Posts Tagged ‘emarketer’

Is the Growing Mobility of Social Media Good for Brands?

Is the growing use of social media on mobile phones good for brands? Does it change the rules of engagement?

These are interesting questions in the wake of a recent report by eMarketer that estimates 28 million people in the U.S. will use Twitter on a mobile device year. On the surface, it seems fairly impressive given it’s a 22% increase from 2011.

But it’s important to keep things in perspective as Twitter mobile users will account for only 11.4% of mobile devices users and 8.8% of the total population.

At the same time, eMarketer estimates Facebook will have close to 100 million people use a mobile devices to access the service.

However you want to slice and dice the numbers, the growing use of mobile means brands will have to take a different approach to social media.

Given the smaller amount of real estate and how people use mobile devices, brands will have to explore ways to engage and connect with consumers in ways that deliver quicker and relevant experiences.

For example, someone may not want to spend a lot of time scrolling through their Twitter timeline but they will want to know what’s happening and who’s engaging with them. And they will want the ability to publish (text, videos and photos) quickly and easily.

The same goes for Facebook, which will have to meet the needs of mobile users in different ways. Maybe people won’t want to spend a lot of time looking at their news feeds, but connecting with friends will still be important.

From a financial standpoint, the key issue is how well Twitter and Facebook will be able to monetize their mobile presences.

From Facebook’s latest quarterly results, it looks like it is making solid progress but there is still a lot of work to be done to figure out how Facebook can effectively meet the needs of advertisers.

The same goes for Twitter, which is looking to drive revenue growth as it positions itself for a much-speculated IPO. The question is how does Twitter integrate advertising into a mobile experience given it doesn’t have much real estate and, at the same time, it can’t impact the user experience too much.

Mobile is an exciting but challenging place for lots of companies looking to deliver products and services that meet the needs of on-the-go consumers.

For Twitter, Facebook and other social media services, the key consideration right now is making sure they deliver user-friendly mobile experiences to lots of people.

With a large audience on board, they can then focus on how to make mobile pay off financially.

Looking for Sales Leads? Try Twitter

When we think about social media, leads and sales are somehow regarded as unseemly. It’s as if brands using social media are frowned upon if they attempt to actually generate business.

But as brands look to drive more ROI from their social media activities, it makes complete sense to see leads and sales as a reasonable objective, along, of course, with engagement, conversations, etc.

If we accept the fact leads and sales can be part of the social mix, what social media services are the most effective to make that happen?

According to an analysis of 600 U.S. B2B SMB websites conducted by Optify, Twitter generates the most leads.

Here’s an excerpt that appeared recently in eMarketer:

“The study, which parsed over 62 million site visits, 215 million page views and 350,000 leads in 2012, found that visitors coming from Facebook made up 54% of all social media-sourced site visits, and those from Twitter just 32%. Nevertheless, Twitter accounted for 82% of all social media-originated leads, while Facebook accounted for a paltry 9% of leads. LinkedIn played a relatively minor role, accounting for 14% of site visits from social and 9% of social leads.

In some respects, the results shouldn’t be too surprising. When you think about it, Twitter is a natural medium to promote a brand’s products and services because it is where consumer go to get information and content.

On the other hand, Facebook is place for brands to engage and have conversations with consumers, while LinkedIn is where business connections happens that don’t involve sales.

Regardless of what social media service works the best to drive leads and sales, it is also important for brands to take a balanced approach.

If they try too hard to make leads and sales happen, there’s a good chance it will create a backlash from consumers who don’t want a hard sell. At the same time, brands shouldn’t be afraid to gently push their products and services. The key consideration is to slot sales into the overall mix in a smart way.

What do you think? How important is the creation of leads and sales to your brand?

For Brands, Is There a Danger in Being Too Social?

In our last post, we talked about how Reebok has decided to reduce its social media footprint to focus on its most important brands and products.

At a time when being social has become table stakes in the corporate world, it seems strange to do less by pruning services that aren’t important or performing.

But there is growing evidence that brands may have to take a more measured, focused approach to social media. Rather than trying to be everywhere and support all of their marketing efforts, brands may have to pick their spots and focus on quality rather than quantity.

A survey done by SocialVibe in October found that one-third of U.S. Internet users decided to disconnect from a brand because there were too many updates.

emarketer social media

As much as social media has become a place to publishing and share content, engage and have conversations, maybe there is a limit to how much consumers want to hear from a brand.

It could be like driving down the highway and seeing billboard after billboard advertising the same product. After while, consumers start to tune out due to over-kill.

For brands, this should prompt them to look at the following:

1. An audit of their social media activity across the board to get a better idea about how much of it is resonating and/or getting a reaction.

2. A hard look at whether the amount of tweets, retweets, updates, shares, etc. is too much. Perhaps this could mean experimenting with doing less to see if there is a change in consumer behaviour.

3. A look at whether every product or service needs a Twitter and Facebook account. For many brands, there are easy boxes to tick when putting together a strategic and tactical plan, but are we simply being lazy rather than meeting the needs of consumers?

4. Pruning their social media portfolios to eliminate under-performing services or those not getting much of a following or interest. The upside is the services that remain in the portfolio will receive move attention and resources, thereby creating the opportunity to improve their performance.

5. Conducting a big-picture look at the role that social media is playing and whether the investment is generating the required ROI, compared with other marketing and sales programs that are happening or could be embraced.

Admittedly, being less can be a difficult decision amid the current fascination with all things social.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to figuring the right amount based on a balance between what a brand wants to achieve and what consumers want to accept.




Is it Really Full Steam Ahead for Facebook?

facebookFrom the outside looking in, Facebook is an exciting proposition.

It’s expected to reach one billion users this year, while eMarketer estimates global ad revenue will hit $5.06-billion in 2012, a 60% jump from 2011. It’s not difficult to see why investors are salivating for Facebook’s impending IPO.

But is it all good news for Facebook? Putting aside the user growth, should there be so much excitement about Facebook? Here’s some food for thought.

1. Facebook’s ad revenue growth will slow dramatically over the next three years. eMarketer said growth will fall from 60% in 2012 to 32.8% in 2013 and 13.7% in 2014.

Sure, Facebook’s ad revenue will be $7.64-billion in 2014 but slower growth should be worrisome for anyone thinking about Facebook as an investment opportunity. And according to a ReadWriteWeb post, Facebook could miss its first-quarter revenue projections.

2. As much as Facebook Pages are supposed to be overwhelmingly engaging, a recent study by Ehrenberg-Bass Institute indicates only 1% of  people who “like” particular brand actually engage with it in any meaningful way. It makes you wonder about whether brands should be steering consumers to their Facebook Pages so aggressively rather than their Web sites.

3. Facebook advertising is still a volume-driven, low-cost business. From my personal experience, many brands advertise on Facebook because it generates lots of exposure without costing much money given most users don’t click on the ads. When you consider eMarteter’s ad revenue forecasts, it does make you wonder who’s clicking on Facebook ads and why they doing it.

There’s no doubt that Facebook wants to upgrade its advertising pedigree with the launch of premium ads that promise more engagement, likes and recall. Let’s see if advertising buyers are convinced that Facebook is anything other than a volume play.

4. A growing number of retailers have closed their e-commerce operations on Facebook, including Gap, JC Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop.

It’s easy to get caught up in the Facebook hype machine because it’s so popular and enjoys a high-profile. And while it’s a mega-business, it would be a mistake to assume the sky is the limit for the company’s financial growth

facebook, advertising

Why So Much Complaining on Social Media?

It used to be that if you were upset or disappointed about a product or service, you’d have to send a letter to someone or call a 1-800 number. Niether approach offered much satisfaction, including the fact it made the consumer make a concerted effort.

Today, complaining is a snap. Not happy about an experience with a brand, just fire up a blog, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, and tell the world about your displeasure.

The low barrier to entry and the opportunity to reach a global audience has turned social media into a complaint central. Whether it’s a major issue or simply an aggravation, consumers have embraced social media to complain.

According a recent MarketTools survey, 34% of companies said consumers use social media to make a comment or complain about their products or services. What is more interesting is complaints made on Twitter or Facebook get a fairly high response.

It means that brands are listening to consumer complaints and reacting, which is exactly what consumers want them to do. For brands, social media can be a busy, challenging and sometimes treacherous medium for consumer complaints.

On other hand, they have to pay attention to what’s being said about their products or services. But there is so much activity, it can be impossible to engage with everyone.

Another issue that makes things more complicated is the high expectations by consumers who do complain. Since social media is a public medium, many companies have bent over backward to make consumers happy.

While this has pleased consumers, it has also encouraged more people to complain because they realize consumers are likely more willing to do more if a complaint arrives social media.

In many respects, however, it has created a vicious circle that many brands can’t escape.

So what do brands do about social complaining? How do they effectively respond to complaints without consuming too many resources or encouraging more people to complain because brands do too much to resolve a public issue?

One of the key is having well defined policies in place that identify, categorize and prioritize complaints. This will make it easier for companies to identify the most critical complaints so they can respond quickly and appropriately.

At the same time, there needs to be ways for companies to manage minor complaints in a way that not only lets a consumer know their complaint has been identified and acknowledged but leads to a forum to resolve their problems. It could be a forum, an FAQ, customer service representative or an e-mail address.

The bottom line when it comes to social complaining is it’s a fact of life that companies have to address. Often, the best approach that companies can take is make it clear they are listening, which is what many consumers really want.

For more insight into social media and customer service, the Marketwire/Sysomos Business Library has some free whitepapers.

Canadians Stoked About Social Media Too

As Canadians, we’re proud about who we are. We’re proud about hockey, surviving winter every year, and donuts (Canadians are the world’s biggest donut consumers per capita just in case you didn’t know.)

And, according to a new eMarketer report, we’re also really into social media, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to most Canadians given how many people use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

In 2010, eMarketer expects 15.1 million online users in Canada will have visited a social networking site at least once a month, an 11% increase from from 13.6 million in 2009. By 2014, 18.4 million Canadians are expected to visit social media, boosting penetration to 68% from 59%.

It’s no surprise Facebook is, by far, the most popular social media service with 9.6 million unique visitors a month but a surprising runner-up is Windows Live is 543,000 visitors, while Twitter is third with 344,000.

The traffic data, which comes from comScore, also lists a mysterious service called Skyrock within the top-10. Anyone heard of Skyrock or using it?

One of the things eMarketer’s report highlights is how little research has been done on the Canadian social market. Despite the fact we’re enthusiastic consumers of social media, there isn’t much quantitative or qualitative data about the usage and behaviour of social media consumers.

It may explain why many Canadians companies are just starting to explore social media, while their counterparts in the U.S. are all over it. To put it simple terms, there may be a lot of talk about social media in Canada but there isn’t nearly as much corporate walk.

It’s a puzzling situation because you would think that with so much activity among consumers, Canadian companies would be all over social media. But the reality is there isn’t nearly enough happening, and real success stories are few and far between.

Perhaps reports such as eMarketer’s will turn the tide. Once senior executives see evidence that social media is not a fad, maybe that will convince them to change their mindset.

Below, you’ll find two charts from eMarketer. The first shows social media penetration rates, which seem low given Canada’s has the eight-largest Facebook population in the world, the fourth largest Twitter population and the highest penetration (68%) for YouTube.

As well, it is puzzling to to DeviantArt and in the top-10 – neither one I would consider a social network.

Social Media, Not Just for B2C

For most, if not all, consumer-facing companies, social media makes complete sense, which is why there’s so much attention on what high-profile companies such as Dell, Comcast and Starbucks have been doing.

But what about the world of B2B?

Does social media have a place within the marketing, communications and sales activity of businesses trying to reach out and engage with other businesses? The short answer is “definitely” but the way B2B social media is done will be different than the B2C market.

eMarketer suggests that tone is important because the way businesses talk to other businesses is different than how they communicate with consumers.

As well, the benefits of B2B social media are obviously different with more focus on results (leads, sales, product feedback etc.) than soft metrics such as better customer service.

After writing about how Naked Pizza uses social media recently, I heard from its creative agency who said while B2C is important, social media is also an effective B2B tool that has let Naked Pizza engage with a “new generation of stakeholders” such as investors and suppliers”.

Below is an interesting eMarketer chart showing the different social metrics for B2C and B2B companies.