January has seen a number of changes for Internet marketing–whether it was the new legislation proposed by Congress or the new advertising services recently announced by Internet juggernauts like Facebook.

In this newsletter, we’ll examine the 3 most important changes and explain what they mean for your business. The topics include:

  1. Google Proves Social Matters More – There’s a new way to search the Internet–Search Plus Your World.
  2. Facebook Wants to Make You More Money – Facebook has just introduced “Sponsored Stories” for marketers.
  3. Twitter Enters the Advertising World – Hoping to capture more clicks (and money) Twitter has rolled out expanded advertising options.

So, keep reading if you want to find out how these issues may impact your company’s online marketing strategy and what you should be doing about them.

2012 has shown us that things are going to continue to change for online advertisers–with one of the most important changes occurring in social media.

Social media marketing is being forced to grow up in a hurry. Google’s implementation of “Search Plus Your World” and Facebook’s improved marketing solutions demonstrate this shift in user behavior. One bank understands this and will be going so far as to use social media information in its credit decisions.

If you still remain skeptical about the power of social media, here’s a bit more information that may help you wake up to the truth.

Search+ With Google’s Personalized Results

Google+ Circles SEMSearch Plus Your World has shaken things up. Google has integrated their social platform, Google+, with their search engine. This offers every user a personalized search engine results page (SERP) based on signals from their social circles.

Engagement metrics, such as the user clicking the “+1” button, mentioning your website, or sharing a post by you will have a major impact on how Google rates your site’s quality and relevancy (and in turn where you’re ranking on the SERPs).

This means your social influence–who’s talking about you, recommending you, etc.–will greatly increase your chance to appear as the number one slot for your industry. So, if you don’t have a social strategy in place for this year, now would be an excellent time to draw one up.

Build Word Of Mouth with Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories”

Facebook has launched their “Sponsored Stories” program, giving marketers the ability to place advertisements directly in a user’s News Feed.

These highly visible advertisements offer “word-of-mouth” advertising that show individuals, not brands, promoting your message. Studies have shown that 84% of buyers between the age of 18 and 34 are influenced by other individual’s opinions and 51% consider them a major influence.

Taking advantage of this evolution of advertising can offer you the opportunity to directly shape positive consumer opinions and even improve your sales.

Twitter Enters The Advertising Age

Twitter for Social Media MarketingThe microblogging company has begun offering marketing products designed to help spread brand awareness.

The products offered in their new marketing platform includes:

These promotional tools have have helped marketers expand their listening audience by as much as 1500% over traditional tweets (according to a Twitter sales letter).

The Internet: It’s Still A New Frontier

Online advertising spend in the United States is expected to reach $40 billion dollars this year, exceeding print and magazine advertising for the first time in history. It’s even set to surpass television advertising by 2016 according to Forbes.

Internet Marketing and Social Media Spend Increase

As the Internet continues along this path of tremendous growth and change, businesses are constantly presented with powerful marketing opportunities. Make sure you’re ready by putting a firm plan into place.

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