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Best of 2008 (So Far) - Web Marketing Research, Part 2

The best research tells you not only what's happening, but why. Check out these posts, more of the best so far in 2008, on web marketing and Internet research to sate your curiosity, make better marketing decisions, and arm yourself with online trivia knowledge.

Which blogs do reporters read? What are the top uses of the Internet after email and search? What type of online advertising is growing while banners and PPC ads flatline? What's the next big trend in blogging? Which information sources have the greatest influence on consumer purchasing decisions? Read on to learn all of this and more.

Top Blogs Used by Reporters & Journalists by Mequoda Daily

There are lots of "top" blog lists out there, but which blogs really have influence with traditional media? This article reports on a study of the blogs read by more than 450 reporters in technology, lifestyle, health care, travel, and politics. It would have been nice to see more than a handful of results in each category, but the results are interesting nevertheless.

Pew/Internet Search Engine Use Report by MIT Technology Review

A high-level overview of a recent study of search engine use conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Search engines are now used on daily basis by half of all Internet users. Search is the second-most common use of the Internet after email. More than twice as many people said they checked the weather on the Internet daily as reported visiting a social networking site (weird). There's lots more here for data junkies.

18 Ways to Power Search Google by The Inquisitr

Blogging evangelist Duncan Riley provides an excellent list of tricks for searching out specific types of information on Google, such as specific types of documents, backlinks, phone listings, movie times and metric conversions. Highly bookmarkable.

Is online advertising losing its luster? by iMedia Connection

Neal Leavitt reports on a recent study by market research firm Borrell Associates which contends that while spending on online display ads and search advertising will soon peak then begin falling, expenditures on online promotions (e.g., contests, giveaways, coupons, sales of half-price gift certificates) will triple over the next five years to become the biggest category in online marketing. Others (such as Rob Enderle) aren't so sure; promotions may be easy to measure, but without advertising support, they can lose a lot of effectiveness.

Porn passed over as Web users become social: author by Reuters

Reporter Belinda Goldsmith summarizes a few of the key findings revealed by author Bill Tancer in his new book Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters. Among the findings: ceiling fans are on the list of people's top fears alongside social intimacy and rejection; there's an annual spike in searches for anti-depression drugs around Thanksgiving time in the United States; and surfing for porn has dropped in teh last decade from 20% of searches to about 10%. The hottest Internet searches now are for social networking sites, and the biggest drop in porn interest is among 18-24 year olds.

What’s Next In Blogging? by Search For Blogging

Über blogger Mert Erkal reports some interesting stats on the continued growth and evolution of the Internet, and predicts that mobile blogging will be one of the hot new trends.

What causes webinar attendees to bail? by B2B Lead Generation Blog

In this concise but helpful post, b2b lead gen guru Brian Carroll summarizes the findings of a MarketingSherpa report on the top reasons that attendees bail out of webinars, including such common presentation faux pas as reading directly from the slides and starting the webinar with a sales pitch.

State of the Blogosphere 2008 by Technorati

Fascinating details about blogging, advertising and income. Driving home the point that blogging is a great hobby but a tough way to make a living, the median annual advertising income for all bloggers is about $200. The average annual revenue for the top 10% of bloggers is just $19,000.

Why do some companies choose to ignore social media? by Britopian

85% of Americans using social media think companies should have an active presence in the social media universe, yet only 74 of the Fortune 500 companies maintain active blogs. Michael Brito examines why this yawning disconnect persists between corporations and their customers.

Word of Mouth, Online Reviews Most Influential in Purchase Decisions by Marketing Pilgrim

Jordan McCollum summarizes a recent study by Rubicon Consulting which explores the biggest influences on purchasing decisions and consumer perceptions of various websites. Reading this post, you'll discover that Yahoo is the second-most valued website by consumers, Second Life and Twitter still reach only a few percent of Internet users, and lots of other interesting web trivia.

Search Engine Marketing Trumps Yellow Pages by NewSunSEO Blog

A study conducted in July of this year by TMP Directional Marketing revealed that in 2008, for the first time ever, consumers reported that they were more likely to use the Internet than the yellow pages to find information on local businesses. As someone who hasn't touched a yellow pages directory in years, other than to start a campfire or toss the old one into the recycling bin, the biggest surprise in this study is that it took until 2008 to reach this point.

Previous posts in this series:

Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Search Engine Marketing, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Cool Web Tools, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Social Media Optimization, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Blogging for Business, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Web Marketing Research, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Website Design, Part 1
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Link Building
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Search Engine Marketing, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Social Media Optimization, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - SEO Guidance, Part 3
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Cool Web Tools, Part 2
Best of 2008 (So Far) - Blogging for Business, Part 2


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom


All Time Greats

Email Campaign, Newsletter and Banner Ad Click-Through Rates (CTR)

When planning online advertising and email promotion budgets, it's critical to calculate the likely ROI upfront whenever possible, as well as to establish campaign benchmarks. The first step is understanding the average and likely range of CTRs for various programs. The growth in online advertising, the proliferation of enewsletters, the emergence of new forms of information delivery such as RSS and the emergence of social media sites have all affected CTR, so planning based on current data is crucial.

It can be challenging to find current statistics, but based on several studies, these are typical CTR ranges for email newsletter ads, email campaigns (blasts or internally-produced enewsletters), and banner ads.

Email newsletter advertisements
Open rates range from 28-40%, with an average of about 33%—meaning that roughly one-third of the subscriber base is likely to see your ad. The Advertising Is Good For You blog tracks these statistics from DoubleClick.
The average CTR for indust…

Twitter Twaddle, Part 1: What Twitter Is and Why It's Cool

Most Web 2.0 sites fall into one of a few increasingly well-defined categories, such as social bookmarking (Digg,, Searchles), social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook) or file sharing (YouTube, Flickr, podOmatic). Twitter, however, stands alone. (Okay, there's also Pownce, but Twitter is better.)

Self-described as simply a real-time short messaging service and often referred to a microblogging platform, to those new to it, Twitter resembles nothing so much as a giant cocktail party where everyone talks at once and hopes others listen. You can tell who's important by how many "followers" that person has, though that's no guarantee anyone is really paying attention. People (or rather, Tweeple in the Twitter lexicon) can come and go without really being noticed, just like at a real (very, very large) gathering.

Twitter can be difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with it. Jennifer Laycock writes that Twitter is like Post-It notes; lots of them and in mu…

Twitter Twaddle, Part 2: Best Practices, Tools and The Future of Twitter

This is the second of a two-part series. Part one covered what Twitter is and why it's cool; this post discusses Twitter etiquette, tools, and speculation about its future.

How to Twitter Properly

Like any other social setting, Twitter has its own etiquette. This can be confusing to new users. (And, as you can see by spending more than a few minutes on Twitter, it's apparently elusive to many long-time users as well.) Margaret Mason has written an outstanding primer on Twitter etiquette, offering advice such as watch your ratio ("If only a few people follow you, but you follow a thousand or more, many people will assume you’re a spammer. That’s because you probably are. Go away, spammer."); never Twitter if you're drunk or high; and most importantly, "remember that everyone can hear you."

The brilliant Mike Volpe of HubSpot takes a different approach to offering his advice in 5 Things On Twitter That Annoy the Crap Out of Me. His practices-to-avoid incl…

Google and the Parable of the Turkey

In The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes about the life of the turkey: for 100 days, the turkey is sheltered, fed and cared for by the farmer. The turkey grows to trust the farmer completely, even perhaps developing a fondness for the farmer (and of course the feed). Then, on the 101st day (with Thanksgiving quickly approaching), the relationship between the turkey and the farmer changes abruptly and permanently. The rationale behind the farmer's apparent benevolence become clear in a final flash before the turkey takes the necessary step preceding de-feathering, vacuum-packing, freezing and shipping off to the market.

Taleb's lesson for us from this: don't be a turkey. More succinctly, don't assume that the future will resemble the past, or, in the words of mutual fund prospectuses, "past performance is no guarantee of future results." Also, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Of course, that doesn't take into account the perspec…

SEO Link Spam - What Is It and Who's to Blame?

Over the years, unscrupulous black hat SEO scammers have used a variety of tricks—keyword stuffing, link farms, white text and others—to try to manipulate search results, and the algorithms used by Google, Yahoo and the other search engines have evolved to identify and squelch the effectiveness of such nefarious tactics.

A more vexing issue for the search engines is dealing with link spam, not only because it is difficult to detect and address algorithmically, but because there isn't even a clear definition. As a website owner, the term represents emails like this:

Dear webmaster,

As a part of ongoing campaign to increase the Link Popularity of My website I am looking for some good potential sites like yours. I review your site and find that, in SEO perspective your site is Perfect. Also, this would be a great resource for my visitors too.

I would request you to consider listing my site.

Title:- My Spammy Website
Description:- miracle weight…

ON24 Launches Virtual Tradeshow Platform with Real Potential

The concept of virtual tradeshows has been around since at least 2001. The appeal, to both exhibitors and attendees, is obvious. No travel costs. No lost productive time due to travel. No limit on the number of employees you can use to staff your booth or "send to the show." No need to limit the duration of the show to just a few days. No geographical boundaries (assuming you have a way to staff the odd hours). No environmental concerns. No panic because your booth staff flew to Chicago—but your booth ended up in Atlanta.

Yet in practice, uptake has been very slow. This is partly for cultural reasons (can I buy you a virtual drink?) but also because the technology has never quite delivered a user experience that's a viable substitute for physical presence. Now, the folks at ON24 believe they may have changed that. Their new Virtual Show platform combines the company's expertise in webcasting with rich graphics to create a compelling visual environment with useful tool…

WMC Interviews: Albert Maruggi

This week, I had the chance to sit down with Albert Maruggi, principal of St. Paul-based marketing agency Provident Partners (and huge baseball fan). His agency assists companies in a variety of industries in all areas of marketing, with particular expertise in PR, events management, integrated marketing and podcasting.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before founding Provident Partners?

Albert Maruggi (AM): Worked in radio for a number of years. I was a television reporter and anchor. I also shot and edited video for news stations. I was a political reporter who made the jump to being a press secretary for a Member of Congress. From there I became Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee and then held public affairs management positions in the Bush '41 Administration.

WMC: How, when and why did Provident Partners get started?

AM: When I could not get my flight from LA to MN on September 11, 2001 I drove back home. I did a lot of thinking on that trip and I made tw…

Top-Notch Digital Marketing Tip: Advertisements That Make Sense

Looking for some online marketing tips to grow your business? Well, you’ve come to the right digital marketing resource! Web Market Central has been doling out the proper DM advice for years. And as you already know, marketing to customers online is 100 times easier than using dated, expensive and traditional marketing tactics. Like seriously, who uses billboards in 2019?
But you already know how effective Digital Marketing can be in the modern age. So now that you're totally convinced of what you already knew, let’s give you today's top notch-digital marketing tip!
Advertisement Congruence If your business is running ads this is one of our most important online marketing tips! Ad congruence is when your ads and landing pages look alike or have the same message.
Have you ever clicked on an ad and been taken to a page that looked nothing like the ad?
When your ads look like the web pages they lead to, customers will feel like they are in the right place and will boost conversion rat…