Brilliant Reads: the death/birth of authorship, are Twitter and Facebook failing marketers, and cross-channel user experience

Welcome to Brilliant Reads, where this week we’re looking at the death/birth of authorship, whether Twitter and Facebook are failing marketers, and cross-channel user experience.

Authorship is dead. Long live authorship (Blind Five Year Old)

In this post, AJ Kohn tells us that while Google’s Authorship programme has died, that doesn’t mean that Authorship has died as a search ranking factor.

Authorship and its potential impact on search rankings has been a hot topic among marketers for some time, but the programme actually appears to have been shut down by Google. As Kohn sees it, the issue for Google with the Authorship programme was adoption – because so few people outside the technology and digital marketing spheres were participating in it, it had very limited value when it came to enhancing search results.

However, just because this particular programme has been abandoned, it doesn’t mean that Google is abandoning authorship all together. Kohn suggests that Google is moving towards a model of entity extraction – where it will automatically identify people based on the clues they give about their identity, rather than expecting them to sign up to and use a specific markup.

Image credit: dbbent

Are Facebook and Twitter failing marketers?

A new report from Forrester has questioned whether Facebook and Twitter are failing marketers.

The report found that Twitter and Facebook marketing achieved the lowest satisfaction scores of a range of different marketing channels when it came to delivering value.

In an open letter to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Forrester’s Nate Elliott writes that Facebook is failing for two reasons:

  1. It doesn’t do enough to drive genuine engagement between companies and customers.
  2. It isn’t good enough at pure advertising.

Twitter doesn’t escape from criticism either. In a post for Forbes, Elliott says that Twitter’s failings are:

  1. Marketers use it to build brand awareness, when actually it’s better for engaging existing customers.
  2. It doesn’t do enough to support marketers and help them use it effectively.

Image credit: misspixels

The four elements of cross-channel usability (Nielson Norman Group)

In this post, Janelle Estes from Nielson Norman argues that user experience and usability need to be consistent across all channels.

She lists four watchwords to consider when thinking about your cross-channel user experience:

  1. Consistent: Customers should be able to move from channel to channel without having to relearn how to complete activities. Consistency across elements from visual design to interactions to content helps users move between channels easily. On a banking site, for example, the continuity of the look and feel across the website, emails, mobile and tablet apps, and physical locations is key. Users should be able to know how to transfer money or check an account balance easily in any channel.
  2. Seamless: It should be possible to complete a task across multiple channels, if desired. For example, if a user places an item in a shopping cart while logged into an ecommerce site on a mobile device, that same item should be in the cart when they access the site from a laptop.
  3. Available: Users should be able to complete desired activities regardless of the channel. For example, checking into a flight should be available on the web, a mobile application, the airport kiosk, and with an agent at the airport terminal.
  4. Context-specific: The experience should be optimised for the channel. For example, mobile applications should integrate location-specific details–such as the current weather, nearby coupons or discounts, or the distance to stores or physical locations, based on the user’s current location.

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