Here are all of the posts tagged ‘e-commerce’.

Five Friday Facts #65

by Laura Picard in News

In China, e-commerce driven by prospect of anytime shopping, low prices
Last month, We Are Social’s report on Social, Digital and Mobile in China detailed the rise of e-commerce in the burgeoning market. The report noted that there are over 240 million online shoppers in China, collectively spending at a staggering rate of $40,000 per second. TheNextWeb cites another insightful report in this regard, that casts further light on the state of e-commerce in the Chinese market. An infographic published by Go-Globe indicates that B2C e-commerce sales have nearly doubled in the last year, increasing by 94% or roughly 132.8 billion SGD in 2012. The infographic further suggests that e-commerce in China is mostly driven by the prospect of anytime shopping, low prices, and convenience. 28% of Chinese respondents cited the ability to shop anytime as the reason for making purchases online, whilst 25% of them cited low prices. Convenience was the main reason for 18% of participants, while 7% indicated the ease of making price comparisons online.

US airport becomes first location with one million check-ins on Foursquare 
Earlier this week, Foursquare reported that it had logged its first single location with one million check-ins. As TheNextWeb reports, this milestone check-in took place at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, the state-capital of Georgia, USA. As recently as November 2012, the mobile location-based social network had announced an impressive number of 3 billion check-ins worldwide. As TheNextWeb notes, this means that airport’s check-ins account for 0.03% of total check-ins, which is “still quite sizeable if you remember it’s just one place.” To commemorate the 3 billion check-ins, Foursuqare launched a site that details the most popular locations to check-in across the United States.

In China, online ad revenue increased by 46.8% in 2012
A recent report by iResearch indicated that revenue from online ad spending had increased by 46.8% in China. The revenue was up to roughly 75.3 billion Yuan, or  14.9 billion SGD in 2012, from ad spend of 10.2 billion SGD in 2011. While the revenue was considerably higher in the past year, it is interesting to note that the year-over-year growth rate itself had declined somewhat, down from 57.6% in 2011.

iResearch notes that this growth can also be understood further based on a breakdown of the online platforms involved. Revenue from search engines only increased sightly, from 33.5% to 40%. By contrast, ad revenue from e-commerce and online video sites grew at a rapid rate. E-commerce share of online ad spend was at 23.3 in 2012, up from 17.5% in 2011. Video sites took 7.7% of the segment share, up from 7.1% in 2011.

iResearch suggests that this corresponds with the increasing popularity of e-commerce in China, as well as the growing interest in online video amongst Chinese internet users. Indeed, as Chinese internet users increased rapidly in the past year, online video also became more popular than search engines as an internet service in May 2012.

In UK, 98% of growing tech companies on LinkedIn–not so much on FB
According to a recent report by eMarkerter, LinkedIn was the most popular social network used by fast-growing tech companies in the UK. Based on a study by PR firm EML Wildfire, the study confirmed that 98% of the companies listed in this segment were using LinkedIn to engage with their audience.

Twitter came in second, with a strong 82% of companies reportedly using the microblogging platform. While Facebook came in at 68%, perhaps the most striking aspect of this share is the fact that it represents a decline in usage for B2C companies in 2012. B2B companies had increased their presence on Facebook to 65%, up from 32% in 2011. However, while all of the B2C companies cited in the report used Facebook in 2011, the numbers had dropped to only 83% of those companies in 2012.

While many of the growing tech companies in the UK seem to have a presence on Twitter, eMarketer notes that its use for customer engagement has sharply declined amongst the companies as well. As the graph indicates, many of the companies that have established a Twitter presence have decided not to start or continue engaging their customers online.

53% of Indian smartphone users prefer game, chat apps over call/text
Nielsenwire recently reported on the increasing penetration of smartphones in India. Of the 900 million mobile subscribers in India there may be about 40 million smartphone users amongst them early on in 2013. Nielsenwire’s smartphone user survey demonstrated that those users who switched to smartphones had also changed the way they used their mobile phones as well. In particular, Indian smartphone users were showing an increasing preference for using apps on their mobile devices.

The most popular kind of apps were games, taking up 58% of the poll; however, chat and instant messaging apps came close behind, with 53% of respondents indicating that these were their preferred smartphone applications. By contrast, voice calls and text messaging had declined  to consist of 25% of smartphone usage. Nielsenwire notes further that almost half of polled smartphone users do not have access to active data, and 48% of whose who were data users were also under the age of 25.

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We Are Social Asia Midweek Mashup #54

by Karen Wee in News

Twitter creates exclusive page to celebrate Indian festival Diwali
India is the world’s third most socially engaged country, with its users showing a preference for Twitter over Facebook. Paying homage to the fastest growing online market in the world, Twitter created an exclusive landing page for the #Diwali hashtag to celebrate the start of the 5-day Festival of Lights yesterday. Adorned with a background image of a lit traditional oil lamp, the page streams live tweets and pictures relating to the festival. Mashing up an array of tweets about Diwali by brands, celebrities, influencers and other users, the page is a virtual smorgasbord of online sentiments and trending thoughts during the festive period.

Indian fashion label launches Twitter auction
Bombay High, an Indian fashion label, celebrated Diwali in a fun way by launching an online auction where Tweets serve as currency to fund bids. Over a period of 3 days, Bombay High will hold 2 auctions for 2 different products on a daily basis. Up for auction were some of Bombay High’s finest formal and casual wear. Users will need to connect their Twitter accounts with the microsite as only tweets posted from it will be counted as bids. Participants with the most tweets win the auction item whilst two runner-ups will receive gift vouchers.

Chinese users spent S$1.96 billion in 14 hours on on 11 Nov
November 11 (touted as Singles’ Day in China because of the confluence of four “1”s in the date) was a big day for e-commerce in China as over 10 million netizens flocked to to partake in its 24-hour half-price online shopping carnival. Sales volume exceeded last year’s figures of 5.2 billion yuan (S$1.02 billion) to hit 10 billion yuan (S$1.96 billion) at 1.38pm – achieving the sales target 10 hours early. The overwhelming volume placed strains on bank and express delivery systems as they struggle to cope with the demand. Online shopping in China presents a great opportunity for growth as it rises in popularity. With a penetration rate of only 36.5% vs 70% in Western countries like the US, the world’s largest wired nation looks poised for an e-commerce boom.

Lee Jeans gets more social to drive e-commerce volumes
Lee Jeans has embarked on a new influencer-centric brand campaign in China in an effort to drive online sales on its e-commerce platform. Named “Free Your Night Side”, the campaign engaged key online leaders, top bloggers and celebrities in a surprise live, interactive theatre event replete with 80 professional actors clad in Lee’s autumn and winter range. The influencers’ spontaneous reactions were recorded on video and shared on Lee’s branded Tudou videosharing and Weibo microblog platforms in addition to the bloggers’ own social media channels. The campaign generated alot of interest and 200,000 views within a week of releasing the 40 online videos.

Businesses that have embraced digital are more profitable
Companies that have jumped on board with digital and social media marketing and analytics are more profitable, new research from MIT has found. These companies are outperforming their less tech-savvy peers by 26% in terms of increased profits and 12% higher market valuations. Making this change often comes from digital leadership at the top, and while the banking and travel sectors are attracting top talent, retail seems to be struggling.

54% of top brands are active on Instagram
A new study has shown that more and more brands are signing up for Instagram, with 54% of the world’s top brands now active on the platform, a 35% growth since the beginning of August. MTV holds the top slot for the most followers for a brand, and its follower count stands at nearly 1 million. Starbucks, Burberry and Nike are a bit further behind but are sure to catch up with MTV soon.

24% of Brits Instagram all of the photos they share online
A new study says that nearly a quarter of Brits with smartphones are 100% faithful to Instagram when it comes to sharing their photos online, and this 24% rely solely on that platform. An impressive 96% said they share all of their photos online in some way, but almost half said they thought it was annoying when their friends posted too many photos.

Instagram rolls out user profiles on the web
Instagram has introduced web profiles for its users, the first real move away from the platform being mobile-only. The profiles look very Facebook-like, with a Timeline-esque cover photo and small square profile image. It makes sense for Instagram to use the visual cues from its parent company, but even if they look lovely, will anyone bother to visit users’ or brands’ pages on the web?

Facebook’s iPhone app adds photo filters, gifts and faster messages
Was Facebook’s Camera and Messenger apps just testing grounds? A big update has now landed for the original Facebook app, which had added the main features of Facebook Camera: photo filters and sharing multiple photos at once. That means Twitter has been left in the dust, as it was just leaked last week that the site was looking into integrating filters into its mobile apps, but hasn’t managed to do so yet. Facebook has also rolled out Facebook Gifts, which has been in beta for a few months, meaning that mobile users can buy presents for their Facebook friends through the app. Facebook has also migrated some of the features from its Messenger app into the main Facebook app, including a list of frequently contacted friends and friends who are online, which can be accessed by swiping left across the screen.

ThingLink adds interactive images to Tweets
Sometimes 140 characters isn’t enough, and a company called ThingLink has developed a way to include interactive images in tweets, that show when a user expands a tweet. Small circular tags appear dotted around an image, which then expand to a small preview window and can then click through to a site. ThingLink already has partnerships with Soundcloud, Spotify and Eventbrite, so it’s easy to click through to audio clips, events, videos or your brand’s eCommerce site. It’s still early days for this feature, but it will be interesting to see how brands use it to its fullest.

Tumblr reaches 20 billion pageviews per month
Tumblr has hit 20 billion pageviews every month, up from a still-impressive 15 billion at the beginning of this year. As the company continues to grow, its CEO David Karp says Tumblr is doing its best to maintain the balance between giving paid advertisers space and maintaining Tumblr’s close-knit community. And Tumblr does that by treating brands just like any other user, without specially-dedicated brand pages.

Pinterest launches private boards, as brands try to link sales to pins
Pinterest is still the world’s fourth largest driver of web traffic, standing above Yahoo, Bing and even Twitter. But how often do those visits mean sales? The jury is still out on that question, but eCommerce company Shopify says that Pinterest users are 10% more likely to make a purchase. On the other hand, Zappos discovered that Pinterest users spent less than visitors coming from Facebook or Twitter, even though they shared more from the site. And just in time for the year’s biggest buying season, Pinterest has unveiled ‘secret boards,’ a place to privately pin your holiday gift ideas, but users are limited to just three private boards at the moment. Will this holiday season push Pinterest to the forefront of eCommerce?

Google+’s top 100 brands have just 23 million followers combined
Brand pages have been around for about a year now, and the number of people following these pages has increased, but very, very slowly. Brand adoption of the platform has grown from 64% six months ago to 72% in this most recent analysis, and brands with more than 5,000 followers now stand at 44% of the group, up from 35% six months ago. But engagement is down from six months ago, even as the pages keep growing in followers.

Venue ratings, Facebook friend tags arrive in Foursquare’s iPhone app
Foursquare recently added a ratings system, as simple as clicking a heart or a broken heart on a venue page, which has now been incorporated into the mobile version of the app as a rating out of 10. Foursquare’s ratings take more than hearts and heart-nots into account though, and the app also looks into popularity, loyalty and tips left by users. Foursquare has also introduced a new friend tagging system that allows users to mention any of their Facebook friends in checkins, not just the ones using Foursquare. Friends will get a notification that they’ve been mentioned, increasing Foursquare’s exposure.

Getting out the vote for Election 2012 on social media
Four years ago, Twitter was a mere fraction of what it is today, and research is starting to come in about how much of an effect it has had on the elections in the US last week. The teams for First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were frantically sending out direct messages on Twitter in the hours before the end of the presidential election, encouraging their followers to find their polling stations and get their friends out to vote. Team Obama also bought Promoted Tweets and a Promoted Trend for Election Day, coming in at about $120,000 per day. New research from Pew has found that social media is one of the main tools, especially for people under 30, that people use to encourage their friends to vote. Almost half of 18 to 29 year olds said friends or family had encouraged them to vote via social media, with 34% saying they had been doing the encouraging as well.

When Election Night finally came around last week, social media went crazy, hitting a peak of 327,452 tweets per minute as news organizations started to reveal the results. Instagram users posted 250,000 Election Day photos, and President Barack Obama’s “Four More Years” tweet that included a picture of him hugging his wife was retweeted more than 680,000 times in just 24 hours. His team posted the same image on Facebook, which was liked 3.9 million times and shared 550,000 times, possibly making it the most shared image on social media ever.

Romney’s Facebook page might be losing the election worse than he did, as his former fans abandon his page in droves. Disappearing Romney’s Like counter is measuring the exodus in real time, and if you leave the page open for a few hours, you can see exactly how many fans have disappeared in that time.

Durex’s election ad on Chinese social networks goes viral
The condom brand Durex posted a funny ad on China’s Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo on Election Night in the US, and now the ad has been forwarded more than 43,000 times and got 12,750 comments. It somehow passed the corporate filters as well as the government’s, so we’ll leave the image here, but you’ll have to click through for the translation

FedEx launches ‘Ship to Friends’ app on Facebook
The parcel company FedEx has created a Facebook app that allows users to create address labels for parcels based on their friends’ profiles, and it notifies friends when they’re about to receive a package. This isn’t much different than what FedEx’s website already offers, but integrating its services with Facebook is sure to get even more users.

ASOS creates ‘shop-able’ video
Online clothing shop ASOS has released a series of videos that feature a running stream of items as they appear in the video that can be pinned to Pinterest or added to your ASOS shopping bag in just a few clicks. Retailers have finally started realizing the amazing potential of shareable and shop-able videos, and this looks like a big trend that’s about to take hold.

Pret asks for help to feed the homeless with Foursquare badge
Pret A Manger shops in the UK are donating 5p to charities that help the homeless when Foursquare users check in or when food from Pret’s special Christmas menu is ordered. Earning the badge on Foursquare is as simple as checking into any of their stores, and the shop says it hopes to donate £300,000.

And finally (we hope): ‘Cakes Are Like Facebook’
Is there anything that isn’t like Facebook? First, it was chairs and then pools, and now apparently, Cakes Are Like Facebook. Facebook posted an update that read, “Birthday cakes are made for people to be together. They give friends a place to gather and celebrate. But too much cake probably isn’t healthy. So birthday cake is a lot like Facebook.” We hope we don’t have to make this a weekly segment, so knock it off, FB.


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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #53

by Karen Wee in News

Sina Weibo upgrades real-name verification system
In its latest effort to keep it real at Sina Weibo, the company has upgraded its real-name verification system to support overseas users. Tech In Asia tested the system and found various loopholes. They were able to register a new user in the US as “Tech in Asia” with passport number “123456789”; the same passport number was used to verify an existing account for one of the reporters, who had cheekily named himself after a historical figure, “Zhuge Liang”. Sina reports that it has more than 520,000 verified users, a very small number relative to their userbase of more than 300 million. The system upgrade includes a feature allowing users to snitch on falsely-verified users, in an effort to stamp out fake accounts.

Tencent’s WeChat App may offer coupons and local deals
China-grown Tencent WeChat is unstoppable. The rumour mill has been buzzing about the possibility of the hybrid social networking cum messaging app offering discount coupons following the acquisition of TongCard by Tencent. TongCard is one of China’s top online-to-offline (O2O) companies offering promotions and coupons from more than 6,000 retailers to 5 million active daily users. The tie-up, which will expand the reach to WeChat’s 200 million users, is expected to bring exponential growth to Tencent’s O2O market share and help it to overtake rivals such as Baidu.

Chinese Pinterest clone Mogujie secures C funding
We mentioned in August that Mogujie, China’s most popular Pinterest clone, was looking to raise US$ 200 million in C funding. That has finally come to pass, although the company declined to reveal the exact investment amount except to state that they’re now effectively valued at US$200 million (S$244.89 million). Touted earlier this year as a successful driver of referral traffic, the social pinboard site was earning more than RMB100,000 (S$19,437.50) daily in ad referral revenue for clickthroughs to Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce site.

LinkedIn partners with India’s top business school
With the new partnership between IIM-A, a top Indian business school, and LinkedIn, recruitment has become easier for companies and the school’s graduating students. Students are required to sign up for a LinkedIn account to enjoy the service. The professional social networking site has registered 31,000 users at IIM-A out of a total of 17 million users in India so far and much remains to be seen if the same approach will be applied to other colleges within Asia.

Instagram rolls out web profiles
Within the next week or so, Instagram users can expect to see their new web profiles featuring a selection of recently shared photographs, profile picture and bio. This forms part of a development to supplement the mobile app with web functionality that will enable users to view, like, share and comment on each other’s photos online instead of using the app. Our profiles haven’t been updated yet but do let us know when your Instagram profile page is up.

Customers up to 30% more likely to buy when engaged on social
Customers who interacted with a brand on social media increased their purchases by up to 30%, according to a new study. It also found that there’s a direct correlation between how much a customer participated in the social conversation and how much more likely they were to buy.

Executives use social media themselves but keep it out of the office
New research from Stanford University has discovered that even though 90% of CEOs, senior executives and corporate directors claim to understand the effects of social media on their organizations, only 32% actually monitor and measure their social performance. The majority of these execs, who are from both public and private companies, said that they had personal LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, but just 59% of their companies use social media to interact with customers. Sadly, the figures drop off quickly when asked if they use social media to advertise (49%), research customers (35%) or research competitors (30%), and most executives seem unsure what to do in this space.

91% of UK PR agencies admit they can’t reliably monitor social media
Halloween might be over, but here’s a terrifying stat for you: 91% of PR agencies in the UK admit that they don’t have reliable social media monitoring service. If you fear you’re one of their clients, you know where to find us…

Facebook lets businesses swap check-ins for free Wifi
Facebook is trialling a new service that lets local businesses offer free Wifi to their customers after they’ve checked in on the social network. Customers will be directed to the business’ Facebook page to check in and can then browse elsewhere on the web for free. Page owners will be able to track how many ‘Likes’ their page gets from this test. As usual, there’s no word yet on whether this service will become a full-fledged offering to businesses outside of this small test group.

Facebook is like … weird ads
When Facebook hit 1 billion users, it released its first ad, which compared the site to lots of random objects, most memorably to chairs. But now Facebook has released a second ‘version’ of this, thankfully just an image this time, but it’s just as odd as the first. The social network posted a status update with an image of a pool, and the update says, “Swimming pools are filled with people. Some you know. Some you don’t. And every once in a while you see something that maybe you shouldn’t. That’s why swimming pools are a little like Facebook.” Dig through the resulting comments for a good laugh.

Twitter to add Instagram-like photo filters
Twitter is planning to add photo filters to its mobile apps to encourage users to give up Instagram. So far, it sounds like there are only two filters in the works at the moment, so you’ll soon be able to color your photos in 1960s Kodachrome or an 1890s sepia tone. Twitter has been in the market for a photo service similar to Instagram ever since Facebook snapped it up, and it seems like it didn’t find any suitable contenders and decided to build its own version instead.

Google makes Google+ Hangouts look pretty
Google has redesigned Google+ Hangouts and added a hide-able sidebar that makes apps easier to manage and colorful notifications. Although this is a good step toward a cleaner and easier-to-use format, are all of these minor changes too little too late for the fledgling social network?

Twitter reveals beautiful visualization of 2012 Election issues
Twitter has done some data crunching and has created an interactive map of the US that shows engagement rates with the presidential candidates’ tweets and which topics in this election resonate most in certain states. See which of Barack Obama’s or Mitt Romney’s tweets had the most interactions and where those interactions came from. Twitter is stacking up with the best of the pollsters by finding out what topics are most important to New Yorkers vs. North Dakotans from the sources themselves.

Walmart launches themed ’12 days of giving’ app
Walmart has created a Facebook app that gives back to local communities through a series of themed donations to selected nonprofits, including military assistance and disaster relief. Walmart’s Facebook fans can nominate a nonprofit of their choice with a 200-word description of its work, and a panel from Walmart will select 12 organizations to get a slice of the $1.5 million fund. The app is also filled with short quotes from the winners from last year’s similar app to show how much the donations meant.

Man City releases ‘sticker swap’ Facebook app
Fans of Manchester City’s Facebook page can become the players themselves by swapping their favorite footballer’s face with their own to create a ‘sticker’ to be shared on Facebook and Twitter. Choose one of six City players and let the app do all the photoshopping work.

‘X Factor’ judge wears a Twitter dress for 4G launch
Nicole Scherzinger, a judge from the UK’s version of ‘X Factor’, wore a Twitter-powered dress for the launch of EE’s 4G mobile service. The dress displayed tweets in real-time during the event that used the hashtag #tweetthedress. 140 characters is definitely limiting, but displaying them on a dress a few characters at a time is even more so.

Royal British Legion asks for social media silence on Remembrance Day
A British charity is asking social media users to take a break from the noise on November 11 for two minutes to remember the fallen on Remembrance Day. When you visit the Royal British Legion’s website, you can authorize the organization to send a message from your Facebook and Twitter accounts, which will automatically tweet from those accounts on Remembrance Sunday. This service is run by Thunderclap, which did a similar campaign for World Humanitarian Day in August.

Foursquare shows the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy
Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast of the US last week, and Foursquare showed a telling check-in map of Manhattan that demonstrated how quickly the area was abandoned. Central Park was nearly empty of all online activity, and a lack of check-ins certainly means that stores in the area are having trouble getting on their feet after the storm.

Twitter sees 20 million mentions of Sandy, proves itself as a ‘truth machine’
During the Frankenstorm, many turned to Twitter as their source for news, as The New York Times lifted its paywall, and Twitter made a special #Sandy landing page as a one-stop news destination. More than 20 million Sandy-related tweets were sent over the five days in the lead up and landfall of the storm. The term “Sandy” also peaked at 20% of all searches on Twitter. Mobile usage hit a high on October 29 when many in the New York area lost electricity. The storm also seems to have knocked the sass out of tweeting New Yorkers (temporarily), and people in the land of sarcasm giants Buzzfeed and Gawker had a big attitude shift when bad weather arrived. Twitter users dropped the usual snark and went into information mode, and the majority of trending topic were Sandy-related. Buzzfeed even publicly outed a user who was spreading false information during the storm, showing Twitter’s amazing ability to be a ‘truth machine.’

How did brands react to Hurricane Sandy?
Turning to how brands reacted, airlines were some of the biggest companies affected by Sandy, but it’s not an industry known for being very responsive in social. Socialbakers found that American Airlines was the most responsive airline on Twitter and answered 602 out of 711 tweets from its followers, with an average response time of 16 minutes. Lufthansa performed the best on Facebook, responding to almost 80% of comments. Most other brands didn’t post anything during the storm, which is probably for the best, as a few that did used it to promote online shopping or other salesy updates that were distasteful in the wake of the storm’s destruction. A few brands that did post wished their fans the best or told them where to find emergency information about their services.

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Five Friday Facts #45

by Karen Wee in News

Videos hit the advertising sweet spot in China
Much has been written and said about economic powerhouse China and the promise its massive wired userbase holds for marketers. Here are some numbers that reflect the size of the potential market as at the end of 2011: 500 million internet users, 325 million online video viewers, 250 million microbloggers and 244 million social media users. User numbers only tell one part of the story; the demographics reveal that the average Chinese internet user is under 30 years of age with the most active online video viewers aged between 19 and 24, and coming from middle-class income households. The Chinese are prolific online video viewers and luxury brands have found videos to be the most effective way to engage the Chinese consumer.

Facebook sets sights on Japan’s advertising market
Dominant social network Facebook has added another feather to its cap after it overtook rival Mixi and hit 15 million active users in Japan. The company is looking to grow its share of Japan’s advertising market, ranked as the second largest advertising market in the world. Whilst Mixi has 26 million registered users, its active monthly userbase of 14.5 million users was surpassed by Facebook, which grew from 10 million to 15 million active users between March and August 2012. Data showed that 80% of Mixi’s traffic was from mobile devices, an area which Facebook is looking to tap on as it seeks to deepen engagement with users. With this rate of growth, Facebook could possibly wrest dominance from Twitter, which has 18 million registered users in Japan, in the near future.

Uber brands lead in social media conversations
Coke and Apple topped the charts in a report on social media impressions for the top 100 consumer brands during the month of July 2012. Coke registered 1.48 billion impressions, nearly 14% of the 10.6 billion generated by the top 100 brands and twice that of Apple at 761 million impressions. Although the U.S. accounts for about half of worldwide ad spending, the world’s largest advertising market only generated 44% of social media impressions. The reach offered by social media is especially noticeable outside of the U.S. with Coke generating 87% and Apple 72% of their impressions overseas.

Instagram passes 100 million users mark
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg told CrunchFund that Instagram has just passed a major milestone of 100 million users. Instagram has been growing exponentially at a rate of more than 10 million users per month and passed its 5 billion photo milestone on 6 September 2012, when Facebook announced the success of its acquisition. What’s next for Instagram? Rumours are rife that Instagram will have a web presence and will be available on Windows Phone later this year.

Facebook Sponsored Results take off
Advertisers take note as the early results for Facebook’s Sponsored Results program look promising, according to Optimal. The product is meant to help marketers reach untapped potential customers. Optimal compared the number of people that would have been reached through targeting a designated search term against the brand’s Facebook fans (or those who could have been targeted with existing ads). During a seven-day period, “Facebook” turned up in 24,800 searches in the US out of which, only 21.9% were fans of Facebook’s page. The results were similar to searches for other top brands such as YouTube (20.8%), Coca-Cola (2.7%), Disney (22.3%) and MTV (17.4%). Optimal found that clickthrough rates ranged from 0.7% to 4.1% whilst on the lower-end of the scale, the campaigns outperformed Facebook Marketplace ads by 10x. The expectation is that the disparity will even out eventually though the initial data suggests that Facebook Sponsored Results can be a good tool to grow a brand’s audience quickly.

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Five Friday Facts #44

by Karen Wee in News

Picture-perfect social commerce
Asian consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong are flocking to niche social networks Pinterest and Instagram in droves but what’s really making retailers sit up and notice is the rate at which consumers’ are spending after visiting these sites. Researchers found that Singapore-based users visit both international and local social commerce sites whilst Hong Kong users visit global and Chinese e-commerce sites after surfing Pinterest and Instagram. It’s interesting to note that whilst Facebook drove 47% of traffic to Instagram in the US, 33% in Australia and 22% in Singapore, the largest source of Instagram traffic in Singapore came from Twitter at 42%.

More Asian consumers make purchases online weekly
Nielson study of more than 28,000 ecommerce consumers in 56 countries uncovered that 62% of Asian consumers made online purchases on a weekly basis. This is higher than the global average of 52%. A quick glance at the chart below revealed an interesting statistic; it appears that 81% of Asian consumers provide feedback about a grocery category using social media on a weekly basis.

How will Facebook’s purchase affect Instagram in China?
With Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram on track for completion, there’s a risk that the latter will be blocked in mainland China. This will certainly bring Instagram’s growth of 100,000 downloads per week within China to a screeching halt. That would be a pity especially since the cross-posting functionality offered by Instagram puts it on the path to phenomenal growth in China, especially since it’s one of a handful of applications that supports posting to Sina Weibo (over 350 million registered users) in addition to Twitter and Facebook. Here are some numbers to ruminate over: Instagram has over  80 million registered users and saw more than 4 billion photos uploaded globally since its launch in October 2010. More than 50,000 Sina Weibo users signed up and 100,000 photos were shared to Weibo from Instagram since March 2012. Consider too the number of pictures uploaded to Instagram with China-related hashtags: 120,000 photos with the hashtag #Beijing, 125,000 with the hashtag #Shanghai, and 440,000 with the hashtag #China.

Social media risk management
Social media is a double-edged sword. When well-managed, it can be a powerful tool to propel your brand or product to international success and recognition as it allows brands to connect with consumers virtually seamlessly. Unfortunately the reverse is true in a crisis. Recent surveys reveal that social media is ranked as one of the top 5 risk factors to corporate performance. Here’s how social media measures up in a rundown of risks: 41% of US executives surveyed said global economic environment was a risk, 32% found government spending and budgets risky, 30% felt regulatory changes were a risk, and 27% said social media was a risk. It is significant to note that social media risk tops the list after broader economic and regulatory concerns. As for the top platforms in the rapidly expanding social media world with the largest potential to damage a brand, the top 3 were Facebook, which 35% of marketers considered presented a significant risk, 25% for Twitter, and 15% for YouTube and other video-sharing sites.

In a study of the types of risk social media posed to brands, 66% of respondents to Altimeter’s survey said reputational damage to the brand was a critical or significant risk. Release of confidential information was the next biggest concern with 32% of respondents citing it as a significant or critical risk.

Age in the time of social media
Death may be the great equalizer of men but the Internet and social media has likewise levelled information barriers for many users around the world. The sheer magnitude of the number of social media users are but one part of the story; demographics such as age, gender and income levels are significant factors for consideration in targeted marketing. Dispelling the notion that social media is the domain of the very young, studies have shown that the average age of a social media user in the US is just under 37. Here’s how the top social media platforms stack up in terms of users aged 35 and above: 55% of Twitter users are 35 and above, 63% on Pinterest, 65% on Facebook, and 79% on LinkedIn. Interestingly, the average age of Facebook users has increased in the past 2 years whilst the reverse is true for Twitter.

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