1/3 of LinkedIn’s Trending Content articles in March were from the LinkedIn Publishing Platform

LinkedIn has launched a tool, LinkedIn Trending Content, that lets you see the content that has been shared the most by different sections of its community. The site is currently showing the most shared URLs between 1/3/14 and 22/3/14.

Its an interesting tool for identifying the articles, and related topics, that have generated the most reaction in different groups.

It also provides the basis for a few other observations:

LinkedIn Publishing Platform content ranks very highly

In three groups – Students, High-Tech and Health & Pharma – the top ranked article is one that has been published on LinkedIn’s own Publishing Platform.

8 out of the 10 groups have at least one LinkedIn article in their Top 15 and in the case of Students, C-Suite and Marketing more than half of the Top 15 are from LinkedIn.

Only the Automotive and Financial Services groups have no LinkedIn articles in the Top 15. An opportunity there for someone?

In total 49 out of the 150 results are from LinkedIn (there are a couple of duplicates in there). I haven’t had the time to count the results for all the other individual sources but a quick scan suggests that none of them have more than 10.

LinkedIn Articles in Trending Content

17 shares are enough to trend in Automotive

The table below shows the number of shares on LinkedIn as a whole that the articles ranked 1st and 15th (the lowest position shown) in each section have received.

LinkedIn Trends Industry comparison

I assume the tool’s ranking is based (sensibly) on shares by members of the specific section e.g. Health & Pharma, concerned. This explains the instances shown in orange – IT Decision Makers and Financial Services – where the 15th placed article has received more shares overall than the 1st placed.

This must be because less of their shares were within the specific section being evaluated e.g. the 15th ranked article in Financial Services must have received less than 47 of its 297 shares in this specific section or it would have to outrank the 1st article.

The interesting takeaway for me is that the more specific groups – High Tech, ITDM, Health &  Pharma, Automotive, Financial Services and VC (with the exception of Marketing) – all require less than 500 shares across the entirety of the 270million+ members in order to rank in the top 15. In Health & Pharma, VC and Automotive it’s less than 150.

In a measurement context therefore a piece of content in any of these areas that is receiving tens of shares would appear to be significant.

US content dominates

All of the top ranked articles are from US sources and a quick scan of the others in each section suggests this is the case across the board. No great surprise given that US members are the biggest group at around 30% of the total.

Articles checked for share stats

Students

1st How to Answer Stupid Job Interview Questions
15th
How To Become A Jedi Knight

C Suite

1st 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
15th Confidence. Conviction. Charisma: The Art of the Sale. 

Small Business Owners
1st 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
15th 5 Hashtag Tracking Tools for Twitter, Facebook and Beyond 

Marketing
1st Behind the Preplanned Oscar Selfie: Samsung’s Ad Strategy
15th 5 Business Goals of Content Marketing

High-Tech
1st Big Data: The 5 Vs Everyone Must Know
15th Is Microsoft telegraphing the demise of Windows Phone?

Health & Pharma
1st Saying Goodbye to the Old World of Healthcare
15th A Third Of Nursing Home Patients Harmed By Their Treatment

IT Decision Makers
1st How to Build Trust as a New IT Executive
15th 6 IT Strategies to Stay Ahead of Data Center Trends

VC
1st New York VC Investments Top $1B In The First Quarter
15th The Top Venture Capital Investors By Exit Activity – Which Firms See the Highest Share of IPOs?

Automotive
1st First Times Drive: 2015 Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid
15th Hyundai Revamps Sonata That Upgraded Carmaker’s Image 

Financial Services
1st Employee’s Whole Life at-a-glance
15th Should I Rent My House If I Can’t Sell It?

The Value of Social Listening – Dixons & Carphone Warehouse Merger Talks

Social listening potentially made investors £75,000 yesterday morning when a blog post from an ex Daily Telegraph journalist apparently lead to an increase of c. £75 million in Dixon Retail’s market capitalisation.

At 9.52am yesterday, Dixons and Carphone Warehouse confirmed they are in the “very preliminary” stages of merger talks.

This confirmation wasn’t planned however. An hour earlier their existence was the subject of a blog post by former Daily Telegraph M&A and Markets Editor, Ben Harrington. Ben tweeted a link to the post shortly after publishing:

Our Lissted application spotted Ben’s tweet, plus retweets from fellow journalist Neil Craven and retail insight provider Steve Dresser (a member of our Top UK Retail Influencers)

Lissted Dixons Carphone initial tweets

 

Some people were listening

Before Ben’s blog post, between 8:00-8.52am, there were around 500,000 Dixons shares traded and the price was pretty static at around 46.7-46.9p.

Dixons pre blog post

 

Share price leaps, apparently in response to rumour

In the 20 minutes after the blog post was published around 10x this number of shares (c. 5 million) were traded (mostly purchases) and around 90% of these were traded between 9.05-9.11. This resulted in the price rising to nearly 49p per share, an increase in the market capitalisation of the company of around £75m.

Impact of Dixons trading post blog post

 

The activity died down at this point and the price settled at its new level between 48.6-49p.

Activity and share price jump again when rumour confirmed

Then at 9.52, when the official confirmation came through, activity jumped again with around 20 million shares traded in the first 12 minutes after the announcement and the price reaching 50p.

It was only at this point that the mainstream media started to report on the talks.

Dixons reaction to announcement

 

The value of being early

Those who were aware of the published rumour, and prepared to purchase shares in the initial 20 minutes, would have acquired their holdings at lower pricing.

Based on estimates during this window for share purchases of 4-5 million, and average price paid of c. 47.5p, gives a potential gain of around £60,000-£75,000 for these “quick off the mark” investors.

Not the only value around

There were many other valuable reasons to be aware of this story quickly. Reputation management, analyst relations and HR being three obvious ones.

However, here’s an example where the £ note value of social listening can truly be demonstrated.

N.B I’ve focussed on Dixons because the trading activity around Carphone Warehouse during the period before the official confirmation was considerably less, which raises some interesting questions of its own.

Google isn’t killing PR, but it may be applying some Weedol

There were two big topics of conversation in the PR world last week. The first was Google’s updated Link scheme guidance on how it treats links with keyword rich anchor text in press releases and Tom Foremski’s resulting post on ZDNet asking if this was the end of PR Agencies. The other was the Channel 4 fakefans investigation showing how some in the PR and Marketing world are buying fake likes and followers to inflate brands’ apparent popularity.

The first issue has particular relevance to us at RealWire. In response to Google’s guidance we have implemented the rel=”nofollow” attribute to all links within releases published from today onwards and will apply it to all links across historic press releases hosted by us over the next few days. We were already planning our response before last week’s “excitement”, however staff absence due to holidays delayed our ability to implement the changes necessary until today (note to self, don’t allow staff holidays!).

We considered limiting the changes to the types of anchor text links Google highlights, as such links are very infrequent in releases our clients ask us to distribute. Ian McKee highlighted this option in his very well thought through post on the whole debate. However given the nature and quality of our client base, we’re confident that any marginal page rank that might accrue from our site for the odd editorially relevant keyword is unlikely to impact materially on their rankings, or feature very highly on their list of reasons for using our service. Taken inconjunction with Google’s apparent preference for all links in press releases to be nofollow, we’ve decided that this approach is both safer for our clients, and avoids any confusion.

It’s also worth noting that a recent report by Searchmetrics (a user of our service) highlighted the increased importance to search rankings of having a mixture of backlinks, including nofollow links, and the reduced importance of links with target keyword anchor text.

So what about the wider questions raised by Tom Foremski’s post? I think these have generally been summed up as follows:

Is this change by Google the end of PR?  No.

Is it the end of PR Agencies? No.

Is it the end of newswire services? No, but it could hurt some, particularly any that are reliant on a client base that has been producing the very keyword rich, link filled, low quality content that Google is out to target.

It’s in this context that I would characterise Google’s action as more like treating a lawn with Weedol. Google is seeking to eliminate poor quality and irrelevant content i.e. spam, from its results, but it doesn’t want to destroy the good stuff.

The fakefans situation is also just another form of spam. The idea that buying fake likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter has any value is just ridiculous. Facebook and Twitter should take a leaf out of Google’s book.

The only thing that professional PR people, and quality distribution services, have to fear from these changes and practices is complacency. We need to make sure that once the weed killer has done its job, the lawn that remains is rich and green.

Finally, on a RealWire note, it may be coincidental but during the same period Google has been making its Penguin and Panda updates our ranking for keywords relevant to our own market has improved. So much so that at the time of writing we are ranked No.1 for “press release distribution” on Google.co.uk, when we were rarely in the Top 10 before Google started its clamp down.

Read into that what you will….

WPP will still be No.1 in UK PR market post Publicis Omnicom merger implies PRWeek Top 150 2013

As pretty much anyone in the Marcoms world must know by now, yesterday Omnicom and Publicis, the 2nd and 3rd largest groups, announced they are seeking to merge. The merger will create a combined group that will overtake WPP to become the world’s largest with revenues of $22.7bn in 2012.

Based on the Holmes Report’s recent Global PR Rankings the combined group will have PR income of $1.8bn, which it estimates will make it the largest PR holding company in the world.

But what about the implications for the UK PR market?

As many of the key agencies and their parent groups don’t disclose UK PR figures the data is rather sketchy – see caveats below. However based on a combination of the PRWeek Top 150 estimates for Brunswick and WPPOmnicomPublicis and Interpublic‘s UK agencies, as well as Huntsworth’s accounts, we can have a decent stab at what the top 5 players will look like if the merger goes ahead.

The table below shows revenue in £m for the key PR agencies within WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and Interpublic from PRWeek’s 2013 Top 150 analysis.

Agency

WPP

Omnicom

Interpublic

Publicis

Weber Shandwick

35.5

Hill and Knowlton

26.5

RLM Finsbury

25.5

MSL Group

25.0

Ketchum Pleon

22.0

Oglivy PR

21.5

Golin Harris

17.0

Fishburn Hedges

14.0

Cohn & Wolfe

13.0

Fleishman Hillard

13.0

Burson Marsteller

10.5

Portland

10.0

Porter Novelli

8.0

Buchanan

6.5

Clarion 3.5

Total

107.0

67.0

52.5

25.0

According to the PRWeek 150 estimate, Brunswick’s 2012 income was £53.2m.

According to Huntsworth’s 2012 annual report its UK revenues were £64.3m. This includes revenues relating to healthcare (Huntsworth Health) whereas for most of the groups above health work is often classified within a different division. The UK healthcare headcount is 23% of the total according to the report. Adjusting for this suggests a public relations UK income figure of around £50m.

On the basis of these estimates the top 5 will look as follows post merger.

1. WPP £107.0m

2. Publicis Omnicom* £92.0m

3. Brunswick – £53.2m

4. Interpublic – £52.5m

5. Huntsworth – £50.0m

Their combined fee income of c. £355m gives these five c. 18-20% of the UK market based on previous estimates from 2011 of c. £1.8bn-£2bn.

*Update – Kreab Gavin Anderson has been excluded from the analysis on the basis that Omnicom only holds a minority stake.

Caveats

All the caveats relating to the PRWeek Top 150 figures apply here, the key one being they are estimates of course!

Also bear in mind that it could well be the case that some of the estimates above include revenues relating to the UK arm of a multinational agency that were derived from work outside the UK. Equally there could be agencies within each Marcoms group that are based outside the UK that do work with UK clients.

There is also the issue of agencies that aren’t labeled “PR” and so aren’t included in this analysis that will be doing some PR based work.

These are just the ones I can think of, there are bound to be a few more.

Are brands going to need Twitter Search SEO now?

Twitter announced yesterday that it’s going to start including selected tweets over a week old in search results. The following is from their post:

“As we roll this out over the coming days, the Tweets that you’ll see in search results represent a fairly small percentage of total Tweets ever sent. We look at a variety of types of engagement, like favorites, retweets and clicks, to determine which Tweets to show. We’ll be steadily increasing this percentage over time, and ultimately, aim to surface the best content for your query. For now, enjoy your trip down memory lane!”

If I understand this right it means that when someone searches for a term in Twitter the “Top” results will include tweets that could go back months, even years.

Now I may be jumping the gun here, but doesn’t this have potentially significant implications for reputation management?

When Google was indexing tweets a couple of years ago there was discussion about the SEO implications of real time results from Twitter, that ended when Google stopped indexing the Twitter firehose in the summer of 2011. But that was never about old tweets appearing, just current ones.

At the moment if you’re a brand and someone tweets something negative about you then your worst case in Twitter search terms is it appears in the results for a few days.  It’s the impact of the conversation itself that you have to deal with, both online and off, and any resulting posts and articles that might rank highly in Google searches in the future.

But with this change to the Twitter search approach, a brand could find that the top search result is a particularly negative tweet that received a significant response at the time. This tweet may or may not have been part of a wider conversation that appeared elsewhere in the online and offline worlds, but one things for sure, replaying it back months later to new people again and again isn’t something you are going to want.

But then how do you respond to this? With SEO if you have a negative blog post or article ranking highly you might seek to produce content and engage in PR that results in other pages pushing this awkward one down the SERPs hierarchy.

How do you achieve this with a highly ranked tweet? Twitter’s post indicates the factors that they are taking account of in ranking older tweets – RTs, favorites and clicks etc. Does that mean a brand will need to try and generate competing tweets that rank higher by these measures? If so here are a few questions:

Will Twitter rank tweets by a brand about that brand highly, or will it filter these out automatically, wishing to show the wider community’s view?

Where will promoted tweets appear in search results? Can I buy my way above the offending tweet ala Google Adwords?

Will this mean that a paid tweet by a celebrity that potentially receives significant levels of RTs and @mentions starts to accrue more value than the generally “here today gone tomorrow” nature of one now?

This is all top of the head stuff, and we obviously need to see what these new results look like, what happens to the levels of Twitter search activity and how users respond.

But could this be the start of Twitter Search SEO?