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It's Time to Go Mobile, and Other Hot Topics for Oct. 31–Nov. 4

Regular Advisor

Halloween wasn't the only thing people were buzzing about this week. Google garnered attention for two reasons: It finally gave access to Google+ business pages — but only to some of its users — and made some significant changes to its search algorithm. Elsewhere, a new study released by Nielsen showed that a majority of U.S. consumers under the age of 45 carry a smartphone. What do these and other hot topics mean for marketers like you? Read on to learn our take on some of the week's big stories.

 

1. Google+ business pages are here (sort of)

After months of waiting, Google finally gave access to business pages for its Google+ social network. But there's a catch: The pages are only accessible to those who use the Google Apps for Business service. There has not been an announcement about when other businesses will have access to this section of the site.

 

Bottom line: Remember how we said you didn't have to worry about Google+ just yet? Well, now may be a good time to start thinking about whether or not you'll use the site. Sources claim that Google+ has more than 40 million users, but it hasn't gained much traction outside of marketing and technology circles (no pun intended). If you're going to ask your customers, clients, and supporters to join you on Google+, you're going to need to provide them with a good reason for connecting with you there (in addition to connecting with you via email, Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn).

 

2. Most people under the age of 45 now carry a smartphone

According to a new study by Nielsen, only 43% of all mobile users own a smartphone. But among those under 45, the number is more than 50%. Android leads the market overall, with 43% of the U.S. marketshare. Apple's iPhone follows in second place with 28%.

 

Bottom line: If your marketing efforts don't already include mobile-friendly strategies (such as using location-based services), then you may want to change that. With the growth of mobile (not just in the U.S., but worldwide), more customers than you realize may be communicating with you and researching your business while they're on the go.

 

3. "Graymail" should help email marketers

Hotmail is developing tools that will help users better filter what it calls "graymail," or emails like Facebook/Twitter notifications or Groupon deals that people request but read infrequently. Hotmail's group program manager recently said that as many as 75% of the email messages that people reported as spam are really legitimate newsletters, offers, or notifications that they just don’t want anymore. By contrast, only 14% of the messages they receive are messages that they highly value.

 

Bottom line: As always, it comes down to the content of your emails. The more relevant and valuable your messages are, the more likely subscribers will continue to read, engage with, and share them. And that means graymail filtering will not affect you. However, if all you do is sell and provide content that's not helpful or unique, then your email may be filtered right out of your subscribers' inboxes.

 

4. More of your Facebook fans are seeing fewer of your posts

At Facebook's recent F8 Developers Conference, Facebook announced changes to users' profiles and newsfeeds (some of which are still being rolled out to users). One of those changes is brands are now being shown to more users, but less often per person. The good news is that these changes have led to "substantially increased" fan interactions with brands, according to AdAge Digital.

 

Bottom line: Which would you prefer, being seen by more people or having the same people see you more often? Facebook thinks you'll prefer the former, so it's up to you to make each post on Facebook count. Share articles, photos, and videos, and ask questions that will get your fans to interact and engage with you. Be social, not salesy.

 

5. Google changes its search algorithm again

Google has made another enhancement to its search algorithm that will affect as many as 35% of searches. The change should put the priority on newer, fresher content, with older results appearing farther down the page. For example, if you search for "Olympics," Google will assume you want information about next summer's Games, not the 1990 Games.

 

Bottom line: This change makes it more important than ever to keep your content updated. For example, don’t leave your blog stagnant for too long, or your previously high-ranking posts may dip down in search results.

 

What news stories and topics caught your eye this week? Share them here or on our Facebook Page.

MartinLieberman

Martin Lieberman is Constant Contact's managing editor. He develops blog posts, articles, guides, and more about email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey best practices, as well as small business and engagement marketing trends. Martin has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing content for a variety of audiences. Martin's tips, ideas, and solutions help small businesses and organizations build successful customer and member relationships. Follow Martin on Twitter at @martinlieberman.