Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Microblogging’.

Weibo lurking is not all it seems

by Tianyu Xu in News


The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the true number of users on Sina Weibo. The author discusses a study conducted by researchers at Hong Kong University that was based on a sample of roughly 30,000 users.

The results were quite surprising: 57% of the user studied had no posts at all in their timeline, while almost 87% made no posts during the seven-day study.

These results led the author to conclude that a significant number of Sina Weibo users are “just ‘lurking’”.

Based on my personal experience with Sina Weibo, I agree that many users are not actively creating content on their Weibo accounts; however, this does not mean that they are not doing anything useful on Sina Weibo, nor that they are of no value to brands.

In fact, Sina Weibo’s quieter users may be quite different from the ‘lurkers’ or zombie accounts on other platforms like Twitter, in part because of the technicalities of the Chinese language.

Sina Weibo has the same 140-character limit as Twitter, but 140 characters in Chinese can contain far more information than the same number of characters in English.

Collectively, these short Chinese language posts can consist of three or four sentences, and provide enough content to tell a story or a piece of news on a single weibo post. In contrast, there is usually only enough space for one sentence plus a link in a tweet in English.

As a result, Weibo users can gain a sufficient amount of information simply from reading the posts in their Weibo feed, without even having to click through to any external linked content.

For this reason, many people use Weibo as a customised news portal that allows them convenient access to real-time updates across a variety of topics, and from a variety of sources, all in a single feed.

They may not contribute to this feed themselves, but nonetheless, they take a considerable amount of value away from their experiences.

Another interesting fact is that many ‘lurkers’ on Sina Weibo are not perennial ‘lurkers’. Indeed, our research indicates that it’s relatively common to find users who are quite active during a given period of time, but become ‘lurkers’ at times when they have less time to participate in more creative Weibo activities.

It may be discouraging for brands to find that active engagement is comparatively low on their Weibo accounts, but a lack of ‘creative’ activity is not necessarily a sign that things aren’t working.

People may well go on to read links included in posts without reposting, or may choose to share them in other ways in different contexts (e.g. via more intimate conversations in platforms like WeChat).

This highlights the need for marketers and observers to understand the benefits that their audiences take out of social interactions, rather than analysing social platforms with the same metrics that they’d use to evaluate a traditional advertising medium.

Our advice for brands that find themselves in a situation of lower engagement is to explore a more ‘irresistible’ content strategy that encourages ‘lurkers’ to become more active users.

Part of this will involve experimenting with different approaches to understand what those audiences want and expect, and working with the more active members of the community to build dynamic conversations that draw other users into the action.

Most importantly, though, it’s about moving away from product-centric updates, and understanding how brands can add real value to their audience.

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Five Friday Facts #51

by Dhanuj Selvaraj in News

More than 50,000 government accounts on Sina Weibo
According to a recent report released by Sina, there are 50,947 government entities with weibo accounts as of September. In the last year, government bodies have established their presence on weibo upon understanding the new sphere where public discussions take place. This figure represents 33,132 government accounts and 17,815 government officials, and the numbers have doubled since December of last year. Police departments were the first adopters and we’ve seen them in action during this year’s Beijing floods when Sina Weibo came to the rescue. Today, departments and officials from every province are represented, from public security to public health. Tech in Asia noted that most of these accounts come out of the more developed areas like Beijing, Jiangsu and Guangzhou. Therefore, there is still room for growth when it comes to the public sector in disseminating information. In terms of disseminating news of crises in the West, we have noted that Hurricane Sandy has poured in plenty of updates on all the social media platforms. Apart from the obvious platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, photo sharing network Instagram has emerged as the destination for breaking news on the hurricane in pictures. There were 10 hurricane photos shared every second on the first day of the disaster. As of today there are more than 700,000 photos tagged #sandy and 420,000 photos tagged #hurricanesandy.

Japan’s Line grows past 70 million users
Japan’s mobile messaging app Line’s growth has been in the limelight for awhile now. Upon passing 70 million users, the service is attracting marketers from various brands in Asia. Only last month, Line reached a milestone of 60 million registered users. It claims to add 5 million new users every three weeks since February of this year when it had some 21 million users. The company is aiming to hit its 100 million target by end of this year by launching Line in China and the US. A number of brands in the region have already taken it to the service. In Thailand, food brand CPF and Thai Airways are seeing success on Line, with the latter racking up more than 1.2 million followers in less than one month of its presence.

Microblogs reach Chinese netizens more than other social media platforms
Nielsen’s recent report on China has revealed that microblogging sites such as Weibo reaches 97% of all Chinese social media users while social networking sites such as Renren penetrates about 70% of the social media users. Location-based check-in platforms are still emerging services with only a 10% usage rate.

Facebook’s future is on mobile
Earlier last week, Facebook announced its Q3 earnings in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his optimism about the company’s chances on mobile. As of Q3, there were 604 million monthly active users on mobile . Zuckerberg shared the possibilities of monetising on mobile, crediting that each product group inside Facebook now owns the mobile monetisation experience, which enables Facebook to leverage the ad revenue opportunities on mobile.

He also revealed,

Someone who uses mobile has a 70% likelihood of using Facebook on any given day, compared to 40% on desktops.

He went on to say that most people underestimate the opportunities with the trend towards mobile as Facebook starts to reach more people on mobile than on desktops. This seems to be making a larger difference with emerging markets and in their respective rural areas where ownership of mobile phones are more common than personal computers.

Here are all the numbers you need to know on Facebook’s Q3 report.

Twitter goes female
Research from Beevolve has revealed data on Twitter demographics and usage. The microblog that attracted men as early adopters is now seeing a shift towards women with a 47% to 53% gender distribution between male and female.  Women also tweeted more than men. This trend of women communicating more than men on Twitter is also consistent with their usage on other social media platforms.

Interestingly, with this emerging shift there appear to be more conversations on the topic of family on Twitter. This definitely presents marketers in the industry of home products and services an opportunity to engage in conversations with this interest group.

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We Are Social Asia Midweek Mashup #26

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Instagram sharing to Sina Weibo
Instagram added sharing functionalities to Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo on March 1st with their iOS 2.2 version and since then, 100,000 Instagram photos have been shared on Sina Weibo, with 50,000 users having linked their Instagram and Sina Weibo accounts together.

Sina Weibo fails to implement real-name policy
Sina, whose popular microblogging service Sina Weibo only had a little more than 19 million verified users out of its more than 250 million registered users more than a month ago, has publicly admitted its failure to fully implement the government-mandated ‘real name’ registration for microblog services in China. Even though there’s been no significant change to the volume of posting on Sina Weibo up til now, the consequences that lie ahead include the possible “termination of Weibo operations”, which will have a dramatic impact on the social media landscape of China as a whole, if it does indeed happen. Although this doesn’t seem very likely at the moment, we’ll still keep our eyes peeled for any shocking revelations.

Youku and Tudou connect user accounts
Following news of its merger on March 12, Youku and Tudou now both allow users of each platform to log-in to either video-sharing site with either their Youku or Tudou account. Currently Youku already integrates other social services into its video platform for commenting and favoriting, such as microblogging platforms Sina and Tencent Weibo, as well as social networking sites Renren and Kaixin001. We expect to see a lot more integrated features between the two video-sharing sites in the near future.

Brazil overtakes India as 2nd largest Facebook nation
Just 3 months ago, India had just surpassed Indonesia as the 2nd largest country on Facebook with 43,497,980 users compared to Indonesia’s 43,060,360 users. Today, both have been overtaken by Brazil, which now has 46,339,720 users, which reflects a pretty impressive growth of 22.24% in 3 months. Given that the major social network of choice in Brazil was still Orkut up to early 2011, the adoption of Facebook by Brazilian users has been rapid indeed.

Friendster relaunches for the Asian gaming market
Friendster has declared its latest attempt into the social networking sphere with a full-on redesign of the site, and have relaunched as a social discovery and gaming platform “combining search, content discovery and social functionalities”. Users can chat with friends via the Friendster Chat Application while playing more than fifty online games from eight different genres on the platform. The Facebook Connect function will likely make it more convenient for new users to log-in. Friendster still has more than 100 million registered members even though what exactly they were doing on the platform before the relaunch we have no idea, but it’ll be interesting to see if it can spring back to life, similar to how is trying to revive itself as a music-centric social network.

Facebook advertising revenue stalls despite strong growth
Figures from the 1st quarter of 2012 have shown that even the might of Facebook is not impervious to the advertising business cycle. Sales of $1.06 billion in Q1 were slightly down from the $1.13 billion reported in Q4 of 2011, though it’s not uncommon for marketers to tighten their belts at the start of a new year.

Even so, it’s important to emphasise how Facebook’s users remain enamoured with the site – the social network now has 901 million users, of which 526 million use the site every day.

Despite this Facebook has shown strong growth in areas beyond new users. A recent amendment to their filings for their public offering has shown that Facebook now hosts over 42 million pages and 9 million apps. Since December 31 2011 the number of pages with 10 or more “Likes” has increased by 5 million and  the number of integrated apps has increased by 2 million.

Facebook upgrades Android app
Late last week Facebook released an updated version of their Android app including updated messenger features and new shortcuts to encourage photo sharing. From the outside this seems like a direct attempt by Facebook to negate Google’s advantage on the platform. As they own the operating system Google can integrate Google+ into the phone in ways that Facebook cannot. The updated app hopes to combat this by adding new icons allowing users to access Facebook’s camera feature with ‘one tap’.

Facebook have further enhanced their Android offering by announcing that Android apps will now work the same as web apps – if you click on a link to an app from your mobile Facebook News Feed, it will now load on your Android phone (or take you to the download page if it’s not installed).

Instagram sharing on Twitter increases 20x in 12 months
The Instagram juggernaut keeps on rolling. Not satisfied with being bought for US$1 billion this month, the photo-sharing app has been taking Twitter by storm. Sharing between Instagram and Twitter has doubled in the last two months and is 20x what it was a year ago. Though some of this growth can be attributed to the new Android app, research shows that the average number of shares is also increasing. Impressive.

Facebook tests and launches a new set of features for select brands 
Facebook is testing a new button that will simplify the process through which Pages create Sponsored Stories directly from their posts. Rather than using a complex ad dashboard, the ‘promote’ button will appear on the Page publisher as well as on posts that have already gone live. The feature is aimed at small to medium sized businesses that want to promote their content but cannot afford premium products such as Facebook Reach Generator.

Facebook has also made Offers available through the API to a select number of partners. Offers are a new type of story that enables Page Owners to post coupons that fans can collect through their News Feed. Making this available through the API will allow developers to integrate the feature into their social media management systems.

In addition, Facebook have also relaunched their ‘Locations’ app to fit the Timeline layout. The app allows users to search from a company’s Page to find business locations near to them. At the moment the app is only available to select brands working with Facebook.

New Facebook Timeline apps
Christian Hernandez, Facebook’s Director of Platform Partnerships has revealed the latest set of Timeline apps to be released. JustGiving, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Sky Italy and Canal+ are among the 18 new additions to the Open Graph world.

LinkedIn launch iPad app
LinkedIn have added an iPad app to their iPhone, Android and Mobile Web products. The app has the ability to sync with the iPad’s calendar offering the user Linkedin profile data on attendees of meetings and conferences.

Google+ launch share button
Google+ have launched a share button available to publishers worldwide to add to their site. What’s interesting about it is that it stands alongside the +1 button, in case users want to share to their Circles without necessarily showing approval to a story. Particularly at a time Facebook are downgrading the importance of the share button, it will be interesting to see how this performs.

Barcelona vs Chelsea sets new Twitter record
There’s nothing like a sporting giant killing to get us all talking. Last Tuesday was no exception with Chelsea’s dramatic upset of the reigning European Champions Barcelona sending Twitter into a frenzy of excitement. The game knocked the NFL’s Superbowl off the top spot as the biggest sporting event on Twitter, peaking at 13,684 tweets per second. This demonstrates the growing use of Twitter as a way people share experiences of live events on a mass scale. live-tweeting during The Voice 
Building on the theme of enhancing live events through social media, The Voice judge was not satisfied with merely providing entertainment through the UK’s TV screens. tweeted from his judging chair during the show to provide followers with extra insight into how he was feeling about his act’s performances.

Channel 4 air live Twitter response ad
On Sunday night, in the first ad break for Homeland, the UK’s Channel 4 premiered the trailer for Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s new film. Viewers were then asked to share their thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #areyouseeingthis, with the best tweets picked out to appear in a live response ad in the next break. It was the first time ever viewers tweets have been shown in a live response ad and it worked – the hashtag was a trending topic in the UK, and the response ad worked well:

With Prometheus also teaming up with Zeebox, a dual-screen TV app, to offer a pair of Premiere tickets to one winner out of the many who watched a synchronised ad through the app, it was a successful night for the film’s promo team.

Gawker’s new commenting service
Gawker have launched a new proprietary commenting system called Burner, which is based on anonymity. What’s interesting is not so much the change itself, but the reasons behind it – namely, to disrupt commenting cliques. Removing names means that in theory, it won’t just be the same people repeatedly dominating commenting threads. Which all in all, is probably a good thing.

Elle launches Shoppable Trend Guide
Elle has launched a clever Facebook app where users can click ‘love’, ‘want’, ‘own’ or ‘buy’ on each product page. By default, all interactions with the app are shared automatically on their Facebook Timeline — so even if users don’t make a purchase, they may draw curious friends in to interact with the app. It’s a nice way of attempting f-commerce – including purchase as part of the app, rather than being the entire point of the app.

Pepsi launches global campaign focusing on social
Pepsi has launched a new brand campaign called Live For Now, which puts social at the heart of the campaign. This is partly through a ‘social media cheat sheet’, the #NOW board which pulls together the hottest stories from social media.

According to Techcrunch:

Beyond serving as a news aggregator, Singh says the site will include other features, like the ability for celebrities to pose challenges to their fans, and exclusive deals courtesy of sites like Thrillist. And naturally, the content can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

But according to Pepsi, the campaign will go above and beyond the Pepsi micro-site:

As part of the “Live for Now” platform in the U.S., Pepsi will present a series of exclusive pop-up, Twitter-enabled concerts this summer featuring major music artists. Additionally, Pepsi’s first of its kind Twitter music partnership will enhance consumers’ music experiences and bring them closer to what is hot in music today.

Considering their previous success in social media, it will be interesting to see how this campaign gets on.

Kraft personally thanks 4,632 Facebook fans with music video
Apart from competition prizes, there’s very little reciprocal love from brands on Facebook. Kraft tried to change this on Tuesday. First, they posted on their Facebook Page ‘LIKE this post, and you never know what may happen’.

The post garnered over 4,600 “Likes” – with each person then thanked in a ‘Likeapella music video’:

C&A Brazil puts Facebook Likes on store hangers
Before Mother’s Day, C&A Brazil put Facebook “Like” counters on the hangers in their flagship store – and uploaded their collection to their Facebook Page. Then, whenever anyone “liked” one of the products, the numbers would update in real-time. A nice way of convincing people to purchase.

Volkswagen create innovative flipbook ad for their Facebook Page
Volkswagen have created a genius little ad on their Facebook page. Through a photo album that doubles as a flipbook you can click to watch the Volkswagen Tricari Arc drive through the desert into an urban area in a continuous loop. The ad builds on what Smart Argentina did in Twitter recently, but is the first of its kind on a Facebook page. (The comments are also worth a read).

Hasbro bully tactics create social media backlash
Toy manufacturer Hasbro have received large scale condemnation for the way they dealt with blogger Martyn Yang. The blogger, whose hobby was writing about the brand, was tricked into giving his home address so that Hasbro could press legal proceedings against him. It seems ridiculous that brands still operate in this way when a quick email or phone call would have most likely wrapped the whole situation up with a far more satisfactory result.

Paying for Tweets is  a PR disaster waiting to happen
An ABC Media Watch revelation last Monday has opened a can of worms for organisations paying celebrities to tweet for them. The Australian highlighted the negative response by the Australian public to the South Australian Tourist Board paying chef Matt Moran $750 to tweet about Kangaroo Island. We Are Social’s own Julian Ward commented on how less than a dozen tweets can create a crisis for a brand:

The total reach of potentially damaging tweets was 3,453,843 and the cost is huge but unknown at this point. By doing what they have done, what does it say about the brand? Why go so cheap and why risk so much?

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Five Friday Facts #23

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Active weibo users in China
There’s no doubt that China’s microblogging platform is an important source of information to Internet users in China. The number of active weibo users has since reached 249 million by the end of 2011, a 59.3% increase compared to the year before. The number of new subscribers is however gradually levelling off after the explosive growth in 2011.

How people entertain themselves online
Ipsos Global Public Affairs surveyed Internet users in 24 countries to find out how people in each country entertain themselves online. China topped all segments with 71% having downloaded and/or streamed movies, 55% having done the same with television programs, 72% with music, and 61% having played video games online. It almost appears that Chinese Internet users escape online to seek solace from the harsher realities of life. In stark contrast, only 9% of Japanese respondents have downloaded and/or streamed movies and television programs, and 24% have downloaded and/or streamed music online. This could be due to the stricter piracy laws that are implemented in Japan.

Most trusted forms of advertising
The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising survey polled more than 28,000 respondents in 56 countries and discovered that earned media such as word-of-mouth is the most trusted form of recommendation for 92% of those surveyed. Online consumer reviews followed with 70% of global consumers surveyed indicating their trust in them. In Asia-Pacific, recommendations from friends are the most trusted. Almost half of the survey respondents trust paid media such as television, magazine and newspaper ads, but confidence in these media have declined by 24%. Nevertheless, majority of advertising spend is still allocated to traditional or paid media. Mobile phone text ads are the least trusted medium of advertising with only 29% of respondents claiming to trust ad messages they receive via SMS.

Impact of Facebook vs. Google advertising
Facebook ads have far greater reach than Google, as US$100 spent on Facebook and Google advertising will garner you 15 times more unique people reached and 35 times more exposure from just 3 times more of Google’s traffic. Time to shift advertising budgets?

Influencing moms through social media
The opportunities brands have in engaging and influencing mothers are bountiful given how much more receptive moms are to brand messaging. Performance marketing firm Performics‘s survey of nearly 3,000 active social network users uncovered that approximately 61% of moms are more likely to own a smartphone compared to other women, and are more active on social networks as well. In particular, moms are 16% more likely to visit Facebook daily than women without children. Purchase intent of moms after being recommended goods and services on social sites is also 45% higher compared to women without children. Most importantly, 75% of moms are more likely to regard information disseminated by brands on social media as trustworthy. Since mom bloggers control more than US$2 trillion worth of purchase power, these findings are extremely significant to brands.

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Five Friday Facts #21

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Social media users in China
The number of social media users in China reached 256.5 million in 2011, and looks set to reach 414.5 million by 2014. Already making up more than 50% of China’s Internet population, social media users there will encompass 63% of China’s Internet population by 2014. Even without the presence of Facebook or Twitter, social media users in China have no lack of alternative local options that are not banned by the government, thanks to a very competitive social media landscape that is led by Internet giants such as Tencent, Sina, Biadu etc.

Smartphone growth boosts Asia-Pacific’s games market
Asia-Pacific’s booming smartphone market will boost the region’s gaming industry to more than $30 billion in 2016, with annual growth of 18%, which is 2% higher than the global average. Research by Ovum estimates that Asia Pacific will have more than 1 billion gamers by 2016, of which nearly 900 million or 90% of gamers will play games solely on a mobile device or in addition to a PC. In light of recent hit ‘Draw Something‘ and Zynga’s ‘With Friends‘ titles, it’s likely that social gaming will be the one paving the way forward in the growth of Asia-Pacific’s gaming industry.

Tumblr hits 20 million users
Microblogging service Tumblr continues to grow at an impressive rate, having hit 20.15 billion posts and a total of 49.89 million blogs at time of writing. Earlier this year, Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp announced that Tumblr was serving 120 million people and had 15 billion pageviews every month. Its average user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3. Given the rise in popularity of Pinterest, which has similar functionalities to Tumblr in terms of “liking” and “repinning” posts but with a focus on photos alone, we wonder whether Tumblr will continue on this trajectory of growth, or if it will in fact be affected by this bright shiny new platform everyone’s spending their social networking time on at the moment.

Does your CEO tweet?
Apparently, CEOs who tweet are regarded more positively than those who don’t. A survey by social media branding firm BRANDfrog discovered that 77% of respondents are more likely to purchase a product from a company if its CEO and other C-level executives are tweeting. In addition, 78% believe that CEOs participating on social media leads to better communication, 71% believe it improves brand image, and 64% feel that it offers more transparency. Internally, 82% of employees who responded trust their company more if the C-level and other leadership tweets. Of course, it’s not feasible for all CEOs to tweet, but brands should recognise that having an ambassador for the company in the form of higher management might instil more trust and confidence in consumers towards the brand.

New Facebook Pages drive higher engagement rates
A study by Simply Measured analysed 15 Facebook brand pages that were early adopters of Timeline to determine its impact on engagement rates. The results concluded that the implementation of Timeline led to a 14% increase in fan engagement, a 46% increase in content engagement, and a 65% increase in interactive content engagement, namely videos and photos. Of course, we’re not convinced that all brands will see a similar lift in fan engagement because the brands surveyed have a significantly large fan base and were also featured often on articles or used as case studies leading up to the big reveal of Timeline for brands. Still, the new features of Timeline should no doubt make it easier for brands to engage with their fans, so we shall see if a more comprehensive study of brands on Timeline in future will yield similar results.

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