Klout gets better for users, worse for marketers?

Klout has rolled out updates to its service, including adjustments to individuals scores for increased accuracy, more transparency and a new site design.

The most significant change and one that caught my eye was the introduction of “Moments”, Klout’s new feature claiming to give greater insights into your influence online.

Moments appears to be a new feature that is set to highlight the reasons behind the shift in your Klout score, making the service more transparent. However the introduction of this new feature has come at the cost of the three previous measures – True Reach, Amplification and Network Impact.

From a digital marketer’s perspective, simply taking a user’s Klout score at face value was never enough. Marketers need to be able to understand why a user has a high score, in order to ensure certain objectives are being met.

For example, those looking to spread content virally may look at users with a high Amplification probability. Looking to change public perception, you may look at targeting users with a high True Reach or Network Impact.

There is a big difference in people sharing your content or responding to it. Dependent on the type of content you are trying to push, be that perhaps a video or marketing message, exactly who you are targeting needs to be precisely tailored to suit your campaign.

True Reach, Amplification and Network Impact were three brief scores that made up a small but important part of the algorithm I personally use to build up a list of who I believe are the most important people to target undergoing a campaign.

I’m worried that Klout are playing too much on individuals’ narcissistic emotions rather than concentrating on delivering an accurate, worthwhile service that delivers a true benefit to the world. Otherwise they may as well just go back to developing computer games. They’re probably more lucrative anyway…

However, every cloud does have a silver lining. The introduction of Wikipedia pages as a measure of influence has brought @JustinBieber down from his perfect Klout score of 100 to 92, whilst boosting @BarackObama to 99, taking into account his real world influence.

More details on how the influence from each individual network is calculated can be found here: http://klout.com/corp/kscore/

Google integrates Wimbledon’s Google+ page into SERPs. Brands to follow?

Google has continued to enhance its search pages with additional content, most recently enhancing it’s first page for Wimbledon related searches. Currently, searching “Wimbledon” pulls up a vast screen of maps, scores, match details, reviews and other information.

Wimbledon Search Results on Google

For some time now, Google has been embedding clever tricks into its search pages, such as local cinema listings, world news, sport scores, recipes and more, but what’s most interesting about Wimbledon related searches this time round is that in the bottom right, Google has integrated content from the Wimbledon official Google+ page.

With Google placing such a significant effort on increasing their stake in the social web, could this be the first step in embedding Google+ page results when users search for brands?

As I wrote last week, with Google already closing the doors on Google Pages, migrating all location results to Google+ Local, the search giant is already forcing brands to exist on the social network. But the embedding of data into the right hand side of the page, rather than the search results, might just be the tipping point for brands to choose to invest a great deal more time and energy in developing their pages and driving their audience to engage with the brand on Google+.

Not another Buzz

Google+ should not be mistaken as another Google Buzz, a social networking, microblogging and messaging tool left to die by Google at the end of last year. Google has invested huge ammounts of time, energy and money into ensuring the success of Google+, including directly linking the annual bonuses of over 25% of Google employees to the success or failure of their social products.

Whilst questions continue to arise around the user engagement levels on Google+, it remains true that Google are not letting up on trying to capture the social web for themselves.

A blogger’s resolution. Don’t blog often, comment often!

Many bloggers began 2012 with a common new year’s resolution – blog more often.

For some, this has meant setting out a specific timescale – blogging Tuesdays and Thursdays perhaps. For some, this means blogging at least once a day, without fail.

“Yes, regular thought leadership – that’s what my blog needs!”

The huge rise of people blogging on a regular basis has undoubtedly changed the web. In terms of content consumption and generation specifically, I now read more content from bloggers than I do from ‘mainstream’ media.

However, with this rise we have begun to become a race of selfish writers, with many forgetting how to give back to the blogging community. Successful blogs began not just producing great content, but linking and communicating with other blogs alike. However, the bloggers of today seem content with simply writing and publishing their own content, without a consideration for the blogging community as a whole.

This draws bloggers dangerously close to the thin line between being the really interesting guy at the party, and being the one who just won’t stop talking about themselves.

When talking amongst a group of people, you may bring up a topic or two, but you may listen to five. So why not reply to five posts from bloggers you favour, before blogging yourself? If someone has already blogged about a topic you were about to write on, consider replying to their post rather than blogging yourself.

commenting on other blogs

This has two benefits. Firstly, it’s likely that they will check out your blog, and return the favour soon. Secondly, a lot of blog commenting platforms allow you to hyperlink your name back to your blog.

I’m not suggesting you go around spamming blog posts with links to your site, which are likely to be deleted and blocked. Rather, spend the time giving back to the blogging community, and you will start to benefit yourself.

What goes around comes around!

So this year, my new year’s resolution isn’t to blog more. It’s to comment more. Let’s start to give back!

Facebook is stealing the talent

This cool infographic from Top Prospect Data Labs shows Facebook seem to be winning the war between the big tech companies for the best young talent out there. They do have very cool offices after all…

Via stateofsearch.com

Google will replace your wallet sooner than you think

Google Wallet Logo

Yesterday, Google officially announced the launch of their latest product, Google Wallet, at a joint press conference in New York with MasterCard and Citibank. Initially available on the company’s Android mobile handset (with plans to roll out the technology across other mobile platforms), users will be able to wave their phone in front of an in-store reader to make purchases in stores.

Barclaycard have been utilising the Near Field communications (NFC) technology for the last few years now, with their contactless payment readers in many stores across the UK. However, the real benefit of Google’s venture is that not only will you be able to partner it with more than one credit card, but in the future you will also be able to link your store loyalty cards and coupons.

Combining this with Google’s Groupon competitor, Google Offers, also launched this week, suddenly bells start to ring, and you realise that Google, with its primary school colours, left the start line a long time ago, and the competition are still tying their shoe laces. Rather than emailing customers with 2-for-1 deals on their Wednesday night dinners at Pizza Express, Google will have the ability to slip coupons right into consumers’ wallets. Combine this with GPS and the possibilities for advertisers, for brands… It’s endless!

It’s not all clear skies for Google though. PayPal filed a law suit in California against Google, alleging that the search giant hired two former PayPal executives to obtain trade secrets for the project.

But in the grand scheme of things, I don’t see Google loosing much sleep over this. Because whilst other internet giants have been stealing the headlines recently, Google are about to assert their dominance as kings of the internet. So it’s time to say goodbye to the faithful leather friend in your back pocket that you’ve relied on so much to keep your financial life in order. Your mobile phone’s had front pocket real estate privilege for some time now anyway.

(photo cc licensed flickr photo – somegeekintn)

Dilbert looses iPhone 4G prototype

In a blog post yesterday (presumably because Apple probably wouldn’t take too kindly to these appearing in the New York Times etc), Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams rips into the recent supposed loss of the iPhone 4G prototype.

Gizmondo lead the story last week, after paying $5000 for the Apple prototype found in a German beerhouse in Cupertino, which subsequently led to Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home computer being siezed by California police.

But, it was a sure duty for the worlds biggest tech cartoonist to parody one of the biggest technology leaks in the past few years!

The newspaper is dead. Long live the news

A little over two months ago, in response to Martin Veitch’s tweet, I stated that both the book, and the newspaper will never die. I’m preparing to eat some humble pie. This week saw the launch of the Guardian’s new iPhone app. I’ve been using it for a little over 48 hours now, and I’m starting to wonder… Do I ever need to buy the paper version again?

I’ve always liked The Guardian. Not for its editorial (I prefer The Times), its business pages (I prefer the FT), or its rugby reviews (The Telegraph wins here). It’s simply the nicest paper to read, visually.

When it comes to colour, design, layout, font, The Guardian has absolutely nailed it. It’s a great looking paper, a visual masterpiece. Whilst sitting in Nude Espresso (one of the best coffee houses in East London) as usual either before work or on a Saturday morning, it’s the paper of choice.

This morning I tried something different. Instead of reaching for the familiar blue masthead, I took my phone out of my pocket, and with a quick swipe and a tap, I had The Guardian.

iphone

The Guardian team has done an amazing job on this app. It’s no doubt the BEST news app available for the iPhone. It’s slick, and looks like Apple has designed it in-house. With a smooth interface, I found myself flipping through stories faster than a Japanese origami master could ever manage with the paper version.

Gone was my argument for the need for tactile feel of the pages. The iPhone already feels great. Plus there’s all the benefits of going digital. There’s slick animations, access to photo galleries, and better still, access to all The Guardian podcasts on the move!

But the real kicker with this app is ‘offline reading’. In short, it allows you to download huge chunks (or all) of the daily news to your phone to read offline. For most news apps on the iPhone, this is their Achilles’ heel. As soon as you’re out of signal, you lose all access to the content which is effectively being streamed over the 3G connection.

So not only is it smaller and lighter than the paper, gone are the days of wrestling for an extra few inches of reading space on the tube to prop your triple folded paper just in front of your face, to then have to wait until the next station before you’re able to change the page.

As Marketing Week reported earlier this month, newspaper circulation is continuing to fall. In the first 24 hours of the app being released, it was already the top paid-for app in the UK and the US. In the app world, this is the equivalent of getting a global Christmas number 1 hit in the charts. It gives you prime place in the app store, and sends your downloads through the roof.

As it stands, it’s not going to replace The Sunday Times for me. £2 for what seems like more editorial than a Dickens novel, cracking open the plastic to reveal more supplements than a pharmacy would stock, you can’t beat it.

But I do fear that from now on, it’s the only paper I’ll ever buy again…

Guardian

I still stand by my prediction that the Kindle won’t catch on, beyond the early adopter levels. It’s too low-tech. However I do believe that in the near future, Apple will no doubt soon release a tablet to beat all tablets (I’ll probably camp out overnight again like I did for my iPhone). The trick with these things, much like The Guardian has proved with its app, is that it’s all about the user interface.

For the reproduction of both books and newspapers on electronic devices, the key for designers is to not re-create the same interface that the reader has with paper. That is impossible. Paper feels too good. It’s too tactile, too romantic. Instead the only way to beat paper is to make the interface more fun, more interactive. Readers need to prefer digital to paper. Environmental concerns won’t cut it here.

So, I’m officially eating a big fat slice of humble pie. The death of the hardcopy newspaper is nigh, consider this its obituary. Books I believe will follow also, to be forever cast into the deepest depths of the country’s libraries museums.

The newspaper is dead. Long live digital news…