Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Timeline’.

We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #22

by Cai Yu Lam in News

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.

Image from Tech in Asia

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.

Barack Obama joins Pinterest
Barack Obama joined Pinterest last week – and although he quickly added 9,000 followers, the Daily Mail chose to focus on his chilli recipe.

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.


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Five Friday Facts #21

by Cai Yu Lam in News

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.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #20

by Cai Yu Lam in News

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 wants in on #linsanity
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!

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #19

by Cai Yu Lam in News

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.

Posterous is Joining the Flock at Twitter
Posterous have announced on their blog that they’re being acquired by Twitter. Twitter themselves had this to say:

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.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #16

by Cai Yu Lam in News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

adidas Originals launch Facebook Cover picture app
adidas Originals have launched an app, where users can design their own Cover Photo for their Facebook Timeline. Nice. launch social booking app on Facebook have created a clever Facebook app which encourages bookings with friends. The app helps users come to a consensus on which hotel they want to stay in – perfect for anyone booking a group holiday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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