Category Archives: social networking

Click to Predict

Last year eCommerce saw a rise in click to collect behaviour, pop up millennial hubs, drone deliveries, shoppable store fronts and mobile payment systems like Apple Pay leapfrog forwards. So what does this year hold?

Here are three things I think will start to take off:

  1. sCommerce: 2015 saw all of the major social players roll out their version of the ‘buy now’ button in order to bring shopping to the masses acting on impulse in social media around the world. The trend is set to spike into this year as the tracking of associated likes and comments enable brands to quickly grasp and react to what consumers want.
  2. Pre-cognitive commerce: Is the art of knowing what consumers want before they know they want it. In a connected world where immediate gratification is an increasing expectation, brands will need to be reactive more quickly, not to what shoppers ask for, but to what they may ask for next. 
  3. Truth-based purchasing: Technology has provided a level of connectivity that means brands will not be able to hide anything about their products in the future. Clothes will communicate with washing machines as to how they need to be washed, food will talk to fridges about when they’re going out of date, the national grid will talk to homes about when they are switching to ‘bad’ energy. The margin for creative license in communicating brand truths has narrowed further and will continue to do so.

I wonder who will get it right…

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What’s after WhatsApp

Now that Facebook has zucked up WhatsApp into their empire, many users of the service are looking to an alternative, it’s a question that came up again today in a meeting with a client so here’s a quick overview of some other cool services that can give you just as much, if not more;

1. Viber: Currently in use in 193 countries (so pretty much worldwide), this is similar to WhatsApp to adopt as it uses your mobile numbers to identify who from your contact list is a user. Once connected via the App you instantly message and away you go, plus you can also call your users so long as you’re connected to the Internet. In addition there are fun sticker packs and you can send doodles and short voice snippets, great meeting distractions!

2. LINE: Similar again but it registers your number to it’s database, so worth considering if you don’t like that. Otherwise much like Viber too in that if you’re connected you can also make calls to other LINE users and it gives you fun stickers and emoticons. There are over 300m users and it’s fast expanding into Europe with Spain being a top adopting country.

3. Skype: More popular for video calls, this service has been around for a while but let’s not forget that you can still use it simply for messaging too. The only added layer of intricacy is that you need to approve uses before you can start chatting, for me though, that’s a bonus!

4. Kik Messenger: Big at the moment in the US and Canada, and specifically with teens. You need to register with your email address, choose a unique name (much like Skype) but once up and running the app is a super simple messaging service, there are no calling capabilities but it’s growing fast with over 100m users already and funding secured to expand, so it’s one to watch.

5. KAKAO: This app is another up and coming that allows you to either message directly, or within groups, similar to WhatsApp, it’s totally free and despite the common misconception its’ only available in Asia, it is free to the whole world, yippee.

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Analyse this

I would imagine you’re all familiar with Google Analytics and Omniture, and seen reports for PPC, SEO and Display, no doubt clearly outlining the return for every penny spent including; entry sources, bounce rates, CTR, page views and so on.

I’ll also wager you’ve asked your planners and buyers what the return for Social Marketing is? Yes? You’ll have asked: What’s the value of a Facebook ‘like’ or a ‘retweet’? We’ve all stared at pretty diagrams that show us the reach and potential eyeballs hit but, so far, it’s been an algorithm we haven’t quite mastered with the confidence to go back to the board and solidly say that the money spent has returned an incremental profit of ‘X’ through social.

Well this level of measurement has just taken two more big steps forward.

Firstly, Google recently announced that they are adding social media reports to their analytics suite which will show the social value through measuring; visits and visits via social referral, the conversions this led to, plus assisted social conversions and last interaction social conversions.

Secondly, Adobe has just unveiled its social analytics tool: ‘Adobe Social’. Apparently a more comprehensive version of Adobe Social Analytics, according to their Product Director Matt Langie. The new software still provides the basic listening tools already familiar to users but in addition now allows management of creating and publishing content and ads. It also follows similar tracking to GA so you can report from seed to purchase or drop off.

I wonder what this means to the likes of Radian and Sysomos, will these two giants take over?

 

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Is this of Pinterest to you?

This first came to life over a year ago but I’ve heard about this new social site a few times over the last week or so and it caught my eye again in the Metro yesterday.

It’s mainly women in the US using it right now (reserve the Desperate Housewives comments for later), but that will change I’m sure as there are currently around a million pins a week being added.

Currently you have to be invited or request an invite; I’m on the waiting list… and still waiting… ahem…

It’s a great virtual mood board experience, visually rich and quick to engage with, although to be honest I’m a little nervous about the copyright issues that could arise here.

I wonder whether it will stand on its own or quickly be swallowed by something bigger – Mr Zuckerberg apparently has his eye on it so who knows.

In the meantime ‘like’ it, ‘g+’ it, ‘tweet’ it or, if you want to join, ‘pin’ it…

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Facebook is nearly as popular as Hinduism

I overheard my colleague talking about world plagues earlier; particularly morbid, even for a Monday morning. Turns out he was looking at an infographic that summarises ‘Big Numbers’… it’s really quite interesting.

Did you know that Facebook is now 600,000,000 people strong? That’s 30.5% of the internet population and almost half the size of China. The internet population stands at a whopping 1,967,000,000 (28.5% of the global population).

Facebook still has another 300,000,000 to acquire though before it can match Hinduism and a further 400,000,000 in addition to that, before matching Atheism. Read into that what you will.

Fascinating looking at the bigger picture; here’s the link if you want to check it out for yourself…

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How many screens do you have at your fingertips?

We’re all used to watching TV with our laptops out and smart phone to hand yes? We’ve all seen the ads that prompt you to befriend a brand on Facebook. Classic multi-screen marketing; one to grab your attention, one to do the thing it’s asking you to and a third to share the fact you’re doing it.

It’s an advertising tactic that’s steadily grown over the last few years and with consumer figures doubling across Europe in the last year to reach 19 million it’s a theory that’s proving to work.

But the really clever stuff is achieved when brands recognise how people really want to interact with them.

When multiscreen marketing is executed to coherently synchronise across screens simultaneously, you’re closer to achieving what the user wants.

Brands need to design content that actively shifts from one screen to another in line with user engagement. More and more people are interacting now with what is known as an ‘ecosystem of screens’. It’s no longer clever to design digital platforms that only offer the desired service on one, they need to connect, and so we need to design systems that service multiple devices, seamlessly.

Because consumers now increasingly engage with media at different touch points, in different places and on different platforms, multi-screen advertising provides brands with a solution that will allow you to reach your audience wherever they are.

With traditional broadcast being challenged and often neglected by consumers with the power of choice at their fingertips, it’s essential that brands realise this is a strategy for improving reach, frequency and effectiveness.

Go forth and multiply cross screen brands…

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Facebook and the Future

Facebook were in our basement the other night talking about what the future looks like for social. It was a really interesting talk with one subject in particular catching my attention.

More and more we hear about the influence fans of brands have on their friends but, increasingly so it’s more about friends of fans. These guys have for more influence as it’s perceived as unbiased, if, the message gets that far.

As it stands 90% of fan pages on Facebook have fewer than 100 fans. Mainly because the page isn’t backed by media so there’s nothing driving traffic (I’ve certainly had my share of clients who assume that just by sticking a brand page up, the world will ‘like’ them and share the love).

Shock, horror and revelation! This is not so.

Whilst the media buying and planning lot of you out there will know that’s old news, the exciting revelation is that bridging the gap between media spend v social currency seems to be closing, and it’s doing so in the guise of Polling Ads.

You still buy the initial space either on a CPC or CPM basis but the reach they can achieve improves the potential ROI several times over.

Facebook claim that current case studies have shown: 160% uplift in brand recall, 200% uplift in message awareness of the ad and a whopping 400% uplift in purchase intent.

That, coupled with the current predicted reach for potential customers falling in at around more than 500 million and as we all know, still being able to profile your audience by; location, age and interests really leads to a  no brainer.

I have a few clients trying this already and the rewards have been notable for them: extended reach, higher awareness, growing loyalty and a marked improvement of their brands resonating online.

My advice – get all over it!

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Google Moderator

What

Google Moderator is a service launched in 2008 that uses crowdsourcing to rank comments and questions from users to allow high volume management. Anyone can participate, that’s the main rule of thumb.

Why

Knowing and understanding what your audience are thinking and what they want is critical. By opening up the communication with your site visitors you’ll get to know and understand your audience, plus everyone gets their say, so, you get a rounded opinion.

How

Create a Google account, enter your question or topic, decide whether you want to allow both text and video responses, and decide how long your poll will run for.

And if you want to get clever you can play around with embedding it on a Google sites page, an iFrame or use the API…

You can read more about that here if you like

Who

Barack Obama used it quite early on in a public series called ‘Open for Questions’ which attracted 1m votes during the election in 48 hours.

But the guys attracting a lot of attention at the moment are Victors and Spoils. Founded in 2010 on the premise of crowdsourcing the agency enlists a database of 5,200 freelancers from around the globe. Their most recent project (and the reason I decided to write this blog post) is Virgin America Toronto Provocateur, which was designed and written using Google Moderator to launch the new service to Toronto. You can read more here (you’ll need to scroll down).

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Passion verses Fame: The Vimeo v YouTube debate

It’s often perceived that Vimeo is for people with a passion and YouTube is for people who want fame and popularity (cough, cough Mr Bieber), but lately the conversation has come up time and again both from a business point a view, a personal preference and just use as a technical platform.

Vimeo for me personally has always been slicker, cleaner and more professional, but then I work in digital marketing so I also see the benefits to clients of the traffic YouTube receives.

Going back a little to the earlier days, I remember YouTube storming the ranks but never really succeeding in impressing. 2008 saw YouTube really start to make improvements to its offering but it seemed they were always that one step behind on quality. For example; when they launched the 1GB upload they had a few thumbs up but hard-core users were still after more in the way of HD support and optional download links, again resolutions that Vimeo already offered. When they randomised the thumbnail options (eventually not leaving us stuck with the 25/50/75 rule) Vimeo were already offering at least 15 thumbnail options and if you weren’t happy with those you could choose and upload your own.

But then in YouTube’s defence they did improve and they offered more for free than other platforms. You could have a Vimeo plus membership and not really get more than you would with a free YouTube account.

Now, when you research YouTube you learn that 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute, YouTube is localised in 25 countries across 43 languages with a broad demographic of 18-54 year olds and in 2010 YouTube reached over 700 billion playbacks. YouTube partners with Disney, Turner, Univision, Channel 4 and Channel 5, it monetises over 2 billion video views per week globally and the number of advertisers using display ads on YouTube increased 10 fold in the last year.

If we consider a more social angle with YouTube we’d mention things like: over 4 million people are connected and auto-sharing to at least one social network, YouTube mobile gets over 100 million views a day and across the channel more than 50% of videos on YouTube have been rated or include comments from the community. Sounds a bit like a corporate giant doesn’t it? Well I guess that’s because it is.

Vimeo on the other hand haven’t ever really lost their personal touch, which I like; by fans, for the fans. They introduce their team and their background and have nice rules to adhere to so you don’t upset people whilst you’re on there like; be nice, keep on topic, don’t Spam and respect the Staff… by doing this they become approachable yet still remain professional. It works for me.

So in summary I guess I’d personally continue to use Vimeo, it’s still cooler (sorry YouTube), but if a client wanted heaps of traffic, something that could be on brand and be managed by an office intern, I’d go with YouTube.

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Social Commerce

First came the Social Network (thank you Mr Zuckerberg) which, connects over half a billion users. Now the big chiefs of the online world are all competing to be the first to properly monetise these social platforms and evolve them into revenue streams.

Currently there are strong influencing factors online that persuade us to purchase (or not). Take Amazon as an example, long have they recognised the successes in recommending products based on your purchase history, viewing activity and the trends of like minded shoppers. It wasn’t long before this simple model was adapted and adopted by many other commerce platforms and now we’re seeing this evolve to include more personal input; take Google’s search tool launched last year, this pulls through recommendations and reviews from your friends and family around the term you’re searching for. Admittedly it didn’t spread like wild fire but the theory is strong.

If you’re looking to buy a film and Amazon or Google tell you via Facebook that your friends think it’s ace, you’re more likely to buy it right? In fact, according to last years Econsultancy survey 90 per cent of purchases have some level of influence from the social arena.

The bit that seems to have everyone up in arms is the public display of your spending habits. Tools such as Blippy publish your transactions in real time encouraging those in your social circle to view and comment. The question is: Is this an honest and open way of sharing your trends, habits and interests or, is it really just a way of bragging about how you splash your cash? Is it about status or is it about making informed decisions in the impulsive world of online commerce and then seeking the reassurance you’ve made the right choice?

Do you really want people to know you get your knickers from M&S and not Agent Provocateur?

Either way, 2011 is marked to be the year that bucks the Social Commerce trend so, if you’re serious about your business stop waiting in the wings and get yourself a strategy… Fast!

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