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

Five Friday Facts #22

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Happy Easter everyone! Here’s a quick Five Friday Facts to start off the long Easter weekend.

Instagram’s Android version has (finally) been released
Instagram’s Android version has been a long time coming, and as soon as it was released on the Google Play marketplace, Instagram for Android reached 1 million downloads in less than 24 hours. Before the launch, Instagram for Android had already amassed 430,000 pre-registration sign-ups from March 24th onwards.

Majority of Chinese gamers pay for online gaming content every month
In China, the free-to-play business model for game publishers to reach a larger audience of gamers while players keep purchasing new content to further their interactive experiences has been largely successful. According to a survey by research firm Niko Partners, 64% of Chinese gamers spend money on online games each month. The hardcore gaming community has also expanded from playing primarily massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and advanced casual games to a set of gamers who spend more than 22 hours per week on casual and social games. Casual and social games will increasingly become platforms that even brands can capitalise on. There will be an estimated 266 million gamers playing at least 2 hours per month in China by 2015.

F-commerce still thriving for small, mid-sized businesses
Although large retailers such as Gap, JC Penney, and Nordstrom shuttered their storefronts on Facebook, F-commerce is still thriving among small and mid-sized businesses. According to Ecwid, a shopping cart system that can be integrated on Facebook, a study of its 140,000 worldwide stores shows that businesses with both website and Facebook stores average 15% of overall revenue from F-commerce, while the average revenue of each Ecwid-powered Facebook store rose 40% in 2011.

More Americans read e-books on PCs than e-book readers or tablet devices
According to a research survey by Pew Research Center, 20% of Americans read an e-book in the past year, of which 42% said they read an e-book on a computer, which is a rather surprising discovery, considering that PCs are not as optimised for e-reading as are e-book readers. 41% of respondents used e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, 29% used their cellphones and 23% used tablets. However popular e-books are becoming, it’s reassuring that print will not be obsolete anytime soon; in fact, 88% said they read print as well as e-books last year.

How Facebook advertisers use the platform
Social Fresh has released a report detailing how Facebook advertisers use the platform. 70% of ads keep users on Facebook, instead of re-directing them to a brand’s website. Surprisingly, 55% of advertisers do not use sponsored stories, which are social ads that you should supposedly be more inclined to click on because it reflects the interactions your own friends have had with the advertised brand. As in traditional advertising, advertisers on Facebook are still most concerned about targeting specific demographics, as 55% of those surveyed select “age” as the most important ad criteria.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #16

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Japanese airline ANA shows how Japan is ‘cool’
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is turning to social media to promote tourism to Japan. Its Is Japan Cool? website allows users to share and explore interesting and fun aspects of the country, as well as rate them ‘cool’ or ‘not so cool’. The site itself is simple in functionality and easy to use, even though it could have better integrated social functionalities like the Facebook ‘Like’ to rate items, which would then increase its visibility through Facebook rather than having all the action constrained within the site. ANA is also offering a pair of round-trip tickets to Japan as part of this Cool Campaign, so you might as well try your luck too.

Burberry’s takes London Fashion Week by storm on social media
In addition to our previous post on Burberry’s excellent use of social media to livestream its Autumn/Winter 2012 collection during London Fashion Week, Burberry will be posting looks to its newly launched Pinterest page, and releasing images of its handbags to styling site Polyvore for fans to use in their own fashion collages. It will also make its show soundtrack available for download on iTunes. Before the show, Burberry shared looks from the runway in the form of animated GIF images on Twitter, which is truly novel and refreshing. It’s proven to not only be fashion-forward, but social media-forward as well.

Chupa Chups goes into social gaming
Chupa Chups is leveraging the interactivity and stickiness that social networks afford, and has forayed into social gaming to ensure staying top-of-mind for its target audience. Its first game from Chuck Studios is called Chupa Chucker, in which the brand mascot shoots “brain spam” with lollipops, and was launched yesterday on Facebook. It remains to be seen whether the costs of developing games (there are more in the pipeline) will translate into brand loyalty earned.

Indian Music Service Saavn’s growth from Facebook’s Open Graph
Following the launch of partner apps for Facebook’s Open Graph, India-based Saavn, a service that allows users to share music with friends through their timeline, ticker and news feed on Facebook, has garnered more than 700,000 new users in a month, taking it to a total user base of 1.3 million. It has seen increased usage as a result of Open Graph, with its daily use up by more than 40 times, and content-sharing having increased four-fold. The number of monthly active users have also increased dramatically from 35,000 to 785,000, generating a total of 750 million Facebook impressions along the way. Although based in India, Saavn is available across 200 countries, where its music can be accessed worldwide. No matter how many detractors there are against seamless sharing of Facebook apps, the results sure have been impressive, and show that Facebook users are interested in using these apps.

Microblogs take over China
According to research, micro-blogging (users of Weibo) grew hugely in 2011 in China. Weibo is now slightly more popular than other social networking sites, after growing 296% year-on-year.

It’s unlikely the numbers will increase as much during 2012, due to regulators trying to introduce procedures that would require users to reveal real names while registering.

Asia’s first social media research center
Asia now has its very first dedicated social media research center ’Social Media Laboratory’, which the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) launched last week. The new facility will study social media culture and technology across Asia, in particular focusing on the research and design of next-generation social media systems, networks, and applications in emerging cyber-physical societies. Professor Tony F Chan, President of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology said,

“At HKUST, we believe that innovation should play a strong role in the globalized world. We are proud to establish the first social media laboratory in Asia. With this laboratory, our faculty and researchers are taking an active part in nurturing research and development talents in the blooming new arena of social media, and building Hong Kong as a leading hub of creative media and IT technologies in the region.”

A new social network for coffee lovers
Mass niche networks are becoming the next social networks of interest, and Over Coffee is a new social network that is about “coffee, people, travels, and about the shared experiences that take place over a cup of coffee.” After creating their own profile page by registering their details or logging in via their Facebook account, users can upload photos, chat about coffee, use the interactive map to locate cafes in their area, or upload details about their favourite cafes. Users can also blog about their experiences under the ‘Coffee Stories’ section, and submit them to be published as ‘featured stories’. The social element features in ‘Connections’, where users can make connections and meet people, over a coffee perhaps. It’ll be interesting to see how big this ‘social nichework’ can become, given its focus on people’s universal love for coffee.

The ROI of social media
Much has been debated about the ROI of social media. Well, this video addresses most queries that marketers usually have. Most notably, it mentions that

“Because every business has different objectives, ROI will be different for everyone. Before adding social media to any marketing campaign, companies should clearly define their objectives.”

Social media engagement is ‘the top priority for the digital marketer’
Recent research about digital marketing trends shows that social media engagement is rated as the top priority for companies:

New Belgium says “Cheers” to its Fans
According to a study of the No.3 Craft brewer’s annual sales, the average fan spends $260 on beer each year.

Facebook fans really “like” New Belgium beer so much that the amount they spend constitutes to half of the brewery’s annual sales. While it is difficult for brands to measure the impact and value of its customer base, No.3 Craft brewery have a pretty good idea. It estimates that its Facebook fans are responsible for $50.7 million in yearly sales.

Facebook Brand Page growth speeds up – but doesn’t match Google +
Based on figures from Socialbakers, this month alone, the growth of Facebook fans among the top 10 pages has increased to 4.3%.

Nonetheless, Google+ brand pages have grown by an astronomical 1,400% since December. Pages were only introduced a few months ago and at first struggled with limited interaction. The report states that the number of people following the top one hundred brands on Google+ grew from 22,000 to 3.1 million, with the majority of the growth happening in the top ten brands.

Google+ brands have also grown faster than those on Twitter recently in terms of pure numbers, although it’s unclear whether this is really sustainable.

The ciphers of social media
Some really interesting research from Kevin Kelly, with one pertinent take-away: you can’t measure by follower/circle numbers alone, because many of these people are ciphers – they don’t post, and they’re not adding anything ‘social’ to the conversation. In other words, they’re like a newspaper reader, rather than a social networker.

Retailers shutting down F-Commerce sites
Last April, Gamestop opened a Facebook store to generate sales among the 3.5million customers who declared that they were fans of the brand, but less than a year later, the store was quietly shut down. It’s a trend noticeable among other F-Commerce sites, which haven’t performed as expected – with Gap, J.C Penney and Nordstrom all also closing their stores.

Facebook to release timeline for Brands and other new features
Facebook will introduce its Timeline feature to brands this month on a stage-by-stage basis.

In addition, Facebook has also launched verified account status for certain users – you cannot choose to be verified, Facebook will choose you. Once verified, users can show a pseudonym – say, WhatleyDude – instead of their real name.

Facebook is still testing new types of Sponsored Stories based on Open Graph actions like ‘read’, ‘watch’, or ‘listen’. In the test version, people other than those who created the app can buy ads – but it still begs the question as to why they would want to.

Twitter introduces advertising platform for small businesses
Twitter has announced an advertising solution that allows small businesses to set up an advertising account on their own and amplify messages on Twitter. Twitter has teamed up with American Express, to give AmEx cardholders first dabs at this new ad product – the first 10,000 users will receive $100 of free advertising.

Google+ faces demographic problems, releases updates
According to a study, Google+ is overwhelmingly young, male and single – with many students amongst its userbase, and only 30% of users female.

To try and change this, Google have released some new features. First, they’ve added volume bars to the main stream, so users can control how many ‘hot’ posts appear in their stream. Second, they’ve launched a new iOS app with instant upload.

Finally, they’ve added Google+ channel buttons to YouTube, to breed cross-channel promotion. With a Google Latitude leaderboard added to Google Maps, which will reward users for checking in, one can’t help but think that the audience on Google+ will continue to be young, single and male.

YouTube’s new channel rollout helping super-users
YouTube launched 96 new channels in December – but rather than it being brands who’ve grown a userbase quickly, it’s been the old YouTube superusers. In other words, people who’ve done it all before.

Luluvise: a case study in who owns Facebook data?
Luluvise, a female-orientated social network has come under the spotlight for one of its features – WikiDate – where users can rate the men they’ve dated, after linking up with their Facebook profile. After reading The Guardian’s piece, there are serious privacy concerns for us.

Ford’s Fiestagram campaign on Instagram
Ford ran a simple campaign, asking people to upload pictures to Instagram around different topics – but with impressive results. Over seven weeks, they drove over 16,000 photo uploads – and this on a smaller social network like Instagram. Impressive stuff.

Facebook helps Celebrity Big Brother drive more votes
A Facebook app launched by Channel 5 to accompany the latest series of Big Brother saw a large series-on-series increase in votes: according to 5, the app drove around 30% of votes in the series, almost 200,000 in total.

adidas Originals launch Facebook Cover picture app
adidas Originals have launched an app, where users can design their own Cover Photo for their Facebook Timeline. Nice.

Hotels.com launch social booking app on Facebook
Hotels.com have created a clever Facebook app which encourages bookings with friends. The app helps users come to a consensus on which hotel they want to stay in – perfect for anyone booking a group holiday.

Wall Street Journal links up with Instagram and Pinterest for Fashion Week
US newspaper the Wall Street Journal did some good work around New York Fashion Week: with reporters taking pictures anyway as a form of note-taking, they encourage them to upload them to Instagram. The best were then posted on the paper’s main Instagram account, and added to a Pinboard which generated 900 followers during the week.

While this is clearly an innovative use of up-and-coming social networks, it underlines the limited appeal of Pinterest: a platform which is filled with older women should be perfect for a campaign hooked around Fashion Week – and yet even a big newspaper could only drive 900 followers. Be careful of the hype around Pinterest.

Diesel’s ‘Fit Your Attitude’ campaign
Diesel have launched a new app for their female consumers – they answer some attitude-based questions, the app then tells them which jeans to buy, based on social recommendations. There reaches a point where people are making apps for the sake of it. This is that point.

Sainsbury’s seek support from bloggers
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s sought support from blogger Steven Dresser – a massive Morrisons fan – by inviting him to tour a new megastore. He then wrote about his experience, driving positive word of mouth for Sainsbury’s. Old-school, but effective.

Obama uses hashtags as part of his re-election campaign
These days, you very rarely see a really successful hashtag-centric campaign – butPresident Obama’s #40Dollars campaign has shown that it can work.

Nicolas Sarkozy signs up for Twitter, immediately gets parodied
French President Nicolas Sarkozy created a Twitter account last week around the launch of his campaign for re-election. Shortly after, a bunch of accounts were shut for parodying him – like David Cameron was by the ‘My David Cameron’ viral poster site in 2010. That Twitter was willing to shut down accounts which were clearly a parody is deeply worrying. One to watch.

How Whitney’s death broke on Twitter
The Wall Blog pointed out that Twitter broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death before the press, a point underscored by this graph from Twitter:

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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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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #8

by Cai Yu Lam in News

It’s our last Tuesday TuneUp for the year, and we hope that everyone will have a marvellous Christmas, even amidst faulty public transportation and dreary weather. 

Heineken launch social Christmas tree, a Christmas memory game – and hire We Are Social
Heineken have launched a Facebook campaign where fans can send a Merry Christmas message to 16 friends in a sendable graphic. These messages will then come alive on a real tree in Singapore.

In China, Heineken is challenging beer lovers with a Christmas memory game based off their global TV spot ‘The Entrance’. ‘Discover the Entrance’ is an interactive campaign on China’s second-biggest video website Tudou, where participants will be challenged to remember the characters from the TV commercial, and stand to win a one-night stay in a five-star hotel.

In even more exciting news, Heineken have hired We Are Social to work on Bulmers and Jacques, two of their cider brands.

Most engaging brands on social media in China
According to R3’s on-going En-spire study, Taobao is the most engaging digital brand in China, with more than 70% of respondents voting it as their favourite shopping portal. For other brands, sports giant Nike leads in terms of engagement at 13.2%, followed by Lenovo with 10.8% and Coca-Cola at 8.7%. The En-spire study noted that Lenovo in particular has been enhancing its Weibo presence and impact. It currently has 179,904 followers on its Sina Weibo account.



In terms of recall of advertising messages online, Coca-Cola has greatest advertising recall.



Malaysian Government uses Internet TV to communicate with public
The Malaysian government has introduced a new Internet video service which will help it to communicate information, news and other updates to Malaysians, both within the country and abroad. The government sees the importance of an avenue where they can provide reliable and up-to-date information, given the socialisation of news in which breaking updates are disseminated through social media and other Internet channels. This IPTV Internet channel 1MalaysiaIPTV can be viewed online from a mobile device, or through dedicated applications for BlackBerry, Android and Apple devices. Content will be purely in Bahasa Malaysian.

Chinese microbloggers must now verify their identity
It will soon be mandatory for Chinese microbloggers to adhere to the real-name policy, one of 16 new regulations for microblogs set by the Beijing municipal government. Users are now required to register their microblog accounts under their real name by providing their official state ID number. The severe implication for users will be the accountability they now hold towards anything they ‘tweet’ on Weibo, as opposed to using nicknames previously through which their real identity could not be traced.

Most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn profiles
LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals, has identified the most overused buzzwords on the profiles of its 135 million users worldwide. Singaporeans like the term ‘track record’, Indians are ‘effective’, Australians think themselves ‘creative’, French are apparently ‘dynamic’, and Brazilians are ‘multinational’. It’s time to update your LinkedIn profiles.

Social networks used by over three quarters of consumers
A new study from Ofcom produced some interesting findings about the state of social:

Social networking is a global phenomenon, with over three quarters of consumers in the markets we surveyed saying that they have visited a social networking site, with the majority saying they visit them on a daily basis. This is much higher among 18-24 year olds, with eight in ten (83 per cent) visiting on a daily basis.

Social networking sites are most popular in Italy, with 91 per cent ever having visited and a quarter visiting over five times a day (24 per cent), while in the UK eight out of ten (79 per cent) have ever visited with one in five visiting over five times a day.

UK consumers are more likely to access social networking sites on a mobile phone than other countries, with 43 per cent of those with social networking site profiles saying they do so compared to just 30 per cent in the US.

More widely, the UK is Europe’s most digitally aware nation (second only to America) and this is underlined by Britons spending more time online, owning more smartphones and even watching more TV online.

Nonetheless, perhaps the most interesting graph in the whole report is how different age groups use social media to share news. The graph underscores how young people are ‘always active’:

Companies look to expand social media spend in 2012
An interesting bit of research from Grant Thornton highlights how although just 43% of companies worldwide currently use social media, 61% plan to increase their usage, with it breaking down by country as follows:

Notably, 75% of companies from ASEAN and 56% from APAC are planning to increase use of social media. The quicker growth amongst BRIC countries is also backed up by the latest research from KPMG, which suggests that brands are keen to use social media in those markets as a cheap and effective way to boost brand awareness.

Judging by another survey, it seems the increased spend will go – unsurprisingly – mainly to Facebook and Twitter campaigns:

Facebook profits hit 1 billion – and flotation nears
According to Gawker, Facebook will make one billion Dollars in profit in the calendar year 2011 – double its profits from the previous year. More to the point, its limited outgoings means Facebook is swimming in cash.

These extraordinary profit figures mean that if and when a Facebook flotation does occur, the social network will be valued at at least 100 billion dollars. And that’s a lot of money.

Facebook Timeline now available worldwide and on mobile…
A long time after it was announced, Facebook Timeline is finally available worldwide. Once users activate Timeline, they get a seven-day review period to check what goes on the Timeline before it goes public. Timeline is also now available on iPhone, Android and Mobile Web.

Brands try to make the most of Timeline
Although Brand Pages don’t yet have Timelines, a couple of brands are already getting involved: both Mountain Dew and Volkswagen have added a tab to their Pages where users can download images and use them as cover images for their Timeline. Nifty.

Facebook considering new ad formats
AdAge reports that at the end of March, Facebook is planning its first push into mobile advertising – by putting Sponsored Stories into the mobile News Feed. It’s an interesting development as Facebook believes its user base will be growing on mobile, meaning that this is almost certainly the first of several steps.

Judging by a post on Inside Facebook, the social network has also launched a new premium ad unit, allowing brands to post Coupons on their Pages and then push these through traditional Facebook social ads. This could be great for establishments like restaurants and bars.

 

Buy concert tickets without leaving Facebook
With Ticketfly, the entire ticket-buying experience now takes place right on a Facebook Page. Ticketfly was one of the Open Graph launch partners announced at Facebook’s f8 conference, and music venues in Oakland, San Francisco, and New York have been beta testing the service and seen advanced sales on tickets increase by almost 25% for various artists. Buying concert tickets has never been easier.

LinkedIn launches Polls in Groups
LinkedIn last week launched Polls within their private Groups – a development they dub as ‘the easiest way to join the professional conversation’. They’ve clearly never spoken to anyone in real life.

New Google+ updates and changes to Hangouts
With the end of the year just a few days away, Google have decided to launch some new updates to Google+. First up, they’ve added the option to ‘change the volume’ of Circles, so that the overall stream can be better weighted to your interests:

They’ve also updated Brand Pages in a really positive way: they can now have multiple admins with a notification flow to enhance Page management, and they also have launched an aggregated count of all users who have engaged with a Page:

Besides that, they’ve launched a whole range of updates for Hangouts including video Hangouts on mobile which are designed to make them more accessible.

But how effective this all is, is rather questionable: for all Britney Spears now has a million followers, it’s hard to escape the truth: nobody cares. After Google Wave and Google Buzz, it’s like oops I did it again.

Miso launches a superb update
Social TV startup Miso has launched a nice update called Sideshows:

Basically, it’s a slideshow of additional content that can be synchronized to run alongside a TV show. In one example, Smillie showed a fan-created, fashion-focused SideShow for Gossip Girl. When a notable outfit appeared on screen, the SideShow would bring up a card with more information about the clothes, as well as an image and an online shopping link. Another example was a demo that SideShow created for MTV’s high school comedy Awkward. As a song played during the show, Miso brought up a card with the title, artist, and a link to the song on Spotify.

In some ways, this may seem like an update to the on-screen captions and annotations that TV shows and DVDs have experimented with in the past. But the SideShows are more interactive, since they’re connected to the Web. And because they’re on your phone (it’s only available on the iPhone initially), they don’t interfere with the TV image itself.

It’s a tremendous update because it means that brands can socialise product placement in TV programmes, and really link their marketing strategy together.

Banks begin to use social data to decide credit ratings
An interesting – if somewhat scary – report from Betabeat show how banks might try to tap into customers’ social data in the future. Privacy is important to most social media users, and these development are somewhat worrying – essentially, your credit rating could depend as much on your friends as what you yourself do.

KLM to introduce in-flight matchmaker zone
KLM’s latest social campaign is one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve heard all year: customers will be allowed to see fellow passengers’ social media profiles, and based on their interests can choose to sit together.

This could go well, or really, really badly. And that’s what makes it so brilliant.

BrandAlley predicts 5% of sales in 2012 will come through F-Commerce
The success of sales directly through their Facebook Pages has led BrandAlley to predict that 5% of revenue next year will come directly from F-Commerce. Impressive.

Capital One offer bonus rewards based on Klout score
Capital One have launched a Christmas promotion with Klout to reward cardholders, offering bonus rewards based on individual Klout scores. This means that everyone who participates – with a Klout score of 10 to a Klout score of 100 – gets some form of bonus rewards based on their influence.

Sherlock Holmes film utilises Stephen Fry’s Twitter following
It’s not original using celebrities for endorsements, even in social, but this one caught our eye for its inventiveness: Stephen Fry has been posting Holmes-esque cryptic clues on his Twitter channel to promote the new Sherlock Holmes film, and the first person to crack them each day wins a prize. A good campaign, well executed, without any elementary mistakes.

All Saints reaches out to fashion bloggers
All Saints is to expand the number of UK bloggers it works with in a bid to drive greater advocacy. They will focus on nurturing partnerships with fashion fanatics.

Dunkin’ Donuts new Foursquare campaign
Dunkin’ Donuts are offering quite a cool Foursquare sweepstake in the New York area. If users connect their Foursquare account on the DD Facebook Page, they become eligible to win a whole host of prizes in-store. Nice.

Sweden lets citizens take over its Twitter account
In a bold move, Sweden is letting ordinary citizens take over its Twitter account and curate it for a week at a time. While this will obviously drive PR value, it could also go disastrously wrong. That’s the beauty of it.

Republicans compete to spend more on Twitter
Republican Presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney seem to be competing as to who can spend more on Promoted Tweets. The real-time opportunities of Promoted Tweets is what seems to appeal to the different candidates.

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