Keeping up with the latest trends in online marketing isn’t always easy—you know it and I know it.

With new studies coming out, on what seems to be a daily basis, about where to post, when to post, what to say, and how to say it—it’s much easier to get overwhelmed than it is to figure out who you should actually be listening to.

So at the risk of adding to the avalanche of information coming your way each week, there was some online marketing research in the news this week that we think you should be aware of.

Whether it’s content marketing, search, online feedback, or social media demographics—there’s something for everyone in this week’s marketing news roundup.

Read about all these top stories and make sure to share your comments below!

1. 74% of small businesses plan to increase their focus on content marketing in 2013

According to a new survey from, nearly three-quarters of small businesses plan to increase their focus on content marketing in 2013. The survey found that articles and blog posts are currently the most used pieces of content amongst small businesses — 74% have promoted their business using articles, and 64% through blog posts.

The types of content that are expected to get more attention from small businesses in 2013 include:

  • Articles (55%)
  • Social media content (54%)
  • Blog posts (53%)
  • Video (53%)
  • Email newsletters (39%)

Bottom Line: While few small businesses would likely identify themselves as “content marketers,” the fact is that most small businesses have been creating content for quite some time. Whether you realize it or not, a lot of the stuff you’re already doing—putting together a monthly email newsletter, taking photos to share on Facebook, snapping a video and uploading it to YouTube—is all part of content marketing.

Today, creating content that engages and informs your target audience is more important than ever before. And with more tools available to help create and share content online, there’s never been a better time to get started.

2. Twitter mobile users are 87% more likely to visit the site multiple times per day

Speaking at MediaPost’s Social Insider Summit on Monday, Guy Yalif, head of global product marketing for Twitter, laid out a number of revealing details about the growing influence of mobile on the social network.

According to Yalif, of Twitter’s more than 200 million active users, 60% are connecting to the site via a mobile device. Yalif also explained that of these mobile users, a “large chunk” are using mobile as their primary means of connecting to the site.

Today, mobile users are 87% more likely than non-mobile users to connect to Twitter multiple times per day.

Bottom Line: Mobile users are not only the most active members of Twitter’s online community, they are also the most engaged. According to Yalif, users that use mobile as their primary means of connecting are 78% more likely to retweet a message from a brand they follow on Twitter.

For businesses, mobile users present a huge opportunity to build your network of followers and extend your reach on Twitter.

Here’s a simple approach to Twitter you may want to consider.

3. Is Facebook already taking searches away from Google?

Since it introduced Graph Search last month, a lot of people have been talking about Facebook’s future in search. But new data from ComScore this week could indicate that people are already turning to sites like Facebook when performing online searches, rather than going right to search engines like Google.

According to ComScore, the number of searches performed on search engines in the U.S. dropped 3% in 2012. In a report released this week, ComScore said that one possible reason for this decline is that more people are turning to “vertical” search tools like Facebook and Amazon, instead of going straight to “core” search engines like Google and Bing.

Overall, vertical searches are up 8% year-over-year according to ComScore.

Bottom Line: The growing number of searches performed on vertical search tools is much bigger news for sites like Facebook than it is for Google. After all, it’s unlikely that Facebook will be overtaking Google in online searches today, tomorrow, or anytime in the near future.

But the data does provide evidence that more consumers are turning to social media when searching for local answers. For small businesses, that means having an up-to-date Facebook Page and an active presence is more important than ever before. This will become even truer as Graph Search continues to roll out in 2013.

Learn more about Graph Search and find out what you need to do to get ready!

4. 51% of consumers want to talk about brands on social media without them listening

A new survey from Netbase provides some interesting data about how consumers feel about the different ways brands should and should not monitor discussions on social media.

Of  the 1,062 people surveyed, more than half said they wanted to be able to talk about companies on social media without them paying attention and 43% think doing so is an invasion of privacy. On the flipside, 58% also said they do expect brands to respond to negative feedback or complaints, while 64% only expect a response when mentioned directly.

Bottom Line: Figuring out how to monitor your feedback on social media and how and when to respond to questions, comments, and complaints can often feel like balancing act.

But being able to solicit and respond to feedback from your network of fans and followers is also one of the biggest advantages sites like Facebook and Twitter have to offer. The secret however, is making sure that this feedback is taking place within your social circles.

Part of that is making sure you’re customers know where to find you on social media. That means making your social networks visible to your audience. Take an inventory of all of the touch points you have with customers—in-store, on your website, and in your email newsletter—and make sure your networks are easily accessible.

You also want to make sure you’re encouraging feedback from your network. Part of that will be making sure you’re sharing engaging content, but you will also want to take the extra step to ask fans and followers to share their thoughts, questions, and comments with you.

Here are a few resources to help you handle feedback—both positive and negative:

How Are You Responding to Feedback from Your Facebook Fans?

5 Tips for Turning Negative Feedback on Facebook into a WOW! Experience

Ask an Expert: How to Deal with Negative Feedback on Social Media

5. Who’s really using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram?

This week, Pew Research Center released new demographic data about the different users on each social network.

According to the survey, women outpace men on all of the top social networks except Twitter.

The survey also found that of the 1,800 participants:

  • 67% are on Facebook
  • 16% are on Twitter
  • 15% are on Pinterest
  • 13% are on Instagram

The key age demographics on all social networks were adults ages 18-29.

Read more key findings here.

Bottom Line: Understanding which social network your target audience is actively using should play an important role in how you manage your schedule on social media. But while demographic data may provide some interesting takeaways, no one is in a better decision find out what network is right for your business than you.

For a lot of small businesses, being active on every social network isn’t a realistic expectation and really doesn’t need to be. Find the networks that work best for you. Dedicate a majority of your energy on building an engaged audience there before thinking about experimenting on other sites.

As you get more comfortable, you can introduce more networks to your social media marketing efforts and see if there’s an audience for your business on other sites.

Want to learn more about what each social network has to offer your business? Visit our Social Media Quickstarter page for more social media marketing tips