Here are all of the posts tagged ‘social gaming’.

Five Friday Facts #76

by Laura Picard in News

WeChat now has 190M monthly active users
WeChat is a giant amongst chat apps. It has a user base of over 300 million users with projections that it will surpass 400 million in a few weeks. So it comes as no surprise that WeChat has reached 190 million monthly active users. As noted by TechInAsia, this number suggests that WeChat is closing in on Whatsapp territory, which has 200 million monthly active users according to the most recent data. On the other hand, an overwhelming majority of WeChat users are based in China, whereas Whatsapp–and even other Asian chat apps like Line–enjoy greater success on an international level. Nonetheless, WeChat has experienced growth at breakneck speeds in the last two years, an incredible accomplishment as illustrated in the graph below.

70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is user-generated
Mashable cited a recent study by Digitas and Curalate and found that 70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users as opposed to brands. The disparity between brand- and user-generated content is much larger for some industry categories. With brands in the fashion industry, for example, only 18% of content engagement comes from the brands, while 82% comes from the community. Similarly, 75% of content engagement for the automotive industry came directly from the users. By contrast, the study found that brands in the electronics industry were split more evenly, between user-driven and brand-driven engagement; while 47% of content engagement came from brands, 53% came from the community. Ultimately, these findings indicate that there is massive potential for brands to join the conversations and direct engagement on the platform.

In India, PC users watch 3.7 billion online videos per month
According to TheNextWeb, 54 million PC-based internet users in India watched videos online in March 2013. This number has increased from 32 million in March 2011, indicating a rise of 69% over the last two years. Equally significant is the growth in the total number of videos watched each month; the figures have risen from 1.8 billion in 2011 to 3.7 billion last month. It is interesting to note that the top two platforms for video consumption are social to some degree; Youtube and Google sites ranked first with 31.5 million video viewers, while Facebook came in second with 18.6 million. When it comes to the average time spent on video consumption, DailyMotion outranks Facebook’s 21.9 minutes by a significant margin, with 59.6 minutes spent on average.

Google+ has 359M users, ousts Twitter as second largest social network
A recent report by Business Insider details the recent growth of Google+. Citing new data released by GlobalWebIndex, the findings suggest that Google+ is growing at a rate that may ultimately oust Twitter as the runner-up for largest social network (with Facebook and its 1.1 billion users remaining at the helm). Google+ currently has a staggering 359 million active users. This is up by 33 percent from June 2012, when they had 269 million active users. Twitter is growing at a faster rate, however, as it experienced a 44 percent increase during same timeframe, from 206 million users to 297 million users today.

Chat app Zalo has 2M users, plans for 5M soon
While well-known Asian chat apps like WeChat have continued to gather a massive following, this trend has also been demonstrated as strong in other Asian markets. According to TechInAsia, Vietnamese chat app has passed 2 million users, and has stated plans to reach 5 million in the near future. With 10 million smartphone users in the market, 5 million seems like a lofty goal at first glance. Vietnam is currently at the threshold of rapid mobile growth, however, and given Zalo’s recent uptake in growth, 5 million may not be such a stretch after all.

[Bonus Fact] Chat app to cash cow: Line revenue is up by 92% this year
The Japanese chat app Line has recently revealed that its first quarter revenue for 2013 was 5.82 billion yen (71.1 million SGD), The company’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 stood at 3.03 billion yen (37 million SGD), indicating a staggering 92% increase on Q4 2012. The results were retrieved by TheNextWeb, as shown in the graph below:

Roughly half of these earnings come from in-app payments and social gaming features–components of the chat app that have been heavily developed in recent months. In particular, Line’s gaming feature reached the milestone of 100 million downloads earlier this year. Stickers raked in 1.7 billion yen (20.8 million SGD), or about 30% of the revenue for Q1 2013. Ultimately, these numbers suggest that there is serious potential when it comes to the monetization of chat apps.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #70

by Karen Wee in News

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%.

Twitter in the Middle East

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.

Twitter tribes

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:

Facebook Timeline Movies

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:

Facebook New Timeline

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.

Foursquare on new timeline

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 Music

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.

Vine usage

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 Analytics

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.

People who pinned this

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.

Nike Instagram milestone

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.


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 Vatican photos

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.

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Five Friday Facts #68

by Laura Picard in News

Daily active users on Sina Weibo up by 82%, add 46 million in 2012
Sina Weibo’s growth over the past year has been an incredible spectacle. The Chinese microblogging service flew past 300 million in February last year, and the milestones kept coming in increments of 100 million: 400 million through July and 500 million by the end of December 2012. Onlookers may easily cast doubt upon these sort of numbers, however–after all, the number of registered users hardly describes user behavior. A recent report by China Internet Watch seems to dispel these doubts, as active users are reported to have increased at an impressive rate as well. Just as 500 million in December 2012 constituted a doubled user base from 2011, active daily users were up by 46.2 million or 82% compared to the same time last year.

2.8% of Twitter’s highly active users adopted Vine in its first month
It’s been six weeks since Twitter launched its micro-video sharing app Vine. Despite a few blunders with explicit content early on, the new video creation platform has started gaining some serious momentum in the social appmosphere. As TechCrunch reports, 2.8% of Twitter’s highly active users had adopted Vine in its first month.

Competitors like Viddy and Socialcam are also growing, but not quite as quickly. While Viddy lured 0.5 percent of Twitter’s active users, Socialcam came in with 0.2 percent of the same population–growth rates that contradict the rapid-fire expansion popularly associated with the growth of social platforms. This is because overall, video creation continues to be a relatively underdeveloped area in social media–a point that makes Vine’s adoption rate particularly striking.

The data was calculated from a sample of 2,500 randomly selected users who had tweeted at least 100 times within a month of Vine’s launch date, or January 24th 2013. On one hand, we know that the total population of active Twitter users exceeds 200 million; On the other, the number of users who tweet over 100 times per month isn’t as clear. Despite some indications of growth, only time will tell if a micro-video is worth 1000 words–not to mention 140 characters.

Line was the top social app for revenue in Jan 2013
TechInAsia recently reported that Japanese chat app Line claimed the top spot for revenue amongst social apps on iOS during January 2013. This claim is especially impressive as it is understood in relation to an increasingly popular category; social apps came in third globally in terms of revenue. Social apps also saw a significant increase in monthly downloads during the month, up by 30% compared to January 2012. Line has also become the top non-game for monthly revenue, on both iTunes and Google Play. This popularity may come as a surprise given the fact that the Japanese chat app constitutes the only Asian-made app in a list filled with American apps. As we have tracked through the recent months, Korean chat app KakaoTalk is quickly catching up as serious contender for the spot. AppAnnie notes that KakaoTalk ranks third highest for revenue on Android phones.

In US, 68% of small businesses to increase or maintain social ad spend
eMarketer reports that small business owners are increasing their devotion to, and investment in social media platforms. Based on a November 2012 study by Ad-ology Research, the findings suggest that a sizeable portion of businesses with fewer than 100 employees planned on increasing their budgets for marketing and advertising on social media.

The study indicated that the highest level of interest went to social advertising, with nearly 68% of respondents planning to increase or maintain their social media ad spend. Over 36% also responded that they would increase or maintain spending on promoted posts or sponsored tweets. While a majority of small business spending will still go toward conventional modes of marketing, social platforms are clearly casting a wider net of interest for their marketing potential amongst small business owners in the US.

In Singapore, average Facebook user likes 23 pages, mostly brands
Recent insights from Socialbakers indicate that Singaporean Facebook users like an average of 23 pages on the platform. The report indicated that brands were also the most popular amongst Facebook users, with 6.1 brand pages liked on average. This is followed by the categories of celebrities and entertainment, with 2.9 and 2.1 pages respectively.

The report also stated that images were the most popular form of content in Singapore, with brands posting images the most frequently on their pages, and fans sharing visual posts the most.  Socialbakers also notes that McDonalds Singapore, KFC Singapore, FlyScoot, Singtel and Starbucks are the most popular brand pages. Meanwhile, Starhub claims the top spot as the most socially-devoted brand, with over 110,000 fans and an impressive response rate of 90.3%


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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #64

by Karen Wee in News

HootSuite social media dashboard goes Korean 
Social media dashboard HootSuite is now fully localized for Korean users. Though a Korean User Interface is not available on the mobile app yet, it’s in the works. Considering how often the Vancouver-based company has been rolling out updates to support Asian users, we reckon the months ahead will be interesting for users seeking a social media dashboard that supports a wide range of platforms in Asian languages. Just last week, we mentioned that HootSuite introduced new features for Sina Weibo and Renren, China’s version of Twitter and Facebook respectively. We’re waiting to see the new updates that the Hootsuite owl has under his wings.

Meet Zalo, Vietnam’s contender in the mobile messaging app battle 
Mobile messaging apps have been making huge waves the past few months. Asian-born apps such as Line, WeChat and KakaoTalk have been making a play for the international market while battling for dominance within the region. Mobile messaging is much loved in Asia so it barely comes as surprise that Vietnam has jumped into fray with homegrown app Zalo. In a recent update, bugs in the app were patched, a VIP microblogging feature was added along with a Retina app icon. In spite of the newly added features, the app is still not on par with its stronger Asian competitors. Zalo in its current incarnation is not as slick or sophisticated as the other apps but it is learning from its competitors. Big changes could be underway as the app maker, VNG, has hired a large team to bring the app up to speed and to bring to life new features that will help reel in more users. Considering that it was only fully launched in November 2012 and has amassed over 500,000 users by late January, the app isn’t doing too badly in relation to VNG’s social media platform Zing Me’s 8 million users. In addition, due to VNG’s gaming background, industry observers expect gaming features to be rolled out on Zalo soon. 2013 could be the year of mobile messaging, do you think so too?

KakaoTalk releases K-pop emoticons for Indonesian users
Speaking of chat app and features, Korean-born KakaoTalk has released Korean pop star emoticons that have been localized for Indonesian users. Featuring animated text in English and Indonesian, the 5 sets of K-pop emoticons for acts such as Girls Generation, KARA, SHINee, Rainbow and Yoo Seung Ho are available as in-app purchases in the Android app. Costing IDR 3,300 (S$0.42) each, they’re currently not available within the iOS app although users can still receive and use them via the gifting feature. Till 8 February, Indonesian users stand a chance to get free K-pop emoticons by liking or following KakaoTalk’s social platforms and helping to spread the word.

KakaoTalk launches games on iOS in Japan 
More on Korean KakaoTalk, in its latest move to challenge rivals like Line, the messenger app has unleashed its mobile gaming feature on iOS and Japan. The expansion of the app’s gaming service into Japan is supported by Yahoo Japan which owns half of Kakao Japan, the app’s local subsidiary. There are currently six third-party iOS game apps on KakaoTalk’s social gaming network: Tap Tap Blitz, Puzzle Zoo Zoo, Sushi Panic (shown in picture below), Zoo Zoo Bubble and Pocket Colony. The company hopes to offer 100 games by year end to its users.

Social becoming increasingly global
Earlier this week, we reported on GlobalWebIndex’s latest data, which displays a shift towards the use of global social platforms. This has meant an increase in user numbers for the ‘big three’ of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, which have increased their active user counts by 33.4%, 27.7% and 40.1% respectively.

Facebook’s 2012 growth
Facebook has, in the last week, shared their latest ‘active user’ figures for the end of 2012. The network now counts 1.056 billion monthly active users, a 24.97% increase since the same time in 2011.

In terms of daily active users, the platform has now reached 618 million, up 34 million from the previous quarter. Interestingly, mobile daily active users surpassed their desktop counterparts for the first time, showing that those who access Facebook regularly are increasingly doing so via mobile.

The number of pages has increased to 50 million and apps to 10 million, in comparison with 42 million and 9 million in April, whilst there are now 350 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day. All this has contributed to a strong financial quarter for the network, with $1.59 billion in revenue up from $1.13 billion in Q4 2011. In terms of profit, however, the story is mixed: $64 million profit in Q4 2012 was a huge improvement on the $59 million loss in Q3, but down from $302 million at this point last year.

Marketers to spend more on social in 2013
The number of marketers either purchasing media or sponsored content in social is set to grow in 2013, with 64% of those surveyed by Nielsen claiming they intend to increase their social budget in the future. This is likely to start as a small increase (between 1 and 10%) but nevertheless displays a shifting attitude towards more robust use of social media as a marketing tool.

Facebook testing verbs for status updates
Facebook has begun trialling a new system that provides a more structured method for users to share what they’re doing, such as watching or reading. As well as posting a normal update, there would be an option when writing a post to select from a drop down menu of feelings, films, books etc. or choose to write your own.

The example below shows how this would work for someone watching the film ‘There Will Be Blood’.

Facebook introduces Gift Cards
Facebook last week released a universal gift card, an extension of their ‘Gifts’ system, through which you can purchase presents for a friend via the platform. The card, available from now in the US, will hold on it the relevant amount of money a user has to spend in various participating retailers, as shown by the example below:

The initiative does have issues. Firstly, it may have been more useful to provide one unified currency to spend across Facebook, instead of breaking it up by retailer; however, it is of greater benefit to those retailers that the revenue be locked into their stores. Also, there is as yet no integration with the likes of Apple’s Passbook.

Facebook increasing transparency of targeted ads
Facebook has decided to make it more transparent when ads have been targeted, choosing to display the blue ‘AdChoices’ icon to a user when an advert that has been targeted for them, subsequently allowing users to opt out. However, the changes do not display wholesale transparency. Firstly, this only applies to display ads served through the FBX ad exchange. Secondly, the icon appears only when someone scrolls over the grey x in the corner of the advert, which itself only appears when the advert itself is scrolled over.

Facebook set to grow headcount in 2013, looking at increasing revenue
Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that 2013 will see Facebook grow in staff numbers, looking at further development of money-making streams such as Graph Search and Gifts. The platform, which grew by 44% to 4,619 employees in 2012, will increase its headcount even further, in order to invest on research and development for products that can increase Facebook’s long-term revenue. The statement also acts as a warning to investors that Facebook intends to focus on long-term over short-term profits, as the rise in staff will increase the platform’s expenditure by 50%.

Facebook’s image-based commerce
A tech company called Stipple, which provides the ability to add certain functionalities to images, has now extended the service to the Facebook stream. This allows brands who use Stipple to display pricing information on images and looks towards an eventual move to provide real-time purchasing in users’ news feeds.

Foursquare’s improvements for businesses
Foursquare has enabled a number of improvements for businesses. Firstly, they have released an app that allows business managers to  more easily share updates, specials and discover information about their customers. The app, for iPhone and Android, is aimed at local managers who can switch between a few locations; an entire chain must still be managed via desktop. Furthermore, businesses can now choose to have their Twitter handles shown any time someone shares a check-in on Twitter, facilitating organic cross-platform growth.

UK Foursquare users can sync their accounts with American Express Cards
This February, AmEx is providing exclusive discounts to UK users who sync their cards with their Foursquare accounts. Spending at certain retailers will result in cash back on users’ next bills, with the stores involved including Harrods, Shell, Gap, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.

The Super Bowl on Twitter
Last night marked the Super Bowl, probably the biggest fixture in American sport. Unsurprisingly, Twitter was on excellent form and the network has published some statistics on the evening’s activity. The highest peak (in tweets per minute) during the game came when a power cut stopped play, with an activity rate of 231,500 TPM. The end of the game produced 183,000, whilst one particularly impressive touchdown gathered 185,000. However, the true star of the night, at least on Twitter, was Beyonce, who generated 5.5 million tweets during her half-time performance. The conclusion of her show was subject to 268,000 tweets per minute.

Twitter wins over Facebook in Super Bowl TV ads
Famous as the Super Bowl is for sporting action and overeating, the TV adverts have also become a celebrated part of the event. Yesterday showed the extent to which television and social marketing has become integrated by the number of mentions different networks received across the 52 national adverts, with Twitter receiving 26 to Facebook’s paltry 4 and a no show for Google+, in comparison with 8 mentions each for Facebook and Twitter out of 59 adverts in 2012.

Marketers take advantage of Super Bowl blackout
As huge numbers of Twitter users took to the social network to talk about the Super Bowl, marketers were on hand to take advantage of the blackout that stopped play. Brands such as Bud Light and Speed Stick purchased promoted tweets so as to be seen in conversations around the power cut. Many other brands, such as Audi, Tide and Volkswagen all produced relevant content.



Calvin Klein used the opportunity to experiment with Vine, Twitter’s new video-sharing app.


The absolute winner has to be Oreo, who had an entire team on hand to sign off creative in real-time, producing the below Twitter update that was retweeted over 14,000 times. On Facebook, the same photo received over 19,000 likes and 6,500 shares:

Duracell also reacted well, producing the below for Facebook:

Taylor Swift set to help Diet Coke in social Diet Coke have announced a partnership with Taylor Swift across all their marketing channels, from TV to print and digital. Interestingly, the deal’s launch depicts a distinctly social aspect to the campaign, with the singer announcing it in a 45-second YouTube video. Moreover, she encouraged her 39 million Facebook fans to ‘like’ the Diet Coke page as a resource for exclusive information about her upcoming tour, suggesting that one key aspect to using the brand advocate is to grow the brand’s online communities. It is worth noting that Taylor Swift has a huge online presence, particularly on Twitter, where her 23.5 million followers puts her only a few million behind US president Barack Obama.

Expedia app helps fans organise their holiday photos Expedia has released a ‘Find Your Story’ app that allows fans to choose photos from across Instagram and Facebook to produce a video collage of their trip, which can then be shared on Facebook. The idea is a clever one, in that it taps into the insight that many of us take hundreds of holiday snaps and fail to organise them correctly. The below video shows how it works:

IBM launch on Tumblr
IBM has released a Tumblr called IBMblr, aimed at ‘celebrating innovation’. Whilst the brands that tend to find the most success on the platform are ones with a strong visual element, such as design or fashion companies, IBM have a wealth of content to draw upon, having filed the most US patents for 20 consecutive years. As such, IBMblr will feature images of products from the past, as well as ideas about the future of technology. Whilst this is a bold step for a B2B brand, it will be worth following whether or not they manage to locate an audience on the platform. O2 predict the future on Facebook As part of their promotion for their new ‘Pay & Go Go Go’ service, which rewards customers the longer they stay with the network, O2 have released a ‘Future Timeline’ campaign, which creates an idealised version of the upcoming year based on fans’ Facebook data. For example, you may end up on a date with a celebrity crush, or your favourite football team might end up winning the league. In addition to this, content hosted on O2′s ‘Future News’ YouTube channel will feature ex-Arsenal striker, Ian Wright, presenting sporting news that is yet to happen. Fired HMV employee posts from company’s Twitter account A lesson to all companies intending to mass-fire their employees: make sure they don’t have access to your Twitter account. Last week, tweets appeared on HMV’s own Twitter feed that detailed how 60 employees were being let go in what was referred to as a ‘mass execution’. The company then followed up, explaining what had happened via the same channel, tweeting:


Obviously, when your business is being liquidated, spelling goes out the window. The disgruntled employee has since been revealed as former intern Poppy Rose Cleere, who claimed her actions were based on a sense of injustice that those responsible for HMV’s downfall were safe, whilst those lower down the chain lost out the most. Apparently, she has since been inundated with job offers.

Tesco troll Arsenal on Transfer Deadline Day 
Transfer deadline day can be a tough time for fans of English Premier League football club Arsenal (I speak from experience). One account, poking fun at manager Arsene Wenger’s love for a bargain, attempted to make light of the situation, tweeting about negotiations with the supermarket chain. Tesco picked up on this and responded, pointing out that the manager has not always proved financially astute:


This refers to Arsenal’s Brazilian left back, who has been largely criticised for lacklustre performances since arriving at the Emirates. Later that day, Arsenal purchased a replacement. Perhaps the Gunners have Tesco to thank.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #42

by Dhanuj Selvaraj in News

Sina Weibo’s upcoming redesign resembles Facebook’s Timeline
When Sina recently reported its financials, CEO Charles Chao mentioned that the Weibo version 5 launch will include a redesign of the web page. A more advertising-focused, Google+ like private sharing of weibos is anticipated. The closed beta version, which is expected to be released end of the week, is said to allow weibos to be shared within groups, such as ‘classmates’ or ‘colleagues’ similar to Google+ Circles. Tech Web have already gotten their hands on the layout, which allegedly resembles Facebook’s Timeline cover. Apart from this radical change, the Weibo stream has toned down in its outlook with inactive icons being greyed-out. The redesign on a whole looks promising indeed.

Nike jumps onto WeChat
The group messaging service WeChat, otherwise known as ‘Weixin’ in China, has won itself significant endorsement after Nike China reported plans to run its first social campaign on the service.The Tencent-owned platform has more than 100 million active users worldwide. Nike has tapped onto this influence for their “Nike sports-on-the-go” concept where users can receive daily news and updates from Nike via WeChat if they follow the company. Nike China aims to move away from being a broadcaster to one who connects to its consumers via conversations as the company’s media manager said,

We want to deepen the connection with consumers, from broadcasting to conversing, from ‘one to many’ to ‘one to one’.

Tapping on the mobile penetration amongst the Chinese youth and the influence WeChat has in the country, Nike has taken a brave step with this campaign.

Half of Indonesia’s online shoppers use Facebook and Kaskus
Research from a report released by Veritrans and DailySocial show that half of online shoppers in Indonesia use both Facebook and Indonesian forum Kaskus to buy goods. In addition to greater trust between consumers and sellers on social media, the study also found out that social networks are able to screen user behaviour for more accurate ad placements than e-commerce sites. Majority of online shoppers spend up to IDR 500,000 (S$66) per transaction. E-commerce in Indonesia is a very healthy industry, and is expected to grow 10 times larger in the next five years. However, top e-commerce sites such as TokoBagus, Bhinneka and Tokopedia are losing out to their social network competitors who see more sales on their sites.

Gaming giant DeNA collaborates with Twitter for invitations to play
Japanese gaming giant DeNA announced its new collaboration with Twitter to send game invitations via Twitter’s direct message. The new feature will be integrated within its Mobage social network for Mobage gamers to find friends to play with by choosing to direct message from a list of people instead of all their Twitter followers. Twitter is said to be aggressively exploring opportunities in Japan, which is the platform’s third largest market.

Youku and Tudou merge
Two of China’s largest YouTube-esque video streaming social sites Youku and Tudou have finalised their merger. When the deal was first revealed, it  came as a surprise to netizens but the new company, Youku Tudou Inc is said to continue with their services unchanged. This is said to be China’s biggest ever tech deal as both Youku and Tudou are listed in NYSE and NASDAQ respectively.

Social media marketing is mainstream
Almost 9 in 10 companies in the US will use social media for marketing this year, according to new research from eMarketer. Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the most widely used platform, with Twitter coming in a distant second. Social media adoption has ticked steadily upward over the last few years, but it seems like an eon ago that just about half of companies engaged in social media marketing. Turns out that “eon ago” was 2009. Those were dark times.

Facebook tests new in-newsfeed ads for non-fans
After the success of Sponsored Stories targeted at fans and friends-of-fans, Facebook has decided to push the boundaries a bit further and allow Page updates to appear in the newsfeeds of Facebookers who haven’t given the page the thumbs up, nor are friends with anyone that has. These ads are still in the trial phase while Facebook gathers feedback on their performance and how users are feeling about them, but they look very similar to Sponsored Stories, save for a small ‘Like Page’ button in the top right corner.

What to expect when you’re expecting (on Facebook)
Facebook has added a new ‘life event’ option that allows soon-to-be parents to inform their Facebook friends of their impending bundle of joy. Importantly, Facebook has not ruled out using this feature for targeting ads to new parents, though it says it’s holding off on that for the moment.

Certain Open Graph actions get higher priority in newsfeeds
Not all verbs were created equal, and recent changes to Open Graph apps for developers mean that some actions will now be placed more prominently in the newsfeed than others. Previously, Open Graph, the key to “seamless sharing”, had all actions carry the same weight. Now developers can say which actions should have more prominence, and they can give higher priority to, say, a Foursquare check-in posted to Facebook, instead of a user just liking a location. Facebook has termed this new option ‘explicit sharing’.

Page Admins can now see subscriber numbers
Want to know how many people are following your page without liking it? The number of page subscribers has just been added to Facebook Insights and is now listed in the overview section.

Social reader apps find success with new ‘trending’ design on Facebook
It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for social reader apps, but some apps have recently noticed an upswing in new users and monthly active users, thanks to Facebook changing the design of the ‘trending article’ update. Facebook has long been experimenting with this design, and this seems to be working much better than the last version, which showed just one article at a time.

Twitter limits API calls and user numbers for third-party apps
Twitter’s war for consistency is far from over, and now it’s started up yet another battle. The fight this time? Twitter has announced that it will cap the number of API calls an outside app can make, going so far as to single out apps like Tweetbot and Echofon for elimination. This change is aimed at apps that replicate the Twitter stream without adding more features. Twitter is also restricting the number of users these apps can have, unless the app gets special permission. That means that the days are numbered for paid third-party apps, which now know their maximum user base. Apps that focus on curation, like Storify and, appear to be safe, but the future of Flipboard still looks like a big question mark.

Twitter gets a new motto
Twitter has plastered a new motto on a wall in its San Francisco office that says “Defend and respect the user’s voice”, perhaps in light of the mess it made of suspending and then un-suspending journalist Guy Adams’ account during the Olympics. The other corporate creeds adorning the wall seem much less mighty than this one, and it will be interesting to see what happens when this saying gets challenged.

Google+ offers custom URLs for select pages
Its users have requested custom page URLs on Google+ since the beginning, and their pleas have finally been answered — well, at least if they’re a big name. The likes of Toyota ( and Delta Airlines ( now have much simpler URLs, instead of a string of numbers. Fingers crossed this update trickles down to the rest of us soon.

Pinterest app lands on iPad and Android
Pinterest, the popular project-discovery and organisation app, has launched on two new platforms, as well as getting a makeover for the existing app on iOS. When the Android launch would finally happen was an ongoing joke in the company, and any time an update was published, a countdown clock would start until a user asked, “Where’s the Android app?” The new platform additions were announced at a Pinterest company party that included top pinners, and we’re just hoping that they knew the best place to find hor d’oeuvre ideas and kitschy table decorations.

Instagram update reveals new profiles and photo map
Instagram has just released a beautiful new update that gives users new ways to see photos shared on the network (sadly, no new filters). Your photos can now be added to a map, which is prominently featured on users’ profiles and makes it easier to delve into your archive of snaps. User profiles, hashtag and location pages and the Explore tab have all been revamped, and Instagram’s CEO has hinted at a future design that makes it easy to browse events, say the Olympics for example, and promised that some new filters are cooking for the next update.

GetGlue breathes new life into the TV guide
GetGlue, previously a TV show check-in app, has just released a reimagined guide on the iPad to help its users discover new TV shows and movies. The guide integrates social feedback so that you can see what your friends are watching and talking about and prioritises new episodes over reruns. But it’s not just TV: The guide can recommend films to watch at your local cinema and sport matches you might enjoy. Could GetGlue be a big challenger to the big-name recommendation engines, like Spotify, Netflix or iTunes?

Will these new social platforms from Twitter be the next big thing?
The brains behind Twitter have been busy churning out three new social platforms that are still flying just under the radar and are all in invite-only or beta mode. All of them add an interesting twist to already existing social networks. The first, called Lift, is like a ‘Foursquare for habits’, where you can check in to what you want to do and see what your friends are doing. The second is called ‘Branch‘ is a new take on the forum, and users can share or subscribe to ‘branches’ (otherwise known as threads or circles), but must ask to contribute. The third platform, and the one that has gotten the most coverage so far, is called Medium, and it might just be a good halfway point between Twitter and Tumblr. It vows to ‘rethink publishing’, though most of its users haven’t found it immediately clear how that’s going to happen.

Twitter really, really wants the Spice Girls
Twitter loved the Olympics, and as we’ve written about in previous weeks, athletic superstars Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Andy Murray took home the Olympic and the Twitter golds. But who stole the night at the Closing Ceremony? If tweets are any indication, Twitter was singing, dancing and tweeting along with the Spice Girls, posting 116,000 tweets per minute. We’re still missing the Olympics-shaped hole in our Twitter streams.

Spoon your mates thanks to Ben & Jerry’s
To promote the release of their new frozen greek yoghurt, Ben & Jerry’s have released an ingenious Facebook app to help you reconnect with old friends on Facebook. By scanning shared interests you have with your friends, it suggests people that you especially get along with (say you both love bluegrass music) and rewards you both with a coupon. Although it does interpret the decision not to share your location with Facebook as a ‘shared interest’, it largely works well.

Is Foursquare worth it again?
Despite once showing much promise, Foursquare has experienced something of a drop-off in usage of late, arguably because of the lack of incentives to check-in. That’s not the case at this restaurant in Florida, which offers a reservation and a permanent car park space to whoever is mayor.

CEO of menswear company braves the waters of Reddit
Paul Grangaard, president and CEO of Allen Edmonds, decided to start a Q&A on Reddit and has bravely given honest and genuine answers that Redditors have posed to him. Reddit definitely isn’t a forum that most marketers even dare to touch, but when you know the lingo and are up on your memes, there could be a way in.

US presidential candidates are fans of social, but not for socialising
President Barack Obama and hopeful Mitt Romney have been furiously posting to their social media accounts, but they aren’t doing much responding to their followers. Over two weeks in June, just 14 of 404 tweets from the Obama campaign were retweets of ‘regular citizens’, according to new research from the Pew Research Center. Just 1 of Romney’s 14 tweets matched that criteria. Obama has posted four times as many updates as Romney and is active on twice as many platforms. Maybe one day they’ll learn that social media is a bit different than their soapboxes.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs turns to Flickr for help finding tax fugitives
The UK’s HMRC has uploaded on Flickr the mugshots of 20 fraudsters they are looking for, and they are asking for the public’s help in tracking them down. And maybe if that doesn’t work, they should try Instagram.

Flickr unearths the next David Attenborough
An entomologist has discovered an entirely new species of insect from the comfort of his armchair. Whilst browsing Flickr, he came across a picture of an unusual looking Malaysian Lacewing. Following a brief phone call with the Natural History Museum, he was able to ascertain that this was a new species and went on to co-author a paper with the photographer about the discovery on Google Docs. Beats Farmville!

Money well spent for adidas
It looks like our global client adidas are reaping the rewards from their Olympic sponsorship, and they had a 25% increase in Twitter followers during the Games. Their hashtags for the games (most notably #takethestage and #stagetaken) were used a total of 146,078 over 17 days, and YouTube videos, including a surprise appearance by David Beckham, racked up 3 million views.

The Twitter marriage proposal
Tim Hoang, longtime friend of We Are Social, decided to propose to his girlfriend via Twitter, and the hashtag #timhoangproposal started trending before he asked his girlfriend at a restaurant. Good thing she didn’t have her phone at the table.

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