This is the second episode of our brand new weekly show, ‘This Week In Organic’, the weekly show that debates the ramifications of the latest SEO and content marketing news.
In this episode we talk about Periscope marketing strategy and opportunities and our host, David Bain is joined by Kelvin Newman from Brighton SEO, Matt Hodkinson from Influence Agents, Paul Ryazanov from Promodo and Stewart rogers from Venture Beat.
DAVID BAIN: Do SEOs miss Matt Cutts? Yahoo! Maps is shutting down. And last night I was Periscoped! Welcome to This Week in Organic, Episode Number Two.
Broadcasting live from London, welcome to This Week in Organic, the weekly show that debates the ramifications of the latest SEO and content marketing news. Sign up to watch the next show live at www.thisweekinorganic.com.
Hello and welcome. I’m David Bain and each week I’ll be joined by some knowledgeable, opinionated folks to discuss the latest happenings in anything that impacts organic traffic. As far as you viewer, get involved. We’d love to hear year opinion too. So just use the hashtag #TWIO on Twitter. Your thoughts will match up here in the chat-box to my left-hand side.
So we’ve got some great guests joining me here today. One of them is just about to join us, hopefully in a couple of minutes, but let’s say hello to the first three. So starting off with Kelvin.
KELVIN NEWMAN: Hello everybody. My name’s Kelvin Newman. I, as is the way nowadays, wear a few different hats, but perhaps best known for organising the Brighton SEO Conference, the biggest SEO gathering of digital marketers in the UK. And I also host the Internet Marketing Podcast, which has been going for about 290 episodes, talking away about all things internet marketing.
DAVID BAIN: Very exciting. Episode 300 coming up soon.
KELVIN NEWMAN: Yes, very, very soon.
DAVID BAIN: Superb. And so what has caught your eye over the last week in terms of SEO and content market stories?
KELVIN NEWMAN: Well I think there’s this constant shift, this constant change that’s been going on in the world of content marketing. I think there’s some real big trends and some of the things that you eluded to that we’re going to be talking about today are certainly a big part of that, and I think there’s the continual rise of this kind of video streaming, the Periscope, the Meerkats, is perhaps not over the last week or so but certainly I think is one that is setting up to be quite a big deal in the world of digital marketing.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, great stuff. I’m going to say hello to Matt.
MATT HODKINSON: Hello there, David. Matt Hodkinson from Influence Agents. We’re an inbound agency based in London, so we’re helping with not only SEO and organic but also with content marketing. I’m also a regular on BBC 5 Live’s The Big Share, an afternoon edition, which you can tune in and catch every Thursday. So I’m a Periscoper, I have to admit. That’s the big admission. And it’s been a big news week for Periscope because they had a big new update yesterday, so I’m quite looking forward to talking about that today.
DAVID BAIN: Well I’m a Periscopee. I think being a Periscoper is better! Let’s say hello to Paul
PAUL RYAZANOV: Hi. My name is Paul. I’m a conversion expert from Promodo company and I’m also founder of Magecloud, the platform that helps to deal with ecommerce business in a couple of minutes. My passion is A/B testing, conversion rate optimization and speaking at different conferences in the US. So this week I was really impressed with a few things that is probably less related to SEO but more for the online marketing. So number one is definitely the shutdown of Yahoo! Maps. And also the previous week when Google announced that they will push the live offline local maps. And another point that I want to emphasise for local businesses is that Yelp knows that they don’t allow ecommerce functionality within their own platform. So those two things that are connected to what I’m doing is something that I want to discuss today.
DAVID BAIN: Sure. And last but not least, we have him with us. It’s Mr Stewart Rogers. Hi.
STEWART ROGERS: Hey David, how are you doing? And hi to everyone. It is great to be here.
DAVID BAIN: Well yeah, wonderful for you to join me. Would you like to start off by saying a little bit about where you’re from and perhaps what caught your eye over the last seven days in terms of content marketing and related subjects?
STEWART ROGERS: Yeah, for sure. I’m Director of Marketing Technology at VB Insight, which is VentureBeat’s research platform, and so I sometimes sit on the bench of the news side of things and write stories about marketing technology, and on the other side I’m one of the analysts that is looking at the entire marketing technology space. So that’s currently around 2,400 products on my radar in 29 different categories. So keeps me kind of focused and interesting. Sometimes the little board on the right-hand side you can’t see gets a little bit like that A Beautiful Mind movie.
DAVID BAIN: Wow. Hopefully you’ve got someone helping out there. That sounds a bit scary!
STEWART ROGERS: Yeah, we’ve got lots of awesome analysts at VB Insight and we’re doing some really interesting stuff with the whole marketing technology space right now
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful.
STEWART ROGERS: In terms of this week, just to answer your question, there’s been a lot of interesting stuff this week. Obviously the un-bundling of photos from Google+. I know we’re going to talk a little bit about Google+ today and whether it’s dead or not. I spent the early part of this week not in sunny Kent down in England but over in Boston because we had GrowthBeat summit, which I was very honoured to MC, and over at GrowthBeat summit we had 180 of the top CMOs in the room. We also then therefore got an opportunity to have a chat with them about some of the things that are happening in the space and also talk to the Editor in Chief at VentureBeat about Google+ and about what’s happening there. That’s Dylan Tweney. And yeah, he and I disagree on it, so it’ll be interesting. I’ll be able to bring you both points of view because I was able to grab his point of view and bring it back with me for you.
DAVID BAIN: There are so many great topics suggested there. I think we’re going to be here for the next six hours, so I’m glad someone’s brought the bananas. That’s good!
Well let’s start off with a question that’s on everyone’s lips today. Will Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic?
MATT HODKINSON: Not a chance!
STEWART ROGERS: The data-driven answer is, ‘It would suggest no.’
DAVID BAIN: So at SMX Advanced on Tuesday, Danny Sullivan shared a video about Matt Cutts through the years. So he’s probably on his way out in terms of Head at Spam with Google. He has obviously been the face of Google and communicated with lots of webmasters over the last few years. Is that going to be a loss for Google or do you think Matt Cutts is still going to be around or are Google slowly morphing into using lots of people as their ‘face’ to webmasters and SEOs? Kelvin, have you got any thoughts about that at all?
KELVIN NEWMAN: Yeah, I think it’s certainly going to be challenging for Google to be able to communicate some of the sometimes quite complex arguments and changes that are occurring. And Matt Cutts, for all that people do criticise him, is a very good communicator. He has built this reputation up over a large number of years where he’s really been this kind of calm, friendly face of what is essentially a huge team of people working on very complex problems and solving them in complex ways. So it’s going to be hard for them to find someone to replace that but I do think it is a sensible approach that they distribute that across their team and have areas and individuals of specialism.
I don’t envy the role that he’s had to play for them as an organisation over the last dozen years, and it doesn’t surprise me that it might be something that he wouldn’t want to do forever, so I can see the logic from his perspective and I can see the logic from Google’s perspective. But certainly I think it’s going to be a hard pair of shoes to fill and it’s going to take quite a few people to do that, it would seem.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, it’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years or even the next few months. They have obviously had some people from Google Switzerland appearing in different webinars and helping out but as you say, it’s a big pair of shoes to actually fill there as well.
I think all SEOs have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Google because it can offer such great value and a lot of traffic to people’s websites but they’re not necessarily the best communicators all the time in the world and they wouldn’t necessarily make technology that is understood by the general public, possibly. So I guess watch this space to see what happens.
But there are lots of different things happening with Google at the moment. There’s talk of another Panda update happening within the next three or four weeks. But Panda, of course, is at the moment a bit of a manual refresh rather than anything that’s automated within their algorithm. So does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not Panda is likely to continue to be a bit of a manual input into Google’s algorithm or is this something that we might be able to automate at some point in the future.
MATT HODKINSON: I don’t think it’s ever going to be something that will be fully automated. I don’t think it needs to be in the hands of Google 100% or any other search engine or professional body. I think it’s going to become a user-moderated thing. I think it should continue to reflect people’s reactions. I think people’s levels of engagement and those triggers and indicators as to people’s engagement with particular pieces of content should always be the biggest driver as to what’s most important, and the relevance when people are searching out this information. So I think it’s going to go that way. It will never be fully automated but the power will be with the people.
DAVID BAIN: Mm. Stewart – do you have a like for black and white little creatures?
STEWART ROGERS: SEO’s an interesting thing and it’s an interesting thing from Google’s perspective. I remember when Matt first went on leave. I remember a lot of the comments and a lot of them were ill-informed comments because everybody just assumed that since Matt’s going on leave, they can not start spamming everybody and that’s obviously not what’s going to happen. It’s as if they think that Google is maybe just three or four people still, and it’s been a very long time since it’s just been three or four people.
So I think in terms of Google’s interest in SEO, some people have very strong opinions on that. Some people think that since Google has AdWords and AdWords makes money for Google, that Google have waged some kind of ridiculous campaign against SEO companies. Because of course it’s in their financial interest to do so. I don’t necessarily buy that. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. They might have an overarching strategy of course to make money.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the recent infographic that shows you how much money Google makes per second across the world, but it is really quite an obscene amount of money. I can’t believe that waging a mild war against SEO companies is going to make a massive dent in that. I think they’re doing quite well enough as they are. I think there’s much, much bigger things than this.
And Google for me tend to get it reasonable right as a user. If I do a search for something, I invariably find it and I invariably find it in more and more useful and interesting ways, such as the cards that came in, the way that Google Now is working now and also how it will work in the future with Now on Tap. All of this is useful to me as a user and it provides a great deal of value for me and it tends to be the right result for what I was looking for. So I think from an SEO standpoint, they probably don’t need to put so much emphasis and effort into having a figurehead for that. It is still a big part of the business obviously, but that’s what I think.
DAVID BAIN: You said a couple of things that interest me there, Stewart. You said it tends to be the right result and find what you’re looking for. So that indicates that you’re happy as long as Google can provide the right one result for you, as opposed to giving you options. Do you think that as a user generally that’s what you want, rather than being given a search engine results page with lots of different possibilities on it.
STEWART ROGERS: It depends what I’m searching for. If I’m searching for an actor because I’m watching a movie and I want to know more about them, the last thing I want is ten results. All I really want is, ‘Who’s this actor? What have they been in?’ I might want a choice of which app I look at that in, and that’s what Google on Tap is going to give me. So if I want to go and have a look at their Rotten Tomatoes score, I’m clearly going to click on Flixster as opposed to clicking on IMDB, for example.
So the choices that we make as consumers as we go forward with contextual search solutions such as Google Now and Now on Tap (and of course all of others have their own or are working on them) are going to be probably, ‘Which app would you like to read this information in?’ as opposed to, ‘Do you want to stay within the browser?’
For more complex searches, then yes I do want a selection of choices and whilst a sample set of one is not statistically significant, I generally tend to find that Google gives be better results than the other search engines that are out there.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, well that gives us a good segue into our next area of discussion and that’s Yahoo! because Yahoo! have announced quite recently that they’re actually putting an end to their Yahoo! Maps service, and that’s something that Paul, you mentioned as part of your introduction. So what are your thoughts, Paul, about that?
PAUL RYAZANOV: Well I’m personally not involved in any Yahoo! Maps for years. I mean, what was Google Maps and they think they did a much better job, keep people in the Google business or whatever. I think even the big companies get some trouble with their products. The same thing happened with Google Voice and other Google products. So from a business perspective, it looks like it makes sense for them to shut it down. I’m sure they’ll work on something new going forward. It was just not enough for other people. They see people’s interest go down. You have to always improve your products and like the maps with Yahoo! and Google, I always see that Google innovate stuff. Even with the offline solution, they’re doing a much better job, especially with mobile devices. So yeah, I think that’s reasonable and makes sense for Google to concentrate on something else.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so it’s not a sign of failure, then. It’s simply a sign that they’re refocusing on areas that are most important to them and hopefully going to be a more commercially successful business because of it.
PAUL RYAZANOV: Exactly.
DAVID BAIN: Interesting stuff. So has anyone on the panel actually used Yahoo! Maps at any point in the last couple of years.
KELVIN NEWMAN: I’ve got to be honest – I’d kind of forgotten they even had that product, which is always a little bit damning on that side of things. But it does seem a logical move. I think for Yahoo!, their problem has always been too many things to think about. But it does seem strange that in light of their particular focus on mobile, that location perhaps rather than maps, is so key to that, it does seem perhaps a little bit of a strange play from that perspective.
DAVID BAIN: It feels just when Apple are obviously moving significantly into maps themselves and have we seen a play on maps from Facebook at all? I’m not sure if we have or not.
STEWART ROGERS: Well Facebook tried to get into maps into a different way with the check-in product and what was quite interesting about Facebook check-ins was that it massively increased Foursquare’s user base very shortly after its launch, so I don’t think they did a particularly good job on that.
My worry with Yahoo! is this is not jus ta singular thing. This is not just, ‘We’re closing down Yahoo! Maps.’ You have to also take it into context with the rest of the announcements they made. Yahoo! Pipes, which was effectively a predecessor to IFTTT, that has also been canned. They’ve killed off GI Planet and PlaceSpotter APIs. They’ve killed off Yahoo! Music in France and Canada, Yahoo! Movies in Spain and have got rid of the Philippines homepage. Yahoo! TV has gone from UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada as well. Yahoo! Autos has gone in certain local places. Yahoo! Entertainment is going to close in Singapore in July. And it’s kind of weird because this company was very, very bullish about personalised content, and yet they’re pulling back and pulling back and pulling back all the time.
And of course don’t forget they’re also killing support for Yahoo! Mail on the built-in mail app for devices prior to iOS5, and making some changes to the way contents work. It’s interesting but Yahoo! did close something like…I’ve got to think of the figure now. Emil Protalinski wrote about this. I think it’s 60 products and services in the last two years to narrow the focus of the company. Now they say, ‘narrow the focus’, but there’s lots of reasons why people might do that. One of them might be cost and resource. There’s other great reasons which might be that Yahoo! is going to launch something incredible and all-encompassing very soon that replaces all of these. I tend to think it’s more of a cost and resource move at this point, until they convince me otherwise.
MATT HODKINSON: Yeah, I’d say that they’ve realised perhaps that they’re just so far behind their competitors on each of those product verticals. You mentioned Facebook. The whole thing about check-in was of course about fuelling the graph search and then generating enough information to make that a worthwhile enterprise. I’m not sure whether they’ve achieved it but they’re probably looking at the likes of Google who are now looking at [unclear – 0:20:01:1] navigation as well as just your average kind of maps and streetview and everything else. So they’ve probably looked at the gap. They’ve looked at what it’s going to take in terms of investment in development and money and just realised that in several of those verticals they’re never going to catch up without a massive spend.
DAVID BAIN: So you’ve said that you haven’t used Yahoo! Maps at any point in the last couple of years. Let’s broaden it a little bit and actually conduct a quick straw poll here and actually say, ‘What was the last Yahoo! product you used and how long ago was it?’ So do you want to say quickly, Kelvin?
KELVIN NEWMAN: I don’t really use any Yahoo! products with any kind of frequency. I don’t know if that’s largely because I’m in the Apple ecosystem, so therefore Bing and Google and Apple is the place there, but certainly I can’t think of anything. Not in the last at least six weeks, perhaps six months.
DAVID BAIN: What about yourself, Matt?
MATT HODKINSON: I think Yahoo! Answers is probably the one that I’ve used on the most frequent basis but even then it’s really not that frequent. I’m struggling to think of anything else, to be honest.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah. And what about Paul?
PAUL RYAZANOV: My last Yahoo! product was Yahoo! Messenger, probably like six years’ ago.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, wow. And Stewart?
STEWART ROGERS: I have consumed some of my friends’ photos on Flickr and that’s about it. Other than that, I haven’t used anything from Yahoo! in a very, very long time.
DAVID BAIN: That’s incredible. I remember using a service called MyBlogLog years ago and they were bought by Yahoo! of course and perhaps intermittently I’ve been forced to have to log into a Yahoo! account to do something but I certainly can’t remember doing that in the last two years. So it may be a very small poll but it maybe tells a story there. Okay, so that’s the demise of Yahoo! Maps.
Another quick topic here. So let’s move onto our top SMOs missing out by not being on Twitter because there was an article published fairly recently that indicated that less than a third of top CMOs weren’t on Twitter at all. Now is this is a big mistake on their part or is it quite reasonable that CMOs of really top companies probably shouldn’t be interacting that much on Twitter and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that they’re not doing marketing correctly? Has anyone got any thoughts on that?
KELVIN NEWMAN: I think it probably says more about Twitter than it does about the CMOs. I think there’s a really interesting challenge. We talked about Yahoo! perhaps struggling there as well. I think Twitter, despite being very, very central to how I consume digital, it’s having a real struggle at the moment of attracting and retaining its users. I think it perhaps says more about Twitter’s failure to convince these people that it’s essential, rather than necessarily a failure on the part of the CMOs.
DAVID BAIN: And do you think that Twitter’s agreement with Google and appearing higher perhaps in their mind beside search results might make it more likely for these types of people to be using Twitter in the future?
KELVIN NEWMAN: Well I think part of that play of Twitter re-allowing Google access to their tweets on the scale at which Google would want is about attracting people to Twitter who aren’t logged in users, people who they can then monetise. And there’s so much content there, that seems like a very logical play, that you can think about the sheer amount of content there and the variation in keywords that are there, that leads to a huge amount of content being discovered by Google. And I think perhaps it’s maybe testing the water for a closer relationship in the future, certainly from some of the analysis that I’ve been reading. It seems to suggest that that might be a bit of a, ‘Let’s see if we can actually, genuinely work together.’
DAVID BAIN: Okay. I’d like to go to Paul now actually because Paul, you’re very active as a conference speaker in the United States, but you’re not that active on Twitter. Do you not really enjoy interacting on Twitter? Or is that something that you’re planning on doing a little bit more in the future?
PAUL RYAZANOV: Okay, so I can tell you I am quite active on Twitter as a friend. So me as a CMO of a specific company, I consume Twitter in a different way than I consume as a personality. So as a person, I am looking into the future, use the stream to give me quick updates about what’s going on in the industry. But as the company, I do believe that CMOs, they just have to think of Twitter not as a distribution content platform, but mostly as a communication platform. So if you take a look at [unclear – 0:25:15.0] et cetera, the way we interact with [unclear], we’re trying to analyse different conferences when we participate and sometimes Twitter is the easiest way for me to get to the company to get an introduction to the company we want to partner with, just by using the hashtags or just speak to the guys.
So when I consume Twitter, I’m usually trying to search for the specific topic and then try to see what people are talking about and I just jump into the conversation.
DAVID BAIN: That’s quite interesting actually because from what you’re saying there, you are an active user of Twitter but a lot of it is actually researching what’s going on in your industry. So perhaps this survey that has been conducted recently about less than a third of CMOs are active on Twitter, perhaps that’s a little bit misleading. Maybe they are using Twitter but they’re using Twitter like that, as a research tool rather than a tool to interact on and network. Do you think that could be the case, Matt?
MATT HODKINSON: Yeah, I think so, but also I think the big issue with CMOs is that they realise they’re quite a bit of a target and I think one part of their brain is saying, ‘Look, I’m going to throw myself out to being contacted by all and sundry.’ Everyone wants to talk to the CMO at large organisations for whatever reason, so maybe they just think that staying under the radar is a big reason. But I think a lot of them don’t understand actually, sadly, the potential. You mentioned the integrations and the deals that they’re doing with Google and the whole discoverability and the impact that Twitter and the other social networks have on ranking now, just by its very nature, and it’s just taking a long while to catch up with what’s actually going on in the industry.
DAVID BAIN: Is staying under the radar a good idea for CMOs, Stewart?
STEWART ROGERS: Absolutely not. But you have to appreciate the difference between the CMO being on Twitter and the CMO’s brand being on Twitter and why the two might use them very differently. So for example, I did a report on social media marketing recently and we got some help from text sifters, DidscoverText technology, and with that we grabbed 250,000 tweets from 1,600 brands over the course of nine days to work out what these people actually did.
My first thing that I found in that was that quite a lot of these brands don’t actually tweet at all, so the 1,600 top brands and in nine days didn’t send out a single tweet. The ones that did tweet a lot were ones like American Airlines who did 8,000 tweets over the course of nine days, and Comcast and Royal Dutch Airlines and Chevrolet and The Independent and British Airways and United. And you think, ‘Hang on, he’s just listing airlines,’ at this point and it’s true, the airlines really have managed to get it, and they’re the ones who are engaged with people about lost bags, late flights and all this sort of stuff. They’re actually doing an incredibly good job of it.
The vast majority, however, of the brands that are out there are just using Twitter as a broadcast channel. Especially obviously all of the news outlets, and there’s no reason why that’s a bad thing. News outlets probably should use Twitter as a broadcast channel.
But the CMOs are missing outs. I think a good example of a CMO that really gets it and understands what’s going on is somebody like Mike Volpe of HubSpot. He’s on Twitter, he uses it really well, uses it to understand what his peers and other people are saying about his marketplace. He engages with people, he talks to people. Yes, he does a lot of broadcast but he does a really good job on that and that’s the kind of thing that a CMO can get up to on Twitter and all other social networks.
Apart from just the sheer understanding of how these things work. Whenever a new social network comes about, I’m usually the first to jump on it, just to figure out what it is, what it does and how to use it. And it’s no different for CEOs, by the way. I remember a report fro CEOs that suggested that hardly any of them are on there, so much so that when Satya Nadella became the Microsoft CEO, his first tweet was, ‘First commitment as CEO – I won’t wait four years between tweets,’ as a direct dig between him and all of the other CEOs. I think C-level generally needs to just get on Twitter and understand what it is and engage with people because people are having conversations about you, regardless of whether you’re there or not. You might as well be there and control the conversation and have some engagement.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, well coming up we’re going to be talking a little bit more about new social opportunities, so things like Periscope, and also whether or not Google+ is dead.
But first of all, I would like to give a big shout-out to Tejas Ghandi. Tejas is known as the WP Chef and you can find him over at www.learnwpforfree.com. Thanks for sharing This Week in Organic with your followers, Tejas. If you’d like a shout-out too, all you need to do is sign up to watch the next show live at www.thisweekinorganic.com and use our special social share links and make sure you have a mention next time.
But let’s move onto discussing other social opportunities, and in fact, let’s start with Google+. So a Google exec came out this week and said, ‘No, Google+ is not dead.’ Who’s actively using Google+ at the moment?
KELVIN NEWMAN: We all are aren’t we? This is a Hangout!
DAVID BAIN: Well there we go. Is it going to be unplugged from the rest of Google+ though, moving forward?
KELVIN NEWMAN: I think it’s interesting that it depends on how you define Google+. As a competitor to Twitter or Facebook, it hasn’t been successful. It’s problem’s always been that it’s been a number of very good products stitched together, and I think that’s always been its challenge. And that undoing might make sense. But you have to bear in mind that part of Google+ behind that Google sign is YouTube, which is the biggest user-generated content platform out there. And just because it isn’t quite the same as Facebook, isn’t quite the same as Twitter, doesn’t mean it should be discounted.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, I’ll phrase my question in a slightly different way then. Who in the last week has interacted on a Google+ profile or a Google+ page?
STEWART ROGERS: Yes, absolutely.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so do you do that on a regular basis, Stewart?
STEWART ROGERS: Every single day. So I use pretty much every element of Google+. I have Google+ communities that I manage and I have content that goes out on Google+. Because of the way that Google+ works with the circles, I’m able to have a public profile on Google+ where you see all the things that I write and other people’s analysis and reports and studies and news and all of those kind of things, and then of course I can put out messages that are just for a few eyes only by selecting the right circle. And I’ve always found that particularly elegant in the way that they put it together. I wish the circle selection tools were better for deselecting circles once you’ve selected a lot of them. It would be nice to be able to do that a little bit more but I’ve always found that particularly good.
Of course they’ve just recently un-bundled photos. Effectively, Google Photos, there’s an un-bundling of the photos part of Google+, available on all major mobile platforms and it’s interesting, I think, looking at this whole issue of Google+ losing parts of the solution, so losing the notifications so you won’t have Google+ links across products, like in Gmail for example. So that’s one thing that’s on the negative side, but at the same time they’ve just launched Collections, so I think it would be foolish to say that Google+ is dead at this point.
I think what is probably happening is that they are un-bundling in the same way that Messenger is un-bundled from Facebook now, in the same way that Swarm is un-bundled from Foursquare now. I think they’re going for an un-bundling, I think they’re going for a rebranding. You’ll have noticed that Auto-Awesome on Photos is now just Assistant and they’re starting to use just more plain English language. And I think you’ll find that going across the board. SMS messages on Android phones are probably by and large actually handled by the Hangouts app now and the Hangouts app is almost un-bundled as is.
So I don’t think Google+ is necessarily disappearing. I just think it’s transforming and changing into the disparate set of apps that sits on maybe a somewhat social platform in the first place.
DAVID BAIN: Matt, are you a Google+er?
MATT HODKINSON: I am. It’s becoming more and more infrequent. I manage a community as well but I’ve got to say, in terms of sharing content, from a personal perspective it’s become a bit of a rarity. I’ll just follow up on what Stewart was saying, I think. It can un-bundle and I think these things go in trends, we tend to go from un-bundling to consolidations and back again and these things go backwards and forwards, but I think the other thing to bear in mind is if you un-bundle so far then you do kill the platform and it ceases to exist in a useable format.
I think the biggest thing about Google+ was they made a fantastic marketing effort in the early stages. The whole exclusive and limited, invite-only access with a very limited 150 invites to each person was a genius piece of marketing. They got them to 20million users in the same timeframe that it took Twitter and Facebook three years. It took them 28 days.
I think what’s happening is they’ve missed an opportunity. There’s no real key differentiator, apart from Hangouts, to Facebook. It has its parallels in every single aspect of functionality as far as I can make out. So I think that whatever’s going on behind the scenes, are they working on Google+? Is it getting the attention it deserves? I don’t know. If not, I think that could be its killer.
DAVID BAIN: Mm. What about Paul? Are you using Google+ yourself?
PAUL RYAZANOV: I’m not using Google+ myself, probably because I’m not in the content marketing world, I’m not distributing too much content. And most of my clients, they’re not really using Google+ in my opinion. But I do know some folks that build up really great communities so Google+ collected a million users fast, even bigger than they’ve got on other social networks, so I don’t believe that Google+ is dying, but I think it’s just a platform for a very specific brand and with a very specific management and execution approach, which is different from Twitter and Facebook and the way other users consume the information.
DAVID BAIN: Mm. Well I guess no one quite knows what’s going to happen over the next year or so because they offer a lot of great services and I’m sure the majority of them at least will exist in some format, but it will be interesting to see how Google’s social battle will evolve over the next year or so.
But talking about social, last night I was conducting a podcast interview and I was Periscoped, and that is my interviewee took a Periscope while we were actually setting up the video. Now I remember back in February, Twitter bought this app called Periscope, which let you broadcast live video from your device and recently they’ve launched the app on Android just in the last week or so. They had launched the app on the iTunes Store about two months’ ago or so. I haven’t personally used it yet. Who, if anyone has a personal experience of actually using Periscope and how do you think that will impact marketing opportunities in the future?
MATT HODKINSON: I have to jump in here because I am actually the organiser of London’s Periscope Meet-up and so we had our first meet-up last month and we had a good few Periscopers there, and (cheap plug here) we’ve got another one coming up on the 18th June in South London, so we’ve got Mark Shaw speaking at that one. He’s a really prolific Periscope user.
I’ve been using it sporadically. I think I’ve got something to the order of about 5,000 hearts at the moment, which is kind of neither here nor there, and a few followers, but what I really find about it is the opportunity that it comes with. I see this as the next iteration of blogging and I think whatever drives you to blog, be it personal passions or be it travel, be it personal fitness, be it cooking or food, or be it for business, I think there’s this whole plethora of opportunity, much like a Hangout, for reaching a new audience. And the fact that it’s bolted onto Twitter means that the early-stage distribution is taken care of. I don’t think that it would exist at this point in time or even get onto people’s radar without that kind of leverage that it’s achieved.
There was a new update that was released yesterday. There are new features being released all the time. They’ve just released a map so you can, on a geo-location basis, find out what’s going on around you in terms of Periscoping. And there’s all sorts of things, new integrations with Twitter so you can share your own broadcast from within the app as well. So there’s all sorts of things that are bringing on new users every day. It’s growing all the time and it just comes down to people identifying those opportunities and use cases for it.
DAVID BAIN: I can’t believe I’m two months’ out of date here. I just don’t know much about it at all. Matt, do you want to give a brief summary of how it works and perhaps the best way of using it at the moment?
MATT HODKINSON: Well I could give you a live demo. This is the app here. We’ve got a whole list of broadcasts. These ones are recorded and in my network but I can literally go out to the world. ‘Pizzas not for breakfast’ – I mean, you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to Periscope. There’s all sorts of stuff. There’s some chap just talking away. You can see on the left-hand side here that people are passing their comments.
One of the recent features that they released was that you can tap on one of these and respond to someone’s comments as well, so it’s becoming conversational text-wise as well. And you’ll see this stream of hearts going at the right-hand side and that’s effectively a ‘like’ and some people get more hearts than others. There are people with literally tens of millions of hearts and become overnight celebrities, despite them having a very mediocre following on Twitter. I’ve seen people who have got literally hundreds of thousands of followers on Periscope, who have 1,500 followers on Twitter, so it’s not necessarily dependent on the levels of reach that you traditionally have via other channels. People are literally making web celebrities of themselves on Periscope just for the content they’re sharing on a regular basis.
DAVID BAIN: Wow, okay. And what perhaps are a couple of examples of good and bad practice or in terms of a business using it. Do you think it’s a business opportunity at the moment or it is simply a way to engage with people online?
MATT HODKINSON: Like much of content, I think a lot of it comes down to thought leadership and attaching yourself to whatever your cause is, and in business that means that showing your credibility, demonstrating your credibility and expertise on a particular topic. So we’ve got all sorts of opportunities. I think formats like this where there’s an interview format, panel format, opening up the floor to conversations with people in a particular sector, but also the whole TV show format, where you can get to talk about particular topics and showcase yourself, in the same way that people have been doing via vlogging and Hangouts and the like, and recorded video. And now it’s much more right here, right now, and mobile experience as well.
DAVID BAIN: So talking about recorded video or live video, there might be something glitch going on at the moment with the live experience inside that www.thisweekinorganic.com have received a few tweets. Brian Cooper and a couple of other people were saying that they’re struggling to view it within there, so if you can’t view it in there or are viewing this as a recording, apologies about that. Hopefully some people are being able to view it live okay there as well.
But staying with Periscope, Stewart, is that something that you’ve tried?
STEWART ROGERS: Yeah. I can’t very well twenty minutes’ ago say that when something new launches I jump all over it and not having tried Periscope and Meerkat and Stream and all of the others. Of course I’ve absolutely tried them out. In fact, hot off the press. I was in Boston earlier this week. We had GrowthBeat Summit out there and that was a room full of amazing people. GrowthBeat Summit is an invite-only audience and it’s CMOs and above – very high-bar in terms of the people that were there. You had the likes of Bryan Kramer there. You had Tamara McCleary there. Both of those people are very, very good at social, really understand it. And whilst I’ve used Periscope, I’ve used Meerkat. Before Meerkat and Periscope launched on Android, there was another live-streaming tool called Stream and that for quite a long time was the only Android option that made any kind of sense. I’d recommend people who don’t like Periscope or Meerkat taking a look at Stream ‘cause it’s very smart, very nice.
But before those, I didn’t get an opportunity to try it myself because I needed it to be on Android, given that I don’t like fruit-based phone, and I’ve tried it out, I like it, I like the experience. I’ve been able to use it for a kind of behind-the-scenes kind of gig, where you’re showing the people backstage before they go out on the stage and all that kind of good stuff. But Tamara and Bryan both did Meerkat and Periscope from the audience, showing the sessions that were going on. So when you have people like Michael Williams who is responsible for Grand Prix of America at Formula One sitting there talking with Bryan Kramer, you have Tamara McCleary putting that out live on Periscope and Meerkat simultaneously with two different devices. And the amount of buzz that that generated online for the event and everybody that couldn’t get there and that wanted to see Michael Williams speak live was incredible. It absolutely blew up and we ended up trending on Twitter. A lot of people say, ‘trending on Twitter’ but what I mean by that is that we trended on Twitter for all of Boston and it was at the same time as quite a lot of pretty big news was hitting, so to be on the top ten trends for all of Boston…we didn’t quite get into all of the United States, but a large part of that was thanks to the buzz that was generated from Periscope and Meerkat.
KELVIN NEWMAN: It does surprise me. Our most recent conference, the Brighton SEO Conference, was only a few weeks’ after South by Southwest. The amount of people who were watching streams of shaky footage of the talks that were occurring did surprise me. But if there’s a demand for what people are sharing, then people will watch it. The problem is that although it’s built on Twitter, if what you’re trying to share isn’t interesting and isn’t appropriate to format, then you’re going to struggle. It’s all very easy for people who already have a big social profile to get people to watch a couple of minutes of video. As a brand, trying to promote your business to the audience there, that’s a more tricky question, because it can be a bit flaky. It’s not an enterprise solution at the moment and there are some brands for whom it’s not appropriate.
STEWART ROGERS: Yeah, you’re absolutely right and by the way, a quick fanboy moment – really love what you’ve some with Brighton SEO, so great job there.
KELVIN NEWMAN: Thank you.
STEWART ROGERS: You know, I think my biggest issue with live-streaming at the moment, I looked into this a little while back, before the likes of Meerkat and Periscope. In fact, several years before then. And what I was looking at was a little hardware device called a Looxcie. The Looxcie was quite interesting because it looked like one of those Bluetooth headsets. It went in your ear, around your ear and stuck out a little bit at the front, like the original Bluetooth headsets did. But the bit that’s sticking out at the front is a camera and it connects via Bluetooth to your phone and any time you wanted to, you could capture and save the last 30 seconds of what you were looking at. So it was a way of capturing your life in 30-second chunks.
And the thing is that when you’re using Meerkat or Periscope, you’ve got to hold your phone, and you might if you’re really, really lucky bought one of these stupendously amazing, tiny little pieces of equipment which turns into a tripod for you to put your phone into so that you’ve got a tripod with you in your pocket and it’s no bigger than a key-ring. So you might have bought one of those, but the fact is most people are just going to have a shaky cam in their hands.
The problem with the Looxcies and the reason why it never took off is how many people do you see walking around with Bluetooth headsets even, let alone a great big camera hanging off the side of their face? Until we fix the hardware problem and make live-streaming a much, much easier thing to do, then it’s going to struggle, I think, from a consumer standpoint.
MATT HODKINSON: So it’s almost like we’d need to incorporate it into some sort of pair of glasses or something!
STEWART ROGERS: Almost as if, yeah, some sort of pair of glasses, absolutely! I should imagine that when they release what’s going to be happening with Google Glass 2, probably October-ish, we might even get something around that.
KELVIN NEWMAN: I think what might be interesting there is the GoPro, who would be the people to watch there. They’ve done so well with the hardware side of things, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched for them to be the main innovators there. And whether they’ll be a bit like Fitbit in that they do their one thing very, very well and then perhaps struggle to go beyond that in the way that a Fitbit versus an Apple Watch is two very different things. But if you want a fitness tracker, you buy a Fitbit, don’t you? So I’d imagine that GoPro would perhaps be the place I’d be looking for that software to come from, because they’ve got the hardware so right.
STEWART ROGERS: Yeah, and I think you’ve really nailed it. GoPro is a very interesting company to watch. They’re doing an awful lot of very interesting things, of course, at IO last week. They showed the great big GoPro rig for virtual reality recording and there’s the alternative GoPro version of that that Robert Scoville was showing us all on Facebook with the little bobble of GoPros on the end of a stick. They’re definitely moving in all of these very interesting areas and making some really interesting acquisitions in the space too, around live-streaming, around virtual reality, augmented reality. There’s some interesting stuff happening at GoPro, so I think it’s a pretty good shout.
MATT HODKINSON: But David, what do you think?
DAVID BAIN: What do I think? I’m still in this mode of I want to find out more about it because I don’t know massively how Periscope works. One question in terms of that I’ve got is simply what happens in terms of live broadcast? Is it only available within the Periscope app or is it broadcast as a live tweet as well, with the fact that it’s actually integrated with Twitter?
MATT HODKINSON: Yeah. So it’s broadcast live via the Periscope app. You can watch it via the web at the moment as well, though you don’t get the same level of interaction possible. You can’t comment and hit the hearts either. So it gets shared via Twitter, so the external users who aren’t necessarily connected with you can find it. Everything gets the Periscope hashtag attached to it. And then of course on your device as well you’ve got the ability at the end of the broadcast to upload it to the Periscope servers. In fact, as of yesterday’s update that happens instantaneously and people can play that back for up to 24 hours.
You can also save your local broadcast minus all of the comments and the hearts to your local device and therefore use it to upload to YouTube, Vimeo or whatever it might be as well. So there’s plenty of opportunity to be creating content that yes, gets broadcast live and streamed, is available for 24 hours on the platform but is also then available for you to upload to all the traditional recorded video means as well.
MATT HODKINSON: It’s going to come down to their social media polices as usual, which they’ve been trying to nail for years.
STEWART ROGERS: At the end of the day, if you hire influencers, you have to take them as influencers regardless of whether they influence in the right way or not. If you’re hiring people because of the reach and influence they have, you have to take the rough with the smooth. For example, Jeremy Clarkson.
DAVID BAIN: So Paul, you’re sitting quietly in the corner there. Are you a Periscoper at all?
PAUL RYAZANOV: I’m not a Periscoper yet. I did try it on the last conference. My personal opinion of this app is that even on their website they mention that the idea to watch this app is based on the situation that happened in the Ukraine in the last year, and I think for this specific app, the pressure to be in an emergency situation and we all know that Twitter stream people tweeting at any time of emergency wide open, so that probably was the reason why they bought this app. But at the same time, the problem with the live-streaming is me personally, and I think many other people, they want to see the content on their own time. So I will not always be on the live stream. It’s still pretty good for events, sports, shows, keynotes. That’s probably great. But in my opinion, I don’t think it will replace and be another vlog. That’s my personal opinion.
DAVID BAIN: Mm. Certainly a lot happening. Well we’ve covered an awful lot today so that just about takes us towards the end of this week’s show. Just time, I reckon, for a single takeaway and a sharing of find-out-more details from our guests. So starting off with Kelvin.
KELVIN NEWMAN: So if anyone wants to find me probably the easiest place is on Twitter, where my username is @KelvinNewman. I think probably the key lesson I’ve got from today is that there’s always going to be new things launched. It’s always about having an experiment. But as we’ve seen with the folding in that Yahoo! have done is that there’s always a danger that these products can be discontinued. So it’s a kind of experiment, but understand that there’s risks, i.e. the platform that you build within that might be dependent on the whims of a large company, which I think might be appropriate for a lot of these new technologies we’ve been talking about as well.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, so find out about how the technology works but don’t necessarily feel you have to jump on it and embrace it and spend a lot of time on it just now?
KELVIN NEWMAN: Yeah, and don’t build you business on someone else’s platform.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, absolutely. Matt, what would your key takeaway be here and also some contact details for you as well.
MATT HODKINSON: Sure. I’m going to stick with the Periscope theme and urge people just to try it out, see what they think of it. Yes, tune into other people’s broadcasts but do a bit of research on who to follow first because there’s a lot of rubbish there. There’s also some less salubrious broadcasters, but you can find some real gems. There are some real players out there making a name for themselves on the right footing.
If you want to get in touch with me, again Twitter, I’m part of the underscore brigade, so @matt_hodkinson, you can reach me there.
DAVID BAIN: And Paul.
PAUL RYAZANOV: My Twitter is @paulryazanov and from this conversation, it was quite interesting for me to know about the Yahoo! stuff shutting down so many different things. It was definitely new stuff for me. And the takeaway for other people, I would say there are a bunch of things happen every single week and just keep looking and see what the new technology brings to you and how you can use that for your own brand.
DAVID BAIN: And to the man who ran through the streets of Tonbridge to make it here on time, Stewart.
STEWART ROGERS: Well I’ve learnt that public transport isn’t necessarily as good as we would like to think it is. So that’s the first thing I’ve learnt, ‘cause it nearly made me very late. But I think to reflect what everyone else has said in terms of trying out something. I mean, that’s really the journey of marketing, isn’t it? Don’t we as marketers try something, see if it works, if it works we keep doing it and if it doesn’t work we throw it away and try something else? That’s effectively conversion rate optimisation and whilst it isn’t conversion rate optimisation in the sense of putting something in and playing around with your website to see what changes improve things, it still is conversion rate optimisation in the end.
I remember back in the very early days of my sales career, optimising what I was saying to people, and it was a very subtle change. My script said to say, ‘Who is the best person to talk to regarding this?’ and I changed it to, ‘Who, other than yourself, is the best person to talk to about this?’ And that small psychological change gave me around about a 400% increase in sales. And that’s conversion rate optimisation. Nothing has changed since those days back when I had naturally brown hair and nothing will probably change for another 200 years.
DAVID BAIN: And how do the viewers get in touch with you if they’d like to find out more?
STEWART ROGERS: You can find me on Twitter at @therealsjr. Or just type my name into Google and you’ll find me in the top eight or nine of the ten results. Don’t put me in Bing, ‘cause they don’t like me that much!
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful. Well I’m David Bain, Head of Growth here at AnalyticsSEO.com and you can also catch me interviewing online marketing gurus over at DigitalMarketingRadio.com. Now if you’re watching this as a recording, remember to watch the next episode live. Head over to www.thisweekinorganic.com and sign up to watch the next show in real-time. There was perhaps a little bit of a challenge with the live-stream today. Hopefully some of you got it live, so thanks for participating, and remember to continue sharing your thoughts sharing the hashtag #TWIO on Twitter. So until next time, have a fabulous weekend and thank you all for joining us. Adios.
Working as Content Marketing Director for Authoritas since March 2015, David also hosts our own weekly show – “This Week In Organic”, commonly referred to as #TWiO.