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

We Are Social’s Festive Roundup

by Cai Yu Lam in News

It’s mere days to the New Year! Hope everyone had a good break over Christmas and are looking forward to making (not breaking) some New Year resolutions for 2013. In the meantime, here’s one last blog post to wrap up what’s been a pretty fruitful 2012 – Happy New Year all!

Social media users in India concerned about privacy
Even though we posted recently about how most social media users in India were ignorant about online privacy, some figures have emerged that state otherwise. According to a poll conducted in several Indian cities by the PreCog Research Group, 63% of respondents had modified their default privacy settings on a social network, which reflects their recognition of potential privacy problems. At the same time, around 40% of them expressed concern about the way their data was handled on social networks, while on a broader scale, 56% of respondents said they would clear their browsers of cookies after spending time on the internet. Given the recent debacle about Instagram’s new policy changes, which sparked much furor and debate on social media, social networking platforms should take more care about protecting their users’ privacy lest they lose the trust of their users.

Ushi launches name card and contacts app
Chinese professional network platform Ushi has launched Ushi Mingpian, which loosely translates to Ushi Name card, an app that scans and stores information off a name card. Ushi CEO and co-founder Dominic Penaloza believes the app will help new users catch on to a real-name professional social network since they would already be familiar with the concept of exchanging name cards containing their real name identities as part of networking and doing business. The app actually does sound like a good extension of their professional network, working as both a name card scanner and self-updating address book, and would perhaps help widen the network’s user base thanks to this added functionality.

Chinese social network Douban’s monetisation plans
Chinese social network Douban has projected an 80 million yuan or S$15.6 million revenue for 2013. Although not particularly substantial (this is China we’re talking about), it’ll be interesting to see how Douban accomplishes this, given that rival social network Renren reached revenues of US$50.4 million or S$61.6 million in 2012, although it did see overall net losses due to the high cost of revenues. Technode deduced that Douban would likely be pulling together this 80 million yuan from the following sources – commissions from e-commerce transactions by directing users to online retailers, brand campaigns through its social marketing and advertising solutions for brands, and e-book sales through its e-book store Douban Read.

WeChat arrives on RIM’s Blackberry, launch New Year features
In its bid to conquer Southeast Asia, Chinese chat messaging app WeChat has extended its presence in the region, and is now available on Research In Motion’s Blackberry platform. While the new app lacks some of the more advanced features found in the Android and iOS version apart from core functionalities, we expect swift improvements and updates in the near future. Ironically, this may cannibalise RIM’s own Blackberry Messenger (BBM), even though it will not be surprising if Blackberry users use both chat messaging options simultaneously.

In Thailand, WeChat allows its users to celebrate the New Year with a bang by having celebrities record their New Year wishes in video clips. Users themselves can record their New Year wishes on their phones and send these to their WeChat contacts. There’s also a ”Look Around” feature that allows users to discover celebration activities of other WeChat users and send stickers of New Year wishes to them.

Social networks drive e-commerce in Indonesia
Social networking is big in Indonesia, with the number one platform being Facebook. Not only is it used for social networking, Facebook’s apparently driving e-commerce sales as well. Around 50% of online buyers surveyed reported making purchases via Facebook in April, making it the top e-commerce site. It is followed closely by Kaskus, an Indonesian online community where 49.2% of respondents reported making purchases on.

Online is where it’s at for advertising
Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that there has been a 6% increase in online ad spend in the US in the last quarter, and an 18% growth year-over-year. This shows that even in an unstable economic climate, digital is a growth area that marketers are willing to invest in.

Facebook can tell you what’s ‘Nearby’
Facebook have made some major updates to the Nearby feature for its iOS and Android apps. Choosing where to eat will never be easier. The feature combines recommendations, likes and check-ins of your friends to provide you with suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area that you’re in. As people are already spending an increasing amount of time on Facebook this upgrade to the app will only entice them to use it more, and make full use of all its offerings. Should FourSquare and Yelp be worried?

The new Facebook Poke app has arrived 
Facebook have launched a new Poke app, which can be used to send messages, photos and video that expire – once the time set by the sender is up the content is removed from the app. Much like the features of mobile app Snapshot, users of Facebook’s Poke app can add doodles and text to images but also gives you the option to report or block users. The fast paced nature of the app should attract a younger audience to communicate with friends in a new and exciting way.

Video ads are on their way to Facebook
Are you ready for video ads to invade your Newsfeed? Well get ready because Facebook plans on unveiling a new video-ad product by April 2013. Facebook will offer video advertisers the opportunity to target large numbers of users in their Newsfeeds, where the same video ad can be shown to you up to three times in one day over several platforms despite the user not having any relationship with the advertiser. The autoplay function will potentially prove to be controversial as it’s currently planned to enable video advertisements to automatically start playing and expand out of the news feed into the webpage.

Facebook’s mobile ad network exchange is no more
In a surprising move, Facebook have after three months pulled the plug on it’s experimental data sharing mobile ad network which was testing the ability for advertisers to target ads on third-party mobile apps using Facebook’s data. Facebook is choosing instead to focus inwards to the social network and improve ads on the platform itself. This brief experiment has highlighted the power of Facebook’s data and doesn’t preclude the possibility that Facebook will one day create its own fully fledged online ad network.

Facebook Collections has moved into its second phase of testing 
The testing of Facebook’s Collections feature, which enabled people to ‘want’ and ‘collect’, has now moved into its second phase. This phase of testing is looking at the language of the feature, testing different verbs to match the users’ desired action.

Facebook are also looking at gaining an understanding of how the feature is interacted with in terms of sharing. There is the possibility that Collections could remain a premium post type and require page owners to buy ads in order to promote it, and for the foreseeable future Collections will remain on desktop only.

Facebook are testing paid for Inbox messaging 
You’d think these messges that only make it to your ‘Other’ messaging folder do so for a reason, but Facebook has launched a test which has given a small number of users the option to pay $1 to bypass this barrier and have their message moved into the receivers Inbox. The test is only for user-to-user so fear not, no companies will be able to spam you just yet, and at this stage only one of these messages can make it into your inbox once a week. Facebook believe by charging they will “discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”

Germany argue the use of pseudonyms over real names on Facebook
Germany and Facebook are butting heads once again, this time over users having to provide their real name on the social networking site at the sign-up stage and now allowing the use of pseudonyms, which conflicts with the German data-protection law. The Office of the Data Protections Commissioner in the state of Schleswig-Holstein is demanding that Facebook change its policy and other states are expected to follow.

Instagram’s new Terms of Service ruffled some feathers
As mentioned above, Instagram caused uproar when they updated their Terms of Service. The update was received negatively, with threats of deleting accounts and boycotting the service being made if changes to the terms didn’t take place. National Geographic made quite a statement with their post, along with others from the photography community on Instagram. They don’t want to lose the rights to their own imagery but it seems Instagram won’t be selling their photos any time soon. Soon after the first changes were announced another set of “new” new Terms of Service were announced to try and calm the critics.

The impact of the Twitter/Instagram Face-off
Instagram removing online previews out of Twitter didn’t go down well, since insisting that users click out of one app and into another does not provide the best user experience. There was a method to their madness as they wanted to drive more traffic to their site . But as the graph below shows this hasn’t necessarily been the case – daily visits to Instagram may have gone up but the number of Twitter for iPhone users who visit the instagram.com site is 11 percentage points less than the number of people that used to look at Instagram content online.

The number of active Twitter users has increased
Twitter announced through a tweet that they have now hit 200 million monthly unique users, up 60 million in the last six months since Twitter last shared numbers on its sixth birthday. It’s a huge milestone for the company who has seen huge growth during 2012, with even the Pope joining the network to share messages, photos, videos and links. This is a long way off Facebook’s one billion monthly active users, but Twitter is clearly hot on Facebook’s heels.

Foursquare fight fire with fire with their updated Explore feed
Just days after Facebook announced the updates to its app feature Nearby,Foursquare has made changes to its Explore feed which now uses data from Facebook friends, even if they’re not friends on Foursquare. This change will give users the option to tap into a large set of data whilst keeping their check-in privacy the same.

Get the family together, wherever they are, with Google+
Google+ have launched a Christmas campaign to highlight how Google+ Hangouts can bring the family together. They have reunited characters from Wallace and Gromit films to show how the 10-way multi-person video chat can bring them all together at the most important time of the year, Christmas. The video prompts people to use the platform to connect with family over the festive season.

Google has created a website to host the ad, and they have also created a Holiday Effects app to run alongside the Hangout service, which allows people to put on a Santa hat, reindeer antlers or Wallace’s tank top.

Follow the journey of your favourite Donna Karan dress
Have you ever wondered how a couture gown goes from initial idea to the red carpet? Well now you can discover the journey for yourself using a custom Facebook app which was created by We Are Social.

We designed and developed the app that tracks the journey of the Atelier gowns, with a world map shows where the gown is on its global travels, and the scrolling timeline shows each gown’s updates in its individual profile. The app provides Facebook users with the opportunity to experience the gowns’ journey around the world.

evian water – inspiring you to Live Young
In 2013 water brand evian is going to help Londoners find their inner child and rediscover what makes them happy with their January campaign, ’31 ways to Live young’. The campaign will feature a stunt in the London’s commuter hotspots and will also be found online on evian’s Facebook Live young hub which will be handled by We Are Social. We’re very excited about working with evian and cannot wait for the campaign to launch, and we’ll have a whole host of fun suggestions to share each day that will help you Live young.

Inspiring 26 acts of kindness
NBC News’ Ann Curry has inspired a nation and even the world to join in and be part of the 26 acts of kindness campaign, asking people to perform acts of kindness in honor of the Newtown shooting victims. The Twitter hashtag #26acts has taken off and people are tweeting constantly about the good and selfless deeds they’ve been doing. Be it visiting the elderly, buying a coffee for the doorman or simply sharing a photo that’s going to make people smile, the power of social media has made this happen. The message has gone from one person on a platform with the ability to speak to many, to millions on a platform talking about the way they’ve made a difference.

London Fire Brigade to have world’s first 999 emergency feed
Tweeting the fire brigade before you leave a burning building – this could be the way forward. As the London Fire Brigade look to the future they are considering allowing users to report fires and other incidents using Twitter. As the Brigade are already using Twitter to broadcast news this could be seen as a natural progression for them. They’re currently looking at other online platforms such as apps and blogs as they feel they need to communicate with the general public in the same way they communicate with each other.

UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions issues social media guidance
Keir Starmer, the UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions has released guidlines for the prosecution of people who misuse social media. The guidelines will attempt to answer the age old question, what is, and what is not, acceptable in the social sphere?

Ermahgerd… it’s memes from your Facebook photos
You can jump for joy and clap your hands with glee as you can now create memes from your Facebook photos with a new tool from Cheezburger. It’s a great way to create something that will resonate with your Facebook friends, so go ahead and unleash memes – tis the season to be sharing after all.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #58

by Karen Wee in News

Indian & Indonesian users have easier access to Facebook Messenger
Last week, we mentioned that the rumour mill was buzzing about a possible acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook. Shortly after, Facebook announced that users in India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela and South Africa will be able to sign up for Facebook Messenger IM service with only their names and phone number. A departure from the usual requirement for users to have an email address, this development is a step in the right direction for Facebook as it seeks to woo users in countries where internet penetration is lower and users communicate regularly via text messages and Instant Messaging apps. Unfortunately, this step could be a little too late as Facebook Messenger IM app faces stiff competition from newer rivals like WeChat and an uphill battle to convert an entrenched BlackBerry Messenger userbase. The months ahead should be interesting as WhatsApp has denied rumours of an acquisition bid by Facebook.

Sina e-payments gets social with new name, WeiboPay
We mentioned 2 weeks ago about Tencent’s plans to implement an online payment service on its runaway success messaging platform, WeChat. It’s rival Sina looks set to join in the battle for the online consumer dollar with a rebranded PayPal-like platform, WeiboPay. Previously, the payment service was used to facilitate in-game purchases. The enhanced product now integrates with the newly revamped Sina Weibo platform, with possible developments to offer deals to its userbase of more than 400 million registered users.

The matrix starring China’s social networks
Much has been said of the pervasive influence of social networks in China. A recent TechInAsia report cherry picks key information from a study by IDG Capital Partners on the Chinese social network market. Presented in a matrix format, it illustrates the influence that each social network worth its salt wields in China; further segregated into user needs and interestingly, how open they are to strangers. The chart reveals Tencent’s dominance in China’s social networking scene with products like it’s older QQ IM app, new Weixin (aka WeChat) IM app, Qzone, Pengyou and Tencent Weibo occupying top spots serving different user needs.

China’s Kaixin social network launches baby photo diary app
Proud parents and baby pictures often translate into newsfeeds flooded with updates on almost every little aspect of the child’s development. Recognising the importance of these life events as its userbase matures, Kaixin is seeking to regain lost ground by launching a photo diary app named Kaixin Baby. One of China’s earliest social networks, Kaixin was superseded by larger networks such as Renren, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. Also available on iPhone, Kaixin Baby has a dedicated site which is integrated with the main Kaixin site and incorporates social elements such as inviting friends and family members to join or post from their own Kaixin account.

Nukkad, a virtual street corner in India’s SoLoMo world
Named after the Indian concept of street corner discussions on just about every topic ranging from sports to politics, the Nukkad app integrates chats, location-based socialisation, aggregates Twitter and Instagram content within the area and shopping deals. The app aggregates user generated reviews on products or stores in the area, thereby allowing other users to make educated decisions based on crowd-sourced information.

The majority of social media roles at brands are part time
A study entitled “Structuring a Social Media Team” has found that 65% of those working in social media for brands and charities do so on top of other duties. The research, whilst also found that social media budgets have not increased across most companies in 2012, displays the reluctance of many organisations to reassign resources from traditional communications to emerging media.

Facebook rumoured to be in talks to purchase ad serving platform Atlas
The social network is reportedly in talks to purchase ad server Atlas Solutions from Microsoft, potentially allowing them to close in on Google’s dominance over online advertising. The move would provide further access to user data and greater publisher connections, which could prove formidable. Most importantly, this would give Facebook a massive head start in creating an advertising network outside of their own social platform, targeted based on Facebook profile information. This comes at the same time as the news that over 2.5 million Facebook posts have been promoted, by over 300,000 Facebook pages, since the option to promote posts launched in June.

200,000 mobile apps now connected to Facebook
Facebook have released figures that display the strength of its Open Graph platform, which is now in use by 200k Android and iPhone apps. David Fisch, Director of Platform Partnerships at Facebook, discussed the numerous possibilities: “An iOS app can be a Facebook app. A mobile website can be a Facebook app. A console game can be a Facebook app. Your car, your shoes, your credit card or your toothbrush can be Facebook apps.” Whilst Facebook isn’t currently able to monetize these third-party apps, these provide a base on which the network may later look to build advertising revenue.

Facebook’s ‘subscribe’ feature set to change to ‘follow’
It’s been a big week for announcements from Facebook. One last bit of news: the ‘subscribe’ button is set to be changed to ‘follow’. The subscribe feature, which has been available to pages, or users who choose to enable it, allows ‘subscribers’ to view the activity of a page without becoming a ‘fan’ or ‘friend’. Whilst there is no planned change in functionality, the move is intended to provide an easier user interface between social networks, with users familiarised with ‘following’ others through Twitter.

Some big brands are using Facebook’s global pages
Playstation, Burger King, Swatch and Clarins have all begun using Facebook’s global pages. Users are automatically directed to the regional version of the page, often providing relevant content in their own language. However, users can access any page through a drop down menu and all are linked by their ‘like’ and ‘people talking about this’ figures.

The end of an era for Twitter and Instagram
Things are changing between Twitter and Instagram. Once allies, battling it out against the Facebook behemoth, the two are now set to face off with one another in the photo sharing wars. Twitter announced that Instagram had disabled Twitter cards functionality, meaning that users would be unable to properly view Instagram photos on Twitter. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated the move’s intentions: “We’ve decided that right now, what makes sense, is to direct our users to the Instagram Web site”. He added that there would be no effect on Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare. Poor Twitter.

Twitter gets (more) local
Some better news for Twitter. They’ve launched Trends in 100 more cities worldwide, including 12 in the UK. So for those of you in Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Sheffield: now’s your chance to see what’s Trending in a city near you.

Snapseed for iOS, Android and Google+
And some worse news for Instagram. Soon after their acquisition by Google, photo editing/sharing app Snapseed has now launched on Android, at the same time as making their iOS version free. Throw in Google+ integration and it we could be looking at a potential rival to Instagram. Whilst the two are currently worlds apart in terms of size, Snapseed’s functionality is certainly impressive and this is seems like one to watch.

Google+ growing as fast as Facebook?
Google+ made an announcement this week about two things: growth and communities. The first includes some intriguing figures. More than 500 million people have upgraded to Google+, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million in just the stream. This last statistic means growth of 35 million in the last 2.5 months, figures that rival Facebook at a similar size. This comes as exciting news for the often ridiculed site and may start to restore some faith in its potential as a network. The second part of the announcement refers to ‘Google+ Communities’, a new feature that allows like minded individuals to create a network wherein they can discuss their mutual interests.

Foursquare is the third most used Mobile social app
A Nielsen report has stated that Foursquare has 10.4 million monthly users, putting it third behind Facebook and Twitter in terms of monthly mobile users. Adweek have reported the news, stating that this means 42% of the 25 million of those who have downloaded the app are using it regularly. This statistic may go some way to addressing questions about Foursquare’s performance.

Foursquare makes custom events available to Venue Managers
A big new benefit for venue managers on Foursquare: they can create their own custom events. Previously, the only event availability was to do with concerts, films and sport – all only available to a limited set of partners. This increased functionality could provide a great deal of opportunity for businesses, marketers and users and it will be worth watching how this develops.

A new look for YouTube
YouTube have redesigned their user interface, introducing a ‘Guide’ that users can fill with subscriptions, allowing them to easier organise their favourite content. Other changes include the video layout, integrating “the subscribe button, social actions and video information”, plus re-positioning playlists to allow easier scrolling whilst watching a video. They are looking for feedback and will be hosting both a Google+ hangout and a Reddit IAmA in the coming weeks.

Spotify is going social
Spotify is rolling out a whole set of new features, aimed at making the musical experience completely social. The principal changes are two new tabs: Follow and Discover. The former allows you to connect with other Spotify users, from friends to artists, allowing you to obtain content you want from where you want. This will also allow artists to share new releases and tour information with their fans quickly and easily. The Discover tab will display relevant content, be that artists or playlists, based on what is already in a user’s library.

SoundCloud’s new design available to all users
The new version of SoundCloud, the music sharing site that reaches 180m people per month, with 10 hours of audio uploaded every minute, has been slowly rolled out to users over the past year. Now, the new version is becoming the norm, with new features including updated search, discovery and recommendation features and increased connectivity with other social sites, such as Facebook.

Microsoft expanding image-sharing network Socl
Microsoft’s Pinterest-style social network is now available to anyone with a Microsoft or Facebook account, having been available only to a small audience since May. They claim that the network is not intended to compete with larger platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but may be linked to future Microsoft product launches; it will be interesting to see how this aim develops.

The father of SMS – 20 years on
Matti Makkonen is known as the ‘father of SMS’ due to his idea in the 1980s for a messaging service run via mobile phones. This week, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the platform, he gave a rare interview to the BBC via text message.

Nokia release ‘Tweetsender’ tool
Nokia have come up with a reason for their users to follow them on Twitter: Tweetsender. The new app allows Nokia users to receive direct messages via Twitter whenever new updates are released for their phone. Simply follow Nokia and you will receive a DM with instructions of how to set up the feature. Authorise the app and give it details of what phone you have and you’ll start receiving up to date product news that is relevant to you.

Heineken’s ‘Bottle of the Future’
To celebrate its 40th birthday, Heineken have launched a campaign that allows fans to produce the beer’s next limited edition bottle through a Facebook app. The idea looks to celebrate the company’s past, by offering the opportunity to view and remix old designs.

Mercedes-Benz use social video to thank 9 million fans
Mercedes-Benz have reached the milestone of 9 million Facebook fans. How to celebrate? Well, they’ve produced a social video as a thank you, which displays a set of lights painting over a CLS-class car, then spelling out “9,000,000″, “FANS” and “THANK YOU”. Aw, you’re welcome.

Lexus donating to boys’ and girls’ clubs
Another automotive giant, Lexus, is giving $10 per check in to boys’ and girls’ clubs in America no matter where the check in is. If they do choose to head to a Lexus dealership, the check in is worth a whopping $20. Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing, said that they “want to create an opportunity for people to easily give back to a great cause”. It is certainly unexpected to see so large a donation offered for check ins anywhere and this is likely to see some good will heading in Lexus’s direction.

T-Mobile spreading Christmas cheer with US tour
T-Mobile and Carly Foulkes are touring the US, giving out prizes at every destination. They announce each stop on the tour with a Foursquare checkin, as well as by Facebook and Twitter. Then, the first customer to check in at each stop and show the judges wins a Samsung Galaxy Note II, a year of T-Mobile service and a MOGA game controller. The tour is set to spend the next few weeks circuiting the US, so may be at a town near you some time soon.

Diesel heading back to the 90s
It’s no secret that a lot of people hark back to the days before the Internet. Diesel are taking advantage of this, relaunching a 1993 shoe with a ‘Pre-Internet’ campaign. They’re challenging people to win a pair of YUKs by giving up Facebook for 3 days, or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for 2. The activity is supported by a set of humorous videos intended to point out how little these shoes care about tracking or wall posting.

Expedia on the hunt for Australia’s best bloggers
As part of a campaign set up by We Are Social in Sydney, Expedia are looking to find the best up-and-coming bloggers in Australia and New Zealand in five categories: Lifestyle, Food, Music, Travel and Family/Parenting. The winners, voted for on Facebook, will receive the trip of a lifetime and the status of official Expedia bloggers for 2013.

Allen Solly release Twitter powered billboard
Indian retailer Allen Solly are marking the launch of their new clothing range with a billboard powered by Twitter. The billboard shows 60 shirts, all obscuring the campaign graphic. With every tweet, a random shirt moves forward, until each one falls off, providing tweeters with a new shirt and everyone else with a view of the new collection.

Microsoft’s #DroidRage Fail
We’ve seen plenty of examples of Twitter Fails over the last year. Now, Microsoft seem to be the latest in a long list. Encouraging users to share their tales of frustration with Android phones via #DroidRage, they seem to have caused a backlash, as Android users have come to the defence of their phones, while #WindowsRage has gained some traction. Oh dear.

Homebase introduces YouTube channel aimed at driving social commerce
Homebase have produced a YouTube channel, aimed at driving sales. Videos will feature tagged products, which users can purchase by clicking on the video. The activity is being supported through integration with Facebook’s Open Graph, automatically sharing when a user has watched one of their videos.

UK’s HM Treasury’s report on Pinterest
The UK’s HM Treasury have produced a set of infographics about their Autumn Statement and uploaded them to their Pinterest account. Considering how complex budgetary data can be, this may be an intriguing way for governments to simplify and spread difficult data.

Your friendly neighbourhood social network
Finally, a markedly different use of Pinterest: law enforcement. ‘The Mercury’, a newspaper in the borough of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, has started pinning mugshots of those wanted for crimes throughout the local area. As a result, the police have seen a 50% increase in arrests.

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Five Friday Facts #29

by Cai Yu Lam in News

SingTel acquires food review site HungryGoWhere.com
Singaporeans take food very seriously, and infocomms provider SingTel‘s acquisition of local food review and recommendation site HungryGoWhere for US$9.4 million or S$12 million is making waves in the country. HungryGoWhere will merge with inSing.com, a Singapore lifestyle and local search site, which is a subsidiary of Singtel as well. This merger will allow Singaporeans access to over 100,000 restaurant reviews, food-related deals and discounts, together with information on over 15,000 restaurants and hawker stalls across a spectrum of desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Currently, users can log in to HungryGoWhere with the Facebook Connect function, and discover the restaurants their Facebook friends are recommending. Reviews can also be shared across various social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. This pool of social data could perhaps be one of the biggest draw of HungryGoWhere for SingTel.

Tencent dominates China’s online gaming market
Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which has social networks, instant messaging services and online and social games under its portfolio, is the clear leader of China’s online gaming sector with a 33.7% market share, followed by Netease with 17.3%, and Shanda with 16%. China’s online gaming revenues have grown to US$1.78 billion or S$2.27 billion, which indicates a 9.5% growth from the previous quarter. Steven Millward from Tech In Asia asserts that “social gaming is a large part of the reason behind the company having far-and-away China’s richest web portal.”

CEOs want more social with customers
IBM’s “Leading Through Connections” survey reveals that CEOs expect social media to account for 57% of their important customer interactions. Over 1,700 CEOs surveyed believe that social media will become one of the top 2 ways to engage customers within the next 5 years, and mainly at the expense of traditional media. Currently social media is the least utilised of all customer interaction methods, with 16% of CEOs surveyed using the channel to engage customers, compared to face-to-face, sales force and institutional representatives which 80% of CEOs surveyed use currently. Websites are also more popular at 47%, and 39% of CEOs surveyed rely on traditional advertising, even though it sees a 61% decrease in use in the next 5 years. As Enrique Salem, CEO of Symantec put it:

Social networking has and will continue to significantly change how we do business. The way we collaborate with our customers will be transformed.

The rise of social networks for videos
Video apps such as SocialCam and Viddy are seeing interest from brands, much like how these brands flocked to establish brand profiles on photo-sharing app Instagram after it took off. SocialCam operates like a social network for videos, where more than 50 million monthly active users record videos from their mobile phones or upload existing videos, and add filters or soundtracks to the videos, besides consuming and commenting on other users’ videos. Most users have been accessing the service online but the iPhone and Android apps have been downloaded 10 million times, which is pretty impressive. This has prompted brands such as General Electric, the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and PepsiCo brands Sierra Mist and Brisk iced tea to launch brand pages, of which the latter two have amassed more than 85,000 followers apiece. Viddy has about 36 million users but limits the length of the videos to only 15 seconds long. So far brands like GE and fashion label Diane von Furstenberg have been using the app to capture snapshot videos.

National Geographic documents Mount Everest expedition with Instagram
National Geographic is using photo-sharing app Instagram to let viewers live vicariously through real time photo updates of an Everest expedition. Using Instagram to document the expedition for the very first time, National Geographic’s follower count shot up by 40,000 new followers in the past 8 weeks of the journey, to a total of over 60,000 followers to date. Besides Instagram, National Geographic has also been keeping its audience updated through its iPad app with exclusive content, and also held a Google+ Hangout at the Everest Base Camp. It’s great that National Geographic is engaging its audience through various social media channels to really accentuate the expedition in real time, that is, if the 3G network allows it.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #16

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Japanese airline ANA shows how Japan is ‘cool’
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is turning to social media to promote tourism to Japan. Its Is Japan Cool? website allows users to share and explore interesting and fun aspects of the country, as well as rate them ‘cool’ or ‘not so cool’. The site itself is simple in functionality and easy to use, even though it could have better integrated social functionalities like the Facebook ‘Like’ to rate items, which would then increase its visibility through Facebook rather than having all the action constrained within the site. ANA is also offering a pair of round-trip tickets to Japan as part of this Cool Campaign, so you might as well try your luck too.

Burberry’s takes London Fashion Week by storm on social media
In addition to our previous post on Burberry’s excellent use of social media to livestream its Autumn/Winter 2012 collection during London Fashion Week, Burberry will be posting looks to its newly launched Pinterest page, and releasing images of its handbags to styling site Polyvore for fans to use in their own fashion collages. It will also make its show soundtrack available for download on iTunes. Before the show, Burberry shared looks from the runway in the form of animated GIF images on Twitter, which is truly novel and refreshing. It’s proven to not only be fashion-forward, but social media-forward as well.

Chupa Chups goes into social gaming
Chupa Chups is leveraging the interactivity and stickiness that social networks afford, and has forayed into social gaming to ensure staying top-of-mind for its target audience. Its first game from Chuck Studios is called Chupa Chucker, in which the brand mascot shoots “brain spam” with lollipops, and was launched yesterday on Facebook. It remains to be seen whether the costs of developing games (there are more in the pipeline) will translate into brand loyalty earned.

Indian Music Service Saavn’s growth from Facebook’s Open Graph
Following the launch of partner apps for Facebook’s Open Graph, India-based Saavn, a service that allows users to share music with friends through their timeline, ticker and news feed on Facebook, has garnered more than 700,000 new users in a month, taking it to a total user base of 1.3 million. It has seen increased usage as a result of Open Graph, with its daily use up by more than 40 times, and content-sharing having increased four-fold. The number of monthly active users have also increased dramatically from 35,000 to 785,000, generating a total of 750 million Facebook impressions along the way. Although based in India, Saavn is available across 200 countries, where its music can be accessed worldwide. No matter how many detractors there are against seamless sharing of Facebook apps, the results sure have been impressive, and show that Facebook users are interested in using these apps.

Microblogs take over China
According to research, micro-blogging (users of Weibo) grew hugely in 2011 in China. Weibo is now slightly more popular than other social networking sites, after growing 296% year-on-year.

It’s unlikely the numbers will increase as much during 2012, due to regulators trying to introduce procedures that would require users to reveal real names while registering.

Asia’s first social media research center
Asia now has its very first dedicated social media research center ’Social Media Laboratory’, which the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) launched last week. The new facility will study social media culture and technology across Asia, in particular focusing on the research and design of next-generation social media systems, networks, and applications in emerging cyber-physical societies. Professor Tony F Chan, President of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology said,

“At HKUST, we believe that innovation should play a strong role in the globalized world. We are proud to establish the first social media laboratory in Asia. With this laboratory, our faculty and researchers are taking an active part in nurturing research and development talents in the blooming new arena of social media, and building Hong Kong as a leading hub of creative media and IT technologies in the region.”

A new social network for coffee lovers
Mass niche networks are becoming the next social networks of interest, and Over Coffee is a new social network that is about “coffee, people, travels, and about the shared experiences that take place over a cup of coffee.” After creating their own profile page by registering their details or logging in via their Facebook account, users can upload photos, chat about coffee, use the interactive map to locate cafes in their area, or upload details about their favourite cafes. Users can also blog about their experiences under the ‘Coffee Stories’ section, and submit them to be published as ‘featured stories’. The social element features in ‘Connections’, where users can make connections and meet people, over a coffee perhaps. It’ll be interesting to see how big this ‘social nichework’ can become, given its focus on people’s universal love for coffee.

The ROI of social media
Much has been debated about the ROI of social media. Well, this video addresses most queries that marketers usually have. Most notably, it mentions that

“Because every business has different objectives, ROI will be different for everyone. Before adding social media to any marketing campaign, companies should clearly define their objectives.”

Social media engagement is ‘the top priority for the digital marketer’
Recent research about digital marketing trends shows that social media engagement is rated as the top priority for companies:

New Belgium says “Cheers” to its Fans
According to a study of the No.3 Craft brewer’s annual sales, the average fan spends $260 on beer each year.

Facebook fans really “like” New Belgium beer so much that the amount they spend constitutes to half of the brewery’s annual sales. While it is difficult for brands to measure the impact and value of its customer base, No.3 Craft brewery have a pretty good idea. It estimates that its Facebook fans are responsible for $50.7 million in yearly sales.

Facebook Brand Page growth speeds up – but doesn’t match Google +
Based on figures from Socialbakers, this month alone, the growth of Facebook fans among the top 10 pages has increased to 4.3%.

Nonetheless, Google+ brand pages have grown by an astronomical 1,400% since December. Pages were only introduced a few months ago and at first struggled with limited interaction. The report states that the number of people following the top one hundred brands on Google+ grew from 22,000 to 3.1 million, with the majority of the growth happening in the top ten brands.

Google+ brands have also grown faster than those on Twitter recently in terms of pure numbers, although it’s unclear whether this is really sustainable.

The ciphers of social media
Some really interesting research from Kevin Kelly, with one pertinent take-away: you can’t measure by follower/circle numbers alone, because many of these people are ciphers – they don’t post, and they’re not adding anything ‘social’ to the conversation. In other words, they’re like a newspaper reader, rather than a social networker.

Retailers shutting down F-Commerce sites
Last April, Gamestop opened a Facebook store to generate sales among the 3.5million customers who declared that they were fans of the brand, but less than a year later, the store was quietly shut down. It’s a trend noticeable among other F-Commerce sites, which haven’t performed as expected – with Gap, J.C Penney and Nordstrom all also closing their stores.

Facebook to release timeline for Brands and other new features
Facebook will introduce its Timeline feature to brands this month on a stage-by-stage basis.

In addition, Facebook has also launched verified account status for certain users – you cannot choose to be verified, Facebook will choose you. Once verified, users can show a pseudonym – say, WhatleyDude – instead of their real name.

Facebook is still testing new types of Sponsored Stories based on Open Graph actions like ‘read’, ‘watch’, or ‘listen’. In the test version, people other than those who created the app can buy ads – but it still begs the question as to why they would want to.

Twitter introduces advertising platform for small businesses
Twitter has announced an advertising solution that allows small businesses to set up an advertising account on their own and amplify messages on Twitter. Twitter has teamed up with American Express, to give AmEx cardholders first dabs at this new ad product – the first 10,000 users will receive $100 of free advertising.

Google+ faces demographic problems, releases updates
According to a study, Google+ is overwhelmingly young, male and single – with many students amongst its userbase, and only 30% of users female.

To try and change this, Google have released some new features. First, they’ve added volume bars to the main stream, so users can control how many ‘hot’ posts appear in their stream. Second, they’ve launched a new iOS app with instant upload.

Finally, they’ve added Google+ channel buttons to YouTube, to breed cross-channel promotion. With a Google Latitude leaderboard added to Google Maps, which will reward users for checking in, one can’t help but think that the audience on Google+ will continue to be young, single and male.

YouTube’s new channel rollout helping super-users
YouTube launched 96 new channels in December – but rather than it being brands who’ve grown a userbase quickly, it’s been the old YouTube superusers. In other words, people who’ve done it all before.

Luluvise: a case study in who owns Facebook data?
Luluvise, a female-orientated social network has come under the spotlight for one of its features – WikiDate – where users can rate the men they’ve dated, after linking up with their Facebook profile. After reading The Guardian’s piece, there are serious privacy concerns for us.

Ford’s Fiestagram campaign on Instagram
Ford ran a simple campaign, asking people to upload pictures to Instagram around different topics – but with impressive results. Over seven weeks, they drove over 16,000 photo uploads – and this on a smaller social network like Instagram. Impressive stuff.

Facebook helps Celebrity Big Brother drive more votes
A Facebook app launched by Channel 5 to accompany the latest series of Big Brother saw a large series-on-series increase in votes: according to 5, the app drove around 30% of votes in the series, almost 200,000 in total.

adidas Originals launch Facebook Cover picture app
adidas Originals have launched an app, where users can design their own Cover Photo for their Facebook Timeline. Nice.

Hotels.com launch social booking app on Facebook
Hotels.com have created a clever Facebook app which encourages bookings with friends. The app helps users come to a consensus on which hotel they want to stay in – perfect for anyone booking a group holiday.

Wall Street Journal links up with Instagram and Pinterest for Fashion Week
US newspaper the Wall Street Journal did some good work around New York Fashion Week: with reporters taking pictures anyway as a form of note-taking, they encourage them to upload them to Instagram. The best were then posted on the paper’s main Instagram account, and added to a Pinboard which generated 900 followers during the week.

While this is clearly an innovative use of up-and-coming social networks, it underlines the limited appeal of Pinterest: a platform which is filled with older women should be perfect for a campaign hooked around Fashion Week – and yet even a big newspaper could only drive 900 followers. Be careful of the hype around Pinterest.

Diesel’s ‘Fit Your Attitude’ campaign
Diesel have launched a new app for their female consumers – they answer some attitude-based questions, the app then tells them which jeans to buy, based on social recommendations. There reaches a point where people are making apps for the sake of it. This is that point.

Sainsbury’s seek support from bloggers
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s sought support from blogger Steven Dresser – a massive Morrisons fan – by inviting him to tour a new megastore. He then wrote about his experience, driving positive word of mouth for Sainsbury’s. Old-school, but effective.

Obama uses hashtags as part of his re-election campaign
These days, you very rarely see a really successful hashtag-centric campaign – butPresident Obama’s #40Dollars campaign has shown that it can work.

Nicolas Sarkozy signs up for Twitter, immediately gets parodied
French President Nicolas Sarkozy created a Twitter account last week around the launch of his campaign for re-election. Shortly after, a bunch of accounts were shut for parodying him – like David Cameron was by the ‘My David Cameron’ viral poster site in 2010. That Twitter was willing to shut down accounts which were clearly a parody is deeply worrying. One to watch.

How Whitney’s death broke on Twitter
The Wall Blog pointed out that Twitter broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death before the press, a point underscored by this graph from Twitter:

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Five Friday Facts #7

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Here are Five Friday Facts to round-off this week in social media news in Asia and across the world. Have a merry weekend everyone, it’s the last weekend to shop for Christmas gifts!

Record for most tweets per second broken
The TV screening of highly popular Japanese anime Castle in the Sky set a new record for most tweets per second with 25,088 tweets per second earlier this month. It surpassed the previous record of nearly 9,000 tweets per second following the announcement of Beyonce’s pregnancy. This is testament to Twitter’s popularity in Japan, which has an estimated 10,000 million Japanese users.

Fashion-focused social network
Singapore-based Clozette, a fashion-focused social network, is partnering with Glam Media Japan to launch a Japanese version of its site. Clozette is now seeing around 85,000 monthly unique visitors and 750,000 page views, up from 80,000 monthly unique visitors and 500,000 page views back in September. It’s great to see a niche social network from Singapore grow and expand into the region.

How new ‘e-tailers’ are discovered in China
How does social come into play with e-commerce? 42.71% of Chinese consumers discover new online retailers, or ‘e-tailers’, via Taobao, 27.51% through online advertising and 18.22% through friends. Apparently, search and word-of-mouth (not necessarily online) are still important factors. Surprisingly, 11.18% of Chinese consumers discover new e-tailers through Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) as compared to only 3.14% via social networking. Perhaps we will see a change in these figures as social commerce takes off.

Consumers not turning to social media for local business information
In America, the Internet is the number one source people turn to for information on local restaurants and businesses, followed by newspapers and word-of-mouth. 51% of American adults use the Internet to look for news and information about local restaurants, bars and clubs. Surprisingly, only 3% turn to social networking sites, as compared to the 38% who perform search engine queries.

Marketers stumped by measurement challenges
A survey conducted by voice-based marketing automation platform Ifbyphone found that 82% of marketing executives surveyed expect every campaign to be measured. Yet, only 26% think they can effectively measure Return on Investment (ROI) for social media marketing. Of the various tools used to measure marketing campaigns, only 30% of respondents used social media monitoring tools. These challenges with data analytics and tools similarly resound in our post on how marketers are still struggling with social.

 

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