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The New Facebook News Feed – Power to the Fan and the Return of RSS

March 8, 2013

Today Facebook announced its most significant redesign of the News Feed in many years. When the changes roll out over the next few weeks, you can will see three enhancements – a greater emphasis on photos, unification of the mobile and desktop interfaces and new ways to sort your News Feed. For corporate marketers it is the latter that may be the most important.

Previously users had a choice of sorting their News Feed between “Top Stories” and “Most Recent.” Top Stories 3-7-2013 2-01-03 PM

 

 

The feature was hard to find so nearly everyone kept the default, Top Stories.

 Soon users will be able to sort their News Feed by All Friends, Photos, Music, Games, Following, Groups, even lists of friends. Importantly the News Feed selection area will be prominently displayed. New Sort highlight 3-7-2013 2-07-07 PMFacebook assures that EdgeRank will remain the same for the default News Feed. So if users keep the default News Feed, marketers should see the same results. However, if users select All Friends, marketers are shut out of the News Feed, unless they buy placement.

 From our prospective the most interesting News Feed segment is “Following,” which will display updates from Pages and people you follow in chronological order. Basically it turns your News Feed into a river of news RSS reader. They even use the same icon!Other Feeds 3-7-2013 2-02-58 PM

 

With the Following segment, no longer will the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm decide if your corporate content is relevant. Your Fans will decide. Since the feed is chronological, will it pay to publish early and often? Or is it a better strategy to hope you engage Fans so their social gestures will place your content in what is likely to soon be the coveted All Friends News Feed? How will marketers know what and when to publish? We will have some thoughts on these issues soon.

SimpleFeed Screencast – Social Sharing in RSS Feeds

January 8, 2013

Learn how to expand your social presence by using SimpleFeed’s Social Sharing Feature in RSS Feeds

SimpleFeed Screencast – Using RSS to Expand Your Social Media Marketing Distribution

December 4, 2012

In this SimpleFeed Screencast learn how to use RSS Feeds to expand the distribution of your Social Media Marketing content.

SimpleFeed Screencast – RSS Reading in Windows 8

November 13, 2012

Today we look at RSS Feeds in Windows 8. We review two new “Live Tiles” apps, FeedReaders and Bento. We also look at RSS subscription in IE for the Windows 8 desktop and the common feedlist.

SimpleFeed Screencast – Understanding Content Syndication

November 8, 2012

In our inaugral YouTube Video we explain Content Syndication to web sites using RSS Feeds.

New Apple Podcast App – Time to Get Podcasting!

June 27, 2012

Like so much “dead” Web 2.0 technology Podcasting has quietly grown into a very successful medium. Bottom line is people listen to podcasts while commuting, exercising or just sitting at their desks. At SimpleFeed our customers routinely see downloads in the tens of thousands. That is nothing if you are CBS, but if you are a B-B marketer or niche retailer, that is great! And it is poised to get better.

 

Over the last five years, Apple rode its iPod/Phone/Pad hardware and iTunes media synergies to podcast distribution dominance. With the growth of other categories in iTunes, it is hard to find the Podcast section and once there, challenging to search, discover and subscribe.

 

That ends today with Apple breaking out Podcasting into its own iPhone/iPad App, called, Podcasts. After install you are greeted with two sections, “Podcasts” where any existing subscriptions reside and “Top Stations.”

Under the Top Stations section, users can quickly flip through sections to discover, listen and subscribe to new podcasts. New audio controls include the ability to skip back 10 seconds or move forward 30 ala DirecTV. In the upper right is a “Catalog” button which takes you back to the iTunes Podcast interface. Subscriptions are synced back to iTunes.

Off the Podcast tab click an icon for a subscribed podcast and you are taken to a smaller version of the familiar iTunes Podcast “Artist Page.” Here you can listen to podcasts instantly. Apple also add the ability to Tweet, iMessage or Email the Podcast as you listen.  That is a nice feature which should make Podcasts more social and increase the virality of podcasting.

 

 

 

So if you have a podcasting program it is about to get better. If you never had a program think about publishing the sessions from your customer conference if you are a B-B company. If you are a B-C company public appearances, sponsorships, and really any audio product information is great. It is a cheap and effective way to market your offerings and it is about to get a big boost.

iPad for Marketing app review – StreamGlider

March 6, 2012

After an off-again/on-again rollout, the StreamGlider app is back on the market. Featuring a free, standard version as well as an ad-free pro version, it’s one of the latest entrants in the pantheon of news-and-social-media aggregators.  How does it stack up against other go-to apps, such as Flipboard, Livestand, and Pulse?

The app opens to a clean matrix of images and headlines panning from left to right. Streams are stacked vertically down the page like filmstrips.  Each stream is a different category – news, sports, tech, images – and each frame in the filmstrip is a feed.

Customizing streams and feeds is easy with intuitive, tap-to-add navigation. If the feed a user wants to add is featured on the landing pane, then they’re in luck – with a tap it appears in their stream. However, as the list of featured content providers is only about eight advertisers long, most likely users will need to browse for content at some point.

And this is where the app stumbles. While the app includes standard browsing buckets, several buckets don’t have many feeds from which to choose. If feeds readers wants are not on the list, they’ll need to do a search. But if their feed doesn’t advertise with StreamGlider, it won’t show up in a search.  I tried all sorts of feed names and URLs, well known and obscure, and not one of them came up lucky.  Even a search of “baseball” – an active topic with spring training around the corner – yielded nothing. 

A similar mismatch occurs with StreamGlider’s social media sync. During start-up of both standard and pro versions, the app offers to sync with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube accounts. Though it goes through the process of login/password, it doesn’t automatically pass the content through to a stream. Readers can manually add content from social media accounts, such as activity on Facebook. And while StreamGlider streams updates, it won’t prowl for news and information based on social media preferences or patterns.

Social media streams notwithstanding, users ought to wonder: If StreamGlider limits content to that of featured advertisers, will browsers find the app relevant?

It could be that StreamGlider wants to be a slick, customizable transport vehicle, rather than an aggregator. According to the website, interested parties can distribute private-labeled or co-branded content via StreamGlider to closed audiences. This model could be interesting for companies looking for a sure-fire way to reach customers or prospects who opt in to get tailored relevant content, such as a private-labeled corporate news magazine. But whether the app has real value for both consumers and publishers will depend on how well it’s able to marry the right content with the right audience.

The Overall Verdict

For users: C. The interface is well designed and easy to navigate, but the app’s relevance really depends on whether a user’s interests align with the featured advertisers.

For publishers: C. It’s disappointing that StreamGlider apparently only picks up feeds from advertisers. However, StreamGlider as a private-label distribution mechanism (where independent parties use the StreamGlider front-end to deliver content) resolves the relevance gap for both users and publishers. That’s A-range territory.

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