Internet Marketing Weekly News Update #127 December 21, 2011

Article spinning floods the Internet, but to little benefit.
Automated programs that create clones of online articles using simple techniques like inserting synonyms -- a practice known as 'article spinning' -- have watered down the quality of Internet content, but seem to have little benefit. They are a flop with readers, who quickly turn away from awkwardly worded and unoriginal content, and they are also a flop with search algorithms, which are increasingly on the lookout for such tactics.
Search Engine Journal

Social sharing trends indicate dynamic growth.
A Clearspring infographic depicts a number of trends from 2011 in the realm of social sharing. Among the noteworthy developments: Facebook is the source of 52.1% of sharing on the Internet; Twitter is well behind at 13.5%, but experienced 576.9% growth in 2011; Google +1 appears to have plateaued after a rapid rate of initial growth.
Search Engine Journal

Antipiracy bills take aim at search engines.
Efforts to prosecute websites that pirate entertainment content seem to be chasing a number of constantly moving targets, so the proposed bills in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives would go after more high-profile targets that may facilitate pirating, including search engines like Google and Yahoo, and payment services like PayPal. Despite intense lobbying efforts by Google and other interested parties, the bills are said to have broad bipartisan support.
The New York Times

Facebook coupon ads undergoing testing.
As anticipated, Facebook is bringing its considerable muscle into the online coupon arena, and the arrival of this product may be imminent, as it is already undergoing testing. As tested, the feature would allow brands to post a coupon on their Facebook walls, and then post them in homepage ads. By encouraging users to share the ads with their friends, the program could potentially increase the reach of those ads tremendously.

Survey suggests that coupons tap into emotional responses.
Saving money is practical, but a new survey by indicates that coupons may also be appealing to customers on an emotional level, since 49% of respondents said they got a thrill or rush out of redeeming a coupon. Also on the emotional side of consumer behavior, 53% said they have bought something for themselves to celebrate good news.
Marketing Pilgrim

Social media: not seen as a significant source of information on local businesses.
The Pew Research Center found that Americans rarely turn to social media for information on local businesses. Only 3% use social media to research local bars and restaurants, and only 1% do so for other local businesses. This trails far behind the 36% who use search engines to research local businesses.
Marketing Pilgrim

LinkedIn may veer towards social characteristics with polling capability.
LinkedIn's distinction has been that it is geared toward business rather than purely social communication, but it may be taking a step in the social direction with a new capability that allows users to conduct polls among members of groups to which they belong, and compare their own responses with those of the group.
Marketing Pilgrim

Many forms of digital marketing pose measurement challenges.
According to marketing company Ifbyphone, 82% of marketing executives expect to be able to measure the results of their campaigns, but in reality most have not been able to come up with metrics for various forms of e-marketing. Only 47% say they can measure the ROI of e-mail campaigns; this number is only 26% for social media marketing, and 24% for SEO. This type of problem is nothing new in marketing: Only 18% say they can measure the results of their PR campaigns.

Branded content surges to a new high.
After a slump in 2010, spending on branded content is estimated to have surged to an all-time high this year. One study estimates that the average U.S. firm spent $1.91 million on branded content in 2011, up from $1.34 million in 2010, and better than the previous high of $1.81 million in 2009.

Retailers seek to draw online shoppers into brick-and-mortar stores.
Retail companies including Toys"R"Us and Dick's Sporting Goods are rewarding people who spend $100 or more on their websites with coupons that must be redeemed at a store location. The effort seems targeted at boosting holiday shopping, since it was active from December 16th through 19th, and the coupons must be redeemed by year end.

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