Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Foursquare’.
Line chat app launches Chinese rival to WeChat
Mobile messaging is big in Asia, and Japanese chat app Line has launched a Chinese version called ‘Lianwo’ (loosely translated to mean “link me”) in a bid to expand into China. The Chinese version of the popular chat app comes with most of the features except social gaming support. Line faces an uphill battle for the Chinese market as its rival WeChat (also known as “Weixin” in Chinese) has a firm foothold within the country and a far larger user base of more than 200 million versus Line’s user base of 70 million. Line might be a late entrant into the Chinese market but it has made some headway in Thailand, where it recently announced passing the 10 million download mark and Indonesia, with social marketing tie-ups with local businesses and special stickers.
Nimbuzz chat app plans to compete for the Asian messaging market
Nimbuzz, a Dutch-born chat app with its headquarters in India, is the latest to enter the fray in the battle for users in Asia’s mobile messaging market. Like its rivals, Line, WeChat and KakaoTalk, Nimbuzz has features such as messaging, voice and video calling. However, Nimbuzz differentiates itself from the competition through its integration with other online chat platforms like Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook messaging and Windows Live Messenger. Nimbuzz also offers Skype-like international calling allowing users to connect to anybody worldwide even if the other party is not a Nimbuzz user.
Starbucks kicks off 4th year of Jiepang tie-up with festive social check-ins
Get virtual goodies with your brew when you check in at over 300 Chinese Starbucks stores in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces this festive season. Through a tie-up between Starbucks and Jiepang, China’s most popular location-based check-in service, Starbucks customers can earn four virtual Christmas badges, send Christmas e-cards and unlock buy-one-get-one-free drink deals. Available till the end of 2012, Jiepang users will unlock a ‘Magic Wish’ badge and be eligible to redeem buy-one-get-one-free rewards when they’ve collected all four Christmas badges. To make gifting Christmas greetings easier and more social, users can send Christmas e-Cards to friends on their Sina Weibo accounts from within the Jiepang app. Toffee Nut Latte, anyone?
South Koreans to hold “Battle of the Singles” on Christmas Eve
What started as a harmless question about Christmas Eve plans on Facebook has resulted in a mass dating event slated to take place in a park in central Seoul. The event has attracted over 36,000 people and garnered the attention of businesses with around 200 firms offering to sponsor the event. On Christmas Eve, the singles will gather at the park located on an island on the Han River. Clad in red, the women will stand a few metres away from the the men, dressed in white, till the event starts and they’re allowed to run towards a potential date and grab his or her hands. The singles who couple up will be encouraged to post photos taken with their newly found partners on the event’s Facebook page. The concept received such an overwhelming response and publicity that similar events are being planned in other cities with some businesses have offered single employees a day off to attend the event.
Travel gets more social with WAYN and India Today Group partnership
London-grown social network for travellers, WAYN (Where Are You Now), and content platform, India Today Group, have inked a deal to co-brand a travel portal – Travel Plus. The deal gives ITG access to WAYN’s userbase of over 19.1 million users, of which 4 million are Indian. For WAYN, ITG offers rich content and reach through its 38 magazine titles, 4 television channels, 7 radio stations in addition to a range of websites and apps. The travel portal, which will collate travel information and deals, is expected to appeal to potential tourists and expatriates wanting to learn more about India.
The Global Popularity of Social Media
A report by the Pew Research Center has shown the increasing usage of social networking sites all over the world. Key findings show that in countries like Britain, US, Russia, Czech Republic and Spain, around half the population are using social media. Also, in almost every country polled, social media usage was higher amongst under 30s and those with a college degree. This graph shows the percentage of each country’s population using (and not using) social networks around the world:
A shift is expected in marketing budgets
A global study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council expects that the coming year will see increased budgets for digital and social marketing, with slower growth in television. 79% of marketers intend to invest in social media: 30% in community building, 30% in social media monitoring and 19% into tracking and analytics. With these interests compiled, social networks prove the most important point of investment for global CMOs.
The Networks being used to connect with brands
SocialVibe have produced research into the networks used by Internet Users to connect with Brands, with Facebook unsurprisingly topping the list. What is more interesting is how well Google+ is doing, outperforming both YouTube and Twitter.
Only 20% of FTSE 100 engaging on LinkedIn
Sociagility’s research has shown that only 1 in 5 FTSE 100 companies are active on LinkedIn, despite 96% holding some presence on the platform. In fact, only 12% are receiving regular engagement from LinkedIn users, despite the network now consisting of 187 million members. Could this be a missed opportunity for brands?
Facebook set to launch disposable photo sharing app?
Facebook is rumoured to be launching an app for sharing self-destructable text and photos, similar to Snapchat, before the end of 2012. The app, which will be standalone, much like Camera and Messenger, allows users to share a photo or message that can only be viewed for a certain amount of time. The vast similarity between this and Snapchat means the battle between the two will be interesting to monitor over the coming months.
Twitter adds photo filters
After last week’s news that Instagram had removed Twitter card functionality, the microblogging platform has now introduced its own set of filters, powered by Aviary. The service offers many of the same features as the site’s former partner, Instagram but it is unlikely that Instagram’s user base will be tempted away by the new feature.
Twitter improves Promoted Tweets functionality
Having introduced Promoted Tweets back in 2010, a couple of alterations have been made to the feature this week, intending to provide a better service for marketers. Firstly, when intending a Promoted Tweet to appear in a search, it is now possible to select from three different keyword matching options: exact match, phrase match, and basic keyword match. This means that you can prevent your Promoted Tweet about bacon appearing in searches for Kevin Bacon, simply by adding “Kevin” as a negative keyword.
Also, Promoted Tweets will now automatically respond to relevant and related trending topics. This means that, say you’re a vendor of baby clothes, you can have Promoted Tweets react to a new trend about a celebrity baby and increase your overall reach.
Pinterest adds Twitter card support
In a timely fashion just after Instagram switched off their Twitter integration, Pinterest have now added Twitter card support. This means that, whenever a pin is posted to Twitter, you can view it without leaving the page. Here’s what it looks like:
A wealth of new Google+ Features
Google have launched 18 new features for Google+, intending to make “sharing and communicating easier and more fun than ever.” These include new Android features that allow increased mobility, such as on-the-go profile editing and altered posting tools. Photos have also changed, including backups and animated GIF support, whilst there are also new ways to produce and respond to Event invites. Finally, Hangouts are set to be made smoother for those with lower bandwidths, which could be seen as a move to reach out to poorer countries.
Flickr produces iPhone app
Flickr has launched a radically improved iPhone app, including a number of new features. The most intriguing of these are perhaps the Instagram style features, as shown by this rather handsome dog.
Lanyrd and LinkedIn team up for events management
LinkedIn have teamed up with Lanyrd to fill the void left by the removal of the LinkedIn events function. Lanyrd has a number of features that should prove useful on LinkedIn, including recommendations based on your contacts and the ability to see who is attending an event, giving you the chance for a bit of networking.
Guardian’s Facebook social reader is no more
The UK’s Guardian newspaper has chosen to remove its social reader from Facebook, providing them with greater control over how readers find their content. Despite initial success, with over six million monthly users at one point, the reader declined in popularity after changes made by Facebook meant lower reach for articles with less engagement.
Pizza Hut makes fragrance for Facebook fans
Love the smell of pizza? After a lighthearted post by Pizza Hut Canada asked fans about a pizza perfume, the response was so strong that the restaurant chain decided to produce the fragrance and send it out to 100 Facebook fans. Apparently it smells like “dough with a little bit of seasoning added”. Sounds intriguing, though perhaps not one to wear on a night out.
J. Crew and Tumblr hosting Secret Santa blogger event
J. Crew have teamed up with Tumblr and hosted a Secret Santa event for some of the world’s biggest fashion and photography bloggers. Each was given two things by J. Crew: a $101 gift card and a “101 Gift Ideas” guide and expected to let their creativity flow for their Secret Santa. The move shows increased interest in social media by the retailer, who have this year launched on Pinterest and Instagram and relaunched their Twitter feed.
Lavazza launch 2013 Social Calendar
Coffee brand Lavazza have launched a 2013 calendar made up of content curated from their fans on Instagram. The sourced images are put together into a video collage, which can be downloaded and personalised as a 2013 calendar.
The Pope takes to Twitter
As we previously reported, the Pope took to Twitter this week, with 8 separate language accounts including @Pontifex tweeting in English. He opened with the following tweet:
This was followed by providing answers to a set of questions asked earlier in the week from Twitter users across the world, absolutely nailing the papal tone of voice.
Surrey police’s Twitter Tone of Voice
In a slightly more contemporary approach to Twitter, Surrey police have amused followers this week by tweeting safety advice based on the lyrics to Vanilla Ice’s seminal 1989 release, “Ice Ice Baby”. This, along with other tweets to the tune of “Santa Claus is coming to town”, is interspersed with more serious content, displaying how organisations can alter their tone to fit different types of content.
Starbucks get rather less festive cheer than they hoped for
As part of their Christmas marketing activity, Starbucks have produced an in-store screen that automatically displays any tweet with the hashtag #spreadthecheer. However, Twitter users have taken this as an opportunity to berate Starbucks for their recent poor performance in the tax paying stakes. An example of a time when social media moderation might seem like a good idea.
Check yourself in to a white Christmas with EE
Mobile network EE are creating white Christmases through Foursquare check ins. With snow cannons set up atop various London buildings, checking in to the right place could make it instantly start snowing near you. The cannons are located in Rivington St. and Hoxton Square, so to Londoners looking for snow, this might be your best bet.
A very modern Christmas miracle
We end with another Christmas story – Reddit users have saved Christmas for a father of four. He posted on r/offmychest, a board on which users rant about their problems, about various financial problems that were affecting him and his family. As a result, redditors gathered together to raise over $8,000, enough to pay off the father’s various bills and provide Christmas presents for his children to the extent that he is now trying to redirect help towards other needy redditors. A Christmas miracle to melt the heart of even the most stubborn Grinch.
Indian & Indonesian users have easier access to Facebook Messenger
Last week, we mentioned that the rumour mill was buzzing about a possible acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook. Shortly after, Facebook announced that users in India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela and South Africa will be able to sign up for Facebook Messenger IM service with only their names and phone number. A departure from the usual requirement for users to have an email address, this development is a step in the right direction for Facebook as it seeks to woo users in countries where internet penetration is lower and users communicate regularly via text messages and Instant Messaging apps. Unfortunately, this step could be a little too late as Facebook Messenger IM app faces stiff competition from newer rivals like WeChat and an uphill battle to convert an entrenched BlackBerry Messenger userbase. The months ahead should be interesting as WhatsApp has denied rumours of an acquisition bid by Facebook.
Sina e-payments gets social with new name, WeiboPay
We mentioned 2 weeks ago about Tencent’s plans to implement an online payment service on its runaway success messaging platform, WeChat. It’s rival Sina looks set to join in the battle for the online consumer dollar with a rebranded PayPal-like platform, WeiboPay. Previously, the payment service was used to facilitate in-game purchases. The enhanced product now integrates with the newly revamped Sina Weibo platform, with possible developments to offer deals to its userbase of more than 400 million registered users.
The matrix starring China’s social networks
Much has been said of the pervasive influence of social networks in China. A recent TechInAsia report cherry picks key information from a study by IDG Capital Partners on the Chinese social network market. Presented in a matrix format, it illustrates the influence that each social network worth its salt wields in China; further segregated into user needs and interestingly, how open they are to strangers. The chart reveals Tencent’s dominance in China’s social networking scene with products like it’s older QQ IM app, new Weixin (aka WeChat) IM app, Qzone, Pengyou and Tencent Weibo occupying top spots serving different user needs.
China’s Kaixin social network launches baby photo diary app
Proud parents and baby pictures often translate into newsfeeds flooded with updates on almost every little aspect of the child’s development. Recognising the importance of these life events as its userbase matures, Kaixin is seeking to regain lost ground by launching a photo diary app named Kaixin Baby. One of China’s earliest social networks, Kaixin was superseded by larger networks such as Renren, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. Also available on iPhone, Kaixin Baby has a dedicated site which is integrated with the main Kaixin site and incorporates social elements such as inviting friends and family members to join or post from their own Kaixin account.
Nukkad, a virtual street corner in India’s SoLoMo world
Named after the Indian concept of street corner discussions on just about every topic ranging from sports to politics, the Nukkad app integrates chats, location-based socialisation, aggregates Twitter and Instagram content within the area and shopping deals. The app aggregates user generated reviews on products or stores in the area, thereby allowing other users to make educated decisions based on crowd-sourced information.
The majority of social media roles at brands are part time
A study entitled “Structuring a Social Media Team” has found that 65% of those working in social media for brands and charities do so on top of other duties. The research, whilst also found that social media budgets have not increased across most companies in 2012, displays the reluctance of many organisations to reassign resources from traditional communications to emerging media.
Facebook rumoured to be in talks to purchase ad serving platform Atlas
The social network is reportedly in talks to purchase ad server Atlas Solutions from Microsoft, potentially allowing them to close in on Google’s dominance over online advertising. The move would provide further access to user data and greater publisher connections, which could prove formidable. Most importantly, this would give Facebook a massive head start in creating an advertising network outside of their own social platform, targeted based on Facebook profile information. This comes at the same time as the news that over 2.5 million Facebook posts have been promoted, by over 300,000 Facebook pages, since the option to promote posts launched in June.
200,000 mobile apps now connected to Facebook
Facebook have released figures that display the strength of its Open Graph platform, which is now in use by 200k Android and iPhone apps. David Fisch, Director of Platform Partnerships at Facebook, discussed the numerous possibilities: “An iOS app can be a Facebook app. A mobile website can be a Facebook app. A console game can be a Facebook app. Your car, your shoes, your credit card or your toothbrush can be Facebook apps.” Whilst Facebook isn’t currently able to monetize these third-party apps, these provide a base on which the network may later look to build advertising revenue.
Facebook’s ‘subscribe’ feature set to change to ‘follow’
It’s been a big week for announcements from Facebook. One last bit of news: the ‘subscribe’ button is set to be changed to ‘follow’. The subscribe feature, which has been available to pages, or users who choose to enable it, allows ‘subscribers’ to view the activity of a page without becoming a ‘fan’ or ‘friend’. Whilst there is no planned change in functionality, the move is intended to provide an easier user interface between social networks, with users familiarised with ‘following’ others through Twitter.
Some big brands are using Facebook’s global pages
Playstation, Burger King, Swatch and Clarins have all begun using Facebook’s global pages. Users are automatically directed to the regional version of the page, often providing relevant content in their own language. However, users can access any page through a drop down menu and all are linked by their ‘like’ and ‘people talking about this’ figures.
The end of an era for Twitter and Instagram
Things are changing between Twitter and Instagram. Once allies, battling it out against the Facebook behemoth, the two are now set to face off with one another in the photo sharing wars. Twitter announced that Instagram had disabled Twitter cards functionality, meaning that users would be unable to properly view Instagram photos on Twitter. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated the move’s intentions: “We’ve decided that right now, what makes sense, is to direct our users to the Instagram Web site”. He added that there would be no effect on Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare. Poor Twitter.
Twitter gets (more) local
Some better news for Twitter. They’ve launched Trends in 100 more cities worldwide, including 12 in the UK. So for those of you in Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Sheffield: now’s your chance to see what’s Trending in a city near you.
Snapseed for iOS, Android and Google+
And some worse news for Instagram. Soon after their acquisition by Google, photo editing/sharing app Snapseed has now launched on Android, at the same time as making their iOS version free. Throw in Google+ integration and it we could be looking at a potential rival to Instagram. Whilst the two are currently worlds apart in terms of size, Snapseed’s functionality is certainly impressive and this is seems like one to watch.
Google+ growing as fast as Facebook?
Google+ made an announcement this week about two things: growth and communities. The first includes some intriguing figures. More than 500 million people have upgraded to Google+, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million in just the stream. This last statistic means growth of 35 million in the last 2.5 months, figures that rival Facebook at a similar size. This comes as exciting news for the often ridiculed site and may start to restore some faith in its potential as a network. The second part of the announcement refers to ‘Google+ Communities’, a new feature that allows like minded individuals to create a network wherein they can discuss their mutual interests.
Foursquare is the third most used Mobile social app
A Nielsen report has stated that Foursquare has 10.4 million monthly users, putting it third behind Facebook and Twitter in terms of monthly mobile users. Adweek have reported the news, stating that this means 42% of the 25 million of those who have downloaded the app are using it regularly. This statistic may go some way to addressing questions about Foursquare’s performance.
Foursquare makes custom events available to Venue Managers
A big new benefit for venue managers on Foursquare: they can create their own custom events. Previously, the only event availability was to do with concerts, films and sport – all only available to a limited set of partners. This increased functionality could provide a great deal of opportunity for businesses, marketers and users and it will be worth watching how this develops.
A new look for YouTube
YouTube have redesigned their user interface, introducing a ‘Guide’ that users can fill with subscriptions, allowing them to easier organise their favourite content. Other changes include the video layout, integrating “the subscribe button, social actions and video information”, plus re-positioning playlists to allow easier scrolling whilst watching a video. They are looking for feedback and will be hosting both a Google+ hangout and a Reddit IAmA in the coming weeks.
Spotify is going social
Spotify is rolling out a whole set of new features, aimed at making the musical experience completely social. The principal changes are two new tabs: Follow and Discover. The former allows you to connect with other Spotify users, from friends to artists, allowing you to obtain content you want from where you want. This will also allow artists to share new releases and tour information with their fans quickly and easily. The Discover tab will display relevant content, be that artists or playlists, based on what is already in a user’s library.
SoundCloud’s new design available to all users
The new version of SoundCloud, the music sharing site that reaches 180m people per month, with 10 hours of audio uploaded every minute, has been slowly rolled out to users over the past year. Now, the new version is becoming the norm, with new features including updated search, discovery and recommendation features and increased connectivity with other social sites, such as Facebook.
Microsoft expanding image-sharing network Socl
Microsoft’s Pinterest-style social network is now available to anyone with a Microsoft or Facebook account, having been available only to a small audience since May. They claim that the network is not intended to compete with larger platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but may be linked to future Microsoft product launches; it will be interesting to see how this aim develops.
The father of SMS – 20 years on
Matti Makkonen is known as the ‘father of SMS’ due to his idea in the 1980s for a messaging service run via mobile phones. This week, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the platform, he gave a rare interview to the BBC via text message.
Nokia release ‘Tweetsender’ tool
Nokia have come up with a reason for their users to follow them on Twitter: Tweetsender. The new app allows Nokia users to receive direct messages via Twitter whenever new updates are released for their phone. Simply follow Nokia and you will receive a DM with instructions of how to set up the feature. Authorise the app and give it details of what phone you have and you’ll start receiving up to date product news that is relevant to you.
Heineken’s ‘Bottle of the Future’
To celebrate its 40th birthday, Heineken have launched a campaign that allows fans to produce the beer’s next limited edition bottle through a Facebook app. The idea looks to celebrate the company’s past, by offering the opportunity to view and remix old designs.
Mercedes-Benz use social video to thank 9 million fans
Mercedes-Benz have reached the milestone of 9 million Facebook fans. How to celebrate? Well, they’ve produced a social video as a thank you, which displays a set of lights painting over a CLS-class car, then spelling out “9,000,000″, “FANS” and “THANK YOU”. Aw, you’re welcome.
Lexus donating to boys’ and girls’ clubs
Another automotive giant, Lexus, is giving $10 per check in to boys’ and girls’ clubs in America no matter where the check in is. If they do choose to head to a Lexus dealership, the check in is worth a whopping $20. Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing, said that they “want to create an opportunity for people to easily give back to a great cause”. It is certainly unexpected to see so large a donation offered for check ins anywhere and this is likely to see some good will heading in Lexus’s direction.
T-Mobile spreading Christmas cheer with US tour
T-Mobile and Carly Foulkes are touring the US, giving out prizes at every destination. They announce each stop on the tour with a Foursquare checkin, as well as by Facebook and Twitter. Then, the first customer to check in at each stop and show the judges wins a Samsung Galaxy Note II, a year of T-Mobile service and a MOGA game controller. The tour is set to spend the next few weeks circuiting the US, so may be at a town near you some time soon.
Diesel heading back to the 90s
It’s no secret that a lot of people hark back to the days before the Internet. Diesel are taking advantage of this, relaunching a 1993 shoe with a ‘Pre-Internet’ campaign. They’re challenging people to win a pair of YUKs by giving up Facebook for 3 days, or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for 2. The activity is supported by a set of humorous videos intended to point out how little these shoes care about tracking or wall posting.
Expedia on the hunt for Australia’s best bloggers
As part of a campaign set up by We Are Social in Sydney, Expedia are looking to find the best up-and-coming bloggers in Australia and New Zealand in five categories: Lifestyle, Food, Music, Travel and Family/Parenting. The winners, voted for on Facebook, will receive the trip of a lifetime and the status of official Expedia bloggers for 2013.
Allen Solly release Twitter powered billboard
Indian retailer Allen Solly are marking the launch of their new clothing range with a billboard powered by Twitter. The billboard shows 60 shirts, all obscuring the campaign graphic. With every tweet, a random shirt moves forward, until each one falls off, providing tweeters with a new shirt and everyone else with a view of the new collection.
Microsoft’s #DroidRage Fail
We’ve seen plenty of examples of Twitter Fails over the last year. Now, Microsoft seem to be the latest in a long list. Encouraging users to share their tales of frustration with Android phones via #DroidRage, they seem to have caused a backlash, as Android users have come to the defence of their phones, while #WindowsRage has gained some traction. Oh dear.
Homebase introduces YouTube channel aimed at driving social commerce
Homebase have produced a YouTube channel, aimed at driving sales. Videos will feature tagged products, which users can purchase by clicking on the video. The activity is being supported through integration with Facebook’s Open Graph, automatically sharing when a user has watched one of their videos.
UK’s HM Treasury’s report on Pinterest
The UK’s HM Treasury have produced a set of infographics about their Autumn Statement and uploaded them to their Pinterest account. Considering how complex budgetary data can be, this may be an intriguing way for governments to simplify and spread difficult data.
Your friendly neighbourhood social network
Finally, a markedly different use of Pinterest: law enforcement. ‘The Mercury’, a newspaper in the borough of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, has started pinning mugshots of those wanted for crimes throughout the local area. As a result, the police have seen a 50% increase in arrests.
WeChat to implement payment services in 2 months
Tencent has confirmed plans to launch payment services on WeChat, and will integrate the chat app with a PayPal-esque service within the next two months. This highly anticipated development offers greater money making opportunities for the company as retailers will be encouraged to sign up and advertise via the WeChat platform. WeChat’s Asian competitors such as Line and Kakao Talk monetise by offering ads and opt-in marketing to brands with registered accounts and updates users on promotions. Although WeChat doesn’t offer advertising at the moment, it has already signed up top brands such as Starbucks and Nike. WeChat has been enjoying strong growth outside of China, especially within the Southeast Asian region with the service hitting 1 million users in Malaysia in 5 months.
Hootsuite adds Simplified Chinese & Renren support
Showing strong commitment to making headway into China’s internet community, Hootsuite has added support for Simplified Chinese language and Renren, China’s Facebook equivalent. Adding to its existing Traditional Chinese support and integration with microblogging platform Sina Weibo, Hootsuite looks set for a competition with Hubblr, a rival social media management tool for the Chinese market.
Burpple offers Foursquare-ish discovery & friend finding features
A Singapore-born app for food lovers, Burpple users can now discover restaurants and tips posted by other users close to their location via the Explore feature. That’s in addition to friend finding features via Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, address book entries and location. As you may recall, we mentioned in September that the app syncs with Instagram and supports Japanese language. The company is further improving the user experience by organising its data in an intuitive manner – showing what other users have eaten and liked – thus helping the user make a decision on what to eat at the restaurant they’re at. This gives the app yet another one up on platforms like Foursquare and Yelp. Declining to reveal user figures, the company said that users have posted 150,000 ‘food moments’ – Instagram-esque photos with title, comment & location. The app is fairly popular in Asian markets such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan. With the app’s integration with Tencent’s WeChat, Burpple is expected to gain more mileage amongst Chinese users.
Snapdish secures investment from Digital Garage
Could this be a food fight of the app variety? A Japan-based developer has secured funding from Digital Garage (an early Twitter and Path investor) for Snapdish, a mobile app for food lovers. iOS and Android users can share photos and descriptions of food and drinks on Snapdish as well as Facebook, Twitter and China social network Renren. While details of the deal weren’t revealed, it is worthy to note that Snapdish has registered 600,000 downloads and more than 1.5 million shared photos. The app monetises by working with beverage brands in Japan for branded marketing though the company is still exploring alternative methods of generating income.
Sina Weibo updates NGO platform
In addition to enterprise weibo accounts, Sina provides for public interest and charity groups via its Gongyi platform which has just been overhauled. The intuitive interface makes it easy for visitors to donate money or specific items, volunteer, participate in charity auctions or retweet messages from NGOs and other nonprofits to help generate attention and potentially more donations in the process. The site encourages giving with a leaderboard that ranks users who earn points through donations and other charitable activities. To help protect users from scams, registration is available only to verified users.
Alcohol brands see highest engagement on Facebook
Alcohol brands score the highest marks for engagement on Facebook, with the average post engagement rate sitting at 0.40%, according to new research by Socialbakers. Engagement with automotive pages on Facebook came in a close second. Interestingly overall engagement for all pages has increased 2-3x since the first quarter of the year.
Facebook says it’s ‘way too soon’ for F-commerce for luxury brands
Facebook’s director of retail says luxury brands should wait for Facebook to launch the ‘want’ button before they dive into F-commerce, which should be coming next year. So far, only a handful of UK brands have created Facebook stores for their products, but Facebook has made its payment platform more robust, especially for gifting and gaming.
Facebook adds photo sync to iOS
Some Facebook users can now sync their iPhone photos to a private album in real time, a feature already available on Android and also seen on Google+. Facebook will store up to 2 GB of photos, which can be synced via Wi-Fi or 3G. Facebook has tried to make it clear that these photos will remain private until users are ready to share them. Facebook has posted about the feature in its Help Center but hasn’t yet rolled it out to all users.
More tweets from retailers mean more purchases from Twitter users
Twitter users who see tweets from retailers are more likely to visit their online shops and to make purchases, according to new research from Twitter and Compete. And the more tweets users see, the more likely they are to visit a retailer’s website and click ‘Buy.’ Twitter users who see these tweets visit a retailer’s online shop with a higher intent to make a purchase, meaning that high-quality and frequently posted tweets can help drive sales.
Tumblr breaks into top 10 sites in the US
Tumblr is now one of the top 10 sites in the US, and now has a global audience of 170 million. The graph below says it all. Bravo, Tumblr.
Foursquare’s paid ad platform still waiting in beta
Foursquare announced a platform for paid ads four months ago, but it looks like the company wants to get it exactly right before rolling it out to more brands. The feature is still in beta, and it’s not looking like it will be available outside of the small test group of 20 before the holiday season. CEO Dennis Crowley has stayed tight-lipped about all of the details, but in an interview, he describes Foursquare’s ads as a combination of Promoted Tweets and Google Adwords and says that the powerful Explore button is a strong indicator of footfall for brick-and-mortar stores.
Amazon announces brand pages
It looks like Amazon is ready to do what Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have been slow to integrate: tying purchases into a social platform. We all know Amazon as the go-to online retailer, but the site has now added Timeline-esque profiles and images, shoppable photo galleries and a feed of status updates for brands who are selling on the platform. Amazon is also providing analytics for brands to see reach, post views, how many people considered buying a product and how many did click ‘Buy.’ Brand posts are limited to 140 characters, but at the moment can be cross-posted only to Facebook, not to Twitter.
Sephora attributes its online success to early adoption
From early on, makeup retailer Sephora has been quick to integrate digital into all of its marketing efforts, including Instagramming Halloween looks from in-store staffers and offering their Facebook fans a sneak peek into Black Friday deals before they went live on the day. The brand also recreated its online shop in April to coincide with the launch of its page on Pinterest, and the photos and Pinterest-integration show how important digital is to the company’s DNA. Read the full interview for more juicy details.
TV ads for Halo 4 include real gamers from Facebook page
The popular video game series Halo has created a Facebook app to recruit gamers with the promise of being featured in a series of TV ads being aired in the UK, France, Germany & Spain. This campaign is a fantastic way of tying social into other platforms, and we’re sure more will soon be in the pipeline for other brands.
Heinz Beans go to battle
We’ve helped Heinz Beans create a new Facebook app that’s sure to keep you entertained for hours. Grab a friend or start a Battleship-esque match with a fellow fan of the page to splat their beans on toast. May the best bean win!
7 For All Mankind’s new Facebook apps plays Santa for fans
Have you started making your Christmas list? Decide which item you want most from 7 For All Mankind, and you could win it in a new Facebook app that We Are Social has created for the brand. The app lets the brand’s Facebook fans browse the collection and then pick the piece at the top of their Christmas lists that they’d like to win. Christmas comes only once a year, but for these fans, it might just come a bit more often.
British boxer wears Twitter handle into the ring
Boxer Ricky Hatton went back to the ring for the first time in three years, this time donning a pair of shorts with his Twitter handle. And he’s setting a record of sorts by doing so, as he becomes the first UK athlete to compete in a major live televised sports event wearing his Twitter handle. This is sure to drum up his already-dedicated fan base whose tweets of support using the #RickysCorner hashtag have been posted around his gym for motivation.
Guardian exposé says Wonga employee is harassing MP on Twitter
Follow the Twitter trail: A Twitter user named ‘Daniel Sargant’ called MP Stella Creasy, a prominent anti-payday loans campaigner, “mental,” “nuts” and a “self-serving egomaniac,” and an investigation traced the Twitter account to a Wonga employee, the payday loan giant. It looks like the same IP address was also used to change Wonga’s Wikipedia entry to remove some ‘unfavorable’ comments about its deal to sponsor Newcastle United. Wonga has since apologized and claims these were the actions of a ‘junior employee.’
Daily deals expected on WeChat within next few weeks
Two weeks back, we mentioned that the rumour mill was buzzing about WeChat launching discount coupons. The latest buzz is that in a matter of weeks, WeChat’s 200 million users could avail themselves of daily deals in China via Groupon’s Chinese site, Gaopeng. This move is a significant development in an e-commerce direction for WeChat.
Korean-made KakaoTalk sets its sights on Indonesian market
Now that Korean-born messaging app KakaoTalk is profitable, the company’s feeling confident enough to expand to other countries – starting with Indonesia. KakaoTalk is planning to support a payment carrier system and collaborate with Indonesian carriers on more data packages. There are also plans to launch Indonesian-inspired emoticons in addition to K-Pop themed emoticons. Though the company’s main focus is on the Android platform, the platform of choice for 70% of KakaoTalk’s Korean users, the app is also supported on iOS and Blackberry (the latter being the preferred platform in Indonesia). KakaoTalk’s monetisation model is via advertising, mobile commerce, social gaming and the sale of premium emoticons and stickers such as the ones below. In addition to advertising, brands can explore producing a series of customised emoticons as a brand marketing tool while the mobile commerce option allows users to buy goods to be sent via the app to friends as gifts.
How are Indian celebrities using Twitter?
India is the world’s third most socially engaged country, so how are Indian celebrities taking to Twitter, the country’s favourite platform? A recent study showed that Indian celebrities have a mix of tweets, sharing personal moments and interacting with fans. Whilst each celebrity in the study had a minimum of a million followers, they did not exercise their influence fully as they do not talk about the brands that they’re actively endorsing nor shared their opinion about current affairs. Interaction with fans was limited as the majority of fan engagement were in the form of tweets to acknowledge followers, interspersed with sporadic replies to fans. It was interesting to note that the celebrities do not reply to tweets by other celebrities.
Visit Japan woos Indian tourists on Facebook
Facebook is big in India so it was the primary social media platform of choice for the Japanese National Tourism Organization in its pursuit of the almighty tourist dollar from India. Through producing and curating interesting content intended to provide potential tourists with information and updates on Japan, the Facebook page has attracted a fan following of more than 7,000 within a year. Exhibiting consideration for the dietary concerns that Indian tourists may have, the page incorporates an interactive app to help them find a taste of home within Japan.
Facebook Page reach is still dropping
We’ve been talking a lot lately about the precipitous drop in reach for Facebook Pages, and unfortunately, it still hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down a couple months on. New data from We Are Social and Socialbakers show that this change in Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is decreasing reach for Pages by more than 40%, whether they’re big or small.
Facebook has vehemently denied decreasing Page reach and said that the result:
all depends on what set of pages you’re looking at and how many pages you’re looking at. We’re looking at all the Pages. The median reach did not decrease.”
But a new study by Group M published in Ad Age today claimed similar results to our and Socialbakers’ findings: Organic reach is down by about 40%, engagement is up slightly, and the only way to get the eyes back is through paid advertising.
What’s the lifespan of Facebook posts and tweets?
New research from Socialbakers has found that a brand’s post on Facebook will see half of its reach in the 30 minutes after it’s published, so it’s more important than ever to choose your time wisely, in light of the recent decrease in Page reach highlighted above. But the first 10 minutes in a post’s life might be even more key, with one-third of the post’s total reach seen in this short time frame.
What about tweets? Using retweets as a pulse check, SEOMoz discovered that half of RTs occur in 18 minutes or less from the time the tweet is originally posted. Twitter has some extra variables to consider: More followers generally means a longer tweet life, and tweeting more often means a shorter life for each one sent. But RTs might not be the best indicator of engagement, and in a recent study of almost 3 million tweets, about 15% of tweets that contained links got more RTs than clicks of the link, meaning that there are lots of people who RT without reading. Do certain topics lend themselves to being more engaging? Bit.ly, the link shortening site, has found that most topics have the same halflife, except for sports, which has a halflife of about 200 minutes compared to 500 minutes for other topics.
Are a brand’s Twitter followers actually talking about it?
Without any sort of platform-provided insights, it’s not easy to tell how many people are engaging with brands on Twitter. But a new analysis of 19 million tweets about 31 Fortune 100 companies shows that about 9% of a brand’s followers talk about or engage with the account on Twitter. Similarly to Facebook, as an account increases in followers, the percentage of followers talking about the brand decreases.
Copy/paste still dominates online sharing
More than 80% of all link sharing still comes from the age-old copy/paste and much less often from share buttons. Of this type of sharing for Business Insider, e-mail takes the biggest slice at nearly 70%, and Facebook takes up the lion’s share of social media sharing, with Twitter and Pinterest far behind.
Facebook introduces conversion measurement tool for ads
Just in time for the holidays, Facebook has announced that it’s giving marketers access to the bigger picture of how Facebook ads can lead to online sales. By embedding a piece of code on external site pages, marketers will now be able to trace a fan’s journey from Facebook ad to product page to check out. That will mean better targeting for future Facebook ads as well because the site can pull in demographics and interests from the people who have clicked through. Marketers will pay for the ads through new ‘optimized’ bidding that lets them set goals for the campaign, and then Facebook’s system automatically serves ads to meet those goals.
Facebook tests ranked comments, updates mobile sharing and more
Facebook has been toying around with some new features that could be rolled out to all pages soon. The platform might introduce a new comments system to pages that gives priority to more engaging comments by pushing them to the top of the stream. This would bring Pages more in line with Facebook’s comments plugin for external sites, which have had these ranked conversations since early 2011. Facebook is also looking to implement a new option to reply directly to comments, as users currently can’t mention other commenters if they aren’t friends. In addition to increasing engagement, ranked comments and a direct response feature will make community managers’ lives easier by keeping the conversation with a single user in one place, instead of being scattered throughout the thread.
Facebook has started to roll out a ‘Share’ button to its mobile apps and on the mobile site. Just as on the desktop site, ‘Share’ finally appears exactly where it should on the right side at the bottom of updates.
Facebook has unveiled a new feature in beta for apps that makes it possible for them to create Facebook groups through the API. Groups of users can post updates and create events based on their involvement in a game, with the app acting as the admin. Facebook says it hopes that these groups will make games more social, but the feature could also extend to reading apps to make book clubs and fitness apps to make training teams, for example.
The site has also updated its WordPress plugin to offer more customization. The plugin is used to cross-post content from WordPress blogs to Facebook, but now the interface, which incorporates Open Graph, looks much cleaner and less like a spammy, automatic update.
And finally, Facebook is creating Pages-only newsfeeds that contain content from Pages that a user has liked. The Pages-only feed will still be filtered, so not all posts will be seen by all of a page’s fans, and this option won’t affect how many brand updates appear in users’ normal newsfeeds. This will be similar to the Close Friends list, and it seems unlikely that anyone will bother using it.
Tumblr announces its A-List partners
Tumblr has unveiled its A-List partners program, made up initially of only 12 agencies and tech vendors, which will get more support and training from Tumblr, as well as more access to the site’s API and data. We’re thrilled that We Are Social is included in this group of 12, and we’re ready to help more brands stake their claim on the platform.
Pinterest launches brand pages
Pinterest has finally rolled out dedicated brand pages in a good sign that they are becoming friendlier to brands using the site. So far the branded accounts don’t have many distinguishing features, as the pages don’t look any different, and there aren’t any extra features or analytics available yet beyond verifying your website. But Pinterest wants to help brands promote their boards and is offering four buttons and widgets that brands can add to their websites, including ‘Pin It’ and a ‘Follow’ button and new profile and board widgets to showcase the brand’s latest pins.
New Foursquare connected app reminds you of loyalty card deals
A new app that runs on Foursquare’s platform will let you know about deals and discounts where you check in, so you don’t forget where you have loyalty cards (if you can remember to get your phone out). The app is being developed in Silicon Valley, so most of the deals are focused there now, but we hope to see them expand farther soon.
Ben & Jerry’s crowdsources print ads through Instagram
Ben & Jerry’s is asking its fans to post photos to Instagram with the hashtag #CaptureEuphoria, and the brand will select 20 of the photos to be featured in print, billboard and bus station ads near the fan’s hometown. The first winner had her photo published on the back page of a local magazine that was given out with a scoop of ice cream in her community.
Kleenex launches new campaign for cold and flu season
Cold and flu season is upon us, and We Are Social has helped Kleenex create a bespoke gaming app on Facebook so fans can help give some extra care to the poor suffering Sneezles, who have unfortunately already caught the bug. To keep people comfy when they have a cold, Kleenex will be sending out care kits through Facebook and Twitter, as well as giving them out at experiential events across the country. Cold and flu sufferers can also get more information about symptoms through Kleenex’s partnership with NetDoctor, or forget their winter blues by playing the Sneezeman iPhone game, who gets power-ups through the tissues.
London’s Hoxton area featured in new Foursquare badge
Foursquare has launched yet another UK-centric badge, this time for the ‘Hoxton Hero’. Unlock it by exploring east London’s collection of shops, restaurants and art galleries. But we’re surprised: no hipster glasses?
British Airways retweets f-bomb-filled complaint
Here’s another painful story to add to the “oops” file: An upset traveler sent an expletive-filled tweet to British Airways about a cancelled flight. Someone else on Twitter responded to it and added a few more expletives, and then for some reason British Airways retweeted that to its 200,000 followers. BA has removed the message and tweeted an apology, but not before lots of other people got their hands on it. Fill in the blanks in the image below, or we’re sure you can also find it on your own.
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 Taobao.com 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 Taobao.com 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.
Today’s #SDMW report focuses on one of Asia’s most exciting markets: India.
With the world’s second largest population, India holds huge potential for marketers from all over the world.
The country’s 1.2 billion inhabitants have embraced social, digital and mobile technology too, and India’s online ecosystem offers some truly startling numbers.
To start with, here are the top headlines:
- India has 137 million internet users – more people than the total population of Japan.
- More than 60 million people in India use social networks – equivalent to the total population of Italy
- India is home to a staggering 934 million mobile subscriptions – equivalent to more than 13% of the world’s entire population
Despite these impressive numbers, however, internet penetration in India remains quite low, with just 11% of the population having used the internet.
The country’s 137 million users still put India in 3rd place on the global rankings by number of internet users though, and this number is continuing to rise by at least 1.5 million users per month.
Moreover, with 56% of India’s population aged below 30 – and a new child born in the country every 2 seconds – it’s clear that India’s digital journey still has plenty of potential for growth.
Indeed, India is the fastest growing online market in the world, and internet usage grew by more than 40% in the year to July.
Indian netizens also appear to spend a considerable amount of time online each day – up to 8 hours each – which adds extra weight to the basic user numbers.
These users spend plenty of money too; The Times of India reports that Indian youth will spend more than US$9 billion on mobile internet activities in 2012 alone. That’s more than the GDP of the Bahamas.
Social Networking continues to be the main driver behind much of India’s increased online activity, although social media penetration in India remains remarkably low at just 5%.
Facebook continues to dominate India’s social media landscape with more than 60 million active users, and the world’s most popular platform show no signs of slowing either, adding a new Indian user every single second.
With social networking use expected to grow by more than 50% in 2012, it’s likely that these numbers are also on the conservative side; estimates from eMarketer and Global Web Index both put Indian social networking users above 75 million.
Interestingly, 60% of India’s Facebook users are under 25, with barely 12% over the age of 35. They’re still predominantly male too, with barely 3 female users in every 10 on Facebook.
More than half of India’s social media users purport to use more than one social platform too, with Google+ claiming the second largest user base at around 50 million.
Twitter and LinkedIn are also popular amongst Indian netizens, with each claiming more than 15 million users.
YouTube has particular appeal for Indian audiences too, with 20 visitors every single second. Each month, almost 56 million visitors from India consume more than 4 billion videos – 25% of them via mobile devices.
And it’s mobile usage like this that’s leading the charge towards the future.
With almost 1 billion mobile subscriptions, India’s mobile market is second only to China’s.
Critically, more than one third of these subscriptions are from the rural areas that are home to 69% of India’s population.
Many of these rural areas still lack fixed communication infrastructure (mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed line telephones 30 to 1), so mobile holds the key to India’s evolving digital world.
Tellingly, there are already more than 50 million mobile internet users across the country, but this 36% of users accounts for more than 50% of national internet use.
Smartphone use is also picking up quickly in India, and the nation’s 27 million smartphone users each spend an average of more than 40 days every year using their phones – roughly 16% of their waking lives.
With numbers like that, it’s clear to see why we’re excited about India’s digital future too. We’ll see you there.
The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can also download a high-res PDF of this report by clicking here.
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.
Momo in a SoLoMo dating world
Online dating services are big and have evolved rapidly. Last week, we mentioned that Indian website Shaadi.com was the most engaging brand on Facebook. This week, a report by The Next Web looks at the evolution of online dating services in China. Moving on from scouring online profiles in the hopes of meeting “The One”, social networking app Momo allows users to meet new people who are nearby, meetings powered by the confluence of social networking, location-based and mobile services. The service is barely over a year old and has attracted 16 million users, of which 6 million signed up within the past 2 months. Though the service has a reputation for enabling easy hookups between young people (the average user is around 25 years of age), the company says it was created for a loftier purpose of allowing Chinese urban dwellers to make friends with their neighbours in an increasingly disengaged world. Momo doesn’t see themselves as a competitor to Tencent’s WeChat, which has a similar feature allowing its users to meet strangers, claiming that the 2 apps function on different levels. There are plans to release an English-language version, complete with Facebook integration, in an effort to make headway into the international market.
Singapore-based Sprooki to expand into the Philippines next
Singapore-born location-based mobile commerce platform Sprooki announced that it has secured S$590,000 in seed funding. Comprising a lean team of 8, Sprooki has over 60 mall and retail partners within Asia and Singapore for their services, which enable retail shops to send targeted messages and promotions to potential customers milling close by. Having recently appointed a representative in Manila, Sprooki is also exploring opportunities in Australia.
RealLifeConnect adds Sina Weibo support for social media check-in stations
“Offline social media” sharing is now available in China through Austrian startup RealLifeConnect’s check-in stations with support for Sina Weibo. The RFID/NFC-equipped check-in terminals allow users to share from stands at events, exhibitions or stores without needing to use their own smartphones. Brands or event organizers can benefit from the service by giving out free cards or tokens at events, thereby allowing recipients to talk about them easily on Weibo. Variations of RealLifeConnect’s social media check-in stations allow users to transfer files or contact details via NFC or RFID, giving the platform more flexibility in application. The company shared that it has seen 50 successful cases through the application of its platform across 5 continents within the past 10 months and is now looking to expand globally.
@WeAreMumbai is India’s first rotational curation Twitter account
India is making another mark in Twitterverse with it’s first rotational curation account @WeAreMumbai, which is managed weekly by a new tweep from Mumbai. The curator recommends things to do and places to see in addition to sharing opinions and ideas for 7 days. The account has gained 848 followers within a space of 3 weeks and received positive feedback. During its first week, the hashtag #WeAreMumbaiQuiz trended in India for 6 hours with 350+ mentions and increasing follower numbers by 150. The account has attracted the attention and following of influential Twitter users within Mumbai and looks set to grow significantly as users get wind of its existence.
More UK businesses adapting to social
A new survey from the Internet Advertising Bureau has found that 55% of UK business execs are changing their company’s strategy to be more social. While this figure is now firmly in the territory of the majority, the more worrying find from this report is that 45% haven’t made any changes at all, mostly because of a lack of confidence, education and training in the area. Also frightening is the fact that just 45% of companies are using social media to raise brand awareness, and an even smaller fraction (28%) are using it to actually interact with customers.
Facebook’s revenue on the rise
Facebook has reported $1.2 billion in revenue for the third quarter, up from $954 million from this time last year, beating analysts’ expectations and sending Facebook’s share price soaring. The lion’s share of Facebook’s revenue came from advertising, which has grown steadily since 2011.
Facebook hit 1 billion users just over a month ago, and its biggest growth has been in Asia, especially Japan, which had a 216% increase in users in the last year. The number of monthly active users in the US and Europe has also increased since the last quarter, though those markets have slowed down now.
Facebook Mobile is marching toward widespread adoption and has now crossed the halfway point in terms of number of users. About 600 million people access Facebook via their phones every month, a 61% increase since last year. The company reported that 14% of its ad revenue came from mobile this past quarter.
Brands see up to 5x more reach with Facebook ads
It’s no surprise that brands that pay to run advertising on Facebook are seen by more users, especially with the recent changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. But how many more users see these posts exactly? Facebook investigated the top 100 brand pages by fan base and found that using paid-for ads exposed the page to five times as many people. The reach of a single post is amplified more than 100%, and the reach of all page posts from that week increased significantly as well. The study also found that these new fans love to shop more than the average internet user, both online and in store, and are more engaged with the brand and the category. Amazing content can go a long way, but paying to have it pushed up the newsfeed seems to go even further.
Twitter introduces gender targeting for Promoted Products
With Twitter’s simple profile, it’s not always easy to tell the guys from the girls based on a simple bio, but Twitter is trying to do just that to make it easier for marketers to target their campaigns on Twitter by gender. However, Twitter isn’t adding this option to users’ profiles, but instead it’s looking at “signals” in users’ tweets, such as their account name and who they follow, similar to what it uses for interest targeting. And when gender can’t be determined, those users will not be exposed to the ads. Twitter has said that its predictions were found to be 90% accurate in tests.
More than 2,000 brands now have ‘expanded tweets’
Twitter has announced that it now has more than 2,000 partner sites on board for Twitter Cards, which expand tweets to include more of a description of the linked content, as well as interactive media. The potential for this is huge, and Twitter might be headed down the right trail to monetization if it can take a slice of sales from tweets.
Pinterest motivates more online shopping than Facebook
A new study has found that Pinterest is one of the top online destinations for online shoppers looking to browse, easily topping Facebook in terms of engagement and where Internet users go to keep up on the latest trends. 70% of respondents said that they turn to Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy, with just 17% saying they used Facebook for that. More Internet users also said they are more likely to follow a brand on Pinterest to get special offers compared to liking them on Facebook.
In other news, Pinterest users can now verify their website on their profile page, similar to Twitter’s verified accounts. But unlike Twitter, Pinterest users can request verification themselves, and when approved, a red circle with a checkmark will appear next to their site name.
Yelp buys Qype for $50 million
If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em. That’s the latest from Yelp’s biggest European rival Qype, which Yelp has just purchased, as it looks to grow in Europe and become a stronger competitor to Google. Earlier this year, Qype soared ahead of Yelp in terms of the number of places reviewed in Europe, which stood at 860,000, so it looks like this is a good deal for Yelp’s expansion.
Romney’s Facebook app finds your most influential friends in the election
If you’re stuck in a heavy red or blue state for the presidential election, a new Facebook app created by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s team will find your Facebook friends who are most likely to have sway in the election and lets you sway them with a private message or a post on their wall. But will taking a stance on social media change your friends’ minds? Nearly 20% of social media users say they block friends who spout off about politics on their pages, even though 2010 saw a 2% increase in voter turnout, a boost thanks to political messages sent on Facebook.
Tesco Wine and Topshop reveal campaigns to celebrate Halloween
Halloween might be on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a party. To celebrate, We Are Social developed the #HalloWine hashtag to get Tesco Wine’s followers in the Halloween spirit with the chance to win a few bottles. Topshop is also using a dedicated hashtag and is asking its followers to submit photos of their Halloween costumes using #TrickorTweet to win in-store goodies. Followers can present their tweets to staff at special ‘tweet shops’ in selected stores, where they will get to take home free cosmetic products. The shop is rewarding the best daily photos with £100 gift cards.
New campaign asks Facebook users to ‘Like’ the rainforest to save it
Coffee company Kenco has created a new campaign that vows to protect a square meter of Colombian rainforest for every ‘Like’ it gets on its Facebook page. Facebook fans can return to the page to see how their area of the rainforest has grown over time, as the Likes keep pouring in.
We Are Social appointed to accounts for Evian, Volvic and Badoit
We’re incredibly thrilled to be starting work with three fantastic bottled water brands that have taken the plunge into social media. We Are Social has been appointed to work with Evian, Volvic and Badoit. Watch this space for our work with them as it goes live.
Tweet your composition to save Amsterdam’s orchestra
Amsterdam’s Metropole Orchestra could be on its last strings because of cuts to public broadcasting in the Netherlands. In an attempt to save it, they’ve paired Twitter with a digital piano interface and asked fans to tweet their compositions. The orchestra will select and perform the most interesting Twitter songs and play them in a live broadcast from the studio.
Foursquare drops new badges for Halloween and two UK exclusives
Cheers, Foursquare: In the last week, the social check-in platform announced two new badges available only in the UK that celebrate the country’s two favorite drinking occasions: the after-work pint and the afternoon high tea. Sounds like the perfect excuse to cram both events into the same day. Foursquare has also released three new badges for Halloween, including a standard 2012 pumpkin and a special spooky swarm.