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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #121

by Jolene Siow in News

CABCY video gets shorter as it’s shared
Singapore’s ‘Coalition Against Bullying for Children and Youth’ has created a social video with a real sharing incentive. The video, originally 100 seconds long, shows a child in distress. It gets shorter and shorter each time it is shared on Facebook, and is accompanied by the tagline ‘Share it to End it’.

Facebook passes 100m users in India
India is now Facebook’s second largest national market (after the US), as the network passed 100 million users there. It expects further rapid growth as it increases its mobile focus in a country where eight in 10 users are mobile.

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Yelp launches in Japan, its second market in Asia
Community-sourced restaurant review site Yelp has formally launched in Japan. This is its second entry into Asia, after Singapore in 2012, and the 26th country to receive Yelp. Opening in Japan comes with its own unique set of hurdles, such as the handling of the character set, as well as competing against popular review site Tabelog.

Yelp JapanJust 5% of users contribute to 90% of all Weibo posts
According to a study, Chinese microblogging platform Weibo was found to have a sizeable content gap between its users. Only 10 million users post original content, while the other two hundred million other users are made up of spam or empty accounts, or users who just repost others’ content. Reasons for the small percentage could be due to the large amount of spam accounts, or competitors such as WeChat  gaining popularity in China.

Xiaomi’s social media strategy drives fan loyalty
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has a fiercely loyal fanbase, and a lot of this lies in the way it engages its fans and customers with social media. Xiaomi uses social media in several ways – to drum up excitement about its flash sales, as well as engaging fans and customers in an informal and playful manner, much like how friends speak to each other. Its recent Mi Fan Festival saw 1.3 million handsets sold across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, raking in CNY1.5 billion (SGD302 million).

Xiaomi Fans

Facebook and YouTube launch unique add-ons for India Elections 2014
For the 16th Lok Sabha Elections, Facebook has launched a ‘I’m a Voter’ button for its users in India, which allows users to post their voting stories on their timeline, sharing with friends that they are voting in this election. YouTube has also launched a India Elections 2014 page, which has garnered over a thousand subscribers. The page features a curated list of videos, aimed at providing a one-stop source of news on the elections.

Facebook voter button

Most social networks are predominantly mobile
The 2014 US Digital Future in Focus Report has been released, with interesting figures about the growth of mobile and social. Of major social networks, only two (Tumblr and LinkedIn) are predominantly desktop (among US users aged 18 and up).

Snapchat, Vine and Instagram are, as expected, the most ‘mobile-first’ social networks, each seeing almost all of their traffic from non-desktop devices. The three sites have grown their unique visitors figures significantly between February and December 2013 – Instagram by 43%, Vine by 515% and Snapchat by 234%.

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Most social content is shared from mobile
It’s not just user growth where mobile is steaming ahead, but also the volume of shared content. Of everything shared to social networks in Q1 2014, 52% came from a mobile device, compared with 48% from desktop. This resulted from much stronger volume growth on mobile: 28% against desktop’s 11%.

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Photos are most popular Facebook content for brands
Despite Facebook pushing brands to use links, it’s clear that photo posts remain the most popular content type for brands on the network. Analysis of over 30,000 brand posts found that 75% were photo posts, followed by just 10% including a link.

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This is perhaps no wonder, when we look at the most engaging content types: photo posts make up 87% of the top 10% of branded content.

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Facebook to remove messenger from mobile app
In an attempt to keep up with standalone messaging apps, Facebook is planning toremove the ‘Messenger’ function in its main mobile app, forcing users to either download the standalone app or lose the service entirely.

Facebook launches new ads as prices increase
As brand pages’ organic reach has dropped throughout Q1, Facebook ad prices have increased by 10%. This news comes as Facebook has announced a new format for ads in the right hand bar; the network has claimed that these will increase engagement and allow brands to use the same image for News Feed and right-hand bar ads.

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Facebook looks to reduce News Feed spam
Facebook is making some changes to its News Feed algorithm that will decrease the reach of certain types of content, each of which is considered ‘spammy’. The initial targets of these changes are:

1. Pages that repeatedly post images asking for likes, comments and shares
2. Frequently-circulated content that users have already seen
3. Spammy links that bring users to pages full of ads

Facebook has looked to reassure pages that this is unlikely to negatively affect their reach; it states that most publishers are not posting ‘spam’ and should instead expect to see their reach increase slightly.

Facebook is updating privacy settings
Facebook is attempting to make its privacy options clearer to users with a series of tests. As can be seen below, the iOS app will include details of who can see any post above the publishing box (left), while desktop users will notice a change to the drop down menu (right).

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There will also be pop-up messages for users who haven’t updated their preferences in a while, straight from the mouth of the privacy dinosaur.

PrivacyDinosaur1

Twitter renovates profiles
It’s all change in the world of Twitter this week, as the platform announced a complete overhaul of users’ profiles on desktop. Changes include a larger profile picture, customisable header, and the ability to pin a particular tweet to the top of your profile (though it’s worth noting that this will only be available for free to certain high-profile users or paying accounts). A user’s more engaging tweets will now appear larger on their profile, too. The new style, which is in the process of being rolled out, can be seen here:

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Some brands have already begun using the new design. The below, for example, displays Skype’s videos – users can now filter tweets to see just photos or videos.

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The move is being seen as part of a larger attempt to make the network more accessible for the less tech-savvy among us; technical ‘jargon’ like RT and @replies may be at threat, while the network looks to concentrate more on video/images and add emoji functionality. Users are beginning to get notifications on Twitter.com, too, which are fully customisable; anyone can choose what actions they get notified about. All of this, along with the design of the above profiles, has led to a number of comparisons with Facebook and rumours of a ‘land grab’. Watch this space.

Twitter adds 15 new ad types
Twitter will also be ramping up their ad offering, with news that they’re planning 15 new types of ad, such an ‘app-install unit’. This news comes at a similar time to figures that suggest Twitter’s ads receive a higher click-through rate than Facebook’s. Advertisers still spend a lot more on Facebook advertising, as we can see here:

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Moreover, Facebook ads reach much further than their Twitter equivalents. Twitter may get higher click-through rates, but Facebook still earns a much higher volume of clicks and impressions.

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LinkedIn removes ‘Products & Services’ tab
LinkedIn has today removed the ‘Products & Services’ tab from company pages. The network has proposed two different ways around this for brands: they can discuss their offerings in either company updates or the ‘showcase’ pages that LinkedIn has designed for this purpose.

Disqus introduces ‘Sponsored Comments’
Disqus, the commenting platform used by many popular blogs (including this one), has this week launched a native ad product, known as ‘Sponsored Comments’. It launched the new unit in a blog post, in which it looked to reassure users that it would maintain the quality of their experience. The adverts will appear as follows:

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Unilever’s multi-brand YouTube channel
Unilever is launching a multi-brand YouTube channel, named ‘All Things Hair’. Brands including Toni & Guy, Dove and VO5 will all host content on the channel, which is taking much of its content from famous video bloggers.

Oreo brings Snack Hacks to online video
Oreo has launched a series of web videos dubbed ‘Snack Hacks’, which showcase unusual ways of eating the snack. After asking Twitter followers to discuss their favourite #OreoSnackHacks, the brand has since taken the campaign to the next level and produced content of its own. One example, featuring celebrity chef Roy Choi, is presented in this video.

Peter Griffin is now on Instagram
American cartoon, ‘Family Guy’, has created an Instagram account for its protagonist, Peter Griffin, to drive downloads of a new mobile game based on the series.

WWF creates Snapchat campaign
The World Wildlife Fund is using a Snapchat campaign to raise awareness about endangered species. Dubbed #LastSelfie, the campaign plays on the trend for a constant stream of self-taken photographs on the platform.

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Social, Digital & Mobile in China 2014

by Tianyu Xu in News

The social, digital and mobile ecosystem in China is unlike anywhere else on earth.

With a wide variety of home-grown platforms, technologies and behaviours, understanding the Chinese digital landscape can be both daunting and difficult.

Fortunately, We Are Social‘s new report will help to demystify things.

Continuing our series of studies into digital trends and developments around the world, our new China report profiles a variety of critical data points, including the penetration rates of different technologies, the top-ranking social platforms, and a wealth of interesting facts and figures on Chinese netizens’ behaviour.

You’ll find full details in our SlideShare report embedded above (and available for free download by clicking here), but here are some of the report’s highlights:

Country Overview

Social, Digital, Mobile in China 2014

China’s population  exceeds 1.36 billion people, with urban areas accounting for more than half of the country’s residents. 51% of the country’s population is male.

Internet

China’s 618 million Internet users represent 45% of the country’s population, and account for almost a quarter of the world’s internet users – for reference, here are the latest global stats:

Social Digital Mobile Worldwide

(You can find more global stats here)

The majority of China’s internet users live in urban areas, with fewer than 1 in 3 living in rural parts of the country.

Beijing (75%), Shanghai (71%) and Guangdong (66%) have the highest Internet penetration of the country’s administrative regions:

Chinese internet penetration by region

Instant messaging (IM) is the most popular online activity in China, with CNNIC quoting in excess of 530 million active users across platforms.

However, Tencent’s QQ, China’s most widely used IM platform, boasts more than 800 million active accounts, suggesting many Chinese IM users may manage multiple accounts.

Social Media

Although QZone claims to have the highest number of active social networking users at 625 million, Weixin (WeChat) and Sina Weibo are the current ‘darlings’ of Chinese social media, with 355 million and 129 million monthly active users respectively:

Top social networks in China (active users)

Brands continue to be highly active on Sina Weibo, contributing to a reported 153% year-on-year growth of Sina Weibo’s advertising revenue in Q4 2013.

In terms of the users themselves, and reflecting a behaviour pattern we see on other social platforms across Asia, China’s micro-bloggers can’t seem to resist checking Weibo immediately after food:

When do people use Weibo

Weixin (WeChat) users are actively using the platform’s various chat features like text and voice voice messaging , as well as its social networking features like ‘Moments’:

Top activities on WeChat

 

It’s worth pointing out that WeChat is now the world’s second biggest active chat app service, and is still growing at a staggering rate:

We Are Social - Chat Apps User Numbers April 2014

Mobile

Roughly half of China’s population now owns a mobile phone, with each user maintaining an average of nearly 2 active SIM subscriptions.

The ubiquity of mobile devices makes them China’s internet tools of choice, with 81% of the country’s netizens accessing the Internet via mobile handsets:

How people connect to the net in China

In line with this, mobile shopping and mobile payment services experienced significant growth during 2013:

Top mobile internet activities in China

eCommerce

Online shopping as a whole is hugely important to China’s economy, contributing almost US$300 million in 2013 alone.

Group buying is particularly popular, and was the fastest growing online activity in China, with a robust growth rate of 69% in 2013.

Fastest growing online activities in China

If you need more numbers, be sure to check our full 95-page report on SlideShare for loads more useful and interesting stats.

And if you’d like to stay up to date with We Are Social‘s reports, thought leadership and social media analysis, you can also sign up for our regular newsletter – just click here and follow the instructions.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #120

by Melissa Law in News

Weibo chooses NASDAQ, sets price range for IPO
Chinese microblogging platform Weibo has chosen to go public on NASDAQ with the ticker symbol NASDAQ:WB. The social network has also set its IPO price range between US$17 and US$19 per share, which will raise up to US$437 million for the company.

HootSuite adds features for Chinese microblogging apps
Since adding Weibo and Tencent Weibo to its list of apps in 2012 and 2013, social media management platform HootSuite has now relaunched these apps with added functions and features. These updated apps now allows users to schedule posts and are available in simplified and traditional Chinese. Other added features include managing scheduled posts, news ways to organise users they follow, emoticons and hashtags, as well as the ability to share content from the two microblogging sites onto other social networks.

China’s top 10 social sharing platforms in 2013
According to iiMedia Research, WeChat friends, WeChat Moment and Weibo were China’s top 3 mobile sharing platforms in 2013. The proportion of these top 3 platforms added to a total of 60%, while Facebook only took up 1%. The top social sharing app types in the nation included book & reading apps, news apps, mobile social and e-commerce.

Employees in Asia are strong social media activists
A study conducted by Weber Shandwick across 8 markets in Asia Pacific reveals that employees are becoming increasingly important advocates for companies. The study found that 45% of the 1,075 employees surveyed have shared praise or positive comments online about their employers on social media, while 54% have also defended their employer from criticism.

Employee activism

Facebook dominating social on mobile
The average US smartphone user spends 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on their mobile device. Of that time, 28% is taken up by social apps, up from 24% in the previous year. Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns) accounted for most of that – 17% of all smartphone hours went to one of the two social networks.

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Social and email are equal for conversation volume
The latest IPA TouchPoints5 data has been released, concluding that we now have as many conversations through social media as via email; 12% of all daily conversations occur through each medium. The research also found that 49% of all adults use mobile phones for activities other than texting or talking, doing so on average for 1 hour 30 minutes per day. Unsurprisingly, younger users were more mobile: 78% of 18-24s use their phone for activities other than texting/talking; they do so for an average of 1 hour 52 minutes a day.

YouTube drives the best quality web traffic
YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn drive the richest traffic on the web, with Reddit and Stumbleupon at the other end of the spectrum. YouTube, in first place, produced an average of 227.82 seconds spent on the site, 2.99 pages per visit and a relatively low bounce rate of 43.19%.

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Twitter looks to expand TV links through acquisitions
Twitter has made two acquisitions that should help expand its relationship with television in Europe: France’s Mesagraph and the UK’s SecondSync. The former works with the likes of Canal+, France Télévisions, M6 and TF1, some of France’s biggest TV channels, while the latter has used its social analytics tools to show the value of Twitter for clients in broadcasting and advertising.

Vine adds private messaging capability
Vine has introduced private messaging, allowing users to share videos and text with one another, away from the view of the public eye.

messages

The cost of Instagram ads
Instagram ads are being touted at a premium price tag, according to an article in AdAge last week. Discussions with several ad execs found that a month’s worth of advertising on the network could cost anywhere between $350k and $1m.

Time to look again at Google+
There have been a couple of pieces in the last week that suggest marketers should look again at Google+. First of all, a Forrester blog post revealed that, in a survey of 60,000 US adults, 22% claimed to use G+ at least once per month, the same percentage as Twitter. Also, in terms of engagement per follower, Google+ far outdoes Twitter, and is closer to Facebook, as you can see here:

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We Are Social’s Cristina Forlani also argued in favour of the network. She pointed out its value as an analytics tool and looked to rebut unhelpful comparisons with Facebook. She also mentioned the huge SEO benefits of a platform linked to the world’s most popular search engine.

YouTube pushing stars with TV adverts
YouTube is planning a TV ad campaign to promote some of its biggest stars, after agencies requested a further push to merit their clients’ ad spend. The adverts will feature three YouTube celebrities with over one million subscribers each: make-up artist Michelle Phan, beauty/fashion vlogger Bethany Mota and baker Rosanna Pansino. The below ads will be seen on New York Subway trains.

YouTube_MarketingCampaign

Line surpasses 400 million users
Line, the Japanese messaging app, has surpassed 400 million users, meaning that it’s added 100 million in roughly five months, as shown in the graph below. Not only that, but these new users seem to really be taking to the service; on 21st March, over 10bn messages were sent in a single day.

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WhatsApp processes 64bn messages in one day
If you thought Line’s 10bn messages were impressive, WhatsApp can do even better, processing 64bn messages in one day. The figure accounts for 20bn messages sent and 44bn received; the disparity in the figures occurring as a result of group messaging.

Skype growing among millennials
Skype now has 300 million users and is experiencing strong growth among younger demographics, according to the company’s advertising General Manager Lovina McMurchy, who claimed that the platform now reaches 24% of 18-24 year olds worldwide. She said:

While other companies have seen interactions with younger users decline, Skype has seen positive growth numbers in recent years.

Imgur receives $40m in funding
Tech venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested $40m in Imgur. The image sharing platform has traditionally rejected all outside funding while waiting for the ‘right fit’, as CEO and founder Alan Schaaf discussed.

We got along right off the bat. We were actually bouncing off interesting ideas in where to take the product. They actually made sense, which was out of left field.

adidas promotes World Cup with brazuca
adidas is promoting its World Cup sponsorship by creating online content from the point of view of the official competition ball, named brazuca. The product has its own blog and Twitter pages, while a set of video clips will look to produce a ‘ball’s eye view’ of the competition and involve some of football’s biggest names, including Xavi, Manuel Neuer and Dani Alves.

adidas offers free cleats to one US football team
Another adidas promotion in the last week will offer free American football cleats to one US high school team. The sportswear brand hopes that the teams will naturally spread the word about the competition by asking friends to vote, as it’s only other high school footballers who can do so. To ensure that this remains the case, the brand is using Chirpify, which will automatically respond to anybody using the hashtags #adizero and #vote, asking them to provide information that can prove their identity.

Zappos offers style advice through Instagram
Zappos, an online fashion retailer, is offering free style advice through Instagram. When someone posts a selfie with the hashtag #NextOOTD, a ‘professional image specialist’ will analyse their posting history and suggest a Zappos product that might suit.

Marc by Marc Jacobs seeks ad stars in social
Marc by Marc Jacobs is searching for the star of its latest advert on Twitter and Instagram. You can enter simply by posting a picture alongside the hashtag #CastMeMarc, as in the below examples.

The ‘Breakfast Wars’ go viral
If you’ve been reading the last few mashups, you’ll remember that Taco Bell has been promoting its breakfast menu pretty fervently. The latest addition to the campaign is a set of ads that poke fun at McDonald’s, in which real life Ronald McDonalds give rave reviews of the Taco Bell product. The main video has received over two million views on YouTube.

McDonald’s were quick to respond, though. The below Facebook post, at time of writing, has received over 8,000 likes and almost 2,000 shares.

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KFC uses social celebrity endorsement in China
Fast food chain KFC is struggling in China, with sales falling 13% from 2012 to 2013. To address this, the brand has recruited five major celebrities, each of whom will represent a new menu offering in social and compete with one another for likes. Celebrity endorsement has long since been a staple of Chinese marketing – it will be interesting to see how this social version works out.

Presidential selfie was a publicity stunt by Samsung
A recent selfie with Barack Obama, posted by David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox, was a planned publicity stunt by Samsung. The brand equipped its brand ambassador, known as Big Papi, with a Samsung phone, hoping that the opportunity might present itself, as it did.

However, the White House was unhappy with the above tweet, stating that it objected to the president’s image being used for commercial gain. Ortiz has since denied that he was paid for the photograph.

Cole Haan gets in trouble with the FTC
Footwear brand Cole Haan, has got itself in trouble with the FTC after a Pinterest competition that asked users to post pictures of their favourite shoes with the hashtag #WanderingSole. According to the FTC, the competition hashtag was not sufficient disclosure, though it’s worth noting that the brand received a letter and not an enforcement action.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #118

by Ji Eun Kim in News

Sina Weibo to be officially called Weibo
China’s number one social network, Sina Weibo will officially be called Weibo with the drop of ‘Sina’ from its name to be listed on US IPO. The logo on the site has also been modified accordingly. In Chinese, Weibo translate to “microblog”. By taking over the name that refers to the platform itself, Sina Weibo expect to get further leverage in the competition with other services including Tencent Weibo and Netease Weibo. The reason for this act (in spite of Sina Weibo leading the market share anyway) seems to be in the attempt to set potential investors at ease from the worry that the number of microblogging users are in the trend of decline and users are less engaging on the platform. This is seen as a response to China’s efforts to minimize the influence as a free thought platform. Furthermore, time spent on Weibo is decreasing as Tencent’s messaging service WeChat takes away the time users spend on mobile. Even so, will Sina Weibo’s new name actually make a way to lift the value of Weibo in US IPO?

Weibo-Screenshot-730x156

Line recorded 70% growth with 390 million registered users worldwide
According to the latest update from NHN corp, messaging app, Line has recorded 390 million registered users worldwide, which is almost 70 percent growth from 7 months ago. Japan has the largest number of registered users with 50 million, followed by Thailand with 24 million users. The success in Thailand can be explained by its’ endeavor to the complete localization and meeting local needs. To do this, Line set up a local office with Thai employees and partnered with local companies, providing users with local content. However, Line still has a long way to go to beat its counterparts like WeChat and WhatsApp and strengthen its presence globally. WeChat has 355 million active users and WhatsApp has 465 million active users.

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In Malaysia, 5.4 million tweets are posted per day
Zocial Inc., a leading social media agency in Thailand and Malaysia published an info graphic that looks at Twitter landscape in Malaysia. Based on the data analyzed from February 2014, 3.5 million twitter users are from Malaysia and 21.8% of them are active users. A total of 162.4 million tweets were posted in the examined period, which suggests approximately 5.4 million tweets were made per day. Brands, celebrities and politicians are also on Twitter in Malaysia. The most popular twitter handle is the current Malaysia Prime Minister and three out of five top brands with most followers are airlines. Check out the full info graphic here:

Info

Twitter is struggling to keep users tweeting
Twopcharts, a site that measures account activity on Twitter, has produced reports that display the platform’s retention issue. Almost 40% of the 20m accounts registered every month send at least one tweet in the first month, but this is likely to decrease to one quarter after a year. It may be the case that Twitter users are logging in but not tweeting. The table below shows the extent of the issue.

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Instagram hits 200 million users
Instagram produced a blog post last week to celebrate passing the 200 million user milestone. The network, which has added 50 million users in the last six months, has now seen over 20bn photos shared. Its growth in the US is particularly impressive, where there are now 50.6 million users in total, of whom 35 million access Instagram at least once a month. These figures mean Instagram and Twitter are now very similar in size – the former has more mobile users, but the latter’s desktop usage leaves it slightly larger overall.

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Twitter and TV
There were two pieces of research released by Twitter today about Twitter’s relationship with TV. The first discussed the importance of hashtags: 75% of those surveyed believed hashtags were used because they were seen on TV, while 76% thought other users made sure tweets about TV were funny in order to get retweets. Finally, 69% liked seeing celebrities talk about TV on Twitter. The second looked at the way in which people discuss TV on the network, making a distinction between ‘relaxed’ and ‘engaged’ types of behaviour. Analysis of two BBC programmes, Line of Duty and The Voice UK, display the difference between drama and live events. For drama, conversation peaks before and after the show, while talent shows tend to produce sustained chat throughout.

BBCTheVoice_0
LineofDuty

How marketers use Twitter
Twitter’s use for marketers is primarily in increasing brand awareness, as 72% of respondents made clear in a recent survey of more than 1,000 marketing professionals.

2014_03_26_Twitter

Perhaps oddly, considering the above goal, Socialbakers found that only 23% of marketers are using Twitter advertising at the moment. This falls in fourth place among social networks, after Facebook (92%), YouTube (35%) and LinkedIn (24%).

2014_03_24_Advertising_MAS

Wisemetrics produce research on Facebook reach
Wisemetrics has produced an article about the extent of the decrease in post reach on Facebook. They display that it has been a two-step process, with dips in both August and November, followed by a plateau since roughly January. The larger the page, the bigger the decrease: pages with over one million fans have suffered a 40% decrease, compared with 20% for pages with one thousand.

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Facebook is number one for social commerce
Facebook drives by far the most online commerce of all social sites, according to online store operator, Shopify, and accounts for almost two-thirds of referrals to sites operated by the company. In total, 85% of all social orders were driven by Facebook, which amounts to a 129% year-on-year increase. It wasn’t the highest in terms of order value, though, coming in fourth behind Polyvore, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Facebook purchases Oculus-VR
Facebook has announced its intention to purchase Oculus VR, known best for the ‘Oculus Rift’, a 3d virtual reality headset. The move is worth $2bn in cash and stocks and is described by Mark Zuckerberg as a “long-term bet on the future of computing.” Nick Hearne, senior creative at We Are Social, spoke to the Drum about constrasting senses of “admiration and trepidation” about the move:

I’d certainly question whether this is even the right move for Facebook right now. For me, Google’s move into robotics with the purchase of Boston Dynamics has more credibility than Facebook moving into virtual reality. We’ll have to wait and see whether this acquisition is an admirable ‘moonshot’, or a case of joining the scramble to snap up any hot new tech companies for Zuckerberg and co.

Other online users were even more sceptical, to the extent that Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey, had to take to Reddit to quell fears about the future of his company. He assured users that a Facebook account wouldn’t be needed to use Rift, but didn’t rule out either Facebook branding or in-game advertising.

Facebook expands Lookalike Audiences
Facebook has extended the capability of Lookalike Audiences. Now, advertisers can create audiences based on people who visit their website, use their mobile apps or are connected to their Facebook pages, where previously only information like email addresses, phone numbers and user IDs could be used.

Twitter makes photos ‘more social’
Twitter introduced two major changes to photographs last week: users can now tag up to ten others in a photo and post four separate photos in one tweet. Naturally, certain brands were quick to react, as shown in the below examples.

 

 

 

 

Twitter partners with Billboard and ITV
Twitter announced two partnerships this week. First of all, the network will be working with Billboard to create social music charts, based on online chatter, which will include a section for ‘new and upcoming’ artists. Secondly, the UK’s ITV has announced that it will start using Twitter’s Amplify service, which will allow brands to purchase pre or post-roll adverts on ITV content across the network.

LinkedIn introduces Insights for published content
LinkedIn has announced a free set of Insights, aimed at showing brands how effectively their content is performing on the site. Not only can companies see which stories are trending on the platform, but each will be assigned a performance score based on the effectiveness of their posts, as well as those of related influencers and employees.

It is this last group that could be key to brands’ success on the platform. Last week, Adweek published a piece on the importance of employees on LinkedIn, discussing how their cumulative reach can be higher than that of the brand itself.

Pinterest is preparing to launch ad business
Pinterest is getting ready to roll out the ad business it has been testing since last September, with a soft launch planned for April. Digiday showed some examples of how the ads will look, which reportedly came from a pitch deck sent by Pinterest to an unnamed agency. Other takeouts from the deck include the main target audience (women on mobile), the cost ($30 per 1,000 impressions) and the plans for targeting, which will occur on both a national and regional basis.

Pinterest_ad_mockup1

Foursquare launches ‘Tap to Tweet’ ad product
Foursquare has added a new element to its ad offering. Entitled ‘Tap to Tweet’, the system encourages users to tweet pre-written marketing messages on checking into certain locations.

foursquare-tap-to-tweet-01-2014

BlackBerry looking to monetise BBM
BlackBerry has updated its BBM instant messenger with two new features, each aimed at raising revenue. The platform will now feature sponsored content, alongside a virtual goods store that allows users to purchase stickers.

The Sun adds hashtags to print stories
British newspaper The Sun has become the first of its national rivals to include hashtags in print stories. A postscript titled “What Do You Think?” appears at the bottom of certain articles, encouraging readers to take to Twitter to discuss the paper’s content.

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Nike hosts ‘shoppable’ Google+ hangout
Sportswear giant Nike hosted the first ever ‘shoppable’ Google+ hangout last week, in partnership with Asos, to celebrate 27 years of the Air Max product. Hosted by MTV’s Rebecca Dudley, the stunt discussed the various different ways in which the trainers can be worn.

Taco Bell buys its first Instagram adverts
Fast food chain, Taco Bell, is promoting its new breakfast menu using the hashtag #WakeUpLiveMas, and will do so by purchasing Instagram ads for the first time. Other social marketing is being employed, too, including Vine videos, Snapchat messaging and the influencer activity we reported in last week’s Mashup.

Barack Obama joins Quora
Following in the footsteps of his Reddit AMA, Barack Obama is joining Quora to answer questions on the Affordable Healthcare Act, and will become the first verified account on the site. Unlike on Reddit, he will not be responding live; instead, the President will answer questions that people have already asked on Quora about the act. His answers will be aggregated on his profile and across the site under existing topics.

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Here Comes The Future

by Simon Kemp in News

As we saw in our recent round of #SDMW reports, an increasing number of people around the world now live digitally integrated lives.

But what does this mean for the future?

How is ubiquitous connectivity shaping the world in which we live?

We’ve collected ten provocations from around the We Are Social network to explore this very question, as summarised in the SlideShare deck above.

However, these aren’t ‘predictions’; they’re thought-starters, designed to inspire and stimulate more innovative ideas.

Whether these provocations come true is up to people like you.

#1: From Destination To Function

The web turned 25 just a few days ago, but today’s internet is very different to the one we knew back in 1989.

The most profound shift is the move from web pages as destinations, to the internet becoming an all-pervasive connective power – a bit like the communication equivalent of electricity.

Digital is now all about facilitation – connecting people and devices in ways that add value to everyday contexts, rather than offering standalone media experiences.

From wearable technology to the internet of things, digital connectivity now adds an extra layer of utility to our everyday experiences.

The task for marketers is to embrace this opportunity – to add usefulness to their digital marketing, and offer distinct audience value instead of mere short-term distraction.

#2: The Evolution Of Brand Content

Until recently, most marketing was shaped by a costly media environment that required brands to distil messages down into the shortest possible soundbites.

But ubiquitous connectivity has changed this reality; mobile devices mean people are consuming content wherever and whenever they choose, and any time can be primetime.

Consequently, our paradigm needs to shift from maximum media efficiency, to an approach defined by maximum marketing effectiveness.

Instead of ‘matching luggage’ campaigns disseminating the same message across TV spots, press and billboards, brands can now offer more complex narratives that build and evolve across contexts and time.

These ‘content rabbit warrens’ allow brands to tell more engaging stories and keep audiences interested for far longer than was feasible in a broadcast-only world.

What’s more, we can now actively involve audiences too. Digital connectivity enables us to bring audiences to the very centre of our experiences, making them protagonists instead of passive spectators.

As a result, brands are no longer constrained by standard media units, and can now plan for the best possible content experience.

Taking this further, brands could assume the role of modern-day Medici – the Florentine family that championed the art and architecture of The Renaissance.

Ultimately, each brand’s marketing should become a central part of its value proposition.

This means we need to stop merely advertising our products, and instead start ‘productising’ our adverts.

We need to create communications that are so compelling, people will actively seek them out, and in some cases even pay to become a part of them.

#3: An End To Egocentric Interruption

These new opportunities don’t come without their challenges though; the wealth of new media options mean people have far more choice, and it’s easier than ever for people to ignore brands’ messages.

People are no longer willing to allow brands to interrupt their content.

As a result, the media model needs to change.

Pioneering content brands have already worked this out, with the likes of Netflix and Spotify exploring approaches that don’t rely on diluting their core proposition to make money.

If brands are to survive in this world, they need to change their approach too.

We need to move from a sales-oriented model to a more integrated approach. Instead of the 4Ps, there will be one P to rule them all: the integrated Proposition.

In this model, Product, Promotion and Place are all inherent within the broader brand experience.

Consequently, ‘Price’ becomes less about payment for products, and more about mutual value exchange.

The only brands that will survive are those that people choose to talk about and share.

This isn’t just about comms, though; brands will need to rethink their business models too.

The secret to success lies in identifying which elements of your brand’s proposition people are willing to pay for – not how much you can charge for your product.

#4: From Listening To Learning

In order to identify these elements, brands need to get much better at understanding their audiences.

We need to turn big data into big insights.

We need to get better at understanding people’s desires and motivations, not just their past behaviour.

In the words of John Willshire, we need to make things people want, instead of trying to make people want things.

The answer to this isn’t about investing in better tools though; it’s about investing in better understanding.

We need to analyse people, not just data.

#5: Meaningful Measurement

The best place to start is to end our fascination with vanity metrics.

Real engagement isn’t just about attention: it’s about a change in beliefs and behaviour. We need to influence people’s interest, desire, and action:

Cyclical Attribution

[click to enlarge]

We need to measure things that actually make a difference, not just things that are different.

#6: Connected Wellbeing

Interestingly, many people in our audiences have already taken to collecting data about themselves too.

From activity trackers like NikeFuel and FitBit, to connected heart implants, digital connectivity is changing the way we look after ourselves.

As a result, we’re likely to see a rising demand for services that make better sense of this data.

Personal trainers won’t just be people we meet at the gym; they’ll be people who guide us through all aspects of our health and wellbeing, supported by data from a variety of sensors tracking everything from calories burned to the state of our immune system.

We’ll also see a rise in socially-connected healthcare, with areas like blood and organ donation benefitting from connectivity to specialist groups.

Aggregating such data will also allow us to better monitor and predict the spread of diseases, ensuring earlier treatment and prevention for those at risk.

Savvy marketers will also be able to harness people’s personal data to offer improved audience value.

While privacy concerns will inevitably be an issue, those brands that succeed in establishing sufficient trust stand to gain incredibly detailed insights into their audiences’ lives.

#7: Digital Decay

We’ve not cracked the problem of privacy though, with marketers often responsible for some of the worst transgressions.

As a result, people are increasingly wary of their ‘digital footprints’.

Perhaps ironically, though, such concerns have led to new opportunities.

At the simplest levels, ephemeral and anonymous platforms like Snapchat and Secret have been gaining considerable interest amongst social media users.

This prompts an interesting question: can marketers actually add more value to their audiences by not collecting personal information?

As revelations about government and corporate tracking continue to capture headlines around the world, brands that offer a more sensitive, ‘little sister’ alternative to Big Brother practices are likely to gain in popularity.

#8: Data As Individual Value

People are aware of the advantages of sharing certain aspects of their data though, especially where it helps them reduce effort or complexity.

One potential opportunity here is the concept of a ‘life operating system’ – a common OS that allows us to sign on across every device and appliance we use to access our preferences and settings.

This could be as simple as moving seamlessly from desktop to tablet to mobile phone to TV as we move through the day, but it gets more interesting when it helps us move to and from environments.

For example, a system that remembers how different members of a household prefer the temperature of the shower, or the ‘doneness’ of their toast.

Taking that further, a system that tracks our activities and controls appliances accordingly; for example, turning on the oven and central heating as we near home, or automatically turning off the iron and the TV if we’re more than 100m away.

Such systems could also provide useful ‘memory’ references too, providing ‘life history’ in a similar way to today’s internet browser history.

However, such systems would require access to considerable volumes of personal data, and this would inevitably raise concerns.

One answer to this might be to shift the ownership of personal data back to the individual, rather than it sitting with organisations like Google, Apple and Facebook.

This raises the concept of the personal ‘data bank’: a large repository of personal information – owned and controlled by the individual – that we ‘license’ to brands.

Brands would need to offer something valuable in exchange for this data, whether that’s a financial payment or specific value-added utility.

#9: Networked Economies

As Wikipedia has proven time and again, none of us knows as much as all of us combined.

By bringing all of this collective knowledge together, we not only have access to information wherever and whenever we need it; we’re also able to accelerate progress.

Beyond straightforward Search, internet indexing algorithms will start to create new connections between content, resulting in the rise of Discovery Engines. We’ll no longer need to know what we’re looking for in order to find things of value.

Internet-powered education will offer people all over the planet equal access to learning resources, while online classes will bring the best teachers to students in even the smallest of remote villages.

Meanwhile, global e-commerce and greater price transparency will change the way people shop. Increased competition will result in ‘personal procurement’, with companies bidding to fulfil individual consumers’ orders at the lowest possible price.

At the same time, we’ll see a rise in collaborative fulfilment, with individuals coming together to create, source and share goods and services in more efficient ways.

Brands across all categories will harness the peer-to-peer model already employed by pioneering brands like Airbnb and NeighborGoods.

Business models will evolve to focus more on shared access and on-going licenses instead of one-off sales, ensuring more sustainable benefits for businesses and for the environment.

#10: Currencies For A Connected Age

This increased global interaction will change the way we pay for things too, bringing radical changes to money itself.

In the short term, we’ll see the rise of payments systems made specifically for mobile, instead of mobile payments systems that access existing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, financing systems already common in emerging economies will spread back to more developed nations, with peer-to-peer financing and micro-payments accounting for an increasing share of transactions.

Stretching this further, there’s a real possibility that the connected population will embrace a global, non-sovereign digital currency.

Phenomena like Bitcoin will become more widespread, removing many of the inefficiencies associated with currency exchange, and fundamentally changing the role of banks and financial institutions in our societies.

On the more extreme end of this spectrum, money could be replaced completely. There is a real possibility that digital connectivity will facilitate the return of barter-based transactions, where people exchange goods and services directly, without the need for an intermediary form of payment.

However, such a scenario would require a radical redefinition of corporate success. The accumulation of financial ‘wealth’ would become neither possible nor meaningful, and business would need to fundamentally rethink the concept of ‘shareholder returns’.

Even if this view seems extreme, it’s worth exploring this redefinition now, as it can help brands to gain a tangible advantage today. Start by asking yourself two simple questions:

  1. What is the core human value that my brand offers to people, society and the world?
  2. If people didn’t pay us in money, what other forms of enduring value exchange might we ask from them in order to achieve our objectives?

Those brands that can clearly articulate an answer to this second question are the brands that are best placed to succeed in the long term.

#Bonus: Defining Your Own Future

Predicting the future is never easy, but the surest way to succeed is to take an active role in bringing your vision of the future to life.

Begin by challenging today’s accepted wisdom, and questioning everything you take for granted. Use your ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ to explore alternative perspectives from around the world, and share your own provocations with the world too.

The future will be what we make it.

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