Best-Android-phones-for-Christmas-2013Now that the holiday season is over, several companies including Target and Amazon are releasing statistics related to 2014’s holiday shopping. While there are several interesting facts to be found in the reports, Target’s release may have the most striking bit of information.

Target claims the majority of traffic to its website came from mobile devices throughout the holiday season, making it clear that mobile is quickly becoming the primary option for online shopping.

The company says, “Mobile traffic made up 60 percent of traffic November through December.” The press release also highlighted other mobile milestones for the company:

  • Black Friday weekend purchases made via mobile phones were 2 times higher than 2013
  • Cartwheel, Target’s digital coupon app, added 2 million new users over the holiday period and surpassed $1 billion in promotional sales since it launched
  • store-pickup orders hit a new record high on Thanksgiving Day
  • Store maps in Target’s new iPhone app were accessed more than 400 thousand times

Long-time mobile leader Amazon reported similar findings to Target, saying, “Nearly 60 percent of customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday. Mobile shopping accelerated as customers got later into the shopping season.”

Amazon also mentioned that Cyber Monday was the biggest mobile shopping day of the season, but Black Friday “had the most rapid growth in mobile shopping.” The company also reported that total sales of the Amazon smartphone app had doubled last year, which coincides with Amazon mobile entering comScore’s Top 15 US Smartphone apps list.

Many small businesses are pretty cautious when it comes to investing the very limited amount of time and money they have into marketing, but a new survey shows the vast majority of small or medium businesses who use online marketing are glad they did.

BrightLocal’s annual SMB Internet Marketing Survey asked 736 businesses with 1-50 employees about their feelings and use of internet marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing services in October-November 2014.

Of those who responded to the survey, 95% were businesses located within North America (92% U.S.; 3% Canada).


When asked how effective each respondent felt internet marketing is at attracting new customers to their business, 32% said they found online marketing to be “very effective” (compared to 27% in 2013). Combined, 75% felt internet marketing is “effective” or “very effective” at attracting new customers (compared to 68% in 2013).


The findings of the survey also show that many small businesses are still reaping significant rewards with internet marketing on a limited budget. The report says 70% of those who responded to the survey are spending less than $500 per month on marketing (compared to 73%), and 83% are spending less than $1,000 per month.

There are several other interesting findings in the study, but the overall message is clear. Online marketing is highly effective, even for businesses who don’t have extensive resources to put towards marketing.

Facebook may still be the most popular social media site, but Instagram is easily the fastest growing site, according to a new survey released by Pew Research Internet Project.

The survey shows the most popular social media site’s growth may be stagnating, but their most recent changes seem to be improving engagement.


The Pew numbers suggest Facebook facilitates the most engagement of any social platform, as 70% of users fully engage with the site daily. That’s a notable increase from 63% last year. In comparison, only 49 percent of Instagram users and 17 percent of Pinterest users engage with the sites on a daily basis.

While Instagram is unable to draw the engagement levels of Facebook, they outpace anyone in the market when it comes to attracting new users. Over the past year, the number of American adults using Instagram rose 9 percent. That means 26 percent of all adults in the U.S. now use the site.


In comparison to, Pinterest only grew 7 percent, LinkedIn grew by 6 percent, and Twitter grew by 5 percent. Instagram’s huge rise shouldn’t be too surprising, as they recently announced reaching 300 million monthly active users, surpassing Twitter for the first time.

Some other interesting findings in the report:

  • Daily use of Twitter dropped 10 percentage points to 36%. Twenty-two percent say they check the site several times a day, 24% a few times a week and 40% less often.
  • Instagram showed statistically significant growth across all age demographics, while still skewing younger. Notably 53% of younger adults (18-29) use the service, up from 37% in 2013. Instagram users are very active; 49% say they use the site daily, 32% several times a day and 24% weekly.
  • Pinterest is still favored mostly by women, with 42% of all online U.S. females saying they are Pinterest users. That’s up from 33% the year before. Men, on the other hand, are still lagging at 13%, an increase of 5 points over 2013.
  • LinkedIn users are coming to the site less often with weekly users dropping to 25% from 34% and those who visit every few weeks or less increasing to 61% from 52% the previous year. Users of the career-oriented network still skew older, higher income and college educated (50% of college graduates — an increase of 12 percentage points from 2013 — use LinkedIn).


Expect to see a lot more videos in your Facebook feed. According to the social media platform, people around the world are posting 75% more videos to Facebook compared to this time last year, and that growth is even greater in the U.S. where video uploads on the social network have risen 94%.

Unsurprisingly, this surplus of video content has also led to a much greater amount of videos being featured in users’ news feeds. Facebook says the number of videos featured in news feeds has risen 360% over the past year.

“With people creating, posting and interacting with more videos on Facebook, the composition of News Feed is changing,” said Facebook in the announcement. “Globally, the amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6x year-over-year.”

“Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day. On average, more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily and 76% of people in the US who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.”

With the fast growth, Facebook is poised to overtake YouTube as the primary place for marketers to post videos, especially as previous studies have found that on desktop Facebook has already surpassed YouTube in monthly video views.

Facebook also included suggestions for video creators to ensure you get the most reach possible for videos on the platform:

As a creator, you should be conscious that people will discover your video in News Feed next to a photo from a friend or a status update from a relative. Your video needs to fit in, and it needs to be something that your audience will want to watch and share.

With the launch of auto-play and the surge in mobile use, it’s also important to focus on posting videos that grab people from the first frame of video. Shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed. Keep in mind that auto-play videos play silently in News Feed until someone taps to hear sound, so videos that catch people’s attention even without sound often find success.

yahoo-search-appAccording to new data from web traffic analytics provider StatCounter, Yahoo has reached its highest share of the U.S. search market in more than five years thanks to a recent agreement with Mozilla.

In December, Yahoo’s search share jumped to 10.4 percent, up from 8.6 percent in November. The new share of the search market came at the expense of Google, who was previously the default search engine for Mozilla’s web browser Firefox.

In late November, Mozilla agreed to a five-year partnership with Yahoo, breaking a 10 year partnership with Google. December marked the first full month during which Yahoo was the primary search engine on Firefox.

The drop brought Google to its lowest share ever recorded by the analytics firm, falling from 77.3 percent to 75.2 percent.


“The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on U.S. search,” says Aodhan Cullen, chief executive at StatCounter. “The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google.”

Bing also saw an increase in their share of the search market last month, though not nearly as significant of an increase as Yahoo. From November to December, Bing’s share rose from 12.1 percent to 12.5 percent. The “other” category stayed practically the same, fluctuating from 2 percent to 1.9 percent.


Twitter is making some big changes to its feed for the first time since the company established itself as a major social media platform. Users are spotting a ‘While you were away’ feature which helps sort through the noise of your feed to find the best content.

The feature is not available for everyone yet, but the increasing number of users seeing it suggests it will be fully available soon. Twitter is currently declining to confirm when a full release is expected.

‘While you were away” is the first notable non-chronological feature available on Twitter, making a significant break from the traditional time-sorted feed on the site. Twitter indicated something similar was coming back in November, when the company said it would allow you to find the ‘best’ tweets from your feed since you last opened Twitter.

“Every time you open the Twitter app, you’ll see something great,” said the announcement.

In the past, Twitter would alert users to popular Tweets with email and push notifications. The new feature should streamline the process to make it easier for users to catch up with their friends without having to scroll through endless posts.

‘While you were away’ may also have some potential benefits for businesses as well, depending on the platform’s algorithm. With continued visibility of successful posts, there is a greater chance for people to see anything you share once it has gained traction.

Pinterest started 2015 with a bang by expanding Promoted Pins to all users yesterday morning. Promoted Pins were first introduced early last year when a beta roll out was given to a select number of advertisers. The social platform announced the expansion Monday, while also providing some pretty astounding statistics about Promoted Pin performance.


Here are some of the benefits Pinterest claims Promoted Pins can provide:

  • Promoted Pins perform as well or better than organic Pins.
  • Brand advertisers achieved about a 30% bump in earned media from people who saw a Promoted Pin and saved it to their own boards
  • Promoted Pins are repinned 11 times more than organic Pins on average.
  • Promoted Pins draw engagement from users well after a campaign has ended.
  • Businesses typically outside of Pinterest’s core categories and interests were also successful with Promoted Pins.

While these findings sound nice, it is important to remember that Pinterest’s beta launch of Promoted Pins was given to a select number of well-established brands. While the new promoted posting system may carry some weight, the data is based on a test of high-quality targeted ads. Your mileage may vary.

To help businesses get introduced to promoting themselves on Pinterest, the company is establishing the “Pinstitute” – a new interactive program to educate businesses on how to connect with users and improve their return on investment.

The “Pinstitute” helps you learn about what kind of Pins perform the best, what users are interested in, and what products will be coming from Pinterest in the future. The program will also invite select groups of brands and agencies to quarterly workshops. The Pinstitute will have provide webinars and other online education tools tailored for the needs of local and smaller businesses.