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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

eMarketer Research Reveals Marketers Buy In to Promoted Tweets

This is a recent artcile found on eMarketer.

Twitter advertising is attracting more interest from marketers.

In November, the TWTRCON conference and oneforty, an online directory for Twitter tools, surveyed 110 business professionals, mostly from marketing and communications, about their interaction with Twitter’s Promoted Products suite.

Overall, the respondents were interested in using Twitter ads as a part of their marketing mix, with 51% of respondents somewhat or very interested in Promoted Products. However, 27% hadn’t made up their minds and 22% said they had no interest at all.


The survey also noted that many brands and marketers are waiting to see the return on investment and business effect of such programs before getting involved. Buying a Promoted Trend adds the brand or product to the top of Twitter’s Trends list; Promoted Tweets give prominent placement to tweets from the advertiser. A third ad format, Promoted Accounts, includes a branded account among the other accounts Twitter suggests a user should follow.

At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco in November, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams said using Promoted Trends increased the conversation around a topic by three to six times, and that most advertisers return after they have tried the format. Recently, Radio Shack sponsored the Promoted Trend #IfIHadSuperPowers, and Pillsbury used Promoted Tweets to discuss holiday food and recipes.

Twitter users are starting to take notice of the ads. The TWTRCON-oneforty survey found that 37% of respondents have clicked on a Promoted Trend and 29% clicked on a Promoted Tweet.


However, Twitter has a lot to do to catch up to other popular ad formats. Only 11% of the TWTRCON-oneforty study respondents said their organizations had used Twitter’s Promoted Products so far, while 59% were using Google AdWords and 55% used Facebook ads.

In a survey of ad agencies conducted in Q3 2010 by STRATA, 87.9% of respondents said they were likely to use Facebook advertising; less than half as many thought they would use Twitter ads.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Facebook Relationships Visualised

Here's a great image of Facebook's visualisation of its connected global relationships from Mashable.


Ben Parr's original Mashable article looks at how this social graph was put together:

Facebook Intern Paul Butler was interested in the locations of friendships, so he decided to create a visualization of Facebook connections around the globe. How local are our friends? Where are the highest concentration of friendships? How do political and geological boundaries affect them?

Butler started by using a sample of 10 million friend pairs, correlated them with their current cities and then mapped that data using the longitude and latitude of each city.

That was the easy part. Creating the right effect to show connecting relationships between thousands of cities proved to be a challenge. Butler wrote a fascinating Facebook note explaining some of the challenges he faced creating his visualization:

“I began exploring it in R, an open-source statistics environment. As a sanity check, I plotted points at some of the latitude and longitude coordinates. To my relief, what I saw was roughly an outline of the world. Next I erased the dots and plotted lines between the points. After a few minutes of rendering, a big white blob appeared in the center of the map. Some of the outer edges of the blob vaguely resembled the continents, but it was clear that I had too much data to get interesting results just by drawing lines. I thought that making the lines semi-transparent would do the trick, but I quickly realized that my graphing environment couldn’t handle enough shades of color for it to work the way I wanted.

Instead I found a way to simulate the effect I wanted. I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others. I used a color ramp from black to blue to white, with each line’s color depending on its weight. I also transformed some of the lines to wrap around the image, rather than spanning more than halfway around the world.”

With a few more tweaks, he eventually came up with the amazing visualization you see here. At first glance, it provides some expected data — the U.S. has the highest concentration of Facebook friendships, and Africa has the lowest concentration. While most of Russia and Antarctica are nowhere to be found, the rest of the world is easily identifiable.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Influence of Mobile on Social Marketing’s Future

eMarketer, September 13th 2010

Mobile platforms and location-based networks could take social marketing to the next level.

As the increase in smart device ownership helps put the mobile web in the pocket of more and more Americans, mobile will play a greater role in all forms of content consumption—including social media.


US marketers surveyed in June 2010 by PRWeek and MS&L Group believed mobile social would have important consequences for their brand. Asked which social media efforts would have the greatest effect on their company, 17% said more usage of social media on mobile platforms and a further 12% cited uptake of mobile location-based social networking.

Another 4% said investing more in Twitter would be their most important effort. While a majority of users access Twitter from their desktop, the microblogging service is a major example of greater use of social media from mobile platforms. According to the company’s blog, mobile usage of the site rose 62% in about four months, and mobile sign-ups increased from 5% of the total earlier in 2010 to 16%.



Currently, PRWeek and MS&L Group found that few US marketers were using specifically mobile-based social media tools, but the sophistication of smart devices has narrowed the distance between the desktop and mobile for many users.

Much of the marketing opportunity in going mobile lies with the ability to use location data to bring consumers timely messages when they are already nearby and possibly considering a purchase. Social media could prove a smart avenue for such efforts; while pure location-based services like foursquare remain relatively niche, Facebook has picked up location-based check-in services, and social networking has been the single biggest driver of mobile app usage and browsing over the past year.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

What Type Of Social Media Ads Are The Most Effective?

by Gavin O'Malley, Monday, March 29, 2010, MediaPost News 

Now that social networks devour about a fifth of Web users' time, you might be wondering which ad formats are most effective on Facebook and its rivals.

Well, among the seven most common formats, sponsored content ads -- in which consumers viewed a page that was "brought to you by" a leading brand -- were the most engaging, yet produced the least purchase intent, according to a new study conducted by research firm Psychster, and commissioned by cooking/recipe hub Allrecipes.com.


Corporate profiles on social-networking sites produced greater purchase intent and more recommendations when users could become a "fan," and add the logo to their own profiles, than when they could not.

Meanwhile, "give and get" widgets -- in which individuals can create and customize something (a car or a dinner menu) and then either send it to a friend ("give" widget) or keep it for themselves ("get" widget) -- were more engaging than traditional banner ads, but no more likely to produce an intent to purchase.

Psychster's conclusions held across brands -- a leading soup brand and a leading car brand -- and publishers -- on Allrecipes.com and on Facebook.com -- but like traditional ads, widgets had increased success if the brand was relevant to the Web site.

"From banner ads, to widgets and branded profiles, ad types differ in the cognitive, social, and motivational foundations that make them a success, as well as the time and cost to bring them to market," said David Evans Ph.D., CEO of Psychster.

Whereas other research often focuses on marketing spending or performance metrics, Psychster's study focused on consumers' attitudes toward different ad types and the brands they promoted.

For the study, Psychster designed a multivariate online experimental survey. Mockups were created of seven ad types, appearing on one of two publisher Web sites (Allrecipes, or Facebook), and promoting one of two brands (a leading soup brand and a leading car brand), for a total of 28 combinations.

To capture the interactive nature of the ads, a video was recorded showing the screen activity of someone interacting with the mockups, complete with a narration.

The variations of the survey that depicted the ad types on Allrecipes were shown to 478 Allrecipes users who were recruited via a site-wide popover. Meanwhile, the variations that depicted ad types on Facebook were shown to 681 Facebook users recruited via a panel company.

Overall, "No ad type was so engaging that it overcame the advantage found by matching the brand to the Web site," added Evans. "It is widely believed that ads are at an advantage when the brand relates to the site on which it appears ... Our findings replicated this effect, such that the soup brand performed better on Allrecipes than it did on Facebook."

What's more, every format was clearly perceived to be an ad. Although none of the ads fully "disguised" themselves, sponsored content scored lowest on this scale, but possibly at the expense of a strong call to action.

Although banners and newsletters were most likely to be seen as ads, they were among the best at triggering purchase intent and viral recommendations.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Social Media Drives Business: 51% Of Customers Reached Via Twitter Are More Likely To Do Business With You

Here's a great infographic from DIYSEO. It states that 51% of people reached via Twitter are much more like to do business with your company/brand. The infographic also nicely demonstrates how social media is being used for demand generation activities for Small & Medium Business (SMBs).

Monday, 11 October 2010

Social Networking in Asia: No Longer a Niche Activity

ClickZ.asia September 13th 2010
  • Where do 3 out of 4 global Internet users visit during a month?
  • What captures 15 percent of total time spent online worldwide?
  • What do Asia-Pacific Internet users do online for nearly 3 hours each month?
If you answered social networking, you’re right.

For those people that still consider social networking a niche market, it’s time to wake up and face the data.

In June, 924 million Internet users around the globe visited a social networking site, making it one of the most popular online activities, and it just keeps growing.


In the Asia-Pacific region, half of all Internet users visit a social networking site each month. Although Asia Pacific as a region reports lower social networking usage than other regions (due largely to low broadband penetration in some markets as well as restricted usage in places such as China), usage across the region continues to increase rapidly. Several markets in Asia were some of the most avid users of social networking in the world including the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, which each saw more than 90 percent of their online population social networking during the month.

What’s even more impressive than the sheer volume of traffic to social networks is the amount of time people spend on these sites. Social networks now capture more time than e-mail, news, games and entertainment activities online. Instant messengers are the only online activity more engaging than social networking in the region. In several markets, visitors are spending more than four hours a month on social networking sites including in the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand.


But wait, isn’t social networking just for kids and young people? No longer the case. What used to be an activity dominated by the 18-24 year old demographic is now a main activity in the digital lives of users across all age groups. In Singapore and Hong Kong for instance, more than half of social networkers are age 35 and older.
So now you have an idea of just how ‘non-niche’ social networking is, but what does this mean for you as a digital marketer? There are three ways to use social networks:

Word of Mouth Marketing
Social networks – as a matter of course – offer communication. Not just two-way communication between you and your customers, but between your brand and your brand advocates and your potential consumers. There are many case studies about successful word of mouth campaigns. That’s the beauty of social networks; if you create content that has intrinsic value and spurs interest in consumers to forward it on, or to retweet it, or to ‘like it’, it will take off with a life of its own. This is not easy and requires much research and creativity and, more likely than not, some failure.

Social Listening and Reputation Management
It is not enough to just put up a Facebook page or Twitter account. Many companies stop there and don’t dedicate full-time resources to read, update, and reply to all the activity that goes on. Social media engagement does not stop when the campaign stops. Your thousand of followers are still there and they are still commenting. In many cases, telling you what they think of your brand or your marketing campaign. You should listen and engage with these consumers – all the time. Whether it’s communicating with customers via Twitter.com, advertising on Facebook or offering special promotions on social media sites, if you aren’t commanding your brand in the social media realm you are missing opportunities to reach and engage with your audience.

Brand Marketing Campaigns
With over 75 percent reach in most Asia Pacific countries, social networks are now mass market media just like Yahoo, MSN, and other major portals. Branding is about reach (eyeballs) and frequency (the number of times these people are exposed to your message). If you have large cross media campaign to brand a new product or service, the social media is just as effective as the other main media. Just like other sites, it’s important to remember that each social media site offers brands and advertisers access to unique audiences. Many people are on more than one or two social networks for different reasons. Are you looking to reach women age 15-24 from a certain region in Malaysia? Are men age 55+ your key audience? Are you looking to reach social networkers that are also heavy users of online retail sites? Each social networking destination is unique in not only the utility it offers to its users, but also who these users are. Understanding audience characteristics from a demographic and behavioral level is integral to a sophisticated digital strategy.

Social media platforms will continue to evolve and it’s important for brands and advertisers to look to the future. That includes examining: How will social networking evolve in the mobile environment? How will this change PC-social networking usage? What are the synergies that exist between PC and mobile social media usage? What are the differences between PC and mobile social networkers?

Although still a niche market, one can assume mobile social networking won’t be for long.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Mobile Experience Frustrates Consumers

From eMarketer, 30th September 2010

Bad formatting and slow load times plague mobile sites

As mobile phone penetration has risen to near-saturation and smartphones make up a bigger share of phones, the mobile internet is becoming a more powerful force for US consumers. But it will take more effort on the part of publishers for the mobile web to reach critical mass.



According to a June 2010 survey by web performance monitoring firm Gomez, a third of mobile internet users in the US say their most common problem when browsing the mobile web is site formatting. Slightly fewer complained of slow load times, and nearly a fifth said the worst problem was with functionality.


Mobile web users are used to some level of connectivity problems, but that doesn’t lessen their frustration when the goal of much mobile internet usage is quick, on-the-go access to information. Gomez found that while many users expect sites to load somewhat slower on their phones, nearly a third want to be able to access mobile sites at least as quickly as they can browse on a PC.

The US Federal Communications Commission found in May that just 33% of US smartphone owners were “very satisfied” with the speed of their mobile internet connections.

Some of these problems may be resolved when 4G becomes a reality for US consumers. However, publishers and marketers shouldn’t rely on carrier upgrades as a solution when they’ve had notorious problems with data transmission loads and infrastructure upgrades. Better mobile optimization will be key to marketing and communications with on-the-go consumers who will increasingly expect to access information anytime and anyplace—without waiting too long.

Bad Timing or Bad Media Planning? 10 Horrifying (and Funny) Online Ad Placements

Econsultancy.com Posted 01 October 2010 11:16am by Jake Hird

At a recent roundtable event held by ValueClick Media, a topic that came up briefly was that of the danger of using blind networks to advertise, as this can result in display ads appearing alongside content that can be contradictory - or even damaging - to the brand or product.

Although this wasn’t the topic of the table, which was focused primarily upon the convergence and optimisation of online advertising, it got me thinking about the examples I’ve seen floating around the internet where poor placement has resulted in a cringeworthy visual. (Judging by where the majority of these ads have been seen, advertising on news sites can be a risky business...)

By my own admission, some of the examples I’ve pulled out have been around for a bit, and all are terribly tongue-in-cheek. So consider this a warning: If easily offended, don’t read any further. For those who can appreciate a bit of black humour and can understand the importance of carefully planned and placed media, read on.

1. Want to grill like an expert?


2. Hooray for beer!


3. Free dinner for two



4. Samsung blast



5. We've got you under our wing


6. Toyota


7. Dad, what would happen...


8. Evian


9. Point. Shoot. Wow.



10. Win a mini-break in gorgeous Greece...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

How Adults Are Using Mobile Phones

From DigitalBuzz Blog, 20th September 2010.

Here is the latest infographic out from Flowtown, this time on how Adults are using mobile phones, and with it, comes a few interesting stats to take notice of… Like the 90% of 18-29 year olds that sleep with their mobile phone, this is a stat that doesn’t mean too much directly, but helps establish the connection between a person and their phone as a very powerful tool for marketers come day light hours! You’ll also notice that 18% of 18-24 year olds send over 200 text messages per day.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Sad Keanu (and Sad Don Draper) - The Latest Internet Craze

Sad Keanu is the latest Internet meme. It all started with a paparazzi picture of Keanu Reeves sitting on a bench, eating a sandwich and is now starting to take the Internet by storm! As you can see from the many creative interpretations, it takes a lot to cheer up Sad Keanu...



There are many more creative images of Sad Keanu here. And if you're a fan of Mad Men, there's Sad Don Draper here.

Special thanks to @HsienLei for the spot and the links!

Email, Facebook, And Twitter: Retention Or Acquisition?

by Morgan Stewart, Email Insider, 15th September 2010

Email, Facebook, and Twitter each provide marketers with the ability to compile a database full of customers and prospects. This ability to gather consumers into a visible list certainly looks like the familiar paradigm of database marketing. And given the fact these consumers are now part of "our databases," it seems logical that these would meet the criterion for retention marketing. After all, they are in our databases, so the job of acquisition is done, right?
Based on the Subscribers, Fans, and Followers research I have been engaged in over the past several months, looking at the differences in how consumers want to engage with brands through these three channels, I believe this is a potentially serious mistake.
First, consider newly released data on the impact one-to-one communications through these channels have on increased purchase intent.
  • After becoming an email subscriber, 27% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand and another 41% are neutral, which I've interpreted as they may or may not be willing to purchase more. Giving the benefit of the doubt, let's say 68% may be influenced to purchase MORE after becoming a subscriber.
  • After becoming a Facebook Fan, 17% are more likely to purchase, with another 34% on the fence. In total, 51% may be influenced to purchase MORE after becoming a Fan on Facebook.
  • After following a brand on Twitter, 37% say they are more likely to purchase, with another 31% on the fence. Like email, 68% may be MORE likely to purchase after becoming a follower.
Facebook: It may seem bizarre given the incredible success of Facebook in general that it trails both email and Twitter in terms of its ability to influence increased purchase intent. Add in the recent study by Syncapse, that showed Facebook Fans spend more, are more loyal, more likely to recommend, and have more affinity for the brands they Fan (or "like") than those who don't.

But think about it. Consumers are generally fans in real life before they "like" companies on Facebook. As such, they already purchase from and endorse your brand frequently. Ever had a friend with a Coca-Cola room in his house? Clocks, barstools, soda fountains -- all Coke. It is possible that level of fan could purchase MORE Coke products? Not likely, but they sure spend a lot of time advocating for the brand. Don't they?

Twitter: Consumers who follow brands on Twitter are actually the most likely to purchase more often after following a brand. The challenge for marketers is that this is still a fairly small segment of the online population. Only 5% of online consumers are daily Twitter users that follow brands on Twitter. Do the math, and you'll see only 3% of online consumers are likely to be influenced to purchase more frequently through Twitter.

So, are these retention-marketing channels?

To some degree, of course they are. However, I believe it is more exciting to think of Facebook and Twitter as acquisition channels.

Facebook is all about connecting with friends and being entertained. Those are the primary reasons people go to Facebook in the first place. Moreover, when people "like" brands, they generally do so to tell others about themselves. If I like Nike, that tells you something about my personality. Some call it social badging, others call it a social resume. Either way, it's about them. It's not an open invitation to receive marketing messages.
Even so, they have liked your brand enough (in real life) to consider this an expression of their personality. They have already advocated for you to their friends. Question is, could they endorse you more? Absolutely. In fact, every time they "like" something you post on your Facebook page, they are endorsing you. Each time they comment on one of your posts, they invite their friends to join in and engage with your brand also. Facebook allow marketers to see word-of-mouth happening. It allows marketers to fuel word-of-mouth. And, to me, word-of-mouth is an acquisition strategy, not a retention strategy.

The same goes for Twitter. It's great that this 3% of consumers may purchase more often, but even greater significance should be placed on the ability of this segment to carry your message beyond Twitter through blogs, private forums, and product reviews. In this same study, we discovered that daily Twitter users are an average of five times more likely to write blogs, and three times more likely to post comments and product reviews than other online consumers. They are VOCAL! The trick is to keep this group happy so that they will generate content that influences others to try your products. Again, it's about acquisition.

Email stands alone as the channel that is squarely in the retention marketing camp. Nine-three percent of U.S. online consumers receive at least one permission-based email message per day, making it by far the most broadly used of these channels for consumers looking to engage brands online. As such, it is likely to drive increased purchase intent among the largest number of online consumers. Combined with the high value consumers place on trust and privacy, and their expectations for relevant and exclusive content, email should serve as the cornerstone for brands' retention marketing strategy.

Expansion of your brand's reach online happens when these channels are integrated into a cohesive strategy. Thinking beyond the database and driving consumers to interact across multiple channels offers marketers the opportunity to leverage these channels for both retention and acquisition.

Advertisers Taking Notice of Huge Increase in Video on Newspaper Sites

MediaPost News, 15th September 2010

Newspaper Web sites saw a big increase in online video viewing in the second quarter of 2010 -- partly due to interest in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Brightcove and TubeMogul, which analyzed viewership on roughly 2,000 news and entertainment Web sites representing 3.4 billion video streams.


This growth was part of a larger uptick in video viewing across the Web, the companies said.
Video viewing on newspaper Web sites soared 65% in the second quarter. For the Web in general, the total number of people viewing online video increased at an average rate of 2.8% per month in 2Q, while the total number of videos viewed jumped 11% -- suggesting that online video viewing is increasing in both reach and frequency.

Brightcove and TubeMogul also conducted a survey of brand managers concerning their use of online video as a marketing and advertising platform. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they are planning to spend more on online video over the next year, while 70% said they plan to add mobile video to their marketing strategies in this period.

Turning to objectives, 65% said the primary focus of their online video campaigns is awareness, followed by lead generation at 21% and e-commerce at 12%.
The companies also found that referral traffic to online videos originating from Facebook and Twitter is growing faster than traffic from traditional search engines. In fact, if the current growth rate is maintained, Facebook will surpass Yahoo as an originating source of online video referrals.

What's more, referrals from Facebook and Twitter tend to be more engaged with the video content once they arrive than traffic from other sources -- at least when the destination site is a TV or music entertainment Web site.

Monday, 13 September 2010

How Social Media Is Changing Brand Marketing

SEPTEMBER 10, 2010, emarketer.com

Four in 10 brand marketers think social creates new challenges to maintaining brand integrity.

Social media has changed much about how consumers communicate with one another, and has given them the ability to broadcast opinions about brands, products and services further than traditional word-of-mouth can reach. It has also meant something that can be scary for brands: Marketers are no longer fully in control of the message.

According to a study from branding agency MiresBall and KRC Research, 40% of brand representatives around the world felt social media posed new challenges to the integrity of their brand. More than a third said that social networking sites affected brands significantly enough to bring about changes in marketing strategy.


But with 500 million consumers reachable on Facebook, and a host of other networking sites, services like Twitter and the rest of the social web, the challenges may be worth it. More than half of brand representatives told MiresBall and KRC that social media gave them an opportunity to reach new customers.

Brand marketers were split on whether social media helped create brand loyalty, however. While 35% agreed, another 30% disagreed, with the remainder neutral on the question.


The research also found a disconnect in how marketers thought about their brands and how they tried to reach out to customers on social media. The vast majority of respondents agreed that the brand must define what a company or product is, and that message should be communicated via various PR and marketing channels, including social media, and that the most effective way to communicate about a brand was to stay true to its message. At the same time, marketers were willing to stray from that strategy—especially in the case of social media.

The report suggested that attempts to find superficial social success might be leading brands to create a presence on networks that did not fit with the brand’s personality or use other inappropriate campaigns in the hopes that one would go viral, even if it did not truly convey the brand’s message.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Social Networks, Blogs and Games Dominate US as Email Declines.

August 2, 2010 Dean Takahashi, SocialBeat

CommentIn a big shift from just a few years ago, Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time on social networking sites and blogs, according to released today by The Nielsen Company.

A year ago, only 15.8 percent of time spent online was devoted to social networks. Online games came in second in terms of time spent online, accounting for 10.2 percent of time spent on the internet, compared to 9.3 percent a year ago.

One of the big losers in the survey was email, which now accounts for only 8.3 percent of time spent online, compared to 11.5 percent a year ago. Another loser was portals, 4.4 percent now compared to 5.5 percent a year ago. Instant messaging was also down at 4.0 percent, compared to 4.7 percent a year ago.

Americans spend about a third of their online time communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.

“Despite the almost unlimited nature of what you can do on the web, 40 percent of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities – social networking, playing games and emailing, leaving a whole lot of other sectors fighting for a declining share of the online pie,” said Nielsen analyst Dave Martin.

It’s worth nothing that online games overtook personal email in the past year, moving into second place behind social networks. Online video and movies also saw significant growth, now at 3.9 percent compared to 3.5 percent a year ago. During June, more than 10 billion videos were streamed to web users in the U.S. On average, Americans spend 3 hours and 15 minutes per month watching online video.


All of this news is great for social network companies such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s also good for social gaming firms such as Zynga and online game companies such as Activision Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft. But it explains why email and portal companies such as MSN and Yahoo are having a tough time.

On mobile phones, email is still king, accounting for 41.6 percent of mobile internet time, up from 37.4 percent a year ago. Social networking time on mobile phones was up this year. But portals are the second-heaviest activity on the mobile internet, accounting for 11.6 percent of time, down from 14.3 percent a year ago. Social networking is at 10.5 percent, up from 8.3 percent a year ago.

Music and video/movies saw 20 percent increases on mobile during the year. But news/current events and sports sites saw more than 20 percent drops. Oddly enough, there was no separate section for games, and entertainment was a fairly small part of the overall pie.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Ups and Downs of Social Networks

Facebook has announced that it now has 500m active users, just six years after it was launched. The site has become the poster child of social networking on the web. While some others have seen growth, MySpace, Flickr and Bebo appear to have declined in the past year, according to these figures from Nielsen. Interesting international variations are seen, both in the amount of time Facebook users spend on the site each month and in the competing networks' popularity in different countries.


You can see the original published article at BBC.co.uk.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Four Key Trends in Australian Social Marketing

The team over at Ogilvy's 360 Digital Influence group recently took a look at the Australian social media landscape. They came up with four very compelling trends:


Australians spend the most time worldwide consuming social media. With almost 7 hours per month spent in social media they "out-social" the US, UK and Italy (one to watch btw). If you factor in the relative population size that puts 17 million users online (80% of the population with 62% via broadband) vs. about 230 million US users or almost 77% of the population).

The social network story is dominated by Facebook. And before we say "duh!" remember that in many Internet-rich countries around the world like Brazil, Japan and Russia, Facebook is not the leader. In Australia, no one stands in Facebook's path towards commanding mass-attention, even the 55+ crowd in Australia is jumping on board.


The biggest gain in year-over-year change in social media usage is interacting with a brand via social networks. That means Facebook and Twitter. Australian consumers are willing to engage with brands via these platforms just as readily as in the United States.


The under 35 crowd wants to access social networks like Facebook and Twitter via their mobile device. With 89% SMS penetration and 20% Web access via mobile (and likely 20% smart phone penetration), all eyes should be on developing the mobile experience for brands.

Australia has its own path towards adoption of social media and it will likely leapfrog other countries including the US in terms of how brands take advantage of their particular usage.

You can read the full Blog posting here.

Online Shopping Rising in Asia with 60% of Shoppers Influenced by Social Media

By Kristie Thong, Marketing Magazine. 13th July 2010.
  • Asia Pacific consumers most active online shoppers
  • Online-only retail sites most popular
  • 60% use social media sites to make purchasing decisions
Consumers in the Asia Pacific are the world's most active online shoppers, with more than a third indicating they spend 11% of their monthly shopping expenditures online.

A recent global Online Shopping Report by The Nielsen Company finds Asia Pacific consumers direct more of their shopping expenditure online than the global average. 35% of Asia Pacific consumers direct 11% to online spend, as compared to the 27% global average. Only 13% of Asia Pacific consumers say they had never shopped online, compared to 16% globally.

Online-only retail sites are most popular among Asia Pacific online consumers, with close to one third of them reporting to have made online purchases from retail sites with an online-only presence. Meanwhile, 30% say they frequent sites which allowed them to select products from many different stores.

"Technology and the Internet will very likely fundamentally change how and where shoppers spend their money and interact with retailers," says Pete Gale, managing director of Nielsen's Retailer Services in APIMEA and Greater China.

"Increasingly, as consumers look for more convenience and 24/7 access to products and services, this is a great opportunity for retailers to redefine their channel strategy in order to meet the changing needs and wants of consumers."

Sixty percent of Asia Pacific consumers use social media sites to help them make purchase decisions, compared to 43% globally. Asia Pacific consumers indicate that online reviews and opinions are most important when purchasing consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars.

Asia Pacific consumers are also most likely to share a negative product experience online, with 49% saying they are more likely to give a negative review than a positive experience. This tendency is highest among consumers in China (62%), Vietnam (46%), Singapore and India (both 44%).

"Any organisation offering a consumer product or service in today's marketplace is open to scrutiny from every angle, and it is critical that these organisations not only understand those consumers, but effectively engage and communicate with them," advises Megan Clarken, Asia Pacific managing director of Nielsen's online division.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Social Media Dominates Asia Pacific Internet Usage

Great statistics from Nielsenwire.com. July 9, 2010.

Social media usage has seen unprecedented growth in Asia Pacific in the past year and is now one of the most critical trends in the online sector, according to Nielsen’s Asia Pacific Social Media Report.

The survey found that three of the seven biggest global online brands are social media sites – Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube. Close to three quarters of the world’s Internet population (74%) have now visited a social networking/blogging site, and Internet users are spending an average of almost six hours per month on social media sites.

Social media is having an increasing impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions – in Asia Pacific, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends. This is particularly so for purchases of consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars – products where consumers are most likely to base their purchase decisions on online product reviews. But not ever country shares the same way.



REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

Blogging… it’s Big in Japan
  • Japanese Internet users are the most avid bloggers globally, posting more than one million blogs per month, significantly more than any other country in the region.
  •  Japan’s adoption of Twitter continues to grow, with unique visitor numbers increasing in the last year from less than 200,000 to more than 10 million.
  • Sixteen percent of Japanese Internet users now use Twitter, which compares to 10 percent in the U.S.

 Grass roots celebrities attract China’s social networkers
  • Bulletin board systems underpin popular social media behavior in China – more than 80 percent of social media content is bulletin board systems.
  • Social media games are used as a stimuli to drive new users and gain reach with existing users, while content sharing behaviors are more popular among the more experienced users. Virtual product placement within social networking site games is becoming one of the most profitable methods of revenue for social networking sites.
  • ‘Grass roots’ celebrity tracking dominates online conversations in China, with social media celebrities such as Sister Phoenix and Mr. Yuan outperforming real life celebrities in popularity.
  • Chinese Internet users are the most likely in Asia Pacific to post a negative online product review, and are the only consumers in the region more likely to share negative reviews than positive reviews – 62% of Chinese Internet users say they are more likely to share a negative review compared to 41 percent globally.
Facebook threatens Orkut’s share in India
  • Although 70 percent of social media users in India identify Orkut as their preferred social media site, Facebook is gaining market share with 50 percent of social media users claiming to use Facebook most often, compared to 38 percent for Orkut, with the most common reasons for switching include friends moving sites, preferring the look and feel of the site, and offering more features.
  • Twitter has enjoyed exponential growth in popularity in India, with more than half of Twitter users (57%) having signed up in the past year. Close to one third of India’s social media users (32%) use microblogging sites such as Twitter at least once a day.
  • Online product reviews are increasing their influence on purchases in India, particularly for consumer electronics – 55 percent of Indians that read online product reviews have purchased products based on feedback. Consumer durables/electronics are the most common products purchased based on reviews (64% of purchases).
Koreans a-buzz about social media
  • By population, Korea is one of the most social media engaged countries in the world, with the country’s leading social media site, Naver, attracting 95 percent of the Korean Internet population every month.
  • While penetration of social media amongst Korea’s Internet population is already strong, it continues to grow (Twitter alone saw 1900% growth in the year to May 2009) with much of this growth coming off the back of Korea’s June election and the adoption of mobile social networking.
Australians flock to online forums

  • Australia leads the world in social media engagement, with the highest global average for time spent per month engaging with social media, averaging over seven hours per month
  • In contrast to many countries, Australians look to communities of interest such as parenting or sports sites as a key channel for social media discussion – 62 percent of Australian Internet users visited a message board or forum in 2009.
  • LinkedIn has seen one of the fastest growth trends amongst social media sites in Australia, with unique audience numbers increasing by 99 percent from July 2009 to May 2010
“The findings highlight, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that social media is here to stay and needs to be taken seriously by the broader business community, from the CMO to the CEO,” notes Megan Clarken, Managing Director of Nielsen’s online business in Asia Pacific. “With three quarters of the global Internet population now participating in some form of social media, businesses can no longer afford to simply observe the social media phenomenon, they need to embrace it.”

Friday, 2 July 2010

Interview for Mobile Marketing Asia 2010

What are some of the challenges that companies are facing when it comes to mobile marketing?

One of the big challenges with mobile marketing is that it’s so hard to find a way to monetize it. At Dell, our marketing is very much driven by vehicles with a strong return on investment – search, affiliate and email marketing and we’re trying to figure out where mobile fits within this landscape. Undoubtedly mobile is a wonderful platform for branding and developing deeply engaging experiences but can it be adapted for sales-centric marketing?

What are some of the tricks and strategies for successful mobile integrated campaigns?

I really see that there’s only three forms of mobile marketing – text messaging/SMS, advertising on mobile Internet/WAP sites and mobile applications. In terms of media, mobile hasn’t yet lived up to the promise of geo-targeting or being able to market to an individual level (a one-on-one discussion with a specific person) but these are two big opportunities. I think the big area to look at is mobile applications. Recently I’ve noticed the banks getting into mobile banking (taking the functionality of Internet banking and reimagining it for mobile device) and I strongly believe this is the biggest area of growth.

Could you please give us an example of how marketers should cohesively mix mobile, online and social media for customer engagement?

Online and mobile are two very different customer experiences – PC-based online browsing is wonderful for research and undertaking complex tasks (such as filling in long applications forms or e-commerce) in an open and somewhat anonymous world, while mobile is a hyper personal tool built around yourself, your loved ones and friends (think about what you use for mobile for and you’ll realize the voice calls, text and sharing content with your friends is the epicenter of what you do). In fact, mobile has a lot more to do with social media than other forms of digital marketing. Both are mediums that know who you are, are about two-way sharing information and content with friends and are increasingly focused on useful and engaging applications. You don’t often see “integrated marketing campaigns” across online, web and mobile. They don’t really exist except at the broadest and most generic brand marketing levels. What is really interesting however, is the role of each medium and how they work together. For example, an email marketing campaign that sends a customer to a website for more information, where the customer then downloads a mobile application and then shares this information with friends via mobile and social media. Each is a different yet complementary part of the same marketing cycle all working in tandem for a great customer experience.

What are some of the strategies that marketers should do in order to get customers to ‘Opt-in’ for permission based advertising?

People don’t like or respond to advertising. But they love and frequently engage with information! The secret here is that they’re the same thing, as long as they’re positioned correctly. Opting-in to information that you want to receive is really straightforward. If the information is relevant and engaging, people will naturally seek it out and sign up for it. The challenge is in how you make them aware of it in the first place, or can demonstrate that it’s valuable and useful before they sign up. One option is to give the information away for free for a while then ask them to opt-in to the marketing program. This is definitely better than trying to pay someone to join (either through incentives, competitions or similar activities). Money talks but doesn’t leave a lasting impression – so many incentivized customers who opt into marketing programs usually opt out soon afterwards. So for long term success simply talk to your customers, ask them what they want and respond accordingly. I think you’ll be surprised by the result.

With mobile marketing expecting to take off, what will be the role of telecom operators in the mobile marketing mix?

There are three types of players who are trying to get a slice of the pie in mobile marketing – telcos, device manufacturers and content providers. Right now the content providers are king but the device manufacturers have a seat at the table too. That leaves the poor telco companies out in the cold. But they have a wonderful advantage – they have all your data, usage information and know who you are. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like they’ve been able to take advantage of this because there is a separation of the access plan (the telco) with the device and it’s usage. Companies like Apple, Nokia and Blackberry/Research in Motion have got it right – they provide compelling content (such as mobile games, etc.) and a great distribution network (such as iTunes or Ovi) that effectively cut out the telcos. I believe the telcos could come to lead the mobile marketing space in their respective countries or regions but they’ll never have the same global dominance as providers of excellent content or the global manufacturers of the mobile device.

Google’s and Apple’s recent activities have 2010 labeled as the ‘year of the mobile’, 2010 is herald as the year of mobile advertising what is going on right now and where we are headed?

That’s great news! Although I’ve noticed a lot of skepticism from marketers because we’ve had the “year of the mobile” for at least 5 years (and probably closer to 10). Mobile advertising has a tremendous potential but isn’t quite mainstream yet. I believe the reason why it hasn’t broken through yet is that too many people are thinking of mobile as a traditional advertising channel. It’s not. It’s extremely personal, always on, never left behind, geo-specific and for many people a genuine expression of who they are. It’s very difficult to introduce advertising into something like that – it’s like tattooing an ad onto your forehead! Marketing on mobile needs to be around customer experience, relevant and engaging content and giving people the information they need when they want it. It still won’t be the “year of the mobile” until marketers and agencies embrace this and change the way they thinking about the fundamentals of advertising and sales. I certainly think the devices are ready, now it’s time for the marketers to catch up and take some bold risks with their traditional advertising.

Over the next decade, by the year 2020, how will mobile advertising evolve and what can we expect from the sector?

I believe by 2020 the entire marketing and advertising system will evolve. We’ve moved from product-centric advertising in the 20th Century, to brand-centric advertising in the last few decades, to content & information-centric in the 21st Century. I feel that the next stage of evolution is people-centric – having a two-way dialogue between individual consumers and brands. Completely unrecognizable from the early TV ads of the 1950’s. With this brave new world of social marketing and people-centric communications, mobile has a very important and defining role to play.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Online Ads Surpass TV Ads In Recall and Likability

by Wayne Friedman, Mediapost.com, Thursday, April 22, 2010, 11:32 AM

New online advertising research has again shown what other studies have suggested: Online commercials get better recall than television messaging.

In every recall measure -- general recall, brand recall, message recall, likability -- online proves superior.

Online video ads have a 65% general recall, compared to 46% general recall for TV ads. Brand recall online is at 50% to TV's 28%; message online recall comes in at 39% to TV's 21%; and online likability is 26% to TV's 14%.
The study of 14,000 surveys was originally presented by Dave Kaplan, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen IAG, and Beth Uyenco, director of global research at Microsoft, at the Advertising Research Foundation. They evaluated 238 brands, 412 products and 951 ad executions to get these results. A deeper brand impact was felt higher among young viewers 13-34.

What accounted for the positive results?

Internet video viewers are more engaged and attentive. The research also said curiosity is a factor, as online video is still relatively new compared to existing media.

One of the biggest reasons for the attentiveness: The inability of the user to skip ads versus that of traditional TV, where about one- third of U.S viewers have the ability to fast-forward through messaging.
There is also reduced advertising clutter -- about four minutes for an hour of programming. This is against 10 minutes of national ads for traditional TV, and around 15 minutes overall when including local ads and TV promos.

There are growing trends to increase commercial load, however. The research says online advertising's "sweet spot" is between six and seven minutes per hour.

Monday, 19 April 2010

SEO in Pictures


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) visualised as an infographic. Very well done by the team at Datadial.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Is Social Media Becoming Boring?

by Tamar Weinberg on April 14, 2010

For most, social media is new and fun. For others, though, social media is old and is falling out of favor. I’m seeing it happen of users who were happy about social media when it became hyped but are now realizing that they’re not yet ready to hold onto social media any longer. It’s boring, too challenging, and uninteresting. Catering to individuals seems to mean you need to bend to their will at every turn. Nobody wants to have to to a minority that seems to be unhappy with the content you’ve spent hours upon hours writing.
Social media experts are no longer social media experts. They’re moving onto “bigger and better.” Here’s why.

Social Media is a Trend

Wait, what? Social media is here to stay. However, to some, social media is a fleeting trend. That’s because social media marketing experts found success early on since social media relationship building was simply easier. Back then, companies who were engaged were genuinely involved because they wanted to build strong valuable relationships. They weren’t there to push a marketing agenda. Users were more trusting because they could be. Consequently, the early adopters persevered.

It is thanks to the early adopters, the sneezers, that we’re now seeing social media as something entirely different. It’s a cesspool for marketing as some see it. Hype translates to market saturation and puts us where we are today. The newest marketers in the social media space want to take but not to give. The audience becomes less trusting of these networks that they have been so careful to preserve.

Flurries of new experts are seeking the pot of gold behind the rainbow, despite there being none without super hard work. As a result, the original social media consultants are finding social media to be a short-lived trend that actually brought success easily. Now, with more of a challenge, they are slowly moving on. They’re no longer wanting to do the work for social media. It’s too hard now.

Relationship-Building Grows Tired

Despite social media being an extremely comprehensive field, possessing hundreds and even thousands of media, websites, and interactions, at the end of the day, social media is synonymous with human relationships to some degree. Any way you slice or dice it, the human relationships portion will always remain. Sometimes, people eventually get sick of constantly engaging and constantly trying their best to put on a happy face.

With social media, you really can’t have a bad day. You must be on your best behavior and wear your best pair of shoes all the time. Can people really do that?

Not all can. When they can’t, they don’t hang around.

Multitasking Creates Instability

This last decade was much different than any other. We’re living in such an intensive multitasking environment. Our brains are not only accustomed to frequent change, they now require it. Thanks to brand new technologies that consistently and constantly claim our attention spans, thereby requiring us to shift our focus on a very regular basis, we’re no longer willing or able to sit still. Monotony breeds impatience. Thanks to the real-time web and other sites that keep us incredibly busy all the time, unfortunately, there’s no turning back. Many in Gen Y who have become so sucked into doing a million things at once are never going to be settled on any one career, and change is inevitable. They’re used to the rapid fire nature of the Internet and these lessons learned online will be applied to real life.

Sadly, the social media profession is only one casualty of thousands. The kids are going to shop around for jobs, never staying put. And when it comes to social media, your experts of yesterday won’t be there tomorrow.

Social Media Alone Doesn’t Cut It

Social media marketing alone is not enough. There’s a lot more to marketing than just being social. Like it or not, you can’t ignore or disregard the other facets of marketing. For example, your website, without a doubt, needs SEO. SEO and social media are two entirely different things. Sure, someone with great content might capture others’ attention and get lots of links, but you have no idea how many other tweaks you might be able to apply to your website to bring highly targeted and relevant traffic. Links are just one currency of the web.

What about the creativity that is now required of you? Yup, you can’t just chat with people on Twitter and broadcast on Facebook. You can’t just IM your friends begging for votes via the backchannel. You can’t only write comments on forums. The creative element is absolutely necessary. Social media needs to be coupled with a creative strategy for maximum effectiveness, especially as everyone and their mothers join these sites and services to market themselves, their services, or their products.

It’s lofty to consider social media as your only marketing aim. Your best bet is to consider an integrated marketing plan that consists of social media and other marketing tactics, because the act of just being nice to people online won’t bring you conversions.

People Want More

If the chart above is any indication, it’s without question that social media has grown by leaps and bounds. Social media marketing, too, is now a reality for many. The virtual space is becoming a real viable way to market. With the rise of social media is the expectation that social media information should be in abundance — with all the takeaways. However, expecting freebies all the time is audacious.

Market saturation brings lots and lots of experts, many of whom think Twitter is a shiny new object and are ready to write books, charge $2000 for conferences where they promise TWITTER TIPS AND TRICKS THAT NOBODY HAS SEEN BEFORE (in caps!), or offer consulting immediately after getting 20k followers via using automated friend adder applications. After all, there are millions of other users — like grandma who doesn’t even own an iPad, let alone a computer — who can still harness its potential.

Social media marketing of four years ago, when nobody was around, was simply easier. That’s because, as touched upon earlier, the audience was more trusting; the people who were online were there because they wanted to be there. They weren’t there because they wanted to take something in the form of a sale. And to attract new audience members, the earlier strategists would share a lot more. In 2010, with eleventy billion new experts, the “experts” of the early days are no longer interested in giving away social media trade secrets, and you won’t find them shared openly online. Want them? You’ll need to work long and hard for them, but nobody is going to hand them to you on a silver platter any longer. The fruits of their labor stay well hidden away to avoid being abused by everyone who capitalizes on a new finding that someone else worked hard at discovering.

Expecting that those blogging on behalf of social media have a responsibility to give you freebies is, frankly, highly inconsiderate. There are enough freebies here and in other blogs and books. Bloggers already give a substantial amount of their time, so asking for more is just wrong. Bloggers in social media don’t owe anyone else anything, nor do any other bloggers who provide expertise, for that matter.

If you give your tricks away to everyone, they’ll quickly be beaten, abused, and exploited. In a few days, after newbie marketers jump like giddy schoolchildren to try out these grandiose tricks, they’ll become ineffective. That’s exactly why social media bloggers blog in generalities. Those of you rude enough to want to demand more: consider yourself lucky that you’re better than the content provided online. I’m still reading content every day — even the stuff I already know — to consistently grow. Why? Because we can never actually be experts. We can always be learning, and sometimes that requires us to read the same things phrased differently, to get content in the form of a refresher course, to remember that social media still has the human element at its core. The nuances related to how YOU can build your business further — with specific details related to a single campaign that has no relevancy to 95% of the others — are not going to be publicly shared, because that’s stuff that you need to figure out on your own. We all have to put food on our families‘ tables, so sometimes we might have to charge for deeper insights. Demanding more is selfish.

In the absence of detailed direction and secrets provided by social media bloggers, people give up. Sorry, you can’t always lean on your “friends” to help you navigate your territory. You actually need to do the work yourself now. Surgeons don’t just pull up a website in the middle of the operating room when they’re in a rut. Sometimes “social media experts” just can’t do that either. There comes a time when all the information you get online is content you already know. At that point, you might start feeling Fed Up. If you’re still seeking the answers from others, then I’m really sorry. We found the answers by working hard. Maybe you should too.

You Can’t Please Everyone

Just like I have my own critics via comments on my last blog post, in social media, those who are trying to cater messaging to everyone will find out that they can’t. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’re failing.

The perfectionists aiming for 100% success rates in social media will not be able to last long in this space. When dealing with emotions, psychology, anthropology, sociology, among other disciplines, you’re bound to make “mistakes” as you attempt to understand demographics and communities and learn about who will be receptive to what. Sometimes, despite understanding everything you think you could master, the work you’ve done simply doesn’t cut it, and you’ll have to try again. If your efforts are being met frequently with failures, you might be inclined to give up — even if you’re that “expert” and have all the direction you need.

Sadly, consistent failure means that some are simply no longer willing to continue. They’re unwilling to adapt to their environments and instead find something else to work on, perhaps something a little more predictable.

And so, Social Media has an End

It was bound to happen, though. There’s always a tipping point. David Armano put it nicely: “The true believers will remain, while others flock to the next hot field.” He’s absolutely right. We’re starting to see that happen.

Read more: http://www.techipedia.com/2010/social-media-boredom/#ixzz0lDt8iTPZ

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Losing To The Social Web: Visualized

From Digital Buzz Blog

A brands website has been the single biggest ”online” focus for 99% of businesses over the last 10 years apart from banner campaigns and microsites here and there, but with the evolution of social media growing at unheard of rates (Twitter is up over 3500% alone this year, while Facebook increased over 700% to finally overtake MySpace and then turned them to dust!) businesses really need to think about what’s happening to their website traffic.

I recently read a great post on Supercollider by Geoff Northcott (via Martina on Adverblog) that talked about the end of the destination web, along with adage, we are social and adweek about how the times are fading for websites and microsites are dead – Geoff posted a few good Google trends graphs, so I thought I might take that a little further, find a few additional graphs and look at why and where this traffic is going…
 
What you’ll notice from the graphs below (you can see them here) is that some of the biggest brands, websites and portals are loosing unique visitors hand over fist for the last 3 years. Doesn’t make sense right? More and more people are connecting online, brands are spending bucket loads of cash on digital campaigns, so website traffic should be the complete opposite?
(Note: The graph below without a heading is the BBC.co.uk)

Brands-Trending-Down

So with such dramatic declines in website traffic and rapidly increasing numbers of Internet connected people, where is all that traffic going? The Social Web – the emerging networks where everyone is connected, everything is relevant, and everything can be shared with a single click and browsed, summarized or bookmarked with ease.

Brands-Trending-Up

There are 2 key reasons why website traffic is declining.
  1. Social Networks (obviously) are growing and most people prefer to hang out there instead of searching the big brands websites for content to interact with. Your friends on Facebook and Twitter share what you’re already interested in. Everything is relevant and you don’t have to leave to get the best content from 10 of your favourite brands / websites.
  2. Off-Site Content Distribution is rapidly growing, I’m talking RSS Feeds, Twitter, YouTube Channels, Facebook Fan pages and so on… All the best brands and websites now actively push their content (the same stuff you use to get from their website and still want to access) to as many various “off-site” sources and platforms as possible.So naturally this removes unique visitors from their main sites, channeling them into a maze of various networks, feeds and tweets…Oh, and of course, widgets/apps – we’ve only just seen the start of these.
Over the next few years, brands will need to re-structure they way they deliver experiences to their customers online (the best ones are already doing it), and that means delivering unique content to anywhere customers want to experience it.

Maybe that’s the latest offers by RSS feeds, new product demos by YouTube, campaigns by iPhone apps, online shopping via widgets in facebook or branding exercises by seeding stopmotion viral videos (they seem to be all the rage!)?

The fact is, agencies and brands will need to work out how to deliver the relevant content, branding and experiences they are currently achieving on their own websites, into highly competitive social networks, feeds, apps and widgets, where every “campaign” or “offer” has to be groundbreaking just to get noticed… and then there was tracking!

I don’t think websites and microsites are dead yet. There are still years and years of usefulness ahead for them, we’ll just need to come up with better ways to connect them and their content into the social lives of customers online…

Monday, 12 April 2010

Video: The Next Digital Marketing Frontier

By Manny Rivas, Search Engine Watch, Apr 8, 2010
Video, as a marketing channel, has pushed its way into the hearts and minds of marketing agencies and businesses of most sizes. What's not to like? The numbers to quantify the shift speak for themselves.
  • YouTube receives more than 100 million unique visitors and streams more than 6 billion videos monthly, according to Nielsen.
  • Users viewed 33.2 billion videos during the month of December 2009, according to comScore.
  • 86.5 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in December 2009, according to comScore.
The list goes on and on.

The State of Video Marketing at SES New York

Search Engine Strategies New York this year featured a keynote aptly named "Video: The Next Digital Marketing Frontier." The session focused on the latest developments in video marketing. The panel was moderated by Zach Rodgers, managing editor of ClickZ. He led the panelists in a conversation by asking insightful questions, ranging from video discovery and ad networks, to ad formats and the importance of engagement.

Before Rodgers jumped into directing questions, Terrence Kelleman, president/designer, Dynomighty Design, took the podium. His viral video and business success story is the type most marketers and businesses dream about.

The first video Dynomighty uploaded to YouTube was a product demo of his company's magnetic bracelet (one of many in-house product designs). It took off and was featured on the home page of YouTube, garnering 2.7 million views. Marketers take note!

In three months, that single video was responsible for $130,000 in sales. For Kelleman, the ability of video to tell an in-depth story of his product beyond a static picture and a buy button, gives video an unparalleled advantage. On the same note, video allows customers to become engaged (one of the major YouTube ranking factors), lending deeper insight into both brand and product.

Not all video marketing strategies focus on the proclivity of a video to become viral as the key to driving campaign success. It's damn cool when it happens, though.

YouTube's Promoted Videos Ad Platform

Kelleman has used YouTube's ad platform for six months, and it has proven effective. Check out the solid ad placement too.
 
Baljeet Singh, senior product manager, Google, noted that although the platform is still pretty young, it has demonstrated results for all types of advertisers. If the idea is to ensure your content is in line-of-sight, it's a great channel tactic and it can be cheap as well.

Two Advertising Models

Singh agreed that YouTube has one model for small business owners and one model for large brands. Promoted videos can work for both small companies to large companies (e.g., GM).

Video Advertising

Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus, believes people have tried to lend scale to online video advertising in the last couple of years. However, the same way that YouTube has millions of viewers, it's nearly impossible to reach everyone simultaneously.

The practice of placing ads over, around, or between videos has become a commodity. If your goal is to market in these areas, the opportunities have become available, defined, and standardized.

Schafer thinks video ads shouldn't be measured on a CTR basis. Similar to placing an ad on TV, you "won't necessarily get the same scalable result."

Online video captures the opportunity to provide deeper engagement. Video begets engagement and performance should be evaluated based on this metric as opposed to CTR.

Rachel Scotto, metrics strategy consultant, Sony Pictures, said that, in terms of metrics, "video stream" has been the focus for many, but it's not the most important.

What needs to be looked at:
  • Milestones in the video: Starts, dropouts, and completions.
  • User engagement metrics and video tracking: Where do viewers fast-forward or rewind?
Deeper Engagement

Scotto said if you're hosting the content, deeper engagement can be tracked through "tools you have control over." Because Kelleman hosts videos on YouTube, he gains deeper metric insights through YouTube's analytics package, Insight. He examines Hot Spots to give him an idea of where viewers are becoming disinterested and uses this information when moving forward and designing new videos.


Video and Social Media: How Users Engage With Videos

Kelleman said Dynomighty has an intern whose role is to monitor and respond to video and channel comments. Schafer added that relevant social media buzz will lubricate distribution of content.

Important Social Media and Video Activity Metrics

Scotto said that volume metrics are the key if you're "shooting primarily for exposure." If you're after engagement, then you need to know how much of the video is being viewed. Video production costs are also important. You don't want costs to outweigh the benefit.

Paid Views vs. Organic Views

An increase in paid views will ultimately boost organic views. It's important to look at sources of views and determine where you're receiving the most lift. For example, with YouTube Promoted Videos, running ads on keywords that you rank well for can increase organic views.

One last tidbit: when running promoted video ads in YouTube, play the video from your channel rather than the watch page. This method can increase views for all of your uploaded videos because your content and brand personality will be in line-of-sight.

Search and Rescue: How to Become Findable and Shareable in Social Media

By Brian Solis

Search isn’t an isolated experience. The act of looking for information is now fused with validation, which means the socialization of search will unite discovery with context and relationships. It all begins with where we purposely search for relevant content and also where we respond to interesting information that crosses our path.


ComScore’s most recent search engine ranking report offers new insight that will make us rethink how we publish content, increase its findability, and facilitate sharing.

In comparing February to January, Google remained on top with 65.4 percent of all core search activity. Yahoo followed with 17 percent and Microsoft ranked third with 11.3 percent.

Things become interesting when we analyze search queries as opposed to core search activity. The landscape broadens beyond traditional search.

Just behind Google, but ahead of Yahoo, YouTube ranks second for search inquiries overall. In 18th and 19th place, Facebook and MySpace also make appearances in the top 20 list respectively. Perhaps most intriguing is that neither Facebook nor MySpace offer true search functionality — but they still account for increasing search activity. Facebook is up 10 percent between January and February.

What does this all mean? As social networks gain in prominence, the amount of relevant information within each ecosystem increases in value and, as such, we deliberately seek content within the networks in which we engage.

It’s the Journey That’s Important, Not the Destination

Destination sites across the board are losing traffic and ultimately favor, simply because destinations are obsolete as intended or designed. The days of the traditional “start page” are coming to an end, only to be replaced with the “attention dashboard” — a dedicated application that aggregates the activity of those we follow in social networks into a series of digestible streams.

TweetDeck, PeopleBrowsr, Seesmic, HootSuite, Brizzly, and Facebook each represent a new generation of attention dashboards as they funnel social feeds into one clickable view. These streams look a lot like slot machines as information flies through dedicated columns, almost blurring the text beyond legibility. But this is where attention is focused and the content that appears within it represents the future of the information life cycle.

So how do we compete for attention if attention itself is learning how to adapt to a new media landscape?

Our job is to ensure that information travels outside of our domains and to the communities of interest in order to create a bridge back to our hub. And, content must adapt based on consumption and sharing patterns with our existing and potential stakeholders.

This is an important point and one that can’t be ignored. Social activity indicates that we are already moving away from the act of proactively traveling to traditional sites as a source of new content.

With the dawn of social media, the activity that brings social graphs and networks to life is quickly changing how we discover, learn and share and it is also forever reshaping the idea of online destinations as they exist today. It all comes down to attention and understanding where it’s focused and how it is tempted, lured, or distracted to click away from it.

The socialization of information is changing everything.

Connect with Attention Where Attention is Focused

Competing for attention is paramount. We lose most of the battles before they’re begun because we’re working against years of behavior that now represent the complete opposite of tomorrow’s consumption and sharing patterns.

Everything begins with identifying where attention is focused, combined with the new laws of attraction.

Gigya reviewed data from Compete from November 2009 and observed that some of the top media properties were already realizing a dominant effect in traffic from social networks. For example, USAToday receives upwards of 35 percent of its referral traffic from social networks and just over 6 percent from Google. People Magazine receives 23 percent of its referrals from social networks and 11 percent from Google. And, CNN earns 11 percent of its referral traffic from social versus 9 percent from Google.

Peer-to-peer activity strongly influences the resulting behavior of impressionable nodes defining social graphs, much in the same way we rely upon trusted referrals from our real life contacts. The more something appears within the attention dashboard, the more likely it is that someone will click through. In addition, the more intriguing it seems, or the stronger the reaction it engenders among peers, also increases its enchantment and thus beguiling spectators to willfully lunge towards a shared experience, most likely triggering a public response that continues the social effect.

Social Architecture and Connecting the Dots

Information is already socializing and changing the behavior for how people search, find, react, and curate. The difference between our present and future is defined by the roads and bridges we build between relevance and prevalence.

As content producers, our responsibility is to connect information and stories to existing and potential stakeholders. It’s also essential to package and optimize our content as social objects in order for them to work for us in our absence, when individuals actively seek content through contextual searches.

Originally posted in Search Engine Watch.