Twitter Engagement Testing > Are you using images for maximum impact?

Based on a post from MG Siegler, in which he describes the practice of posting images with text on Twitter, I wondered how my tweets with embedded images did in terms of engagement. A quick check with Twitter analytics gave me two interesting data points of last week tweets; One tweet got a massive engagement rate according to Twitter analytics. Normal tweets I post most of the time get around than 3-4% engagement rates, outliers are scoring up to 10%! This one got a whopping 17.5% in the first 24 hours!
Tweet with crazy engagement
A couple of things...
  1. The tweet was posted on a Sunday, as I shaved my head that day, this might have limited the number of people who saw my tweet! Overall, the number of impressions this tweet got was around 40% lower than tweets I post during the work week.
  2. It had an embedded picture of my freshly shaved head, however the picture was cropped as it was showing a criminal in it. A large number of the engagements came from people who clicked to see the full image
  3. The engagement could be higher than my average, just because I have a lot of followers who know me. Shaving my head was a first, so it could be the engagement was just off the charts because they wanted to see my bald head.
  4. All of the engagements were organic. I did not pay for any of the engagements.
Funny enough, a tweet from a week later, during Stormageddon here in San Francisco, actually received almost as high engagement as shaved head tweet. This one was a picture from Sharknado, a couple of sharks swimming in the basement of a shopping center. Obviously this was a test to see what kind of engagement I could score on said tweet. Pff what do you think, sharks swimming in the streets of San Francisco...
Testing engagement on Image tweet
With these detailed Twitter analytics, it's becoming easier to start optimizing for engagement on your tweets. More visuals, less boring content!Twitter Engagement Testing > Are you using images for maximum impact?
Let me know what your engagement looks like on your tweets, would love to hear!

How @Buffer Made My Day, for Days in a Row

Vanity, my favorite sin. This is a quote from the movie: Devils Advocate. The vanity has definitely worked on me, as I've been walking on clouds for the last couple of day. Ever since one of my favorite web apps, Buffer, has put one of my posts on their list of suggested post for their Buffer community.



Buffer suggested posts

The reason why I'm so happy about this; simple! I creatively worked on this system to stitch webapps like Pocket, IFTTT & Buffer together, to make it easier for you to share your curated content on social media. The fact the post was liked by Buffer is a huge statement for me.

And it brought some nice traffic to my little site, which I'm not even writing so much on.

Buffer traffic outbreak

And the Buffer gift keeps on giving over the last couple of days:

Buffer keeps on giving

Main source of traffic is Twitter, where the post have been massively retweeted. Now the URL has been tweeted over 1,000x according to Topsy:

Tweet results tracked by Topsy

Whenever something like this happens, I get fired up with new ideas to blog about. The automatic sharing system has so much potential, especially now that everybody on Twitter has access to the analytics. With a simple VLook up in Excel, I'm sure I can do some magic for a follow up post!

Get into the Buffer Suggestions, and expect a massive amount of traffic and Tweets of your post. You can pick up a decent amount of new followers as well on the way. Thanks @Buffer

Thanks Buffer for your support! I'm a happy paying customer, and love your service!

Buzzfeed Love or Hate? How a Buzzfeed article made me open my mind for more Pulp

A number of people who I work with everyday have heard me saying this; I don't particular like Buzzfeed (yep, no linking here). The click-bait article publishing website which polluted my newsfeed on Facebook for a long time, until I blocked anymore links from Buzzfeed. So when I saw the article: BuzzFeed: An Open Letter to Ben Horowitz published by Frederic Filloux over the weekend, I said to myself, "Finally somebody invested the time to write about this!" and stood up to give the writer an applause. My favorite passage:

I spent some time trying to overcome my reluctance to BuzzFeed’s editorial content. I wanted to to convince myself that I might be wrong, that BuzzFeed could in fact embodysome version of journalism’s future. But if that’s the case, I will quickly resettle in a remote place of New Mexico or Provence.

BuzzFeed is to journalism what Geraldo is to Walter Cronkite. It sucks. It is built on meanest of readers’ instincts. These endless stream of crass listicles are an insult to the human intelligence and goodness you personify. Even Business Insider, a champion practitioner of cheap click-bait schemes, looks like The New York Review of Books compared to BuzzFeed. And don’t tell me that, by hiring a couple of “seasoned editors and writers” as the PR spin puts it, BuzzFeed will become a noble and notable contributor of information. We never saw a down/mass market product morphing into a premium media. You can delete as many posts as you wish, it won’t alter BF’s peculiar DNA.

Fact is, quality content does exist in BuzzFeed (an example here), but in the same way as a trash can contains leftovers of good food: you must go deep to find it.

Exactly how I think about Buzzfeed. Why do I think this way; well, before I blocked Buzzfeed in my Facebook newsfeed, I was confronted with two articles which made me really sad about the state of the Internet, humanity and most of all, the friends who liked it, shared it or commented on it which made these post appear in my newsfeed:

  • 26 People Who Are Too Stupid For Their Own Good
  • 20 People We Hope Never To See Promoted On OKCupid

Ok, the first one might be a little funny, where most of the names of the 'stupid people' were blurred. The second is just offensive. Who made the editor of this piece of garbage the coolest kid on the block to bash other people who are searching for love? And most stupid of all is Virgin Mobile, who are sponsoring this article, and position their brand next to a blog post trashing other people based on their picture...Yuk! See what it says:

OKCupid is letting users pay to promote their profiles. Let’s hope these guys don’t decide to take advantage.

 

Buzzfeed OKCupid trash article

 

Ok, so it's clear why I don't like Buzzfeed. But what peaked my interest, was what the people on HackerNews were saying about it, the place where I found this open letter to Ben Horowitz. See the post on HN here. With all the hate for SEO normally get as being a deceptive practice from the HN community, I would have expected nothing less for the Click-Bait machine, abusing and making fun of normal people to pump up their Edgerank. As I read the comments, I was surprised to read no haters comments on the low quality editorials Buzzfeed so many times is pushing;

The author is shorted sighted. I'm surprised so many people on HN following his thought patterns, because what Buzzfeed is doing is nothing short of classic disruption.

In a disruptive startup, you always start with a _worse_ product that appeals to a marginally group of users who'll fervently love you.

The demographic that's on Buzzfeed all the time, is the type who wouldn't be reading news anyways. So what if they look at cats and take quizes, and once in a while eyeball an article about Ferguson / Ukraine / ISIS that they wouldn't have done anyways. Look at http://www.buzzfeed.com/world, how many of those are linkbaits? How many are quality contents? It's not unimaginable that overtime, the (vegetable news) : (shitty news) ratio can increase....

...Why can't people accept that Buzzfeed, at its current state, isn't meant to appeal to everyone? Those who bash at Buzzfeed sound like the mindless YouTube comments on Justin Bieber's videos saying how shitty his music is. It's not for you. Don't listen to it...[1]

or

Jonah Peretti figured out how to spam the web better than anyone with the Huffington Post. He also figured out how to get away with it. It's been called the veneer strategy. The idea is to take a little bit of legit content and make it look like that's the site. In reality all of your real traffic comes into your many thousands of shitty linkbait articles. This throws off Google's spam team and confuses people about what you're doing. Hopefully you sell before the house of cards comes crumbling down.

There's a reason McDonald's sells salads and it's not because they believe it's the future of fastfood. It provides cover when the idea of sickening billions with shitty food occasionally heats up. [2]

 

And

This is a perfect combination of every short-sighted, angry old media, and old man rant I've ever come across. I mean, to go from hating on BuzzFeed to somehow ending up on the "Africa is one single country and let's help it" trope is quite impressive.

Best article that sums up what Buzzfeed is really about, and why I believe it is incredible for the future of journalism is this piece by Felix Salmon. Basically, he makes the point that Buzzfeed is in effect a massive advertising agency, and their content efforts are all experiments to better understand how to reach younger people. They then make money off of selling that expertise to brands.

... [3]

And although these comments made me think about the post which started this whole rant, it does not change my general thinking if any brand would be smart to put their name next to the pulp articles Buzzfeed is pushing online. Even if the content is improving, the Buzzfeed brand still carries their history with it, and you cannot easily shake of your history and reputation with adding more quality in the mix.

So is there more quality on Buzzfeed?

If I have blocked Buzzfeed from my Facebook newsfeed, how would I be able to know when the inflection point for the quality on Buzzfeed is? Well, I cannot block the entries of Buzzfeed on my favorite technology news aggregator: Techmeme.

And guess what, today Buzzfeed made the homepage of Techmeme with a more quality and informed article on the settlement in the Tinder sexual harassment case. Go figure. [4]

Buzzfeed article makes Techmeme homepage

If the Hackernews community can have an open mind about Click-Bait articles, I guess even I can be open to some higher quality Buzzfeed Pulp!

Real Winner of Panda 4.0 Correlation is Causation

I can't believe this was missed by all those SEO experts writing their analysis posts about the latest Google Panda update, this is Panda 4.0! They all are focussing on the wrong stuff. You need to put your thin foil hat on to be able to see it, but it's pretty obvious once it is pointed out to you. The real winner from the Panda 4.0 update is Google!

Here is how this is played out. Google updates their index, shifts a couple of large companies around. Naturally, all SEO's trying to get into the spotlight of mainstream media, throw out a quick headline with a poor analysis of who is the biggest loser. Something like; "Brand X just lost 80% of their rankings, once you find out which company it is, it will blow you away...!" This is all the big smoke screen to hide what is really going on.

However, seasoned SEO's, who have learned the law of correlation = causation see right through this smoke screen.
Tweet: Correlation = Causation?

Here it goes:

My friends at Search metrics wrote an extremely helpful data analysis showing the biggest losers and winners of the Google Panda 4.0 update. As you can see in the losers row, large brands are used to pull up the smoke screen. You will need to pay attention to the winners of this update. Which company is close at the top of the list..? Right, it's Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor winner of Panda 4.0

Glassdoor, off course is the company where we all go to rate the company and our bosses, not using our real name off course!  Well, Glassdoor won in this update BIG TIME! Is Glassdoor so good in SEO, that they had to win? Not sure, as I received an invitation to apply to their head of SEO not that long ago, so they must still be looking for somebody setting out the strategy.

It clicked with me once I saw the headline this morning at the Wall Street Journal;

Google Rated Top Employer for Pay and Benefits by Glassdoor

Google Rated Top Employer for Pay and Benefits by Glassdoor

You see, there is an epic battle going on in Silicon Valley, the way for talent. Free food, free transportation, multi million dollar stock packages, you name it. These are the perks thrown in by tech companies to get the best people to work for your company.But a company get's really the most and best resumes if the perception in the market is that it's the best place to work.

I know a trick when I see one, and by the law of correlation = causation, this must be true. Google has given Glassdoor a giant lift in search rankings to get the #1 spot of best place to work, while pulling up a giant smokescreen so that every SEO analyst will focus on the losers. In the process, Google will safe giant recruiting budgets.

Well played Google, I guess I saw right through your trick!

 

Disclaimer: This obviously is a parody post, to make fun of all the so called "SEO experts" who do half baked analysis on an update just to get the attention. One of the only post I believe describes the facts, is the one from Search metrics, rewarded with a link here

 

 

LinkedIn now with WeChat

Just recently when I logged into my LinkedIn account, I saw a little pop-up box at the top of my page. LinkedIn just asked me if I would like to connect my WeChat account with my profile. WOW, how do they know I have WeChat installed on my iPhone? Creepy!

LinkedIn & WeChat integration

Ever since Facebook bought WhatsApp for this crazy Bazillion amount of money, people in Silicon Valley have set their eyes on what Facebook will do with the app. The funny thing is, the majority of tech journalists so fully engaged in the echo chamber in and around San Francisco, are almost missing one of the biggest revolutions happening in online chat ever! WeChat is huge in China, and is rapidly expanding beyond the Asian continent.

WeChat is more than just online mobile chat. It has voice and video capabilities, group functions, games or functions which connect you with people based on your location or interest. A WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram on steroids. And what's more, WeChat has a super large business in virtual goods; Stickers. You can buy a sticker to send your mood at the time to one of your friends. The sticker market is rumored to bring in more than $100 million per year, and is growing very rapidly. No wonder that the mother company Tencent is such a hot commodity.

So from now on, you can reach me on WeChat, which is connected to my LinkedIn profile for your convenience.

My WeChat QR code, connect with me

Google Purchase Protection

New way for Google to get conversion data on products: Google Trusted store purchase protection program.

Google Purchase Protection program

I just bought something online, went straight to the merchant website, did not go through Google, as the product was recommended by a colleague. As you can see from the screenshot, Google offers me free purchasing protection. Great, the catch is, my email address will be shared with Google, and I bet a lot more information as well.
I paid with Paypal, but this is a nifty way for Google to get more data on my purchasing behavior.

Damn you Google for being this smart!

And here is how the program works:
https://support.google.com/trustedstores/answer/1669761?p=program&rd=1

From the page (emphasis mine):

"After completing a purchase with a Google Certified Shop, most users will be offered the chance to opt in to free purchase protection from Google for that order. At this time, purchase protection is offered on a per-order basis, and only at the time of purchase. If you opt in, then the merchant will share your order information and email address with us. We’ll send you an email with the details of your order, the merchant's contact details, and a link to contact Google in the event of any issues."

Free Google Purchase Protection, You Pay With Your Data

Remember; if it's free, you're the product being sold... aka your data!

Farmville 2 Street Party

Every morning I walk by the Zynga office on my way to work in San Francisco. This morning there was something different, as the side walk suddenly had a white picket fence set up. Next to the road, there were farm props set up, and Zynga employees walking around with Farmville 2 T-shirts were all smiling. Turned out, Farmville 2 on mobile is launching today! The game is called Farmville 2 Country Escape.

Farmville 2 country escape - Zynga game on mobile launch party

Farmville 2 price winning live stock

Sidewalk street party for the launch of Zynga mobile game Farmville 2

Police in Violation of Parking Laws in San Francisco – @SFPD

A couple of years ago, I received a parking ticket. Not an ordinary ticket because my car was parked in the wrong section, or forgot to fill up the meter, no I got one because I was 10 Centimeter in the lower section of the curb. The ticket claimed I was blocking potential handicap people crossing the street. The ticket was $350,-! I had my fair share of parking tickets in San Francisco. I always paid these just right away, even the expensive one, as it's just hard to fight these tickets and you'll have to go to court. Since I'm not a US citizen, but a green card holder, I rather stay away from rubbing the court system the wrong way, even if I know I could win.

I already spotted SFPD officers not following those same parking laws as ordinary citizens have to obey to. A couple of times I took some pictures of police vehicles being parked in red zones or next to a fire hydrant. See the two below here. One police car was even parked in the red zone for more than 24 hours (post in Dutch). Just imagine if a fire would have broken out, while the cop car was blocking the SFFD to get water out of the hydrant.  The San Francisco parking police sometimes also totally ignores the signs.

This morning, while walking in the Richmond neighborhood I spotted a police officer parking his car in a way which blocked the pedestrian crossing completely. As neither his light or his sirens were on, this could not have been an emergency stop. The officer hopped out of the car, and went into the little convenient store. Probably to pick up a quick doughnut. I started to make pictures, and was thinking to switch my camera to video to document the parking violation. Should I confront the police officer? Based on video's I've seen online, I chose not to do this. The SFPD hasn't been very nice to people exercising their 1st amendment rights. And, although a green card holder has the same rights as citizens with regards to making pictures in a public place, I don't want to test these cop on how nice he will be.

Police parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 fine

Sometimes the SFPD thinks they are above the law. While the officer was just doing a little shopping, and it took only 5 minutes, maybe, he should have just parked his car somewhere within the parking laws.

This is not the first time I've seen SFPD park in a way which violates all parking laws. Check out these two I made pictures of earlier:

SFPD parking in red zone, next to fire hydrant

Police car SFPD parked next to fire hydrant, for more than 24 hours, in red zone

Snoop Dogg Went from Rhyme Pusher to Brand Pusher

While rocking on the tunes of Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice on Spotify, I'm seeing the traffic rolling in on Airbnb's special created SXSW The Park pages. At the moment, Snoop Dogg is making it's appearance on The Park, as he designed one of the special Airbnb pop-up listings as part of the SXSW event this week.
Check out this short video of Snoop chatting about the design of his Pop-up house, which was shared on Snoop's Google+ account, where he has more than 7M followers.

Couple of awesome quotes:

If you're doing the SnoopDogg, your mind has to go through different stages and changes… I can send a blank room, but the room would have to change colors just cause I walked in.

SnoopDogg is a collage, he ain't that, he's all of that...

And here is an Instagram picture of Snoop, getting his mail.

From Rhyme Pusher to Brand Pusher

For years Snoop has been pushing Rhymes to make his cash, now he pushes brands and their campaigns through his social media channels. And with a large followers army on all social media channels, I bet he is racking up the money through the different campaigns.

Marketeers will get their money worth, as Instagram pictures are being tweeted, video's being shared on Google+, and more messages are pushed through the Facebook page.

Here is a tweet for the special event Snoop is doing in The Airbnb Park:

Social media has proven to be a new money machine for celebrities. However, these people have more influence than just pushing a campaign. Check out how Shaquille O’Neal has a well thought out social media strategy;

When asked about his social media strategy, Shaq parsed out his surefire approach to maximum social success. 60 percent of his posts “will make you laugh,” 30 percent are there “to inspire,” and ten percent of his posts are “to sell stuff.”

Winning Strategy

So, to become a big money making machine on social, you first need to get famous about something, after which you could do similar endorsements. And some people just become famous because of their social media...

I'm actually happy it's not me. You..?

PrimeHangout Let’s Beat Facebook

Saw this billboard this week, and I was just surprised. What are they thinking..? As I was reading, I was thinking:

Facebook #1, huh? I dare you to check out www.PrimeHangout.com. Let the competition begin

Let's beat Facebook

With more than 1 billion active members, and a market value of more than $100 billion, who in their right minds would think they can beat Facebook? As it's posted on the site; Prime Hangout is social media with artificial intelligence! The future is here.

Check out the video with the CEO of Prime Hangout, and determine for yourself if there is artificial intelligence in this social media network.

 Here is what the site looks like.

PrimeHangout screenshot

So, what do you think? Does PrimeHangout has a chance to beat Facebook? Even just taking 5% of market share could be profitable, so if they can't beat Facebook, could Primehangout capture 1-5% of market share from Facebook..?