebook’s value for marketers, the company continues to launch new features to help convince everyone of the potential ROI in Facebook. Their newest feature is called, “Conversion Lift Measurement”. This resource not only tracks online sales, but it also takes a stab at tracking offline sales (from uploaded sales data from the business) driven from Facebook advertising. This feature works by utilizing a test group that sees an ad, and then their purchases are compared to a control group that doesn’t get the pleasure of seeing such a great ad. The conversion number is then determined by analyzing sales for both groups. This may be a simplified explanation, but no matter how you slice it, this could be a great tool for marketers.

Facebook-Conversion-Lift

 

Facebook Drives 25% Of Referral Traffic

Speaking of explaining Facebook’s ROI to your boss, try dropping this little stat on him; Facebook drives nearly 25% of web traffic according to a report from Shareaholic. That wasn’t a typo by the way; I really did mean to put 25! The second closest is Pinterest at a little over 5%, which only further speaks to how dominant Facebook is.

Just because one stat wasn’t enough, you can really knock your boss’s socks off by mentioning that social media referral traffic is now higher than organic search traffic. BOOM!

 

Social-Media-Traffic-Referrals-Report-Q4-2014-chart

 

TWITTER

Twitter Creates A Shortcut To Promote Tweets

Do you remember that time at band camp when it took forever to set up a promotion for your tweet? Well don’t worry, you won’t have to waste those precious seconds anymore. Introducing “quick promote”! This new feature allows you the ability to promote a tweet with a few clicks from the analytics dashboard. The process is very simple with these three steps: select a tweet, choose a budget, and watch people engage with your tweet. Tweet, tweet, tweet… easy as 1, 2, 3.

 

Twitter’s Homepage Offers Plenty Of Tiled Features

Have you ever looked at the Twitter homepage when you were logged off and thought that it looked like something you could program (even if you’ve never programmed anything in your life)? That may not be the case anymore with Twitter’s new tiled style homepage. Now profiles and accounts are grouped into popular topics like politicians, parties, NBA players, etc.

new-twitter-homepage copy

 

Twitter And Google Rekindle An Old Flame

The word is out, and it looks like Google has gotten back with its old fling, Twitter. The new deal between the two giants will give Google access to Twitter’s firehose, which is the data stream that accesses the 6,000 tweets per minute. A previous deal between the two companies ended in 2011, but it looks like both sides have gotten over the breakup. Now Google uses Twitter’s data stream to state information in its search results. Furthermore, Twitter gets organic traffic from people that click the tweets that show up in search. This sounds like a match made in heaven.

 

PINTEREST

Pinterest Continues To Try To Get More Men

According to Pinterest, the number of men on the network increased 73% in 2014. This is a great number for the company; however, women still greatly outnumber men on the platform. To help grow their male users, Pinterest is trying to make their site more gender neutral by adjusting content based on the gender of the users. For example, if a man searches “Fashion” he will get different pins showing up than if a woman did the same search. As this push continues, more and more male and gender neutral businesses should see a rise in their engagements on Pinterest.

pinterest-gender-neutral

 

Pinterest Promoted Pins Push Into People’s Feeds

Not only is that title a great use of alliteration, but it also happens to be completely true. Late last month the company announced that it would begin pushing Promoted Pins into people’s home feeds. These home feed ads will be purchased based on a target category. The ads will then be shown to users who Pinterest deems as interested in that category, but only if the pins meet a certain level of performance metrics. As the buzz around the Promoted Pins continues to grow, Pinterest has shown that they are beginning to speed things up to offer more features and get more and more advertisers on board. So advertisers, start your synergistic strategy on Pinterest (more alliteration for you).

 

Thanks for keeping up with A Smorgasbord of Social Media! Check back each week for a fresh batch of updates. Feel free to leave a comment or tweet @Wpromote if you have any questions or comments about any of these updates!

A Smattering of SEO News: 2/12/15

Welp, the algorithm roller coaster keeps on moving forward, upwards, downwards and all over the place! While many guesses keep coming out as to what kind of update Google has going on, the search engine giant is still being hush-hush about it. All this and more, so check it out!

Google News:

  • Searchmetrics: Recent Google Updates Seem To Affect Ecommerce And Branded Terms – While Google is still obfuscating details about the recent search engine update (more on that in a second), the folks at Searchmetrics noticed that much of the fluctuation is coming from branded terms (both correctly spelled and misspelled). This has led them to believe this update is granular and that it is attempting to clear up Ecommerce and branded-related terms. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more.

searchmetrics_insights

  • Google Says They’re Making Tweaks To The Algorithms, Rather Than A Specific Update – Google recently stated to Search Engine Land that the recent fluctuations are happening due to continuous “tweaks” to the search engine algorithms, and that they have no specific update to announce. SEL also speculates these recent shifts have nothing to do with mobile warnings, as we reported as a possibility last week. This sure is a roller coaster, isn’t it?
  • Google Uses No Whitelist For Panda Or Penguin – In a recent Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked whether Panda or Penguin have whitelists similar to some of Google’s other algorithms, such as SafeSearch. Mueller confirmed that, “We don’t have that for a lot of the other algorithms like Penguin and Panda.”

google-yellowg

  • Google: ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Should Only Be Applied To Europe – Recently, when looking at the implementation of the recent European ruling, a Google-appointed panel stated that – unlike the wishes of certain French officials as we reported a while back – Google’s implementation of the recent ‘Right to be Forgotten’ ruling should apply only to Europe and not the rest of the world.

Other News:

  • Facebook: We Can Track Your Mobile Searches Outside Of The App – Facebook has recently updated its privacy policy to state that even searches you perform outside of its app can be tracked by Facebook. Facebook said, “It takes into account pages and places visited on Facebook, alongside browsing on the internet at large.” This seems like a really serious privacy issue, and we wonder if it’ll come under any scrutiny in the weeks to come.

How To Make Video Advertising Not Suck

The only video advertising that really sucks is the video advertising you’re not doing. And these days, if you’re not using video advertising to promote your business or your brand, you’re running at a disadvantage.

Video is undeniably powerful. Video can show – and tell – a vivid story about you, your brand, your products, and even your customers. But having engaging content is only the first hurdle of the race.

So what can you as a marketer do to leverage the full value of your video?

start_Race

 

  1. Get The Most Out Of Your Video Investments – Companies are spending substantial amounts of money to develop branded videos, as well as product videos. Posting those videos on your site and on YouTube isn’t enough. Make those videos work even harder for your business. Put them into digital ads and weave a consistent message across the advertising landscape of computers, smartphones, and connected TVs.

coffee_tablet

 

  1. Expand Your Reach – Your prospects may not be on a single publisher site, so don’t pay a single publisher for video advertising. Reach your audience where they are watching and browsing, and spend efficiently. Video advertising is not television. It’s better. It’s more relevant than television and as cost-effective as display advertising.
  1. Refresh Your Content – The best video ads blend messages about your brand and the products and services you offer. Make sure that your video advertising promotes both. Viewers fatigue when they see the same content over and over. Change your video advertising content frequently and be willing to test multiple messages.

video_overlay

 

  1. Target Efficiently – Reaching the right audience in the right place with your video is paramount. Don’t blindly target just anyone. Find providers who can leverage behavioral data to determine purchase intent. Several companies offer differing prospecting formulas. You just need to decide if you prefer Pepsi or Coke and choose a prospecting formula that achieves your goals. And, let’s be real. We live in a multi-screen world. If you’re not serving ads across devices…2006 called, and it wants its advertising dollars back.
  1. Ask For Transparency – When a prospect views your videos, where do they drop off? Which videos increase your conversion rates? Which images increase engagement? Partner with providers who paint the full picture of what they’re doing for your business, especially with your videos. They should tell you what they’re learning about your video content and its impact on your business.

 

We’re speeding past the days of rotating GIFs and Flash and tapping into the true power of video advertising. And it does not suck. It totally rocks.

What’s the last display ad that you remember? Connect with your audience on a more personal, powerful level.

winning

A Smattering of SEO News: 2/5/15

Well February is certainly starting off with a bang, and by that I mean serious algo-shifts in Google. We’re still seeing the quakes from this, so we’ll likely have more about it next week, but for now, here’s some news in your eye!

Google News:

  • Google Releases Detailed Reconsideration Request Documentation – Seemingly out of nowhere, yet very much appreciated, Google recently released updated information regarding reconsideration requests which covers them in more detail than ever before. This includes a step-by-step process on how to submit a reconsideration request, what happens before, during, and after the request, and even common examples of what might occur if you happen to have a request fail. It’s honestly a pretty great read, so go check it out.
  • Further Ranking Shakeups Might Be Related To Mobile Algorithm Update – As we reported last week, many webmasters and algorithm-tracking tools are seeing volatility in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as the possible result of a yet-unannounced algorithm update. Matt Southern at Search Engine Journal postulates that this volatility might be intertwined with many webmasters receiving warnings recently about their sites not being mobile friendly. It’s a very viable theory to be sure.

powersuite-cognitive-seo

  • Google Answers Launch New Action Links For Third-Party Sites – Google recently updated their answer boxes in the search results with more links to third party sites, such as WordPress, Quickbooks, and more. This will help users go directly to what is probably the exact search result they were looking for.  It is quite a nice usability addition to the SERPs.
  • Google Disabled Half A Billion Ads In 2014 – According to a recently released “Bad Ads” report, Google announced that in 2014, they disabled more than 524 million bad ads. This is way up from around 350 million ads in 2013. Over 43 million ads were of the “trick to click” variety, while nearly 10 million were health-care violations. Crazy stuff.

google-bad-ads-760x400

Other News:

  • Twitter Launches Quick Promote Promoted Tweet Feature – Have you ever tried to promote a tweet on Twitter and thought to yourself, “This is just too dang hard”?  Well, you’re in luck! Twitter released a new Quick Promote feature which basically reduces the process to two steps: Pick a tweet. Pick a budget. Done. I’ve been thinking of doing this for my own personal sites, so I might try it out myself. It sounds nifty.

twitter-ads

A Smattering of SEO News – 1/29/15

As we look back on January 2015, we can safely say that it was one HECK of a month for SEO news. Algo-updates, mobile nonsense, and so much more; and it looks like this past week is no different. Let’s dive in!

Google News:

  • Googlebot Becomes Language And Locale-Aware – Google has announced a massive upgrade to its spider. They’ve now changed the way the spiders behave, allowing them to come from a multitude of US and non-US IP addresses (which are also used to help determine a site’s location) and support a multitude of languages. While Google still says they want different language versions of a website to have special URLs, this will definitely help websites that serve dynamic content based on the language or IP of their users.
  • Odd Little Update Occurred Earlier This Week – Did you see some odd fluctuations in your rankings or traffic earlier this week? Well, you weren’t alone! A big kerfuffle was raised on WebmasterWorld about the fluctuating SERPs, and the normal tools such as Mozcast show some fluctuations as well. Interestingly, according to Google’s John Mueller, it had nothing to do with Panda or Penguin. So…what was it? We’ll keep you posted if we can.

google-search-update-blizzard-panda-penguin

  • Google Mobile Descriptions Now Note If They’re Blocked – A little while back, Google added a feature wherein they would state in the search results whether a site was blocking Google via Robots.txt in their desktop results. Google has now adapted this for their mobile SERPs as well, so both users and site owners are clear that their site is blocking Google somehow (which is something Google has been warning against more and more of late).

google-mobile-smartphones

  • “Trash Can” Coming To Analytics – While not specifically SEO related, it’s useful enough to be worthy of note. Analytics will soon have a trash can that – like its Mac and Windows brethren – will save data for a certain amount of time (in this case, 35 days) in case someone…oh, I don’t know, accidentally deletes an account or three. No, I’ve never done that myself, I’ve just heard tell…

Other News:

  • Report: Facebook Drives Around 25% Of All Referral Traffic – According to a new report from Shareaholic, Facebook’s share of social media traffic referrals saw a significant gain in the last four months of 2014, going from 22.36% in September to 24.63% in December (October and November both saw numbers over 25%). With referral traffic becoming a larger and larger portion of all web traffic, it doesn’t look like Facebook’s social dominance is going to end any time soon.
  • Yahoo Sees Tremendous Revenue Gains In 2014 – As part of Yahoo’s recently released earnings report, they announced that they generated $1.1 billion in revenue in 2014, an increase of 95% (95!) year-over-year. That’s…downright amazing. CEO Marissa Meyer credits much of their success to their newfound focus on mobile. Mobile properties alone generated $768 million in revenue for all of 2014. Meyer says mobile has “transformed Yahoo”, and she seems to be right.

Yahoo-financials

How to: Glitter Text in Photoshop

So I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that pretty much everyone loves glitter as much as they hate the mess it makes. Follow these steps to make an awesome glitter text effect without any of the offending sparkles that linger for ages on end.

 

Step 1 – Let’s Begin

Create a new image in Photoshop (File>New or Command+n). The file size is 600px x 600px at 72 ppi (pixels per inch). Make sure to select RGB as the color mode if you’re using this for the web.

howto1

Step 2 – Find A Glitter Stock Image

I found a list of 40 great glitter images right here. I’m going with the hot pink glitter because it has great shimmer and gradating tones that will add depth and flow once inserted onto my text.

sparkle_glitter_bokeh__stock_by_theshelfs-d1n1pem

Step 3 – Create Background

I will start by adding a paper background. Here’s a set of 12 free paper textures on Dribbble. Simply drag the image onto the canvas. Then create a square shape smaller than your canvas (545 x 545px) with the rectangle tool (U). Lower the opacity of the square to 50%. You end up with a nice, clean, layered looking background.

howto3

Step 4 – Type Out Your Text

When typing out your text, create a new layer for each word that you want to cover in glitter. For the text I chose I have 3 separate text layers: “Glitter”, “is my favorite”, and “Color!” I used Sign Painter House Script for the script text and Nexa Light (size 40px color #6e071d) for the sans-serif text. I also added dotted lines as ornaments to surround the middle text (using the pen tool for this in shape mode). I recommend using a thick font when creating this effect. Script fonts usually have a nice range of thickness within the letters. This is what your image should look like now:

012715-Step-2-text

Group the layers “Glitter” and “Color!” together. These are the 2 text layers that we will be adding glitter to. This is what your layers should look like now:

012715-Step-4-Text-Layers

Step 5 – Add The Glitter (NO MESS INVOLVED)

Drag your glitter image onto the Photoshop canvas. I like to convert the image into a smart object so it will not lose quality if the layer is scaled down. To do this, right click the layer in the layers panel and select “Convert to Smart Object”.

howto4

Arrange glitter layer above the text layer you want to be “glitter-fied”.

012715-Step3-Glitter2

Step 6 – Add A Clipping Mask

After you’ve arranged your layers, you need to create a clipping mask. To do this you hold option/alt and click in between the glitter image layer and the glitter text group. You will see this icon when you hover in between the layers:

howto5

Once you click, the glitter will only show up where there is text within the group.

012715-Step-5-ClippingMask-BA

 

The awesome thing about clipping masks is that everything is still editable and you won’t have to worry about editing a mask if you need to make a text change.

 

Step 7 – Adjust Glitter

All that’s left is to adjust the glitter image to fit the text correctly. Move the image around, rotate or scale to find the perfect fit for your text. Congrats, you just made an awesome glitter text effect with ZERO cleanup time!

012715-Step-6-Final

Optional Step – Color Change

So what if your audience HATES hot pink? It’s easy to adjust the Hue/Saturation of the glitter image to a different color. Create a Hue/Adjustment layer found in the bottom of the layer panel (or Layer > New Adjustment Layer> Hue/Saturation). Adjust the levels to find the perfect shade you’re looking for.

 

012715-OptStep-HueSat

And, voila! There you go!

012715-OptStep-ColorChange

 

A Tale of Two Teams Part XLIX (Infographic)

The pre-game has started. Players, coaches, fans, and media have all gathered in Phoenix for Superbowl XLIX. New England and Seattle fans already have a team to root for, but what about the rest of us? Here’s a break down of the vastly different playing styles to help the undecided pick a winner.

 


Like this infographic? Feel free to copy this code and put it on your own blog.