We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.
Facebook now makes USD$1 from each of its 410m active users in Asia
Facebook released its Q2 results last week and they contained some impressive numbers. Monthly active users (MAUs) have grown to over 1.3 billion, up from 1.276 billion in Q1, while mobile MAUs now total 1.07 billion (vs. 1.008 billion last quarter).
In Asia, Facebook now has 410 million monthly active users (up from 339 million in Q2 2013), hitting a new milestone as the average revenue per user (ARPU) crossed the US$41 threshold for the first time.
The real success, though, is financial. Total revenue has increased to US$2.9bn, the company’s biggest quarterly total, up from US$2.5bn in Q1.
Ad revenue for the quarter amounted to $2.68bn, of which 62% came through mobile. Indeed 30% of the network’s MAUs access is solely through mobiles or tablets, leading to discussion about the potential for a mobile-only version of Facebook. Ad prices more than doubled last quarter, too, allowing Facebook to increase its revenue while reducing the number of total ads. These figures combined have led to a valuation of $192bn, more than Disney or Toyota, which is 128 times its profits for the whole of last year.
KakaoTalk now has 20 million monthly active users on its social games
With 140 million registered users, KakaoTalk has revealed that their money-making gaming system is working out with 20 million monthly active users on its chat app-connected social games. There are now 520 games that tie into KakaoTalk, including popular titles like Anipang 2, Cookie Run and DragonFlight. However, most of these games are only in Korean, reflecting its failure to expand globally or regionally.
Alibaba launches new social network
China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, has launched an Instagram-type social network where users can tag brands that appear in photos. Users can also follow brands and friends, and share their photos on other social networks like Sina Weibo. The social network, called Fun, is built into Alibaba’s Tmall shopping app and will be available in an update for iOS and Android devices.
Line launches shopping app in Thailand, confirms IPO application
Line seems to be moving away from being just a messaging app, with a new app called Line Shop appearing in Thailand. The standalone app offers a brand-to-consumer experience, connecting users to brick and mortar retailers as well as online retailers. Users can also follow brands and set up chat rooms and direct conversations using their Line accounts. The company has also confirmed that it has applied for IPO in Tokyo, which could value the company at $10 billion.
Amazon expands Twitter shopping initiative to India
The #AmazonCart shopping initiative is now available in India. The initiative which allows users to order items via Twitter, requires users to connect their Twitter account and their Amazon account. They would then be able to add items to their Amazon cart by replying to any tweet with an Amazon product link using the hashtag #AmazonCart. Amazon previously launched this initiative in the UK and US in May.
— Amazon.in (@amazonIN) July 15, 2014
WeChat launches advertising platform
WeChat, the Chinese messaging service, has created an ad platform for brands with over 100,000 followers. Ads will only appear when users click on full-page posts from officials accounts that they already follow. Even then, the ad is not full screen, but shows up at the bottom of the page.
Facebook Messenger is the chat app of choice in the Philippines
While smartphone adoption is rapidly growing in the Philippines, it remains among the lowest in Asia Pacific. According to the new report from OnDevice Research, 80 percent of mobile users in the Philippines are regular Facebook messenger users, leaving behind popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Line and WeChat. Messenger is followed by Viber and Skype which both offer free international calls. This result may be attributed to the huge number of Filipinos working overseas keeping in touch with their families back home.
LOL Lah! curates top videos across Asia
LOL Lah! is a new site curating the latest lulz-worthy videos across Asia. It aims to be the “hub” for pop culture in the region where people could go to find regional memes, rather than only global memes. LOL Lah is created by Tamara Sanderson, a Singapore-based Google employee and creator of the app Timeaway that lets parents monitor and control their kids’ smartphone or tablet usage. She explains to TechinAsia that she uses YouTube Trends, sorted by country, to find popular new videos. Teaming up with a social media guru in the Philippines, they look for viral content online. According to Sanderson, Asia is one region but each country is very unique. For example, Singapore likes Buzzfeed-esque comedies, India is full of Bollywood favourites and Philippines loves basketball and the Voice Kids clips.
Senti, a social media tool fluent in Filipino and text-speak
Having difficulty listening and monitoring conversations in the Philippines because of the variations of English, Filipino, Taglish, and even text-speak? A new Manila startup, Senti, may be the answer. Senti wants to help companies and brands understand and have a better view of what Filipinos have been talking about online using Filipino, English, Taglish and other variations of the language. “Other variations” include text-speak, beki-speak (gay lingo) and coined words. After consolidating data from different social media streams, Senti uses it to come up with analytics and data insights about products, events and personalities. The startup plans to add the ability to forecast trends in social media in the local context in one of its features in the future. This plan also extends its value to television, where they can detect the type of shows Filipinos watch, for example.
Over the past year, We Are Social has been partnering with the World Federation of Advertisers to identify the brands that marketers around the world respect the most.
We’ve asked hundreds of the world’s top practitioners for their thoughts via social media; from global creative directors and agency heads, to client-side CMOs and global brand directors.
During the course of these conversations, however, we realised that the same handful of brands came up again and again.
So what is it about brands like Red Bull, Nike, and Dove that marketers all over the world respect so much, and what can we learn from their success?
1. Their value propositions extend beyond their products
When Felix Baumgartner jumped out of his space capsule high over the deserts of New Mexico, there wasn’t a can of Red Bull in sight.
Red Bull’s intention wasn’t merely to raise awareness; and 36 million people didn’t turn to YouTube to watch an ‘ad’.
Instead, the brand – with Felix’s help – set out to challenge the world’s perceptions of what’s humanly possible.
Similarly, when the brand teams up with people like Danny Macaskill to create amazing content, it doesn’t resort to mere ‘audience mirroring’ – the weak, “we like what you like, so buy our product” sort of approach.
Instead, Red Bull strives to produce content that people will go out of their way to engage with and share – an approach borne out by the 3.5 million subscribers on the brand’s Youtube channel.
Red Bull doesn’t just offer the world an energy drink; it inspires people everywhere to explore their own limits, and achieve something more.
2. They’re not just differentiated; they make a real difference
Many of the industry’s leading practitioners indicated a strong preference for brands with a ‘conscience’.
The most commonly cited example was TOMS, a brand whose core ‘one-for-one’ proposition ensures someone in the developing world benefits every time someone buys their products.
What’s most interesting is the way this brand proposition has allowed TOMS to transcend product categories.
The brand has extended beyond its initial one-for-one shoe program, where it donated a pair of shoes to a child in Argentina for every pair bought in stores, to offer sight-saving treatment for someone in the developing world for every pair of sunglasses sold.
The brand’s most recent development involves providing a week’s worth of clean drinking water for someone in Africa each time someone buys a pack of TOMS coffee:
TOMS doesn’t just sell products; it sells a promise – a promise that we can still indulge in little luxuries, safe in the knowledge that we’re also helping other people lead a better life.
Another brand that champions a cause is Goldieblox, who have set themselves the mission of encouraging more girls to consider careers in areas such as engineering.
As a result, the brand isn’t just making and selling great toys; it’s helping young girls to build a brighter future.
3. They don’t interrupt people; they involve them
Nike is a brand that never seems to lose favour in the marketing community, and no conference seems complete without at least one swoosh-branded case study.
There’s something particularly interesting about the examples people cite most though: they’re almost always participative activities.
Whether it’s huge running events like the Human Race, or getting people off the couch during the World Cup to play in three-a-side soccer tournaments like Joga3, Nike has a strong track record in creating marketing activities that actively involve its audiences.
These activities work so well because they actively add value to the audience, rather than interrupting them or asking the audience to add value to the brand first.
Indeed, Nike has done such a good job with these events that people are even willing to pay to take part in them; how many other brands have succeeded in getting people to pay to be a part of their marketing?
It’s worth pointing out that Red Bull has championed this participative approach to its comms too, with events like Flugtag now a regular fixture in the brand’s global approach:
More and more brands are using ‘crowdsourcing’ to influence product development too, with Dell’s ‘Ideastorm’, Starbucks’s ‘My Starbucks Idea’ and Lay’s ‘Do Us A Flavor’ all popular examples of activities that brought the audience into the heart of the brand.
Taken further, the power of involvement may mean that IKEA’s self-assembly model actually adds value, rather than acting as a potential barrier.
In the words of Dan Ariely, Daniel Mochon and Michael Norton,
Labour increases people’s valuation of products, not just for those who profess an interest in “do-it-yourself” projects, but even for those who are relatively uninterested. [from The IKEA Effect]
4. They engage our emotions
When it comes to specific communications activities, the industry’s leading practitioners repeatedly offered two recent examples of brands that have swapped eyeballs for heartstrings.
Recent iterations have moved from shock tactics to a more emotional style though, with the brand’s recent Real Beauty Sketches film playing more on empathy than outrage:
In a similar vein, P&G’s Thank You Mom films have moved audiences to tears with touching stories of Olympians’ growing pains:
These activities work because they resonate with audiences’ own experiences; they harness empathy to engage our emotions, ensuring a more profound and enduring connection.
That may seem like stating the obvious, but that’s what’s so interesting; most marketers seem to understand this logic, yet it’s strange how few of us actually take the time to understand our audiences well enough to be able to deliver such powerful, empathetic marketing.
5. They help people to help themselves
Google’s Michael Burke asserts that “learning something is the top motivator when it comes to driving engagement,” and this is borne out in many of the examples of great marketing that people shared with us.
By providing SMEs with advice, support, and a network of peers, AmEx has moved from being a mere payments facilitator to an added-value business partner.
In addition to organising widely-publicised events like Small Business Saturday, AmEx also offers small businesses advice on areas such as how to manage a Facebook page (complete with $100 of free Facebook adverts), how to construct compelling customer offers, and provides attractive POS materials and promotional assets.
The practitioners we spoke with also cited examples like Hubspot, a marketing services brand that provides a wealth of free materials to help marketers adopt and optimise an inbound marketing strategy.
A common thread
If you’re looking for the one thing that connects these themes though, it’s quite simple: do something that people care about, and there’s a higher likelihood they’ll care about you.
This is the first in a series of posts in collaboration with the World Federation of Advertisers. Find out more about this work and the WFA at the Project Reconnect website.
WeChat launched its advertising platform for official accounts
According to QQ Tech, WeChat launched a 10-day closed beta test earlier this year, and now the company has decided to launch the open beta version of its advertising platform for official accounts. WeChat pointed out that advertisers now are able to target audiences by gender, age and region, which provides more accurate targeting services for advertisers to narrow down its relevant target audiences. Meanwhile, advertisers can also get feedback about exposure, click through rate, number of clicks and KPIs from WeChat. However, these ads will only show up if users choose to click through the messages to read full-page posts from the official account. Although the new ad platform is still in beta version, there are nearly 400 million monthly active users who follow these ’subscription’ and service accounts. As such, it will be interesting to see the outcome when the ad platform officially launches.
Luxury travellers in Asia-Pacific seek, share info online
In June 2014, ILTM Asia and Brand Karma published a report called “The Luxury Traveller & Social Media 2014: Asia”. This report indicated that Asia is the region where social media matters most to luxury travel brands. According to the research, it is noteworthy that the social media health of a luxury travel brands is strong, as demonstrated by the positivity and large share-of-voice, which it attracts from two major sources: online review sites like TripAdvisor, and social networking sites like Facebook. Interestingly, the research also shows that Asian travellers are enthusiastic about writing reviews for luxury hotel brands, hence brands should be aware of the importance of managing their presence on popular Asian review sites as well as their social media presence.
Here are some key take aways from the report:
- Mobile messaging apps could displace traditional social networks
- Asian luxury hotel brands lead the way in social commerce
- Social guest satisfaction increases
Indian Prime Minister becomes Twitter’s third most followed world leader
The use of social media becomes a popular trend for world leaders, since Barack Obama (43.9 million twitter followers) used social media to leverage his influence during the US elections in 2008. As reported previously, Indonesian President SB Yudhoyono was the third influential world leader on Twitter with 5.09 million followers. However, now with over 5.1 million Twitter followers, Indian Prime Minister Modi has surpassed the Twitter fan base of Indonesian President SB Yudhoyono to become the third most followed world leader. It is not surprising that Facebook has also hit a milestone in India with 100 millions active users.
Advertisers will increase social ad budgets
Most advertisers are planning to increase their ad budgets for social media, according to an Ad Age survey of 1,682 agency executives. Of those asked, 53% will modestly increase their Twitter budget, compared to 48% for Facebook and 43% for YouTube. ‘Significant increases’ are expected by roughly 10% of respondents for all platforms, while hardly anyone plans to ‘significantly decrease’ budgets on any of the three networks.
Facebook buys LiveRail
Facebook is to further increase its video ad business with the purchase of LiveRail, one of the biggest video ad sellers, which automates the sale of video adverts for the likes of MLB, ABC and DailyMotion. According to Ad Age, a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the price of the deal. Facebook will use LiveRail’s data when serving ads on its own network, and vice versa. This should help to amplify Facebook’s ‘Audience Network’, which allows advertisers to extend campaigns beyond the social network.
When a person sees an ad on Facebook they can place a ‘missed call’ by clicking the ad from their mobile device. In the return call, the person receives valuable content, such as music, cricket scores or celebrity messages, alongside a brand message from the advertiser — all without using airtime or data.
India has a culture of pre-paid phone contracts, which often include high costs for data and text messages; as such, the missed call is a common workaround. Facebook is hoping to take advantage of this behaviour in the country, which has its second-highest global user base.
Twitter ups mobile ad offering
Twitter has made two moves to improve its mobile ad offering in the last week. First of all, it is now offering mobile app installation ads, which it has been testing since earlier this year, to all advertisers. Secondly, it has purchased TapCommerce, which helps mobile businesses to retarget ads, for a reported $100m. The two moves display a clear intent by Twitter to focus on mobile advertising.
Tweets appear with ‘buy now’ button
A ‘buy now’ button appeared on several tweets last week, all linked to the @fancy account. The button was only visible on mobile and didn’t actually do anything when clicked, inciting speculation that it was either a test or an accident. However, it looks likely that shopping on Twitter will be here soon enough.
Vine adds loop count
Vine has added a ‘loop count’, a metric that displays how many times a particular Vine has been repeated. The idea is that this will show which videos are best engaging their audience, which could be big news for brands. We Are Social’s Luke Carrell talked to AgencySpy about the move:
For many marketers, Vine continues to be a bit of an enigma, with its younger audience and tendency to reward quick, quirky humor that can be difficult to get exactly right. While many brands have embraced the platform as an outlet for one-off creative exercises, more robust metrics such as the introduction of content impressions (e.g. Loops) opens the door for gathering insights that can help build smarter content plays over the long term.
Google kills Orkut
Google is bringing an end to Orkut, its original social network, which remains popular in Brazil and India. It released a blog post, which stated that “YouTube, Blogger and Google+ [had] outpaced Orkut’s growth”. September 30th will be the network’s final day.
The World Cup breaks records in social
The World Cup has been one of the most talked-about events of all time online, and there is now more evidence to support that. The total number of Facebook posts, comments and likes relating to the World Cup has reached the 1bn mark, with 11 posts from footballers competing in the tournament each receiving more than 1m likes. Of these, seven came from Neymar, three from Messi and one from Ronaldo. Meanwhile, Brazil’s penalty shootout victory over Chile elicited 389,000 tweets in one minute, thehighest figure of all time. The previous record was held by February’s Superbowl, in which a single touchdown caused 382,000 tweets in a minute.
adidas and We Are Social produce real-time World Cup content
Ad Age recently spent the day at adidas’s real-time marketing hub at the World Cup in Rio, a 40-strong delegation that includes some of the We Are Social gang. Their article about the experience highlights adidas and We Are Social’s extensive pre-World Cup preparation, while also discussing the way in which the team deals with reactive content on the ground. So far, adidas is the most talked-about brand of the entire tournament.
— adidasfootball (@adidasfootball) July 4, 2014
We Are Social and adidas celebrate Djokovic’s Wimbledon win
In the immediate aftermath of Novak Djokovic’s thrilling fifth set win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon, We Are Social and adidas Tennis posted a congratulatory tweet and image to celebrate the moment. It was the culmination of two weeks of support for its players, all under the umbrella of #smashthesilence. The tweet itself has received over 1,250 retweets, the hashtag being mentioned 10,700 times throughout the tournament.
— adidas tennis (@adidastennis) July 6, 2014
We Are Social and evian create #LetsPlay
We Are Social created a campaign for water brand, evian, which encouraged people to live young during Wimbledon. Fans simply had to tweet @evianwater with #LetsPlay. Lucky winners received a personalised Vine, sung by Vive Vocals.
Monster puts job ads in Twitter cards
Monster, the recruitment company, has released a new Twitter card, which displays a full job advert within a tweet. Here it is in all its glory:
— evian (@evianwater) July 2, 2014
Barbie joins LinkedIn
Looking for a career as a plastic toy? Better connect with Barbie – she’s just joined LinkedIn. The move is promoting the doll’s latest incarnation, ‘Entrepreneur Barbie’, whose profile includes details on her long and illustrious career, as well as an explanation of her latest venture, ‘Dream Incubator’.
Ikea creates Instagram ‘website’
Ikea has created an Instagram page that functions like a website. By featuring products from its Ikea PS collection, alongside a product description, it takes advantage of the network’s layout, as explained in the video below.
Vodafone is curating a Twitter play
Vodafone is teaming up with Spanish actor, Raúl Arévalo, to curate a play from tweets. Twitter users will be encouraged to send in suggestions for lines/directions using the hashtag #firstteatrotuits (first theatre tweets), after which the play will be performed to a live audience in Madrid’s Capitol Theatre. The audience, too, will be encouraged to send in their own suggestions.
AutoTrader.com and Overly Attached Girlfriend
AutoTrader.com has enlisted the help of Laina Morris, better known as ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’, in its latest online campaign. The online star is featured in a video, in which she uses the site’s various features to help keep her search hidden from her partner. After watching, viewers are encouraged to take part in a similar online treasure hunt.
Transamerica launches on Reddit
Transamerica has launched a presence on Reddit, through which it hopes to answer personal finance questions. Reddit can prove difficult for brands, but llan Gungormez, director of social media strategy at Transamerica, has made clear that the company will be trying not to push sales too much:
What we’re really trying to work on doing is kind of filling in all the gaps. And at the end of the day, we obviously hope you end up picking Transamerica. But if you are at least able to walk away and make a better, informed decision, that’s really the win, because financial literacy is so low across the board.
CALM launches the Twitter #Mandictionary
Male suicide charity, CALM, has created a Twitter campaign, which asks users to tweet their suggestions for vocabulary to express male emotion, using #Mandictionary. The charity hopes the campaign will help promote discussion of male mental health, and intends to use the submissions in future ads.
— Ceiling Demons (@CeilingDemons) July 1, 2014
Twitter trolls Robin Thicke
Music channel VH1 encouraged Twitter users to tweet questions to Robin Thicke last week, using #AskThicke. Naturally, for such a controversial figure, some of the questions weren’t quite what Thicke might have hoped. Many tweets, such as the below, highlighted Thicke’s questionable history and accusations of misogyny.
What form of sexual or emotional abuse will you be normalising in your next jaunty hit? #AskThicke
— Scriblit (@Scriblit) June 30, 2014
#AskThicke Once you’ve cracked ‘hug me’, any thoughts on what rhymes with ‘misogynistic douchebag’?
— James Martin (@Pundamentalism) July 1, 2014
Ukrainian club creates social media bar
The Boom Boom Room, a night club in Kiev, has a set menu of eleven drinks in its newly-launched “Check-in bar”, each of which can be purchased in exchange for a different social media activity. A hashtagged Instagram selfie is worth one shot, a photo with four tagged friends earns you a bottle of Prosecco and there’s a special drink for a mayor’s badge on Foursquare.