Here are all of the posts tagged ‘PayPal’.

Five Friday Facts #28

by Cai Yu Lam in News

ROI of social media in China
According to a survey by office services firm Regus47% of businesses surveyed successfully used social networks for customer acquisition in 2011, which is a 7% increase from the previous year. China saw the greatest increase in customer acquisition from social networks among the countries studied, from 44% in 2010 to 65% in 2011. India saw the next biggest increase from 52% in 2010 to 61% in 2011. These results show that companies from India and China are more effective in using social networks to acquire new customers than are the US and UK. It’ll be interesting to compare these statistics to 2012 results as companies increasingly recognise and track the ROI of their social media activities.

India could become world’s biggest Facebook user by 2015
According to SocialBakers data, India currently has 57 million registered Facebook members, behind the US with 157 million users and narrowly behind Brazil with 59 million. However, India is set to overtake the US in terms of number of Facebook users by 2015, with growth primarily driven by mobile Internet users, especially in second- and third-tier cities. Mobile already accounts for half of all Internet use in India, where fixed-line penetration is below 10%. Currently, the Facebook penetration of its online population stands at 56.57%, even though its number of users only make up 3.91% of its total population, which indicates much room for growth as long as its number of Internet users grows at a proportionate rate.

Mobile Commerce in Singapore
Paypal’s mobile commerce study reveals that mobile shopping is extremely prevalent in Singapore, with the mobile commerce market seeing a 660% increase in just one year between 2010 to 2011. Mobile shopping comprised 23% of the entire online shopping market in 2011, nearly 6 times its share of the online shopping market in 2010. Singaporeans spent S$244 million through their smartphones in 2011 compared to S$82 million through tablets, although the average spend per head on tablets was significantly higher at S$380, as opposed to smartphones, which amounted to S$274. This reflects the opportunity for brands to use location-based social services to engage their consumers in an in-store retail environment and convert engagement to sales. For case studies on how brands are driving mobile commerce through social technologies, do check out our SoLoMo report here.

Pinterest gets backing
Even though Pinterest has been seeing a decline in number of users, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has confirmed its US$100 million investment in the visual social platform. WSJ also reported that sources value the start-up at $1.5 billion. This backing paves the way for Pinterest’s business model of social commerce, which would tie-in its existing social sharing functionalities. In particular, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani announced

“We see tremendous synergies between Pinterest’s vision and Rakuten’s model for e-commerce. Rakuten looks forward to introducing Pinterest to the Japanese market as well as other markets around the world.”

Fox is the most social TV network
Social TV has taken off in a big way in the US, with many major networks redefining TV viewers’ experiences by socialising the medium because they recognise the phenomenon that is multi-channel consumption. For example, commenting about TV shows on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter grew by 194% between April 2011 and April 2012. FOX was the top social broadcast network for the month of April with 28% of broadcast social share, with NBC trailing in second place at 21%. One of their social TV initiatives include partnering with Twitter for DM-based voting for X Factor, which allowed users to DM @TheXFactorUSA even without being followed by X Factor on Twitter.


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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #15

by Cai Yu Lam in News

PayPal experiments with QR code mobile shopping in Singapore
PayPal will be introducing mobile shopping in Singapore, whereby smartphone owners can buy goods while on the go using a QR code reader application. This initiative will take place at 15 subway (MRT) stations, where gifts from eight retailers at prices reduced specially for Valentine’s Day will be displayed. Smartphone owners must first download the PayPal QR code reader which allows them to scan the QR codes of the displayed products, and subsequently purchase these products by logging into PayPal or by providing their credit cards details.

Singapore is poised for such an experiment as it has a large smartphone userbase, having achieved the largest recorded feature phone to smartphone migration rate globally at 54%, and having the largest smartphone user base per capita in the world with a 90% penetration rate. It also has the infrastructure in place, with mobile 3G network and free public Wi-Fi that every citizen can register for with their mobile phone number.

Smartphones serve as entertainment guides in Taiwan
An Internet survey by Google found that most smartphone users from Taiwan use their mobile devices as a restaurant finder and travel guide. 38% of Taiwanese who responded said they use their smartphones to search for restaurants and food recommendations, while another 35% use their smartphones to seek travel information. Similarly in other parts of Asia Pacific, 66% of smartphone owners aged 18 to 29 in Singapore said they used their smartphones mostly as a food directory, followed by 55% in Hong Kong, and 40% in both Australia and China respectively.

Tencent’s mobile gaming platform
China’s Internet giant Tencent revealed that its mobile gaming platform Mobile QQ Game Hall has surpassed 200 million registered users and sees 13 million users everyday, with peak usage hitting more than 1 million concurrent gamers. It has no doubt tapped on Tencent’s weibo service, which has more than 250 million members. The current selection is still rather limited, but Tencent has claimed it will be adding more titles to its collection of casual games.

‘The Sims Social’ comes to China
Social gamers in China can soon look forward to playing The Sims Social, which was launched on Facebook last year but was unavailable to Chinese netizens as Facebook is blocked in the country. The 537 million active users on Tencent’s social gaming network QZone will be able to access The Sims Social, or Mo Ni Shi Guang in Mandarin, through an open beta on its platform soon.

China’s 254 million active microblogging users
China had 254 million active microblog user accounts by the end of 2011, up by 150.7% from the previous year. The active user activity proves just how big a part microblogging plays in China’s Internet culture. Microblogging user activity was mainly reflected by the number of user-generated content, the number of ‘retweets’ and comments, content shared among social platforms, and content sharing outside social platforms.

LinkedIn reaches 150 million users
LinkedIn has reached 150 million users, after adding more than 50 million users in the last 10 months; in doing so, it has secured its place as the professional’s social network. Asia Pacific accounts for 25 million users, with India accounting for the majority of Asian users with 13 million LinkedIn accounts, while 4 million originate from Southeast Asia. Singapore alone accounts for 700,000 users, which signals a 14% penetration.

Liking a brand has a positive purchase intent
Interesting news from eMarketer: 54% of those who like a brand on Facebook are then more likely to purchase the product.

From social media to word of mouth
Promoting a brand on Facebook means more than just buying up thousands of fans and, right on cue, Unilever have announced that it is shifting away from using social media for getting fans and instead wants to move towards engagement to drive advocacy and word of mouth.

The dinosaur in the room
Is it brands that are having a hard time evolving, or is it agencies? Just 9% of senior marketers believe traditional ad agencies have successfully joined the digital age, according to a new study.

Hey, have you seen this new video?
Just like a study released a couple of weeks ago, new research has found that viewers who watched a video were more likely to recall the featured brand when it was recommended by a friend compared to viewers who found the video through browsing. Also, people who watched a friend-recommended clip were more likely to enjoy the video and purchase the product.

Brits are top on Twitter
Nearly 40% of people in the UK use Twitter, the highest per capita usage in the world. The U.S., the Netherlands, Chile and Venezuela round out the top 5.

Should Facebook make a ‘junior’ edition?
Although Facebook requires its users to be 13, almost half of British 8 to 12 year olds lie about their age and have accounts on the site. Most of the children replied that they simply wanted a place to play games online and would join a ‘junior’ Facebook if it were created.

Adding Facebook Places to your map
Some Facebook users can now see an “Add to Map” button for business pages with brick-and-mortar addresses. This is meant to encourage more people to fill in their Timelines, but should also yield valuable information in recommending places to friends and letting businesses create more targeted ads.

Could the tap-in be the next check-in?
In its latest update for Android, Foursquare has included support for near-field communication, which would allow check-ins via a wave or a tap when you reach a location. The service has changed dramatically as it gets ready to enter its fourth year, and it’s taking notes from Twitter about getting past its ‘growing pains’.

Google launch Google+ developers page
Last Monday saw Google launch a Google+ developers page within Google+ to allow users to stay close to the latest Google+ platform news and events. The idea is for the page to act as a feedback portal for users, as well as encouraging users to join hackathons. It’s been successful thus far, as it’s already in almost 19,000 circles.

MySpace to announce one million new users
Since December, when MySpace introduced a new music player, it has added one million new users, the first increase in users in almost a year.

Pinterest reaches ten million unique visitors a month
According to comScore, Pinterest is the quickest ever site to reach ten million uniques a month. Certainly a site we’re watching closely.

Path: one to watch
Since its redesign two months back Path has added one million new users and is growing exponentially. Whilst it’s only available on smartphones – and hence it’s userbase will always be limited – the ease of use of the nascent app-cum-social network, means it’s another we’re watching closely.

Domino’s return to crowdsourcing
Domino’s has launched Think Oven, its new attempt to crowdsource feedback from its Facebook fans:

The Think Oven Facebook tab has two sections: Projects and Idea Box. Projects is where Domino’s solicits feedback on specific projects, with the kick-off project asking fans to brainstorm uniform ideas. Two visual submissions and two written submissions will each receive $500 rewards.

Idea Box is more open-ended and accepts any ideas people want to submit (although it’s safe to assume the brand’s Facebook admins can delete any offensive/rude suggestions). After all, the pizza chain’s latest product, Parmesan Bread Bites, was created by Brian Edler, a Domino’s Store Owner in Ohio. Other ideas so far including introducing rooftop gardens, better French dressing and a pizza delivery locator light.

Domino’s to trial F-commerce
Meanwhile, Domino’s in the UK are embarking on a new product launch exclusive to its Facebook fans. The Pizza chain is launching ‘boneless ribs’, a new addition to its menu of side orders. Facebook fans will be able to preview and order the dish at a promotional price for a week before the national launch. Perhaps there’ll be a domino effect from this, and it will drive long-term sales?

Control cats from your computer
A new campaign from Friskies allows users to control a series of kittens’ toys through Facebook (while real live kittens play with them). With cats, consumers and the internet combined, expect the web to go into meltdown.

New Cillit Bang Product Launched exclusively on Facebook
Reckitt Benckiser has announced plans to exclusively sell the new Cillit Bang ‘All in 1 Dish & Surface Cleaner’ household-cleaning product through its Facebook page. They also plan to invest an extra £100m in brand building across Europe.

Cadbury’s use Facebook to launch new Wispa product
After running a competition to find the Ultimate Wispa fan, Cadbury’s then let the very same fan launch the new Wispa product – Bitsa Wispa – on their Facebook Page, before running a competition all week to give the first batch of the product away.

Foster’s with Facebook Timeline app
Fosters is the first alcohol brand in the UK to develop a Timeline app, using it to showcase its exclusive comedy content. Rumours of the comedy being sweet, but mostly flat, are yet to be confirmed.

O2 surprises and dazzles with a Valentine campaign
The mobile operator O2 is rolling out plans to ‘surprise and delight’ customers with another personalised social media campaign for Valentines Day. The have created a virtual digital love nest in the clouds to deliver Twitter users messages via Youtube videos, personally recorded by non-identical twin “O2 Cupids”.

Dove creates Valentine’s Day tweet screen
Dove has erected a Valentine’s Day tweet screen in London’s Victoria station, which displays tweeters responses to questions about women and beauty. Aside from the time of year, it’s hard to see how much this has to do with Valentine’s.

Threadless link-up with Pinterest
T-shirt makers Threadless are one of the first brands to run a campaign on Pinterest: they’ve asked users to create a Valentine’s Pinboard including five Threadless products, for the chance to win an $100 voucher as well an $100 Amazon gift card.

Skoda’s impressive use of social media
A really nice story from Car Dealer Magazine, about how a tweet from a journalist about not having a car, ended up with him being a given a car for the day, as well as free lunch. It all goes to show the power of listening on social media, and then generating positive word of mouth. It’s hard to get brands to believe it can be this simple, but sometimes it really can be.

Sky News bans retweeting others, BBC bans breaking stories on Twitter
Sky News has introduced a new policy that bans its journalists from retweeting non Sky sources. It seems to miss the point of social media – about reporters being part of the wider community – and it will be interesting to see if there is a backlash from their journalists.

Simon Collister from We Are Social London highlighted just why it’s a bad move for Sky:

Sky, as an early adopter of Twitter, has taken a big step backwards. It’s easy to see where it’s coming from in terms of attempting to protect the brand from association with inappropriate personal tweets or unconfirmed news, but Sky is missing the point. The biggest damage to the brand will be that its reporters go from being ‘real people’ to official broadcast channels for Sky. This risks diminishing the range, breadth and quality of the content being produced and shared.

What will these policies mean for the individual journalists concerned? Many of Sky’s reporters understand that getting the most out of Twitter means reciprocal engagement through sharing and retweeting other users and are already flouting the new policies. If Sky journalists find themselves losing followers, authority or relevance in the increasingly networked news environment, it will be interesting to see if this leads to higher staff turnover – or a management re-evaluation of the proposed practices.

The domino effect has already been felt at the BBC, where journalists have been told not to break new stories on Twitter. The new rule, which applies to all correspondents within the corporation, reporters and producers, was announced on Wednesday, just a day after Twitter’s new ruling.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #7

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Send your Christmas cards over Facebook
Advertising firm Dentsu and the Japanese Postal Service have partnered to create Postman, a Facebook app from which users from around the world can arrange to send physical Christmas cards right from the social network itself. The cards will cost from 100 Japanese Yen or US$1.29 onwards, while handling and postage fees will cost around 80 Japanese Yen or US$1.03 onwards. Users will first have to register an account and authorise payment details, following which they can choose an existing card design or even customise their own, select the recipient, and finally confirm the order.

The great thing about Postman is in not having to deal with the usual hassle of collecting addresses. Users can find their friends on Facebook or Twitter who have signed up for its service, in which case they can send those friends a card without having to ask for their addresses. Time to start sending those Christmas cards out.

Facebook ads get you emotional
Facebook have been selling different types of advertising for a while now and suggests those that resemble status updates are more engaging than elsewhere online. This claim has now been confirmed by two studies conducted by Neurofocus and Nielson.

The studies used brainwave pattern analysis to determine how effective marketing messages are in different formats. It was found on all measurements (brand recollection, recall and resonance), that Facebook scored better on both attention-to and emotional engagement with the test ads. It’s strong emotional bonds which have kept traditionalists spending their budgets on TV advertising; perhaps these new insights will sway a few budgets in the direction of Facebook.

Facebook continues to lead social media in Europe
Continuing with Facebook’s success is a comScore report showing that Facebook continues to dominate the social networking site across Europe.

Facebook is ranked as the top social networking site across all of the EU5 markets with 68.4% usage. Spain leads the pack in terms of social media use, however the UK shows highest penetration for Facebook use with around 8 in 10 internet users logging in each month.

Chinese netizens use both Sina and Tencent Weibo
Among the thousands of Chinese weibo users surveyed by Admaster and SSI, the top social networking site that emerged from these users’ preferences was Sina Weibo, which was used by 90% of these netizens. Tencent Weibo is the second most popular at 85%, while Tencent Qzone follows very closely behind at 84%. The most interesting finding was that 77% of these netizens use both Tencent and Sina Weibo, and not one of either exclusively. For brands, being on Sina Weibo, the more popular of the two, might suffice in reaching their Chinese audience without having to exert a disproportionate amount of resources to reach more users on Tencent Weibo.

Are Chinese BBS forums a thing of the past?
Before microblogging, Bulletin Board System (BBS) forums were the original social networks in China. Tianya is a Chinese news portal and BBS forum that still boasts of a ‘fiercely loyal community’, but can it really effectively compete with its popular Chinese microblogging counterparts? It apparently thinks so, as it is ready for an IPO and merely waiting for just the right opportunity, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens if and when it does IPO.

When Twitter impacts TV ratings the most
Last year a report by Nielsen revealed that Internet buzz can increase TV ratings, recently Nielsen have released a taster of their research project measuring exactly how much Twitter impacts TV ratings.

Importance of different forms of Social Media varies through the lifecycle of a premiere:

Findings show that although social buzz can impact ratings weeks in advance, Twitter specifically has the most effect near to and during airtime.

The different types of Twitter storm
Research into the content of millions of tweets has found that sometimes mainstream newspapers can “reveal” Twitter storms that don’t quite deserve the definition.

The report has identified 3 types of Twitter storm:

The perfect Twitter storm: a story that starts on Twitter and through a feedback loop with traditional press generates a significant amount of attention across a broad audience.

Best examples: the Blackberry email outage, the Topman T-shirt slogan controversy and the John Lewis Christmas TV ad campaign

The storm in a teacup: a story that generates a comparatively small amount of interest on Twitter but is picked up by a large number of mainstream media outlets.

Best example: the row over the allegedly depressing Aviva promotions during the ad breaks of ITV’s Downton Abbey.

The Twitter-only storm: in its purest form, this is a story that sparks a very significant volume of messages on Twitter but is largely of interest only to a specific group and receives little or no interest from mainstream media.

Best example: the vast teenage Twitter search for the lost sunglasses of One Direction boy band member Harry Styles.

Whether full storms or just light breezes, the speed and unpredictability of social media can create quite the challenge for traditional media.

Facebook roll out timeline and private messages
The new Facebook timeline has begun rolling out in New Zealand, and will be available globally in the near future. The redesigned interface shows users activity chronologically right back to birth. Once live, users will have a small amount of time to curate their older activities before it’s all readily visible.

On top of the new timelines, Facebook are also trialling Private Messages between Pages and fans, which we further explored in a post last week. The new Private Messages feature will allow brands a chance to interact with fans in a more direct and individual manner.

Twitter gets a redesign and sets its sights high
This week Twitter launched their new updated user interface. The interface provides users a faster, simpler way to find out what’s happening around them and the news they care about. The launch added numerous features most notable the ‘Discover’ tab, a tab containing useful and entertaining information customised for the user.

After the launch of the exciting new interface, we have noticed a few similarities with Sina Weibo. The similarities (and differences) help illustrate how social networking is fuelling great innovations and sharing best practises between them.

The update has also seen the addition of enhanced brand pages:

As part of this release, we are introducing enhanced profile pages that help marketers create an even more compelling destination on Twitter for their brands.

Now, your profile page does more to help you make an impression with a large header image for displaying your logo, tagline, and any other visuals.

You can also control the message visitors see when they first come to your profile page by promoting a Tweet to the top of your page’s timeline. This Tweet helps you highlight your most engaging and important content and better connect with your target audience. The Promoted Tweet on your profile page will appear auto-expanded so that visitors to your page can instantly see the photo or video content that you link to from your Tweet.

This page and the Promoted Tweet are both free of charge and publicly accessible for the whole world to see. Your profile page is your own – your colors, your logo, and your messaging.

Enhanced profile page

These enhanced brand pages will offer a much more customisable experience for their fans, allowing them to present their best content on Twitter, and Ad Age have a great overview of how the launch brands are using their pages. However, as We Are Social’s Jim Coleman said to Econsultancy:

Users will only see these pages when they’re first deciding to follow a brand – so we can expect follow conversion rates to go up slightly, but the new brand pages will make no difference to brands everyday interactions with their followers and customers as this still all happens in the stream.

The intent is obviously to make Twitter more ‘sticky’. Twitter has long been envious of Facebook’s amazing average time on site figures, and this is their attempt to bridge that gap. These changes will definitely move the needle in the right direction, but the question is how much.

Not happy with just releasing a simple, easier interface across all platforms, Twitter have also announced their new total user goal; 7bn people. The changes to the interface should help fresh users get to terms quicker, and perhaps the sky really is the limit for this bird.

In other Twitter-related news, an email from Twitter sales suggests the cost of a Twitter fan is between $2.50 and $4. The email discusses the benefits for brands as well as flaunting some enticing numbers such as the 15x increase in impression volume from Promoted tweets.

Embed tweets on your blog or website
You can now embed tweets on your blog or website, and continue conversations on your own branded platform instead of Twitter. This feature, available through the new version of Twitter as mentioned above, allows your readers to reply, retweet or favourite your embedded tweet right from within your website. Clicking on the name of the person tweeting brings you straight to his or her Twitter profile, but you can follow the person right from the embedded tweet as well.

This presents valuable opportunities in keeping visitors on your website for a longer period of time, as you can now refer to a previous tweet you made without having your visitors leave your website by clicking on an external link.


Google+ integrated into Gmail
An update to Gmail and Google+ introduces new functionality making Google+ a bigger part of the experience. Now you can grow circles from your contact book and even filter incoming emails by circle.

The update has also made sharing to Google+ seamless, meaning photos can be shared to friends in one swift click. In addition to the simple photo sharing, Google are also rolling out their new Find My Face feature. The system aims to help you find and tag yourself or friends in photos. Once the option is turned on, Google+ will prompt you when your face appears in pictures.

American Express supports small businesses
Once again American Express have teamed with Foursquare to encourage users to shop at small businesses throughout the holiday season, with a new ‘Spend $10, Get $10′ deal. Once the users’ card is synced with their Foursquare, local deals are shown on a map and all users have to do is spend away with their card to receive the payback.

Isaiah Mustafa is ‘MANta Claus’
The well chiselled face of Old Spice is at it again with a promise to gift all 7 billion people on earth this Christmas. The video below is the first of many and gifts a ‘pair of high heeled lady shoes made out of necklaces’ to @beautyjunkies.

Other recipients include the city of Balitimore, 25 of his closest Internet friends and the whole country of Australia.  Stay tuned to the Old Spice YouTube channel to see what he gifts the rest of the planet.

Share videos from your smartphone
Created by the former CTO of Chinese video-streaming service TudouiSheHui is a video-recording and sharing mobile app which allows users to share videos to Chinese social networks such as Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Renren. The app features filters similar to those on photo-sharing apps such as Instagram, which can be applied to the uploaded videos. Users can also follow their friends, comment on videos, and browse videos in their timeline. Most importantly, video files are apparently shrunk down to one-tenth of their actual size when they are uploaded, although the quality will remain relatively clear. This will allow seamless sharing even for areas with slower Internet speeds and for people with limited data plans. iSheHui is available on both the iPhone and Android.

Heinz 12 Days of Christmas
After an exciting year of groundbreaking campaigns across Heinz’s brands – from the launch of Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Balsamic to Get Well Soup for Heinz Soup – We Are Social has rounded off the year with a 12 Days of Christmas advent calendar across the Heinz Tomato KetchupHeinz Beanz, and Heinz Soup Facebook pages.

From the 1st – 12th December, fans have been visiting the Facebook app to open a different door on the advent calendar, which then entered them into a draw for that day’s prize.

Since going live there has been a phenomenal 114,214 entries into the competition across each of the pages, with 62,741 people sharing the competition with their friends.

Blackberry users can now send virtual gifts over BBM
Research in Motion (RIM) has made a few changes to its Blackberry World portal that will allow Blackberry owners to send, receive and request gifts via Blackberry Messenger (BBM), just in time for gift-giving this Christmas. Blackberry World now has extended local language support as well, namely in Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Dutch.

O2 give Santa a helping hand
O2 have launched a campaign aiming to cheer up consumers this Christmas with personalised videos from Santa himself. All you have to do is tweet  02 using the hashtag #o2Santa to receive your own personalised video from the jolly man himself.

PayPal in social media hell
After talking about Twitter storms, it seems PayPal managed to find themselves right in the epicentre of one last week after purportedly squashing a toys-for-tots Christmas initiative. Although PayPal has now released funds to the website and apologised, the hundreds of angry comments on both Facebook and Twitter show being a scrooge at Christmas is never a good idea.

Wikipedia investigate PR firm for edits.
Wikipedia have suspended at least 10 accounts linked to PR firm Bell Pottinger for content manipulation. It has been said that the accounts were linked to positive statements being added and negative being removed from clients’ pages. The main issue being that the firm was not disclosing their link to the brands, helpfully the founder of Wikipedia has offered to go into the company and give them advice on ethical editing of Wikipedia.

$2.5 million for being defamed by blogger
A lawsuit involving a blogger and a large investment firm has ended with the blogger being ordered to pay the firm $2.5 million in damages. The courts ruled that the blogger was not a journalist as defined by media shield laws designed to ensure that journalists aren’t compelled to reveal the identify of their sources, and therefore must pay the damages. A stark reminder that what we write on the internet can have very real repercussions.

Russians fight Facebook and Twitter battles over election
Both Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with users trying to organise protests agains Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. In response, thousands of fake pro-Putin Twitter accounts seem to have appeared with an aim to drown out true messages by bombarding hashtags with unrelated tweets.

Facebook played small role in London Riots
A Guardian and LSE study suggests that rioters paid little attention to Facebook despite the harshest judicial sentences being awarded for those who used the platform to incite rioting. It would seem that although some of the rioters involved in the riots were also using the service, they saw BBM as the way to contact each other, avoiding Facebook and Twitter as they’re seen as public forums.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #4

by Simon Kemp in News

What motivates us to use social networking sites? 
According to a survey by Pew Internet, 66% of US online adults use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter with a variety of motivating factors:

Chinese CEO crowdsources business decision via Sina Weibo
Lei Jun, the CEO of Xiaomi, a China-based mobile internet company, decided to turn to Sina Weibo to crowd-source a solution to Xiaomi’s dilemma of releasing a CDMA version of their latest Android handset. His weibo has since garnered 7,835 ‘retweets’ and 6,296 comments. Due to a lack of general consensus, he further set up a poll on Xiaomi’s official BBS forum. Let’s wait and see if he does indeed act on the crowd-sourced opinions.

#longreads versus short tweets
China’s biggest celebrity blogger Han Han has not jumped into microblogging despite his domination of the traditional blogging platform and his millions of followers. His issue with microblogging lies in the speed in which information is disseminated, which can be both pro and con. Especially with the levels of censorship in China, new information is spread as quickly as it disappears on Weibo. Here lies a good reminder of the importance and purpose of long-form content for deeper analysis and discussion, even as short-form content through the likes of Weibo and Twitter is great for disseminating bite-sized information.

Local merchants can now sync Chalkboard with Facebook
Chalkboard, a location-based mobile advertising service from Singapore, made recent changes to its merchant dashboard. In syncing their Chalkboard dashboard with Facebook, merchants can now post promotions to Chalkboard and their Facebook page simultaneously, and can also view statistics and interactions more easily.

Another useful addition to the revamped dashboard is the heat map that helps merchants visualize where interactions are coming from on a map. The colour spectrum indicates the number of people who have seen a merchant’s promotions, with purple signifying the least and red the most. The heat map could effectively act as an indicator that potentially guides how merchants conduct their promotions.

Social media drives sales for luxury brands
Burberry announced a 29% increase in revenue over the past six months after a successful social media marketing strategy. Angela Ahrendts, CEO, attributed Burberry’s strong first half to “our continued investment in innovative design and digital marketing”.

Busted Bloggers
47 South Korean bloggers have been penalised by the government for posting false reviews to make money. These ‘power bloggers’ did not tell readers they received commission from 2-10% of total sales in return for writing favourable reviews of products and organising group purchases. The most profitable blogger earned almost $800,000 in commission.

Malaysians can now send free SMSes via Gmail
Malaysian mobile operator DiGi, whose 8.8 million users account for 24 percent of the country’s mobile market, has partnered with Google to launch Gmail SMS as part of Google’s “Internet For All” initiative. This service allows DiGi customers to send free local and overseas SMSes without their phones by using Gmail. Replies to SMSes will appear in the Google Chat bar within Gmail, and contact phone numbers can be stored in Gmail’s address book as well.

Gmail SMS is currently active across a number of Asian markets, such as Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

‘DirtyBeijing’ mobile app warns smartphone users about air pollution levels in Beijing
Beijing-based start-up Fresh Ideas Studio has released a local air quality app for both iPhone and Android. The DirtyBeijing app displays an air quality index that determines the level of risk to one’s health based on the severity of air pollution. The index ranges between 6 indicators, the best labelled ‘Good’, and the worst ‘Hazardous’.

It’s great to see a smartphone app for social good, but it remains to be seen whether DirtyBeijing encounters the Chinese government’s wrath. It uses the stricter US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) index, and not the one mandated by the Chinese government.

Google+ continued lack of growth
Experian Hitwise have released statistics showing how Google+ recorded its third biggest week in terms of traffic last week, after a spike when accounts were opened to all. Nonetheless, data given to the LA Times shows the site has lost visitors in 11 out of 21 weeks since launch, regularly falling between 10% and 20% from one week to the next.

More to the point, Google+ has struggled to expand outside America: according to ICM Research, only 4-5% of 40 million registered users are British. Amusingly, 17% of respondents claimed to use Google+ but in reality only a third do so – with the remainder mistaking it for something else!

Meanwhile, Facebook brings people closer
Forget about six degrees of separation. A new study from Facebook and the University of Milan shows that people in the world are more interconnected than ever before. Out of Facebook’s 721 million active users, any two people on the site are on average separated by merely 4.74 intermediate connections. Facebook has brought local communities closer as the average separation gets as low as 3 degrees amongst people living within the same country.

Being polite on Twitter gains you more clicks
Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella analysed 200,000 link-containing tweets to determine which words, phrases and characters correlated with a higher or lower click-through rate (CTR). Apparently, being polite pays off. A tweet containing the word ‘please’ yielded a CTR of 3.57%, compared to 2.1% without the use of the word. Using the word ‘via’ instead of the standard ‘RT’ also produced a better overall CTR of 6.37% versus 4.19%. Time to change the way you tweet.

Google+ Brand Pages lack followers…
There is yet more speculation about the success (or failure) of Google+ from BrightEdge, whose recent study found that 61% of top brands have created Google+ pages but few people are following them. Brands like Coca Cola, McDonalds and Verizon only have dozens of fans in comparison to their millions on Facebook. In total the top 100 brands have over 300 million Facebook fans in comparison to just 148,000 followers on Google+.

Could music help Google+ whistle to a new tune?
Google launched its highly anticipated digital music hub, Google Music last week. It could breathe fresh life into Google+ as ‘once someone makes a purchase on Google Music, he or she can give Google+ friends a full listen to a track, or even an album, for free’. Neat.

Google+ Pages integrate third party tools and multi-admin access
Google have also announced that they are enabling six third-party tools (Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, HootSuite, Involver, and Vitrue) to test Google+ functionality in their management tools, immediately. With multi-admin access not coming within the site until Q1 2012, this is a welcome boost for brands.

There’s also a new AdWords feature, appropriately named, Social Extensions, which will enable brands to link their page to their AdWords campaigns. According to Google, this is big news:

With Social Extensions, consumers will be able to see all the recommendations your business has received, whether they are looking at an ad, a search result or your page. This means your +1’s will reach not only the 40+ million users of Google+, but all the people who come to Google every day.

Finally they’ve added trending topics. This is a list of the top 10 most popular discussion items on the social network. I wonder where they got that one from…

Facebook’s Sponsored Stories in real-time ticker
Facebook have now included their Sponsored Stories into the real-time ticker. According to Nielsen 68% of people are more likely to remember seeing them and twice as likely to remember the message than a normal ad. Although proven to be effective, the new placement will be somewhat irritating, so brands will have to be cautious in using it.

Foursquare’s expertise badges 
Are you a Mexican food lover or a devout veggie? If so you can prove your expertise in a certain area with Foursquare’s new ability to ‘level up’ with their badges. The user has to complete the levels by visiting a certain number of unique places. Some of our favourite badges include don’t stop believin’, greasy spoon and ski bum. We’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what these badges are awarded for…

Foursquare focuses on discovery
In other news from Foursquare HQ, they have launched an all new website design with a live giant map on the homepage, showing a variety of colour coded places of relevance: trending places are shown in yellow, places on your lists in green, ones with specials in orange and popular ones in blue. You can also see where your friends are and can receive recommendations. Foursquare hasn’t stopped there, as the logged out homepage has also seen a revamp, placing emphasis on the new ‘expertise’ angle.

Skype launches Facebook-to-Facebook video calls from within Skype
Last week Skype announced they had reached yet another Skype-Facebook partnership milestone: Facebook-to-Facebook video calling from within Skype. Simply connect your Facebook to your Skype account, select a friend and get calling.

Send money via the new PayPal Facebook App
PayPal just made it easier for us to send money whenever and wherever we want. 80% of active PayPal users are also actively using Facebook, so in light of this they can now send money directly via the new Send Money app, which allows users to send actual gifts instead of wall posts.

‘Share What You Wear’ with RNKD
Zappos co-founder Nick Swinmurn is reinventing loyalty programs for clothing brands and retailers. RNKD, pronounced ‘ranked’, is still in its beta version but in essence it allows users to upload photos of their clothes and then tag them by brand. It then assigns a user rank according to the contents of the virtual closet and awards badges accordingly.

Virgin tweets live flight statuses
Virgin Atlantic is now offering customers flight status updates via Twitter using the @VAAInfo account. So if you want to know the status of your flight, send a tweet and you’ll receive a response ‘within seconds’, but with Virgin’s well-known brand of customer service: the tweet might begin ‘hello gorgeous’.

Walmart’s 12 Days of Giving
It is the season of giving, and to get into the true festive spirit, Walmart has launched a charitable Facebook campaign named the 12 Days of Giving. Their 10.3 million fans are asked to nominate local good causes and non-profit organisations for a stake of their $1.5 million holiday grants.

Citroën’s Twitter race
Citroën have launched a race where the route is determined entirely by its followers’ tweets. Instead of racing against other cars, followers will compete to direct the new Citroën DS5 towards them with a chance to win it.

Renault: Ange & Demon
We Are Social’s Paris office have created a street fighter style Facebook game which allows players to choose an Angel or Demon character to fight their way through a variety of challenges and win prizes for the best performances. This is to promote the 666 limited edition Clio R.S. Ange & Demon cars.

Jeweller shares soppy love notes via Facebook

Robbins Brothers, a Californian jeweller has come up with an extremely cheesy Facebook campaign. All fans have to do is write a love note to that special someone on the brand’s Facebook page and they will upload it onto a digital billboard on a local freeway. And, if that isn’t enough they will also take a photo of it so you can share it with your loved one. Whoever said that romance is dead is clearly mistaken…

Samsung turn tweets into art
To promote their new Galaxy Note handset through Twitter, Samsung are turning tweets into artwork using some of the phone’s digital pen and memo service. To see your tweet created into art simply tweet Samsung with the hashtag #createmytweet.

Divorcing couple ordered to swap Facebook passwords
A Connecticut judge recently ordered a divorcing couple to swap their log-in details for their Facebook and dating website accounts so that their lawyers could conduct ‘discovery’ through them. The power of social appears to have no bounds as both our online behaviour and how we communicate are even having an effect on our legal systems.

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