Twitter photos in newsfeed: It’s about originality and relevance too

Twitter image

Photo Credit: Rosaura Ochoa via Compfight cc

Ahead of its IPO, Twitter last week rolled out a new feature: pictures directly uploaded via Twitter and Vine vids would start appearing in timelines (as opposed to just being links you had to click to view).

Immediately the cynics could be heard voicing their displeasure about the Twitter newsfeed photos — it seemed (to them) to be a suspicious way of allowing… marketing! (shocking!) into the timeline. A good summation of this position can be found in a well-written post by Matthew Ingram on Gigamon (““).

I don’t really have a problem with Ingram’s analysis, that this move by Twitter was done with an eye on making the platform seem more marketing friendly. But … after tooling around my own timeline to see what images were now showing up, I reached two conclusions.

The first conclusion is that Twitter’s move to include the photos and Vines in the newsfeed is as much about encouraging better content and originality as it is about advertising and marketing. Marketers who don’t understand this may end up on the losing side of this change.

I also think this is about bringing users who are accustomed to using Twitter clients such as Hootsuite “back to the app” — a tricky move considering how tied Twitter is to its ecosystem of platforms. I certainly hadn’t stepped out of the confines of Hootsuite (which I use) to view a timeline so much as I have recently

When I heard of the in-stream picture feature, I went and looked at my timeline. I discovered something immediately: there were fun, original photos … and there was crap. Guess who I immediately unfollowed? Someone who had posted the same picture over and over of some crappy book they were selling got the boot, immediately.

If a Twitter photo looked like it was something an actual person might take — it got my attention. The more relevant and original the photo, the more positive my immediate reaction. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

So let this be a warning to any and all marketers: The medium defines the FORM and STYLE of the message. Uploading pics that seem … for lack of a better word … “markety” and very advertising-like are not going to be well liked. On the other hand, images that look original and connect in relevance to the user are another matter.

This is actually a part of a by-now age old story in social media marketing: quality matters. As does originality. And of course, relevance.

So is this really all about advertising/marketing? I’m going to split the baby on this issue. I think it’s very important for Twitter to up its game with visuals, imagery and video regardless of its attraction to marketers/advertisers. It’s simply the smart move for Twitter to move in this direction. Do people really care which platform delivers images that they like? Sure, some people might — but I certainly don’t care.

On a side note … I’m still surprised Twitter cards are not more popular — and Twitter could have done a TON more with this feature … but that’s another story.

Key takeaways from 2014 content marketing benchmark study

MarketingProfs recently released the findings from its annual benchmark study on B2B content marketing practices based on responses from marketers.

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Compfight cc

You can see the full SlideShare preso below, but here are the main points that stood out for me. Those organizations ranking themselves as most effective dramatically stood out from those that ranked themselves as least effective. Specifically, the most effective are:

  • 6 times more likely to have a documented content strategy.
  • Nearly twice as likely to have someone in charge of content marketing.
  • Spending more than twice on content marketing than least effective organization.

Not surprisingly, most-effective organizations are less challenged with producing engaging content (35%) compared to least effective (61%). I say “not surprisingly” because unless your marketing department or company actually devotes resources to content marketing in the form of money and personnel, it’s hardly likely to succeed. Putting someone in charge of content marketing and devoting spending to it are no-brainers (one would think).

It’s still amusing, however, to see companies advertise for interns to “do” social media for them. That’s usually a red flag that someone within that company at a high level is not willing to devote dollars to marketing.

Details: Facebook losing ground in B2B?

In MarketingProf’s SlideShare preso, there was one chart that really stood out to me. Slide 12 addresses marketers’ evaluation of the effectiveness of different social tools/platforms. First, address the obvious:

  • Only one platform, LinkedIn, had a response in which a majority of respondents ranked it as “effective” (62%) rather than “less effective” (38%)
  • The next four platforms could only muster an “effective” ranking between 40% and 50%: Twitter (50%), YouTube (48%), and SlideShare (45%) !
  • Where’s Facebook? Only 30% of those marketers surveyed ranked it as effective versus a whopping 70% who ranked in “less effective.”

What this means is: for those marketers who think that LinkedIn is eating Facebook’s lunch when it comes to attracting B2B marketers … you’re right. This doesn’t mean, however, that marketers should be left off the hook for not using Facebook to full potential. There are plenty of examples of good B2B marketing on Facebook. See these examples:

I think what’s more likely to be happening is that B2B may like LinkedIn more because 1.) its “Insights” analytical data is so accessible and 2.) LinkedIn is a self-defined business environment from the get-go.

Other devils in the details …

And look at little SlideShare go! As slide 12 notes there’s a difference in confidence with some platforms: larger companies (1,000) say YouTube is No. 2 in effectiveness, small companies say SlideShare and Twitter are in the No. 2 spot. Again – I’d say this is a surprising win for SlideShare!

It’s clear that small companies see more value in SlideShare because it simply isn’t as resource intensive as video can be. And the chances of a SlideShare getting decent views compared to a YouTube video is much greater — you’re talking about a much smaller pond.


Content is king — and the realm is enlarging

image of lion.

Photo Credit: Ali -Arsh via Compfight cc

There are two key takeaways from this week’s news that Google was encrypting ALL key word search data.

  1. It is increasingly harder to separate SEO from content strategy
  2. Content is king and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future

For me, the most important comments from the news were found in this HubSpot blog post. HubSpot, by the way, continues to be johnny-on-the-spot with this kind of reportage on the online marketing world. These two comments emphasize that more than ever, content is the driver of all things relevant, and that relevancy is even more important. My emphasis added.

Since SEO-optimized content is generally themed content around a specific topic, you can still track the SEO performance of all of your URL’s. I’d argue that tracking organic content at a page level, rather than an individual keyword level, makes a lot more sense given the recent increases in keyword ranking volatility.–Larry Kim, Founder & CTO, WordStream:

And then there’s this comment:

While secure searches may seem frustrating to many SEO marketers, this is actually a great move for our industry. Great SEO today is great content with powerful digital endorsements from relevant and authoritative websites, which results in business results that transcend the keyword conversation.–Aaron Aders, Co-Founder, digitalrelevance

So … we’re all on the same page now. Moves like this from Google really aren’t that surprising if you continue to chant this mantra: …it’s all about the content/it’s all about the content.