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Archive for September 2010

What “Like” Buttons Mean for Web Traffic

Posted Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The new-this-year-yet-somehow-already-ubiquitous Facebook Like button has been around just long enough to generate some interesting numbers relating to Facebook users and web traffic.

The button, which launched in April at f8, Facebook’s developer conference, is now present on roughly 2 million sites around the web, from sports sites to news organizations and many other kinds of publishers.

A media analytics lead on Facebook’s Developer Network Insights team crunched some numbers and found that Facebook Likes not only generate interesting data about the “likers” (a.k.a. Facebook users who are also active on your website) themselves; this data also speaks volumes about clickthrough rates, time on-site and other engagement metrics.

 

Stats About People

On average, a Facebook user who “likes” your content has more than double the number of friends than does a typical Facebook user. This could mean the user is more “social” or more influential; on the other hand, it could mean the user is an attention-seeking narcissist. While it’s fatuous to read too much into that statistic, the number does show that the average “liker” is more active from a social-web standpoint.

An even more interesting stat about the likers is that they click on five times more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user. If clickthroughs are what you’re looking for from your social media strategy, this is good news.

Here’s a stat just for news sites: The average Facebook user who “likes” content on a news website is 34 — that’s about 2 decades younger than the average newspaper subscriber. We’ve known for some time that the future of journalism and social media are, at this point, inextricably linked; this stat provides a little hard evidence for that conclusion.

Stats About Traffic

Most website owners are aware that Twitter refers a ton of traffic. It’s meant to be a content-referral network, so link-sharing and clickthroughs are a given in many cases.

The Facebook “Like” button, however, might be bringing Facebook closer to competing with Twitter in the area of referral traffic, though. Since the button launched and was integrated on millions of sites, many publishers are reporting large increases in traffic specifically due to this kind of social plugin. ABC News reported a 190% increase; Gawker’s traffic shot up by 200%; Sporting News said their site traffic was up by a shocking 500%; and NBA.com said that Facebook had become their second-largest referral source.

Facebook relays messages from publishers saying that these users “are more engaged and stay longer when their real identity and real friends are driving the experience through social plugins.” As an example, NHL.com reported that pages per user was up by 92%, time on-site was up by 85%, video-viewing increased by 86% more videos and overall visits went up by 36%.

Clearly, Facebook is only part of social media referral traffic, but it’s becoming a larger part as the network grows and users become accustomed to interacting with third-party and external content from within the comfort of their social graph.


Can Chinese Brands Compete on Global Stage?

Posted Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

A key hurdle toward Western acceptance is the fact that low prices are often equated with low value

Adweek, Sept 21, 2010

Chinese brands have the opportunity to improve and possibly overtake Western brands, but must first improve key issues of quality, trust and reliability, a new report has found.

The Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of Hong Kong (HK4As) today released the findings of a global survey that examines the potential for Chinese brands as they venture into international markets.

Titled “Chinese Brands Going Global: Success Factors Now and the Future,” the report is a collaboration among the HK4As, Omnicom, WPP (and its Kantar research group), Interpublic, and Publicis.

It found that Chinese brands are generally still in their infancy in world markets, but have the chance to quickly catch up with international brands in terms of recognition and quality.

HK4As chairman Richard Thomas said industry experts see great potential for Chinese brands to succeed within the next five years, particularly those from the automotive and technology sectors. (One example being that China’s Geely Corp. recently acquired Volvo from Ford and plans new models and a major ad push.)

“With time and good brand management, we can expect more Chinese brands to succeed outside China — but developing these into global brands will require hard work,” he said.

Thomas Isaac, TNS research director, said the survey found the main strengths of Chinese brands were value and cost — which he said resonated well with consumers in the Middle East and Africa.

However in other markets, low price often equates to low quality.

“Despite price being a major advantage of Chinese brands, a fifth of those surveyed believe that quality is important to improve Chinese brands,” Isaac said. “Chinese brands need to convince the rest of the world that their quality standards are at least as good as, if not better than, those of major international brands.”

The report also identified six key ways to enhance image and market share for Chinese companies, which included upgrading quality standards, communicating quality standards through better PR and corporate communications, developing an after-sales service culture and reevaluating their pricing strategy.


BEST GLOBAL BRANDS 2010

Posted Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Apple‘s brand value has increased by 37% but it has only charted at 17th place in this year’s annual Best Global Brands survey from Interbrand, way behind IBM, Google and Microsoft.

The company, boosted its brand through controlled messaging and an endless wave of buzz surrounding new product launches, but still failed to make the top 10.

It has recently come under heavy criticism in public perception due to problems with the iPhone 4 reception handset, leading to the offer of a free rubber casing for those who were dissatisfied with their purchase.

The brand barometer placed Coca-Cola as its top global brand, with technology brand IBM taking second place, Microsoft third and Google fourth.
BlackBerry made great gains with a 32% increase in brand value. At 54th place it is the most popular smartphone for business users, despite pressure from Apple as it edges into the corporate world.

The annual survey from the consultancy said that a number of brands had faced extraordinary crises in 2010 resulting in stalled growth and loss of value.

BP fell out of the ranking this year, on the back of the Gulf of Mexico disaster and its poorly received response.
BP‘s disaster and inability to produce results on its brand promise of “Beyond Petroleum” led to it falling off of the list. Worse, it saw competitor Shell emerge as the leading oil industry brand, now ranked number 81, up from number 92 in 2009.
Toyota still ranked a surprising 11th place despite the biggest product recall in its history, which caused the brand to lose 16% of its brand value as its long-standing reputation for reliability, efficiency and innovation took a serious knock.

During a difficult year for the auto industry, Mercedes Benz (12th place) and BMW (15th place) were able to sustain and build their value “through innovative design and a focus on delivering premium value vehicles with luxury features”.

Using customer feedback, largely drawn from YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook to launch the 2009 Fiesta, Ford at 50th place stood out as one of the best example of how to use social media. Award-winning products like the Q5 and rich heritage helped Audi to 63rd place with a 9% increase in its brand value.

In the financial sector, Citi (40th place) and UBS (86th place) lost double-digits in brand value, while Santander (68th place), Barclays (74th place) and Credit Suisse (80th place) made their debut on the list for the first time.

Their ability to stay true to brand promises in unsure times, and avoidance of the subprime mortgage crisis, helped them stay the course.

“2010 was the beginning of a long road back towards economic recovery,” said Jez Frampton, group chief executive at Interbrand.

“From real-time customer feedback through social media to increased transparency about corporate citizenship, brands were faced with a profound change in the way they relate to customers and demonstrate their relevance and value.

Despite this new paradigm of brand management, the advantages of building a solid brand remain the same.”

Despite the economic downturn, luxury brands Cartier (77th place), Armani (95th place), Louis Vuitton (16th place), Gucci (44th place), Tiffany & Co (76th place) and Hermes (69th place) all saw the value of their brands increase in 2010 by “continuing to invest in their heritage and legendary status.”

Last year’s survey saw financial brands take a hammering due to the global downturn, with internationally famous names such as Citi and UBS seeing the value of their brand slashed in half.


Leaked Google Documents Reveal How Much Big Brands Spend on Search Ads

Posted Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Ad Age has obtained an internal Google document that highlights some of the biggest AdWords buyers for the month of June 2010, offering insight into how big brands are using Google and how much they are spending.

Mashable, 8th September 2010

According to the documents, the biggest buyers of AdWords in June included AT&T Mobility, Amazon, eBay and BP. Although most of those companies are frequent big Google spenders, BP was a newcomer to the list, spending $3.59 million on search ads in the wake of the gulf oil spill (compared to just $57,000 in the two months prior).

Top Spenders

The top spender in June, AT&T Mobility, spent $8.08 million on search ads to coincide with the release of the iPhone 4. According to Ad Age, AT&T’s the third-largest U.S. advertiser overall, so its Google spending is not a big surprise.

Other companies that made up the top 10 include:

Apollo Group – You know them as The University of Phoenix and they spent $6.67 million in June 2010
Expedia – $5.95 million
Amazon – $5.85 million
eBay – $4.25 million
Hotels.com – $3.30 million
JC Penney – $2.46 million — we’ll admit, this one surprises us
Living Social – $2.29 million
ADT Security – $2.19 million

Why Brands Buy Google Ads

The data shows us that for big brands, a heavy investment in Google is usually tied to revenue that comes directly from search traffic (as in the case of Amazon, eBay, Expedia, Hotels.com) or in instances where companies are trying to build awareness (AT&T) or weather a PR crisis (BP).

It’s also interesting to note some of the brands that aren’t on the list. The documents obtained by Ad Age indicate that companies like GM, Disney and BMW spent less than $500,000 on Google ads in June. Even Apple spent just less than $1 million on Google ads, despite its high-profile launch of the iPhone 4.

However, we also think it is possible that some big brands are spending money on search, but not directly with Google. For instance, although Ad Age cites Walt Disney as one of the companies that spent less than $500,000 on Google ads in June, the movie studio released Toy Story 3 that month, a film supported by a massive ad campaign. The film has gone on to gross more than $1 billion worldwide, making it one of the most successful animated films of all-time. It seems odd that Disney would spend only $500,000 on search terms for its big summer release.

What seems more likely, however, is that Disney purchased advertising through companies like Fandango or MovieTickets.com and those companies have their own arrangements with Google. In other words, when it comes to evaluating search spending, don’t count out the potential middle men.

This also makes sense when taking a big-picture approach to Google’s own revenue. The top 10 brands only accounted for 5% of U.S. revenues for the month.

Google is a big target for advertisers because of its strength in search and because of its ubiquity across devices. We do wonder if ad buys will shift to other outlets, like say, Facebook, as users spend more and more time on those networks.


Imaginative YouTube ad from Tipp-ex

Posted Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Follow the link and have some fun!

Tipp-ex YouTube ad


 
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