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

Be a friend to your fans: TescoMobile

by Laura Picard in News

Social media plays a spectrum of roles in daily life. But how is it different from sending an email, or dialing a phone? You could say that they all started by providing a common function: by allowing convenient and accessible communication. As platforms like Facebook gained momentum, however, the social comms component evolved to provide another value. What was formerly used as an alternative for face-to-face, just like emails or phone calls–evolved to become a canvas for establishing, reinforcing and redefining concepts of self-identity. Even amongst unfamiliar faces, it’s important that we represent some parts of who we are. Online, social media has evolved to require just that. No longer are these platforms solely about speaking with people you know, or perhaps even want to know on a personal level.

Social media has become a platform for the performance of personal identity–a value that is inscribed in its primary value as a means for conversation.

As such, it’s no surprise that TescoMobile’s recent Twitter conversation went viral. It’s crucial to recognise that this conversation started out as one that could have easily been as mundane and insignificant as overhearing a customer service call over the phone.

This conversation went viral precisely because that’s not what happened at all. While the customer’s (somewhat confusing) gripes were addressed early on, that only served as a springboard for TescoMobile to launch into a highly engaging conversation with the dissatisfied customer’s ‘whistle blower’, Riccardo Esposito.

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Instead of merely thanking Esposito for ‘bringing this to our attention’ (yawn), TescoMobile framed their appreciation in the context of playful banter. The quirky and captivating tone of voice keeps Esposito engaged, and before long, multiple brands are involved in this strangely spectacular performance of delightful creativity and imagination.

While the conversation effectively steered the topic away from the initial complaint, the brand gained most from its ability to balance humour and humility with effortless finesse.

In the end, this humorous, tongue-in-cheek narrative was never about managing customer service, or even about improving upon common marketing metrics like response time, conversions or engagement rates.

This conversation is ultimately about the magic of social media. It exemplifies how the measurable qualities of clicks and impressions are always underwritten by an ineffable chemistry, the odd science that can make or break the relationship between an audience and a brand.

What this conversation suggests, is ultimately a case for the importance of identity in conversation. When brand messaging sounds more like a friendly chat; when tone of voice hints at totems of personal identity; when brands aren’t afraid to wear their hearts, hopes and humanity on their sleeves–perhaps that’s when a passive fan becomes a loyal friend.

If you need proof, take a look at Twitter reactions to TescoMobile below:

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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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Five Friday Facts #74

by Laura Picard in News

On YouTube, PSY’s ‘Gentleman’ hits record 38M views in 24 hours
Following the mind-blowing popularity of his hit single, ‘Gangnam Style’, PSY dropped another new single earlier this month.  As TheNextWeb reports, ‘Gentleman’ has already filled the proverbial big shoes of its predecessor on YouTube. An earlier account of the video’s performance clocked the video views at over 22 million in less than a day. While this rate is a record-breaking achievement in itself, Google has recently confirmed that this number actually stands at a whopping 38 million views. This figure indicates that ‘Gentleman’ has surpassed some other YouTube record holders by a long shot; for instance, Google notes that KONY had previously held the most views in a single day, with 30 million hits. The video has even surpassed ‘Gangnam Style’ in its rapid rate of growth: while ‘Gangnam Style’ took over 7 weeks to hit 100 million views, Gentleman reached the nine-digit milestone in under four days. ‘Gentleman’ currently has over 228 million views–still a far cry from the all-time record held by ‘Gangnam Style’ (1.55 billion and counting)– but a sure sign that PSY has continued to dominate on YouTube.

Chat app gains lead to 11% decline in SMS in China
As we reported earlier this year, mobile chat apps continue to be on the rise in 2013. In particular, they have uprooted dominant social channels in some Asian markets to become the most popular platforms amongst social media users. In Japan, for instance, chat app Line surpassed Twitter as the top platform in the country. According to TheNextWeb, this increasing preference for chat apps has had a considerable effect on traditional text messaging in China as well. Based on a report by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the findings suggested that SMS usage had increased by 0.5% on a yearly basis. However, when this figure is recalculated to exclude mass texts, the results indicate that peer-to-peer messaging has actually decreased by a significant 11%. This downturn may be particularly alarming given the recent tension between China’s state-owned telcom providers and locally established chat app, WeChat. The study illustrates that peer-to-peer messaging was down to 120 billion, marking a 10.9% decrease from last year. The findings also demonstrated that the average user sent 52.6 peer-to-peer messages in the first quarter of this year, down by 11.2% from Q1 2012. By contrast, chat app usage remained on the rise: 22 bilion mobile messages were sent through chat apps in Q1 2013, indicating a 37.6% increase since last year. Peer-to-peer messages stood at 1.3 billion, also up by 15.6% during the period. In effect, the results may illustrate a strong correlation between the adoption of mobile chat apps and the decline in peer-to-peer SMS messaging in the Chinese market. While the encroachment of chat is far from strong, China’s telcoms have taken to a potential countermeasure–of reviving its own messaging app, Fetion, in the near future–to better compete with chat apps in the market.

Google and Facebook face off on social sign-in share
eMarketer recently reported that Facebook remained at the top spot amongst social networks that gave users an option to use social logins across platforms. Based on a report by user management platform provider Janrain, the findings concurrently indicated that Google’s popularity was increasing as well. While Facebook held the lead with a 46% share in Q1 2013,  that proportion actually signals an 8% decrease since Q3 2012. Meanwhile, Google’s share rose by 9% in the same period, from 25% in Q3 2012 to 34% in the first quarter of this year.

Google similarly experienced the most growth on consumer brand sites. As indicated in the graph below, Google ID sign-ins increased from 23% in Q4 2012 to 28% in Q1 2013. By contrast, Facebook sign-ins decreased from 58% to 55% in the same period.

Although Twitter claims the smallest portion of the pie, eMarketer notes that the microblogging platform has been carving out a niche amongst social logins in other areas. On music sites, for instance, Twitter logins increased from 12% to 19% in Q1 2013. While it’s still a far cry from Facebook’s 51% share, the platform’s percentage actually demonstrates a substantial decrease, from 60% in Q4 2012.

In China, social network Renren launches its own chat app
The rise of chat apps, coupled with the dominance of microblogging platforms like Sina Weibo, has made it difficult for China’s social network Renren to grow its user base. In the past few years, it has seen new messaging apps like WeChat soar to over 300 million users, making Renren’s 170 million pale in comparison. Perhaps with this in mind, Renren has decided to jump on the chat app bandwagon, as TechInAsia reports that Renren has launched a new messaging app called TongXueShuo (the literal translation: “classmates say”). This chat app additionally consists of an eclectic mix of social features; TechInAsia notes that there are “elements of Path, Google+, regular social messaging apps, plus the find-and-flirt capabilities of apps like Momo”. While these features are apparently meant to attract a wide range of early adopters, TongXueShuo last month has yet to gather momentum since its launch last month. Despite Renren’s sizable number of users, the battle nonetheless appears invariably uphill given the existing social giants that constitute its competition amongst chat apps in the market.

In India, digital ad spend up 30%; shift to social and mobile
A recent report by eMarketer suggests that digital ad spend has increased significantly over the past few years. Based on a study by The Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau International, the findings indicated that there was a 29% increase in digital ad spend over the course of fiscal year 2012. While spending has increased to 22.6 billion Indian rupees (SGD 517 million), it is also estimated to rise by another  30%, to 29.4 billion rupees (SGD 673.4 million) in fiscal year 2013.

Digital ad spending has also moved away from traditional formats such as display and search, and started leaning toward mobile and social. While Display and Search constituted 92% of digital ad spend in 2010, they collectively took only 67% in 2012. By contrast, social media and video increased by over 71% each in 2011, and claimed 13% and 7% of digital ad spend respectively in 2012. The increasing adoption of mobile web has also shifted spending to mobile, as the format increased to 10% of digital ad spend during 2012.

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The State of Social in Asia (March 2013)

by Simon Kemp in News

We Are Social - Active Social Network Users in Asia March 2013

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We’re pleased to share the latest of our SDMW snapshots for social media use around Asia.

Today’s snapshot offers a more comparable definition of ‘users’, and is based solely on active users*, rather than the overall user numbers we used for some countries in previous reports where active user data was not available.

Social Media Users

Despite this recalibration, the total number of social media users across the top network in each of our 24 SDMW Asia nations has increased to 874 million, reflecting 18% growth compared to our last full report in October.

This represents growth of more than 10 million new users of social media every month – a figure that’s all the more impressive considering Facebook’s recent clean up of ‘fake’ accounts.

Penetration

However, social media penetration has fluctuated around the region in the past few months, with a number of ‘mature’ markets – including Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong – registering a drop in penetration as the frequency of Facebook usage begins to slow.

Overall though, regional penetration remained static at 23%, in line with the overall global average:

We Are Social - Active Social Network Penetration in Asia March 2013

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More importantly, the drop in penetration across mature markets has been balanced by on-going growth in markets like India and Indonesia, both of which continue to see social media usage expand at impressive rates.

Mobile Chat

However, the most interesting story comes from North Asia, where we’re seeing accelerating mass adoption of mobile chat applications.

Neither Japan nor Korea was a ‘Facebook market’ in our previous report – Korea’s primary social network was CyWorld, while Japanese social media users appeared to prefer Twitter – but the rapid growth of newer chat platforms may scupper the world’s favourite network’s plans to grow in these countries.

Indeed, KakaoTalk and Line already dominate the social media landscapes of South Korea and Japan respectively, with both platforms registering significantly more users than Facebook and microblogs.

Similarly, while Qzone continues to be the region’s largest social network by active users, we expect to see this situation change in the coming months as a result of the increased implementation of China’s real name rules for social media use, and the continued expansion of platforms like WeChat (Weixin).

Indeed, WeChat’s success beyond its home market of China looks set to be one of the biggest social media stories in Asia over the next few months.

At well over 300 million registered users, WeChat is already 15% bigger than Facebook in Asia, and its growth trajectory suggests that this gap will only increase further during 2013.

Given these trends, it’s clear that mobile’s role in the Asian social media landscape looks set to grow in importance, so look out for our upcoming post on using mobile to connect with Asian social audiences.

* Figures reflect monthly active users, except for Korea where we’ve used daily active user numbers. Note that user numbers for Japan and Korea have been extrapolated from available data.

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Social Brands: Communities vs Platforms

by Simon Kemp in News

Social Brands Part 2

In Friday’s first post in our series on Social Brands & The Future Of Marketing, we noted that, “the most successful brands don’t just predict the future; they define the future on their own terms.

We’re continuing that theme in today’s second post in the Social Brands series, exploring the importance of building social marketing activities around the people you care about, and not around specific technological features or platforms.

The Motivations Driving Social Networking

Most people visit social networking sites in order to connect with other people: to stay in touch with friends and family; to share things with colleagues and professional peers; and even to meet strangers with similar interests and needs.

Because of this, most people see social media as a means to an end, with that ‘end’ being social interaction.

Of course, there are many times when technology plays an important part in facilitating these connections; things like the filters on Instagram, or the sharing features common to most social networks, are all important aspects of our social networking experience.

However, people connect around the personal, social benefits these elements provide, and not around the functionality itself.

Critically, if those social benefits don’t exist – if the people we want to connect with are not present, or if our networks move on – then the platform quickly loses its value.

We’ve seen this happen many times before; the declines of Second Life, MySpace, and Friendster were all driven by the migration of their audiences, not by technical failures.

Single-Serve Audiences

Sadly, when audiences move on from an incumbent Big Platform – and they invariably do – marketers quickly lose out.

The investments they’ve made in building large audiences specific to that platform stop delivering meaningful returns, because those audiences are invariably ‘non-transferrable’ (how many brands succeeded in migrating their Second Life audiences wholesale into Facebook without paying for the privilege?).

As a result, marketers need to stop relying on buying attention within specific platforms, and find a more resilient way of managing their social media activities.

From Platforms To Communities

The trick is to stop seeing social media as media, and to focus on the motivations and behaviours that drive people’s social activities instead.

Instead of buying attention in the hottest platforms of the day, tomorrow’s top brands will spend time understanding how to deliver value to the same people across different settings and contexts.

They will focus on nurturing active communities that choose to engage with and around the brand and its activities wherever and whenever they can.

Critically, they will use new platforms to offer incremental value – not simply as another means to interrupt people.

From Eyeballs To Heartstrings

The secret to building these ‘migratory’ communities is to understand people’s wants, needs, and desires, and to build engaging connections around them at every opportunity.

We need to understand what brings communities together, and build our strategies around their shared interests and passions, and not around technical functionality or platforms.

Above all, we need to add value to their lives at every opportunity – a topic we’ll explore in more detail in the next post in this Social Brands series.

Want to join the conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions, so why not share them in the comments, tweet us via @wearesocialsg, or drop us an email? 

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