Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Timeline’.
Crackdown on social media in parts of Asia
In China, police arrested six and shut down 16 websites after rumours spread online that military vehicles were on the streets of Beijing. As a result, microblogging sites Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo have prevented users commenting on other users’ posts from 31 March to 3 April in a bid to stem the spread of news, even though they can still use other functions such as “retweet” or post on their own channels.
In Dubai, the government is also trying to fight back against social media users stirring the seeds of discontent against the government. The Chief of Police Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tami accused the country’s Muslim Brotherhood of trying to cause trouble through Twitter:
We aim to clean Twitter’s space from any abuse. We want to make it a social networking medium and not a tool to create disharmony and disintegration.
Online word-of-mouth source credibility in China
Social business intelligence provider CIC‘s research reveals that consumers find review and recommendation sites the most credible online source of word-of-mouth information, followed by wiki sites and social shopping sites. It’s interesting that crowdsourced information is deemed more credible than what’s disseminated through microblogging sites such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo or social networking sites such as Renren, which rank 7th and 10th on the list respectively, even though information on these sites are likely to be shared by close friends and family.
Foreign enterprise accounts on Sina Weibo
We previously wrote about Sina Weibo’s 130,565 enterprise accounts, of which a large majority are ran by restaurants. The more intriguing question is, how important is Sina Weibo to foreign enterprises wishing to tap into the 1.4 billion population of China, of which more than half are on the Internet? According to Sina, there are 1060 overseas enterprise Weibo accounts, of which the majority helm from the US, followed by Japan, Australia, UK and France. Sina also claims that 143 Fortune 500 companies are on Weibo. Even though it’s not an overwhelming figure, it’s as good a start as any considering that Sina Weibo is not available in English.
Google’s Cherry Blossom Street View
In cooperation with Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) and Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Google has created its Street View guide to Japan: Cherry Blossom Season Edition. Just in time for Japan’s famous Cherry Blossom season, Google has featured eight main tourist areas Ginza, Tsukiji, Akihabara, Asakusa, Kamakura, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka. There’s more detailed information on the sidebar to the right, including descriptions, dining, and shopping information that would be useful to tourists.
Spending on digital marketing continues to rise
According to a survey conducted by Duke University, US marketing budgets will rise by 8.1% over the coming twelve months. This rise will mainly be spent online, with digital marketing budgets forecast to rise 12.8% over the next year, whilst ad spend on traditional media will drop by 0.8%.
The area which will rise most is social media: marketers said that they planned to allocate 7.4% of their overall budgets to social media in the coming year.
L’Oreal has a team of 400 staff working in social media
At Wednesday’s Facebook Marketing Conference in London, L’Oreal CMO Marc Menesguen revealed that L’Oreal has a team of 400 staff working in social media who post new content on Facebook everyday:
It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of commitment. The digital revolution is on at L’Oreal and we are integrating digital and social as early as possible in the marketing process.
Social media delivers higher value sales
New research has found that ecommerce sales which occur after exposure to a brand on social media deliver more than $280 per order, compared to less than $100 for those driven by natural search:
Tumblr now on Timeline
Similar to Pinterest and Instagram, your Tumblr posts will now appear on your Facebook Timeline in addition to your News Feed when you choose the “send to Facebook” option from Tumblr, whereby your Tumblr activities such as “reblogging”, “liking” or posting will be grouped together just like Pinterest pins and Instagram photos for easy viewing. This option is adjustable through users’ blog settings.
10.5 billion minutes spent on Facebook daily, what’s Timeline’s effect?
According to a tidbit of info released by Facebook, in January users spent an average of 10.5 billion minutes on the site daily, excluding mobile – or around twelve and a half minutes each a day.
This increase has mainly come from a growth in the userbase: aggregate minutes per day increased 57% and average minutes per user per day increased 14% year-on-year.
Nonetheless, it’s unclear whether Timeline is driving a boost in engagement, in addition to the figures above. Inside Facebook detailed a few studies which have been released about Timeline engagement rates, but the small sample size, coupled with the important caveat that most engagement takes place in the News Feed, means that it’s essentially impossible to draw a verifiable conclusion. The most reliable study comes from Edgerank Checker, which has looked at over 3,500 Pages and they have struggled to find anything which suggests Timeline has a discernible impact on engagement.
Local Facebook Pages outperform global Pages in reach and engagement
New research has found that local Facebook Pages with 30-100 fans reach five times more fans (as a percentage) than corporate Pages with 100,000+ fans, with engagement eight times higher.
It goes to show that for businesses with multiple small branches – say, McDonalds – there’s value in having both a corporate Page, and a local Page for each store.
Facebook adds permalinks to individual comments
Last week, Facebook added permalinks to individual post comments, with spam comments now automatically hidden.
Facebook expands Sponsored Stories, keeps Offers niche for now
Facebook has expanded Sponsored Stories in the News Feed, with a new ‘Page Like’ unit that includes the page’s profile image and thumbnails of more friends who are connected to the page.
Although the change applies to all new Page Likes – sponsored or unsponsored – it’s fair to say the greater impact will be for Sponsored Stories, as the old News Feed Sponsored Stories were easily missed.
Another post option – Offers – is still exclusive to premium advertisers, though it will be available free to all Pages later this year. Offers are a new free story type that allows Page owners to post coupons that users can collect from the News Feed or ad units.
YouTube hits upload record, holds Vlogging contest and adds video duels
User uploads to YouTube have hit one hour per second, and to mark this milestone YouTube have launched a website which visualises what happens in a minute on the site.
In addition, YouTube are running a new video blogging competition:
Starting today through April 18, applications will be open for sixteen promising vloggers to take part in three months of intimate educational workshops held on Google+ Hangouts. Each vlogger will receive $5,000 worth of video equipment and more than $10,000 worth of promotion on and off YouTube. Participants will also receive mentoring from industry experts, such as iJustine, one of the most successful vloggers and content creators on YouTube!
Finally, in a busy week for YouTube, they’ve launched YouTube Slam, where users can create their own video duels, and people can vote for which video they prefer. Although YouTube has been experimenting with this for a few weeks, it’s the first time users can manage the game themselves by choosing the videos included. Nice.
LinkedIn updates ‘People You May Know’
LinkedIn has launched an update to ‘People You May Know’, one of the site’s features which helps users grow their network. The biggest change is its now possible to filter by company/university, to find relevant contacts more easily.
Google+ adds new features
Google+ continues to add new features in their seemingly desperate attempts to get more active users. The latest new features include a series of apps in Hangouts, including a face-to-face poker game, and Google Effects.
The other new on-site feature is the option to phone people directly from Hangouts – calls are free in the US and Canada, and cheap elsewhere.
Off-site, Google have added Google+ functionality to Gmail – if you receive an email saying somebody has added you to their Circles, you can quickly add them to yours.
BBC News personalise content on their Facebook Page
As different people are interested in different news stories, BBC News have added a Control Panel which allows Facebook fans to filter which updates they see. By liking different BBC News sections, correspondents and programmes, more relevant updates will appear in your News Feed.
The Economist reaches one million Facebook fans
Political magazine The Economist reached a million Facebook fans last week, an impressive milestone considering Time and the Wall Street Journal haven’t even reached half a million.
It’s noteworthy how they’ve set their Page up to cater to a global audience – re-posting stories at different times to hit different markets. Spot on.
Heineken unveils bottle designed by two Facebook fans
Beer brand Heineken has released a limited edition bottle which was designed by Facebook fans. The competition asked fans to design a bottle and then pair it with another in the gallery, and it attracted 30,000 entries. Nice.
Pepsico and Arby’s offer rewards for engagement
Although they’re doing it in different ways, both Pepsico and Arby’s are offering consumers rewards for engagement through digital channels.
Arby’s, an American fast-food chain is offering Facebook Credits in return for in-store purchases, thereby driving greater footfall.
In similar news, Pepsico has announced a tie in with reward company Kiip to offer fitness enthusiasts ‘achievement rewards’ when they log a run through fitness apps such as Nexercise and MapMyRun.
After a workout, bike ride or run users are rewarded with PepsiCo’s Propel Zero drinks mix packets.
Econsultancy’s David Moth drew a salient conclusion from the two campaigns:
The two examples are slightly different – Pepsico is offering physical rewards for digital engagement while Arby’s is offering digital rewards for physical purchases – but in essence they are part of the same trend. Consumers have come to expect discounts and rewards and increasingly we are seeing that brands are willing come up with the goods.
Samsung in search for Olympic bloggers
Samsung is searching for 100 bloggers to blog for them during the Olympics and join their Samsung Global Blogger (SGB) programme. Winners will blog and produce a daily show across the entire Olympic Games period using Samsung products, including the Samsung Galaxy Note, which the company wants to position as the perfect blogging device.
Spotify puts over 1,000 years of music on Facebook Timeline
Spotify have launched a really cool Facebook Timeline, which goes through 1,000 years of music history, and lets users discover some music they might otherwise have missed. On song.
Marvel teams up with GetGlue
Marvel has teamed up with GetGlue to offer exclusive stickers in return for checking-in while reading comics. As the stickers are so nice, there should be plenty of takers for this one.
Twitter user jailed for 56 days
A Welsh Twitter user who tweeted racist abuse about Fabrice Muamba, the footballer who collapsed on the pitch, was jailed for 56 days last week for inciting racial hatred.
Social media users in China
The number of social media users in China reached 256.5 million in 2011, and looks set to reach 414.5 million by 2014. Already making up more than 50% of China’s Internet population, social media users there will encompass 63% of China’s Internet population by 2014. Even without the presence of Facebook or Twitter, social media users in China have no lack of alternative local options that are not banned by the government, thanks to a very competitive social media landscape that is led by Internet giants such as Tencent, Sina, Biadu etc.
Smartphone growth boosts Asia-Pacific’s games market
Asia-Pacific’s booming smartphone market will boost the region’s gaming industry to more than $30 billion in 2016, with annual growth of 18%, which is 2% higher than the global average. Research by Ovum estimates that Asia Pacific will have more than 1 billion gamers by 2016, of which nearly 900 million or 90% of gamers will play games solely on a mobile device or in addition to a PC. In light of recent hit ‘Draw Something‘ and Zynga’s ‘With Friends‘ titles, it’s likely that social gaming will be the one paving the way forward in the growth of Asia-Pacific’s gaming industry.
Tumblr hits 20 million users
Microblogging service Tumblr continues to grow at an impressive rate, having hit 20.15 billion posts and a total of 49.89 million blogs at time of writing. Earlier this year, Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp announced that Tumblr was serving 120 million people and had 15 billion pageviews every month. Its average user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3. Given the rise in popularity of Pinterest, which has similar functionalities to Tumblr in terms of “liking” and “repinning” posts but with a focus on photos alone, we wonder whether Tumblr will continue on this trajectory of growth, or if it will in fact be affected by this bright shiny new platform everyone’s spending their social networking time on at the moment.
Does your CEO tweet?
Apparently, CEOs who tweet are regarded more positively than those who don’t. A survey by social media branding firm BRANDfrog discovered that 77% of respondents are more likely to purchase a product from a company if its CEO and other C-level executives are tweeting. In addition, 78% believe that CEOs participating on social media leads to better communication, 71% believe it improves brand image, and 64% feel that it offers more transparency. Internally, 82% of employees who responded trust their company more if the C-level and other leadership tweets. Of course, it’s not feasible for all CEOs to tweet, but brands should recognise that having an ambassador for the company in the form of higher management might instil more trust and confidence in consumers towards the brand.
New Facebook Pages drive higher engagement rates
A study by Simply Measured analysed 15 Facebook brand pages that were early adopters of Timeline to determine its impact on engagement rates. The results concluded that the implementation of Timeline led to a 14% increase in fan engagement, a 46% increase in content engagement, and a 65% increase in interactive content engagement, namely videos and photos. Of course, we’re not convinced that all brands will see a similar lift in fan engagement because the brands surveyed have a significantly large fan base and were also featured often on articles or used as case studies leading up to the big reveal of Timeline for brands. Still, the new features of Timeline should no doubt make it easier for brands to engage with their fans, so we shall see if a more comprehensive study of brands on Timeline in future will yield similar results.
China’s social media and Internet landscape
CIC has created a concise infographic that shows the leading Chinese web and social media platforms in each category alongside their western counterparts for 2012, from content-sharing services similar to Dropbox (which is blocked in China) to social aggregators and dating networks. Even though some don’t exactly fall within a standalone category, such as Sina Weibo which has features that are similar to a social networking site other than its 140-characters micro-blogging function, this is still a great introduction to China’s web scene.
Sina Weibo’s real-name registration peculiarities
Even though Chinese micro-blogging service Sina Weibo‘s real-name verification deadline on March 16th has passed, it appears that many users who have not verified their real identities are still able to post through their unregistered accounts. We’ll keep a lookout to see if and when the ban does come into effect. Read more about Tech In Asia‘s Charlie Custer’s experience here.
Social media not a main driver of news
Even though Facebook and Twitter have well over a billion users between them, and host a constant stream of news and content through its users’ posts, Pew Research Center’s 2012 State Of The News Media report discovered that users are far more likely to go directly to a news website, search online or visit a news aggregator than specifically head onto Facebook or Twitter to search for news. Only 9% of respondents get news through Facebook or Twitter recommendations, as compared to 36% who head directly to news websites or applications, or the 32% who specifically type in a keyword search. Even though ample sharing of news occurs on Twitter and Facebook, these platforms have not become a replacement source through which people search for news explicitly.
Search vs. Social
This infographic by MDG Advertising pits search marketing against social media in terms of the results they bear for marketers. Search triumphs over social in terms of lead generation, where it drives 41% of lead generation as opposed to the 34.2% by social media in B2C, and 57.4% as opposed to 24.8% for the B2B sector. However, social media is a greater driver of brand awareness. Together though, they make a powerful combination. 50% of marketers say social media has impacted their search engine marketing, and 29% have merged parts of their social and search strategies. As demonstrated by Google’s social search functionalities, search and social are becoming increasingly intertwined and marketers should leverage on both to better reach relevant audiences.
Facebook’s global takeover
eMarketer predicts that there will be 1.43 billion social network users in 2012, which amounts to a substantial share of the world’s entire population. 1 out of 5 people will use a social network this year and Facebook is a key reason for this. Facebook has rapidly expanded into India, Indonesia and Brazil who now join the US and Mexico in the top 5 Facebook countries:
In fact, if Brazil maintains its current growth it could easily jump from fourth to second place, as soon as next month, having already taken over Google’s Orkut which had been leading in Brazil since 2004.
Facebook is also doing well in Japan, where they now have 10 million monthly active users. This figure has doubled in the last 6 months.
Share Dropbox folders with Facebook friends
Dropbox has joined in the Facebook Open Graph party and now allows its users to connect to Facebook so that content can be shared amongst friends. Users no longer have to input the email addresses of intended recipients in order to share content. Sure makes life a little easier.
Facebook updates Timeline Page ‘beginnings’, adds recommendations and launches Mobile app stats
Facebook has added the option to describe the beginning of a page as ‘created’ or ‘launched’. The original options ‘founded’, ‘started’ and ‘opened’ are still available but these new variations make a lot of sense for the different types of entities that run pages on Facebook.
Facebook have also introduced a recommendations feature for place pages that have switched to the new Timeline format. These are displayed in a box beneath friend activity and include a prompt for people to write their own recommendations. These are only available to pages that are associated with locations so if a brand wants to enable this function page owners have to provide an exact address in their About sections.
Another development from Facebook is the launch of a new Mobile Referrals dashboard in App Insights which helps understand the traffic an app receives from Facebook mobile sources. This features data on total mobile app clicks and source, demographic and device breakdown amongst other insights.
Facebook Timeline Apps and Foursquare’s new Facebook look
In other Facebook news, 3,000 Timeline apps have spawned since Facebook launched the platform 3 months ago and last week Foursquare among others such as Nike and VEVO unveiled theirs. These new launches are likely to persuade more brands and startups that Timeline app development is worth their investment, meaning that soon there will be even more apps channelling user behaviour into Facebook’s content feeds and ad targeting engine. Pinterest is a key example of the success of Timeline apps as it has seen its Facebook userbase grow by 60% since it launched its Timeline app in January. The Onion definitely wins the award for the most amusing integration below:
Foursquare’s Timeline app has a new look for check-ins, badges and mayorships. This features check-in photos showing up full size, a summary of a user’s past month foursquare activity and if a person checks in a few times these will display as a story rather than separately. Neat!
Blogs are not dead. There are 6.7m bloggers, half aged 18-34
NM Incite have released research that shows that consumer interest in blogs continues to grow with over 181 million blogs at the end of 2011, up from 36 million just 5 years ago. Not surprisingly this mirrors a growth in bloggers – 6.7 million of them publishing through blogging websites such as Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr whilst another 12 million write blogs using their social networks. The question is, who are these bloggers? Well, half are aged 18-34 and the majority are women, over 2/3 of which are mums.
Social media ads ‘justifying hype’
ZenithOptimedia have boosted their forecast for 2012 global internet adspend by 4.5%, now predicting a spend of £2.2bn. The sudden rise of social is evident in a revision to its US forecasts, which had pegged social media spend for 2012 at $1.33bn (£851m) in December, but now predicts $3.42bn (£2.2bn), partly due to $1bn (£640m) of display spend being recategorised as social media spend, and partly due to the medium growing faster than previously thought. Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at ZenithOptimedia, said:
Social is justifying its hype now. A third of all display impressions in the US are social. Advertisers are learning to be less interruptive.
Why James Whittaker left Google…
James Whittaker, who worked on Google+ as a development director, has written a controversial blogpost describing why he left Google. He described his passion for Google when it used to be a technology company that empowered their employees to innovate whereas now he sees it as an advertising company with a corporate focus. He has an interesting take on Google+:
Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn’t enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. YouTube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point.
Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it. You have to admire a company willing to sacrifice sacred cows and rally its talent behind a threat to its business. Had Google been right, the effort would have been heroic and clearly many of us wanted to be part of that outcome.
As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.
According to Whittaker Google+ deserves a -1, what do you think?
Versus – Google+ Hangouts Debates
Google have raised the profile of Google+ Hangouts by introducing live debates under the banner of Versus: The Google+ Debate Series. The first one happened last week and featured Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Elliot Spitzer and Johann Hari talking about drugs.
The expert’s view on Twitter’s acquisition of Posterous
Twitter recently announced the acquisition of blogging platform Posterous. The exact details of the deal have been kept secret but Econsultancy have brought together various expert views to discuss the motivations behind the takeover and what it means for both Twitter and Posterous including those of our very own Mr Jordan Stone.
Pinterest is now a top 30 US website
As we all know, Pinterest has been the subject of much attention recently and this is set to continue with the news from Experian Hitwise that it is continuing to rapidly grow. After cracking the top 60 list of US websites six weeks ago they have now entered the top 30. The site received more than 103 million visits in the US this February, which was up 36% on January. With revelations the company is working on an iPad app, growth seems unlikely to slow soon.
Volvo Cars has just signed an agreement with NBA New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, who will likely be the focus of an ad campaign for the brand’s increasingly important Chinese auto market. Volvo hopes to double its global sales to 800,000 by 2020 after having sold about 47,000 cars in China last year. This move seems to be aligned to Volvo’s social media strategy, especially since Jeremy Lin blogs in both Mandarin and English, and has a Twitter following of more than 664,000. Earlier in Septe mber 2011, Volvo’s VP-Global Marketing Richard Monturo pronounced that the company is focusing on social media and digital.
“We think the primary device in auto marketing is the Internet. We have teams focusing on how we can upgrade the user experiences in all our social presences. We’re using the ‘designed around you’ idea but trans-creating around the world.”
Let’s see if the Linsanity phenomenon can help shift its car sales in China.
American Express gets customers tweeting for dollars
The Tweet and Save program recently launched by AmEx got customers saving $1.3 million dollars in nine days, on products such as burgers and iPads. It works by customers syncing their AmEx cards to their Twitter accounts, Tweeting using hashtags such as #AmExZappos the coupons are then loaded directly to their credit cards and can be redeemed at point of purchase. A win-win for both Twitter, AmEx and its partners.
Zappos TweetWall shows products as they trend on Twitter
Taking more than a little influence from Pinterest, Zappos’ new TweetWall displays a page of products in real-time as they are being talked about on Twitter. This allows shoppers to see what’s trending as well as discovering fun talking point products.
McDonalds #shamrocking has greater success than #McDStories
Following the #McDStories debacle where McDonalds’ own hashtag was hijacked by disgruntled customers, the company are back and seem to have learned a valuable lesson by creating a somewhat more successful meme. Taking its inspiration from Planking and Tebowing, customers share pictures of themselves doing a jig whilst holding a shamrock milkshake. See example below…
‘Dethroned’ app allows you to behead your Facebook friends
In order to promote the premiere of HBO’s returning series, Game of Thrones, they’ve unveiled a new Facebook app that allows fans of the series to battle against each other in a loyalty contest which is judged by the players’ mutual friends. Once the winner is decided, a video plays showing the winner vividly beheading the loser and holding up the head of this now-vanquished foe… gory, but we say let the games begin!
PG tips is ‘most engaged with UK brand’ on Facebook
PG tips has been crowned the most engaged with UK brand on Facebook. The page themed around Johnny Vegas and brand character Monkey got nearly 2 out of 10 of its fans actively liking, commenting and responding in one 7 day period. The most popular post being on Valentine’s Day… ‘Like this post for a Valentines surprise,’ the suprise being an e-Valentines card from Monkey. Other top rated brand pages for February were Jaguar and Bang & Olufsen.
Twitter agrees to help Locog prevent ambush marketing during Olympics
Non-sponsors of the Olympics will be prevented from buying Twitter ads based on Olympic game related hashtags such as #London2012.
Domino’s increases social media effort
Domino’s UK has created as a TV advert that will only be shown on Facebook to its fans in order to promote a free cookie offer for fans who spend £10 on pizzas.
In the meantime, Domino’s Australia are letting their Facebook fans decide what the next Domino’s pizza will be: from toppings to dough, the fans can decide what the “social” pizza will taste like. How the pizza will turn out is anyone’s guess, but it appears Domino’s may have another social hit on its hands. Who knew pizza could be so shareable…
Peugeot Panama launches Pinterest puzzle
As we all know, Pinterest has been hogging the marketing headlines for the last few weeks, so it hasn’t been a surprise to see an increase in the number of brand competitions running on the platform. Peugeot Panama is one of them. They’ve been asking fans to find the missing puzzle parts of their models across the Peugeot Panama Pinterest account, their Facebook page and also their website… However, the tale does not have a happy ending as unfortunately, the Pinterest layout was slightly updated during the activity, rendering the competition obsolete.
Topman relaunches its lifestyle website to be more social
The new Topman CTRL website will host curated content by Radio One’s Huw Stephens who will be using Facebook, Mixcloud, YouTube and Instagram to feed music and lifestyle content directly through to the site. Visitors will also be able to submit their own content to the website. This could be the perfect delivery method to promote CTRL as a lifestyle site rather than something more corporate and could prove to be an excellent way to extend the brand online.
Jimmy Carr supports Starbucks’ Free Latte day on Twitter
To promote their brand new double shot latte, Starbucks invited customers for a free latte last week. The in-store promotion was supported by a selection of celebrities on Twitter such as Jimmy Carr who posted several tweets to express his enthusiasm about the latest addition to the Starbucks range. Although we wouldn’t dare doubting Jimmy Carr’s passion for a latte, it does seem that he should have added #thisisanadvertforstarbucks on the end…
How a TV hashtag has been sparking conversation: Channel 4 and Dispatches
When Channel 4 aired an episode of Dispatches about tickets resellers last week, it flashed the #ticketscandal hashtag on the screen throughout the show. Reactions about the underhand practices showed in the documentary were fairly heated online and it spawned several Twitter trending topics that night (including the name of the show but also the name of one of the incriminated resellers). Twitter figures show that there were a total of 11,870 using the hashtag in the course of 24 hours. It would be interesting to see how the rating figures were affected by the online conversations that night before we can deem this a complete social TV success.
Blogger relations done right
We were pleased to see our campaign for Orange’s ON Voicefeed featured by Econsultancy in their 9 examples of great blogger relations. They gave a great review of the “digital only” launch of ON Voicefeed in Spain which included a beta-testing phase with key tech Spanish influencers. Win!
We Are Social across the pond
This week’s big news is of course that We Are Social has opened in New York, our eighth office worldwide. Those who have been following us since the beginning know that this has been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to start making a difference for US based marketers.
There’s just one day left of the social media circus that is South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. That means there’s just 24 hours left for you to say hello to the We Are Social team there.
Largest Chinese video sites Youku and Tudou merge
China’s two largest online video sites Youku and Tudou have merged to form a new entity named Youku Tudou Inc. So far it seems like both sites will retain their separate brands and URLs, except they will now together claim almost half of China’s online video market share. Even though there was allegedly speculation last spring that Youku would acquire Tudou, this merge is interesting given the battle both companies have been embroiled in the past year over alleged copyright infringement.
Citibank Singapore’s social credit card
To better leverage the 1.5 million Facebook users under the age of 35 in Singapore, Citibank has launched its Clear Platinum Card which allows Facebook users to ‘check-in’, win badges, gain rewards, and earn points which can then be converted into Citibank dollars through its Clear 24.7 Facebook app. Jacquelyn Tan, head of credit payment products at Citibank Singapore explained the rationale behind Citibank’s social media approach with its new credit card:
Social media focuses on one thing – the consumer and his voice. With the new Citibank Clear Platinum card, we are building on the role of the consumer’s voice in this social media space to give cardmembers the power to actively customize their own card experiences, from merchant promotions to events, for the first time in Singapore.
Yahoo!’s new lifestyle site for women in Southeast Asia
Yahoo! rolls out yet another online product in the form of Yahoo! She, an online lifestyle hub for women in Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines that will host community-generated content in addition to locally relevant content from female lifestyle publications, expert columns, polls and sponsored content. Yahoo! She is aimed at 18 to 34 year olds and is modelled after Yahoo! Shine for women in the US, which sees more than 38 million unique visitors every month.
Instagram to launch Android version, finally
Instagram‘s co-founder Kevin Systrom announced at SXSW on Sunday that the long-awaited Android version of Instagram will be released “very soon”, and is currently being tested in private beta. Systrom revealed that the Android app is fast, works well on large screens and can share photos to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networks. We’ll believe it when we see it. At the same time, it was announced that the iOS version of Instagram has seen some 27 million downloads to date.
India puts Facebook on trial
This week, India begins a trial against Facebook and 11 other online services it has found in violation of its law that requires Internet companies remove any material that “seeks to create enmity, hatred” and deemed “ethnically objectionable, grossly harmful, defamatory or blasphemous” within 36 hours. Given that Facebook and the other online services have clarified that they can’t be held liable for content posted by users, we don’t expect a devastating outcome, yet this episode does signal a potential clamp down on users responsible for offensive statements made on social media in India.
Today we are welcoming a very talented group from Posterous to Twitter. This team has built an innovative product that makes sharing across the web and mobile devices simple—a goal we share. Posterous engineers, product managers and others will join our teams working on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better.
Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.
CNN in talks to acquire Mashable
In other big acquisition news, rumours are making the circuit at SXSW that CNN is in talks with Mashable and could potentially acquirethe Internet media start-up founded by Pete Cashmore. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for whether the deal does indeed go through.
Facebook’s growth dwindles, Twitter still climbing
Facebook’s userbase still dwarfs Twitter’s, and its double-digit growth could only hold out for so long.
However, although Twitter’s user numbers should double by 2014, it will still have only a fraction of the users that Facebook does.
What to watch for on TV
Not sure what to watch on telly tonight? A new study says nearly 40% of Brits turn to social media to help them find the must-watch programmes of the evening. It underlines the ever-growing trend for dual-screen viewing.
Facebook’s ‘Interests’, check-in API, animation on tabs, mobile comments
Facebook now allows users to add their interests to lists, and follow collections of pages, subscriptions or friends, in a move similar to Twitter lists, but more clearly, Google+ Circles. Facebook has had an option for lists since 2007, but most of its users haven’t used the feature. With Facebook now promoting celebrity-curated lists, they’re clearly pushing the features, like they did with Questions early last year.
In the first sign of the results of their acquisition of Gowalla, Facebook also wants to become the backbone of your location data through updated APIs that will let the locations sent from other apps live as a layer on your Timeline. Check-in services will be able to pull your friend’s check-ins – from other services, perhaps – and therefore create more chance of meetups. Nice.
In an update to pages, brands can now have animations and video that play on apps and tabs without the user initiating it, a departure from pre-Timeline policy. With an animation already playing, it should be easier for brands to drive engagement.
On the mobile front, Facebook app users can now like or comment with a single click from their News Feed in the new design.
Big updates coming to Twitter brand pages
Taking a few notes from Facebook and the recent launch of Timeline for brand pages, Twitter is plotting more visual page updates for brands that are spending with the network. Although Twitter is still being hush-hush about specifics, rumour has it that soon e-commerce, contests and sweepstakes will be available directly from the site. Twitter is also continuing to improve its language options, adding Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu last week, as it continues to try and further grow the userbase.
Google exec says: Maybe you’re just doing it wrong
Google+ is no ghost town according to Vic Gundotra, a senior VP of engineering at Google. He countered the no-man’s-land claims with stats about the network’s rapid growth, trumpeting 100 million active users over 30 days. Can’t see what people are posting? Maybe it’s their privacy settings. We can’t help but be a little dubious.
On the plus side, if you do use Google+ and people +1 your content, Google is now encouraging users to say thank you. How cute.
Converting the location app Muggles
Foursquare and the like were unsurprisingly quickly adopted by dedicated tech geeks, but now Foursquare wants to reach out to the average Joe Smartphone through specials and deals. The service hopes that partnerships with ubiquitous, everyday companies, will lead non-techies to its side.
Pinterest quickly climbing the referral ranks
Last month, Pinterest overtook Twitter as a source of referral traffic to sites with the Shareaholic widget installed:
AddThis has also let readers peek into its site analytics, and, perhaps as a by-product of all this sharing, growth from Pinterest continues to skyrocket:
How long until Pinterest is up there with the likes of Twitter?
Social TV app Zeebox gains 22,000 users during ‘Dancing On Ice’
Phillip Schofield, the host of ‘Dancing On Ice’, tweeted about Zebox four times during last week’s show, and it gained 22,000 users as a result. However, Zeebox has been adding as many as 15,000 users an hour since the launch of its TV campaign anyway…
Channel 4′s new channel with schedule based on online conversation
Last week’s FT Digital Media Conference in London saw Channel 4 announce the launch later this year of a new channel – called 4seven – which will give viewers the chance to catch up on the most ‘talked about’ shows from the previous seven days. As well as traditional media, this will also include social media buzz. Considering Channel 4 say the new channel will help to increase engagement with viewers, it seems likely that programming will be strongly influenced by online feedback.
Barclaycard crowdsource credit card features
Barclaycard are trying to open up to consumers in a bid to win back their trust. They plan to do this by asking customers to name what features they would like in their new credit card – e.g. where call centres are – before actually producing the card. In addition, they’ll disclose how much profit they make from the card.
American Express: Sync. Tweet. Save.
American Express is letting customers get money off a selection of stores, by tweeting special offer hashtags from retailers including McDonald’s, H&M and Best Buy. With the mechanic to get the discount so easy – simply to retweet – it’s unclear whether this is actually any good for engagement, but it’s still an interesting step in the social commerce path.
Walgreens launch barcode redemption on Foursquare
Without wanting to get over-excited, Foursquare just beaome genuinely useful. For so long, it was nigh on impossible to redeem a special because cashiers in any large chain didn’t understand what was going on.
Now, that’s all changed. Walgreens ran a special which created a barcode on the phone screen, which could be scanned like a normal product by the cashier, and thus work together with normal checkout systems. It might seem simple but it’s a genuine game-changer as far as mobile check-in apps are concerned.
bmi launch Pinterest lottery
Pinterest is all the rage right now and marketers are keen to get involved, but bmi’s Pinterest Lottery just seems a bit 2010. They’ve created five boards featuring five different destinations, each with nine pictures on them.
Users can re-pin a maximum of six pictures, and whoever has re-pinned that pictures goes in a draw for the chance to win a free flight. The problem with this: ‘re-pin to win’ shows no real engagement with the brand – it’s like ‘RT to win’ on Twitter. It doesn’t feel very social.
Fanta hide characters in their Timeline
The launch of Facebook Timeline has obviously brought new challenges for marketers – as well as new opportunities. Fanta took the opportunity, by hiding characters on their Timeline:
On the 29th of February, Fanta posted a status update saying that the leap year day had thrown Fanta time out of kilter and four Fanta characters, Gigi, Lola, Floyd and Tristan had been brought into the past and hidden in the timeline. The first character hidden was Gigi; users were given the clues to identify the year she was in, and then had to ‘like’ an image of her to bring her back to the present.
Fanta – with their 2.6 million fanbase – asked for 1,956 likes to bring the character back, but managed just over 900. The key takeaway from this is that while there’s definitely cool stuff to be done with Timeline, it might not drive as high engagement as expected.
Heinz launch another ketchup via Facebook
Last year, our We Are Social team in London launched Heinz Limited Edition Ketchup with Balsamic Vinegar on Facebook and it went down a treat. This year we wanted to go one better, so before their new Limited Edition Ketchup went into supermarkets, we created a game where fans could either win a bottle of the new ketchup, or buy one. Without any media support, 50,000 fans played the game.
Twitterscrabble: how to promote a new product
To promote the launch of Scrabble Trickster, Scrabble have created a microsite to get people involved in the traditional board game, exclusively via Twitter.
Users landing on the microsite are challenged to write the highest scoring ScrabbleTweet from a set of 100 random characters. Once you’re happy with your entry, you can tweet it for judgment:
Mars found not guilty by the ASA
The Advertising Standards Agency published its adjudication into the celebrity sponsored tweets Mars purchased – and concluded that Mars did not need any action taken against them, as the ‘#spon’ in the fifth tweet each celeb posted was enough to make it clear that the previous four tweets were also sponsored. As crazy as this judgement seems, it sets an interesting precedent.
Newt Gingrich launches anti-Romney timeline
Newt Gingrich’s campaign last week launched a Facebook Timeline attacking fellow Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his record, particularly that he’s a liberal. Despite prominent coverage on Mashable, the Page has garnered only 1,000 likes, suggesting the Gingrich campaign might want to, ahem, give it an abortion.
Red Cross launches social media operations centre
The Red Cross have launched a social media operations centre, which should help them find victims in times of trouble and offer them help, as well as recruit volunteers.
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.
PayPal experiments with QR code mobile shopping in Singapore
PayPal will be introducing mobile shopping in Singapore, whereby smartphone owners can buy goods while on the go using a QR code reader application. This initiative will take place at 15 subway (MRT) stations, where gifts from eight retailers at prices reduced specially for Valentine’s Day will be displayed. Smartphone owners must first download the PayPal QR code reader which allows them to scan the QR codes of the displayed products, and subsequently purchase these products by logging into PayPal or by providing their credit cards details.
Singapore is poised for such an experiment as it has a large smartphone userbase, having achieved the largest recorded feature phone to smartphone migration rate globally at 54%, and having the largest smartphone user base per capita in the world with a 90% penetration rate. It also has the infrastructure in place, with mobile 3G network and free public Wi-Fi that every citizen can register for with their mobile phone number.
Smartphones serve as entertainment guides in Taiwan
An Internet survey by Google found that most smartphone users from Taiwan use their mobile devices as a restaurant finder and travel guide. 38% of Taiwanese who responded said they use their smartphones to search for restaurants and food recommendations, while another 35% use their smartphones to seek travel information. Similarly in other parts of Asia Pacific, 66% of smartphone owners aged 18 to 29 in Singapore said they used their smartphones mostly as a food directory, followed by 55% in Hong Kong, and 40% in both Australia and China respectively.
Tencent’s mobile gaming platform
China’s Internet giant Tencent revealed that its mobile gaming platform Mobile QQ Game Hall has surpassed 200 million registered users and sees 13 million users everyday, with peak usage hitting more than 1 million concurrent gamers. It has no doubt tapped on Tencent’s weibo service, which has more than 250 million members. The current selection is still rather limited, but Tencent has claimed it will be adding more titles to its collection of casual games.
‘The Sims Social’ comes to China
Social gamers in China can soon look forward to playing The Sims Social, which was launched on Facebook last year but was unavailable to Chinese netizens as Facebook is blocked in the country. The 537 million active users on Tencent’s social gaming network QZone will be able to access The Sims Social, or Mo Ni Shi Guang in Mandarin, through an open beta on its platform soon.
China’s 254 million active microblogging users
China had 254 million active microblog user accounts by the end of 2011, up by 150.7% from the previous year. The active user activity proves just how big a part microblogging plays in China’s Internet culture. Microblogging user activity was mainly reflected by the number of user-generated content, the number of ‘retweets’ and comments, content shared among social platforms, and content sharing outside social platforms.
LinkedIn reaches 150 million users
LinkedIn has reached 150 million users, after adding more than 50 million users in the last 10 months; in doing so, it has secured its place as the professional’s social network. Asia Pacific accounts for 25 million users, with India accounting for the majority of Asian users with 13 million LinkedIn accounts, while 4 million originate from Southeast Asia. Singapore alone accounts for 700,000 users, which signals a 14% penetration.
Liking a brand has a positive purchase intent
Interesting news from eMarketer: 54% of those who like a brand on Facebook are then more likely to purchase the product.
From social media to word of mouth
Promoting a brand on Facebook means more than just buying up thousands of fans and, right on cue, Unilever have announced that it is shifting away from using social media for getting fans and instead wants to move towards engagement to drive advocacy and word of mouth.
The dinosaur in the room
Is it brands that are having a hard time evolving, or is it agencies? Just 9% of senior marketers believe traditional ad agencies have successfully joined the digital age, according to a new study.
Hey, have you seen this new video?
Just like a study released a couple of weeks ago, new research has found that viewers who watched a video were more likely to recall the featured brand when it was recommended by a friend compared to viewers who found the video through browsing. Also, people who watched a friend-recommended clip were more likely to enjoy the video and purchase the product.
Brits are top on Twitter
Nearly 40% of people in the UK use Twitter, the highest per capita usage in the world. The U.S., the Netherlands, Chile and Venezuela round out the top 5.
Should Facebook make a ‘junior’ edition?
Although Facebook requires its users to be 13, almost half of British 8 to 12 year olds lie about their age and have accounts on the site. Most of the children replied that they simply wanted a place to play games online and would join a ‘junior’ Facebook if it were created.
Adding Facebook Places to your map
Some Facebook users can now see an “Add to Map” button for business pages with brick-and-mortar addresses. This is meant to encourage more people to fill in their Timelines, but should also yield valuable information in recommending places to friends and letting businesses create more targeted ads.
Could the tap-in be the next check-in?
In its latest update for Android, Foursquare has included support for near-field communication, which would allow check-ins via a wave or a tap when you reach a location. The service has changed dramatically as it gets ready to enter its fourth year, and it’s taking notes from Twitter about getting past its ‘growing pains’.
Google launch Google+ developers page
Last Monday saw Google launch a Google+ developers page within Google+ to allow users to stay close to the latest Google+ platform news and events. The idea is for the page to act as a feedback portal for users, as well as encouraging users to join hackathons. It’s been successful thus far, as it’s already in almost 19,000 circles.
MySpace to announce one million new users
Since December, when MySpace introduced a new music player, it has added one million new users, the first increase in users in almost a year.
Pinterest reaches ten million unique visitors a month
According to comScore, Pinterest is the quickest ever site to reach ten million uniques a month. Certainly a site we’re watching closely.
Path: one to watch
Since its redesign two months back Path has added one million new users and is growing exponentially. Whilst it’s only available on smartphones – and hence it’s userbase will always be limited – the ease of use of the nascent app-cum-social network, means it’s another we’re watching closely.
Domino’s return to crowdsourcing
Domino’s has launched Think Oven, its new attempt to crowdsource feedback from its Facebook fans:
The Think Oven Facebook tab has two sections: Projects and Idea Box. Projects is where Domino’s solicits feedback on specific projects, with the kick-off project asking fans to brainstorm uniform ideas. Two visual submissions and two written submissions will each receive $500 rewards.
Idea Box is more open-ended and accepts any ideas people want to submit (although it’s safe to assume the brand’s Facebook admins can delete any offensive/rude suggestions). After all, the pizza chain’s latest product, Parmesan Bread Bites, was created by Brian Edler, a Domino’s Store Owner in Ohio. Other ideas so far including introducing rooftop gardens, better French dressing and a pizza delivery locator light.
Domino’s to trial F-commerce
Meanwhile, Domino’s in the UK are embarking on a new product launch exclusive to its Facebook fans. The Pizza chain is launching ‘boneless ribs’, a new addition to its menu of side orders. Facebook fans will be able to preview and order the dish at a promotional price for a week before the national launch. Perhaps there’ll be a domino effect from this, and it will drive long-term sales?
Control cats from your computer
A new campaign from Friskies allows users to control a series of kittens’ toys through Facebook (while real live kittens play with them). With cats, consumers and the internet combined, expect the web to go into meltdown.
New Cillit Bang Product Launched exclusively on Facebook
Reckitt Benckiser has announced plans to exclusively sell the new Cillit Bang ‘All in 1 Dish & Surface Cleaner’ household-cleaning product through its Facebook page. They also plan to invest an extra £100m in brand building across Europe.
Cadbury’s use Facebook to launch new Wispa product
After running a competition to find the Ultimate Wispa fan, Cadbury’s then let the very same fan launch the new Wispa product – Bitsa Wispa – on their Facebook Page, before running a competition all week to give the first batch of the product away.
Foster’s with Facebook Timeline app
Fosters is the first alcohol brand in the UK to develop a Timeline app, using it to showcase its exclusive comedy content. Rumours of the comedy being sweet, but mostly flat, are yet to be confirmed.
O2 surprises and dazzles with a Valentine campaign
The mobile operator O2 is rolling out plans to ‘surprise and delight’ customers with another personalised social media campaign for Valentines Day. The have created a virtual digital love nest in the clouds to deliver Twitter users messages via Youtube videos, personally recorded by non-identical twin “O2 Cupids”.
Dove creates Valentine’s Day tweet screen
Dove has erected a Valentine’s Day tweet screen in London’s Victoria station, which displays tweeters responses to questions about women and beauty. Aside from the time of year, it’s hard to see how much this has to do with Valentine’s.
Threadless link-up with Pinterest
T-shirt makers Threadless are one of the first brands to run a campaign on Pinterest: they’ve asked users to create a Valentine’s Pinboard including five Threadless products, for the chance to win an $100 voucher as well an $100 Amazon gift card.
Skoda’s impressive use of social media
A really nice story from Car Dealer Magazine, about how a tweet from a journalist about not having a car, ended up with him being a given a car for the day, as well as free lunch. It all goes to show the power of listening on social media, and then generating positive word of mouth. It’s hard to get brands to believe it can be this simple, but sometimes it really can be.
Sky News bans retweeting others, BBC bans breaking stories on Twitter
Sky News has introduced a new policy that bans its journalists from retweeting non Sky sources. It seems to miss the point of social media – about reporters being part of the wider community – and it will be interesting to see if there is a backlash from their journalists.
Simon Collister from We Are Social London highlighted just why it’s a bad move for Sky:
Sky, as an early adopter of Twitter, has taken a big step backwards. It’s easy to see where it’s coming from in terms of attempting to protect the brand from association with inappropriate personal tweets or unconfirmed news, but Sky is missing the point. The biggest damage to the brand will be that its reporters go from being ‘real people’ to official broadcast channels for Sky. This risks diminishing the range, breadth and quality of the content being produced and shared.
What will these policies mean for the individual journalists concerned? Many of Sky’s reporters understand that getting the most out of Twitter means reciprocal engagement through sharing and retweeting other users and are already flouting the new policies. If Sky journalists find themselves losing followers, authority or relevance in the increasingly networked news environment, it will be interesting to see if this leads to higher staff turnover – or a management re-evaluation of the proposed practices.
The domino effect has already been felt at the BBC, where journalists have been told not to break new stories on Twitter. The new rule, which applies to all correspondents within the corporation, reporters and producers, was announced on Wednesday, just a day after Twitter’s new ruling.
Starbucks and Jiepang team up again for Valentine’s Day
Starbucks and Chinese location-based service Jiepang will play matchmaker this coming Valentine’s Day with Starbucks’ new social marketing campaign. All check-ins on Jiepang in some parts of China will earn users a blue or pink Valentine’s badge, which will entitle them to two free cups of Starbucks coffee with every purchase of a Starbucks reward card. 520 lucky users stand to win Nokia N9 phones, while those who fill out the matchmaking in-store postcards might win themselves a special Starbucks mug – or a date for Valentine’s Day.
Air China’s Facebook check-in campaign
Although Facebook is banned in China, that did not prevent Air China from promoting its services in Sweden using Facebook. It partnered up with a number of popular Asian restaurants in Sweden and encouraged guests to check-in on Facebook as they sat down to eat. Those with the highest number of check-ins (and calories, we assume) at the end of the week won a pair of free tickets to Asia. Although it may seem simple, this was a highly successful campaign, reaching over a million people.
Can the caged bird still tweet? Not in Thailand
Twitter has announced that it is now able to censoring tweets in certain countries, in order to comply with local laws. The announcement was met with some scepticism from commentators, not least because of the role Twitter played in many of the uprisings that took place last Spring, although Twitter have deflected some of the criticism by opting for full transparency when censoring tweets. In order to qualify for censorship, an ‘authorised entity’ would have to report the tweet or account, which would then be censored in that country, and in its place would be left a notice informing users that the tweet or account in question had been censored for legal reasons. The Thai government have been one of the first to welcome the decision.
The Indian Army bans use of social networks
The Indian Army is reported to be introducing a ban on social networking amongst its servicemen and women due to fears of crucial information being leaked. All 36,000 officers and 1.3 million other personnel of the Indian Army will have to immediately cease using and even delete their profiles from their various social networks. The alleged reason for this strict ban is due to the increasing number of photos of officers in uniform, with weapons or amongst their units that are posted to the Web, which has led to concerns that important information may risk being leaked on sites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and others, or that individuals may put themselves at risk, having disclosed their professional identities.
Emergency alerts on Google Maps
Google Maps will now add emergency alerts for natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and blizzards to locations. Google’s Public Alerts will integrate warnings from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) into Maps. Users can search for a type of alert near a location, which will bring up any warnings from the source, as well as a chart illustrating the likelihood, severity, and how soon the emergency might occur. Although limited to the US at the moment, the implications should Public Alerts roll out worldwide would be momentous. Considering that Google Maps has been integrated into Google+, users will be able to share emergency alerts from Maps with their social network, and the spread of information and updates about potential disasters through individual networks could reach a great number of people quicker.
In other Google Maps news, Google and online train ticketing website thetrainline.com have collaborated to make planning for train travel across Britain much easier. Information and timetables for train services in Britain have been launched on Google Maps at maps.google.co.uk, and more than 2,500 stations, 170,000 trips nationwide, 8,000 bus stops and over 250 tube stations have been added onto Maps. Users are also provided walking directions and some bus timetables for connections, and can directly click through to thetrainline.com to search for and book tickets for their journey. This will no doubt greatly benefit the throng of visitors flocking to London for the Olympics later this year, as tourists will be able to combine walking and transit directions on Google Maps for mobile to help them navigate about.
Only 1% of Facebook fans engage with brands
According to a study from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, only a little more than 1% of fans of the biggest brands on Facebook are engaging with brands on their Facebook pages. Researchers for the institute looked at the ‘People Talking About This’ metric, which is a running count of likes, posts, comments, tags, shares and other activity, as a proportion of overall fan growth of the top 200 brands on Facebook. Across a six-week period, they discovered that the percentage of People Talking About This to overall fans was 1.3%. If page and post ‘Likes’ are taken out of the equation to narrow the scope of engagement, since it requires only a click and does not involve as much motivation to interact as compared to a comment, the percentage shrinks to 0.45%. What this illustrates is less than half a percent of people who publicly show that they ‘Like’ the brand are interested in interacting with or creating any kind of content around it. This shows again that the absolute number of Facebook fans is not the best metric brands should strive towards, but rather, engagement with their fans is what will most likely convert into loyal and paying customers.
Consumers respond better to shared content than paid advertising
General Electric teamed up with Buzzfeed to prove once and for all that shared content results in a better response from consumers than paid advertising placement. Digital advertising measurement firm, Vizu, exposed subjects to the ‘The GE Show’ video through both paid display ads and sharing from friends and found that, overall, those who watched the video via sharing “had a significantly bigger lift in positive attitudes toward GE – associating the brand with such things as creativity and innovation – than people exposed via paid placements.” Paul Marcum, director of global marketing and programming at GE, said that the study was a lesson on “the value of advocacy, and that absolutely will inform marketing decisions”.
Teens opting for Twitter as older generations ruin Facebook
Since the days of yore parents have been warning their kids about privacy and not sharing too much information online. And kids, characteristically, have not listened and have shared whatever they please with their friends and the friends of their friends. But now a funny thing has begun to happen. As parents begin to disregard their own advice and tentatively setup Facebook profiles of their own, the kids start to fear for their privacy, not from ‘pirates’ or fraudsters, but from their parents. As a result, a lot of teens are now migrating to Twitter in an effort to escape the prying eyes of the older generations. Of course, what is happening here is nothing new, as Alice Marwick, a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research points out, “They just want someplace they can express themselves and talk with their friends without everyone watching”.
When it comes to Facebook brand pages: Local is better than Global
Socialbakers have done a bit of social media sleuthing and determined, once and for all, that local pages consistently result in higher levels of engagement than global pages. Citing both Xbox and BMW as examples, they show that the top local pages result in far higher (10 times higher in Xbox’s case!) levels of engagement than a centralised global page. The benefits of ‘going local’ include content and conversation being more relevant, fans sharing a common language and fans having more in common.
Timeline and Open Graph are coming to brand pages
Social marketers are readying themselves for the changes that are to come to Facebook brand pages in 2012, most notably, the introduction of Timeline and Open Graph. Carolyn Everson, VP of global marketing solutions at Facebook:
There’s a lot of speculation [about Timeline]. The goal has always been to have your personal experience on Facebook not be so different than the brand or page experience. And right now, it is different. You have Timeline and you have a page-brand profile. So we are absolutely moving in the direction to sync those up. We believe that brands want to be able to curate how they’re represented in a more visually pleasing way, and we’re in the midst of trying to figure out how best to do that.
and on Open Graph:
We don’t want a mad rush to have every brand suddenly think that the next thing we have to do is an Open Graph implementation. Because then you put stuff out there that people don’t care about, and that they don’t really share, and they turn it off. We’re working brand by brand, and frankly, industry by industry.
Timeline supported by just one in ten Facebook users
When it comes to users rather than brands, a survey of 4,000 of them has found that just 8% of users endorse Facebook’s Timeline feature. The survey also found that 51% of those asked were worried by the changes and just 8% said they would get used to them. Of course time will tell whether the changes are accepted in the long run. It tends to be the case that redesigns of this sort are met with uproar at first, then quiet consternation and finally accepted as the status quo and the whole cycle repeats itself ad infinitum. Unless, of course, you happen to be Digg.
Facebook’s ‘Subscribe’ feature proves a hit with journalists and page owners
Since November 2011, journalists have seen a 320% increase in Facebook subscribers. Twitter proved an early hit with journalists and they seem to be using Facebook’s ‘Subscribe’ feature in more or less the same way; keeping their readers informed and up to speed by sharing articles, photos, videos and asking questions of their subscribers. Facebook has also introduced the option for Facebook users to subscribe to page owners, opening up new communication channels between consumers, brand pages and the people that manage them.
Facebook beta new social plugin, ‘The Recommendation Bar’
Facebook have debuted a new social plugin that incorporates some of Facebook’s Open Graph features. Essentially, it boils down to a ‘Recommendation Bar’ that gives readers ‘Social Recommendations’ on similar content they are likely to enjoy or that their friends enjoyed, an ‘Omnipresent Like’ button to ensure that user’s ability to Like a page isn’t hampered by poor site design and the ability to switch on ‘Frictionless Sharing’.
Over 5 billion songs have been shared on Facebook since the f8 conference
Since September, over 5 billion songs have been shared as a result of Facebook’s ‘frictionless sharing’ feature, although the jury’s still out on whether or not frictionless sharing is a hit with users. Some critics say that it has reduced the sharing of content to a passive activity, others say it is intrusive. Even so, it is hard to argue with the numbers.
Twitter to roll out more of their fan-dangled brand pages to big spenders
The roll out of Twitter brand pages will continue from February 1st onwards, although only to brands that have already committed to spending at least $25,000 on its ad products. Twitter declined to comment on the ongoing roll out of the new brand pages or the advertising spend required to qualify for one, although they did say they are partnering with some individuals and charities for the roll out of its brand pages, one of which will be the American Red Cross.
Twitter analytics to be introduced in the coming months
Erica Anderson, Twitter’s manager for news and journalism, also announced that one of the new features that will be released in the coming months is an analytics service to help content creators track how their content is spreading across the Twitterverse.
Twitter to add right-to-left languages
Twitter have announced that hashtags and Tweets now work properly for users that write in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu, and it should be only a matter of months before the Twitter interface is available in those languages.
Facebook, Twitter and Myspace engineers fix Google’s social search results
“Don’t be Evil” was Google’s first unofficial motto. It referred to, among other things, objectivity and parity in the results it returned to users. But since the launch of Google’s social search features, a number of their competitors claim Google has been hoisted on its own petard, with Google’s new results seemingly favouring Google+ results over other networks, such as Twitter. As a result, a group of engineers fromFacebook, Twitter and Myspace have launched the “Don’t be Evil” bookmarklet, which let’s users view the new social search results without this bias. The results are quite impressive.
The G+ name saga continues
It seems like people have been whining about Google+’s policy on nicknames and pseudonyms since before the platform was even launched, and last week they offered a tiny, if impractical concession. You can now add a nickname to appear between your existing names ie. George “The Destroyer” Terry, or to have your name appear in another script, ie., to use their examnple, “सौरभ शर्मा (Saurabh Sharma)”. They also let you set up profiles under other ‘established’ identities, but the process to have these alternate identities verified seems a little impractical. Something tells me they haven’t quite hit the nail on the head with this one.
Just when O2 thought it couldn’t get any worse…
O2 got in a bit of hot water last week after it came to light that they had been sending copies of their customer’s numbers to every website that the user visited on their handset. As you’d expect, the Twitterverse flew totally off the handle and set upon the mobile service provider with all the rage it could muster. O2 fought valiantly, and seemed to be weathering the storm as best as could be expected – until they hit their daily tweet limit, which, if you didn’t know, is 250 direct messages and 1000 tweets/retweets/@messages. As more and more brands attempt to salvage their reputation from the jaws of ignominy in the midst of epic #fails through social media, this could become a serious issue, and one that Twitter might want to address.
Time Out to launch social TV guide
Time Out will launch an interactive TV guide that will feature listings, links to more information about the shows, relevant Twitter and Facebook activity, ‘Watch now’ links to services such as 4OD, ITV Player and BBC iPlayer and the option to record listed programmes on their Sky+ or TiVo box.
FIFA Street to feature in-game social ‘Street Network’
EA have announced their plans to bring social to the FIFA Street series with new features that will allow users to create profiles, capture videos of their best tricks and goals. “The Street Network brings that real-world swagger into the game by enabling players to capture video of those moments and share them with everyone in their street network to see,” said producer, Sid Misra, “and providing friends with a way to compare each other throughout the game.”
Lego launch social media platform for fan
Called ReBrick, the Lego platform is essentially a content platform that allows fans to bookmark content elsewhere on the web and aggregate it on the site, creating a hub for all Lego-related user generated content on the web. A bookmark widget can be installed for easy bookmarking and links can be shared through social platforms. The cool thing about ReBrick is that rather than clearing out all of the existing fan-sites dedicated to Lego creations the world over, ReBrick works in tandem with them. The creators consulted fans throughout the development process and the site also provides links to other sites and forums online where fans can further indulge their love of Lego.
Kermit the Frog takes to Twitter to promote upcoming film
Disney made their way into the trending topics on Thursday when Kermit took over the @DisneyMoviesUK account and fielded questions from his fans as part of Disney’s marketing efforts around the premiere of the new Muppet movie. This isn’t the first time that a fictional character has cropped up on Twitter in order to promote the release of a new film or series, but come on, this is Kermit the Frog. Loads of people got in line to #AskKermit their question, including one Mr @StephenFry.
Orange launch film site based on the wisdom of crowds
Orange have launched an aggregator called Orange Film Pulse which collates opinions from different online sources – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online review sites, etc – in one place. You can also tweet directly from the site. It will be worth watching whether the site achieves any pick-up, considering Orange’s wider involvement in film.
House of Fraser targets students
This time, some of We Are Social’s own work – House of Fraser is embarking on a major marketing push to target students – people who might not have considered the brand before. It has partnered with the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Extra Card, to launch a vouchering app on the House of Fraser Facebook page (concepted and built by us) . The app enables students who “like” the brand on Facebook to receive a 10% discount when shopping on its site. It is also offering “flash discounts” via the social network to students.
Manchester City launch City Fan Cam
During last Sunday’s match with Spurs, Man City captured a 360 degree ultra HD picture inside the Etihad Stadium, which after the match fans could access online – and then tag themselves before posting to Facebook or Twitter. This was impressive, if unoriginal. But what made it clever, was that they hid players like Balotelli and Nasri around the stadium with the fans, and challenged fans to find them. This meant the picture was interesting for more people than just those who were at the match. It also explains why Nasri went missing on the pitch.
Bayern Munich’s spectacular own goal
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich promised fans a new signing on Thursday – with the announcement via their Facebook Page. When Bayern revealed the signing ‘the new FCB star’ was actually just a marketing stunt designed to show how important fans are to the club. 5,000 angry comments later, Bayern were forced to apologise. Oh dear.
LA Fitness shamed by Twitter
LA Fitness faced their own crisis last week – after a Guardian story about them trying to extract £360 from a pregnant woman who’s husband had lost his job went viral. In the end LA Fitness agreed to waive the fees, but it’s fair to say this marketing blunder will cost them far more than £360. Oh dear.
Snickers investigated by the ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation into Snickers’ Twitter campaign where they recruited celebrities to post some very out-of-character tweets. The campaign is being investigated against two possible breaches of the Advertising Code: whether it should have been stated in the ‘teaser’ tweets that they were marketing communications; and whether the hashtag “#spon” in the final ‘reveal’ tweet made it clear enough that that tweets were sponsored.
Twitter users deported for joking about ‘destroying’ America
In a shocking but amusing story, two British tourists were deported from America before even getting out of the airport, after one tweeted that he planned to ‘destroy’ America. The police refused to believe that it was slang, and he didn’t actually plan to destroy either the nation, its people or its government. A story that seems funny now, but one that could become a common occurrence if the FBI’s plans to monitor social media come to fruition.
We’re back (and heavier) from the CNY festivities, and will resume our regular Tuesday TuneUp next week. In the meantime, here’s our Midweek MashUp!
Spam ‘retweets’ on Sina Weibo
A report from HP Labs’ Social Computing Research claims that 49% of all ‘retweets’ on Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo are from fraudulent accounts. In addition, these automated fake users account for about 32% of total weibos. As a result, what appears to be trending on Sina Weibo is in fact skewed by these spam ‘retweets’, which contributes to what HP terms ‘artificial inflation’. It remains to be seen whether the implementation of real-name identities for all microblogging accounts in China will help to ease the occurrence of these spam ‘retweets’ through the reduction of fake accounts.
Sina Weibo’s incredible record over Chinese New Year
Sina Weibo recorded some incredible statistics in the first minute of Chinese New Year, with an average of 32,212 weibos per second, with 481,207 messages sent during the first minute of Chinese New Year alone. This number beats Twitter’s tweets per second record, which stands at 25,088. Furthermore, the volume of messages sent this Chinese New Year is three times higher than that of last year, and illustrates the tremendous growth that Sina Weibo has had this past year.
India’s Prime Minister joins Twitter
India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is now on Twitter under the Twitter handle @PMOIndia in a bid to reach out to younger audiences and better communicate key announcements and news from the Prime Minister’s office, as well as his official trips and activities. Even though the Prime Minister himself will not be handling the account personally, he has already garnered 16,366 followers in the span of 2 days. Perhaps Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee should follow suit.
1 million milestone for Yahoo Box! in Japan
Yahoo’s new online storage service Yahoo Box! has reached 1 million users in Japan since its launch in October 2011. Similar to Dropbox and other web-based services that store information ‘in the cloud’, Yahoo Box! offers 5GB of free storage space to Yahoo Japan ID users. Notably, 51% of Yahoo Box! users are paying customers. Subscriptions start from 300 Yen or S$4.95 per month for 1,000GB of storage space. Yahoo Box! is most commonly used to store images, which make up 65.4% of items stored, while general documents take up 8.2%, music 3.4% and videos 0.7%. It’ll be interesting to see how Yahoo Box! fares against Dropbox and local Japanese search giant Naver’s similar offering, which provides 30GB of storage space free.
Now when users start typing a hashtag, auto-complete suggestions will appear:
Users can now record and share videos straight from their webcams. Been posting nothing but photos of your cat? Meme-ify them instantly on Google+. We can’t even imagine the number of animal photos that are going to live on the Internet after this.
But the biggest new feature lets users post directly from Google search results to Google+. Searching for your favourite team might leads to news about, say, Thierry Henry, and then you can share this directly to your Circles.
Google will start invading your privacy, and there’s no opt-out option
Following the series of new features and additions it has introduced to its products, Google is planning to follow the activities of users of its suite of products and related sites, such as Gmail, its search engine, and YouTube. Only Google Wallet, its Chrome browser, and Google Books are not included. No doubt, Google has already been collecting information of its users, but soon it will combine data across its various websites to better target specific profiles for related ads. What is most frightening is that consumers will not be able to opt-out of this initiative, which will be effective from March 1.
Facebook becomes the premier social network in Brazil
Earlier this week comScore released results showing Facebook surpassed Google’s Orkut in December, becoming the largest social networking destination in Brazil for the first time. In the past year Facebook tripled its audience in the region, but even more impressively increased user engagement, from an average of 37 minutes spent on the site to 5 hours. It remains to be seen whether Facebook can replicate this success and capture the lead in other markets where it doesn’t lead such as Japan, Vietnam and South Korea.
US online ad spend to grow to almost $40 billion
Online spending on ads in America will grow 23.3% to $39.5 billion in 2012 as the internet proves its worth to advertisers in a tough economic climate.
Fast growth has seen online pull ahead of some traditional media and this year US online ad spending will exceed the total spent on print magazines and newspapers for the first time, at $39.5 billion vs. $33.8 billion. This is the sort of thing that a faux-savant would described as ‘a seminal moment’.
UK marketers also shift spend to digital as general confidence falls
Similarly in the UK, there’s been a distinct shift away from investment in traditional media campaigns towards digital channels: investment in internet advertising and search rose 13.4% and 14.9% respectively in the final quarter of 2011, with more traditional means of advertising losing spend.
31% of ad impressions are never even seen
Online will still need to continue to prove its worth, as comScore last week produced research that claimed over a third of ad impressions on the web are never even seen.
Working with 12 “national premium brands” in the US, including Chrysler, Ford and Kellogg’s, the report found that in many cases, ads are delivered but not in-view or on target and therefore never have a chance to make an impact.
Where users go, marketers will follow…
Nonetheless, with social media sites beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn seeing significant boosts in usage, both in the US and elsewhere in the world, it is only natural that marketers plan to capitalise on this in 2012:
Rethinking information diversity in networks – the power of weak ties
New research from Facebook appears to validate the use of social networks in understanding the spread of information first popularised by economic sociologist Mark Granovetter, as well as discrediting popular notions of the web as an ‘echo chamber’ where web personalisation algorithms like Facebook’s News Feed force us to consume an ever more dangerously narrow range of news.
In his seminal 1973 paper, The Strength of Weak Ties, Granovetter found that, surprisingly, people are more likely to acquire jobs that they learnt about through individuals they interact with infrequently rather than their close personal contacts.
In a scale unheard of in academic sociological studies, the Facebook study observed nearly 1.2 billion instances in which someone was or was not presented with a certain link. The results confirmed the power of weak ties and highlighted how weak ties “are indispensible” to your network as they have access to different websites that you’re not necessarily visiting.
Some Facebook Pages only reach 17% of fans
Since all the changes in late 2011 it’s clear Facebook has made it tougher for community managers. Teaming up with EdgeRank Checker to examine what was going on, AllFacebook found that (in a review of 4,000 Facebook pages) the average page post is only reaching 17 percent of the Page’s fans.
The advent of the ticker and various apps’ inclusion – like The Guardian and Spotify’s – has clearly had an impact, but it’s worth emphasising that this is the number for an average Page; put simply, effective community management, based on statistical insights and a thorough understanding of how EdgeRank works, can overcome this.
Introducing new apps for Timeline
60 new apps were launched for Timeline last week, with sites such as Foodily, Ticketmaster and Pinterest teaming up with Facebook to encourage users to “enhance your Timeline with apps that help you tell your story”. The idea behind it is to share ‘your favourite activities’ with your friends.
Ticketmaster + Spotify = concert-goers paradise
Welcome to the world of social music through Facebook Timeline. A new app from Ticketmaster will recommend gigs based on your listening habits and history. Yet another reason to delete those tunes you’re a bit embarrassed about, lest you tell all of Facebook that you’re going to (another) Justin Bieber concert.
What you want from Auto Trader
A new app on Facebook Timeline from Auto Trader gives users the option to show friends cars they would like to own. Interestingly, rather than the traditional ‘like’ button, it will include a ‘want’ button instead.
Twitter seeing 3 to 5 percent engagement on Promoted Tweets and Trends
Defining engagement as a “click, retweet, reply, or favorite” Twitter have declared their Promoted Products — including Promoted Tweets, Accounts and Trends — a success, with advertisers seeing 3-5% engagement rates on campaigns. Twitter Chairman Jack Dorsey suggested that “advertisers are coming back… [the market] is proving that this is something people want to see more of”. Or so he thinks.
McDonald’s lose control of a hashtag
However, McDonalds show that buying a promoted trend is not necessarily a good thing, as their McDstories campaign spun rapidly out of control amid a McFlurry of negative tweets. A big McFail.
What’s cooking at Foursquare?
Foodies rejoice: mobile check-in app Foursquare has added restaurant menus with prices. So far, they are only available for big chain restaurants in the US, including Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera Bread, Starbucks and Applebee’s, and only on certain platforms (not on iPhone). This comes on the heels of the improved “Explore” tab, which lets users find the hidden gems near them based on tips from other users and begs the question: will Foursquare take over Yelp as the top grub finder for foodophiles?
Tumblr soars past 15 billion pageviews a month
Micro-blogging site Tumblr continues to produce impressive numbers, with it now accounting for over 15 billion pageviews a month. The half-blog, half-Twitter hybrid owes its continuing success to making sharing effortlessly easy. Just 10% of the content on Tumblr is original, but the average post will be reblogged about 9 times.
LiveJournal wants to live again in the U.S.
Americans had nearly written off LiveJournal as nostalgia of the Noughties, but the site is trying to make a comeback by attracting users to tight-knit groups around specific subjects. It doesn’t hurt that George R.R. Martin, the author of the popular ‘Game of Thrones’ programme, writes avidly on his blog there.
Obama to host a live interview on Google+
American President Barack Obama will give his first ever completely virtual interview from the White House – answering questions on YouTube and hosting a Google+ hangout – after his State of the Union address. Nice idea.
Just like The Dude
Lionsgate is the latest studio to rent films through Facebook and has made its latest film ‘Abduction’ more interactive. Pop-up boxes appear on screen with quotes or a 20-second grab and give viewers the option to post it on Facebook. If one of your friends watches the film later, he can see the comment you left at that point in the film. You can also ‘Like’ the products that your favourite characters are using. Watching ‘The Big Lebowski’? Then perhaps you’d like some Kahlua.
Brewing in the hive mind
Crowdsourcing is bubbling up in the beer world. Untappd (a beer check-in and recommendation service) now lets breweries claim their pages, allowing them to see which of their beers is the most popular and be in contact with their biggest fans. They’ve already picked up 150 breweries thus far, including Dogfish Head, Kona, Boston Beer and Tenth & Blake.
In the same vein, Sam Adams has developed a Facebook app so that fans can create a custom beer, which will be brewed next month. Fans can comment on categories such as colour, body and sweetness. Will the result be delicious or taste like a bad batch of home brew?
You’re in Stephen King’s story
Could your mug be on Stephen King’s next book? To celebrate his next book, the publisher has invited fans to upload their photo onto a Facebook app and revel in their few ‘pixels of fame’.
MINI fans the Facebook flames
Pyromaniacs will get a kick out of this: at the Brussels motor show, MINI launched a new competition so that when Facebook users like their page, it lights a Bunsen burner under a rope attached to a MINI Countryman which one lucky fan won. MINI are on fire at the moment.
Discover Berlin with Hugo Boss
For Berlin Fashion Week, Hugo Boss sponsored Foursquare specials on drinks and starter deals at trendy bars and restaurants around the city. The best boss around.
Katie Price isn’t herself
Most thought that when Katie Price tweeted about the Eurozone crisis and China’s GDP over the weekend, she wasn’t acting like her usual self. And as it turns out, she wasn’t – it was a cleverly played PR stunt from Snickers, who paid to take over her Twitter account.
Cadbury says a big thanks — bar none
To celebrate reaching 1 million Facebook fans, Cadbury built a giant thumbs up out of 1 million chocolate bars. Two days and three tones of chocolate later, fans were rewarded with the sight of the massive treat.
Magical mystery tour with Burton
A new competition from Burton Snowboards lets Facebook fans pack a ‘bag’ with three items of Burton kit, and then pick two friends to join them on their trip (destinations have not been disclosed), should they win one of the three grand prizes.
One Like, One Balloon
Heineken Brazil launched a simple yet effective campaign to get more ‘Likes’ on Facebook: turn a ‘Like’ into a balloon. Soon an empty office was filled with thousands of them, and fans could see updates of the disappearing office.
Bald Barbie coming?
After a popular social media campaign, Mattel are still unsure about producing a bald Barbie because of the possible ramifications. Two women whose daughters lost their hair after cancer treatment are adamant that ‘bald is beautiful’.
Hirsute We Are Social MD Robin Grant is uniquely qualified to give his opinion on the issue:
The obvious thing to do would be to release a limited edition bald Barbie with a percentage of the proceeds going to charity. Some companies have a fear of being seen to bow to consumer pressure – but corporate marketing teams must guard against being unchanging and monolithic.