Joe Meloni

The first six months of 2012 were busy for Twitter, as the microblogging site rolled out a series of new features aimed at making it easier for users to interact with and a stronger tool for marketers to drive traffic from. Its recent domination of internet marketing headlines should be a sign to marketers that it’s time to up their game with Twitter marketing.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that one of the major developments for Twitter this year has been an increase in ad revenue, with a majority coming from the site’s mobile users. Twitter’s paid social media marketing tools are designed to make paid content resemble organic Tweets. According to The WSJ, the company’s massive mobile user base, which has been pegged at 60 percent of its overall active audience, has helped it become an attractive tool for companies looking to drive organic and paid social presence.

On Monday, Brafton detailed the company’s efforts in making paid social media marketing a successful pursuit for both its mobile and desktop users. Inserting paid content into users‘ activity streams helps ensure it will be visible. Moreover, indicating that it is an ad with the „Promoted“ tag helps users distinguish between paid and organic content. Other organizations have struggled to bring paid social content to mobile, but Twitter’s strategy has helped the company make its Promoted Tweets a success for all parties.

Twitter‘ value to marketers continues to grow as it adds to its active user base, which is currently north of 160 million.

As the platform continues to mature, marketers are finding specific trends and practices work best to inform social strategy. Buddy Media recently released Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review and found that companies using Twitter to share headlines from news content marketing campaigns are positioned well to drive traffic from Twitter back to their sites.

Highlighting the data, Brafton reported Tweets that include brief messages (fewer than 100 characters) generate 17 percent more engagement than longer content. Moreover, content with links yields 86 percent more Retweets than those without. Sharing articles and blog posts with concise headlines and links can help marketers boost the success of their social strategy and drive conversions.

In general, social media marketing campaigns have become most successful when they focus on delivering prospects marketing content organically. For the most part, ads have struggled to attract consumers or B2B buyers. According to AYTM Market Research, 54 percent of Americans have never clicked on paid content on a social network. Among the remaining 46 percent that have interacted with ads, none regularly pay this content much mind. In general, consumers use social networks to interact with friends and stay informed. Campaigns aimed solely at selling rarely generate the type of interest marketers are hopeful for.

Organizations have received some help from social platforms, though, in terms of making paid social content more effective. Much like Twitter’s model, Facebook has worked to deliver Sponsored Stories and Sponsored Posts, which bring ad content into a user’s main activity stream. Brafton reported that delivering paid content in a more organic format helps keep content in front of businesses‘ target audiences who tend to stay on their social news feeds.

Whether social content efforts depend on organic sharing or use paid promotion, Buddy Media’s report shed light on a strategy that can help organizations ensure content appeals to the right audience. According to the study, visual content is especially valuable in social campaigns and sharing it can boost brand interactions. Plus, Brafton has reported that adjustments from Twitter have made it easier for users to access images and other visual content directly on the site without having to navigate to away from the page.

Visual content has been a major focus of marketers, as they look to deliver diverse content marketing strategies to their prospects. Google rolled out a new feature that places an emphasis on original visuals, which could be a strong push for infographic marketing. In its Inside Search blog, Google announced improvements to its Search by Image capability that will allow users to find visual content more quickly. Integrating the feature with the Knowledge Graph has helped the company deliver more contextual data related to the images users search for.

While Google’s dominant search tool is still its general web search, increasing the quality of visual search and making it easier for users to find visual content will help marketers see more value from the images they share as part of web marketing campaigns, Brafton reported. The SEO value of images is rather limited since only the data included in the file name is crawled. However, focusing on the user means delivering high-quality website content that can only be augmented with the inclusion of images and this type of content is highly share-able, which is ultimately good for SEO.

It wasn’t just Google getting in on the SEO news this week, with dark-horse search engine Blekko announcing new SEO tools. The user-curated search tool has increased the frequency with which it indexes the web to help provide users with the most reliable results.

Brafton reported that the site’s indexing tool, ScoutJet, still has a long way to go to perform as well as those from the major players in search. However, consistent innovation from the company will position it well to attract users moving forward.

YellowPages reported on Thursday that industries, such as real estate and financial services, are among the dominant industries in terms of search queries. Moreover, wedding and family services companies have seen a greater influx of traffic from Google, Bing and others search engines.

Brafton reported that YP, which is a local search listing service, highlighted the need for companies in various industries to focus on local audiences with search marketing. Keyword strategies that focus on both general and localized content marketing can help businesses appeal to wider audiences.

Local content will have an even greater demand as tablet use continues its ascent. Gartner reported this week that 69 percent of tablet users access news content every day. Many of these users are searching for locally relevant topics, which content marketers can focus on by targeting their nearby prospects.

Brafton has frequently highlighted the need for marketers to focus on any and all popular device users with their web content. As tablets, and smartphones become increasingly common, it’s important for marketers to make accommodations for these users with their campaigns.

As new devices and platforms hit the market, marketers must be mindful of their impact on their prospects‘ web activity. In the second half of 2012, it’s inevitable that new changes will come, but keeping campaigns dynamic and agile will help businesses take new technology and changes in stride.