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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

10 Useful Social Networking Statistics for 2014

Posted Friday, February 28th, 2014

How are we using the leading social networks in 2014?

  • Pinterest (21%) is now more popular than Twitter (18%) among Internet users.
  • Women are four times more likely to be Pinterest users than men.
  • Facebook is ageing. 45% of Internet users aged 65+ use Facebook.
  • Pinterest attracts older people. Twitter and Instagram are still youth dominated networks, but 23% of Internet users aged 50+ use Pinterest.
  • Contrary to popular belief, most people aren’t using multiple social networks. Over 50% of Internet users either don’t use any social networks, or use just one (i.e. Facebook).
  • Facebook and Instagram users are the most engaged. Around 60% of their users sign in every day (compared to 46% of Twitter users)
  • Almost all social networkers use Facebook. In fact, over 80% of ‘other’ social network users also use Facebook.
  • Instagrammers also use Twitter. There is a 50% crossover between the networks.
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn are stand-alone networks. There is much less crossover usage with other networks (except Facebook).
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn users are wealthier than the other networks with a high percentage earning over $75000 PA.

How does this impact how you use social media for your business?

 


More Than Half Of Online Adults Watch Video On Social Media

Posted Friday, October 11th, 2013

 

Pew Internet Research published a new study on online video.  Some interesting findings:

  • 78% of adults internet users watch or download online videos, up from 69% who did so in 2009.
  • Comedy/Humor is the most popular genre of video content online
  • 57% of online adults (ages 18-49) watch videos on social media; 28% publish video to social media.
  • 41% of cell phone owners watch mobile video, compared to only 8% who check-in to locations using their phone.

 


Beyond Viral: How Successful Marketers Are Embracing the Social Web

Posted Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Just as early television shows were essentially radio plays shot on film, the earliest attempts by online marketers mimicked the worlds of television and print. While banner ads and pre-roll commercials are still with us, of course, a new generation of marketing professionals and companies are exploring techniques more native to the web: multi-platform marketing campaigns that encourage interactivity.

Marketers who take advantage of the Internet’s unique capabilities have the potential to build increasingly engaged customer communities. Here’s a look at three major trends.

1. User-Generated Content Contests

Doritos hosted its first Crash the Superbowl campaign in 2007. Like a lot of big companies, Doritos bought a commercial slot for the Superbowl, but instead of hiring a production company to make a 30-second spot, Doritos turned to its consumers. “Grab your camera and create your Doritos commercial,” the company advertised. Anyone could create and submit a spot. These spots were put to a vote online, and the finalists received $10,000 and the winning spot ran in the very expensive Superbowl slot.

More than 1,000 people submitted videos, and Doritos generated a lot of attention for the campaign, ranking high in a number of surveys that tracked buzz and impact of the Super Bowl commercials.

These kinds of campaigns are very popular on the Internet at the moment and they range in scale. SolidWorks, makers of computer-aided design (CAD) software, worked with the design firm Small Army to build a campaign that involved its very active community. Christine Washburn, VP of marketing at SolidWorks, says, “We wanted to do something that would involve them and be very visible for new potential members of the community.”

Small Army came up with Let’s Go Design, an interactive web series. Users submit design ideas in response to challenges proposed by the show. Ideas are voted on and ultimately incorporated.

What works: Activity and participation around the brand.

If users get involved, they can win. And the voting structure generates even more activity. Washburn reports that SolidWorks’ “web traffic is up by a factor of four in comparison to previous campaigns.”

When this doesn’t work: Your brand doesn’t carry either the same kind of mass appeal as Doritos or the committed fandom of SolidWorks.

Branding consultant Lisa Merriam wrote a case study of a failed contest campaign by a company called Levia. It tried a campaign similar to Doritos, asking consumers to submit a video about the healing power of light.

Doritos is a mega-brand [with] millions and millions of passionate consumers. And Levia®? You probably never heard of it. Levia® is a device that uses light to treat psoriasis. The set of people who suffer from psoriasis and who have heard of Levia® and who have the technical know-how to produce video and who care enough to come up with winning concepts about light’s power to heal is an infinitesimally small set of people — certainly not a crowd.

2. Making a Consumer Community

Marketers have jumped on the relatively recent explosion of online communities. If customers have the ability to talk to one another, why not create an incentive and a space for them to talk about your brand?

One way to accomplish this is to offer customers something they might actually do in real life. Marketing agency Movement Strategy, for instance, recently created an online forum for two of its NBA clients, the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. The site — NuggetsVsKnicks.com — operated during an actual game between the Nuggets and the Knicks, giving the fans a place to cheer on their team (and trash talk the other). By integrating with Facebook— users cheered by “Liking” their team — Movement Strategy was able to give a real-world analog to the digital interaction.

What works: Campaigns that encourage community among their customer base can really help to build loyalty.

When this doesn’t work: When the campaigns are lazy.

It’s not fair to say that most company Facebook Pages don’t work, but often the conversations there offer a relatively low level of engagement. Contests, questions and announcements all encourage participation from the customer, but not necessarily participation with each other.

A lot of brands use Twitter contests in a similar way. A few years ago Squarespace(), for instance, gave away an iPhone() a day to anyone who mentioned Squarespace in a tweet. While this kind of activity can generate a lot of buzz, the actual customer engagement in the brand is low — the equivalent of dropping your business card in a fishbowl.

Even worse is when Facebook and other social network integration is used as a gimmick. Last March, Absolut sponsored a short film by Spike Jonze, the director of Being John Malkovich. The film, titled I’m Here, was designed to be shown on the web. Before watching, the viewer is first walked through an invitation process using Facebook Connect. The friends you invite are cleverly integrated into an introductory cut scene, during which, you “enter” the theater to watch the film. Their photos appear on the VIP passes of other people in the theater. The whole thing works to give you a sense that you are watching this film with people who you know.

Except in this case, the experience stops there. As soon as the film starts, the connection to your community ends. The introduction has nothing to do with the film itself and instead feels tacked on and gimmicky. Absolut hinted at what could be done but didn’t actually do it.

3. Choose Your Own Adventure

Perhaps the most exciting development in multi-platform interactive campaigns is the ability of the customer base to participate in and affect the outcome of a story.

At Blogworld 2010, Ford announced an online marketing campaign to promote its new Focus. The campaign, called Focus Rally, pits six teams against each other in a reality-style adventure game where the viewers make the important calls for the participants.

“It’s a little bit like a choose your own adventure here, but the people at home were choosing the adventure for these players. It’s kind of cool how interactive the show is going to be,” says Focus Rally producer Neal Konstantini.

Specifically, the Focus Rally competitors must rely on the network capabilities of the car and their social networks to solve challenges. “[I]f you’re in Albuquerque and you’re stuck and you run out of gas,” Konstantini explains, “you’re going to have to get on Facebook and tell your network, ‘I’m stuck. I need gas. Help me.’”

What works: When the web is integrated into both a compelling storyline and effective brand messaging.

When this doesn’t work: When you expect interaction to be what solely carries the campaign.

“It’s not enough to be interactive,” says Michal Ann Strahilevitz, associate professor of marketing at Golden Gate University. “It has to be truly compelling, engaging and persuasive to the target market. If you build it, they may or may not come.”

Choose your own adventure campaigns build off the Internet’s potential as a story-telling device. These kinds of campaigns “require the audience’s presence and participation in order to be complete,” says Mike Monello, co-founder and executive director of Campfire, an advertising agency in New York. Monello was one of the creators of The Blair Witch Project and used viral Internet distribution before there was a name for such a thing.

In a recent campaign that Campfire created for the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week programming, the team produced a series of videos about famous shark attacks throughout history. Like Absolut’s promotion of I’m Here, Campfire used Facebook Connect to personalize users’ experience of the site and videos. But whereas Absolut’s choice felt tacked on at the end, Campfire accessed users’ Facebook information to build a personalized shark attack for the visitor. It integrated personalization into the branding and the storytelling.

“Telling stories is one of mankind’s most enduring traditions,” Campfire explains on its website. “Our increased connectedness has only made spreading them faster, more pervasive, and more effective.”


Qantas the most searched for brand of the World Cup

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2010

The most searched for World Cup brand is Qantas and others in the travel or fashion industry, however a report out July 7 by Marketing Week shows that World Cup sponsors fail to engage the public while Wimbledon boosts brand searches.

The Independent, 8th July 2010
Most of the official World Cup sponsors are failing to engage the public according to a report on July 7 by industry magazine Marketing Week.

During the week June 26-Jul 3, apart from car manufacturer Kia, all the other official sponsors of the World Cup have seen a decline in internet searches for their product, despite the high visibility of their logos at every game. The report states that rather than official sponsors the most popular searches are for individual brands sponsoring teams.

Between the week ending June 26 and July 3, ex World Cup sponsor Gillette, the razor and men’s grooming company, experienced a 20% rise insearches, even though it is not associated with this year’s tournament.

UK based household retailer and provider of the England team’s suits, Marks and Spencer, also saw an increase in searches, up 6.5% in the same period.  Hertz car rental which are sponsoring UK tennis tournament Wimbledon, saw an 11.1% rise in searches during the same time period.

However while World Cup sponsors seen a decline in public interest, tennis brands are becoming increasingly popular. UK internet searches for tennis are up 177% from the week June 26-Jul 3 according to trend monitoring site Hitwise. Searches for tennis racquets have doubled year on year and the most searched for tennis racquets are Babolat and Wilson, Babolat being the racquet of choice for men’s winner Rafael Nadal and Wilson being used by women’s Serena Williams and men’s top seeded Roger Federer.

 

For the week ending July 3 the most searched for World Cup brands were

1. Australian airline Qantas

2. Grooming company Gillette

3. Car hire company Hertz         

4. British airline Virgin Atlantic

=5. German Airline Lufthansa

=5. UK Household retaile


Biggest brands: Top 100 online advertisers 2010

Posted Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Marketing, May 2010

While the recession cut a swathe through above-the-line media channels, digital marketing grasped the opportunity to prove itself, writes Adam Woods.

As many advertisers were forced to cut back last year, so media owners probably comforted themselves with the thought that no part of the industry was immune to the effects of the UK‘s deepest recession since the 30s.

However, the latest research shows that digital media have, to some degree, managed to ride the storm. According to Nielsen, overall internet adspend rose from £461.4bn in 2008 to £506.3bn in 2009 – a 9.7% year-on-year increase. While half of the UK’s top 100 online advertisers cut their media spend in 2009, more than 80% of them increased their internet investment; many of them attracted by the prospect of solid ROI at a time when they were striving to cut marketing costs.

Advertising budgets overall have been slashed, but nonetheless advertisers want measurable returns,’ says Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). ‘They have had to use the budgets they do have really wisely and have learned more in the process.’

Whether the downturn has acted as a catalyst in this process is a moot point, but many industry figures believe that internet advertising has started to come of age in the past two years.

‘There’s obviously a macroeconomic picture of a move to digital from traditional channels over the last few years, and I think the recession has only sharpened that,’ says Chris Clarke, chief creative officer at digital agency LBi.

Ironically, the increasing refinement of brands‘ online marketing abilities, allied to a general trend of online price deflation, has helped to take some of the edge off the growth of spending on digital (here excluding search, but including social media, affiliate marketing, mobile and online display in general).

Overall, financial services was the biggest-spending sector on internet advertising, though many of the biggest individual online advertisers were in the telecoms and media/entertainment sectors.

O2, Hutchison 3G, which owns 3, and merger candidates T-Mobile and Orange all increased their investment in web- based marketing. In the number-one spot, O2 remained by far the country’s biggest single online advertiser, allocating £15.2m, or almost 27% of its total media spend, to this platform.

O2 senior marketing manager Neill Garfield identifies social networking and the mobile internet as key emerging channels. Nonetheless, he refutes the suggestion that spend has been shifted wholesale out of traditional media and into online.

‘Often, it’s the reverse,’ he says. ‘Online channels are now at relative saturation, so we are investing in offline channels that stimulate online demand.’

The COI, the UK’s biggest advertiser last year, was also the second-biggest internet advertiser, boosting its internet spend by 45% to £10.4m. Nonetheless, its digital budget still accounted for less than 5% of its £218.3m overall media bill.

Some of the more dramatic changes at the top of the list include the doubling of internet spend at Virgin Media, Hutchison 3G and Moneysupermarket.com. However, Capital One provides the most notable example of a strategic shift among the top 20 advertisers.

The US credit card company was in the headlines in March when it scrapped its UK offline direct marketing programme and moved a proportion of the money saved into online communications. This was reflected in a 53.6% increase in Capital One’s internet spend to £2.9m, meaning this channel accounted for 99.98% of all its media spend, which fell as a whole by more than 65%.

More for less

Regardless of the effects of the recession, there appears to be a growing belief among brands that increasing adspend does not guarantee marketing success. By its own reckoning, Moneysupermarket.com, the 10th-placed online advertiser in the list, spent 22% less on its marketing last year, including search, but was still able to attract 14% more customers.

‘For us, it has become less about how much you spend and more about what you say and how you say it,’ says Ian Williams, the brand’s director of communications.

In a handful of sectors there was a sharp reduction in internet adspend. While they continue to make extensive use of the channel, media/entertainment brands collectively cut their budgets for online marketing by almost 16%.

Other sectors where big falls occurred include retail, which spent 42.3% less, and the property and pharmaceutical sectors, which made reductions of 45.5% and 55.2% respectively. However, while property and pharmaceuticals cut their marketing across the board last year, retailers raised their budgets overall; this suggests that online price deflation has enabled advertisers in this sector to make significant savings.

The figures compiled by Nielsen do not include a breakdown of information on the separate online advertising platforms. Nonetheless, some upward trends across digital marketing can be easily identified.

For example, mobile internet use is growing rapidly, as smartphone handsets offer users a greatly enhanced online experience on the move. The mobile advertising market is still relatively small, but is beginning to generate fresh revenues and helping to cannibalise those of other sectors.

‘Mobile internet is here to stay,’ says Garfield. ‘Inevitably, that will eat into media consumption in other channels, mostly from print. As transactional capabilities improve in mobile, this may even affect consumer retail and internet retailing.’

Big advertisers whose internet commitment remained relatively small in 2009 included Procter & Gamble and Unilever, each of which assigned 1.4% of their overall media budgets online.

However, they also committed more than in the previous year, and the expected ongoing rise of social media and mobile look set to extend major FMCG players’

‘The growth of mobile and maturing of the social web as an advertising opportunity have underpinned a growth in digital spend from the more reticent sectors,’ says Rhys Williams, managing partner at digital agency Agenda21.

As relatively recent additions to the online advertising portfolio, mobile, pre-roll video and social media are still in their initial growth phases, and are therefore likely to make an even bigger contribution in 2010, particularly as their interplay with offline media is explored.

According to IAB figures, online was the only media channel to grow during the first half of last year. TV and press adspend may have been squeezed, but the notion that digital and traditional forms of advertising operate in isolation from one another has been questioned recently.

Advertisers understand the combination of opportunities online and how they fit with traditional media,’ says the IAB’s Phillipson. ‘They are thinking of digital as the platform that runs through that entire media schedule.’

Sir Martin Sorrell has suggested that the picture presented by next year’s equivalent figures could be very different from this one. The growth in digital marketing is unlikely to stop as the economy continues to recover. Smart marketers will continue to invest their budgets where they can achieve the biggest returns and if innovation in digital continues, the industry will continue to thrive.

Price deflation: the ups and downs

While most of the brand-owners in the list spent more online in 2009 than they did in 2008, price deflation means this is not simply a case of online up, offline down.

Mainstream print and broadcast channels are turning over less than recently, but falling rates may mean brands are using them as much as, or more than they were.

‘A lot of our clients want to move away from broadcast and narrowcast, but they still spend healthily on TV – it is just that it has got cheaper in the last couple of years,’ says Chris Clarke, chief creative officer at digital agency LBi.

Similarly, a surplus of inventory means online rates have fallen, explaining apparent cutbacks made by the 19 advertisers in the top 100 that reduced their digital budgets. Most of these made cuts across the board, but Tesco, Hewlett Packard and Thomson spent less on digital while growing their wider media budgets.

‘Everyone is getting more bang for their buck,’ says Rhys Williams, managing partner at digital agency Agenda21. ‘The average cost per thousand online has gone down and I can’t see it going back up. It means advertisers don’t have to spend as much to get the same sort of impact.’

Coming up

Sainsbury’s just failed to enter the UK’s Top 100 online advertisers table despite increasing its internet marketing spend by 297% to £771,000. Fiat also bolstered its online advertising budget in spite of the recession with a 230% year-on-year increase to £702,000. Kraft grew its spend by 120% putting it in 104th position.

Going down

American Express slashed its online marketing spend by 43% year on year to £1.2m. British Airways also slashed its budget by 8.9% year on year placing the airline at 59th in the table. Holiday operator Thomson slashed its budget by 66% year on year to £992,000.

Methodology

Nielsen has improved the methodology used to work out the top 100 online advertisers for 2009. The new data is based on a Netview panel. Each panellist is given a meter and every time they view an ad online, it counts as one impression which is projected nationally. Previous surveys used a combination of figures from ABCe and declared information from the sites themselves. This tended to lead to inflated spend data. The new system creates a more robust methodology and removes the inflation factor. However, it means there is as yet limited comparative data with the previous year.

The figures are for display advertising and all figures are estimated costs based on a number of factors including rate card and industry discount factors. Details of the full methodology are available from Nielsen.


Website of The Week

Posted Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Easywriting.co.uk, January 19, 2010

Blippy.com is a new social network that answers a simple question: “what are your friends buying?” The venture was founded by Philip Kaplan, Ashvin Kumar and Chris Estreich and the service launched on the 12th December 2009

So how does it work? Superficially, it looks a lot like Twitter. Once you’ve signed up, you can follow others, see what they’re buying, where they bought it, and how much they’ve spent. You can then add comments or questions to any transaction.

It’s a controversial idea. Your Blippy account can be ‘linked’ with banks, credit cards, and large online stores such as Amazon and iTunes. Any purchase you make is added to your Blippy stream which can be publicly shared or shown to those people you approve. The site recommends that you also retain a ‘private’ credit card to save embarrassment about certain purchases or secret gifts.

In many ways, Blippy achieves something Twitter does not: passive sharing. You don’t need to post updates or even have internet access — your location and behaviors become visible by the things you buy. The founders have already experienced opportunities and unexpected consequences of using the service:

* The information is far more interesting than a typical tweet.
* It allows you to see what your friends are buying. You know where there are and what interests them — which could be useful for gift ideas.
* You can find online deals or discover whether you’ve been ripped off.
* It could become easier to track stolen credit cards.
* Valuable commercial data can be collated and analyzed. An API is planned so it will eventually be possible for companies to recall your previous visits and purchases. It could mark the end of store loyalty cards.

However, there are several big hurdles that could affect Blippy’s success. Are people willing to have their buying habits tracked? I accept large stores are already doing it, but making the information public is another matter. I suspect the younger generation would be more eager to share their whereabouts and what brands they’re buying, but the service is limited to those who purchase goods via credit card. Few teenagers will be able to use the service.

Passive sharing is a great idea and many social networks are likely to adopt similar techniques and technologies. But do you want to advertise your daily location and activities? I’m sure burglars would be especially interested in that information!

Finally, security will be the biggest concern for most users. Although they make strong statements about privacy and security, you still need to register your bank, credit card, store IDs and passwords with Blippy. I doubt many will share that information especially when they read Blippy’s terms of service:

“You understand and agree that you use the Site and Services at your own discretion and risk and that you will be solely responsible for any damages that arise from such use.”

Banks are continually advising customers to keep their IDs and passwords secret; few will understand or compensate you for security issues caused directly or indirectly by Blippy’s service.

Would you use Blippy?  Is it a great concept or too controversial? I am signing up now!!


10 Branding and Marketing Trends for 2010

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Niels Bohr once noted that “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future,” but then he didn’t have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy.

BrandingStrategy, October 01 2009

Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success – or failure – of next year’s branding and marketing efforts.

1) Value is the new black

Consumer spending, even on sale items, will continue to be replaced by a reason-to-buy at all. This spells trouble for brands with no authentic meaning, whether high-end or low.

2) Brands increasingly a surrogate for “value”

What makes goods and services valuable will increasingly be what’s wrapped up in the brand and what it stands for. Why J Crew instead of The Gap? J Crew stands for a new era in careful chic –being smart and stylish. The first family’s support of the brand doesn’t hurt either.

3) Brand differentiation is Brand Value

The unique meaning of a brand will increase in importance as generic features continue to plague the brand landscape. Awareness as a meaningful market force has long been obsolete, and differentiation will be critical for success –meaning sales and profitability.

4) “Because I Said So” is so over

Brand values can be established as a brand identity, but they must believably exist in the mind of the consumer. A brand can’t just say it stands for something and make it so. The consumer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and consumer engagement.

5) Consumer expectations are growing

Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations now. Every day consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more. Smarter marketers will identify and capitalize on unmet expectations. Those brands that understand where the strongest expectations exist will be the brands that survive – and prosper.

6) Old tricks don’t work/won’t work anymore

In case your brand didn’t get the memo here it is -consumers are on to brands trying to play their emotions for profit. In the wake of the financial debacle of this past year, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim “we’re all in this together” when those same banks have rescinded their credit and turned their retirement plan into case studies. The same is true for insincere celebrity pairings: think Seinfeld & Microsoft or Tiger Woods & Buick. Celebrity values and brand values need to be in concert, like Tiger Woods & Accenture. That’s authenticity.

7) They won’t need to know you to love you

As the buying space becomes even more online-driven and international (and uncontrolled by brands and corporations), front-end awareness will become less important. A brand with the right street cred can go viral in days, with awareness following, not leading, the conversation. After all, everybody knows GM, but nobody’s buying their cars.

8) It’s not just buzz

Conversation and community is all; ebay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand. Not just word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. This means the coming of a new era of customer care.

9) They’re talking to each other before talking to the brand

Social Networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase. Look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of Linkedin. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don’t tweet.

10) Engagement is not a fad; It’s the way today’s consumers do business

Marketers will come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (Program; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event). But there is only one objective for the future: Brand Engagement. Marketers will continue to realize that attaining real brand engagement is impossible using out-dated attitudinal models.

Accommodating these trends will require a paradigm change on the parts of some companies. But whether a brand does something about it or not, the future is where it’s going to spend the rest of its life. How long that life lasts is up to the brand, determined by how it responds to today’s reality.


Mobile App Market to Surge to $17.5 Billion by 2012

Posted Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Lithuanian-based GetJar, an independent mobile phone application store with more than 60,000 mobile applications for major mobile platforms such as Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile, commissioned a study that predicts a huge surge in the number of mobile app downloads and the overall size of the mobile app market.

Mashable, 17th March 2010

According to the study, created by Chetan Sharma Consulting, mobile app downloads should jump from 7 billion in 2009 to almost 50 billion in 2012. By this time, the market will be worth 17.5 billion dollars, the study predicts, despite the expected lower price of mobile apps, which should drop from the current average of 2 dollars per app to 1.5 dollars in 2012.

GetJar chief executive Ilja Laurs makes another bold prediction, echoing the one we’ve recently heard from a Google executive. “It is easy to see how mobile apps will eclipse the traditional desktop Internet. It makes perfect sense that mobile devices will kill the desktop,” he said.

He backs this up with more data from the study, citing that 17% of GetJar users spend more time on internet-linked smartphones than they do on desktops.

Be that as it may, the work you do on your desktop is still a lot different than the work you do on your smartphone. The mobile application market definitely has tremendous room to grow, especially with the coming of iPad, which takes the mobile app paradigm and slaps it onto a bigger, tablet device. But let’s wait and see how it performs on the market before we declare desktop dead or irrelevant.


Social Media’s True Impact on Haiti, China, and the World

Posted Friday, January 22nd, 2010

We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake.

Google’s actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts.

Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good.

Let me explain by highlighting a few examples of social media’s impact on the world stage, and then concluding with how I view social media’s impact in the larger context of mobilization and world discussion.

The Iran Election Crisis

During summer 2009, the world’s eyes were fixated on Iran. Questions were raised after Ahmadinejad was declared the winner over rival Mousavi in Iran’s Presidential elections. The abnormalities and potential tampering of the vote resulted in massive protests that engulfed the Islamic nation.

Social media’s role in the Iran Election Crisis started with CNNFail, but that was only the beginning of social media’s role. With the Iranian government clamping down on information and enforcing censorship, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube became the primary mediums for bringing information out of the conflicted nation and spreading notes between dissidents.

Take a look at the Iran Election social media timeline we built if you want to see its full impact. Key moments in the crisis, especially death of Neda, were recorded and spread like wildfire, creating an outpouring of support for the protesters. Twitter’s role was so important in fact that the U.S. government got involved in scheduling Twitter’s downtime.

In the end though, social media didn’t topple any governments, although it has helped shift the political climate in Iran. In some cases the use of Twitter in Iran was overstated, yet the result is that the tipping point for Iran is close, thanks to social media.

The Haiti Earthquake

After a magnitude 7.0 earthquake (and multiple aftershocks) devastated the nation of Haiti, social media became the medium in which everybody spread the word. Dramatic Haiti earthquake Twitter pictures swept across the web, while tech giants mobilized.

The most impressive part of social media’s impact on Haiti has to be the charity text message campaign that has already raised more than $10 million for Haiti victim relief. Social media spread the word, technology made it possible.

It’s not all perfect, though: the money raised is small compared to the relief coming from world governments and donations face 90 day delays. Still, social media for social good is becoming more and more effective with each crisis.

The China-Google Standoff

While we are still far from the conclusion of this messy affair, Google’s threat to pull out of China has already had a dramatic effect in both social media and political circles.

Politically, China has been put under pressure. The U.S. government has thrown its support behind Google, though it’s doubtful that the Obama administration will get involved in the end.

More importantly though, social media is being used to lift China’s blanket of censorship. Social tools, while many are blocked by the Chinese, can get through China’s great firewall. We have the tools to undo censorship in China. Google’s efforts have re-ignited the debate over censorship, but they won’t break the barrier.

Breaking Down Social Media’s Global Impact

In all three cases (China, Haiti, and Iran), social media has had an impact, especially as the course of events evolved. Real-time communication platforms like Twitter and Facebook have spread the word about what’s happening within these nations, long before the mainstream media prints the story. These tools have also created a level awareness we’ve never seen before.

We have to be realistic, though: new media isn’t going to stop censorship, overthrow oppressive regimes, or heal the people of Haiti alone. Social media has transformed communication, media, and the transmission of information, but it still takes people on the ground to pull people out of the rubble or to fight for freedom.

Just as Paul Revere embarked on his midnight ride to warn that the British were coming, social media acts as both the first warning and the rallying cry for mobilization. In the end though, social media is just a collection of tools. It’s up to us, the people, to make the real impact on our world.


The Rise and Fall of Online Advertising in 2009

Posted Thursday, November 5th, 2009

It will be the best of times and the worst of times.

cmswire.com, Dec 18 2008

Amidst the 2009 predictions for e-new year, there is a consensus that it will bring both financial ruin and success. Chances are that both will come true.

eMarketer released insights of the Internet‘s plight into the aught nines — and well, they’re kind of what you’d expect. Their senior analysts offered up their best guesses. Let’s take a look.

Online Advertising
David Hallerman opines that online spending will remain steady. Not only will video ad spending run “counter to overall economic developments, rising by 45% in 2009 to reach US$ 850 million,” but search marketing spending will grow by 14.9% in 2009, to US$ 12.3 billion also. He bases his speculation upon a sharp escalation of professional video content on the Web as a way for brand marketers to build their base and that search marketing is a measurable tool “so it will maintain its place in many budgets and increase in some others, as advertisers look for secure and effective methods to combat fear in an economic meltdown.”

Yet, despite all the online advertising, Jeffrey Grau predicts that online retail sales will start to feel the impact of the economic crisis and will only see minor increases in online sales. It’s not such a dramatic prediction given the current economic climate. Any e-commerce sales growth will be a result of “increased spending by consumers who have long been online buyers.”

While the increased revenue of online advertising is questionable, Lisa E. Phillips is confident that we’ll see an increase in multicultural marketing. With more and more African-American and Hispanic users out there, marketers will begin to cater to a wider market of consumers via “language- and culture-specific messages that evolve from their general market campaigns.”

Social Media
E-commerce will be a growing revenue stream for social network sites. Debra Aho Williamson says to “expect both MySpace and Facebook to enhance their self-serve advertising systems to allow consumers and businesses to buy and sell real-world goods and services.” The general online advertising decline will be social networking‘s gain, as smaller and niche social networks will go looking for bailouts and mergers from the bigger ones. Mergers and acquisitions are no longer for Wall Street only.

Traditional Media
Unfortunately, while traditional media will still linger into 2009, it will remain on the decline. Carol Krol maintains that “newspaper advertising will continue to decline in the new year more than any other medium.” With eMarketer estimating that US TV ad spending will decline 4.2% to US$ 66.9 billion in 2009, the economy’s impact will be at its greatest.

So there it is. Will 2009 be the year of a miraculous economic comeback or will it be a Darwinian model of survival of the fittest?


 
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