We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #15

by Cai Yu Lam in News

PayPal experiments with QR code mobile shopping in Singapore
PayPal will be introducing mobile shopping in Singapore, whereby smartphone owners can buy goods while on the go using a QR code reader application. This initiative will take place at 15 subway (MRT) stations, where gifts from eight retailers at prices reduced specially for Valentine’s Day will be displayed. Smartphone owners must first download the PayPal QR code reader which allows them to scan the QR codes of the displayed products, and subsequently purchase these products by logging into PayPal or by providing their credit cards details.

Singapore is poised for such an experiment as it has a large smartphone userbase, having achieved the largest recorded feature phone to smartphone migration rate globally at 54%, and having the largest smartphone user base per capita in the world with a 90% penetration rate. It also has the infrastructure in place, with mobile 3G network and free public Wi-Fi that every citizen can register for with their mobile phone number.

Smartphones serve as entertainment guides in Taiwan
An Internet survey by Google found that most smartphone users from Taiwan use their mobile devices as a restaurant finder and travel guide. 38% of Taiwanese who responded said they use their smartphones to search for restaurants and food recommendations, while another 35% use their smartphones to seek travel information. Similarly in other parts of Asia Pacific, 66% of smartphone owners aged 18 to 29 in Singapore said they used their smartphones mostly as a food directory, followed by 55% in Hong Kong, and 40% in both Australia and China respectively.

Tencent’s mobile gaming platform
China’s Internet giant Tencent revealed that its mobile gaming platform Mobile QQ Game Hall has surpassed 200 million registered users and sees 13 million users everyday, with peak usage hitting more than 1 million concurrent gamers. It has no doubt tapped on Tencent’s weibo service, which has more than 250 million members. The current selection is still rather limited, but Tencent has claimed it will be adding more titles to its collection of casual games.

‘The Sims Social’ comes to China
Social gamers in China can soon look forward to playing The Sims Social, which was launched on Facebook last year but was unavailable to Chinese netizens as Facebook is blocked in the country. The 537 million active users on Tencent’s social gaming network QZone will be able to access The Sims Social, or Mo Ni Shi Guang in Mandarin, through an open beta on its platform soon.

China’s 254 million active microblogging users
China had 254 million active microblog user accounts by the end of 2011, up by 150.7% from the previous year. The active user activity proves just how big a part microblogging plays in China’s Internet culture. Microblogging user activity was mainly reflected by the number of user-generated content, the number of ‘retweets’ and comments, content shared among social platforms, and content sharing outside social platforms.

LinkedIn reaches 150 million users
LinkedIn has reached 150 million users, after adding more than 50 million users in the last 10 months; in doing so, it has secured its place as the professional’s social network. Asia Pacific accounts for 25 million users, with India accounting for the majority of Asian users with 13 million LinkedIn accounts, while 4 million originate from Southeast Asia. Singapore alone accounts for 700,000 users, which signals a 14% penetration.

Liking a brand has a positive purchase intent
Interesting news from eMarketer: 54% of those who like a brand on Facebook are then more likely to purchase the product.

From social media to word of mouth
Promoting a brand on Facebook means more than just buying up thousands of fans and, right on cue, Unilever have announced that it is shifting away from using social media for getting fans and instead wants to move towards engagement to drive advocacy and word of mouth.

The dinosaur in the room
Is it brands that are having a hard time evolving, or is it agencies? Just 9% of senior marketers believe traditional ad agencies have successfully joined the digital age, according to a new study.

Hey, have you seen this new video?
Just like a study released a couple of weeks ago, new research has found that viewers who watched a video were more likely to recall the featured brand when it was recommended by a friend compared to viewers who found the video through browsing. Also, people who watched a friend-recommended clip were more likely to enjoy the video and purchase the product.

Brits are top on Twitter
Nearly 40% of people in the UK use Twitter, the highest per capita usage in the world. The U.S., the Netherlands, Chile and Venezuela round out the top 5.

Should Facebook make a ‘junior’ edition?
Although Facebook requires its users to be 13, almost half of British 8 to 12 year olds lie about their age and have accounts on the site. Most of the children replied that they simply wanted a place to play games online and would join a ‘junior’ Facebook if it were created.

Adding Facebook Places to your map
Some Facebook users can now see an “Add to Map” button for business pages with brick-and-mortar addresses. This is meant to encourage more people to fill in their Timelines, but should also yield valuable information in recommending places to friends and letting businesses create more targeted ads.

Could the tap-in be the next check-in?
In its latest update for Android, Foursquare has included support for near-field communication, which would allow check-ins via a wave or a tap when you reach a location. The service has changed dramatically as it gets ready to enter its fourth year, and it’s taking notes from Twitter about getting past its ‘growing pains’.

Google launch Google+ developers page
Last Monday saw Google launch a Google+ developers page within Google+ to allow users to stay close to the latest Google+ platform news and events. The idea is for the page to act as a feedback portal for users, as well as encouraging users to join hackathons. It’s been successful thus far, as it’s already in almost 19,000 circles.

MySpace to announce one million new users
Since December, when MySpace introduced a new music player, it has added one million new users, the first increase in users in almost a year.

Pinterest reaches ten million unique visitors a month
According to comScore, Pinterest is the quickest ever site to reach ten million uniques a month. Certainly a site we’re watching closely.

Path: one to watch
Since its redesign two months back Path has added one million new users and is growing exponentially. Whilst it’s only available on smartphones – and hence it’s userbase will always be limited – the ease of use of the nascent app-cum-social network, means it’s another we’re watching closely.

Domino’s return to crowdsourcing
Domino’s has launched Think Oven, its new attempt to crowdsource feedback from its Facebook fans:

The Think Oven Facebook tab has two sections: Projects and Idea Box. Projects is where Domino’s solicits feedback on specific projects, with the kick-off project asking fans to brainstorm uniform ideas. Two visual submissions and two written submissions will each receive $500 rewards.

Idea Box is more open-ended and accepts any ideas people want to submit (although it’s safe to assume the brand’s Facebook admins can delete any offensive/rude suggestions). After all, the pizza chain’s latest product, Parmesan Bread Bites, was created by Brian Edler, a Domino’s Store Owner in Ohio. Other ideas so far including introducing rooftop gardens, better French dressing and a pizza delivery locator light.

Domino’s to trial F-commerce
Meanwhile, Domino’s in the UK are embarking on a new product launch exclusive to its Facebook fans. The Pizza chain is launching ‘boneless ribs’, a new addition to its menu of side orders. Facebook fans will be able to preview and order the dish at a promotional price for a week before the national launch. Perhaps there’ll be a domino effect from this, and it will drive long-term sales?

Control cats from your computer
A new campaign from Friskies allows users to control a series of kittens’ toys through Facebook (while real live kittens play with them). With cats, consumers and the internet combined, expect the web to go into meltdown.

New Cillit Bang Product Launched exclusively on Facebook
Reckitt Benckiser has announced plans to exclusively sell the new Cillit Bang ‘All in 1 Dish & Surface Cleaner’ household-cleaning product through its Facebook page. They also plan to invest an extra £100m in brand building across Europe.

Cadbury’s use Facebook to launch new Wispa product
After running a competition to find the Ultimate Wispa fan, Cadbury’s then let the very same fan launch the new Wispa product – Bitsa Wispa – on their Facebook Page, before running a competition all week to give the first batch of the product away.

Foster’s with Facebook Timeline app
Fosters is the first alcohol brand in the UK to develop a Timeline app, using it to showcase its exclusive comedy content. Rumours of the comedy being sweet, but mostly flat, are yet to be confirmed.

O2 surprises and dazzles with a Valentine campaign
The mobile operator O2 is rolling out plans to ‘surprise and delight’ customers with another personalised social media campaign for Valentines Day. The have created a virtual digital love nest in the clouds to deliver Twitter users messages via Youtube videos, personally recorded by non-identical twin “O2 Cupids”.

Dove creates Valentine’s Day tweet screen
Dove has erected a Valentine’s Day tweet screen in London’s Victoria station, which displays tweeters responses to questions about women and beauty. Aside from the time of year, it’s hard to see how much this has to do with Valentine’s.

Threadless link-up with Pinterest
T-shirt makers Threadless are one of the first brands to run a campaign on Pinterest: they’ve asked users to create a Valentine’s Pinboard including five Threadless products, for the chance to win an $100 voucher as well an $100 Amazon gift card.

Skoda’s impressive use of social media
A really nice story from Car Dealer Magazine, about how a tweet from a journalist about not having a car, ended up with him being a given a car for the day, as well as free lunch. It all goes to show the power of listening on social media, and then generating positive word of mouth. It’s hard to get brands to believe it can be this simple, but sometimes it really can be.

Sky News bans retweeting others, BBC bans breaking stories on Twitter
Sky News has introduced a new policy that bans its journalists from retweeting non Sky sources. It seems to miss the point of social media – about reporters being part of the wider community – and it will be interesting to see if there is a backlash from their journalists.

Simon Collister from We Are Social London highlighted just why it’s a bad move for Sky:

Sky, as an early adopter of Twitter, has taken a big step backwards. It’s easy to see where it’s coming from in terms of attempting to protect the brand from association with inappropriate personal tweets or unconfirmed news, but Sky is missing the point. The biggest damage to the brand will be that its reporters go from being ‘real people’ to official broadcast channels for Sky. This risks diminishing the range, breadth and quality of the content being produced and shared.

What will these policies mean for the individual journalists concerned? Many of Sky’s reporters understand that getting the most out of Twitter means reciprocal engagement through sharing and retweeting other users and are already flouting the new policies. If Sky journalists find themselves losing followers, authority or relevance in the increasingly networked news environment, it will be interesting to see if this leads to higher staff turnover – or a management re-evaluation of the proposed practices.

The domino effect has already been felt at the BBC, where journalists have been told not to break new stories on Twitter. The new rule, which applies to all correspondents within the corporation, reporters and producers, was announced on Wednesday, just a day after Twitter’s new ruling.

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