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YouTube Live

YouTube is arguably the largest online video platform on the internet (though Facebook is providing some tough competition), so it is interesting that the platform has been one of the slowest to provide a widely available way to live stream.

That may be starting to change, however, as YouTube is significantly lowering the number of subscribers a user needs before being able to stream.

YouTube only introduced its public live streaming feature back in February, although it has partnered with large events to provide live streams for years. Even then, a user needed to have at least 10,000 subscribers before they were allowed to start streaming.

Over the past week, that threshold was quietly reduced to just 1,000 subscribers. Rather than announce the change, it was only discovered after a change to one of YouTube’s help pages.

The subscriber requirement is just one of a couple different stipulations required for streaming. Users must also have a verified channel and have not received any live stream restrictions in the past 90 days. Live stream restrictions are punishments placed against channels that have violated YouTube’s terms of services.

To start a live stream, follow these simple steps:

  • Tap the camera icon
  • Grant permissions allowing the YouTube app to access the Camera, Mic, and Storage.
  • Verify your account if you have not previously.
  • Tap GO LIVE.
  • Name your live video and set the privacy setting for your stream
  • Tap FINISH when you’re ready to end the stream

AdWords In Store Visits

Since launching in spring, Google AdWords’ structured snippet extensions have shown themselves to be a powerful tool in the AdWords arsenal.

Structured snippets add an extra line of information with your text ads which specifically highlight important information for searchers. When implemented well, this can boost click-through rates for ads.

Now, Google has made these structured snippets even more visible in the search results by doubling the amount of information that can accompany text ads.

To do this, advertisers can select two predefined “Headers” which act as structured snippets. Then, those headers can be customized with two unique sets of values. Depending on the search results, these snippets have the potential to be displayed at the same time.

Google does say that each structured snippet extension is treated as its own ad auction, and like other ad extensions, may not always appear together.

You can boost the chances of having both extensions display at the same time by being thorough and providing as much information as you can. With more information, the ad auction is better able to select the highest quality combination of extensions. Not only does this improve your chances of having both snippets show at the same time, it also increases your overall ad performance.

3872691762_723d015a2aAny business owner who has ever received online reviews – whether they were negative or positive – can tell you the power online reviews have in influencing how others perceive your brand. All it can take is one glowing or irate review on a popular service such as Google or Yelp to make or break your business.

Most business owners will also tell you the most likely person to leave a review is an angry customer, but a new survey from Mike Blumenthal published on GetFiveStars suggests those business owners may be wrong.

While it is true that extreme reactions are the most likely to result in reviews for your business, the evidence suggests consumers are actually more likely to reward excellent service than they are to attack businesses which provided a bad experience.

Blumenthal surveyed over 600 consumers that self-reported being active online reviews, asking when and why do you typically leave a review for a local business, and the findings show that few reviewers see calling out exceptionally bad service as their primary motivation.

In actuality, most reviewers actually see their reviews as a means to help inform the community, the business, and other consumers.

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For the survey, Blumenthal and colleagues allowed the respondents to answer in their own words, which were then categorized into the following categories:

  • When Experience was really Good or really Bad
  • Only When the Experience really Good
  • Only When the Experience was really Bad
  • To Help Other Consumers
  • To Help Business/Community
  • To Inform Business
  • Other

While the largest cohort of consumers was defined by extremes with a third of respondents only writing reviews based on really good or really bad experienced, the second largest group is entirely characterized by individuals who only use reviews to celebrate excellent service.

Importantly, this group was not much smaller than those who were motivated by extreme experiences on both ends of the spectrum, suggesting business owners are more likely to get positive reviews for good experiences than they are to receive poor reviews when they drop the ball.

To put this in context, 25% of active reviewers reported leaving reviews only when the experience was overwhelmingly positive, but 5% of reviews only leave reviews for truly poor experiences. That means the average reviewer isn’t the perpetually angry critic they are often portrayed as.

The truth is the vast amount of reviewers aren’t out to get anybody. They view themselves as integral parts to the current business ecosystem and an important part of society.

Ultimately, the reason online reviews may seem overwhelmingly negative is because it is simply much more difficult to provide exceptional service than it is to provide a terrible experience. That doesn’t mean it is impossible.

As a business owner, you should naturally be striving to provide the best service possible. If you are doing that, all you have to do to start drawing in scores of positive reviews is make it easy for your consumers to give you feedback and be sure to listen to their needs. If your customers feel like you are listening and responding to what they have to say, you should expect to see great reviews flooding in within no time.

Read the full report from GetFiveStars here.

 Google-My-Business-Logo

If you run a local business and haven’t logged into Google My Business in a while you may be at risk of having Google unverify your listings, according to a statement from a Google representative today.

In a post on the Google and Your Business Help Forum, Google’s Jade Wang confirmed the news that the company has been contacting some Google My Business users that it considers to be inactive:

In some cases, we may contact Google My Business users via email to confirm that they are still actively managing a business page. If a user is unresponsive to our attempts to contact him or her and has not logged into Google My Business for a significant length of time, then we may unverify pages in the account. We’re doing this in order to continue to provide users with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses like yours. If you find that a page in your account has been incorrectly unverified, please contact support to get assistance restoring verification.

The news was first brought to light by Brian Barwig of Integrated Digital Marketing, who posted a message today about a phone conversation he had with a Google support rep who told him that this may happen to accounts which are considered inactive for six months.

Mike Blumenthal has also shared the text of the email Google sends out to warn inactive accounts about being potentially unverified.

To help prevent this, Wang included some advice: “It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the inbox associated with your Google My Business (Locations) account. It’s also a good idea to regularly log into Google My Business (Locations) to confirm that your business information is current and accurate.”

SC_lockup

Over the past decade, website operators have relied on Google Webmaster Tools for ensuring their sites were being properly displayed and indexed across the search giant, but big changes are on the way. Google is rebranding one of its most popular services to Search Console and there a few new features coming with the new name.

According to Google, the shakeup is the result of user feedback, as only a small portion of users actually identify as “webmasters.” Google is hoping the new name will help bring the service to a wider user base.

“It turns out that the traditional idea of the “webmaster” reflects only some of you. We have all kinds of Webmaster Tools fans: hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well… So, to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search, we’ve decided to rebrand Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console.

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The rebranding is coming in the next few weeks, and Google has announced two new features that are expected to roll out about the same time.

With Search Console, users will have access to all the functionality they have come to expect of Webmaster Tools, as well as the ability to see how searchers are accessing your content via Android apps through Google Search within Search Analytics reports and the ability to see your app content through Google’s eyes with an alpha version of Fetch as Google for Apps.

Earlier this year Google and Twitter announced a deal which promise to bring more tweets to your search results, and that promise is coming true today. Google now includes tweets in a more cohesive and graphical format on mobile devices, including a tweet carousel.

Both Twitter and Google announced the news in blog posts today, including examples of how the feature appears, such as the example below which shows how it looks if you search on #madmen.

madmen2

You can also scroll through the carousel to see more results.

The placement of the feature isn’t always directly at the top of the page. According to Search Engine Land, the tweet carousel can appear in the middle or even the bottom of the page, as their example for “MacBook Pro” shows:

macbook-tweets1

Tweets don’t show for every search, and it is currently unclear exactly what types of searches include tweet carousels and which don’t. However, Google does say:

It’s a great way to get real-time info when something is happening. And it’s another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments.

That suggests searches for hastags, topics, prominent figures, or trending events are most likely to include tweets.

Google has included Twitter in its search results in the past, even after their last deal ended. The new agreement simply allows for much deeper integration in the search results.

Currently, the new implementation on the search results is limited to only users in the US, in English, using either their browser in iOS or Android, or on the Google Search App. Twitter has promised further support for desktop and more languages in the near future.

Google Delivery

Google is partnering with six delivery providers across the US to establish a new service that will deliver food to your home, straight from the search results.

“Whether you’re craving deep dish pizza or pad thai, starting today you can order food from some of your favorite restaurants directly from Google search results.”

Thanks to the new service, US residents can simply type in what they want to eat, select the restaurant of their choice, then click “Place an order” without ever leaving the search engine.

From there, simply place your order, choose your preferred delivery service, and complete your order from the website.

Google’s partners in this venture currently include the following companies:

  • Seamless
  • GrubHub
  • Eat24
  • Delivery.com
  • BeyondMenu
  • MyPizza.com

 

The search engine will potentially add more delivery providers in the future as it expands this service.

In line with this new addition, Google is also allowing users to book appointments and make reservations directly from the SERPs.

Local businesses should be especially interested in the service as there is no complicated opt-in. Just go to your Google My Business dashboard and ensure the feature is turned on.

According to a Google help center article, links to place an order or book an appointment will appear automatically for eligible businesses.

It has been a long time coming, but it has finally happened. Mobile has officially overtaken desktop search, according to a new statement from the company.

Informal reports from Google last year indicated it was all but an inevitability that mobile search queries would officially take the lead this year, and Google finally confirmed the news along with a range of new AdWords and Google Display Network announcements.

The company said “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan,” however it also declined to elaborate what other countries were involved or how recently this shift happened.

Google did note that mobile queries include mobile browser-based searches, as well as those coming from Google’s mobile search apps.

Google did not include tablets with mobile devices, instead choosing to group searches from tablets with those from desktop devices.

The claims have come under fire from some, who are skeptical in the face of contrary data from outside sources. ComScore previously released a report and graphic comparing the volume of US-based search queries across PC, tablets, and smartphones, which showed only 29 percent of total searches were coming from smartphones and tablets in Q4 2014.

If Google’s data is correct, it would imply either ComScore’s was faulty or mobile search experienced an incredible rise over just a few months. For now, that much is unclear because Google is not commenting on the ComScore data.

FBVidVsYouTube

Facebook has made a big deal of highlighting the strengths of the Facebook Video platform, but a new study from Visible Measures shows there is no clear-cut winner between YouTube and Facebook. The data collected by the company adds context to earlier numbers and demonstrates how both platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Facebook isn’t being dishonest when they highlight their statistics for views, but Facebook’s video platform has a difficult time maintaining momentum with popular videos. The platform excels at launching videos and gathering early velocity, but YouTube still has the clear lead when it comes to long-term value.

To come to these conclusions, Visible Measures studied 82 randomly chosen video campaigns launched by brands within the month of March and found that YouTube generated more views (65%-35%). While Facebook trails behind YouTube, the younger platform has made incredible strides in the span of a single year. Facebook only had a single digit share of brand video in last year’s study.

Only 53 of the campaigns included in the study posted natively to Facebook, perhaps contributing to YouTube’s lead in total views in 66% of campaigns.

The most striking difference between the platforms is the contrasting trajectories of videos on each platform. Facebook videos tended to accelerate quickly before peaking and gradually fading away. In fact, Facebook videos typically reached 85 percent of their total views in only the first week after launch. To contrast, YouTube only received 63% of its total viewership within the first seven days after launch.

These results were backed up by longer-term comparisons. Visible Measures points to findings that Facebook had 25% of total viewership of Super Bowl ad campaigns, but that number had dropped to 18.5% just two months later.

Visible Measure’s founder and CEO Brian Shin says these stats reflect the different natures of the platforms and noted that finding older videos on Facebook is specifically very difficult.

“If something is hot and of the moment, such as a newly released campaign, the Super Bowl, or even a cultural phenomenon like Fifty Shades of Grey, Facebook and similar social media sites are incredibly effective for driving the spread of timely content due to the trending nature of the News Feed,” Shin said in a release. “But the strength of Facebook to promote trending content also highlights how powerful YouTube remains as a platform for continued viewership.”

Mobilegeddon

Mobilegeddon

In less than 24 hours, we will all be living in a post-“Mobilegeddon” world. That means Google’s mobile friendly update will start rolling out tomorrow after months and months of rumors and hints. Normally Google doesn’t announce upcoming algorithm changes ahead of time – perhaps because it creates a panic – however this time the company gave webmasters plenty of time to make sure they are prepared.

Basically, the mobile friendly algorithm aims to make sure users who are searching with smartphones are only shown sites that are properly optimized for mobile devices.

Given that Google has been heavily implying this day would come for over a year, it is slightly surprising to see the number of panicked webmasters. Google has given brands every opportunity to ensure their sites are up to snuff, but Zineb Ait Bahaiji of Google’s Webmaster Trends team confirmed the algorithm will have the largest impact of any of Google’s recent algorithms.

Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms are infamous for their impact on search results pages, but Bahaiji told the crowd at SMX Munich that the mobile algorithm would absolutely affect more than either animal-themed algorithms.

Panda affected 12% of search queries when it was released, while Penguin impacted 3.1% of queries.

If you are concerned your site isn’t prepared for the oncoming “Mobilegeddon”, check out our previous coverage to see what you need to do to appease the search engine’s new algorithm. You can also check to see your site’s status by using Google’s mobile friendly testing tool.