Shape Up Your Site for Summer with Google Knowledge Graph

June 18, 2015

In November 2014, Google began adding links to social network sites in the Knowledge Graph Box for famous actors, political figures and bands. Next came social network links for big-name brands such as Apple and Starbucks. Then, even corporate brands had their social sites displayed. Now, thanks to the recent release of new structure data markup, Google is allowing you to specify your own brand’s social profile.

Add your social media sites to the knowledge graph

The best way to make sure that Google adds your social media sites to their Knowledge Graph is by marking them up in your site. If you meet Google’s requirements, they will add the social sites you specified in your markup code. Keep in mind that if your site has a verification process, Google will only display profiles that are verified. Here’s how.

Potential technical and algorithm issues

Because Google relies on the structured data markup on your site, the codes you use must specifically say what  your social accounts are. If your brand does not have these links set up in their site, Google will look for the best alternative and this isn’t always the right one. If you notice the wrong links being displayed in your brands knowledge graph, there are several ways to fix the problem. You could either go in and attempt to change the markup in your site using the Google Help page, request a correction from the feedback form on the bottom right corner of the Knowledge Graph, or you could contact Google’s Account Management for help.

What it means for your brand

Google embedding your social media even further in their search results can be beneficial for your brand, but only if they are being used correctly and consistently. The objective of the Google Knowledge Graph is to allow users to find what they are seeking from the brand by leading them to direct information from the actual brand without having to click other search results and piece together their answer. So say for example, a brand decides to include all their social media sites but doesn’t update their Twitter often or has little to no traffic on their Facebook page – if these are some of the first links users click, they are going to be disappointed and set back on their search. Make sure that the sites you display are being updated regularly with relevant information about your brand!

What it means for marketers

There seems to be a trend where users who search for a specific brand also end up searching for their social profiles. This may be why sites like Facebook, and now Instagram have decided to add call-to-action buttons that lead from one related site to another.

Google Knowledge Graph allows brands to add links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Increasing a brand’s social visibility has the potential to bring in more traffic to sites. Don’t forget about checking the analytics, too! Tracking impacts from increased visibility, whether its an increase in followers, user feedback, etc. can help adjust or improve the social strategies being used for your brand.

Ready to get started? Just give Van West Media a shout. We’ll whip your site into shape in no time.

4 Things To Know About Instagram’s New Feature

June 16, 2015

We should have seen it coming. With social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter selling advertisements to brands and products in hopes of  encouraging users to buy products – it was only a matter of time before Instagram joined the party.

Earlier this week, the company announced its plans to open up the Instagram feed to all advertisers, not just the handful of big-name brands we’ve been seeing for the last couple of months. Within the next year, users can expect to see their feeds filled with ads from local shops to global brands. We can now add Instagram to the list of social networking sites that are attempting to convince their millions of users to shift from simple browsing to shopping within the site. Here are the four things to know about these new InstaAds:

1 – The ads are a way to keep the site free for users while still bringing in money for the company.

Since parent company, Facebook, purchased Instagram in 2012, the site has been relatively untouched in terms of advertisements. In 2013, users began to see few, well-known brands scattered in their feeds, but now they can expect a lot more. RBC Capital Markets has estimated that depending on how fast the ads are introduced, this year Instagram could bring in between $1.3 and $2.1 billion additional revenue to Facebook.

2 – The ads on your feed will (hopefully) cater to your searches.

Okay, so it might take some time to get used to  all the new ads popping up within your feed, but Instagram is not trying to shove any and every product in your face. Similar to its parent company, Facebook, Instagram has been tracking what you search and like within the site. Brands will be able to target their ads based on your age, sex, interests, and geographic location.

3 – Instagram plans to keep the disruption to your feed as minimal as possible.

Instagram is such a popular platform because it is aesthetically pleasing, very intuitive and is easily searchable. Before, if you were on a clothing brand’s Instagram and wanted to shop for an item, you would have to exit the app then copy and paste the link provided to your browser. Instagram’s new advertisements feature will include a “Shop Now” button that will lead directly to the point of sale. Marketers everywhere are rejoicing!

4 – These ads go beyond just shopping.

Based on your activity within the app, you can also expect calls-to-action like “Install Now” or “Sign Up.”

It’s a big change for Instagram – one that hopefully wont take away from our browsing experience. Let’s hope that these new formats won’t drastically change the way we’ve come to love the app itself.

Do you think Instagram ads will sink or swim?

Weigh in with a tweet to @VanWestMedia!