Here are all of the posts tagged ‘hashtag’.
Alibaba buys US$586 million stake in Sina Weibo
As part of its push into social media, Alibaba (China’s top e-commerce company) has purchased an 18% stake in Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-esque service with a userbase in excess of 500 million. The deal gives Alibaba the option to increase its stake in Sina Weibo to 30% and is expected to rake in revenue of about US$380 million within the next 3 years. Sina Weibo users can expect more e-commerce offerings in the coming months
Line to launch toy smartphone for kids
Japanese chat app, Line, clearly believes in starting young. Shortly after launching its own cartoon series, Line is expected to launch a toy smartphone priced at US$70 on August 8. Using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, children will be able to send stamps and messages when two toy Line phones are in contact.
Top brands on social media in ASEAN
Thailand-based social analytics firm, Zocialinc, has released an infographic ranking best-performing brands on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram in Southeast Asia. The coverage is largely focused on Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and seems to penalize brands that may not have an active presence on all four networks even though they may be doing very well on their network of choice. The full infographic includes interesting insights into user behaviour on the different social networks.
(click through for the full infographic)
Swedish food supplier uses Instagram as Asian food education tool
Want to learn about Asian food? Upload a picture of the dish to Instagram and hashtag #askctfood or tag @AskCTFood and receive details on how to prepare them. The catch? This service is only available in Swedish, as this app was built by Swedish food supplier CT Food.
UK photo sharing users to lose rights to uploaded photos
Changes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act has resulted in an overnight loss of rights by amateur and professional illustrators and photographers to work that they’ve uploaded to platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Flickr. The Act contains changes UK copyright law which allow commercial use of images deemed “orphan works”, ie. where information identifying the owner is missing. The far-reaching consequences is that millions of photos are at risk since metadata is often stripped from the photos when they’re uploaded. As if that isn’t bad enough, the Act allows for sub-licensing, which allows wholesale of work by someone who has it, without paying the originator a single penny. Penny for your thoughts!
New layout for pages on Facebook mobile
Facebook has updated the way pages appear on mobile, citing a number of benefits for users and page owners. For the former, they note a ‘cleaner, simpler look’, with relevant information such as photos and location positioned alongside interaction buttons at the top of the page. These seem to constitute benefits for page owners too, who will look to benefit from higher engagement as a result of the changes. They’re also set to be provided with the ability to pin important posts and a streamlined management tool. To see how the changes will appear for different users, see the image below:
Twitter testing two-factor authentication
Twitter has begun testing two-factor authentication, in a move that looks to prevent a continuation of the high-profile hackings that have happened recently. From the Associated Press to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a number of large, verified accounts have been taken over, posting strange and often embarrassing content. Whilst two-factor authentication would be unlikely to be rolled out universally for the sake of avoiding hassle on smaller, personal accounts, it would likely be a welcome move for brands and public figures. Both Google and Facebook already offer a similar system.
LinkedIn launch ‘Contacts’
LinkedIn have introduced a new service called ‘Contacts’. Essentially, it takes details of contacts from various areas of your phone or computer, including email accounts, calendars and address books and compiles them in one place, allowing you to interact with people more easily and maintain important relationships. The service will be launched both on the LinkedIn platform and as a standalone mobile app. The full details are contained in the following slides:
Tumblr introduce in-stream mobile ads
For the first time, Tumblr will include ads on mobile that look like normal posts. Previously, adverts only appeared in “Radar”, where now mobile users will see up to 4 ads per day in the home stream. With collaborators including GE, Warner Bros and ABC, Tumblr are really set to bulk up their advertising revenue, but claim to be devoted to maintaining the current Tumblr experience. Head of sales Lee Brown has stated that:
This mobile advertising opportunity is native to how our consumers experience content on our apps; as a continuous stream.
Advertised posts will be differentiated from others with a $ symbol. Tumblr have stated that, the move will ultimately expand to desktop, but there is no timeframe given as yet.
Budweiser’s ‘buddy cup’ app
Budweiser’s new campaign looks to play on the emotional connection created by touching cups during a shared beer. Their new ‘buddy cups’ link to Facebook, so that you can become friends with someone on the network by tapping cups with one another. Now when you drunkenly agree to add someone on Facebook, you won’t have until the morning to change your mind.
Nike PHOTOiD and Instagram
For the past few years, Nike iD has allowed create their own, customised clothing from a range of colours. Now, the sportswear brand is taking it one step further, linking with Instagram to launch ‘PHOTOiD’, a tool that designs clothing based on the colours of your favourite Instagram photos. It’s certainly a novel idea and it will be interesting to see the extent to which people are willing to use a system like this. Here are some examples that have already been made:
Photograph an advert for free Weetabix biscuits
Weetabix are looking to take advantage of ‘dual screening’ behaviours with their new #takethebiscuit campaign, which asks for fans to take a photograph of their latest TV advert. Fans can then show their picture at a branch of Boots to pick up a free breakfast biscuit. Whilst the idea is an interesting one, it did have a couple of problems. The barrier to entry is quite high and, according to reports, some Boots stores were unaware the campaign was happening. You can see the advert below in all its glory, complete with #takethebiscuit hashtag to encourage Twitter conversation.
We Are Social’s design campaign for Kleenex
We Are Social have launched a competition to design the new Kleenex Box, partnering with internationally-renowned designer Kelly Hoppen to create a brief asking young creative talent to decorate the box in their own style. Using Talenthouse to collect entries, the final decision will then be made by Kleenex’s Facebook community, who will vote on which design gets made into the next tissue box.
Urban Outfitters and Converse’s joint Vine competition
Fashion retailer UO and trainer brand Converse have partnered to produce a competition on Vine, which asks fans to post a video of ‘A day in the life of your Converse’ for the opportunity to win $1500 in UO gift cards, 10 pairs of trainers and 2 different music related trips, in San Francisco and Brooklyn respectively. Whilst a number of brands have started using Vine to produce content, this is one of the first examples of a more in-depth campaign usage.
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) April 17, 2013
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) April 17, 2013
Guided Twitter tour by the Tate Modern
To highlight a new Roy Lichtenstein exhibition, the Tate Modern produced a guided tour on Twitter. A museum curator spent half an hour tweeting images and information about the artist’s work, allowing those who would be otherwise unable to attend the museum to interact with the content in a meaningful way.
Evans support ‘golden bikes’ activity on Twitter
UK bike shop Evans Cycles have partnered with record-holding British Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy for a campaign called ‘Hoy’s Golden Bikes’, for which the Olympian has hidden 3 gold coloured bicycles around the country. Whoever finds them can trade one in for a brand new bike of their own, worth £1000. They’re supporting the activity on Twitter, with clues coming both from the official @chrishoy account and via the hashtag #hoyshiddenbikes.
WhatsApp’s rumoured to launch a games platform
The sleeping giant stirs, if the buzz is anything to go by. Rumour has it that WhatsApp, one of the most popular chat apps worldwide, is in talks with WeMade, a US/Korean games maker for a possible tie-up. If this move materializes, WhatsApp would have effectively diversified its monetization approach while reaping increased revenues and possibly strengthen its dominance in the messaging market. Rival apps such as Japan’s Line and Korea’s KakaoTalk have been very successful with their gaming ventures, clocking in impressive download numbers and revenue. Line reported that its game platform has seen more than 100 million cumulative app downloads within 7 months, a significant number considering that there are 120 million registered users. Line Pop, one of the most popular games out of the 17 titles, had 1 million downloads on the first day and amassed US$1 million (about S$1.25 million) in revenue within the first 12 days of its launch. KakaoTalk’s less forthcoming with figures but data from the 3-month testing period showed that there were 82 million downloads from 23 million unique users out of its 80 million userbase. WhatsApp’s tie-up with WeMade will be a good arrangement as the games maker is strong in both western and Asian markets. In addition, this would give the company another source of revenue. Incidentally, WhatsApp has declared its disdain for advertising and felt that content was the most logical basis for a new revenue stream.
Fuubo, a new Android Sina Weibo app, is a breath of fresh air
Sina Weibo users on Android have had to contend with clunky apps but that might be changing with a new app in town, Fuubo. Fuubo offers users an aesthetically pleasing interface and intuitive features such as slide panels as well as commenting, reposting and notifications functions. The app’s drawback at the current moment is the lack of direct messaging features and an English interface. Perhaps these will be rolled out in the coming months.
Touchtalent offers creative people an interest-based social network
What ignites your passion? If you’re an artist, then check out Touchtalent, a social network for the creative community. The brainchild of Ankit Prasad, a student at IIT Delhi, the platform has been online since July 2012 and houses works from artists living in 152 countries. Segregating works into 19 categories that cover calligraphy, sculpting, comics, music and literature in addition to other art genres, the site is integrated with Facebook and has registered more than 8.6 million users. In addition to showcasing works from artists, the site incorporates features that allow artists to sell their work and/or get hired for creative projects. The site also invites users to express their opinion via emoticons and share their work on various social media networks.
IdBlogNetwork, a new social media advertising platform in Indonesia
New Indonesian blog advertising service, IdBlogNetwork, seeks to give Google Adsense a run for its money. They’ve joined forces with The Affiliate Gateway (TAG) Asia to offer Indonesian bloggers a wider range of affiliate marketing alternatives. The company also plans to launch a social media advertising platform named IdBuzzNetwork in April this year. The results aren’t great at the moment as affiliate marketing programs are still in its infancy in Indonesia. However this is expected to improve, as internet penetration and online shopping become more widely accepted within the country coupled with positive word of mouth by bloggers.
Singapore Telco tests real-time social media marketing
In a refreshing departure from its usual stoic image, Singapore Telecom (SingTel) handed the keys to its Twitter account for a day to local comedian, Hossan Leong.
Known for his flamboyance and witty sense of humour, followers were asked to tweet situations in which they would need fast 4G internet speeds with the campaign hashtag, #Need4GSpeed. Hossan would then provide sidesplitting responses in the form of tweet replies, pictures and short YouTube videos such as the one below.
Facebook ads on par with TV for FMCG
According to those FMCG brands using Facebook, advertising on the network is as effective as its TV equivalent and offers a better return on investment. Nestle and General Mills both claimed they could trace a high percentage of sales to Facebook advertising after recent cross-platform campaigns; the former attributed 11% of Kit Kat sales to the platform, the latter 27% of Old El Paso.
Gartner’s Digital Marketing Survey
Gartner has published its 2013 Digital Marketing Survey, showing that the top two digital marketing investments for the coming year will be in e-commerce and social media. Indeed, over 40% of the 200 US marketers surveyed stated that social networking, in combination with their corporate website and digital advertising, is key to marketing success.
Twitter’s popularity across EMEA areas
Twitter’s popularity varies across EMEA areas, according to a survey by GlobalWebIndex of over 152,000 internet users in 31 markets. It found that 51% of Saudi Arabian internet users are active Twitter users, where ‘active’ is defined as those who have used the service in the past month, followed by 39% in Turkey and 34% in the UAE. Meanwhile, the same study found that the number of global Twitter users has grown from 206 million in Q3 2012 to 288 million in Q4, an increase of 39.8%.
How people use Twitter
A report by Brandwatch has produced some interesting findings into how people are currently using Twitter. After compiling data from over 10,000 random tweets, they noted that 62% of these were engagement of some sort, compared to 38% broadcast, while brands were highly prevalent in discussions. 3.6% of all tweets mention brands, amounting to 12,600 tweets per minute. In terms of gender analysis, men were more likely to discuss sport, games and news or politics, while women on average spend more time discussing music, work and education. Women were also more likely to tweet about personal matters, or enter online competitions.
Twitter users forming ‘tribes’
Analysis of millions of tweets has concluded that Twitter users are forming ‘tribes’ online, each with their own unique vocabulary. The theory contradicts the idea that networks like Twitter facilitate global sharing, with the most insular groups sending up to 90% of tweets internally.
Social media subject to the same disclosure regulations as traditional media
The Federal Trade Commission has decided that adverts on social platforms must follow the same rules of disclosure as their offline counterparts. This means that, even in a 140-character tweet, space must be devoted to either “promoted” or “ad”. In an update to their 13-year-old “Dot Com Disclosures”, the FTC has argued that consumer protection laws should apply equally regardless of the medium and, as such, the format does not exempt marketers from providing clear and effective disclosure. Also provided is information on how to make effective disclosure, which involves the avoidance of hyperlinks for disclosure about cost and certain health & safety issues, plus the clear and accurate labelling of hyperlinks and consideration of how these will be affected on various platforms and devices. The full guidance can be found here – subtitled “How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”.
Over 400 billion actions have been shared on Open Graph
Open Graph activity covers a lot of what we do on Facebook: following, liking, listening to music and so on. Ahead of last week’s SXSW, Facebook revealed that such actions have been shared over 400 billion times. Certain actions have seen a lot of activity: 110 million songs, albums and radio stations have been played 40 billion times and 1.47 million books have been shared.
Facebook updates Timeline
Hot on the heels of the previous week’s News feed changes, Facebook has announced a set of updates to Timeline. There is now a separate space for “things you care about”, which ranges from movies or books to apps like Instagram, depending on the user. The “movies” section, for example, looks like this:
Moreover, the profile is now more strictly delineated into two columns; applications like the above will appear on the left, whilst the right is occupied by a user’s posts. This leads to what Facebook hopes will be a clearer layout, as follows:
Simultaneous with these changes, the social network has written a blog post detailing the development of the updated News feed, in which a user experience researcher discusses the development from receiving complaints about “clutter” to identifying what was meant by the term and instigating change intended to combat the issue.
More ways to feature apps in new Facebook Timeline
One key difference in Facebook’s updated Timeline is the increased ability to feature apps. As users can now choose which apps to feature on their profiles, developers are able to create “collections” that showcase how their apps are being used. Foursquare, for example, can display the numerous places people have checked in.
Facebook to incorporate hashtags?
Long since a mainstay of communication via Twitter, now Facebook are looking into incorporating the hashtag. Whilst it is unclear how far along development is, rumour has it that the feature would be used to group conversations on the network. #intriguing.
More prompts from Facebook to ‘like’ pages, fewer to ‘unlike’
In a move seemingly aimed at encouraging users to interact further with brands, Facebook have introduced a couple of changes to the visibility of ‘like’ and ‘unlike’ options. The first of these two comes as a twofold alteration to ‘liking’ a page. Now, when users like one page via mobile, they will be confronted with the option of liking other, ‘similar’ pages. Moreover, when content from a news website is shared, a button appears below it, offering the option to ‘like’ the page for related stories. In terms of ‘unlikes’, the updated News feed has been designed for lower visbility. When previously choosing to hide a story from the News feed, users were given two options: hide all stories from the page, or unlike it. Now, the latter has been removed, leaving only the option to hide all stories from the same source.
Sir Martin Sorrell’s views on Twitter
Head of WPP Sir Martin Sorrell has claimed that Twitter is more of a PR medium than an advertising one. Considering as an example the London Olympics, he discussed how it acted as a hugely effective word of mouth platform, more so than the likes of Facebook. However, a number of industry professionals have come out to disagree with Sorrell, including We Are Social’s own media director, David Gilbert:
Advertising success on Twitter can be achieved with a carefully thought-out strategy and tight targeting. As marketers, it is our responsibility to adapt our strategies according to the platforms and technologies available.
Twitter to launch iOS music app
Twitter are poised to launch a music app before the end of the month, according to CNET. The app will make music suggestions based on both what you are currently listening to and the music accounts you follow on Twitter.
Twitter for Windows 8
Twitter have launched an app for Windows 8, including unique features intended at optimising the experience for specific devices. These include ‘Snap View’, which allows Twitter to be moved to one side of the screen and viewed simultaneously with other apps, as well as ‘search’ and ‘share’ charms to allow ease of access to the platform at any time. The launch video below provides further detail.
Twitter improves Analytics
Twitter stepped up their Analytics last week. On Wednesday, Twitter announced an improved ad insights platform, which will allow marketers to further track the effect of promoted tweets beyond their initial audience, allowing a fuller picture of how campaigns extend across the network.
Early stats on Vine usage
Early statistics on use of Twitter’s ‘Vine’ app have shown that it has gained traction already. By the end of February, it was used by 2.66% of all iOS devices, up 50% month-by-month. Notably, the figures for similar apps, including Cinemagram, Viddy and Socialcam all show decline over the same period.
Pinterest’s Web Analytics
Pinterest has gone in a similar direction to Twitter in terms of analytics, launching ‘Pinterest Web Analytics’, which will allow brands to discover information such as how many repins their content received, as well as who saw it as a result. This is now available for free to those with a verified website and will look as follows:
Pinterest have themselves released some information about what’s available and how to gain access.
New Pinterest layout
As well as its Analytics tool, Pinterest used last week to launch a redesign of its network. The ‘repin’ button has been replaced by a large, red ‘Pin it’ equivalent, price now comes as a bubble in the top right corner of a pin and there is an enhanced view surrounding each pin, allowing you to more easily view other pins from the same board & site. Finally, there is a new ‘people who pinned this also pinned’ feature. All in all, shown below. All in all, the changes seem set to make the network even more visually immersive.
LinkedIn to purchase Newsreader app Pulse
LinkedIn are in talks to purchase Alphonso Labs, makers of Newsreader app Pulse for a deal said to be worth between $50 million and $100 million. The app currently has around 20 million users, reading about 10 million stories per day.
LinkedIn produce B2B advertising banner
LinkedIn have announced SlideShare Content Ads, display units that will appear across the platform, designed at business-to-business advertising. Once a user scrolls over one of these, they will be faced with a presentation that they can scroll through either without leaving the page or in full-screen mode.
Foursquare in new round of funding
Foursquare is rumoured to be in the process of securing a new round of funding, amidst talk that the platform is running out of money. It is as of yet unclear how the network will fare, especially in comparison to the $600 million pre-money valuation received when they raised $50 million in June 2011. As other networks, including Facebook, have looked to eat into the locations market, Foursquare are seeking to fight their corner, with partnerships including e-commerce with Mastercard & Visa and a deal to come pre-installed on the Blackberry 10 device.
Netflix getting social
In what seems like a story that should have come about long ago, Netflix are finally launching social options for US users. Their previous Facebook offering in Canada, Latin America and the UK, which did not allow users to choose what they shared, has been replaced by a system whereby users who opt in will have rows added to their Netflix home page, detailing both “Friends’ Favorites” and “Watched by Your Friends”. Inside Facebook has highlighted this as an important move in Facebook’s growing video strategy, which includes increased integration on the new Timeline and structured status updates that include verbs like “watching”. The features are discussed in the below video.
Doritos’ SXSW vending machine stage powered by tweets
Yes, that reads ‘Doritos’ SXSW vending machine stage’. The snack brand hosted aninteractive concert at SXSW, in which tweets from the audience would affect in concert events from lighting and cues to the encore song. For more information, I’ll leave you in the very capable hands of rapper LL Cool J.
Meet WolfDog, Old Spice’s ‘Executive Director of Marketing’
In a development of their wildly successful brand TOV, Old Spice have introduced a new ‘Executive Director of Marketing’ across a number of social channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. General public, meet WolfDog.
Ford reach out to automotive bloggers
To market the new 2013 Ford Fusion, the car giant behind the vehicle has reached out to bloggers discussing it on Jalopnik. Flying them to Los Angeles under the pretence of answering market research questions for Jalopnik, they put the influencers in the car alongside professional racer Tanner Foust and created four pieces of video content, the first of which is shown here:
Jaguar promote F-type launch with Facebook competition
We Are Social have produced a Facebook competition to celebrate the UK launch of the new Jaguar F-type. Incentivised by prizes chosen by Jaguar’s communities and a selection of bloggers, fans must post an update relevant to the prize, alongside a link to the ‘Desire’ app. The campaign, which runs across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, forms part of an overall ‘Desire’ campaign that also includes a branded film, featuring Homeland star Damian Lewis.
French Connection sourcing user-generated films
Fashion brand French connection is encouraging its consumers to create their own video content from a selection of clips on the company’s website. Starting with video snippets that depict models wearing French Connection clothing, users are asked to ‘make a scene’ by cutting them together and adding a soundtrack and special effects. There are prizes available for the most-shared videos.
Ted Baker’s social finishing school
Ted Baker is promoting its new Spring Summer collection with an online ‘finishing school’, asking users to ‘write lines’, in a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the schoolday punishment. Each day, users are shown a ‘line’; the first 500 to ‘write’ it via Twitter, Instagram or the Facebook app will receive a limited-edition tote bag featuring their quotation. The most creative students will be rewarded with exclusive Ted Baker leather satchels, too: sure to make even the biggest kid into the talk of the playground.
Nike celebrates 1 million Instagram followers
Nike have reached 1 million Instagram followers and amassed 6 million photos tagged #Nike. To celebrate, the sportswear brand hosted a 24-hour celebration of their followers, championing user-generated content and accompanying each update with an inspirational quotation.
Puma promote individuality with ‘Worn My Way’ campaign
Puma has produced a lifestyle campaign with the tagline ‘Worn My Way’, aimed at celebrating individuality. Using a new microsite as well as the hashtag #WornMyWay, consumers will be encouraged to answer the question ‘What does it mean to be yourself?’ The best answers will win prizes including limited edition Puma t-shirts. The campaign, which boasts involvement from musicians such as Professor Green and Mischa B, will also include experiential marketing throughout its course.
Sky Sports offers F1 tickets in Twitter quiz
In line with their Formula One coverage, Sky Sports have produced a competition to win tickets to next year’s Australian Grand Prix. In order to win the ‘virtual grand prix’, contestants must post a tweet containing a campaign hashtag, then answer a set of questions in a limited time.
Sharp’s real time marketing
Sharp has managed to pull off a real-time marketing stunt, poking its way successfully into a conversation between Kanye West and MTV host Sway. When the former reminded the latter of a small, remote-less Sharp TV he had purchased as a gift many years ago, the electronics brand decided to intervene, sending over their latest widescreen model, complete with remote control. Sway, who has almost 300,000 followers, then sent out the below tweet, easily repaying the investment made by Sharp.
— Sway Calloway (@RealSway) March 14, 2013
The Papal succession and social
With thousands waiting outside the Vatican, white smoke eventually signalled the announcement of a new Pope. While scenes like this are to be expected with any such event, the Twitter storm that accompanied was undoubtedly a new twist. Once the @Pontifex account announced: “HABEMUS PAPEM FRANCISCUM”, 7 million other tweets followed. The tweet has now been deleted, giving Francis I the chance to blaze his own social media trail. In fact, the Papal succession highlighted a great deal about the changing nature of human communications as parallels were drawn between 2013 and 2005, shown perhaps most aptly in this Instagram post by NBC news.
The event also showed the power of Twitter to amuse and confuse. As his succession became clear, a Spanish Twitter account was discovered, claiming to represent Jorge Bergoglio, aka the new Pope Francis I. However, a bit of research (or access to a Spanish dictionary) might have made it clear that this wasn’t the case, with tweets including: “If I’m the new pope, children will love me more than the Santa Claus”. Even after it’s doubtful origin was revealed, the account’s popularity continued to grow and extended from 3,000 to 150,000 followers within the hour, likely due to a combination of the naive and the amused.
WeChat & Taobao testing in-app e-commerce search feature
Tencent’s WeChat is working with China’s largest e-commerce site, Taobao, to test an in-app e-commerce search engine. WeChat users will be able to message Taobao from within the chat app by typing the keywords for the products that they are seeking, and the app will respond with a link to the items. This extension of WeChat’s existing brands platform, which is used for social marketing, makes it easier for users to search Taobao without having to launch the web browser or native app. The search reach will include products listed on Taobao’s sister site, Tmall, also run by Alibaba Group. WeChat’s pending new feature heralds the start of social e-commerce search wave that is expected to boost mobile commerce.
Sina Weibo tests WeChat-like brand platform
WeChat’s rising popularity has reduced the amount of time spent by Sina Weibo’s users on the microblog. Sina is attempting to put up a fight with a new ‘Public Platform’ feature designed to rival WeChat’s brands platform. The feature is still under testing but when launched, it will offer brands, media and advertisers a dedicated channel to reach Sina Weibo’s 500 million registered accounts. This largely mirrors WeChat’s offering with two key differences: (1) WeChat has a smaller userbase of 300 million and (2) Sina’s current system doesn’t support outbound links to drive traffic to brand sites. Nonetheless, the feature is still in beta thus much remains to be seen whether the final launch product will support outbound links that allow advertisers to drive traffic to their own sites. Sina Weibo’s new feature will offer brands a more targeted approach (as users can opt in to receive updates), in addition to the existing promoted messages service which disseminates information to the entire userbase.
WeChat plans to monetize official accounts platform
Monetization has always been tricky even for hot apps like WeChat. Tencent WeChat is looking to monetize the official accounts platform as its users are willing to pay for services. An attractive medium for brands, some of WeChat’s official accounts have started to display ads within articles sent to readers daily. Merchants have also reported seeing traffic from WeChat converting into transactions. In spite of the early commercial success of these services, WeChat maintains that their future monetization efforts will not conflict with user experience. WeChat is always looking to enhance the user experience and its latest version includes a “shake-to-search-for-a-song” feature that makes Shazam-esque song recognition available simply by shaking the phone. Previously, WeChat’s “Shake” feature was used to enable users to meet other users or to transfer web pages. The enhanced feature will soon enable users to launch the official WeChat account for a TV program by shaking the phone while watching the program.
WeChat’s at the top of the Indonesian app chart
China’s WeChat topped Indonesia’s iOS and Android app charts following a TV advertising campaign that started a few weeks ago. The chat app also reached second position on the app chart for Blackberry, Indonesia’s top smartphone platform. WeChat’s dominance on the Android app chart has displaced Japanese app, Line, putting it in second place. It is estimated that there are currently at least a million WeChat users in Indonesia. This development seems to be testimony to WeChat’s partnership with MNC Media, which seems to be paying off in Indonesia, especially for the TV ads. The newly incorporated joint-venture company, MNC Tencent, looks set to overwhelm Line in terms of TV ads and public visibility in the longer term.
Skype powers court proceedings in Indonesia
The Indonesian legal system is harnessing the power of the internet to facilitate court proceedings in a cost-effective manner. For the first time, Skype was used for teleconferencing, allowing a rape victim to deliver her sworn testimony without having to be physically present in court. Though there were hiccups such as the conference call getting disconnected twice, the court process was not disrupted significantly. A far more cost effective substitute to expensive landline-based teleconference calls, the overall success of this hearing could herald the future for legal proceedings.
1/3 of your Facebook friends see your posts
Research by Stanford University’s Michael S. Bernstein has shown that each Facebook update is seen by on average 1/3 of the poster’s friends. The study, which took into account the profiles of 220,000 Facebook users last June, also found that posts across the course of the month reached on average 61% of their friends. This high reach is something most users are unaware of, with most found to “consistently underestimate” the size of their audience.
Facebook’s News feed changes
As we reported last Friday, Facebook have announced a host of changes to their News feed. In the below video, we hear the Facebook team discussing the various differences users will see.
In essence, they have made two major changes. The first of these looks to provide a more visually immersive experience, with large images replacing what the network refer to as ‘clutter’ for everything from photo uploads to article previews and checkins. In fact, the inflated pictures and sleeker left side bar have led many to draw comparisons between the new format and the layout of Google+, a set of similarities highlighted in the following comparison:
It is in the second change that Facebook moves one step beyond its network rival. Rather than just one News feed, users will now have access to a number of different versions, allowing greater control over the stories they see. For example, you can switch from looking at a feed containing purely photos to the activity of all your friends, or the feed containing posts from the celebrities and news sources you ‘follow’.
The changes will post interesting challenges for marketers. First of all, the number and type of feeds will affect the way in which users receive branded content. Whilst the regular News feed will see brands compete with the same stories as they have do currently, the ‘Following’ feed will mean marketers are pitted directly against publishers, as well as celebrities with whom Facebook users have high affinity, increasing ever further the necessity of high-quality content. Moreover, there was no mention in the initial announcement of how adverts will appear in the new feeds. Whilst it is the norm for Facebook’s launches to focus on user experience over advertising and there is no initial change expected, brands will be looking to monitor any expected long term changes and how these may affect social strategy.
Tumblr to introduce mobile advertising
In an attempt at monetisation, Tumblr is set to introduce advertising on its mobile app, much like it already has on desktop. In the first half of this year, companies will be able to promote posts via mobile as well as web. This comes at the same time as research from Gartner on the increasing power of mobile advertising. This year expects to see $11.4 billion in worldwide mobile advertising revenue, up from $9.8 billion in 2012. By 2016, this could increase to $24.6 billion.
Red Bull introduce ‘Flow’
Red Bull are expanding both their social portfolio and association with the world of extreme sports by introducing Flow, a trick-sharing app designed for skateboarders and BMXers. Available for iPhone and Android, Flow allows users to either record in-app or upload pre-recorded content, which it then converts from individual clips to a seamless ‘flow’ of content.
Mothercare producing film for Mother’s Day
We hope any mums reading had a great Mother’s Day yesterday! To celebrate the event, Mothercare are producing a user-generated film about a day in the life of a mother, due to be posted on their Facebook page today. The video, directed by Susie Donaldson of ‘Child of our Time’, is a collation of various photo and video content sent to the brand’s social platforms with the hashtag #MothersDayMoments.
Hospitals’ Facebook likes increase with quality
There is a link between a hospital’s quality and the number of Facebook likes it has, according to research by the American Journal of Medical Quality. Whilst social networks are not prevalent in the US healthcare sector – note that below 50% of the 82 New York-based locations tested even had a Facebook page – those that existed in the social sphere gained on average 93 likes with every percentage-point drop in the mortality rate. Furthermore, there is a positive correlation between a hospital’s fan numbers and the positive reviews it receives, depicting the ever-growing nature of social recommendations in non-commercial spheres.
Mercedes-Benz sells limited edition Smart Cars on Sina Weibo
Could this be the sign of things to come? Mercedes-Benz launched a Weibo app last Friday to sell 666 units of special edition smart cars priced at US$12,700 (S$25,328) each. For the first time, the lifestyle arm of the German luxury carmaker is collaborating with Chinese jewelry designer Wan Baobao for the special Lunar New Year edition. To celebrate the Lunar Year of the Snake, the car will bear a snake-shaped logo tag set against a bright yellow and deep blue colour scheme. The company shared that this innovative effort is not driven purely by sales but a means of reaching out and engaging with customers via social media. The smart car division is no stranger to the e-commerce marketplace, having set a record in 2010 for selling 205 cars within four hours via group buying on online marketplace, Taobao.
HootSuite rolls out updates for Sina Weibo and Renren
Last October, we mentioned that HootSuite has rolled out support for Sina Weibo and Traditional Chinese. In the latest update, the social media management dashboard has added new features for Sina Weibo. These include scheduling of posts in addition to allowing enterprise customers to add multiple accounts and save keyword searches for monitoring purposes. The new features have also been rolled out for the Renren plugin on HootSuite. The latest update also allows tracking of photos and shares on the Facebook-like platform via new streams. Industry watchers anticipate that HootSuite will eventually support Sina’s competitor, Tencent’s social networks, in an upcoming development.
Japanese photosharing app adds cute Valentine’s Day stamps
Trust the Japanese app makers to come up with saccharine apps and features to charm the socks off hopeless romantics. In its latest incarnation, Camely, a Japanese Instagram-like app has upped the cute factor by allowing users to add a range of Valentine-themed stamps in addition to the existing suite of filters, frames, text effects and stamps designed to give you a sugar-rush of the app variety.
Burpple, food photo sharing app, rolls out offline uploads
Singapore-based Instagram-esque Burpple has rolled out an offline upload feature to support users who are keen to share their food photos but have limited mobile data access. The offline feature works by allowing users to upload images to their Burpple boxes and storing the photos in cache for publishing to the service when the phone is connected to the web. For a visual guide on the feature, check out the video below.
SnapDish now available in 7 more languages & on Kindle Fire
While some restaurants are banning food photography, it may not be the end of the road for foodies intent on sharing photos of their meals. SnapDish, a Japanese photosharing app for food lovers, is now available on Kindle Fire and supports an additional seven new languages on top of the existing four, which are English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. As 30 percent of the app downloads originate outside of Japan, app maker Vuzz’s latest release is a timely development as they roll out support for Thai, Indonesian, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Currently available on iPhone and Android, the latest Kindle Fire release is expected to give the app a boost in users from North America.
Marketers need to apply more budget to social
Research by Warc has found that of 800 award-winning marketing case studies from the last year, those that included a social element were more on the whole shorter, lower-budget and less likely to display proof of effectiveness. Of the cases studied, those with a social element made up over 55%, but only 51% won the ‘top industry awards’. 44% were found in the lowest budget category (below $500,000), of which only 28% won gold awards. The research shows a link between spend, duration and effectiveness, which in turn displays how it is important for marketers to invest in social as a more serious marketing tool and less of an experiment in order to be truly effective.
Luxury brands investing more heavily in social
As if taking Warc’s advice, luxury brands have been reported by eMarketer to be upping their social budgets; 72% of 130 marketing executives surveyed by Worldwide Business Research and ShopIgniter will be increasing their social budget in 2013. 95% said they were already actively engaging customers on Facebook, making it the most popular social platform, with Twitter in second place with 85%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pinterest came in third with 60%, as the visual nature of the site is well suited to the marketing and conversation styles normally adopted by luxury brands.
The Fastest Growing Facebook Countries
Socialbakers have conducted research into the ten fastest growing countries on Facebook. Over the course of the year, 29,723,750 joined the network in Brazil, making it the fastest growing and the second biggest Facebook country overall. India came in second, followed by Japan, Indonesia and Mexico. Interestingly, the United States and Germany both made the top ten, suggesting that there is still room for growth in Western countries.
Facebook launches conversion tracking tool for all ad accounts
Open to some of Facebook’s top advertisers for over a year, the network has now rolled out its conversion tracking feature to all advertiser accounts. This allows marketers to embed a unique piece of code on page on their website, which will track the number of conversions, such as checkouts or registrations.
Twitter valued at $9 billion
An offer to Twitter’s staff by BlackRock has valued the company at more than $9 billion. The asset management firm have made an offer of $80 million to purchase shares from some of Twitter’s earliest staff, while the network itself will not raise any capital from the deal. The valuation marks a decrease from the $11 billion calculated from some deals at the end of last year. However, considering the problematic nature of Facebook’s IPO, as well as a difficult financial period for other Silicon Valley firms, the large value should be encouraging to Twitter.
Twitter launch Vine, a video sharing app
Twitter have released a new app this week: a video sharing app for iPhone and iPod touch called Vine. In keeping with the microblogging spirit, videos are limited in length, with some great examples shown on the network’s blog. Users can share 6 seconds of looping video, establishing the service somewhere between a GIF and a full film, which will begin playing simply when users click ‘expand tweet’.
— dick costolo (@dickc) January 23, 2013
A preview tweet showed Twitter CEO Dick Costolo showing his followers how to make steak tartare.
As for how to use it, this useful graphic explains the basic process:
The service has been reviewed positively by The Verge, who argue that it takes away a number of the problems of shooting amateur video, with the ‘tap to shoot’ functionality making it easy to record a montage. They cite the difficulty of shooting longer shots, but consider how this may well be intentional, encouraging short, quickly-cut videos that look good on a Twitter feed. Another problem may be created by Facebook, who almost instantly cut off the app’s access to the “find people” feature, which allowed users to locate and connect with their Facebook friends.
Naturally, there is already interest in how the service can be utilised by brands. AdAge have reported a mixture of excitement and scepticism throughout the advertising world. There has been a very high initial takeup and within a day Vine had become the top-ranked social media app on the Apple app store, ranking at 13th overall. However, they consider worries by certain agencies about current problems with the app, including an unfinished feel and some technical hitches, as well as concern that the initial hype may die down without giving way to longevity. Nevertheless, brands have taken to the service already, with Urban Outfitters and Gap amongst those to have started experimenting. There is a long way to go before we can assess whether or not Vine has become a successful part of the social landscape, but it certainly has potential as an interesting medium for use, in both the personal and marketing spheres.
Twitter increases the cost of Promoted Trends for the Super Bowl
It’s probably the biggest event in US sport and retains a large audience even in those countries with little interest in American Football during the rest of the year. No wonder, then, that Twitter are looking to capitalise on the increased interest in ‘Promoted Trends’ during this year’s Super Bowl. Over the past year, brands have been able to purchase a ‘Promoted Trend’ for $120,000 a day. However, during the Super Bowl, this figure is likely to be significantly higher, which displays both the importance of Twitter as a conversation network during big sporting events and the interests of the company in attempting to monetise the service.
LinkedIn to turn off ‘Answers’ at the end of January
Answers, the LinkedIn forum that allows users to respond to one another’s questions, is set to be turned off at the end of the month. Econsultancy have reported the official reasoning behind this:
As of Jan. 31, LinkedIn Answers will be retired from LinkedIn. We will be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn
They speculate that this is likely to mean an increased push towards the use of groups and pages. If this is the case, there is a potential issue in terms of the number of spam posts that currently occupy these areas. Whilst ‘Answers’ was by no means a perfect service and itself included posts by those with little actual expertise, it will be interesting to see the extent to which it is improved upon by its replacement.
Quora introduce blogs
Question-and-answer website Quora has released a blog service, with which it hopes to provide an audience for writers currently lacking one and help others to expand theirs further. The idea is that, as Quora naturally organises writing into relevant topics, your piece is far more likely to be found by the audience you desire. The service will launch on both desktop and mobile, with an emphasis on simple, striking presentation as shown below:
Coca Cola unveil social Super Bowl campaign
Coca Cola are set to follow last year’s incredibly successful Super Bowl polar bears with a social campaign called ‘Mirage’. They have produced a video, shown below, that depicts three different sets of teams racing through the desert towards a giant bottle of Coca Cola. Leading up to the TV advert, fans online can vote for who they want to reach the Coke first and sabotage their competitors by watching and interacting with a variety of content on networks including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube, of which one video notably includes a partnership with Domino’s Pizza. By sharing content, fans can unlock rewards including coupons for bottles of Coca Cola. After the game, the final video will reveal which of the three groups has been successful in the race.
Target promote Everyday Collection with ‘Tweet to Runway’
Target are promoting their ‘Everyday Collection’ with an event that encourages fans to Tweet statemenets about their everyday lives, accompanied by the hashtag #Everydayshow. Target then choose their favourites and have them read out by models on a runway. They have produced video content depicting some of the best examples:
Capri Sun involve mummy bloggers in latest campaign
Drinks brand Capri Sun are utilising the power of mum in their latest campaign, which features a bespectacled boy named Jack ‘Seizing the Day’ by taking part in a variety of extreme activities, whilst, of course, enjoying a Capri Sun. Mums are then encouraged to enter a picture of their child doing the same, encouraged by the phrase “We know your kids are extraordinary, too” and the potential $2,500 prize. Blogger outreach plays a large part in the idea, with influential mummy bloggers being engaged by the brand to write articles about their own children ‘seizing the day’. Despite the solid, interesting campaign, it seems as though they may have missed a trick: there is as yet no mention of the pun ‘Capri diem’.
We Are Social create ‘Boastcards’ campaign for Expedia
We Are Social have created an activation for Expedia Australia and New Zealand aimed at promoting their summer sale. They have constructed a fully customisable template for fans to produce their own ‘Boastcards’, which they can share with friends to show off about their trip so far – the first 1,000 users are able to do so physically. By uploading information on their location, fans are also offered the opportunity to view other Boastcards from the region, as well as deals for their current spot. On top of this, there is the possibility to enter a competition with a grand prize of $2,000. Alica Kroupa, Account Director at We Are Social, said:
We wanted to generate a buzz about the Expedia Summer Sale among the Expedia Facebook community as well as other Facebook users in their networks. The Boastcard app is a great way of creating fantastic user-generated content likely to be of interest to anyone with an interest in travel.
Justin Bieber now the most followed person on Twitter
Justin Bieber has overtaken Lady Gaga to become the most followed person on Twitter, with over 33 million followers. The Mirror also points out that the figure amounts to more than the combined follower total of Harry Styles and Barack Obama, which may be the world’s strangest ever combined metric.
French Government replace the word ‘hashtag’ with ‘mot-dièse’
The French Government have decided to use their own French-language word for the hashtag, labelling it as a mot-dièse in all official literature going forward. It literally translates as ‘sharp word’, alluding to the musical sharp symbol. Some have argued that this may be problematic as the symbols are slightly different (# and ♯) but unless the people of France are posting a great deal of musical notation to Twitter, we shouldn’t imagine there will be too much confusion.
Sina Weibo launches promoted feed ads
Still trying to find ways to monetize its popular Twitter-esque microblogging site, Sina Weibo has rolled out promoted feed advertisements to its 400 million users. Known as Weibo Tuiguang, the ads will appear in user feeds and be differentiated from user posts by a grey line and a notice indicating that it’s a sponsored post. Yet to be implemented on the mobile platform, the decision to roll out on the web platform first is an interesting deviation from the company’s declared intention to focus on its mobile platform as it seeks to monetize. In addition to promoted feed ads, the company is exploring a diverse range of options such as e-payments and fan headline advertising to start the revenue stream flowing. It better move quickly as its rival, Tencent’s killer chat app, WeChat is fast gaining ground having registered its 300 millionth user less than a week ago and drawing Weibo users’ attention away from the microblogging service.
WeChat’s new features to include song recognition & voice chatrooms
Speaking of WeChat, the app has unleashed a beta version 4.5 update that features multi-user voice chatrooms, Siri-like voice reminders and even a song database search feature along the lines of Shazam or SoundHound. The update will allow users to set verbal reminders for themselves and to search for an unknown piece of music by shaking the smartphone. The app will stream the song along with its lyrics but is expected to be made available only to Chinese users due to copyright issues. Word has it that the update will be made available to iPhone users first before Android users. It will be interesting to see how many users the group chatroom can host.
Japanese chat app, Line, reaches 100 million users
Fast becoming a worthy rival to WeChat, Line has just passed the 100 million users milestone. The photo below shows the user counter that was set up at Line HQ in anticipation of breaching the 100 million users mark. Though a much smaller player than 300 million strong WeChat, Line is ahead of Korean Kakao Talk’s 72 million users, in the battle for dominance in the Asian mobile messaging market. Industry watchers expect these Asian players to expand into English speaking markets this year. This would be interesting as they face off with old players such as WhatsApp and new entrants such as Facebook Messenger in the international arena.
Snoop Dogg pimps Line on Twitter
Line has tied up with popular US rapper, Snoop Dogg to help its expansion into the North American market. Boasting a range of Snoop Dogg virtual stickers that are available for free downloads, Line has been getting lots of attention through the rapper’s shout-outs on Twitter.
Line’s aggressive foray into overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and the US has been credited with helping it to hit the 100 million user mark. Interestingly, the app’s maker, NHN Japan revealed some months back that half of its then 70 million users were not from Japan. The app is expected to gain more traction in English speaking markets in 2013 while simultaneously looking to expand in China with a Chinese version, called ‘Lianwo‘.
China’s MiTalk to give WeChat a run for its money
China-born Android-based smartphone maker, Xiaomi, has struck a partnership with Taiwanese startup, Mface, to market it’s messaging app known as Miliao in Chinese (aka MiTalk in English) across Southeast Asia. The collaboration is expected to help MiTalk expand its reach to Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. MiTalk aims to register 5 million overseas users by year end. The chat app currently has 23 million registered users, a large proportion of which are presumably from mainland China. The company will be marketing its smartphones in Hong Kong and Taiwan soon and may expand into North America in the next few years.
Worldwide smartphone penetration on the up
An article by eMarketer has examined the growing smartphone market around the world. It predicts that by 2016, roughly 75% of certain markets including the US and UK, will own one of the devices. The mobile phone market is incredibly saturated, with 130% combined market penetration of smartphones and non-smartphones. As such, they argue that the coming years will see an increase in the former and a decrease in the latter, resulting in the following figures:
Facebook release Graph Search
Facebook have announced Graph Search, a new social search engine that will allow users to search for results based on what their friends like. For example, instead of just looking for a dentist, you can look for “dentists in my area that my friends like”, or even the likes of “singles in my area who like Star Wars”. We have produced a comprehensive post detailing everything you need to know about the feature here.
Facebook bring free voice calls to the US
As we’ve previously discussed, Facebook operated a trial in Canada for free voice calling over the Internet with its iOS Messenger app. Now, they’ve extended this to the US with the latest version of Messenger for iOS. Provided that both users have downloaded the app, they are able to call one another for free, either over WiFi or by using up some of their data allowance.
Instagram releases monthly active user data
After the speculation about Instagram losing users, which we mentioned in last week’s mashup, the network has decided to release data about its monthly active users for the first time. They have stated that, contrary to the rumour, they have actually seen 10% growth in the period from December to January and that the last count showed over 90 million people using Instagram monthly.
EyeEm overtakes Instagram in app downloads
Whilst this was going on, Instagram was actually overtaken by a rival photo-sharing app called EyeEm in terms of downloads, which was at one point the second most downloaded photo/video app behind YouTube. Instagram has since regained its position ahead of EyeEm, but this shows the potentially precarious position Instagram holds in the photo-sharing market.
Favouriting becoming more popular on Twitter
Over the past year, the option to ‘favourite’ a tweet has become much more popular, as the following graph shows:
This comes as a result of changes made to favouriting by Twitter in December 2011, placing the option in a much more noticeable position and making it easier to access favourited tweets. Interestingly, users are more likely to favourite an @-reply than a regular tweet, potentially showing how users are employing the function as a way of exhibiting a positive response, similar to a Facebook ‘like’.
Twitter and television
Twitter have released some intriguing statistics into the way in which people interact with television on the network. They claim that 60% of Twitter users access the site while watching TV and around 40% of prime time Twitter activity is about television. Using specific programmes as case studies, they showed how big TV events can attract an impressively high amount of online activity, such as an episode of Made In Chelsea that procured 215,220 tweets from 110,162 users, reaching a potential 124.2m users.
Twitter headers make it possible to fake verified accounts
The introduction of Twitter header images has led to an unwanted side effect for Twitter, as it is now possible for someone to fake a verified account. As you can see from the image below, it seems as though there is a verified account for a fictional creation, the children’s book character Percy Jackson. However, the blue tick that announces verification has simply been added to the background. Fortunately, there is still a way to tell the difference between verified and unverified accounts, as the word “verified” will appear when you hover the cursor over a true account.
New Myspace now publicly available
The new version of Myspace, which launched in July, is now open to the public after a period of invitation-only signups. The emphasis remains strongly on music and in particular discovering new usic, with an audio deck on each page and a variety of music-related trending stories. The main page also promotes investor Justin Timberlake’s new single. There is yet to be a formal announcement for the new launch.
Foursquare’s maps show the growth of the network
Foursquare have released a detailed map that shows the various places where people have checked in over the last three months.
As can be seen above, this shows various world hubs, but can also be used to show in more detail the areas where people like to check in within a city, such as a clear layout of the runways in Atlanta Airport. In an interview with TechCrunch, Foursquare’s data scientist, Blake Shaw discussed how having access to all this information is important for the future of the company. He stated how they are experiencing a stage of growth similar to Twitter in 2008, from a place to share information to a location for consumption of that information; that is, Foursquare intends to grow further towards being a tool for discovering new places.
Twitter tracking the Oscars
Twitter have released a tool for tracking the positive conversation around Oscar nominees in the six largest categories: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director. They have produced a real time graph that displays positive sentiment around any of the nominees, measured as a percentage score against the average sentiment level of all tweets on the network. This is similar to a project pitting Romney against Obama during the US Presidential Election and is of interest for examining how particular events or news stories have an effect on public opinion.
Smoothie King helping with New Year’s Resolutions
It’s a sad fact that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t last a very long time. So drinks company Smoothie King have released a Facebook app called Lean Into Life, aimed at salvaging the spirit of New Year in mid-January, by encouraging users to take photographs of themselves whilst completing certain resolution-related challenges for the chance to win $100 gift cards, free smoothies or a bicycle. Fans are asked to take a photograph via Instagram and use the hasthags #SmoothieKing and #LeanIntoLife to take part in the contest.
Panera Bread Company promote ‘hidden menu’ via Social
Panera Bread Company last week sent out a tweet that announced their new ‘hidden menu’ and was met with a range of reactions from excitement to confusion. The idea is that the menu is not mentioned in store, but simply via social, meaning that in-the-know Twitter followers have to go in store and specifically request one of the protein-rich range. This exclusively-social promotion is an interesting idea and could be a very effective example for restaurant or FMCG brands.
Indy 500 campaign set to use people’s Instagram photos
An Indy 500 campaign is set to use Instagram images tagged with the hasthag #Indy500orBust. These will be placed on an interactive map, whilst users are also given the opportunity to win a VIP race experience by uploading photographs. After the controversy surrounding potential changes to Instagram’s terms of service, it will be interesting to see how many campaigns like this come about.
Bentley releasing cars with hashtag license plates
For the launch of three new models, Bentley showcased each with a license plate that displayed a hashtag of the car’s name.
The move is very similar to We Are Social’s campaign for Jaguar, where we emblazoned the model specific @sportbrake handle on the side of a prototype car. As such, it seems that we are seeing a growing trend in the automotive industry to attempt to support the launch of new vehicles with online conversation, specifically on Twitter.
The NHL’s Foursquare comeback
With the launch of a new NHL season, the league has released a Foursquare badge that can be unlocked by checking in at two games this season. Anyone who unlocks it is eligible for a 15% discount at the NHL online shop. Five separate teams have also released their own badge, which can be obtained by checking in at either a home or away game at any point in the season. Each of these qualifies fans for a separate benefit, including the change to win tickets or discounts at team stores.
Esurance Facebook campaign offers SXSW dream package
Online insurance company Esurance have released a campaign that offers fans the chance to win an all-access pass to SXSW, a $2000 hotel stay, iPad and the opportunity to create a set of videos that details the excitement behind the campaign. To win, fans must create content that displays why they are the right person to be behind the videos. The campaign taps into the technological nature of SXSW and produces a prize that is truly fit for the audience.
Volvic and We Are Social search for brand advocates on Facebook
We Are Social have produced a campaign for Volvic that asks fans to submit photographs that they feel best reflects the ‘Volcanicity’ brand. As an incentive, fans can win ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ around the theme of volcanoes, along with a camera to document them. The campaign is aimed at driving brand advocacy – Deola Laniyan, Account Director at We Are Social, said fans will:
become our community managers meaning the content that’s posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement.
English and Welsh High Court ruling on Facebook privacy
The England and Wales High Court has made a ruling on Facebook privacy, stating that pictures on Facebook cannot be published in a newspaper without permission, even if they are set to ‘public’. The ruling is of interest to all those on Facebook and could display a pro-user attitude to privacy by UK authorities.
Tesco’s horse play on Twitter
You’d think the last week couldn’t have got much worse for Tesco, what with their value-range beef burgers being found to contain horse meat. However, it looks as though it has, after accidentally tweeting what looked like a joke about horses. It goes to show the danger of scheduling tweets and making sure you keep a close eye on all social media channels, especially at sensitive times.
Whatsapp may be ousted by WeChat?
Tech In Asia recently assessed how Whatsapp measured up against the competition. Whatsapp has not evolved much since its launch a few years ago whilst competing apps such as Tencent’s WeChat (aka Weixin in Chinese), Line and Kakaotalk have evolved to incorporate social elements. WeChat is packed with features (available as plug-ins) such as allowing users to make video calls, read news via a newsfeed, make a cloud-based backup of their contacts, search for people nearby to chat with, upload photos to a timeline and update their statuses. By contrast, Whatsapp seems scanty and uninspired, making it difficult for them to stay in the good graces of an audience that has become accustomed to constant improvements and feature-rich apps that combine social networking with mobile messaging.
Tweet in case of emergency
Japanese Twitter users can now use an uber cool feature called Lifeline that allows them to find and follow accounts maintained by local government bodies – accounts that matter in emergencies. All they need to do is to key in their postal code to gain access to updates and relevant information in case of an emergency or outages affecting necessary services. Lifeline is only available in Japan at the moment. After the 2011 Virginia earthquake, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that affected people use Twitter, Facebook, email and text messages to communicate with friends and family to avoid jamming phone lines for emergency services. Perhaps it’s time to update emergency contact details to include important Twitter handles?
Apple’s iOS 6 comes with Weibo included
China’s Sina Weibo is integrated with Apple’s iOS 6 for users with English language and Chinese settings. A source Tech In Asia spoke to indicated that the initial plans were to only make the integration available to users with Chinese settings at the launch of iOS6. Perhaps due to a change of mind or error, it is now available to English speakers as well. This is an interesting development as English speakers have always preferred Twitter. Could something be cooking in Sina Weibo’s kitchen?
Qihoo 360′s search engine’s new domain name is www.so.com
Qihoo 360 announced its new domain name recently in a move to improve users’ experience of its search engine. Qihoo, which was originally an anti-virus business, explained that the short and snappy name also stood for “Safe” and “Open”, hence “S” and “O”. Qihoo plans to monetise the search engine and is given a leg up against competitors like Baidu, Google, Sogu and Soso, with a domain name that’s shorter and easier to remember.
China’s answer to LinkedIn will likely be mobile
Professional social networking site LinkedIn has achieved great success in China registering 80% growth in 2011 and over a million users. Though faced with competition from clones that have diluted LinkedIn’s market share and confused users, Renren’s Vice President Huang Jing expects China to respond with a mobile social networking solution. He drew his conclusion from statistics showing that 60% of Renren’s users are using mobile platforms to access the social network.
Marketers want relationships, not just growth
Awareness, a US Social marketing software company, have conducted a survey of US marketers and discovered some interesting results. Firstly, the leading business objective for Social Media was discovered to be ‘Better Customer Engagement’ with 78% of respondents citing it as a central goal. This was followed by revenue generation of 51%. What this shows is that the marketers are far more interested in building relationships than building figures.
When it comes to investment, 66% of respondents said that multi-platform social media presence is high on their priority list. Additionally, 56% are investing more in the frequency on content published and 50% said that they would invest more in social media integration within their existing marketing initiatives.
‘Hello, welcome to the Facebook Ad Network’
Facebook has launched the beta-version of it’s new ‘Mobile Ad Network‘ which, in short, will allow advertisers to use Facebook’s data to target ads at you in other mobile apps based on age, gender, location and Likes.
The ads will be ‘non-social’ display ads meaning users will see social signals from friends interactions or be able to share them.
Facebook ‘Offers’ global domination
After its trial period, Facebook’s ‘Offers’ has been proven to help drive positive business results for its users and Facebook has announced that the testing period is over, paving the way for a global release. From now, companies with over 400 Facebook fans can create ‘Offers’ straight from their Facebook page and can also include unique codes to aid in the results tracking. Our very own Robin Grant, as quoted in Adweek, is delighted with the introduction of unique codes as it “finally makes Facebook’s Offers a mature and usable product for retailers wanting to drive volume sales and CPG brands wanting to drive trial”. One caveat in the small-print though is that any Offers must be paired with Facebook ad purchases. According to Robin the move is no great surprise and the pairing is not a deal breaker because Facebook is “just asking for a nominal amount to be spent on ads”. This should prevent any spamming of small, worthless offers. For a detailed summary of Facebook ‘Offers’, check out Simply Zesty’s run-down.
Facebook ‘Custom Audience’ ads rolled out to all advertisers
Facebook has extended its ‘Custom Audience’ feature beyond advertisers with managed accounts to all Power Editors and Ads API partners. A custom audience is one targeted via email address, phone number or user IDs that have been collected from a brand database and can be used for a more direct targeting of existing customers.
Social vanity leaps to new levels with Facebook’s ‘Highlight’
After an apparently successful initial trial, Facebook has broadened the beta version of ‘Highlight’ to become ‘Promote an Important Post’ that allows users to part with actual money to promote their own posts to be seen by more of their friends. Whether or not this is to become a common feature in Facebook remains to be seen.
Tweet ‘cards’ the future of Twitter?
Twitter has confirmed that by the end of the year brands will have the opportunity to create and display Tweet ‘cards’. Cards may include real-time sports results or polls. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, while speaking at the Online News Association conference, commented: ”We want to migrate to a world in which the 140 characters can serve as a caption for additional functionality. We’d like that to include things like real-time data, even an application functionality”.
Twitter’s mobile experience just got better
Twitter has spruced-up its iPad app and their Android and iPhone apps has also had a makeover with the same new header photo alongside photo-swiping and pinch-to-zoom. The new header photo will also interest marketers who can customise their brand pages to engage further with consumers with the header photo, but also with a more customisable background image.
Tumblr doubles yearly traffic, plus search visits up 200%
News in from comScore puts Tumblr on the rise with over 100% increase in unique visitors for the year between July 2011 and July 2012. With smartphone traffic also up, especially in the last five months – up 51%.
Search traffic has catapulted to 24 million search visits in July alone, 200 percent gain on 2011. The success of Tumblr has at least in part been due to its celebrity and brand uptake, boasting Beyoncé and adidas to name just a couple.
Google+ has 400 million registered users, no really it does!
Let the haters be hating, but it would seem that Google+ has some fans, with 400 million registered users and 100,000,000 monthly active users. This more then impressive stat comes straight from the mouth of Google’s Senior VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra. From the looks of the numbers, Google has the user base, but it is currently only converting 1/4 to become active users.
Vimeo launches Tip Jar and pay-per-view service for filmmakers
Vimeo is a hotbed for talent and many would-be filmmakers use the site to share their latest creation with the world – currently for free. The new initiative from Vimeo will offer these filmmakers the chance to make a little dosh in the process. One way it hopes to do this is to play on the good faith of its 75 million users and offer up a Tip Jar to viewers. This would rely on viewers contributing directly and of their own accord and is available now. The second option is a more direct approach, setting a pay-per-play scheme that is due to roll out “over the next few months”.
Walmart’s local approach to Facebook pages draws them in just 2m fans
Walmart is one of the biggest brands on Facebook, with over 21m fans in total and has taken local to the next level with ‘My Local Walmart”. Partnering with Facebook, the supermarket wanted to create a more local approach and “enhanced local interaction at an unprecedented scale”. As a result the supermarket created around 3,500 local Facebook pages for its stores, but the results so far have so far not reflected that of the success seen with its other Facebook pages.
In total it has attracted just 2 million fans altogether, with the majority of local stores have between 101 and 1,000 fans, with just 4% having more then 1,000. When it comes to engagement the story doesn’t get any better, the local pages scored well below the 7% active fans achieved by Walmart’s main page, with just 0.01% being active fans.
Head of Tesco takes to the net with new blog to build trust in brand
Philip Clarke, chief executive at UK supermarket chain Tesco, has decided that if you want to get a job done properly do it yourself. Launching a group blog to build trust and “explain what we are thinking and how we see the world”. The blog, dubbed ‘the talking shop’, launched last Friday and in his first post Mr Clarke starts off by explaining why the blog is there. It won’t just be Clarke posting, but also a “whole range” of the Tesco exec team, the stores and “out on the road” – so we may see Mary from Tesco Metro in Clapham North giving her two pence soon!
Waitrose takes a kicking with finish the sentence tweet …
Poor old Waitrose, another rather more upmarket UK supermarket chain, made the classic social media mistake – Finish the sentence – which turned bad on Twitter last week when the high-street store tweeted; “I shop at Waitrose because…” An accompanying hashtag #Waitrosereasons gave everyone the perfect tool to track as the hilarity unfolded.
I think they genuinely wanted some insight from their customers, and opportunistic punters took the opportunity to play on the middle-class stereotype that Waitrose has. They didn’t react quickly enough or with a clear plan. It shows why being prepared with a crisis plan is key to your social comms, whatever brand you are.
New Facebook Deals from Kraft
A mobile start-up by the name of Endorse has just announced a partnership with Kraft to offer deals direct to consumers on Facebook. The new “Social Offers” feature will be released with Kraft’s Planter’s brand, helping Kraft link actual purchases with giving customers generous discounts.
The service can be shared peer-to-peer and also direct from the brand to the consumer. For peer-to-peer sharing the Facebook user will see a discount jump from 20% to 50% off following a share. The deal will then appear on that user’s wall to be claimed. Planter’s has launched its brand-to-consumer offering today and it can post deals to fans via its Facebook page.
1-800-Flowers.com celebrates 500,000 Facebook milestone with freebies
Hitting a big milestone on Facebook is certainly cause for celebration and not least for 1-800-Flowers.com. Who celebrated hitting 500,000 with free shipping, dropping service charges and a $10 Zynga gift card via Facebook Offers for its fans. Over 2,000 claimed the generous offer and it’s not the first time the company has been so generous. For Mother’s Day it ran a similar campaign drawing in 12,300 claims, half of which came from Facebook ads.
Amit Shah, director of mobile and social at the flower company, said that “The half-life of the redemption of the claims is very quick … the matter of days – not weeks”, adding that this has proven much more successful than an offer sent in an email.
American Express pair with Harvey Nichols for Sync ‘n Save deal
New ways to link up location, sales and offers are a key area of interest for many brands at the moment. A new partnership between American Express and high-end retailer Harvey Nichols aims to do just that with a Sync ‘n Save deal. This means customers can unlock a £25 statement credit when they check-in on Foursquare and spend £25 on their card.
In advance of this, customers need to sync their AMEX card with their Foursquare account. After check-in the customer is prompted to “Load to Card” and then they can get spending. That means a seamless experience in the store and no fiddly need to show your phone at the check-out. The deal runs until 1st October and looks to be American Express’ first Sync ‘n Save partnership outside of the US – definitely one to watch.
Twitter no-no from Kellogg’s Krave
There is no doubt that Kellogg’s social strategy on Facebook for its Krave cereal has been a great success, accumulating 277,000 fans. It’s latest campaign surrounds the launch of the white chocolate variety of the cereal and sits in a Facebook competition app. However Twitter is a different story, as Gordon MacMillan points out.
Krave has both social networks linked to from its website, but their Twitter account has not been updated for 18 months! It seems that the brand started off with both, but decided to opt for the more successful Facebook. As Gordon points out in his article “either use it or take it off” – certainly not good social sense to have a profile that is not actively managed.
Resident Evil 6 releases ‘shared nightmare’ campaign to Facebook
Last week developer and publisher Capcom launched a scarily named “shared nightmare” interactive campaign on Facebook to mark the release of Resident Evil 6. This marks the latest installment of the “No Hope left” summer campaign to launch the game. The game has some 3.7 million Facebook fans and the video was released to them last week.
The video depicts the viewers last moments as a deadly “C-virus” spreads, using data pulled from the viewers Facebook profiles they can send friends a final farewell message mid-video. You can check out the app here, if you dare!
Whatever you do #DontGoHome with Cole Haan
The shoe brand Cole Haan wants to be down with the kids and has as such released a new campaign “Don’t Go Home”. To accompany its re-brand, it is encouraging the young-uns to stay out late and #DontGoHome. The campaign hopes to boost awareness of the launch of its latest shoe, the Chelsea pump, which includes special Nike Air tech to make it super comfy.
The campaign started in advance of New York Fashion Week, with closed shop front metal shutters with text printed on like “You can sleep when you’re dead” and “Your fairy drag mother says don’t go home” and included the hashtag to be shared on Twitter and Instagram.
Obama’s after the younger vote with ‘For All’ social campaign
Barack Obama knows that the youth vote is a strong one and he needs to pull out all the stops to not only get their attention, but also to get them to actually go and vote.The campaign that hopes to achieve this is “For All” and was launched last week on Instagram with the likes of Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba. The campaign aims to target those making their first vote, whilst also addressing the damaging comment from Mitt Romney that his “job is not to worry” about the 47% who don’t pay income taxes, are “dependent on the government”.
The campaign asks supporters to share their picture with hashtags: #forall, #obama2012, #campaigntrail, #opendoors2012 and #dnc2012.
Picture-perfect social commerce
Asian consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong are flocking to niche social networks Pinterest and Instagram in droves but what’s really making retailers sit up and notice is the rate at which consumers’ are spending after visiting these sites. Researchers found that Singapore-based users visit both international and local social commerce sites whilst Hong Kong users visit global and Chinese e-commerce sites after surfing Pinterest and Instagram. It’s interesting to note that whilst Facebook drove 47% of traffic to Instagram in the US, 33% in Australia and 22% in Singapore, the largest source of Instagram traffic in Singapore came from Twitter at 42%.
More Asian consumers make purchases online weekly
A Nielson study of more than 28,000 ecommerce consumers in 56 countries uncovered that 62% of Asian consumers made online purchases on a weekly basis. This is higher than the global average of 52%. A quick glance at the chart below revealed an interesting statistic; it appears that 81% of Asian consumers provide feedback about a grocery category using social media on a weekly basis.
How will Facebook’s purchase affect Instagram in China?
With Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram on track for completion, there’s a risk that the latter will be blocked in mainland China. This will certainly bring Instagram’s growth of 100,000 downloads per week within China to a screeching halt. That would be a pity especially since the cross-posting functionality offered by Instagram puts it on the path to phenomenal growth in China, especially since it’s one of a handful of applications that supports posting to Sina Weibo (over 350 million registered users) in addition to Twitter and Facebook. Here are some numbers to ruminate over: Instagram has over 80 million registered users and saw more than 4 billion photos uploaded globally since its launch in October 2010. More than 50,000 Sina Weibo users signed up and 100,000 photos were shared to Weibo from Instagram since March 2012. Consider too the number of pictures uploaded to Instagram with China-related hashtags: 120,000 photos with the hashtag #Beijing, 125,000 with the hashtag #Shanghai, and 440,000 with the hashtag #China.
Social media risk management
Social media is a double-edged sword. When well-managed, it can be a powerful tool to propel your brand or product to international success and recognition as it allows brands to connect with consumers virtually seamlessly. Unfortunately the reverse is true in a crisis. Recent surveys reveal that social media is ranked as one of the top 5 risk factors to corporate performance. Here’s how social media measures up in a rundown of risks: 41% of US executives surveyed said global economic environment was a risk, 32% found government spending and budgets risky, 30% felt regulatory changes were a risk, and 27% said social media was a risk. It is significant to note that social media risk tops the list after broader economic and regulatory concerns. As for the top platforms in the rapidly expanding social media world with the largest potential to damage a brand, the top 3 were Facebook, which 35% of marketers considered presented a significant risk, 25% for Twitter, and 15% for YouTube and other video-sharing sites.
In a study of the types of risk social media posed to brands, 66% of respondents to Altimeter’s survey said reputational damage to the brand was a critical or significant risk. Release of confidential information was the next biggest concern with 32% of respondents citing it as a significant or critical risk.
Age in the time of social media
China’s social media and Internet landscape
CIC has created a concise infographic that shows the leading Chinese web and social media platforms in each category alongside their western counterparts for 2012, from content-sharing services similar to Dropbox (which is blocked in China) to social aggregators and dating networks. Even though some don’t exactly fall within a standalone category, such as Sina Weibo which has features that are similar to a social networking site other than its 140-characters micro-blogging function, this is still a great introduction to China’s web scene.
Sina Weibo’s real-name registration peculiarities
Even though Chinese micro-blogging service Sina Weibo‘s real-name verification deadline on March 16th has passed, it appears that many users who have not verified their real identities are still able to post through their unregistered accounts. We’ll keep a lookout to see if and when the ban does come into effect. Read more about Tech In Asia‘s Charlie Custer’s experience here.
Social media not a main driver of news
Even though Facebook and Twitter have well over a billion users between them, and host a constant stream of news and content through its users’ posts, Pew Research Center’s 2012 State Of The News Media report discovered that users are far more likely to go directly to a news website, search online or visit a news aggregator than specifically head onto Facebook or Twitter to search for news. Only 9% of respondents get news through Facebook or Twitter recommendations, as compared to 36% who head directly to news websites or applications, or the 32% who specifically type in a keyword search. Even though ample sharing of news occurs on Twitter and Facebook, these platforms have not become a replacement source through which people search for news explicitly.
Search vs. Social
This infographic by MDG Advertising pits search marketing against social media in terms of the results they bear for marketers. Search triumphs over social in terms of lead generation, where it drives 41% of lead generation as opposed to the 34.2% by social media in B2C, and 57.4% as opposed to 24.8% for the B2B sector. However, social media is a greater driver of brand awareness. Together though, they make a powerful combination. 50% of marketers say social media has impacted their search engine marketing, and 29% have merged parts of their social and search strategies. As demonstrated by Google’s social search functionalities, search and social are becoming increasingly intertwined and marketers should leverage on both to better reach relevant audiences.
Facebook’s global takeover
eMarketer predicts that there will be 1.43 billion social network users in 2012, which amounts to a substantial share of the world’s entire population. 1 out of 5 people will use a social network this year and Facebook is a key reason for this. Facebook has rapidly expanded into India, Indonesia and Brazil who now join the US and Mexico in the top 5 Facebook countries:
In fact, if Brazil maintains its current growth it could easily jump from fourth to second place, as soon as next month, having already taken over Google’s Orkut which had been leading in Brazil since 2004.
Facebook is also doing well in Japan, where they now have 10 million monthly active users. This figure has doubled in the last 6 months.
Share Dropbox folders with Facebook friends
Dropbox has joined in the Facebook Open Graph party and now allows its users to connect to Facebook so that content can be shared amongst friends. Users no longer have to input the email addresses of intended recipients in order to share content. Sure makes life a little easier.
Facebook updates Timeline Page ‘beginnings’, adds recommendations and launches Mobile app stats
Facebook has added the option to describe the beginning of a page as ‘created’ or ‘launched’. The original options ‘founded’, ‘started’ and ‘opened’ are still available but these new variations make a lot of sense for the different types of entities that run pages on Facebook.
Facebook have also introduced a recommendations feature for place pages that have switched to the new Timeline format. These are displayed in a box beneath friend activity and include a prompt for people to write their own recommendations. These are only available to pages that are associated with locations so if a brand wants to enable this function page owners have to provide an exact address in their About sections.
Another development from Facebook is the launch of a new Mobile Referrals dashboard in App Insights which helps understand the traffic an app receives from Facebook mobile sources. This features data on total mobile app clicks and source, demographic and device breakdown amongst other insights.
Facebook Timeline Apps and Foursquare’s new Facebook look
In other Facebook news, 3,000 Timeline apps have spawned since Facebook launched the platform 3 months ago and last week Foursquare among others such as Nike and VEVO unveiled theirs. These new launches are likely to persuade more brands and startups that Timeline app development is worth their investment, meaning that soon there will be even more apps channelling user behaviour into Facebook’s content feeds and ad targeting engine. Pinterest is a key example of the success of Timeline apps as it has seen its Facebook userbase grow by 60% since it launched its Timeline app in January. The Onion definitely wins the award for the most amusing integration below:
Foursquare’s Timeline app has a new look for check-ins, badges and mayorships. This features check-in photos showing up full size, a summary of a user’s past month foursquare activity and if a person checks in a few times these will display as a story rather than separately. Neat!
Blogs are not dead. There are 6.7m bloggers, half aged 18-34
NM Incite have released research that shows that consumer interest in blogs continues to grow with over 181 million blogs at the end of 2011, up from 36 million just 5 years ago. Not surprisingly this mirrors a growth in bloggers – 6.7 million of them publishing through blogging websites such as Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr whilst another 12 million write blogs using their social networks. The question is, who are these bloggers? Well, half are aged 18-34 and the majority are women, over 2/3 of which are mums.
Social media ads ‘justifying hype’
ZenithOptimedia have boosted their forecast for 2012 global internet adspend by 4.5%, now predicting a spend of £2.2bn. The sudden rise of social is evident in a revision to its US forecasts, which had pegged social media spend for 2012 at $1.33bn (£851m) in December, but now predicts $3.42bn (£2.2bn), partly due to $1bn (£640m) of display spend being recategorised as social media spend, and partly due to the medium growing faster than previously thought. Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at ZenithOptimedia, said:
Social is justifying its hype now. A third of all display impressions in the US are social. Advertisers are learning to be less interruptive.
Why James Whittaker left Google…
James Whittaker, who worked on Google+ as a development director, has written a controversial blogpost describing why he left Google. He described his passion for Google when it used to be a technology company that empowered their employees to innovate whereas now he sees it as an advertising company with a corporate focus. He has an interesting take on Google+:
Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn’t enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. YouTube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point.
Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it. You have to admire a company willing to sacrifice sacred cows and rally its talent behind a threat to its business. Had Google been right, the effort would have been heroic and clearly many of us wanted to be part of that outcome.
As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.
According to Whittaker Google+ deserves a -1, what do you think?
Versus – Google+ Hangouts Debates
Google have raised the profile of Google+ Hangouts by introducing live debates under the banner of Versus: The Google+ Debate Series. The first one happened last week and featured Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Elliot Spitzer and Johann Hari talking about drugs.
The expert’s view on Twitter’s acquisition of Posterous
Twitter recently announced the acquisition of blogging platform Posterous. The exact details of the deal have been kept secret but Econsultancy have brought together various expert views to discuss the motivations behind the takeover and what it means for both Twitter and Posterous including those of our very own Mr Jordan Stone.
Pinterest is now a top 30 US website
As we all know, Pinterest has been the subject of much attention recently and this is set to continue with the news from Experian Hitwise that it is continuing to rapidly grow. After cracking the top 60 list of US websites six weeks ago they have now entered the top 30. The site received more than 103 million visits in the US this February, which was up 36% on January. With revelations the company is working on an iPad app, growth seems unlikely to slow soon.
Volvo Cars has just signed an agreement with NBA New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, who will likely be the focus of an ad campaign for the brand’s increasingly important Chinese auto market. Volvo hopes to double its global sales to 800,000 by 2020 after having sold about 47,000 cars in China last year. This move seems to be aligned to Volvo’s social media strategy, especially since Jeremy Lin blogs in both Mandarin and English, and has a Twitter following of more than 664,000. Earlier in Septe mber 2011, Volvo’s VP-Global Marketing Richard Monturo pronounced that the company is focusing on social media and digital.
“We think the primary device in auto marketing is the Internet. We have teams focusing on how we can upgrade the user experiences in all our social presences. We’re using the ‘designed around you’ idea but trans-creating around the world.”
Let’s see if the Linsanity phenomenon can help shift its car sales in China.
American Express gets customers tweeting for dollars
The Tweet and Save program recently launched by AmEx got customers saving $1.3 million dollars in nine days, on products such as burgers and iPads. It works by customers syncing their AmEx cards to their Twitter accounts, Tweeting using hashtags such as #AmExZappos the coupons are then loaded directly to their credit cards and can be redeemed at point of purchase. A win-win for both Twitter, AmEx and its partners.
Zappos TweetWall shows products as they trend on Twitter
Taking more than a little influence from Pinterest, Zappos’ new TweetWall displays a page of products in real-time as they are being talked about on Twitter. This allows shoppers to see what’s trending as well as discovering fun talking point products.
McDonalds #shamrocking has greater success than #McDStories
Following the #McDStories debacle where McDonalds’ own hashtag was hijacked by disgruntled customers, the company are back and seem to have learned a valuable lesson by creating a somewhat more successful meme. Taking its inspiration from Planking and Tebowing, customers share pictures of themselves doing a jig whilst holding a shamrock milkshake. See example below…
‘Dethroned’ app allows you to behead your Facebook friends
In order to promote the premiere of HBO’s returning series, Game of Thrones, they’ve unveiled a new Facebook app that allows fans of the series to battle against each other in a loyalty contest which is judged by the players’ mutual friends. Once the winner is decided, a video plays showing the winner vividly beheading the loser and holding up the head of this now-vanquished foe… gory, but we say let the games begin!
PG tips is ‘most engaged with UK brand’ on Facebook
PG tips has been crowned the most engaged with UK brand on Facebook. The page themed around Johnny Vegas and brand character Monkey got nearly 2 out of 10 of its fans actively liking, commenting and responding in one 7 day period. The most popular post being on Valentine’s Day… ‘Like this post for a Valentines surprise,’ the suprise being an e-Valentines card from Monkey. Other top rated brand pages for February were Jaguar and Bang & Olufsen.
Twitter agrees to help Locog prevent ambush marketing during Olympics
Non-sponsors of the Olympics will be prevented from buying Twitter ads based on Olympic game related hashtags such as #London2012.
Domino’s increases social media effort
Domino’s UK has created as a TV advert that will only be shown on Facebook to its fans in order to promote a free cookie offer for fans who spend £10 on pizzas.
In the meantime, Domino’s Australia are letting their Facebook fans decide what the next Domino’s pizza will be: from toppings to dough, the fans can decide what the “social” pizza will taste like. How the pizza will turn out is anyone’s guess, but it appears Domino’s may have another social hit on its hands. Who knew pizza could be so shareable…
Peugeot Panama launches Pinterest puzzle
As we all know, Pinterest has been hogging the marketing headlines for the last few weeks, so it hasn’t been a surprise to see an increase in the number of brand competitions running on the platform. Peugeot Panama is one of them. They’ve been asking fans to find the missing puzzle parts of their models across the Peugeot Panama Pinterest account, their Facebook page and also their website… However, the tale does not have a happy ending as unfortunately, the Pinterest layout was slightly updated during the activity, rendering the competition obsolete.
Topman relaunches its lifestyle website to be more social
The new Topman CTRL website will host curated content by Radio One’s Huw Stephens who will be using Facebook, Mixcloud, YouTube and Instagram to feed music and lifestyle content directly through to the site. Visitors will also be able to submit their own content to the website. This could be the perfect delivery method to promote CTRL as a lifestyle site rather than something more corporate and could prove to be an excellent way to extend the brand online.
Jimmy Carr supports Starbucks’ Free Latte day on Twitter
To promote their brand new double shot latte, Starbucks invited customers for a free latte last week. The in-store promotion was supported by a selection of celebrities on Twitter such as Jimmy Carr who posted several tweets to express his enthusiasm about the latest addition to the Starbucks range. Although we wouldn’t dare doubting Jimmy Carr’s passion for a latte, it does seem that he should have added #thisisanadvertforstarbucks on the end…
How a TV hashtag has been sparking conversation: Channel 4 and Dispatches
When Channel 4 aired an episode of Dispatches about tickets resellers last week, it flashed the #ticketscandal hashtag on the screen throughout the show. Reactions about the underhand practices showed in the documentary were fairly heated online and it spawned several Twitter trending topics that night (including the name of the show but also the name of one of the incriminated resellers). Twitter figures show that there were a total of 11,870 using the hashtag in the course of 24 hours. It would be interesting to see how the rating figures were affected by the online conversations that night before we can deem this a complete social TV success.
Blogger relations done right
We were pleased to see our campaign for Orange’s ON Voicefeed featured by Econsultancy in their 9 examples of great blogger relations. They gave a great review of the “digital only” launch of ON Voicefeed in Spain which included a beta-testing phase with key tech Spanish influencers. Win!