Friday Signal: The Year of Acting Natively

Facebook plans ads for Instagram.

In today’s Signal: Getting a handle on customer service through Twitter; native advertising — the devil is in the details; Eric Schmidt on outracing robots and Google Fiber; ads are coming to Instagram; Google and Facebook look back on 2012; and more.

To the links …

23 of the World’s Top 100 Brands Have a Dedicated Twitter Customer Service Handle (Marketing Charts) A recent study conducted by Simply Measured reveals that while 95 of the top 100 brands are active on Twitter, 23 have a dedicated customer service handle, and only 15 respond to 10 or more tweets per day on such a handle. Looking at the top 10 brands by Twitter customer service handle engagement, the study shows that the most responsive handles — UPS and American Express  — have an average response time of less than two hours. Who are the slowest responders? BlackBerry and HP.

Defining Native Advertising (Digiday) Mary Gail Pezzimenti, VP of Content Strategy here at Federated Media, discusses what native advertising means and why it’s so successful. “Native is taking off like a shot because it is content that is carefully and uniquely crafted to find the point of intersection of the brand and the author,” she writes. “Done well, it feels organic to the reader. It looks like it belongs and, quite frankly, must be
 held to a higher standard because of the company it keeps.” But it can fall into the trap of being perceived as an advertorial. “The devil is in the details here. Native can achieve a lot more than an advertorial because there is a more mindful strategy behind the concept. It needs to be thoughtful, unique and in the voice of the site. The author’s passion has to be genuine, relevant and current.”

Eric Schmidt: How We Outrace the Robots (NYT Bits) Given the trends of globalization, automation and demographics, robotics, 3-D printing, and faster telecommunications, things are getting tougher for the average worker. Speaking in an interview after appearing onstage at the New York Times Dealbook Conference, the executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, spoke about educating the masses to a level where they can qualify for work in the new businesses these trends create.

Also discussed at Dealbook …

Eric Schmidt says Google Fiber ‘isn’t just an experiment,’ company ‘trying to decide where to expand next’ (Engadget) Google’s big broadband effort, Google Fiber, isn’t just an experiment, according to Eric Schmidt, “it’s a real business and we’re trying to decide where to expand next.” Unfortunately, he didn’t offer much in the way of specifics beyond that.

Facebook Confirms: Ads Are Coming To Instagram (BI) Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions for Facebook, says that monetization will be coming to the currently ad-free Instagram platform. “Instagram continues to grow incredibly fast and we’re still a very small team when you think about the amount of people they are reaching,” she said. “There are many brands that use Instagram right now to try to get a feel for how to engage with their followers. We will definitely be figuring out a monetization strategy.”

Zeitgeist 2012: What Piqued Your Curiosity This Year? (Google Blog) Google’s 12th annual Year-End Zeitgeist reveals the year’s the most popular and hottest trending search terms from around the world, as well as exactly where and when some of those terms spiked.

Facebook Year in Review 2012 (Facebook Newsroom) Facebook provides a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on the network, assembling a series of trend lists and chronicling the top events, the most popular public figures, the most listened to songs on Facebook, and more.

YouTube to Power New Media Businesses of the Future? Maybe (ATD)  YouTube is engaging in many efforts to re-invent itself as a destination for premium content, and is focusing on key pieces of missing infrastructure will ultimately determine the success of the media businesses built upon the platform in the years ahead.

Google CEO Aims for Search Giant to Get Bigger (CNN Money/Fortune) Fortune Senior Writer Miguel Helft had a 70-minute chat with Google CEO Larry Page about the future of search, his plans to integrate Motorola and how his management style has changed since taking the helm of the company. This link contains excerpts of that interview, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Fortune Magazine.

More Than Privacy Controls, Facebook Needs Our Trust To Keep Growing (TechCrunch) Facebook knows that without your trust you might keep an account, but you won’t share as much. So the company is overhauling its privacy controls and adding more privacy education.

Study: Tablet Users Prefer ‘Print-Like’ Experience (The Economist Group) In October, The Economist Group and the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reported that half of all U.S. adults now own a mobile device and a majority use their device to read news. This month, they’ve released more data on who these mobile Americans are and how publishers might manage the transition from print to digital.

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