A tragedy today in Maplewood, Mo., shows how social networking sites can provide a morbid glimpse into a life lost. One that’s arguably far more powerful than the ubiquitous news story featuring grieving friends and family.
Some of the world’s most valuable and well-known companies share a common brand trait that has not been explored in depth. Apple, Dell, Ford, Google, Mars, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, to name just a few, are “founder brands.” These are brands where the founder or founding family exercises significant influence over the management of the brand and direction of the business. Davis Brand Capital identifies the qualities that define founder brands and explores some of the challenges in managing them for maximum value.
Marissa Mayer's move to Yahoo as CEO made me reexamine the question of personal brands. I maintain my position: they don't exist in any meaningful way. They are just (not terribly) fancy jargon for bloggers. What Mayer brings to Yahoo is not her personal brand, but the brand capital of Google.
“Building community.” It’s become a mantra. You can’t go a day of digitally deposited trade reading without gurus across the board - from HBR to Ad Age - opining on how brand building is linked to community building. The devil, of course, is in the details.
Public posts to Google+ have decreased 41 percent month over month, according to 89n data cited on TechCrunch. After a fast start out of the gates, quickly gaining 25 million users, is Google+ losing steam?
Facebook seems unstoppable. The community boasts more than 400 million users, half of whom log on at least once a day, and 35 million of whom update their status at least once a day. In the first week of March, its traffic increased 185 percent compared to the same time last year, briefly beating out Google for most-visited site in the U.S. And according to comScore, it commands a 41 percent share of unique visitors to top social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and Ning. But history suggests that when it comes to destination sites, what goes up must come down. And Facebook has apparently learned a few lessons from AOL, Friendster and MySpace. Facebook Connect and Facebook's recent announcement to extend its popular "Like" feature to the rest of the Internet point to strategic shifts intended to help it avoid a similar fate. In a decidedly Google-like move, Facebook wants to follow you outside of its walls to become a more integral part of your entire Internet experience.
Hulu is hard at work transforming tv-watching into a social experience. They're encouraging viewers to watch the premiers of their favorite programs on Facebook with friends and strangers alike, sharing comments with one another (and with eavesdropping marketers) through streaming status updates. Judging whether television watching can be a social activity based on these efforts alone is to consider only a fraction of the social relationships possible around content sharing. The key players aren't thinking big enough yet. Fully realizing social TV's potential means rethinking all aspects of television watching, distribution and revenue models, and how each can become more social.
I took my first few Facebook quizzes today, one courtesy of the Food Network. Up popped this disclosure: “Allowing Which Food Network Personality Are You? access will let it pull your profile information, photos, your friends' info, and other content that it requires to work.” I won’t give the nice lady at Kohl’s my zip code at the checkout, but there I was sharing the keys to my digital kingdom with Food Network’s marketing department. In return, I got six disjointed questions and the laughable conclusion that Alton Brown is my culinary doppleganger. My compliments to the chef, but if I’m forking this much over, I expect some larger portions.
Seth Godin makes a great case for not using Twitter... if you’re Seth Godin. Can you be the best at Twitter in your little world? Maybe. Can you be the best in your world at Twitter, Flickr and Facebook? Probably not. Seth’s advice: find your niche. Be the best at it. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Create a brilliant little product, service, or idea that people want to talk about. Then craft a compelling story that helps them do just that.
Immediate search is compelling. But Twitter has something much more powerful: value-creating disequilibrium in an age of social network equality.
I’m having another Twitter moment.
Old Facebook was charming. It was simple. It did a job nothing else had done. I liked the odd tidbit updates from friends and colleagues, the new form of autobiography, the passionate grouping of wing nuts and dilettantes alike. Mostly, I liked that it was, in its own words, “a social utility.” It was helpful, and it performed. Then along came Microsoft with a huge infusion of cash and, it seems, clunky PC-world inefficiency and “more is better” ideology. So now we have the “New Facebook.” A fix without a problem. A mousetrap with no rodent. And, I would suggest, a business model without a business.
“In other words, Facebook has failed to invent any new behaviors or even innovate on the behaviors that were commonplace on the service. - Om Malik. Facebook, massive and successful as it is, is no longer a company that defines new social experiences. It either copies them outright or it just buys them.
Facebook has rolled out a design update, and, if the comments in my News Feed are anything to go by, it’s the end of the world. The new layout is awful. The fonts are atrocious. We want the old look back. In short, we’ve reacted the way we react to every Facebook design update. We are nothing if not entirely predictable. Most of us, however, have no idea of the imperatives and constraints facing Facebook’s design team.
Oculus Rift started as a breakout Kickstarter success, little more than an incredible demo involving sparks flying in a spaceship. But it evolved into something much more: Oculus VR became the face of the future of virtual reality.
You really need to stop using so many hashtags on your brand's Facebook Page, according to a new report (though, it's probably a good rule of thumb for your personal page, too).
Mobile advertising is swiftly becoming a two-horse race. According to the latest eMarketer forecast, released on Wednesday morning, mobile ad spending worldwide grew by 105% in 2013 and is on pace to expand to $31.5 billion this year. And the two Internet giants, Google and Facebook, are increasingly taking the lion's share---the pair netted 67% of mobile ad revenues last year, up from 58% in 2012.
Today we rely on digital monopolies to organize and personalize our reading and shopping experiences. Is that so bad?
You grow old, you slow down, and you die. That is, unless you can inject some fresh blood. After watching the last generation of tech giants wither or stagnate, today’s juggernauts are relying on acquisitions to keep them young and relevant. Check out the interactive infographic below to compare the size, frequency, and focus of the last 15 years of acquisitions by Apple, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.
We’ve just witnessed one of the most incredible examples of value creation in business history. Facebook announced the acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. The messaging service has only 55 employees, but has grown its user base at a tremendous pace to a current level of 450 million.
Facebook is a complex ecosystem of individuals, creators, brands and advertisers, but I don't think it serves any of these groups particularly well because its top priority is to make money. Now, I don't think making money is a bad thing, in fact I hope to make some myself. The problem is the only way Facebook has found to make money is by treating all entities on the site as advertisers and charging them to share their content.
Marc Jacobs will open the doors to his Daisy fragrance pop-up store in Manhattan on Friday, but unlike other retail locations, no money will be exchanged. Instead, you can walk out with products in exchange for sending tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook posts.
No longer a novelty, social media is now driving huge increases in paying customers to retail sites, according to a report released this morning by Adobe. But Adobe’s fourth-quarter Social Media Intelligence Report also showed something else interesting: Facebook is no longer the only game in town.
Meet Xavier Di Petta and Kyle Cameron, ages 17 and 19, whose ability to build a massive audience from nothing may be unparalleled in media today.
"Innovation simply isn’t one thing. It’s a wide variety of things." Says Maxwell Wessel "Build a shared language for innovation in your organization, set up the structures to pursue each type of innovation correctly, and invest in the team that can guide you through the process."
He aims to persuade the world that it too has reached “peak email,” that the decades-old medium has entered its final, fatal decline. For many of us, email is so tightly integrated into how we manage our lives that abandoning it seems about as likely as giving up the written word itself. Moskovitz wants to show us we’re wrong, that we’ve maxed out on email as a useful tool and that it’s simply dragging us down.
When Facebook added hashtags last year and almost no one used them, you might have thought the social network would give up on trying to become more like Twitter. You'd have thought wrong.
The most successful tech giants — think Google and Facebook — have been able to insulate themselves from the big SNAFU by performing well for long enough that we become inescapably dependent on them. For many of us, Gmail would have to delete our entire accounts before switching became even plausible anymore. But even for billion-dollar companies still in a period of massive growth, such cushions aren’t always there to catch them. If they fall, the landing could still be hard.
Being master of all the networks is a godly feat, but knowing how to use Tumblr to up your Twitter game, for example, takes you to a whole new level. Here are some of the easiest ways to pair your social networks together to grow your audiences and find new content.
Where are teenagers going instead? Not surprisingly, it’s mobile chat services like WeChat, and photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
From fast food to fast fashion, a glass telephone to plastic money, some brands don't merely influence our spending habits—they determine who we are. All are household names, not just on our shores but all over the globe.
Usage Among Teens May Be Down, But Advertisers Are Unfazed.
But Marketers Are Stymied by Lack of Access and Limited Knowledge
Growth hacking--where engineering, product management, and marketing unite--is no longer a dark science. Can it work for your company?
The world’s top newspaper companies are realizing they need to invest heavily in data analysis to maximize their business opportunities.
Pre-IPO Twitter is trying to get in on Irish loopholes like Apple, Google, HP and Facebook before it’s too late. Such is the push-me-pull-you of global tax “planning.”
But are millennials going to view this as lipstick on a pig?
Last week, Google+ announced some small updates to its platform. The news hasn’t made huge waves, but these two new features could spark some big changes in the way people create and find content on the web.
Monocle Eschews Social Media, Says It's No Worse Off Without It.
While Twitter hashtags help drive exposure on the social network, new data shows that Facebook hashtags have the opposite effect.
Facebook is laying claim to a fast-growing share of mobile ad dollars, but Google still brings in more than half the money spent on mobile advertising -- including both search and display -- worldwide.
For all the hand-wringing over automated ad buying systems and mobile devaluing publishers' real estate, a number of online properties can still fetch top dollar.
Social savviness boosts sales, SMBs say.
A recent report from Stanford University and Facebook suggests we consistently underestimate the size of our audience on social media.
Despite the hype that inevitably clings to the newfangled, however, it’s relatively antique tech that appears to be far more important for selling stuff online.
The European data protection activists behind the Europe v Facebook (evf) campaign group, that has long been a thorn in Facebook’s side in Europe, have filed new complaints under regional data protection law targeting Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo for their alleged collaboration with the NSA’s Prism data collection program.
The comeback is bolstered by new interlinks that make it increasingly easy for websites to suck in and selectively repurpose some of the very social content that diminished the open web in the first place.
The design minds behind Facebook share the social network’s most important view--that friendships aren’t made in a moment but built one tiny interaction at a time.
Social media has become an increasingly complex undertaking for large companies.
Can Facebook make a commercial for itself without turning people off?
Is it possible that Facebook is getting ready to abandon the teen market to concentrate on the 18-49 demographic that is so important to advertisers?
Business news headlines featuring social-networking giant Facebook change almost as often and as dramatically as a teenager updates her Facebook status online.
Graphic breakdown from Pew by age, gender, race
Three months from now, nobody will remember what you wrote in that email, but they’ll definitely recall your status update about your cat.
Clearly, brands could stand to do more to keep consumers interested; the chief reason given by people who don't engage with brands on social networks is that they only "like" brands to get a deal they're offering.
Even in the internet age, events are big, and important, business. The Aberdeen Group finds that 9 percent of an organization’s total budget is spent on events and that figure is expected to climb 20 percent over the next two years.
Twitter and Facebook usually aren’t the last click before an ecommerce buy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t inspire or influence the purchase. Yet IBM’s Black Friday report says Twitter delivered 0 percent of referral traffic and Facebook sent just 0.68 percent.
If you’re really looking for trouble, try posting something on Facebook about your political preferences! A study from the Pew Research Center discovered the remedy for 20% of social networkers who received political puffery too frequently or political opinions antithetical to their own was – wait for it – unfriending or blocking!
Since 2005, micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the medium in which IBM often communicates, but the company remains committed to blogging and is an especially enthusiastic user of Tumblr, though you can find IBMers on Instagram, Pinterest and any other up-and-coming social media site.
From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space.
The social media site, whose attempts at monetizing the brand are currently coming thick and fast, has launched Facebook Collections. No, not that long-awaited range of sportwear in Poke Me Blue, but a new button it's trying out in conjunction with a select bunch of retailers in the U.S.
Analysis found that marketers are still posting too little on weekends and at night and when they do post, they’re way too verbose. Weekends, when brands post too little, the audience appears primed for interaction.
After I wrote about doing personal analytics with data I’ve collected about myself, many people asked how they could do similar things themselves. Now of course most people haven’t been doing the kind of data collecting that I’ve been doing for the past couple of decades. But these days a lot of people do have a rich source of data about themselves: their Facebook histories.
Blog posts became Facebook updates and Tumblr posts, which shrunk to Tweets and finally to Instagram or Pinterest. Here's how smart brands are navigating the new visual social-media era.
Facebook's stock price slide has raised doubts about Mark Zuckerberg's role as CEO. Some say he should hand the reins to a more seasoned executive.
Marketers are buzzing from the aftershocks of Google's recent most updates, code-named Panda and Penguin. Both the Panda and Penguin updates contained very clear messages for marketers: stop focusing on technology and tricks and start focusing on people. If your website appeals to people, it will appeal to Google's algorithms too.
There are common themes underlying the three major players struggles with how to grow revenue, particularly mobile revenue, while their web traffic is declining as a percentage of the total. They are all in a life or death fight, both with each other, but more importantly with the emerging mobile ecosystem, largely dominated by Apple.
With ever-increasing YouTube lunch breaks and Vimeo dinner dates, online video is becoming a constant companion--one that every brand is rushing to take advantage of. Follow these five tips so you don't turn off would-be viewers.
Canadian publication Maclean’s this week announced a study from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City. The article states the respected Foundation recently tested a “blank” ad on Facebook whose click-thru rate performed only .01% less well than regular Facebook ads.
A member of my wife's family and a few of her friends told me recently that they are enamored with Twitter. They love its rapid-fire updates, and the sense Twitter provides of being right in the moment. Over a weekend they were constantly checking and posting updates on their smartphones, and when it came to socializing with friends, she and her peers simply preferred Twitter to Facebook. This isn't earth-shattering news, but here's the catch – all were in high school.
The 2012 Olympics in London are being touted by some as the world’s “first social Games.” While some question just how social they’ll actually be, there’s no doubt that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will play an unprecedented role in how information is disseminated from London, and how the global sports conversation is driven during July and August. Why the big shift? It’s simple: Four years is an eternity in Internet time and since the last Summer Olympics in 2008, social media has exploded.
When the concept of a social media "fan" emerged a few years ago, it held out the promise of enabling meaningful, one-to-one conversations between brands and consumers at unprecedented scale. But that promise has yet to be delivered. Think about it: do you know whether your fans are moms, or sports enthusiasts or country-music aficionados? Do you know which ones are "superfans" and consistently engage with your programs, and systematically use that information to increase word-of-mouth?
These news items recently caught our attention: P&G shifting money from marketing to social media. And GM walking away from advertising on Facebook. Question: Are these events contradictory or complementary?
Which new media platform has rocketed to hundreds of millions of unique visitors, provides both utility and entertainment for the masses, and has become the destination of choice for its generation? If this were 1999, Yahoo! would be your answer. Today, that torch has been handed to Facebook. And with good reason, since they have embedded their ubiquitous social network of nearly 1 billion members into a large part of people’s lives and the digital ecosystem. But Yahoo!’s challenges tell a cautionary tale for Facebook.
Every company is struggling to nail down their core target group. If only they could define it, life--or at least business--would be a whole lot easier. They could then channel resources and focus energy in the right direction.
For some companies, one Page might not be enough. For example, if a restaurant chain prides itself on local ingredients or a business seeks to cultivate a strong community around each brick-and-mortar outlet, it might make sense to have a Brand Page for each location. But then again, does a brand really want to divvy up its audience and dilute it among several similar pages?
What do you get when you combine a photo-sharing mobile platform like Instagram with more geo-location awareness and a Reddit-style voting system for stories breaking all over the world? Answer: Signal, the app citizen journalism may well have been been waiting for.
While Google keeps cramming its search results pages full of tools and social content, today Bing confirmed with me the full roll out a redesigned search results page that completely clears the left sidebar, and replaces the tabbed header with a cleaner set of links.
If you have a Facebook page, you likely know how important it is to get likes and comments. Without those, your EdgeRank suffers, and your posts are seen by fewer fans in the future. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you determine how best to engage your Facebook customers.
It can be a bit comical when tech companies inch their way into media. They usually do so after decrying ad models and living off venture capital. But everyone grows up, even tech platforms. Tumblr is the latest tech service to travel this road, announcing that it would allow advertisers to buy a “Radar” placement on the dashboard where Tumblr users aggregate their feeds.
More than ever, people are using Twitter, Facebook and other social media sources to learn about what’s happening in the world as traditional news outlets become increasingly less relevant to the digital generation.
Two out of every three adults who are online use social media. That’s amazing. It truly is. Wonder how many are still out there who still think social media is just a fad?
There's a lot of speculation today about why Facebook would spend $1 billion to acquire the uber-hip photo-sharing app Instagram. To some, it seems obvious; to others, it's the biggest sign yet of a growing Web bubble. To me, it just raises question after question, and the biggest one is "why." What does Facebook gain from buying Instagram?
For my daughter, and my assistant, and other people I know in their 20s and 30s, using social media is part of their native language. They built websites in college (or even high school); they explore and evolve their use of facebook and/or twitter and/or Pinterest and/or iGoogle as easily as they change clothes.
How does a multi-national mega-brand, responsible for crafting a consistent image all over the globe, manage to navigate the potentially treacherous waters of hot-button cultural and political issues in the places where it does business?
Spotify and Hulu are among the companies that have taken advantage of the Facebook Timeline format to create long histories despite their relative youth. It’s an accessible form of brand content, but what happens when the novelty wears off?
The forthcoming Facebook IPO, set for May, will be one of the greatest events in recent tech memory. It’s an irrefutable indicator of how far social networking has come and where it’s going. But what does this mean for the workplace? Is enterprise social networking, the so-called Facebook-like model at work, starting to take off as well or is it still in its infancy?
Local TV stations are using social media to extend their coverage and conversations with viewers. They're also working to create more integration with advertisers and device companies, according to panelists at the Socializing Local TV session during the 4A's Transformation Conference in L.A.
Brand mascots are rebounding as marketers redeploy old characters in new ways, create fresh ones from scratch and use digital media to spin out rich storylines not possible in the past, when critters and cartoon characters were pretty much confined to TV. While it might be too early to declare a full-fledged mascot revival, brand characters are undoubtedly regaining attention.
200 million connected TV devices will cumulatively ship in the next 18 months, and combined with Xbox (23 million+ Live customers), PS3, Wii, and devices like Apple TV and Roku, about 300 million Connected TVs will be in living rooms in the next 18 months. That’s as many TVs connected to the Internet as Android devices in the market today.
Facebook brand timelines went live this morning, and though we've known about these for a while, some of the executions are pretty impressive, including founding documents, early advertising, memos, news clips and photos. It's as if dozens of little corporate museums just launched on Facebook.
A Bloomberg report this weekend pointed out that Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop have all opened and closed shops on Facebook within the past year — undermining expectations that the social network will become a major revenue driver for retailers over the next decade.
While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.
Facebook, KickStarter, Kiva, Twitter, and other companies thriving in the social era are operating by the rules of the Social Era. They get it. They live it. And to them, it's ridiculously obvious. But too many major companies — Bank of America, Sony, Gap, Yahoo, Nokia — that need to get it, don't.
It’s no mystery that the area with the most important long-term implications for an organization is recruiting and staffing employees. One of the biggest and oldest problems for companies revolves around acquiring a talented and creative team — and digital gives the old, traditional methods a new spin.
We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.
You may have noticed something was missing throughout the nation's most social sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl in-game broadcast had zero social media TV integration. With more than a billion people on Facebook and Twitter alone, many of them watching the game, this was a missed opportunity. Why did NBC and the NFL miss the boat?
Facebook Inc., the social network that filed for an initial public offering yesterday, listed rivalry with Google Inc., regulatory scrutiny, hacker attacks and the shift to mobile technology among the risks it faces. Facebook’s competition with Google, Twitter Inc. and other social-networking providers could impede growth, the company said in the risk-factors section of its filing. Facebook also said it would face competition in China if it manages to gain access to that market, where it’s currently restricted.
Because you work in advertising or media, a little more is expected of you when it comes to Super Bowl advertising knowledge. It's not enough to mindlessly chuckle along with the masses at the CareerBuilder monkeys or Volkswagen's body-image-obsessed canine. You need to be able drop some serious knowledge on this, advertising's biggest day, whilst juggling a microbrew and a plate of nachos.
While most companies are all over Facebook and Twitter, CMOs confess they are at sixes and sevens with their digital marketing strategy. The Boston Consulting Group reports that 77% aren’t sure where best to reach their customers, a critical component of any digital strategy. And 55% say they have only “minimal or informal metrics to measure the impact and return on investment of digital marketing efforts.”
Companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and many other digital platforms and services have created a new, virtual public sphere that is largely shaped, built, owned, and operated by private companies. These companies now mediate human relationships of all kinds, including the relationship between citizens and governments. They exercise a new layer of sovereignty over what we can and cannot do with our digital lives, on top of and across the sovereignty of governments. Sometimes—as with the Arab spring—these corporate-run global platforms can help empower citizens to challenge their governments. But at other times, they can constrain our freedom in insidious ways, sometimes in cooperation with governments and sometimes independently. The result is certainly not as rosy as Apple’s marketing department would have us believe.
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
Today, Facebook is publishing a study that disproves some hoary conventional wisdom about the Web. According to this new research, the online echo chamber doesn’t exist. This is of particular interest to me. In 2008, I wrote True Enough, a book that argued that digital technology is splitting society into discrete, ideologically like-minded tribes that read, watch, or listen only to news that confirms their own beliefs. I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn.org, argued in his recent book The Filter Bubble that Web personalization algorithms like Facebook’s News Feed force us to consume a dangerously narrow range of news. The echo chamber was also central to Cass Sunstein’s thesis, in his book Republic.com, that the Web may be incompatible with democracy itself. If we’re all just echoing our friends’ ideas about the world, is society doomed to become ever more polarized and solipsistic?
Customers, employees, shareholders and taxpayers hate large corporations for many reasons. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a lengthy list of corporations for which there is substantial research data to choose the 10 most hated in America.
The acquisition of Twitter by Google is the ultimate strategic buyout. We know that Twitter turned down a $10 billion buyout offer from Google sometime in early 2011. There have also been other overtures made over the past several years by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Surprisingly, Twitter is still independent. Why hasn’t Google paid up with all of that cash on its balance sheet? How could Twitter turn down $10 billion when the company isn’t worth anywhere near that based on earnings or even projected earnings (1999 style)?
This year, to celebrate the media world’s tumultuous and always entertaining transformation, Adweek’s Hot List goes 360 to track the best print, TV, and digital properties.
Since the American social psychologist, Stanley Milgram, conducted his famous ‘small world experiment’ in the 1960s, it has been commonly accepted that most people have six degrees of separation between them. However, a vast new study by Facebook’s data team and the University of Milan, which assessed the relationships between 721 million active users (more than 10 per cent of the global population) of the social network, has found that the average number of connections between people has dropped to four.
How do you make a decentralized global apparel company without a single, cohesive voice around the world, no e-commerce, and a lagging digital presence into a unified global brand with a vibrant digital, social and e-commerce strategy, with eight million Facebook fans, dwarfing any other jeans marketer and e-commerce growing 40% per year?
For the past few weeks, the “Google+ is a ghost town” meme has haunted the new social networking site. But maybe the search giant has finally found the hook to draw eyeballs to its floundering Facebook alternative: free music.
Just beneath the surface of the digital landscape, yet in plain sight, a raging war is brewing. Like a big global conflict, this digital one too involves many players: the media, brand marketers and social networks. Mirroring other great battles of historical significance, it's being waged for control of a precious resource that's in short supply: consumer attention.
Google+ Pages is the game-changer for brand presence on the web in a leap over the social networking garden wall and the next digital manifest destiny combining search and social.
Google+ has been billed as a Facebook killer, its user homepage layout borrows heavily from Facebook, and now there are free self-service branded pages for marketers similar conceptually to what Facebook introduced in November 2007 – almost four years ago to the day. Despite all of this, Google+ is different. This is largely because Facebook the company has only one eponymous flagship product, and Google the company is using Google+ as both a networking hub and a social layer across its diverse suite of digital products.
Google officially launched brand pages on Google+, ending months of waiting. The Web giant's pitch to convince businesses and brands to sign up (and unseat Facebook's dominance as the go-to social destination for businesses):
Google will roll out major improvements in the next three months to Google+, its new social networking service, as it seeks to close the gap with Facebook, the market leader. Early enhancements will include the incorporation of Google Docs, the word-processing application, which will make collaborating on documents easier “within days”, said Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering, on Wednesday.
In a few days Fast Company’s next magazine issue will begin arriving in newsstands and mailboxes. The issue has four different covers, and one of them features a picture of Steve Jobs. But this is not a commemorative obituary. In fact, the issue had already been printed at our plant when Jobs passed away. Instead the magazine offers a forward-looking analysis of what’s next for Apple--and how it will be battling with America’s three other favorite tech companies: Amazon, Facebook, and Google. We’ve dubbed this coming clash “The Great Tech War of 2012.”
Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later. No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives.
Is Facebook a friend of news companies, or is it a rival? No matter how much success publishers have piggybacking off its traffic, they can’t escape the cruel math: The more of their time consumers spend on Facebook and other social networking hubs, the less they have left over for news sites.
Exactly what Facebook plans to debut later this week at its f8 conference isn't clear, but it's reportedly big, and will likely reshape the site's core experience with new "read," "watch," and "listen" buttons.
At first blush, the consumer appeal of a business like Groupon seems pretty obvious. The popular deal-of-the-day Internet start-up sells vouchers to restaurants, spas, and other local businesses at major markdowns--and who wouldn't want to score a 100-dollar sports massage for 50 bucks?
It’s always a danger to look into the crystal ball, everything is so distorted by the glass. But if everything remains as is, it’s hard to look at Google and not foresee the California company winning the future of social media, social technology, and all the bitstreams in between.
The Procedure is North Social’s fifth video in a series called “Fan Page Fail” (fanpagefail.com), illustrating how brands fail at building a Facebook following. North Social, maker of "powerfully simple Facebook applications," calls it “ongoing social commentary on the growing obsession with getting more 'Likes' on Facebook.”
There is a fundamental shift that social media necessitates in business today – the need to transition from “Me First” to “We First” thinking. For decades Me First thinking and behavior has dominated how we have conducted business, treated the environment, and how consumers and brands have interacted. Despite decades of short-term profits, the long-term consequences of this approach have been catastrophic. They include the economic meltdown of 2008, the global recession, and the persistent economic problems that plague countries and societies around the world today. As a result, there is a growing awareness that we must begin shifting business towards a more collective and socially responsible mentality in which companies and consumers think about building a better world as much as they think about profits. Given this, the question is, how can brands move towards this responsible and collective mentality? The answer is, by adopting We First thinking.
Not long ago, market research shop Millward Brown released a ranking of the world's most valuable brands. For the first time, Apple topped the list. The value of its brand was $153 billion, up 84 percent year on year. Yes, Apple spends lavishly on promoting its brand, but the study attributed the spike in brand valuation to the impact of two products — the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone.
So Google+ obviously has some traction. Just a few weeks after its launch, Google CEO Larry Page revealed that the nascent social network already had 10 million users. But will it ultimately blow up enough -- and matter enough -- to become a problem for Facebook? Yeah, I think so. (Ad Age Managing Editor Ken Wheaton isn't so sure.) Here's why:
1. "Social media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in US." (Journalism.co.uk) 2. "Seventy-seven percent report that they use social media to share their love of a show; 65% use it as a platform to help save their favorite shows; and 35% use it to try to introduce new shows to their friends." (TVGuide.com study via TVNewsCheck.com) 3. "Facebook users are overall more trusting than non-internet others. Pew reported, 43% of survey participants were more likely than other internet users to feel that most people can be trusted." (Pew Internet via Social Media Club)
Recently I had a chance to catch up with Vic Gundotra, one of the chiefs behind Google’s new social networking service, Google+. I was interested in what Google+ means for our relationships online and off. We shape technology, but it also shapes us. As Google+ blossoms (and today Larry Page confirmed the site has over 10 million members sharing one billion items daily, even in its very limited trial phase) these themes merit mulling. Gundotra offered up lots of insight, and a glimpse into the future of a very different search experience.
Let social media mavens debate whether Google+ will succeed as a 'Facebook killer' where Buzz did not. I think they'd benefit from a quick look back at a failed innovation Google quietly DNR'ed. It offers a sobering reality check for anyone who believes that great people, great skills, great wealth, a great brand, and a great opportunity invariably lead to great innovation, They don't. Not even for Google. There's a valuable lesson here.
Because of its simultaneously private and public approach to sharing information, Google+ is an extremely malleable platform, and as it continues to grow, there will be no end to the creative and unique uses for the site. Facebook and Twitter are much more than social networks, and Google+ with its unique method of sharing information can be whatever you want it to be.
With 750 million members, the social network will no longer base success on user numbers but on the cool stuff they make using Facebook.
“Google it.” “Did you Xerox the report?” “Please FedEx it.” Once upon a time, using a brand name as a verb was verboten. It was behavior that would drive a trademark lawyer crazy. But more and more marketers are deciding that the grand slam of branding is to become part of the language – in effect, having your trademark substitute in everyday usage for the type of action or service that your mark identifies. Could there be, they argue, any clearer expression of a brand’s leadership?
Atari SA, a onetime pace-setter in videogames, has a new plan to become relevant again.
In the year since Facebook began encouraging businesses to deploy the thumbs-up button across the web, brands have been racing to rack up "likes." Now the question is: With thousands or even millions of likes, what next? Research has shown that people who voluntarily click the like button are more willing to purchase the brand and are apt to recommend the brand to friends or share branded content on social networks. But at the same time, the button's simplicity means that there may be no actual engagement at all beyond the fleeting moment of the click.
In the annals of shady public relations stunts, Facebook’s attempt to surreptitiously plant negative — and highly misleading — stories about Google into leading media outlets will surely go down as one of the most ham-handed in recent memory.
Facebook today launched a stand-alone community site (facebook-studio.com) where ad agency creatives can share ideas, comment on campaigns and learn what it takes to create a successful page for a brand. The community is called "Facebook Studio" and is a platform aimed at agencies, PR firms and media strategy companies.
LinkedIn's just launched its new platform to everyone online interested in hooking up to the business networking site's APIs. Useful stuff, for some, but what it's really about is trying to usurp Facebook in the enterprise social networking space.
Much is being written about the impact that new communication technologies and channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have on traditional marketing. The deeper question is: Will these new communication channels actually force material changes not just in the way companies market their products but in the strategies and operations they use to develop and build those products as well? In my view, the answer is an emphatic yes. It's another instance of the proverbial medium that changes the content.
You could argue Warner Bros.' test to rent, and soon sell, "The Dark Knight" and other films on Facebook is just another promotional deal on the world's largest social network. But it isn't, and that's why it sent shivers through the media industry: not for what the deal is today but for what it could easily mean.
As the surreptitious tracking of Internet users becomes more aggressive and widespread, tiny start-ups and technology giants alike are pushing a new product: privacy.
Mark Zuckerberg says social dynamics of the kind Facebook pioneered will one day be a core part of every industry. In the first installment of our new series, we take a look at some companies that are "baking in" social right from the start.
A poll reveals that many investors think Facebook is overvalued. Google's outgoing CEO, meanwhile, insists Facebook is not a threat. Is Zuckerberg's baby an actual colossus--or just an inflatable one?
In addressing American innovation in the State of the Union Address, President Obama called America a nation of Google and Facebook. The mention is significant not only because Obama has been known for leveraging social media, but also the timing of the mention.
It is always hard to see what the next big thing will be in social media and marketing, but it might be a good idea for anyone interested in promoting their brand name online to check out Quora.
On Jan. 1, 2010, armed with laptops, video cameras, smartphones and plenty of other gadgetry, the three 20-somethings set off to visit 206 countries and territories where Coca-Cola is sold in order to document for the masses their search for happiness. They arrived back in Atlanta at the World of Coca-Cola Dec. 29, 2010, just before the dawn of the New Year. Their journey, tracked at Expedition206.com, as well as through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, has racked up 650 million media impressions around the globe and engaged billions of people.
Just when you're getting used to Foursquare and Gowalla and Yelp and Facebook Places, there are new apps to check out. Since checking-in has gone mainstream, there are a few notable new experiences that are worth a look.
It was a banner year for social media growth and adoption. We witnessed Facebook overtake Google in most weekly site traffic, while some surveys reported nearly 95% of companies using LinkedIn to help in recruiting efforts. In my outlook for last year, I cited that mobile would become a lifeline to those looking for their social media fixes, and indeed the use of social media through mobile devices increased in the triple digits.
Mark Zuckerberg is pacing before a crowd in Facebook’s Palo Alto, California, cafeteria just before lunch on a Wednesday in November. Fit and jovial, with pale skin and curly brown hair, his boyish face gives away his 26 years. “Zuck”, as friends call him, is wearing what he always wears: a grey T-shirt with an embroidered Facebook logo, blue jeans and tennis shoes. With this perennially casual demeanour, he is showing off new technologies to a few hundred employees, partners and the press. “It’s a good day to launch some stuff,” he says with a laugh. And with that, Zuckerberg introduces Facebook Deals, a new service that in a matter of days will transform the way local businesses reach consumers as they walk down the street.
Etsy’s new gift recommendation application will access your Facebook friends’ data in order to generate customized gift recommendations based on each individuals ‘likes’.
When starting a new Web site or Internet service, most technologists are aiming to sell to a larger company or gain hundreds of millions of users. But for some there is an even bigger glory than cash: their company name becomes a verb.
May 4, as you may or may not know, is National Star Wars Day, a fact recognized by no less august bodies than the Los Angeles City Council and the Church of Jediism, a George Lucas-inspired denomination that counts itself as the fourth-largest church in the United Kingdom. This year the occasion was also marked by the folks at BlackBerry, who updated their corporate Twitter account to read "May the 4th Be With You."
Two weeks ago, Google launched Hotpot, a new site related to Google Places that makes it easy (and sort of fun) to rate your favorite venues and see what your friends have recently liked. The tech press seemed to take notice of the site for two reasons: first, it’s got a nice design and is more fun than you’d expect. And second, Hotpot is a pretty strange name.
If you were compiling a list of the world’s most innovative companies, which businesses would top your list?
“Queen of the Net” and acclaimed web analyst Mary Meeker delivered one of her landmark presentations on worldwide internet trends at a recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. When Meeker speaks, people listen. They listen very carefully. Meeker has become famous for her incisive presentations on the state of the internet, bringing it all together in a way that makes sense.
Two truths of the online media world: brands want to develop social connections with consumers and there are tons of cheap ad inventory thanks largely to the explosion of social networking. The combination of the two could result in more advertising designed to drive social connections rather than transactions or brand awareness.
Which corporate brands are the world's most influential? Each year we at TLG try to answer that question in the International Index of Thought Leadership. We ask influential "opinion formers" from business, politics, the media, and NGOs in the U.S. and the UK to rank companies on five behaviors identified by Henley Business School as common to high-impact or "thought leader" organizations: a pioneering spirit, rigor, objectivity, authenticity, and clarity, with clarity as the most critical.
LinkedIn’s latest feature, Company Pages, encourages the social network's 80 million-plus members to become brand ambassadors, posting product reviews and services on their profiles. It seems like such an obvious utility for LinkedIn members, it's surprising the site hasn't launched the feature before now.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Groupon has a lot of admirers. From Walmart to a hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., marketers have taken notice of the two-year-old Chicago startup that's amassed 25 million subscribers, and they are building new Facebook apps that look a lot like their own personal Groupons.
Facebook’s reaction to the recent Wall Street Journal investigation into the latest privacy breach on popular apps like Zynga’s Farmville was to announce steps to encrypt user information, as detailed in a series of posts on its developer’s blog.
There’s been lots of talk this year about using advertising to “monetize” social media tech like Facebook and Twitter. I want to go out on a limb and suggest that the idea is a deal with the Devil, at best, because it misses (and misuses) the point of the media.
Bill.com Inc., a provider of bill-payment services, is trying to market itself on Facebook. But even though the venture-backed company has more than 10,000 clients, it has so far managed to secure only 67 "friends" on the social-networking site.
IN a city passionate about the environment and technology, commuters are using their smartphones to check in at a popular social networking service to help keep a critter threatened by climate change from checking out.
Mountain Dew rolls out an innovative ad campaign featuring banners that incorporate Facebook’s "like" icon, marking the first time the social-networking behemoth will extend its social/sharing functionality to ads appearing on other Web sites.
The generous types among us now have a convenient way to treat friends to Starbucks from afar. Facebook members can give the gift of Starbucks without ever leaving the site, thanks to an update added today to the Starbucks Card Facebook application.
Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. unveiled a plan to improve the results of Microsoft's Bing search engine by tapping into peoples' social connections on Facebook, amping up the rivalry with Google Inc. The companies described the agreement—a deepening of an existing partnership—as a big step in improving the personalization of search results for everything from movies to restaurants. The deal could also give Microsoft a way to distinguish Bing from Google's market leading search engine.
Gap has announced on its Facebook Page that it is scrapping its new logo design efforts, acquiescing to a torrent of criticism coming primarily from Facebook and Twitter users. Last week, Gap unveiled a new logo, one it called “a more contemporary, modern expression.” The retailer’s customers were not so thrilled about the change, and Gap decided to ask users for their logo design ideas instead. However, that course of action has now been reversed, as well.
What is the most effective way for marketers to spread their message online? Facebook? Twitter? Company blogs? Email? According to a new report by marketing firm SocialTwist, Internet sharing trends have shifted heavily shifted toward social networking, but other platforms still have a strong presence for word-of-mouth advertising. SocialTwist analyzed more than a million referral messages sent using the company's Tell-a-Friend tool, a widget that lets users share sites through social media. In the last year, social networking sites saw a 10% increase in usage, and a 16% bump in click-throughs. Overall though, email still accounts for 55% of referrals.
Last summer, while researching how teenagers engage with social media websites, Danah Boyd interviewed a girl who had recently broken up with her boyfriend. The girl wanted to share her sadness with friends, but not with her parents, who she knew had Facebook access. Her solution: posting lyrics from “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,’’ a Monty Python song steeped in irony, to communicate her true feelings. Friends responded with appropriate concern, while her parents remained appropriately clueless. “She managed privacy issues well in a very public setting,’’ said Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research New England, a lab supported by the software company.
Recently, I’ve been working on a big research project. Yesterday, I had Delicious links, PDFs, spreadsheets and Word documents open on my desktop when I came across a couple of useful presentations on Scribd. I’ll have them, I thought. So I clicked. What happened next surprised me: I was given the choice of logging in via Scribd or Facebook. Facebook? Why should I sign into Mark Zuckerberg’s site to download a presentation written by someone else and made available from somewhere else? Although the invitation was optional, it still felt like a kind of category error. This was Facebook pushing its nose too far into someone else’s business.
Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in New York today that in the next three to five years, a website that isn't tailored to a specific user's interest will be an anachronism, according to coverage from media industry blog PaidContent. "People don't want something targeted to the whole world--they want something that reflects what they want to see and know," Sandberg said at publisher Arianna Huffington's Advertising Week event today. So much for all the news that's fit to print - Sandberg's vision of the future sounds more like all the news that's relevant to your taste profile and social graph. Is that emphasis on personalization, which Facebook is better suited to power than any other company in history, a good or bad thing for media and the democracy it ought to fuel?
In a room crammed with flat-screen monitors, Gatorade monitors social media and deduces what its customers want and what's next -- or should be next -- for the multibillion-dollar beverage brand. Launched in April, Gatorade Mission Control is credited with engaging consumers and informing the brand's strategy. The team has had more than 2,000 one-on-one conversations with consumers, while the brand's likes on Facebook have skyrocketed to 1.2 million, reaching the 1 million milestone a full five months ahead of schedule. Mission Control is credited with increasing mentions of G Series Pro, a subset of the G Series, by 9% on Facebook and Twitter.
How Facebook plans to leverage its 550 million users into the greatest advertising juggernaut since … O.K., only since Google. That's still huge.
Sometimes, it seems the phenomenal success and user growth seen by Facebook and Twitter in the last few years has boxed in what we accept as a bonafide social network - as we early adopters and tech press absorb potential challengers like chum and digest them quickly, mocking their attempts as feeble, and their traction as futile. For some, Facebook and Twitter, despite their faults, are the end all and be all - and it matters not if other products have more features or innovation, because in the end, he with the numbers wins, and it seems they've got all the numbers.
What do you get when you combine the biggest collection of personal taste data in history with the world's easiest method of subscribing to syndicated content? In theory, one of the most potent recommendation engines around. Facebook quietly made available to all its 500 million plus users a new feature today called the Page Browser and though everything about it is quite understated - it could prove to be a very big deal. Users must navigate directly to the Page Browser, there doesn't appear to be any link from the main interface. The page shows big icons for a list of pages Facebook thinks you might like; click on one and you'll "Like" it. Of course Facebook has succeeded by making very potent interactions seem simple from the outside - and this new feature is more of the same.
Facebook has been collecting thumbs up on everything from Levi's black denim leggings to Sarah Palin videos since April. But where do all those clicks of approval go? And when are brands going to benefit? When the social network launched its open graph and "like" buttons that could be seeded anywhere across the internet, it began to layer brand and media preferences onto its more than half-billion user profiles. At the time of the announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg evangelized about a web that could morph to suit individual users' likes and social networks. In exchange for hosting its like buttons and spreading the gospel, brands and publishers could gain access to approving users' Facebook feeds, but not much else -- until recently. Now, some new programs from the likes of shopping search engine TheFind and Urban Outfitters point to a future where brands can actually flip the pipe to use all that data to personalize their own websites.
Back in 2006, Mentos became an early leader among brands in social media when it capitalized on two performance artists posting videos of what happens when you put the candy in Diet Coke. (Explosions.) After the resulting YouTube viral phenomenon, Mentos embraced the creators and rode a wave of viral buzz while Coke issued a dour statement that it wasn't amused. Fast-forward to 2010. Coke now ranks as the third most popular brand on Facebook with 11.3 million fans. Mentos, as of March, had only 10,000 fans. But then its agency, Isobar, in an effort to play catch-up, paired a two-for-one offer with a pricey reach block on Facebook -- it can cost over $500,000 to reach every Facebook user for a day -- and Mentos saw its number of fans grow to 120,000 in a single day. Brands that are only now establishing themselves on Facebook are playing a desperate game of catch-up.
Brands are flocking to social networks, some with strategies and others simply experimenting with community building. What’s clear is that the 3F’s (friends, fans, and followers) are not created equal. Those brands who examine the composition of their existing community will find that many are simply seeking access to exclusive specials and content. According to a recent comScore report, 23% of Twitter users follow businesses to find special deals, promotions, or sales. 14% of Twitter users reported taking to the stream to find and share product reviews and opinions. Earlier this year, Chadwick Martin Bailey published a study that showed 25% of consumers connected to brands on Facebook did so to receive discounts. But here’s where things get interesting, in the same report, comScore found that Facebook and Twitter visitors spend 1.5x more online than average Internet users. Herein lies the opportunity for brands looking to add yet another “C” to many C’s of Community – commerce.
Facebook in August for the first time took the top spot among major sites with a total of 41.1 billion minutes, according to new data from comScore. Google was second with 39.8 billion minutes and Yahoo fell to third, with 37.7 billion. Furthermore, Yahoo's share of time spent in the third quarter dropped to an all-time low of 9.3%.
The boundaries between search, social and display media are diminishing. This means advertisers, agencies and marketers face a new kind of challenge.
Over the last five years, social media has evolved from a handful of communities that existed solely in a web browser to a multi-billion dollar industry that’s quickly expanding to mobile devices, driving major changes in content consumption habits and providing users with an identity and social graph that follows them across the web. With that framework in place, the next five years are going to see even more dramatic change. Fueled by advancements in underlying technology – the wires, wireless networks and hardware that make social media possible – a world where everything is connected awaits us. The result will be both significant shifts in our everyday lives and a changing of the guard in several industries that are only now starting to feel the impact of social media
Intrigued by the willingness of millions of consumers to pay real money for things that do not exist, some large companies are testing whether they can raise awareness of their brands — and sell more actual goods — by creating and offering their own pretend merchandise. Volvo Cars of North America, the clothing retailer H&M and MTV Networks are among the diverse brands entering the market for virtual goods — the make-believe items offered on social-networking games, smartphone apps or fantasy Internet sites.
Even Apple, which lives in a bubble of its own device-centered success, can't resist the lure of social networking. Today, CEO Steve Jobs formally thrust the company into the social-media fray with an iTunes-based network, Ping. Why would Apple want to get into social networking? It's where consumers are spending most of their internet time, and Apple has millions of iTunes customers as an instant revenue stream. "We think this will be really popular very fast because 160 million people can switch it on today," Mr. Jobs said during his keynote, where he also announced a version of iOS 4 for the iPad and a new $99 version of AppleTV, with 99-cent TV and $4.99 movie rentals.
Facebook made another big step towards world domination today, by tying up a deal with Target to put gift card versions of its Credits on sale. Yep, retail meets e-tail. Virtual currency made plastic. The cards, which go on sale on Sunday, Sept. 5, are available in three sizes: $15, $25, and $50--although the lowest increment is exclusive to Target. Which says a lot about Target customers. And, it seems, Facebook. It's a logical move for Mark Zuckerberg's gang--after all, his chum Sean Parker estimated earlier this year that Facebook's Credits system would account for around one third of the social network's revenue. So having it available in as many forms as possible instead of merely the bank of Mom and Dad--i.e. their bank cards--is not a bad idea at all.
Serving up search results based on what your friends clicked: It’s been a hot topic lately, and one that Facebook has seen fit to claim as its own. The social networking goliath has just won a patent covering a certain type of search algorithm, one that is largely based on the interests and clicks of a user’s friends and friends-of-friends.
The social media revolution has been fueled by the Millennial (born roughly between 1980- present) and X (born roughly between 1964-1979) Generations, but the baby boomers (born between roughly 1946 - 1964) and the Silent Generation (born between roughly 1925 - 1945) are catching on. For the same Americans who may have once watched television on a wooden box, social networking has "nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010," according to a report released on August 27 by the Pew Research Center, entitled Older Adults and Social Media.
As millions of students are trudging back to the classrooms this August, Facebook is returning to its roots: colleges and universities. Just in time for the back-to-school season, the company has partnered with social marketing firm Context Optional to build a Facebook Page of resources and information for new and returning students and their families. Students can find out about publicizing events, engaging with their larger campus community and distributing their own content on this page.
Internet companies have appropriated the real estate business’s mantra — it’s all about location, location, location. But while a home on the beach will always be an easy sell, it may be more difficult to persuade people to start using location-based Web services. Big companies and start-ups alike — including Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick and most recently Facebook — offer services that let people report their physical location online, so they can connect with friends or receive coupons.
Google products are efficient, slick and -- as the coders say -- elegant. They get you from point A to point B fast. Really fast. But are they fun? That's the question for the search engine as it struggles to gain a foothold in the fast-growing and here-to-stay social web. That web isn't marked by speed and elegance but rather by pit stops and side roads that allow people to pull over, meet new or old friends, play a game and buy souvenirs. In short, have fun.
Media companies must become smaller and more nimble to reach readers and the niche groups advertisers covet. Facebook and other social media platforms could become more important than company websites during this transformation. As that happens, Web companies and social networking, including Google and Facebook, will have to become more transparent and share information about the data they collect on customers, or so says Steve Rubel, SVP-director of insights for Edelman Digital.
Facebook is now worth as much as $33.7bn based on secondary market transactions, giving the privately held company an implied valuation greater than the market capitalisations of publicly traded internet stalwarts such as Ebay and Yahoo. Common stock in Facebook is trading as high as $76 a share as investors scramble to get a piece of the company before it files for an initial public offering, which analysts say could be the biggest technology IPO since Google’s $1.67bn flotation in 2004.
Tracking the effectiveness of advertising on the web was hard enough. Tracking it in the era of "walled gardens" could become that much tougher. The rapid shift of web audiences and marketer attention toward closely controlled properties such as Facebook or Apple's iAd platform is presenting a growing challenge for web analytics. Nearly a quarter of online time at the PC is now spent with social media, the lion's share of that on Facebook, according to Nielsen Co.
The conversation economy is thriving, and in the crush to build a social presence, many companies are using social media as a new outbound marketing channel. As another outlet, social media can be a substitute for traditional media and other methods of pushing marketing messages to audiences. But many marketers are falling short when it comes to building brand value and improved engagement through online communities. When building two way communications on public networks like Facebook, the balance of power is in the hands of the user not the marketer. Many public social networking sites may be well established, familiar and appealing to consumers, but they seldom offer a marketer the control or flexibility required to meet their objectives.
While I’m certainly supportive of the idea that brand should treat their customers with the utmost care and respect, least they flee to hungry competitors or even to the interwebs to vent their frustrations with them, I think enumerating these ideas as requisites for the general consuming public is idyllic and naive. For every consummate professional out there (like Boches), there exists about 15 dipshits who will only bitch to bitch. Or bitch to get free stuff. The customer is not always right. In fact, sometimes the customer is quite an asshole. Should consumers hold brands to a higher standard? Yes. Should we unleash the huddled masses, trailer trash and mouth-breathers on Twitter and Facebook and blogs to whine about every misstep or oversight they encountered while buying Natty Light and Marlboro Light 100s at the Circle K? I’m thinking no.
Today, through social media, it is possible for businesses to connect with hundreds of millions of customers and prospects around the world. Many businesses have already launched Facebook sites and Twitter accounts, and are actively engaging with their fans and followers. However, the majority of online marketers have no idea what impact these activities have on their brand or sales. It's time to get smart about social media. Social media today is reminiscent of the early days of other online channels or media -- from websites and email to search engines and behavioral targeting -- no one knew quite what success looked like and some of the early experiments were not only un-optimized, they were just plain awful. Eventually, the experimental approach gave way to a more sophisticated, metrics-based approach and, then, CFO's began to notice the healthy ROI's coming from these online channels.
While the tech world obsessed about when Facebook would turn on location and morph into a "Foursquare killer," the social network has quietly become something else: the biggest relationship-marketing provider for many brands.
Facebook announced a new Places product Wednesday evening that will let users check-in from a mobile device, see who is around them, let friends or the public know where they are, and find interesting, new places. The announcement extends, yet again, the reach of the immensely popular social network, in hopes that the new service will convince its 500 million users to feed more information as they move around in the physical world.
Facebook has just announced Places, the long-awaited feature that brings location-based functionality to the most popular social network in the world. Whether you’re a developer with a great app idea, a business with an interesting location marketing plan or just a regular Facebook user who wants to get involved with Places, there are a few details to note before you start using Places. The feature is fascinating, but it still has its limitations. And our guide isn’t without caveats, especially for users. If you’re ready to start playing, here’s what you’ll need to know about Places.
These are interesting times in the social gaming industry. Two weeks ago Disney acquired Playdom, and last week Google acquired Slide. Just like that, two of the largest social game publishers have become part of larger companies. This activity all comes on the heels of EA’s acquisition of Playfish late last year. Social gaming, as a category, has grown incredibly quickly, becoming one of the dominant drivers of usage on Facebook, and an increasingly core component of people’s entertainment. This growth represents a real threat to other forms of entertainment, and has precipitated the three deals that we have seen so far.
Facebook pages can be quite a dynamic location for your brand and now there is a growing push towards monetizing pages from within Facebook. By utilizing shopping cart software built exclusively for Facebook, retailers can now sell products right on their Facebook pages – no need for users to ever exit Facebook.com. These e-commerce platforms are still quite new, and users should be aware of the eventual fixes and potential upgrades that they will have to prepare for when implementing. However, for those with large fan presences, these e-commerce platforms can be extremely beneficial.
Procter & Gamble's Old Spice was just another guy brand with an entertaining spokesman in its TV commercials until the brand's agency, Wieden + Kennedy, put Isaiah Mustafa on the Web recently and invited fans to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to pose questions that he quickly answered. The questions poured in--even celebrities asked a few--and Mustafa responded in more than 180 Web videos shot quickly over a few days. The real-time effort was the first of its kind, but it won't be the last. Marketers are eager to find clever new ways to engage consumers online with branded content and interactive advertising that is good enough to make people want to share it with their network of friends.
Last month we bemoaned the way some marketers offer cash or other rewards in return for lying to one’s friends, while other dodgy companies sell bundles of 10,000 Twitter followers to help particular brand look well loved, among other funny business. However, the ongoing collision of marketing and social networks doesn’t necessarily have to involve trickery or deception. Picture this: You’re sitting next to the pool at a Vegas resort, when you decide to tweet a picture of where you are to your friends at their fluorescent-lit day jobs, just to, you know, assault their sanity. A few minutes later, a waiter shows up with an ice-cold beverage on the house, explaining, “thanks for the tweet.” Guess what your next tweet will be about? Staying at the BEST HOTEL EVAR!!
In an emerging battle over regulating Internet access, companies are taking sides. Facebook, one of the companies that has flourished on the open Internet, indicated Wednesday that it did not support a proposal by Google and Verizon that critics say could let providers of Internet access chip away at that openness. Meanwhile an executive of AT&T, one of the companies that stands to profit from looser regulations, called the proposal a “reasonable framework.” Most media companies have stayed mute on the subject, but in an interview this week, the media mogul Barry Diller called the proposal a sham. And outside of technology circles, most people have not yet figured out what is at stake. The debate revolves around net neutrality, which in the broadest sense holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content.
So with all this relentless talk about Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages and cool new apps, I have a serious and timely question. Do brand websites still matter? Yes, I know -- even asking this question is a bit digitally sacrilegious. Websites are to digital strategy as models are to fashion, but do we really need them?
Facebook continues to be the number one destination for online social gaming, but Google is hoping to change that. It's become increasingly clear in recent months that the internet behemoth wants to challenge Facebook directly, and according to some in the analyst community, this new focus from Google is a necessary step for the company.
The media is something that for most, if not all, of our adult lives, we have taken for granted. Media giants form the terra firma of the marketing industry, both its paid and earned disciplines. They provide the lifeblood of services and bring us the audiences we need to do our jobs. However, underneath it all, the harsh reality is that there's a new digital dynamic present today. This will mean that many media companies divide themselves into dozens of smaller independent operating companies if they wish to survive. Many won't.
Fed-up JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater's 15 minutes of fame are ticking down, but the repercussions for the airline, which is largely trying to ignore the incident, are just beginning to play out. The New York-based airline suspended the longtime employee Tuesday "pending an investigation" after accusations that he cursed out a passenger over a plane's loudspeakers, took beer from the galley and exited via an emergency slide. Slater's court-appointed lawyer said the passenger provoked him. Slater, 38, was arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing and bail was set at $2,500.
I love baseball and will always await the first day of spring training with the ardor of a lover coming home after an exile. But I will never be a baseball player. It’s just not in my make-up. My misery over my failed baseball career is no different than Google’s. The world’s largest search engine covets a key to the magical kingdom called the social web. It would do anything to become part of that exclusive club that, for now, is the domain of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and to some extent, Twitter. Google will do just about anything to get social, like spend a rumored $182 million on San Francisco-based Slide, a head-scratcher of a deal.
As we enter August and our shrinks go on vacation, it would be easy to go crazy over all the dour news related to social media. Fortress Facebook is showing cracks as 170,000 or so 26- to-34-year-olds defected from the network in June, according to Inside Facebook. Fast-growing Foursquare, which reached its 100 millionth check-in milestone in July, was doused by a Forrester study that recommended a wait-and-see approach. And 24 hours after the most beautifully orchestrated social media stunt since BK's Whopper Sacrifice, several respectable publications were asking, "Yeah, but did it sell bottles of Old Spice?"
The time Americans spent on social media has surged 43% in the past year, leading a substantial shift in how the country spends its online time. That time spent online has also sent e-mail to third behind gaming, according to research by Nielsen Co. The time spent on social media accessed from PCs rose from 15.8% in June 2009 to 22.7% in June 2010, according to Nielsen, while online gaming gained more modestly to 10.2% of online time from 9.3% a year earlier. But that was enough to push gaming past e-mail, which fell to 8.3% of online time spent at the PC from 10.5% a year earlier.
By now, plenty of traditional media companies have hopped on the social media bandwagon, pumping out news updates on Facebook and Twitter. But do those companies have the time and resources to work yet another Web outlet into their daily routine?
When Peter Eckersley recently clicked on to one of America’s biggest online job sites, he was not alone for long. Using software to monitor programs running on the page of CareerBuilder.com, the researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group, saw data identifying his computer being whisked off to at least 10 outfits that track where people go on the internet. More troubling was his inability to tell what the companies did with the data. His experience goes to the heart of a battle that could shape the future of life on the web – while also having very real knock-on effects in the physical world. The digital dossiers that companies are building from the browsing, searching and other habits of ordinary web users are becoming increasingly refined. At the same time, a deluge of personal information has been unleashed publicly on the web, with Facebook’s 500m users at the forefront. With rapid inroads on both fronts being made into many traditional expectations of personal privacy, the results could prove explosive.
Youngsters aren't the only ones going back to school -- college students are too. Sears is targeting these students where they seemingly live, online and on Facebook, for a new "Back to Campus" social media campaign.
Google Inc. is in talks with several makers of popular online games as it seeks to develop a broader social-networking service that could compete with Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
On Tuesday, Amazon.com took a step toward making the shopping experience on its Web site more social. For many people, shopping is as much about socializing as it is about buying something — a chance to run into neighbors at the farmers’ market or spend time with a friend at the mall. And people who go shopping with a friend inevitably ask advice before buying. But it’s hard to do that when online shopping. Now, Amazon shoppers who connect their Amazon and Facebook accounts transport their Facebook friends to Amazon — and can get recommendations from those friends on what to buy.
A couple of months or so after becoming Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron wanted a few tips from somebody who could tell him how it felt to be responsible for, and accountable to, many millions of people: people who expected things from him, even though in most cases he would never shake their hands. He turned not to a fellow head of government but to…Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of Facebook, the phenomenally successful social network.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told ABC's Diane Sawyer this week that Facebook would "definitely think about" adding a Dislike button to the site, allowing users to express distaste for updates or pages on Facebook. But Zuckerberg is just humoring us: Facebook will never add a Dislike button, regardless of users' demands. Here's why.
It has become customary to use “graph” to refer to the underlying data structures at social networks like Facebook. (Computer scientists call the study of graphs “network theory,” but on the web the word “network” is used to refer to the websites themselves). A graph consists of a set of nodes connected by edges. The original internet graph is the web itself, where webpages are nodes and links are edges. In social graphs, the nodes are people and the edges friendship. Edges are what mathematicians call relations.
Shared links have a longer shelf life on Facebook than Twitter, and Buzzfeed sends more traffic through re-shares than direct clicks. That's two of the things my agency learned when we launched a stealth social-media experiment through a site we created called Jerzify Yourself. Jerzify Yourself was created in January of this year, a week after the season one finale of the popular MTV show "Jersey Shore" that attracted an audience of 4.8 million. The site, written in a few days in Flash, allows users to upload their headshot onto a stylized body and morph themselves into a Jersey Shore "Guido" or "Guidette." Or as New York's Village Voice put it: "The gist is Snooki-grade simple: upload a medium-size jpg, scale the image to fit, choose your spray-tan shade, pick your pose -- and holy Freckles McGee, you're magically recast as a human meatball." Why did we do this? To evaluate the power of social media and spreadable content.
Raw data generated by users online fuels billions in ad revenue annually; why do you think Facebook is so grateful to its 500 million members today? Between personal profiles, search queries, photo-sharing, and other social web behaviors, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others are gathering information to refine and target their online ads. Cue Bynamite, a San Francisco-based start-up now ramping up a digital business that aims to help consumers turn their online thumbprint into some value for them — or at the very least, make it visible.
When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever.
Wildfire, makers of promotional tools for brands on Facebook, is releasing a new application that lets marketers and brands turn their Facebook Page or website in to a deal hub. The new application is called Group Deals, and it is designed to be like a do-it-yourself Groupon add-on to Facebook Pages and company websites via Facebook Connect. Wildfire users can create and define their own deal-a-day style promotions, which will allow interested brand fans to purchase the deals via their PayPal accounts.
Facebook is standing at the foot of a virtual cash mountain. The social networking behemoth recently announced a plan to expand the Facebook Credits program beyond its beta confines. A network-wide rollout of the virtual currency application would streamline transactions online and, in effect, pave the path to the world's first global currency. It's also going to help Facebook scale one of its last major economic hurdles - monetizing its millions of international users. Now translated into more than 100 languages, Facebook will do more than $1 billion in revenue this year. It has surpassed the 500 million member mark, with a surge of interest across Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and points beyond. In fact, adoption rates have soared exponentially in the last year.
Has your company spent seemingly countless hours tweeting on Twitter, networking on Facebook and writing the company blog? Have you found yourself wondering if it's all a waste of time? Maybe that last Facebook fan page contest saw fewer entries than you'd hoped for, or that last Twitter-only coupon had fewer redemptions than you'd expected, but perhaps that's not all that matters. According to the the latest report by analyst firm Forrester, many people are looking at the face value dollars and cents of social media marketing and, put simply, they're doing it wrong. Beyond clicks and coupon redemptions, there lies a case for social media marketing that shows its value is well beyond what we see on the surface.
As customers make or break brands online, companies rush to hire social media directors…and figure out what they do.
Companies love positive feedback. They share it on Twitter, post it on their website and use it as marketing fodder. But what about when feedback is, well, less than pleasant? What can you do with a handful (or more) of irate customers? Do you ignore them? Bury them out back? Not in today’s social atmosphere. Rather than try to sweep these unhappy customers under the rug, look at them as a challenge and an opportunity to improve your brand and leverage them for some publicity.
Starbucks is the first consumer brand to reach 10 million Facebook fans, a.k.a. user "likes." Taking the lead from Coca-Cola over a year ago, Starbucks has attracted 2.3 million fans just in July so far…and the month is only half-over. Starbucks is now in the rarified company of Lady Gaga. In light of its recent privacy flap, Facebook is treading carefully when it comes to brands' presence on the site, including releasing a new video (above) to address users concerned about advertising on their pages. As for how Starbucks shot to 10 million?
Facebook is about to announce that they’ve hit 500 million users — a milestone that cements (as if it hadn’t already) the site’s status as one of the web’s biggest successes ever.
The world may not need another social network. But Google does. Google needs a place where people can easily congregate and communicate. A place that's as easy to understand and use as Google.com. A place that people "like." Why?
The Vaseline Men Be Prepared page (with about 550 "fans" so far), offers users an avatar-tweaking application to create a fairer-skinned and spotless profile picture. The example features Vaseline spokesman Shahid Kapur, with the Bollywood heartthrob's face divided into dark and light halves with the tagline, "People see your face first."
Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks bought social gaming company Social Express Inc., marking its first move in a space that's helped sites like Facebook Inc. reel in users. MTV, which owns online gaming sites such as Shockwave.com, will create games with original content as well as shows and characters from its networks, according to a statement today. It also plans to start a platform for independent game developers.
Facebook Inc. is trying to rev up its advertising business with a little help from your friends. The social-networking site is aggressively pitching to big advertisers like Ford Motor Co. and PepsiCo Inc. the latest in a series of ad formats that tell users which of their Facebook friends have expressed interest in the brand or product featured in the ad. The so-called social-context ads, which Facebook started rolling out over a year ago, are based on data it collects on the likes and friends of its users.
In October 1993, a television ad with the tag line "got milk?" first appeared. It was part of a campaign to increase milk consumption by making the drink appear "cool." Previous ads conveyed the nutritional value of milk — but this and subsequent ads demonstrated that milk was the perfect sidekick to cookies, chocolate cake, and other "junk food." As the campaign matured, a series of "milk mustache" ads also appeared, showing celebrities and VIPs sporting an upper lip adorned by the white stuff.
Having established his bona fides as social media pioneer, let me now call upon the ever-humble B. Franklin to offer us instruction on how modern-day marketing patriots can declare their independence from social media silliness. And while this piece is no Poor Richard's Almanac, it will approach the topic at hand with a similar clarity of purpose and simplicity in language.
Social media didn’t invent conversations, it provided us with tools to surface and organize them. Conversations about brands predates the mediums used to connect messages and aspirations with consumers. The motivation for brands to engage in social networks varies based on the culture and agility of each company, but what is constant is the aspiration to connect with customers and prospects to earn awareness, attention and connections.
Google me this. Can Google go face to face with Facebook? Can it somehow create a social network that will make real people, rather than engineers, leave at the click of a key? What might this nirvana network (and surely "nirvana" would be a far better name that the alleged "Google.Me") look like?
Facebook is testing a new technology it says will save its members lots of time and effort: face detection for easy cataloging of people that appear in pictures. It sounds neat, but is this going to turn into Facebook's next privacy nightmare?
Google is preparing yet another attempt to crack the social networking market. The project is reportedly called "Google Me," and it will be a Facebook clone. What are the odds that Google finally gets it right with social networking? Not good. At least that's what Silicon Valley's tech insiders think.
I'll never forget attending my first World Cup game. It was back in 1994 and took place in my hometown Rose Bowl, the same field where I marched in gleeful pride at Pasadena High School's graduation. Romania squared off vs. Argentina. The game was nothing short of electrifying. Back then my word-of-mouth trajectory seemed unlimited. Armed with both AOL and Compuserve accounts, my post-game "dude, I was there" viral dispatches flew across my network of friends, family, business-school classmates and fellow P&G summer interns with almost unrestrained velocity.
Not long ago, I was presenting along with some folks to the senior executive team at a large division of a massive insurance company. I had the great pleasure of listening to Eileen Naughton of YouTube, when she referred to Google as the operating system for search, Facebook as the operating system for social, Twitter as the operating system for real time and YouTube as the operating system for video. I found her characterization of the services fascinating and useful.
The number of advertisers with presences in the social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are increasing faster than the lines at the supermarket when the values of the cents-off coupons are being tripled. Now, two familiar brands of baked goods sold by Kraft Foods are stepping up their marketing efforts in social media.
There's been a lot of discussion about the ongoing fight for Web supremacy between Google and Facebook but, to date, the debate has centered around matters like privacy and metrics like page views and ad dollars. In the past week, however, it appears both companies are taking direct aim at the heart of the other's core business.
The big rumor that’s recently been making the rounds is Google Me, Google’s upcoming social network and a full-fledged competitor to Facebook. While there’s virtually nothing official on the record for this project, Kevin Rose recently said it exists, and now more and more people close to either Google or Facebook have been confirming that Google indeed has something along these lines in the works.
The push by retailers into social media continues, with some even bringing out Version 2.0 or 2.5 of their presences on Web sites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Case in point, Target, which has introduced an application on its Facebook page for its Merona line of clothing. The app is called the Merona My Look Maker and is aimed at women ages 35 and up. The goal is to give them a chance to virtually try on, and try out, Merona fashions. A twist is that the merchandise that can be played with on the app is changed constantly to reflect the Merona merchandise that is in Target stores. The looks can be shared with Facebook friends and computer users can also be connected to the Target Web site (target.com) with a “shop it now” feature if they like the looks enough to consider buying the merchandise.
Only 7% of general online shoppers visiting a site complete a purchase while 71% who came through social media will make it to point of transaction making users via social media 10 times more likely to buy. This top-line take-away is from a recent study by Payment provider Sage Pay (PSP) the UK’s fastest growing independent payment service provider which collected views and opinions of 2,000 plus online businesses operating in the UK.
Tomorrow's Web seems to be shaping up for a battle between two major players - Facebook and Google, with Apple and Microsoft holding down their own tangential fiefdoms, and smaller services, like Twitter and LinkedIn, chugging away with their utility-like products. Make no mistake of it - while there is room for innovation and success at these smaller levels, Facebook's goal is to own as much of the Web as they can, and Google would like to make sure they don't. An open Web, however you define it, is good for Google, presenting a myriad of opportunities for search ads everywhere, while a Facebook-controlled universe is not. And the latest rumors, spawning from a simple update by Digg's Kevin Rose hinting at a direct Facebook competitor, dubbed Google Me, have people wondering if Mountain View is preparing another major assault aimed to keep Zuckerberg and crew off the top pedestal.
Once social activism meant protest marches, civil obedience and sit-ins. But for today's 20-somethings -- sometimes called "slactivists" -- supporting or denouncing a cause is as simple as hitting the "like" button on Facebook or posting a hashtag to Twitter. And that's often where it ends.
A year after changing campaigns for Bounty paper towels, Procter & Gamble is refocusing the brand’s advertising again. Bounty had for decades been called “the quicker picker upper” or, in a more recent variant, “the quilted quicker picker upper.” In February 2009, Procter switched approaches, introducing a theme, “Bring it,” to reflect that absorbency — picking up spills as soon as they happen — was perhaps no longer the be-all and end-all it once may have been.
There is a good chance that if you are reading this article you already have a personal Facebook account. There's also a possibility that many of you may be trying your hand at tapping into the power of the 400 million-plus members on Facebook. However, Facebook's recent announcements on how its platform is evolving may be as clear as mud. To that end, the goal of this article is to break the latest news into four areas: 1. Graph API 2. Analytics 3. Storable data 4. Social plug-ins. Within each area, we'll translate the technical into what it means (at a high level) and, most important, how brands will benefit.
Facebook is looking east for its next phase of expansion, as it prepares to take on entrenched competition in China, Russia and Japan and become the first social network company to connect 1bn people. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of the world’s largest social network, said that after relying largely on organic growth to reach almost 500m members, Facebook would soon begin to make its first strategic local moves.
There’s no shortage of big initiatives going on at Facebook these days. We sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week to talk about the state and future of Facebook and its surrounding ecosystem. Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on recent changes to the Facebook Platform, competitive dynamics he desires amongst developers, the surprising growth of the social games business on Facebook overall, his vision for Facebook Credits, market perceptions of Facebook’s revenue streams and overall revenue numbers, what the company learned from its period of serious interest in Twitter, and Facebook’s company culture around money.
How does a 69-year old candy brand stay young, fresh and vibrant? For M&M's, the answer is continuous innovation. In recent years, the candy's maker, Mars, has introduced dancing animated mascots, new colors, new flavors, holiday tie-ins, and personalized M&M's — not to mention M&M's created by consumers that feature words, colors, and even photos. Now M&M's has a new twist: pretzels. Mars is pitching M&M's Pretzel, which contain a pretzel nugget in milk chocolate covered by the famous candy shell, with its "biggest launch in a decade," says Mars VP Carole Walker.
One of the most sought after answers in Social Media is whether or not engagement in social networks such as Twitter or Facebook directly correlates to customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy. Before we can earn customers however, we have to recognize that at any given time, they are also prospects. And, prospects require information and confidence in order to make decisions, in your favor of course. The answer to our question lies in social engagement.
With all the news about Facebook’s never-ending privacy problems and the exodus of angry users, has the real story been overlooked? Specifically, is Facebook limiting people’s ability to actually, well, connect?
U.S. consumers are spending more time online -- and devoting a growing percentage of those hours to social networking sites -- a trend expected to create a surge in spending on advertising to this audience. In May 2010, U.S. consumers spent an average of 6 hours, 13 minutes a month using social networking websites, according to a study by the Nielsen Company. And users did not restrict themselves to checking their status while at home: the average U.S. worker spent almost 5.5 hours each month visiting social network sites from the office, the research firm found.
Of course it's in Facebook's best interest to show that people who are fans spend more money. Without that, why would companies buy ads on Facebook? I just think we should think about why people become fans of a brand on Facebook. They already have an interest and desire to be more involved in the brand. They may be looking for deals or looking to contact other people who are interested in the brand. But they're already a fan. I wonder if anyone is asking what they spent on the brand before they became a fan on Facebook. That would at least give some indication as to whether or not Facebook is influencing purchasing or simply the by-product of people who are already fans.
Consumers generated word-of-mouth buzz about the brand, in many cases, without any incentives—something O’Brien sees as being crucial to long-term engagement with fans. In an interview with Brandweek, O’Brien discussed the results of both "DEWmocracy" campaigns, and how, moving forward, social media and crowdsourcing will play a bigger role in the brand’s innovation.
Brandchannel’s weekly Digital Watch feature takes a deeper look at brands’ digital strategy. Our latest case study, McDonald’s, takes a multi-tiered approach to digital branding that cozies up to moms to reinforce its nutritional, family values.
The World Cup has long been a social experience for fans around the world who cheer their teams on at games, bars and other public gatherings. This year, brands are betting on a different kind of social to connect with fans in ways unimaginable just four years ago, when the last Word Cup was held. Coca-Cola, Nike and Anheuser-Busch are just some of the brands that have made YouTube an important component of their World Cup ad campaigns. Others, like Visa, have added Facebook to their efforts, while still others, including Microsoft, are tapping into the still-emerging field of location-based services.
Kodak has just friended Facebook, and it has a status update for you. Soon, you’ll be able to log into your Facebook account at Kodak’s retail photo-printing kiosks in stores like CVS and Target to print photos. You also will be able to access Picasa and Kodak Gallery online albums, as well as take advantage of a couple of useful new editing features.
Is the Real-Time Web making news consumption better or worse? In a Wired magazine article, book author Nicholas Carr argues that the Internet is reducing our ability to comprehend content on the Web. In a separate blog post, Carr even suggests that websites and blogs should move hyperlinks from the body of an article to the bottom - apparently, links distract readers and cause them to understand an article less. I don't buy that particular argument, but it's clear that we need better strategies to cope with news overload. Particularly as these days we're not only getting more content, but getting it much faster.
More Men Getting Iced Every Day, Smirnoff Claims It Has Nothing To Do With Their Naming And Branding
Yesterday The New York Times picked up on the new drinking game called "icing." It's full name is "Bros Icing Bros." You can read the rules for yourself, suffice to say that this is a game aimed at the college age demographic and requires players to drink copious amounts of Smirnoff Ice, hence the name "icing." This game has spread out of the frat house to the world of Goldman Sachs and elsewhere. The word "Bros" and "Bro" has been given new life by this game.
Pepsi's social media-backed community change effort, dubbed “Refresh Project,” is off to a good start. So far, the soft beverage giant has funded more than 100 projects and given back approximately $5 million to local communities, according to Ana Maria Irazabal, marketing director for Pepsi. With new entries and winners announced every month, the brand is on track to hit its goal of $20 million in grant money this year. "Refresh Project" is also helping Pepsi expands its already massive presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social nets. The initiative has sparked human interaction and is affecting change in communities, Irazabal said.
The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board. Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care? “Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “ According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.
Yahoo Inc. will soon roll out new ways to view content from Facebook Inc. across its websites, according to people briefed on the matter, as it aims to prevent Yahoo users from defecting to the social network. As part of a partnership with Facebook announced last December, Yahoo will begin allowing users to view their stream of Facebook updates—which Facebook calls the "news feed"—from Yahoo.com and Yahoo Mail, these people said. The company will also more easily allow users to post actions they take on Yahoo, such as uploading a photo to Yahoo's photo service Flickr, back on Facebook, these people said.
Between the BP oil spill and privacy issues at Facebook and Google, the concept of brand trust is coasting at mighty low levels these days. But some marketing experts -- including Paul Parkin, founding partner of SALT Branding, an integrated brand consultancy in San Francisco -- don't think the issue is always that brands are less trustworthy. It's that most companies haven't kept up with swiftly changing definitions of brand trust, especially among different age groups.
PepsiCo launched an in-house startup incubator Friday that it hopes will identify the next Foursquare or Facebook. The program, called PepsiCo10, is a competition for early-stage startups in four categories: social media and marketing, mobile marketing, place-based and retail experiential marketing, and digital video and gaming.
One of New York's hottest startups, Foursquare, is under heavy fire from more established Silicon Valley players. A source briefed on the matter tells us Facebook is working on a feature that will allow users who access the network from mobile devices to "check-in" and broadcast their current location to all their friends. Huge local business reviews site Yelp rolled out a similar "check-in" feature earlier this month.
Market research firm Harris Interactive has launched Research Lifestreaming, a research platform that looks to give clients a full view of panel members’ online and offline lives by connecting participants’ social media activities — collected and categorized from sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — with survey responses and behavioral data. The idea is to link traditional panelist profiles to panelist social networking updates.
MTV Networks wants to establish its Web properties as the go-to outlets for fans to track all of their favorite artists’ social media activities. The company today will introduce channels on MTV.com, VH1.com and CMT.com under the brand "Posted." These venues will focus on specific artists for one-month periods, aggregating Twitter and Facebook updates and Foursquare recommendations, along with original and archival photos and videos.
All of these are disconnected events; a Polaroid snapshot of our psychology at a single moment in time. Some of these memes are ephemeral. Others may be lasting. However, our success as marketers increasingly hinges on having a deep, real-time understanding of our networked environment and how these themes can impact our programs. Enter situational awareness--an essential skill every CMO-level executive and his staff must build and evolve.
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg defended the company's privacy practices and expressed regret for some of his behavior during the company's early history, speaking at the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital technology conference Wednesday.
Despite social media marketing’s sizable popularity, business-to-business (B2B) companies are still fairly new to the discipline. According to a November 2009 survey from Business.com, 73% of B2B respondents who were using social media had less than two years of social media marketing experience. But now that social media has caught on in the sector, spending forecasts suggest that big increases are coming.
Facebook is the most important site for marketers' social media marketing efforts, according to Omniture's 2010 "Online Analytics Benchmark Survey." From a sample of 600 marketers, 69 percent claimed to be using social media in their marketing efforts. Of those respondents, 63 percent ranked Facebook as the most important site for that activity, followed by blogs at 40 percent, and "other" sites at 34 percent. Just 28 percent of respondents ranked Twitter as most important.
The Walt Disney Company has created what it believes is a first-of-its-kind application allowing Facebook users to buy tickets to “Toy Story 3” without leaving the social networking site and while, at the same time, prodding their friends to come along.
After learning how to market themselves through tweets and status updates, some small companies are taking the next step: selling directly to consumers via social-networking sites. Merchants on Facebook and MySpace are adding e-commerce stores to their fan pages, hoping users will scan lists of for-sale items and services—such as floral bouquets, hand-crafted jewelry and spa treatments—and click a button to add them to online shopping carts.
Facebook today announced new features to address the criticism that is has faced recently for its privacy settings and processes. In December 2009 and then again in April this year, the site made a number of changes to its privacy options and settings. In essence they opened up more data to users beyond your friends and immediate networks and changed some of the default settings. This led to the situation where users had 50 different settings and 170 options to control the levels of access to and sharing of the data and information on their profiles.
In today’s discussions about privacy, “youth don’t care about privacy” is an irritating but popular myth. Embedded in this rhetoric is the belief that youth are reckless risk-takers who don’t care about the consequences of their actions. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Coke & Pepsi are very active in social media and I think their hard work is helping to build up a “trust bank” with their audience. As has been widely reported, Pepsi took their Superbowl ad budget and instead of creating a set of iconic commercials they launched their “Refresh Everything” campaign, in which they asked their audience to come up with ideas to “refresh the world”, in the categories of health, the planet, art & culture, food & shelter, neighborhoods and education.
Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.
Facebook's rapid response to privacy concerns may just have saved the world's fastest-growing internet brand from long-term damage. The company, which has undergone a month of withering criticism, today introduced a simplified new dashboard to control privacy settings, rolling back some of the changes made last month that confused users, concerned privacy advocates and drew the attention of Congress.
You’ve got to give the folks behind the 7UP brand some credit: They keep trying. In their latest bid to grow their marginal soft-drink brand, 7UP’s owners are reformulating the lemon-lime-flavored soda and clothing it in new graphics. Jim Trebilock, CMO for 7UP parent Dr. Pepper Snapple, says the company is using new technology to give The Uncola a “crisper” lemon and lime taste. The newly “restaged” 7UP also will get a fresh look on its packaging before it hits U.S. stores in September.
Facebook's imbroglio over privacy reveals what may be a fatal business model. I know because my students at Parsons The New School For Design tell me so. They live on Facebook and they are furious at it. This was the technology platform they were born into, built their friendships around, and expected to be with them as they grew up, got jobs, and had families. They just assumed Facebook would evolve as their lives shifted from adolescent to adult and their needs changed. Facebook's failure to recognize this culture change deeply threatens its future profits. At the moment, it has an audience that is at war with its advertisers. Not good.
Social media use is exploding, but ad spending in the sector continues to be a blip on the radar for most brands. Razorfish, one of the largest digital ad spenders, compiled data on its 2009 digital ad spending. It found that social media display advertising made up just 3 percent of its clients' budgets. Non-display in social media accounted for another 1 percent. The figures pale in comparison to the time spent online. According to comScore, U.S. Internet users spent 11 percent of their time online in 2011 on social media sites.
Facebook, MySpace and several other social-networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers' names and other personal details, despite promises they don't share such information without consent. The practice, which most of the companies defended, sends user names or ID numbers tied to personal profiles being viewed when users click on ads. After questions were raised by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and MySpace moved to make changes. By Thursday morning Facebook had rewritten some of the offending computer code
Sometime in the next few weeks, Facebook will officially log its 500 millionth active citizen. If the website were granted terra firma, it would be the world's third largest country by population, two-thirds bigger than the U.S. More than 1 in 4 people who browse the Internet not only have a Facebook account but have returned to the site within the past 30 days.
This post is about the future of communication. We’ve had one-to-one communication forever. Mass-media created a revolution in one-to-many communication. And the internet has shown us the power and possibility of many-to-many communication. We are slowly starting to see the formation of a new kind of communication, which – for lack of a better term – I’m calling one-to-some communication. The promise of the social web is a fundamentally new form of communication in which each of us can move fluidly between one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many communication with each bit of information we share.
Though it wasn't from the mouth of the Zuck, Facebook's head of public policy, a man by the name of Tim Sparapani, revealed soon-to-be released plans for a simpler web of Facebook settings. As a primer, you can check out this insane infographic of Facebook's privacy settings, compiled by the New York Times--it's ridiculously overwhelming, and many users simply can't be bothered to learn all the ins and outs of such a complex system.
Aside from being "against the rules," there are some real problems with younger kids using sites designed for teens and adults. For one thing, signing up requires lying, which is bad in itself. But, as many adults are finding out, knowing how to protect one's privacy on a site like Facebook can be daunting and most young children are not developmentally ready to use these services. There are other issues as well; including how easy it is for kids to cyberbully each other on social-networking sites. Finally, sites like Facebook just don't have the resources for younger children, including the types of videos, games, and experiences that 6- to 10-year-olds find compelling. Enter Togetherville.com, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company that has built what founder Mandeep Singh Dhillon calls a "neighborhood" aimed at "kids and their grownups."
When Google upgraded their Local Business Center to Google Places, it launched the opening salvo in what we expect to be a long war for local advertising dollars. With local advertising revenues expected to reach $144.9 billion in 2014 according to BIA/Kelsey — and more and more dollars are shifting away from traditional media toward digital media buys — the new war for local ad spend will be a battle between the Internet (Internet) titans and social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Foursquare, Yelp and even Apple are all attempting to carve out their own niche offering for local advertising dollars. Who will succeed remains to be seen, but this is a fight you won’t want to miss.
Social media is reinventing marketing, communications, and the dissemination of information. While businesses now have access to these rich channels, the true promise of social media lies in the direct connections between people who represent companies and the people who define markets of interest. Today, many businesses approach this with the establishment of social media guidelines and policies. This is indeed an important step, and not one worth economizing. But it’s also not enough. I highly recommend establishing official procedures that remind representatives of the importance and privilege of engagement.
Facebook says it wants to offer precise controls for sharing on the Internet. To manage your privacy on Facebook, you will need to navigate through 50 settings with more than 170 options. (Infographic)
How can businesses engage interactively with their customers in a way that will cement brand affinity and drive behavior, such as changing how a brand is experienced, shifting existing customer perceptions, or engaging new audiences? In the design industry, "interactive" is often a misnomer for "digital" or "Web," but the most fundamental interactive experience is a dialog.
Today NBC is unveiling a brand new network loyalty program in which social media plays a staring role. Fan It is a social media platform with myNBC (NBC’s online community for fans), Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Foursquare integration that rewards users who promote, interact and discuss NBC shows. The endeavor is a network-wide initiative designed to leverage the presence of show fans on social networks and incentivize them with points for engaging with content — i.e. watching videos on NBC.com, Liking shows, chatting and recruiting friends. Points can be redeemed for goodies like NBC merchandise, show previews, virtual goods, badges and sweepstakes entries.
This is one of those important posts to forward to your marketing team, agency partners, and to Facebook themselves. While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do. I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them.
Facebook’s used to this type of uproar after it changes something, but in my time tracking Facebook, I’ve never seen anything like this. Not even the Facebook News Feed fiasco of 2006 had U.S. Senate scrutiny. Facebook Open Graph has clearly struck a nerve with a lot of people. Is Facebook betraying its users, though? Has Facebook compromised user privacy? After taking a lot of time to absorb the arguments and the big picture, I’m weighing in, and I doubt that my conclusion is going to be popular.
Research scientists Cameron Marlow and D.J. Patil have unprecedented windows into the social interactions of people around the world. Marlow is manager of a data-science team for Facebook Inc., which has more than 400 million members who come to socialize online. Patil is chief scientist and senior director of product analytics at LinkedIn Corp., which has more than 65 million members of a social network that concentrates on building professional relationships. They are at their computers each day, extrapolating information from more than just the tiny "representative samples" traditionally employed by pollsters. These in-house researchers have access to the interactions of groups of people that outnumber populations of whole countries, giving them the kinds of documentable insights into human behavior that generations of researchers before them could only imagine.
Defensive branding is protecting and defending brand equity and reputation in an increasingly consumer-driven environment. Think media planning plus actuarial viral risk management. It's first strategic, then tactical. The logic goes something like this: Sandbag before you sell. Protect before you promote. Defend before you dance. Self-critique before you self-destruct.
FacebookSearch simply takes those public status updates and makes them searchable, outside of Facebook. The guys behind it Peter Burns and Will Moffat have posted a simple explanation: “This is a simple example of just how open facebook has made your information. This data is wide open, and this is one of the least scary uses that anyone will make. If nothing changes, it’s only to get worse.” There’s an interesting discussion over at Hacker News on the morality of what they are doing.
With all the hand-wringing over the fate of magazine brands, Facebook wants to help magazines survive -- and its users stay more informed. Starting in August, Facebook will promote magazine brands' content and subscriptions through its news feed thanks to a landmark partnership with mega-magazine publisher Time Inc. that aims to reach new readers through social media networks – in this case, Facebook “friends.”
If Facebook were smart and open and meant what it said about the benefits of publicness and transparency that it now expects of the rest of us, then:
Forget LiveStrong bands. The hottest thing for kids are Silly Bandz, ZanyBandz and Crazy Bandz -- and now brands are getting involved. The latest kid craze is virally setting off retail madness, skipping from state to state aided by social media, instant messaging and texting. "It's akin to what happened with Beanie Babies and Webkinz across our stores," said a spokeswoman for Hallmark, which is having trouble keeping Silly Bandz in stock.
How angry is the world at Facebook for devouring every morsel of personal information we are willing to feed it? A few months back, four geeky college students, living on pizza in a computer lab downtown on Mercer Street, decided to build a social network that wouldn’t force people to surrender their privacy to a big business. It would take three or four months to write the code, and they would need a few thousand dollars each to live on. They gave themselves 39 days to raise $10,000, using an online site, Kickstarter, that helps creative people find support.
We gathered up expert advice from Tim Bray of Google (Google), Guy Kawasaki of Alltop (formerly Apple), Doug Ulman of Livestrong, John Battelle of Federated Media and Steve Rubel of Edelman on the why and the how when it comes to C-level executives and social media. Their tips and advice range from practice to crucial and point to the need for C-suite executives of this generation to heed social media.
Facebook Inc. is catching up to rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in selling display ads. In the first quarter, Facebook pulled ahead of Yahoo for the first time and delivered more banner ads to its U.S. users than any other Web publisher, according to market-research firm comScore Inc.
At its recent F8 developer conference, Facebook announced a raft of new developments which have been causing ripples in the worlds of technology and marketing ever since. The one that arguably has the biggest implications is the roll-out of social plug-ins and the Open Graph API (you can read my thoughts on that here if you’re interested.) However it’s another announcement – the ditching of the term “fans”, which could have a bigger impact on advertisers.
With Zynga, creator of FarmVille, recently valued at $4 billion dollars and established game companies such as Electronic Arts jumping on board, games are becoming a legitimate interactive social channel for the masses. Why Would Your Brand Consider Partnering With A Social Game?
In a social economy where attention is a precious commodity, the ability to strip a social object down to its essence to capture attention has less to do with compacting character counts and more to do with the art and science of packaging and presenting content so that it is immediately compelling, simple to grasp and appreciate and in turn, share across social graphs. For participants in the socialization of media, an ever-thinning attention span is forcing the rapid evolution of our ability to multitask – albeit at shallow depths. Cognition is thereby stimulated by relevance, simplicity, and in social networks, the objects and content screened and shared by peers.
Understanding your customers is general is obviously incredibly important, but you should also understand how your customers are using social media. This is something that often is overlooked when we advise companies on how to get started with social media. We teach them of the value of monitoring social media, of tracking company and industry mentions. Of knowing what's being said and where it is being said. But that's only half the battle. The 'why' gives meaning to the numbers. What social tools are your customers using? Why are they using them? What information are they looking for, and how do they want it to be delivered to them?
I think Facebook’s problem lately with its disliked like button (and Google’s problem with the start of Buzz) is that they confuse the notion of the public sphere—that is, all of us—with the idea of making a public—that is, the small societies we create on Facebook or join on Twitter. Private v. public is not a binary decision; there is a vast middle in between that is about the control of our own publics. Allow me to explain….
Facebook is preparing to launch location-based status updates for its users. But the social network is also planning to offer it to marketers, including McDonald's. As early as this month, the social-networking site will give users the ability to post their location within a status update. McDonald's, through digital agency Tribal DDB, Chicago, is building an app with Facebook would allow users to check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder, say executives close to the deal.
This morning during his keynote talk at Web 2.0 Expo, Tim O’Reilly took a look at the State of the Internet Operating System — a term he uses to describe the intertwined web services like search, the social graph, and payments systems that power applications on the web (and increasingly, mobile devices). During his talk, he gave a report card of sorts for tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Apple, he says, “has a vision of world domination”, and that with the App Store platform Steve Jobs is trying to build a fundamental challenge to the web.
The digital landscape is being reshaped by the news that Facebook is opening up its social graph. Twitter, too, has made waves by acquiring companies that made third-party services for Twitter. But if you take a closer look, this is part of a more macro trend that transcends two social platforms--despite their emerging dominance. That macro trend is ubiquitous sharing: What are you doing? Where are you doing it? Who are you doing it with? What do you like? These used to be things we kept to ourselves or shared with our friends and family. Now we're willing to broadcast them to whomever is willing to listen.
The past two months have been tumultuous for social network platform Ning. In March, longtime CEO Gina Bianchini was replaced by COO Jason Rosenthal. And less than three weeks ago, Ning’s bubble burst — the company laid off 40% of its staff and killed off its free service. Today the company, which ended its free service a few weeks ago, is rolling out the different paid models for its platform, Ning Pro, Ning Plus and Ning Mini.
With the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil spill seeming to worsen by the day, expressions of outrage and anguish over the disaster are mounting in the online universe. In addition to thousands of stories on the spill from traditional media sources, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are alight with posts from government, the oil industry and citizens around the globe.
Facebook has the chance to turn a problem — negative publicity about its latest privacy shifts and confusion about how to control them — into a business opportunity: It could become the protector of your identity instead of a threat to it. That’s a service we need.
Intermark Group in Birmingham, Ala., said it has been hired by Krispy Kreme for interactive marketing chores with an emphasis on social media outreach. "Given that this sales conversation is taking place increasingly on the Internet, particularly with social media; Intermark is uniquely qualified to move clients into this arena," said agency CEO Jake McKenzie. "In addition to our retail background, our core is firmly planted in the interactive space -- one in three of our 140 employees is a digital specialist." Application development, a dealer Web site program, e-mail and cellphone marketing, search engine marketing and a redesign of the company's main site are all on tap.
The new feature, which rolled out overnight, clearly takes cues from Facebook and Twitter — you can think of Follow Company as LinkedIn’s version of the Facebook Fan Page. However, instead of receiving status updates from the companies you follow, you will instead get information such as recent hires and promotions, new job opportunities and company profile updates.
There’s no question that Facebook’s new social plugins — which include a ‘Like’ button for the web and an array of other widgets — have been adopted at a pretty amazing rate (we had our ‘Like’ buttons live the day they were announced). Facebook has just given us an idea of how quickly these widgets are being adopted: a week after f8, 50,000 websites now feature the Like button and the other new plugins.
As the Information Age barrels forward, a new role has emerged. While new platforms-from Facebook to Twitter to Tumblr-have turned consumers into creators, they’ve given way to more writers, more content, and (as we painfully know) more choices. But there’s something else. Content creators are not passing content through traditional editorial channels, nor should they be. The cost of filtering content has passed from the pocket of the publisher way downstream to the pocket of the consumer. As a result, we as consumers are left in the position of having to decide what is worth our time. Whom should we pay attention to? Whom should we ignore? Who decides which content is exceptional and what to tune out?
You seemingly can’t live without social media these days, or at least, that is what many in our industry believe. Why? Because “everybody” is using it. Everybody is communicating, “everybody is a publisher.” But does that mean that every European is publishing through social media? Well, not exactly. Yes, Europeans are online en masse and are using social media in big numbers. But how are they using social media?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't shy away from grand promises. At the release of Facebook's ill-fated Beacon content-sharing platform in November 2007, he called it a once-in-a-century shift in media. Last week, he made another grand pronouncement, this time when introducing Open Graph, Facebook's audacious plan to serve as the de facto social operating system for the Internet. The new system, he said, is "the most transformative thing we've ever done for the Web."
Mark Brooks wants the whole Web to know that he spent $41 on an iPad case at an Apple store, $24 eating at an Applebee’s, and $6,450 at a Florida plastic surgery clinic for nose work. Too much information, you say? On the Internet, there seems to be no such thing. A wave of Web start-ups aims to help people indulge their urge to divulge — from sites like Blippy, which Mr. Brooks used to broadcast news of what he bought, to Foursquare, a mobile social network that allows people to announce their precise location to the world, to Skimble, an iPhone application that people use to reveal, say, how many push-ups they are doing and how long they spend in yoga class.
Facebook Inc. announced an ambitious plan to get its tentacles further out into the Internet by better linking people, places and things, as it looks to turn a massive audience into a pool of well-understood consumers.
Launching its universal "like" button, Facebook extended its tentacles across the internet today, setting up pipes to gather user data from anywhere on the web. And now that users can add what topics, products or content they like to their Facebook profiles, the social-networking site is sitting on a data treasure chest. At the F8 developers conference today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a platform that aims to connect the entire internet through the social network. With those like buttons appearing on major publisher sites directly after the announcement, users can thumbs-up individual pages with one click and publish that to Facebook. Meanwhile, that Like is stored for later.
Transactional advertising network provider Adgregate Markets, a finalist at the 2008 TechCrunch50 conference, is extending its e-commerce technology to Facebook today, with the launch of ShopFans, a social shopping applications. ShopFans is an e-commerce application on Facebook that allows retailers to set up a storefront on the social network. Similar to Payvment, the app allows consumers to purchase goods and make secure purchase transactions directly in Facebook.
Today at Facebook’s F8 conference), Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plan to turn the Web into “instantly social experiences.”
Today marks yet another important era in Facebook’s saga, they are expected to make a big push to extend the Facebook experience to every webpage. Today, I’ll be attending the f8 developer conference hosted by Facebook, they’re anticipated to make some key announcements around new programs for developers to take part in. I’ll be live blogging from the keynote, and will give my take on what it means.
I was in a Barnes & Noble store recently and noticed a shelf area called “Trends in Business.” On it was one book after the other touting the virtues of social media for marketing purposes. What concerned me was that most of the titles related directly to tools. At least six of them were about Facebook, another six about Twitter, two were focused on blogging, there was one about YouTube, and so on. This was evidence of a focus that, to me, is unhealthy. Consumers are putting much more emphasis on the “how” and less on the “why” … tactics before strategy. I think that is a mistake. It’s classic putting the cart before the horse. Unless you understand why you’re doing something, it makes little sense to learn how.
As I noted earlier in my farewell to Facebook Lite, I think it’s just because I find the service too cluttered, and confusing. The various options menus are a nightmare. All the privacy settings are beyond confusing. And while the overall site navigation has improved greatly over the past year (goodbye weird bottom nav bar), I still find myself lost quite often. And then I see something like this. From 2006 to 2007, the design group, iA, was in touch with Facebook about doing a redesign. Facebook didn’t end up using their stuff, but iA recently decided to take what they had done and update it to work with the way Facebook is currently laid out. The results are excellent — much better than the way Facebook actually currently looks.
With about half of Facebook’s 400 million users checking in daily, the social networking company has established itself as one of the Web’s most popular destinations. Now Facebook is intensifying its efforts to expand its empire beyond its Web site; the company wants to turn scores of sites across the Internet into satellites where users will be able to interact with their Facebook friends.
It pays to have fans on Facebook if you want your ads to work there too, according to the first public study to come out of the collaboration of Nielsen Co. and Facebook. The study of more than 800,000 Facebook users and ads from 14 brands in a variety of categories shows a marked increase in ad recall, awareness and purchase intent when home-page ads on the social network mention friends of users who've become fans of the brand in the ad.
The State and Future of Twitter was revealed to the world at the Chirp Conference. Developers, futurists, reporters, investors, stakeholders, and businesses convened at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, making the journey from all over the world to witness history in the making.
Your brand has 10,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 fans on Facebook. Does that mean your social media marketing efforts are paying off? Maybe not. As the old adage goes, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Recent data that Meteor Solutions collected from across more than 20 brand marketer clients shows that the type of friends, fans and followers a brand amasses on social media sites matters more than the number. On average, approximately 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all its traffic through sharing of the brand’s content or site links with others. And these “influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion. These very important Internet users can directly influence 30% or more of overall end actions on brand websites by recommending the brand’s site, products or promotions to friends.
Last week, neuromarketing firm Neurofocus released summary results of a study that compared the performance of the same ad when run on television and on two Internet websites, Facebook and a website controlled by the advertiser. The commercial tested was “Trip For Life,” part of VISA’s multimedia campaign built around the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Walmart is buddying up with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with a special "Lend a Paw" effort on Facebook. The promotion encourages Facebook users to go to Facebook.com/lendapaw and click on the button, triggering a $1 donation (up to $100,000) from Walmart's pet suppliers. All the proceeds go to help homeless pets, Elysia Howard, VP/marketing and licensing for the ASPCA, tells Marketing Daily. Walmart already sells products from the ASPCA Collection in its stores, from toys and tethers to kennels and carriers.
Birds of a feather flock together. Or, in the Internet age, a customer's friend is a potential customer. Embracing those truisms, some big marketers, including Sprint and eBay, are turning to small start-ups to help them tap social-networking data to find would-be clients among the friends and acquaintances of existing customers, to the dismay of some privacy advocates.
From Facebook Engagement Ads, to Twitter's Promoted Tweets, to SocialVibe, ad opportunities within social media are justifiably drifting away from "display" and towards "engagement." It seems only natural. Click-through rates on display ads surrounding content have been falling precipitously for years, and those same clicks take one clicker in one direction with one experience. This new crop of engagement ads is leveraging the highly connected environments they appear within, turning every interaction with them into an opportunity for rebroadcasting, creating impressions between people that are arguably more effective than the initial impression that started the chain of events.
While Twitter’s growth is apparently stalling, Facebook goes from strength to strength and is now, arguably, the world’s largest digital media ‘owner’ other than Google. Its audience is now a very international one, with 70% of users being outside of the US, and its largest audiences are in countries as varied as the UK, Indonesia and Turkey. With this massive growth has come massive opportunities; not just for Facebook but for brands too. But it has also brought challenges, including one that is cropping up more and more frequently – how should multinational companies manage their Facebook profiles? Globally? Locally? Or, dare I say it, somewhere in between: glocally? For brands with a presence in multiple markets, understanding how best to manage their resources to best provide users with relevant content and ensure the highest possible chance of success in the social marketing efforts, this is a challenge that deserves attention.
Brands have rushed to Facebook to build fan bases, with some amassing millions of connections. The nagging question has been: What is the monetary value of these fans? Social media specialist Vitrue, which aids brands in building their customer bases on social networks, tried to put a media value on such communities. The firm has determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.
Microsoft is trying to home in on a younger, chattier demographic with two new cellphones centered on social networking. The Kin One and Kin Two allow users to keep closely synched with sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The start menu displays a montage of photographs from friends with notes about what they are doing rather than a more traditional menu that caters to phone functions. The Kins also have touch screens, links to the Zune music service and high-powered cameras for capturing photographs and video.
Today, everything is social -– social commerce, social business, social CRM. The list goes on and on. But are consumer technologies like Twitter and Facebook strategic for implementing a social media business strategy? Can you measure the investment? What are the best options for getting tangible value? Once you remove the shiny wrapper, there is an incredible amount of depth and value in using social technologies as a way to reach your customers. However, I personally find the word “social” to be a poor descriptor. Terms like community or collaboration tend to be more meaningful. Here are some ways that businesses and tap into the power of online community.
Advanced technology. Ideas that promise to revolutionize the way businesses are run. Out with the old, in with the new. Not sure how it'll make any money? Mere details. Get going or risk getting left behind. Great riches will come to those with the guts to throw caution and experience to the wind. CRM. Social media. We've seen the story before, and comparisons between the two phenomenon aren't new, either. But looking at things at the company level reveals a sobering possibility: we're about due for The Crash. The parallels are imprecise and sometimes the histories are outright apples and oranges. Get over it. If I'm even partially right, there's a reckoning a'coming.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of Google. This isn’t a post to describe my personal affection for a corporate entity, but it is an attempt to describe one element that I find particularly appealing. Don’t Be Evil. This phrase is Google’s infamous, informal corporate motto. I love it. Not only does it help reinforce my romantic, naive teenage dreams that I could become the next Richard Branson or Bill Gates just by doing good in the world, but it also helps prove that in the new business world, evil is bad for business.
Facebook's growth, which we already know is massive, is truly a global phenomenon, it turns out. And nations with the fastest membership growth rate are in South America, and Asia. Is Facebook becoming the global phone book? The data's surfaced at InsideFacebook.com, with detailed analysis of both the numerical growth rate of members per nation for the month of March 2010, and the penetration Facebook's achieving among each nation's population. Check out the table above--some of those figures should stagger you. Particularly the monthly growth rate for Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, and Malaysia--each of which showed around a 10% jump in Facebook membership in a single month. That's frankly astonishing.
Today’s FT has an article about the inability of today’s older marketers to ‘get’ the use of social media. The outgoing marketing chief of Unilever has warned of a “lost generation” of brand managers who do not understand the web and social networks. In his final interview before retiring, Simon Clift said he believed public relations agencies were best placed to profit from the rise of Facebook and Twitter, as traditional advertising agencies struggle to adapt to the digital world.
The previous campaign for Weight Watchers featured a furry critter that tempted dieters with high-calorie foods. Now, the company has decided to get real: its new campaign will star the actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who will talk about what she has experienced in her quest to lose weight.
Facebook last week took another step toward redefining the relationship between its users and brands with the introduction of "community pages." The initiative will encourage users to start community pages for brands, entertainers, and politicians rather than unofficial fan pages, which have been a source of some confusion on the site. Big brands that have seen their official Facebook fan numbers hindered by third-party fan pages will likely welcome the move. For instance, even Coca-Cola - with its Facebook-leading 5.3 million fans - stands to benefit. A Facebook search query for Coca-Cola produces more than 500 fan page results, and some have been started by individuals who have accrued thousands of fans of the beverage company. There's the five-month-old fan page, "Coca-Cola In A Glass Bottle Is Way Better Than Plastic," which has built up a following of nearly 400,000.
Just in time for this year’s mid-term Congressional elections in November the US Supreme Court opened the financial floodgates by overturning campaign finance rules that prevented corporations from spending at will to oppose or support political candidates. Two of the biggest likely beneficiaries of these new more liberal (not in the political sense) spending rules will undoubtedly be Google and Facebook, although they stood to benefit regardless as more and more political ad dollars flow into search and online display.
Touchpoints serve as the point of contact between a buyer and a seller. As the race to socialize commerce escalates, these touchpoints represent the nodes that define the human network, connecting people across the social Web and uniting them around common interests, themes, and movements.
“Check-in” companies that were all but unheard of a year ago are making noise due to the simple game mechanics and competitive element they added to their start-ups, which took social networking into a new, location-based direction. Now, the youthful founders of this new breed of start-ups say that checking in – created as a solution to “social networking fatigue” – could in turn lead “check-in fatigue” if people do not find novel things to do with this location data.
Three years ago most western european countries had a local social network that was the most popular social net in the country. Today Facebook is dominant in most of western europe and those local social nets have largely been bypassed. It would seem that Facebook leveraged the size of its network (approaching 500mm people worldwide) to beat its competition in social networking. But what's interesting to me about that is that it also means that it leveraged a network that was larger out of country to beat an incumbent who initially was larger in country.
Facebook has eclipsed Amazon, Walmart, Netflix, and even Google as the foremost brand name in web searches from U.S. users, according to research from Hitwise. In terms of both traffic and revenue, Facebook has been leaving other social networking sites in the dust for some time. Yet in terms of web search – the terms people use either to find information or navigate to websites – Facebook is just now topping the bill.
With so many companies launching Facebook fan pages, initiating paid search ad campaigns and developing ecommerce strategies on the site, it's easy to see how Facebook's social network could become the next-generation niche search engine for products and services. Recent data and technology trends point to the possibility of this cultural shift. For starters, Facebook gained the most growth in search queries, rising 10% to 436 million searches from January to February, according to comScore.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that everyone is buzzing, blogging, tweeting, and talking about geolocation. Research firm Borrel forecasts that location-based mobile spending will hit $4 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 12,000% from the $34 million spent in 2009. With highly anticipated location-centric announcements looming from both Facebook and Apple, the buzz over geolocation is not expected to diminish any time soon.
Is it just me, or is social media getting a little creepy? This week I came across a couple of Web sites that, as well as being cute, funny, and a little bit different from the usual Facebook and Twitter offshoots. The first, SleepingTime, lets you find out when individual Twitterers sleep--and it's even compiled a list of the world's foremost tech experts' sleep/tweet times. So, if you want to know when you can rob Kara Swisher's house, or even shin up their drainpipe just to stand over her gently sibilating body, now you know when to do it.
Trying to control, or even manage, your online reputation is becoming increasingly difficult. And much like the fight by big labels against the illegal sharing of music, it will soon become pointless to even try. It’s time we all just give up on the small fights and become more accepting of the indiscretions of our fellow humans. Because the skeletons are coming out of the closet and onto the front porch. We’ll look back on the good old days when your reputation was really only on the line with eBay via confirmed, actual transactions and LinkedIn, where you can simply reject anyone who leaves bad feedback on your professional life.
Imagine visiting a website and finding that it already knows who you are, where you live, how old you are and who your Facebook friends are, without your ever having given it permission to access that information. If you're logged in to Facebook and visit some as yet unnamed "pre-approved" sites around the web, those sites may soon have default access to data about your Facebook account and friends, the company announced today.
I didn’t write about the big location war at SXSW (between location-based apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite, Whrrl, and others). Why not? Because, well, MG Siegler at Techcrunch has been. But I did participate, and took notes and now I’m looking at what’s next.
There will be lots of news leaking about Facebook’s product announcements at their upcoming F8 Developer Conference in April. That’s because they’re already starting to test out a lot of the new stuff with third party developers, and once two people know a secret, it isn’t really a secret any more. One of the new features we’ve been hearing about is the extension of Facebook Connect and the Facebook API to allow publishers to add a “Like” button to any piece of content on their site. Sound trivial? It isn’t. This is likely part of Facebook’s Open Graph API project that will incentivize third party sites to interact deeply with Facebook by sharing content and associated metadata.
If you haven't seen it by now, the Nestle brand* has run into a bit of a brand crisis on Facebook thanks to a combination of a coordinated attack from Greenpeace and missteps from the brand in communicating with consumers through the social media environment. The negativity is piling on at the moment and the brand is likely getting advice from many different places about what to do next and how to react. Along with this, their following on Facebook is exploding and is now close to 100,000 fans. In my mind, this is another great example of the type of crisis that we have seen in many companies that ultimately helps to awaken their entire teams to the power of social media and how it may require a different type of thinking.
Add one more piece of evidence to all of those rumors about an impending launch of a Facebook virtual currency at the upcoming f8 conference in late April. Facebook recently applied for a trademark for its virtual currency platform, which is aptly named Facebook Credits. Included in the application is a drawing of the new Facebook payment platform logo (embedded above, although it could still change). It is a gold coin with a stylized globe in the middle and two arrows flying out of the globe perhaps symbolizing the free flow of virtual cash. A blue square with a small “f” is placed over the bottom right part of the coin.
It’s a lot harder to actually be good than it is to simply say you are good. Like others, I am becoming increasingly skeptical of the original Don’t Be Evil company (the one Cutts works for, in fact). Their hypocrisy on China is stunning. It’s hard to argue with the evidence Danny Sullivan laid out. Whether Google is doing business with the Chinese government in 2006 or pulling out of the market in 2010 they make the same argument that good v. evil dictates their actions.
Last week, Nestle got itself into a bit of a situation on its Facebook page. Following accusations by Greenpeace that the confectionery company was using palm oil sourced from deforested areas in Indonesia, the company's Facebook page was overrun by disgruntled campaigners urging a boycott of its products, and the firm was forced to put out a statement on its corporate website.
A lot of people are excited about social media and think it could have a hugely positive impact on their brand, their marketing and communications, the insight they get, the way in which they deal with customer service and many other benefits it can bring to an organisation and to the way it interacts with and engages customers. They are right to be excited, the opportunities are great but brands should not hide from the fact that getting an engaging social media presence takes proper thought, some effort and may take time to embed.
In case you haven’t been watching, Nestle’s Facebook Fan page has been overrun by critics of their sustainability issues around palm olive and deforestation. While this isn’t the place to have a discussion sustainability, let’s look at the ramifications this has to society, brands, fans, and Facebook.
Recently Edelman Digital launched a brand new web site, which features rich insights from across the organization as well as interviews with different people inside and outside the firm. Definitely check it out. One of the cool things we're running are interviews. For one of the first installments, my colleague, Blagica, conducted an interview with me on some of the latest trends
Today, Facebook co-founder and My.BarackObama.com alum Chris Hughes announced the soft launch of Jumo, his new philanthropic start-up that works to match do-gooders with appropriate causes. Currently, the Jumo site is merely an elegantly designed homepage that announces Hughes’s mission to “bring together everyday individuals and organizations to speed the pace of global change. We connect people to the issues, organizations, and individuals relevant to them to foster lasting relationships and meaningful action.”
Everywhere you look at the South by Southwest conference this week, you see QR codes. The square "quick response" codes turn URLs, vCards, or any kind of text into a jumble of pixels that you can scan onto your smartphone instantaneously, no typing required. At SXSW, QR codes appeared on flyers, postcards, business cards, t-shirts, stickers, and swag. Organizers of the Austin gathering for film, music, and Web geeks even included a QR code on every registrant's badge to cut down on paper waste and manual data entry.
Public broadcasting, specifically PBS, is making a historic move, premiering “Earth Day” on Facebook. The full-length documentary, chronicling the growth of the environmental movement in the United States, will air April 11th on Facebook, and be broadcast on PBS eight days later. The reason? A Facebook debut will hopefully generate viral buzz and reach a younger audience attracted to the content but not necessarily devotees of PBS or appointment-viewing television. According to Mark Samels, executive producer of the “American Experience” series, "It's an opportunity, we think, to engage with a new audience, an audience that we may not be bringing to PBS Monday nights at 9 o'clock."
Prom preparations are underway around the country and retailers are taking full advantage of the occasion. Teenagers wield substantial spending power, typically thanks to their parents – just try telling your daughter she can’t have THAT dress – and this time of year translates into profits for any brand that succeeds in reaching the high school demographic
If a stranger came up to you on the street, would you give him your name, Social Security number and e-mail address? Probably not. Yet people often dole out all kinds of personal information on the Internet that allows such identifying data to be deduced. Services like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are oceans of personal minutiae — birthday greetings sent and received, school and work gossip, photos of family vacations, and movies watched. Computer scientists and policy experts say that such seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity, sometimes down to the Social Security number.
A new study shows that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter, respectively, are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend. Specifically, the study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook. Moreover, they’re 79% more likely to recommend their Twitter follows to a friend, and 60% more likely to do the same on Facebook.
The next friend request you receive might come from the FBI. The Obama administration has considered sending federal police undercover on social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. A confidential U.S. Department of Justice presentation on social-networking sites made public Tuesday said online undercover work can help agents "communicate with suspects," "gain access to nonpublic info," and "map social relationships."
Everything you've been hearing about teen girls living on Facebook, friending their favorite brands and influencing hundreds of future purchases with the single click of the "like" button? A new report from Euro RSCG suggests it's all wrong, and that teen girls share shopping secrets the way they always have -- with only their closest friends, and even then, not online. "Facebook and MySpace are very public," Karina Meckel, director of strategic planning, tells Marketing Daily. "But while 8 out of 10 girls use social media, we've found that teen girls don't like to talk about shopping there. When they find a good deal, they're interested in tipping off a few close friends, not broadcasting it. These girls aren't moving and shopping in flocks, as many marketers believe. They closely select very small, intimate groups -- it's a sisterhood."
According to the latest Hitwise analysis, Google's lost its crown as the most-visited Web site in the U.S. last week. The new king of web site traffic is, of course, Facebook. In the future, technohistorians may marvel at this event. During the Winter holidays there were a few momentary spikes in traffic which placed Facebook on the top, but if you check out the graph of the long term trend shown above, you can see Facebook's meteoric rise is now on target to meet or beat Google. And if that curve continues on its trajectory, which it may well do for a while (its market share is 185% up over the same week in 2009, for example,) Facebook will become number one by a huge margin, versus the tiddly little 0.04% separation it currently has above Google's 7.03% share of average weekly market share.
A recent post by Jan Chipcase got us thinking about the implications of Facebook’s ad platform on the future of online advertising. Jan makes a strong point that making the creation of a targeted digital ad accessible to a mass audience will ultimately make advertising more simple and effective by educating a large audience on how targeting, measurement and costing of an online ad works. The increased transparency of the process exposes the value models of advertisers and media platforms to an audience that may have previously only been on the receiving end of advertising. Given its increasingly vast penetration, Facebook is arguably one of the best media platforms to mainstream online advertising.
Mobile services like Loopt and Google’s Latitude have promoted the notion of constantly beaming your location to a map that is visible to a network of friends — an idea that is not for everybody. But now there is a different approach, one that is being popularized by Foursquare. After firing up the Foursquare application on their phones, users see a list of nearby bars, restaurants and other places, select their location and “check in,” sending an alert to friends using the service.
While communication and gaming gadgets have convenienced and connected us in ways never before possible, they may also be profoundly hurting our ability to be social, empathic and involved with each other. The signs are everywhere — from the near collisions on city streets where drivers are too busy texting to pay attention to the virtual relationships on Facebook and the addiction to video games.
On a brisk Saturday morning this month, a dedicated crew of about 90 women, most in their 30s or thereabouts, arrived at a waterfront hotel here, prepared for a daylong conference that offered to school them in the latest must-have skill set for the minivan crowd. Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008. The topics on that day’s agenda included search-engine optimization, building a “comment tribe” and how to create an effective media kit. There would be much talk of defining your “brand” and driving up page views. You know. For your blog.
The only thing more challenging than deciphering the names of all the social-minded Web sites battling for attention at the South by Southwest technology conference here — Brizzly, Vicarious.ly, Stalqer, Quora and so forth — would be the chore of signing up for each one individually. But a growing number of start-up companies are getting around this problem by, in essence, outsourcing the sign-up process. They are making use of a Facebook service that lets users log into new sites using their Facebook credentials. The free service, Facebook Connect, can help nascent Web services recruit a healthy crowd of users in a hurry, and help the users find their friends on those sites. At the same time, the service reinforces Facebook’s role as the central hub of the social networking world.
We're entering uncharted territory as phones and computers get smarter and tools like Facebook and Twitter take their place on the social-networking landscape next to cafes, the public square and cocktail hour. People you think you know can click on your name and either add you to their lives or delete you in an instant. No muss, no fuss. It's all so impersonal yet hard not to take personally. But our relentlessly multitasking society's message is either learn to thrive in this fast-moving new realm or miss out.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that everybody makes predictions at the end of a year about ‘the big thing for next year’. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. And sometimes you only really start to notice trends and change when you are in them. In social media it is becoming clearer and clearer that the big thing for 2010 is location-based tools.
Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley isn't afraid of big bad Facebook. At least, that's what he's telling us. Crowley's Foursquare, the still-fledgling service that tells you where your friends are hanging out, is suddenly facing an existential threat from 400 million member social network Facebook. Facebook plans to clone Foursquare's central service -- the ability for site members to use their phones to "check-in" from restaurants and bars -- and make it a mere Facebook feature.
Two weeks ago on TechCrunch I posted “The Facebook Imperative,” which posed a simple question, “Why isn’t all enterprise software like Facebook?” It was the next iteration of the question I asked in 1999 that spawned salesforce.com, “Why isn’t all enterprise software like Amazon.com.” If you have read my book, Behind The Cloud, you are well aware how that one question launched a company, and a movement. Its been an exciting decade. But the real excitement is just starting.
Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; YouTube; Wordpress: these companies, built from the ground-up, are mainstays in social media. None of them were created by a large tech company, and all but one remains independent. It’s an interesting phenomenon, when you think about it. Large tech companies have had limited to no success creating their own social media home runs. In an era where communication is increasingly taking place on these channels, the inability of these digital giants to build social networks is rather striking.
When it comes to social marketing many brands are doing themselves a disservice by simply creating a social profile or tweeting deal ads to followers. Sure, this gives the consumer a reason to visit a website, but for a truly integrated social campaign marketers need to take their social profile to the next level. That includes building a community the consumer will return to time and again, and that means more than deal tweeting.
Today many marketers are tripping over one another to invade social networks in force. There is a social media land grab underway as businesses rush to set up hubs on the "big three:" Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All at once, businesses large and small recognize that they need to go where the people congregate. And with 100 million Facebook users in the U.S., this movement is understandable. When your local pizzeria is promoting their Facebook page at the register, as mine does, then you know that marketing has changed.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, is selling more ad spots to big companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. But the site’s pages are also home to countless ads from smaller companies that can be funny, weird or just plain creepy — those suggesting you are, say, eligible to get a free iPad because you are exactly 26 years old, or entreaties to see what your offspring would look like if you had a child with a celebrity.
Most everyone in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street agrees: The eventual IPO of social-networking site Facebook could make its founder the world's richest twenty-something. Yet Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, now 25, seems intent on deferring that multibillion dollar payday.
Ford has tapped 40 people to participate in the second phase of its Fiesta Movement campaign, a social-media effort begun last year to drive awareness of the U.S. version of the Ford Fiesta compact car, which goes on sale this summer. While the first program had participants blogging about their experiences with the car for a series of assignments from Ford Motor, the second program -- involving 20 teams of two agents each -- will have participants developing local-market activity around the car.
While the so-called "Twitter effect" and its impact on a movie's box office remains enigmatic at best for most studios, Lionsgate is hoping its latest social-media marketing milestone will put them one step closer to a solution. Lionsgate will become the first advertiser to sync up its sponsored brand pages on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace under one platform to promote its upcoming comic-book movie "Kick-Ass," out April 16.
With over 400 million active users, the world’s most popular social networking site has set its sights on the Middle East in an attempt to capture more of the Arab market. In what they described as a “massive” opportunity, Facebook has announced its partnership with the Middle East digital advertising firm, Connect Ads, to launch acquisition campaigns similar to what they did in Europe and Asia. This time though, the socially conservative Arab market will dictate more of their strategy as Facebook looks to expand on its existing Arab customer base of 10 million users.
A useful survey from global PR firm Burson-Marsteller this week looks at the ways in which the Global Fortune 100 companies are using social media. The tools they are using and how they are developing a social media strategy. The survey looked at 100 firms in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and examined how these firms are using social media.
Facebook's virtual currency, "Facebook Credits," is getting very close to its full launch: a post on the Facebook developer blog explains some of the full terms of the system and what developers can expect as the currency continues to roll out slowly.
Webtrends, a company that offers marketers detailed web analytics, has rolled out new measurement capabilities for Facebook, including the ability to view Facebook data alongside data for other channels. Tools like this are useful because Facebook’s own platform for this, Facebook Insights, runs three days behind, doesn’t measure custom tabs or apps, and doesn’t integrate with analytics for other digital marketing channels.
Nielsen recently released a new report that officially documents what many of us already know, just never substantiated through data. According to a study published at the end of January 2010, Nielsen observed the online social activity of consumers around the world and discovered an 82% increase in time spent on social networking sites in December 2009. On average, users spent more than five and a half hours on popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In December 2008, users clocked just over three hours on social networking sites.
Executives at ICOM, a global network of independent ad agencies, were surveyed by Ad Age about the top digital trends and issues facing their markets in 2010. Among the findings: Facebook and Twitter rule the world (except in China and Spain), but digital budgets are still small and, in some countries, mostly reserved for the bravest of marketers. Oh, and don't insult the monarch in Malaysia.
Some small businesses are experimenting with new Web-marketing services that integrate social media. While entrepreneurs say they've seen some positive results, some of the services carry hefty fees and their long-term value remains unclear. Start-ups like Groupon Inc., LivingSocial, BuyWithMe Inc. and IMshopping Inc.'s NimbleBuy let merchants offer one-day promotions, sometimes requiring a minimum number of customers to participate in order for the promotion to be valid.
Just 15 months ago, Procter & Gamble Co.'s top digital-advertising executive had some serious reservations about Facebook as a marketing tool. Now, the world's biggest marketer wants all of its brands to get a presence on Facebook this year and has recently opened a research-and-development office in Palo Alto, Calif., not far from Facebook's headquarters, in an effort to co-develop capabilities in digital and social media.
Let's get this straight right away: Return on investment in social media is not measured in how many friends you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter. It's not calculated in trending topics or YouTube comments. It should, in fact, be held to the same criteria other marketing channels are: Did it move your business? It's done just that at Starbucks, which is a digital marketer worth watching.
For almost two years, "Paranormal Activity" quietly maintained modern-day cult movie status, traveling from film festivals to the occasional midnight screening in a college town for anyone who wanted to see -- and scream at -- the ultralow-budget horror thriller. But after Paramount Pictures picked up the $15,000 film from corporate sibling DreamWorks last summer, it was time to redefine what "cult" could mean in the digital age of 2009. Paramount teamed with Eventful, a user-generated event marketing site, for a first-of-its-kind "Demand It" campaign in which movie fans could "demand" the movie come to their hometown. If the film got 1 million demands, Paramount promised, the studio would roll out the film nationwide to all the markets that asked for it. The studio reached that lofty goal in less than a week.
Social media are all the rage in marketing, but should they be? Sure, Facebook is growing fast—it had more than 350 million accounts late last year, 50 million of which were added in the fall alone. But how much do businesses really influence consumers when they launch pages on the site to attract “fans” and to pepper them with messages and offers?
H.J. Heinz Co. chief executive William Johnson announced at a food-industry conference this week that consumers are firmly entrenched in a new money-saving mind-set. "This is not a temporary phenomenon, but rather a new behavior," he said. This new behavior includes a dramatic increase in couponing and preparing more meals at home. Johnson further stated that coupons are once again an "indispensable marketing tool.
In the last post, I discussed the importance of social objects (images, videos, blog posts, comments, status updates, wall posts, etc.) in a Social Media Optimization campaign. This month, I am going to explore the five major ways that these social objects can be contextualized: keywords, titles, descriptions, tags and/or links.
For all the excitement about social media, there's a specter hanging over its use by companies. Is all this tweeting, blogging and Facebooking paying off? For some proponents, the question is irrelevant. They agree with the view encapsulated in the social media bible The Cluetrain Manifesto -- markets are conversations. Companies have to participate in the conversations where they're happening, ROI be damned. Their dismissal of metrics is summed up in an oft-repeated question, "What's the ROI of putting on your pants in the morning?"
As a brand, publisher, designer, photographer, artist, or filmmaker, the social web is your new distribution channel as well as your portfolio for intellectual assets. Whether you’re in the business of creating, marketing, selling, or distributing media, the social Web is an incredible medium that can create a brand, establish visibility, and build demand, all without active promotion. It’s about letting your expertise or work market itself through the practice of a socialized form of inbound marketing that helps make content discoverable when people search.
Dear Marketer, Valentine just passed, and together with many others, my wife and I celebrated that sacred bond that only loved ones can share: a warm and lasting relationship. But as we did, I also started thinking about that “other” relationship you tell me I should have. The relationship with your brand and your company. As I reflected on the way that you treated me over the past 10 years, I could only conclude that in spite of all the signals, advisors and self-help books, you haven’t really changed your ways. You’re too addicted to your organizational silos, your KPI’s, your industry habits.
Mobile question and answer startup ChaCha has been able to turnaround its model, possibly achieve profitability, and raise boatloads of money, much to our surprise. Today, ChaCha is rolling out a Facebook application allows users open access to questions and answers from both ChaCha and all of their friends.
A national survey, conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University, found that an overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories. Among the journalists surveyed, 89% said they turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter. The survey also found that 61% use Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.
We're at the beginning of a major shift in how we find, consume and interact with information. If the 2000s was the Google decade, then the 2010s will be the Facebook decade. Already, you can see the writing on the wall - pun intended.
Here's what I observed this past week after scanning the reactions of people in my own networks in relation to Google Buzz. People in my own ecosystem seem utterly exhausted by the plethora of networks they manage and the number of people within those networks. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Instant Messenger... just how many platforms can we participate in?
Google Inc. said it would revamp the setup process for its new social-networking service Buzz, apologizing to users for raising concerns about the privacy of the product. In a blog post Saturday, Google product manager Todd Jackson said Buzz would no longer automatically subscribe users to follow the postings of their close Gmail contacts, a move that had spooked many users into believing Buzz was publicizing their private relationships. Instead, after reviewing users' Gmail contacts, it would only suggest people that users should follow but leave whether to do so up to them.
Let's say you'd constituted a drinking game for the aftermath of Tuesday's unveiling of Google Buzz, the odd new mishmash of status messages, geolocation, and social-media aggregation: Take a drink every time some pundit says Google is trying to "kill" Facebook, Twitter, or any number of the "geo" start-ups out there. You'd have been totally blitzed. The cries of "It's a Facebook killer!" and "It's going to kill Twitter!" are tedious, but completely understandable considering that this is one of the first big pushes from Google, which has never been able to get a good grip on social networking, to make inroads in the space. And Buzz is indeed a product that's reactionary as opposed to trailblazing.
Google Buzz, Google's new social networking service announced this week, isn't particularly original. Just like Facebook and Twitter, it lets you share links, updates and media with friends. Even so, it'll probably be a moderate success.
Each Olympics brings one or two novel new events. At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, which start in Vancouver on Friday, there is Ski Cross, in which four skiers plunge down a mountain at the same time. Then there is an unofficial competition that we’ll call the Social Media Slalom.
I'm a bit reticent to jump into this, as I'm not sure you all care that much, but I've got a decent reason for writing about Buzz (yesterday's piece) again today. First, I've seen a piece (Calacanis) proclaiming Buzz the second (third? fifth?) coming of social. Facebook will "lost half its value" due to Buzz's arrival, Jason opines. I think this is silly. Then again, I seem to think a lot of things are silly. Pretty soon, I'll be chasing kids off my front lawn, the way I'm going. And I've not used Buzz, nor will I, as I'm not a Gmail user nor do I plan on becoming one. So don't listen to me if you are a Gmail addict who wants to recreate your entire social experience in that medium. Go nuts. I'm all for more options
"To build a global medium as central to people's lives as the telephone or television ... and even more valuable." This was Steve Case's vision in the early 1990s, and everyone wanted to be a part of it. The company he founded, American Online, was one of the nation's most admired. By turning Internet access into a home utility, AOL became one of the nation's most admired brands and workplaces. It was the Google or the Facebook of its time. Then something happened.
Google has entered the social networking play, this time, for real. There’s a lot of market confusion on how they could stack up, so here’s my take. Let’s cut the noise and get to the heart of it with a comparison matrix and analysis based upon my insights talking to these companies in formal settings, observations, as a user, my former research and dealing with the brands trying to reach them.
AOL is finally opening up AOL Instant Messenger, its popular chat network. As Miguel Helft and I reported Wednesday, AOL is integrating Facebook chat with AIM, which is actively used by 17 million people each month in the United States. People who download the new AIM software (here in beta) can use it to chat with their Facebook friends without logging into Facebook.
Facebook's and AOL's instant-messaging systems now can link together. It's a step forward--but one that also shows how backward Net communications are today. "AIM has teamed up with Facebook, and now you can chat with your Facebook friends--right from AIM!" gushes the AIM beta download site. "After you sign into AIM, click the 'Facebook Connect' button at the top of your buddy list to set up Facebook chat. When you are done your Facebook friends will be added to your buddy list. You can now chat with your friends who are using the Facebook site!" Maybe I should be happier about this than I am. I can't begrudge Facebook's effort to enrich its members communications' options through its 2008 launch of instant messaging, but I also can't help feeling this is a case of a new-era Internet company making the same missteps as its dot-com 1.0 predecessors.
Google and Facebook are on a collision course in the increasingly competitive market for social networking services. On Tuesday, Google introduced a new service called Google Buzz, a way for users of its Gmail service to share updates, photos and videos. The service will compete with sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are capturing an increasing percentage of the time people spend online.
Google has a problem. Despite having their hands in just about everything online, they’ve never been able to tackle what is a key part of the fabric of the web: social. Yes, they have Orkut and OpenSocial, but no one actually uses them. Okay, some people use them, but not in the meaningful social ways that people use Facebook or even Twitter. Today, Google may have just solved their social problem. Google Buzz is easily the company’s boldest attempt yet to build a social network. Imagine taking elements of Twitter, Yammer, Foursquare, Yelp, and other social services, and shoving them together into one package. Now imagine covering that package in a layer that looks a lot like FriendFeed. Now imagine shoving that package inside of Gmail. That’s Buzz. If Google Wave is the future, Google Buzz is the present.
Google has announced plans to add social media-esque updates to its Gmail program. Currently, Gmail users can update their availability through the Gmail chat feature, but it simply consists of “available” or “busy” settings, along with the ability to add a custom message.
From tweets to texts, consumers weighed in on which Super Bowl ads were the best, with Doritos coming out on top in several measures. The flood of seat-of-the-pants opinions aired via status updates on Facebook and Twitter has changed the traditional Monday morning quarterbacking of Super Bowl ads. More traditional methods like USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter consumer poll have been joined by newer measures based on Web buzz.
Chances are, a good portion of your target audience is actively engaged in online games. And if they're there, you should be there, too. Gamers are not passive observers; they're active and motivated participants. Brands have a chance to be part of that experience -- often in the very moment when players are willing to give something to get ahead in the game. This is a level of attention that few, if any, other media can offer.
Facebook is beginning a roll-out of a redesign to its Web page that places more emphasis on notifications. It'll improve things for users for sure, but it's just the first step of a plan to give Facebook serious Web emailing powers.
If you were on Twitter last night during the Super Bowl, you probably had a blast with the rest of us participating in all the chatter around the game, and the commercials. Many of us were using the #brandbowl hashtag to critique the ads in real-time, in fact I was seeing 100 new tweets coming in every couple of minutes. For reference, that's about FOUR times the volume of a busy #blogchat.
Facebook has gotten another face-lift. The popular social-networking site has tweaked its home page yet again. This time around, the redesign puts more of Facebook's core features and settings right on the home page. The goal is to spare users from having to jump from one page to another to access their favorite features.
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration. But where do we start?
Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of online content? You're not alone. Keeping up to speed can be nearly impossible these days, with potentially hundreds or even thousands of daily postings competing for your attention from services like Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds. If you worry you're missing interesting content, it's probably because you are.
Knock us over with a feather: The Budweiser Clydesdales will be in the Super Bowl after all. That shocking turn of events is the result of a lopsided Facebook fan vote in which fans chose a Clydesdale spot over two other Bud ads -- the horses nabbed 70% of the vote. The spot, from DDB, Chicago, will air during the fourth quarter of the game.
A report by Manpower employer services found that only 29% of companies in the Americas have a “formal policy regarding employee use of social networking sites.” The number is lower in other regions — 25% in Asia-Pacific and 11% EMEA. The worldwide number is 20%.
Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.
This Super Bowl, it truly does seem that the name of the game when it comes to advertising is social media. For example, Budweiser recently launched a campaign on Facebook asking fans to choose which commercial will air during the big game. According to AdAge, Budweiser is this year’s biggest advertiser — privy to five minutes of air time. The beer company launched its social media campaign on Friday, and already thousands of people are taking part. The idea, essentially, is to infiltrate every level of Facebook (Facebook). First, you might see the targeted ad for the campaign in your newsstream (see the photo above). If you are so inclined to vote, you must first become a fan of the beer:
Social Media is still a fresh concept for many companies and the resources allocated to these efforts are usually a slim as possible. However, cutting corners to save time could end up hurting you and your accounts down the road. One of the biggest time-saving items that can cause disunity and confusion when speaking to your fans is the use of automatic feeds on social networks.
The rate that things happen online tends to influence the rest of our world. It began when instant messaging on PCs made a move to SMS text message on mobile phones, giving friends and lovers instant access to each other whenever and wherever, as long as both were in an area with cellular service. Now, Twitter and Facebook status updates on Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo real-time search let us know the moment someone goes to the bathroom. You get the message.
For the first time in 23 years, there will not be an advertisement for Pepsi during Super Bowl next weekend. Instead, PepsiCo, the soft drinks maker, which in previous years has wowed audiences with dazzling spots featuring Cindy Crawford and Britney Spears, is going online. With a $20m digital campaign that features its own website and a heavy presence on Facebook, PepsiCo is betting that a more interactive approach will resonate with consumers in the always-on age of social networking sites. "We're living in a new age with consumers," says Ralph Santana, vice-president of marketing for PepsiCo North America. "They are looking for more of a two-way dialogue, story-telling and word of mouth. Mediums like the digital space are much more conducive towards that."
Decades ago, consumers were invited to “be sociable, have a Pepsi.” Now the brand wants to invite consumers to help Pepsi support social causes — and will use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help spread a message. Pepsi-Cola is formally introducing on Monday an ambitious campaign named the Pepsi Refresh Project, aimed at doing well by doing good. The brand is dedicating at least $20 million through the end of the year for donations to local organizations and causes proposed by the public in realms like health, arts and culture, the environment and education.
What joy. This week, The Economist, every Capitalist’s favorite magazine, has published a special report on social networking: The Economist on social networking - world of connections. A World of Connections, provides an excellent overview of the current state of social media for those still trying to get to grips with it.
Social networks have truly come of age in the last year. No longer viewed as lonely outposts for youthful college slackers, the reach of these platforms has grown exponentially. Today, more than two-thirds of the world’s Internet users visit the social networking sites that reel in billions of eyeballs every 24 hours.
Coca-Cola is giving its Facebook fans an advance look at its twin Super Bowl commercials, and also using the social media platform to put its "Open Happiness" theme into action by enabling users to trigger charitable donations and pass "virtual gifts" on to friends. Starting now, each virtual Coca-Cola gift and commercial sneak-peek triggers a $1 donation by Coca-Cola to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Gift recipients receive a special Coke bottle image that is displayed on their Facebook page and newsfeed to feed the viral gift-giving dynamic.
The great and good from the world of social media met Wednesday at Davos and agreed their medium still hasn't reached its full potential, with one speaker joking that the really cool stuff wouldn't happen "until we're dead." This is a frightening prospect when one considers how much our digital and real lives have blurred already. Seven of the 15 most trafficked Web sites in the world are social sites, according to George Colony of Forrester Research, a technology specialist.
A new eMarketer report shows that the number of Baby Boomers embracing social media, especially Facebook, jumped drastically between 2008 and 2009. In its Boomers and Social Media report, eMarketer takes a look at social media adoption among different generations. Results showed that while the percentage of Millennials maintaining a social networking site profile was fairly consistent from 2007 through 2009, the same cannot be said of Baby Boomers’ social media usage.
Pepsi is putting its Super Bowl ad dollars to work by helping communities and bypassing TV spots in the game. Coca-Cola is doing the same -- but using its Super Bowl advertising as a hook. During a press event at the Dunlevy Milbank Boys & Girls Club in Harlem, Coca-Cola detailed plans to donate up to $500,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with half of the money raised through a Facebook program linked to the Super Bowl.
There's no such thing as real-time search. Without the context behind the status updates on Twitter and Facebook, the characters and words strung together in semi-quasi-sentences reflect a bunch of data points -- or garbage in an endless chain of gibberish. Now that Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others have figured out a way to make the Internet come alive as events happen, the next challenge will become filtering the garbage that real-time search creates.
It seems that everywhere you turn, businesses, media properties, and brands are asking us to connect with them in the social Web. Whether it’s on TV, in press materials, advertising, or email, brands are vying for our “friendship.” In July 2009, Bill McCloskey in partnership with StrongMail, analyzed the email marketing campaigns of top brands and how they integrated social profiles into the marketing presentation. McCloskey observed that top brands were reviving email campaigns with the inclusion of links to social profiles, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and also MySpace.
In 1999, the personalised “My Yahoo” homepage won a technical achievement prize at the Webby Awards in San Francisco. A decade later, however, the family of websites devoted to news, entertainment, finance and sports content is struggling to keep up with its web rivals Google, Facebook and Twitter.
In December 2008, global consumers spent an average of just over three hours on social networks. In December 2009, they were spending over five and a half hours on average. An increase of 82%. According to The Nielsen Company, social network sites have grown in importance globally in 2009. Alongside blogs, they are now the most popular category online when ranked by time spent on site. The survey (which looked at the US, U.K., Australia, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) shows not only that overall time on site has increased, but also that the global audience for social networking has increased.
Almost three years ago, I wrote a piece on Facebook's monetization strategy. At that time, Facebook was rumored to be valued at $10 billion with revenues of approximately $150 million--a level that clearly did not justify the valuation. Since then, Facebook has executed well and built up real, sustainable revenue models around its application developer network. I cannot help thinking, though, that my strategy advice to the company from three years back still remains valid. So, here it is again, folks. Listen up!
I don’t know if you’ve ever asked yourself the question from the title, but we’re about to get an answer. AFP writes that five French journalists have agreed to lock themselves in a farmhouse in France for five days, where they’ll write news based only on what they read on Twitter and Facebook. The rules are: no smartphones, no web surfing. They will be given cellphones that cannot connect to the internet, but from the story it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to verify the news they see on Facebook and Twitter (probably not, as the experiment would make little sense then).
Social media has a loyal tribe of disciples. We follow each other on Twitter (Twitter), connect on Facebook (Facebook), read each other’s blogs and listen to each other at conferences. We provide each other moral support and though we are a minority, we have religion and we are here to change the world (I’m not joking). Most importantly, we share stories. These stories are all about finding common ground and building a defensible position on the what/why/how of our new orthodoxy; what is “social”, why you need it, how it actually works and how you measure it.
When I learned that Mark Zuckerberg effectively argued that 'the age of privacy is over', I wanted to scream. Actually, I did. And still am. The logic goes something like this: * People I knew didn't used to like to be public. * Now "everyone" is being public. * Ergo, privacy is dead. This isn't new. This is the exact same logic that made me want to scream a decade ago when folks used David Brin to justify a transparent society. Privacy is dead, get over it. Right? Wrong!
The growth of social services enables us to share an ever-increasing granularity of our lives with complete strangers who opt in to sample our updates. From traditional blogging to Twitter to location sharing services, and now, Blippy (which displays my purchases online and lets me follow others' spending habits), I can live my life open and transparent, letting you know what I like, what I do, where I go, and how I spend my time. In parallel, we are also asking businesses to be more open. Thanks to SEC regulations and Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as best practices, we expect public companies to tell us how much money they have, how much profit they made, where they made that money, how many employees they have, how much they intend to make next quarter, and a blizzard of other things that fall under the guise of information.
Nike is giving us their taste in mobile marketing with True City, an iPhone app with the tagline ‘Making the hidden visible.’ It combines social elements with current mobile technologies to create a next-gen city and travel guide for six European cities.
About a month ago, we’ve heard reports that MySpace and Facebook aren’t quite the archenemies they once were; on the contrary, MySpace was to implement Facebook Connect, which meant that users would be able to log into MySpace with their Facebook credentials.
Kristiauna Mangum, 22, a senior at Ohio State University in Columbus, said she always had a flair for makeup, but never considered it a professional calling. Then she heard about a pilot college program offered by Avon’s little sister brand, Mark, two years ago. “My mother was an Avon Lady, so I thought, huh, maybe becoming a Mark Girl could really be the way to go,” she said. Now Ms. Mangum is the sales manager for Mark at Ohio State, and manages 155 other Mark Girls who roam the dormitories and sorority houses, selling Mark beauty products and fashion accessories for a commission in the range of 20 to 50 percent.
Brette Borow is the President and Founder of Girls Guide To, the “ladies only” guide to life, and spends most of her days engaging with the community’s over 140,000 members. There are over 56 million women using Facebook in the United States, and for marketers this means one very important thing –- if you have a brand, product or company that targets women, Facebook is the place to be.
Social Media impacts every business, every brand, and in doing so, connects a network of distributed communities of influence, making the world a much smaller place in the process. Small businesses are in fact at an advantage in Social Media Marketing as they can focus on hyper-local activity that can offer immediate rewards or at the very least, the real-time feedback or lack thereof says everything about next steps.
My, how the digital times are a-changin'. We're downsizing to small screens, friending the world, thinking in 140 characters and downloading -- dare I say -- "billions and billions" of apps designed to make everything we do simpler, faster and more convenient (well, we think). And so, only days into 2010, it seems fitting to take a big look over my shoulder (and even into the mirror) and affix labels and buzzwords to our curious stampede to the social media and mobile future. Here's my top 20.
Vitamin Water’s latest flavour, launching in March this year, was developed and named by the brand’s Facebook fans. The black cherry and lime flavoured drink will be called ‘Connect’ and one Facebook fan, Sarah from Illinois, won $5,000 for her role in developing this new product. The competition was interesting and unique in that it used Facebook fans to develop all aspects of the product.
Though Google’s social strategy has been catch-up at best to date, the company does have a master plan — at least according to engineering director David Glazer, whom I spoke with last week at Google HQ. He said across a variety of products, Google wants to make it valuable and easy to harness social information. In 2010, Google plans to expose and elicit more of the social network built into the tools that many of us already use — Gmail, Google Talk, etc. If you use Google products, the company already knows who your most important contacts are, what your core interests are, and where your default locations are. Glazer said to expect many product and feature launches that start to connect that information in useful ways.
I spend a great deal of time working within the B2B sector, among other things, and social media is a growing and or pervasive program within a comprehensive, integrated communications and service strategy. In almost every scenario I’ve encountered, executives, marcom and service executives, and brand managers have generally assumed that social and interactive activities and programming were ideally best suited for consumer applications. However, as we recently explored, in Social Media, it’s not just business, it’s business-to-business.
When Vitamin Water decided to let Facebook users create a new flavor we had no idea that the final product would pay homage to Facebook in so many ways. The new flavor, announced today, is called “Connect” (as in Facebook Connect?) and even carries the Facebook logo on the bottle label.
In 2009, digital marketing experienced major shifts in opportunities, budgets and attitude. Twenty ten will see the hype calming around Facebook apps, Twitter campaigns and ROI models for social media. The following five trends point up what marketers can expect as the new decade opens.
Facebook is quite the colorful place today. An odd meme — bra color status updates — has made its way around the network, but no one really knows how or why the what-color-is-your-bra meme took off. In case you haven’t seen it yet, women (and some men) are posting single word updates with the color of their bra, hence the barrage of “black,” “red,” and “nothing” updates from your female friends. But who’s actually behind the bra color campaign, and what they’re trying to accomplish, remains a mystery. Speculation, however, is running rampant
Procter & Gamble is taking a nontraditional tack to help Tide, the best-selling detergent in America, fend off challenges from lower-priced rivals as strapped consumers continue to ponder practically every purchase. An image campaign for Tide, now under way, eschews the brand’s long-time pitches celebrating its ability to get clothes clean. The most recent such ads, which began appearing in 2007, carried the theme “Tide knows fabrics best.”
As the flame of 2009 flickered into the history books, Facebook celebrated its rise to 350 million users and certain dominance in the U.S. social networking market. However, in December, analysts questioned whether or not Facebook was losing its cool as time spent on the popular social network dropped three consecutive months among 18-24 year old users. Experts feared that the “family effect” was having a negative impact within this highly coveted demographic.
A September 2009 MarketingProfs survey of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers found that the marketing tactics most often used on social sites are not necessarily the best ones. The most common marketing tactic used on Facebook was attempting to drive traffic to corporate materials through status updates, followed by friending customers.
Facebook's begun testing a system that's in vogue at the moment: Using its own users as a data-crunching system. Nothing terribly new there--except that Facebook's using its crowd to actually moderate the rest of the crowd and stamp out the nasty bits, which is a whole new ethically-intriguing level It's called the "Facebook Community Council" and according to the group's motto it exists to "harness the power and intelligence of Facebook users to support us in keeping Facebook a trusted and vibrant community." This all sounds very lofty, very un-dictatorial and much more hippyish, power-to-the-people than Facebook sometimes seems, with moves like its blanket decisions on user-privacy.
One of the most compelling aspects of the location-based service Foursquare is that they are increasingly enticing users to check-in to venues by partnering up to offer special deals to those who do. A person who checks-in at a coffee shop and shows the barista, may get a free coffee, for example. It’s a win-win for both the service and the venue because it gets people using the app more and gets people visiting the venue more. But what if users and venues go around Foursquare and start using Twitter for that?
Most people think of the grand challenges in computing as big science projects, like simulating nuclear explosions or protein folding. But with the holiday shopping season just ended, consider another: retail marketing.
Contrary to popular belief, Twitter wasn’t the only story of 2009. Facebook skyrocketed to over 350 millions users in 2009 and continued its rise to global pervasiveness becoming one of the top visited sites on the Web. As aspiring digital anthropologists and sociologists, we thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the trending topics readily available for review and analysis on Twitter. On Twitter, trends are defined and shaped by the shared interests published in the form of status updates that suddenly congregate and rally. To close 2009, Facebook assembled its top trends to give us insight into the posting and conversational trends connecting social graphs. Per Facebook’s year end post announcing the top status updates, we’re introduced to Memology, the study of how ideas, events, and information transform into memes and trends inside Facebook.
If LinkedIn Corp. wants to avoid being swamped by social-networking giant Facebook Inc., it will have to convince users like Jackie Nejaime to log in more often they do now.
The recession has caused many savvy shoppers to gravitate to the do-it-yourself (DIY) category, but another level of consumer involvement is also growing: design-your-own (DYO). Keds, for example, is not only encouraging their customers to participate in the design of their own shoes, but the brand is also including them in the promotion and sales of the DYO products, effectively making consumers business partners.
The coming January issue of Technology Review features an important article discussing if cloud computing is secure enough for broad public use. ‘Security in the Ether’, written by David Talbot, brings to light some of the serious technology concerns from cloud based applications including Gmail, Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Talbot interviews security and cloud experts, some who agree that our data and information is too vulnerable in the cloud, and the standards for business and public use are not secure enough.
Facebook, the popular networking site, has 350 million members worldwide who, collectively, spend 10 billion minutes there every day, checking in with friends, writing on people’s electronic walls, clicking through photos and generally keeping pace with the drift of their social world. Make that 9.9 billion and change.
Condensing The Economist’s thoughtful articles into 140-character bursts may challenge the synthesising skills of its reporters. But that this most established of media organisations should embrace social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook shows the value that publishers and broadcasters attach to them.
Among the seasonal songs that radio stations play before Christmas is the 1949 pop hit “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” A retailer is introducing commercials that reminds shoppers just how cold, wet and uncomfortable it can get outside -- and just how enjoyable that can turn out to be. The commercials are the first that the retailer, REI, has ever run on television. They are part of a holiday campaign that also includes radio commercials; print and online ads; direct marketing; e-mail messages; signs in stores; presences on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; search-engine marketing; and ads on the REI Web site.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 25-year-old chief executive, is finding out first-hand what it is like to reveal a bit too much about himself on the internet. Since the social networking website began revamping its privacy settings on Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg has made much more of his personal information available to all of Facebook’s 350m users. Once private pictures of him hugging his girlfriend, drinking from a plastic cup next to a keg of beer and shirtless at a pool party, are now doing the rounds on gossip sites. Facebook graphic for ICN Similar scenarios are playing out across the globe as Facebook’s users are prompted to reset their privacy settings, and encouraged to make more information available publicly.
We are witnessing a profound change in the media and advertising industries due to the emergence of social media. Companies that did not exist ten years ago, like Facebook and Twitter, have captured significant share of the attention economy from traditional publishers. Underscoring this trend is the fact that at the same time that Businessweek was selling for less than $5 million (plus assumption of debts) to Bloomberg, Foursquare’s pretty cousin Gowalla drove up Sand Hill road and collected $8.4 million for a minority stake. Amidst this disruption, media companies are chasing after “their” audience in order to continue to broker the attention of that audience to marketers. But just at the moment that media has mastered the art of blogging, search engine optimization and CPM yield management, they are now faced with a new set of consumer behaviors that elude their programming faculties: mobile devices, location-based services and the social graph.
Privacy groups are assailing Facebook after the world’s largest social networking website made changes to its privacy settings this week. The changes allow users to apply more specific privacy settings to the content they post on the site. But many of the default settings mean that, unless users follow a prompt to go in and change their settings, they end up sharing most of their information with everyone on the internet.
You In? Yahoo wants to know. This week Yahoo launched, the “You In?” campaign, which asks users to “create a ripple of happiness” by performing a random act of kindness. Visitors to kindness.yahoo.com can update their Yahoo status with charitable acts and encourage friends to participate in the spirit of the holidays. The campaign incorporates Yahoo’s photo sharing property Flickr, where users can upload photos of their generosity. In the spirit of giving back, Yahoo also encourages individuals to donate to Network for Good, Global Giving, and DonorsChoose.
It was not exactly a rousing chorus of “Happy Days Are Here Again,” but the predictions for next year by three forecasters of advertising spending had Madison Avenue smiling, however faintly, on Tuesday. The predictions all called for an increase in worldwide ad spending in 2010 compared with 2009, which by most measures will end up as the worst year in decades. Still, there were caveats, among them an expectation for a less robust recovery in the United States than in other markets and continued weakness in demand for ads in print media like magazines and newspapers.
Google’s search results pages will never be the same. In an effort to secure the lead in its quest for dominance in “real time,” Google recently announced exclusive feed deals with Twitter and Facebook, delivering a punch to Microsoft which had just announced advances of its own in the social media realm of tweets and updates.
Once the darling of the proprietary online services industry, AOL was fresh with promise, offering an ever-changing array of content, features and services to eager users. Looking back, its early days were marked by system outages, usability nightmares, functionality break downs, and bugs. As both a business and personal user of AOL, I remember clearly that many of the early features offered to businesses were immature, insufficient and frustrating to use. This improved over time but posed many short-term hassles for those in the Digital Marketplace for years. This is where we are with Facebook today.
Unveiling significant changes to its dominant search engine on Monday, Google said it would begin supplementing its search results with the updates posted each second to sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. As part of its much-anticipated entrance into the field known as real-time search, Google said that over the next few days its users would begin seeing brand-new tweets, blog items, news articles and social networking updates in results for certain topical searches.
Chefs and restaurants have become reliable subjects for reality television series. The drama! The conflict! The recipes! So it should not come as a surprise that a campaign is offering diners a peek at a new eatery through a live video feed. An ad campaign for the D’Amico Kitchen Osteria and Bar is offering diners a peek at a new eatery through a live video feed.
In a rare open letter, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a series of privacy changes, starting with the removal of regional networks. Since its inception, Facebook (Facebook) has been based on networks. First, it was your college and university, then it was your city or region, and now it’s a combination of those plus companies and institutions. However, Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will be removing regional networks in the next few weeks, but will ask all users to review their privacy settings before the change occurs.
Online video continues to capture the attention of producers and viewers, with the market as well as industry leaders, leading us into a more pervasive form of video entertainment, communication and education. With YouTube quickly transforming from a user-generated video network into an invaluable repository for content, the associated behavior for creating, uploading, discovering, and watching online videos is evolving. What many have yet to realize are the effects YouTube has aroused. It is where many online experiences begin and end.
The Web is changing before our eyes. Traffic to almost every major media and portal site has been in a free-fall since September 2008, according to Nicholas Moerman, a planning intern with Proximity in London. This begs the question: If we are spending more time on the Web, not less, just where did our attention go? The answer is, unsurprisingly, social networking sites. According to Moerman's analysis, they buck the trend. Social networking is on a tear. Other than Google, few sites loom larger today in brokering traffic and attention flows than Twitter and Facebook. The New York Times reported recently that Twitter will soon become one of its top 10 traffic drivers. Facebook alone grabs 25% of the entire Web's page views, according to an analysis by Perry Drake of Drake Direct.
The iPhone is a cultural icon of the digital age. Apple's "There's an app for that" slogan in commercials is even repeated both as a punch line and a nod to the ubiquity of new applications on the so-called "Jesus phone" platform. Many top brands have tested its waters. Coke has two iPhone apps, as does Nike. Procter & Gamble has several, including Tide's Stain Brain, which helps consumers find ways to remove stains. All are searching for the secret formula that will unlock the promise of mobile marketing: a utility or piece of entertainment that is with consumers at all times.
Welcome to The Big Money Facebook 50, a ranking of the brands that are currently making the best use of Facebook. Various metrics—including fan numbers, page growth, frequency of updates, creativity as determined by a panel of judges, and fan engagement—were factored into each page’s score and ultimate rank on the list.
As we’re learning, many updates on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are actually invitations for answers regarding brands. We’ve also discovered that 44% of users readily share brand-related information with others. And, as action speaks louder than words, 48% of those who came into contact with a brand name on Twitter and 34% on other social networks went on to search for additional information on search engines. Does this information in and of itself serve as an invitation for brands to engage? Most likely not. The invitation is delivered in the monitoring dashboards of those actively monitoring relevant conversations. Opportunities reveal themselves and also introduce a point of entry.
Facebook Inc. took steps to solidify the control of founder Mark Zuckerberg and other existing shareholders in the event the social-networking company goes public. The closely held Silicon Valley firm, emulating one of Google Inc.'s well-known strategies, established a dual-class stock structure that would increase the voting power of Mr. Zuckerberg, who is the company's chief executive, and other existing shareholders if they hold onto their shares during an IPO.
The Swedish town of Malmo is a wonderful place. Some feel it is wonderful because it is the spiritual home of a band that was once cool, the Cardigans. But now all committed social networkers will think Malmo is wonderful because of its IKEA. You see, the Swedish purveyor of fast-food furniture decided to open a new store in Malmo and didn't really have a lot of money to let people know about it. So it engaged a rather outre advertising agency called Forsman and Bodenfors to create a rather special launch campaign.
The internet offers an endless buffet of choices. And that supply of content choices is far outstripping demand (our attention). As a result, each of us is going to have to make choices about what we consume and when. Today we're increasingly electing to allow Facebook to dominate our attention. According to a recent study released by Drake Direct, the social network now accounts for 25% of all page views on the web. Facebook is also rapidly closing in on Google, the top site in terms of visitors. Tomorrow another site may emerge, but I expect these two powerhouses to continue their dominance for the foreseeable future. Google and Facebook know how to combine algorithms and friends in clever ways that surface relevant content that we care about right when we need it.
As Second City moved down to fourth in its failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics, President Obama elected to use a sports metaphor to soften the blow. Noted the First Chicagoan upon his return from Copenhagen, "You can play a great game and still not win." Looking ahead to 2010, marketers will need steadfast agility just to stay in the game, much less to hit the finish line ahead of the competition. Here are seven ideas, wrapped in Olympic glory, that should deliver the gold.
Here's something I've been thinking about for some time now. You see, there is this company. It publishes over a hundred RSS feeds and several email newsletters, but not a single blog. The only conversations this company entertains are the ones it starts itself or is subpoenaed into. Conversations it doesn't like, it tries to silence.
The Future of the Social Web is here today and we’re learning that engagement is not a matter of if or when, but to what extent, how and what value can we deliver and derive from it. The Social Web is much more than a window into information and interaction, it is a completely transformative medium that is changing how we forge relationships, interact with one another, and distribute and discover information. In many ways, the online social revolution is reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution. Access to free and expansive media platforms and distribution channels has democratized influence and shifted the power of authority from those who previously controlled the media to those who disseminate it.
Kelley Blue Book is a popular resource for car buyers, who flock to its Web site for car reviews and information. It is also important to car companies because Kelley Blue Book shares important details about its users--the brands and models they're considering, the price points, where they live, etc.--with its advertisers. The tit-for-tat data trade Kelley uses is becoming business as usual on the Web. From travel site Kayak.com to eBay--with lots of third-party trackers in between--most online companies are mining consumer data and sharing it with marketers and data firms so that ads for diapers, cars, credit cards and airfares are served up to the people who are most likely to buy them.
Get ready for Starbucks Holiday 2.0. The brand is going big in social media this year, having learned that its consumers want to participate in a variety of ways. So Starbucks is pulling back from its Thanksgiving TV buys of the past two years to focus on where its customers already spend time online and drive them into stores.
There is an almost overwhelming number of options on the social web for businesses to create and participate in communities. You hear a lot about Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter (Twitter) communities, and even LinkedIn Groups; but businesses have another option when looking to build a community online that’s often overlooked despite having nearly 40 million users: Ning. Ning allows businesses to create their own off-site social network for their brand’s community, and participate in existing conversations with the communities they are looking to engage. Here are 6 ways businesses can put Ning to work.
You had two options if you wanted to hang out with Digg founder Kevin Rose at the Web 2.0 Expo conference this week: head over to the lobby bar of the trendy Standard Hotel on Monday night, where Digg was picking up the tab for several dozen of the city's blogger elite; or pack into Manhattan Center Studios on Tuesday night along with about a thousand other young, predominantly male New Yorkers for a live taping of Rose and co-host Alex Albrecht's "Diggnation" video show. Those are, after all, the two Diggs. There's Digg the company, the name that first put "social news" into the mouths of New York media both old and new, the BusinessWeek cover story that established the shaggy-haired Rose as digital media's poster boy, the start-up that was once talked about as a huge acquisition target for the likes of Current Media, News Corp., and even Google amid CEO Jay Adelson's coy insistence that it wasn't for sale. But then there's Digg the brand: haven for the wackiest of the Web, with a front page dominated by anything Apple, oddball science, insidery tech and politics news, and the latest YouTube sensations. It's a dual identity that seems to be tough for the industry, or the five-year-old company itself, to reconcile.
Social media has appeared because the web is here and people are talking to one another online, consumers create content without needing media intermediaries and as a result are free to talk about products, brands, ideas and society. Consumers now expect companies will conduct a dialogue with them online. Companies like Dell, Comcast and Zappos have changed customer expectations about what it means to reach out to a company for the simplest of requests or the most complex of complaints. Instead of calling a call center on their time, the consumer simply writes a blog post, Facebook update, or tweet anticipating a company will respond. To write well in social media is not about being the most polished writer, or a creative copywriter, rather the skills that are needed to succeed are an ability to listen, be empathic, admit mistakes where necessary, and take a stand knowing the customer is not always right. Online, the good writer is outpaced by the good conversationalist.
In the Matrix, Morpheus presents Neo with a choice: he can take the blue pill and continue his somnambulatory existence within the Matrix, or he can take the red pill and become free from the virtual reality that the machines created to enslave humanity. As you can see from the clip above, Neo chooses the red pill, severing his connection to the Matrix and regaining his free will. Everyday, when you fire up your browser and type in some arbitrary URL in the browser’s address bar, you are taking the red pill.
It could be that everyone will figure out how to play nicely with each other, and we'll see a continuation of the interoperable web model we've enjoyed for the past two decades. But I'm betting that things are going to get ugly. We're heading into a war for control of the web. And in the end, it's more than that, it's a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we're facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill. And it's time for developers to take a stand. If you don't want a repeat of the PC era, place your bets now on open systems. Don't wait till it's too late.
To successfully promote a business through social media means walking the finest of fine lines. To market without intruding, to advertise without offending; these things are not easily done. This week, I was thinking about online marketing opportunities using Facebook. And nowhere is the line finer than on Facebook. On that platform, you need to entice your audience to become fans, use your apps and share your content.
All the incessant chanting of new media's Greek chorus notwithstanding, 2009 revealed two emergent facts about the promise of social media: first, it's not really "social," and second, "media" is its least important quality. Instead, the opportunities it presents arise from what goes into it, and what comes out of it. Ignoring these inputs and outputs are its downside, too.
We’re starting to see an interesting by-product of cool social media tools emerge: Research pulled from user data. One such effort, a new study released by SocialTwist, makers of the content share widget Tell-A-Friend, reveals some interesting facts about how people share information online. You can see the report in its entirety on the SocialTwist website.
You've probably heard by now that "your brand is no longer yours." The assertion's based on simple math. In the era of blogs, discussion boards, Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 tools, virtually everyone can get online and talk about your company and its offerings. As a result, the amount of information your marketing and PR departments can generate is only a small percentage of the total volume of content on the Internet about your firm. What's more, if some of the external voices become as popular, or perish the thought, more popular than your official voice, then they're going to show up high in organic (as opposed to paid) search results.
There's no question these four revolutionary developments have forever changed the marketing function. Word-of-mouth has now become word of finger. A key difference: Word-of-mouth leaves an invisible trail in the ether. Word-of-finger leaves an electronic trail on the internet. In the past, nobody paid much attention to word of mouth, even though by some estimates it accounted for a majority of brand impressions. Today, however, the visibility of word of finger has mesmerized the marketing world.
In the ongoing saga of paid content on the Web, Rupert Murdoch is once again threatening to pull his Web sites from Google's search results. In a Sky News interview posted online this week, he said "There's not enough advertising in the world to make all the Web sites profitable. We'd rather have fewer people coming to our Web sites, but paying." Meanwhile, social game maker Playfish, with estimated revenues of up to $75 million from selling virtual goods in its games on Facebook and other platforms, has been acquired by Electronic Arts in a deal worth up to $400 million. The company is not alone in turning virtual goods into gold: Playfish rival Zynga reportedly brings in over $100 million in revenue (a proportion of which, admittedly, is driven by schemes in which users receive virtual currency when signing up for questionable special offers). Even The New York Times is heralding the "real paydays" being delivered by virtual goods on Facebook; such stories run counter to the common wisdom that social networking sites are difficult to monetize.
Are crises predictable? That's what most economists are thinking about these days. The great Hyman Minsky spent a lifetime building a model of macroeconomic crisis, striving to do exactly that. I spent an afternoon building, presented for you here, a tiny model of microeconomic crises: how industries crash and collapse. Our subject? Why media just might be the new Wall Street.
GAP is celebrating the coming holiday season with glee — or perhaps that should be “Glee.” Television advertising for the Gap division of Gap Inc. — its first commercials for Christmas since 2006 — takes the expression “holiday cheer” literally by featuring energetic young people performing as singers and cheerleaders. There is even a special Web site (cheerfactory.com), which is to go live on Thursday, where visitors will be able to send customized versions of 10 fanciful cheers to friends and family through e-mail messages, Facebook and Twitter.
Websites are social creatures. Or rather, their users are. In turn, the websites you visit are tempered by the users that interact with them. Your experience with a website, say facebook.com, is directly linked to the people with which you interact on that website. But this introduces an interesting challenge for a user experience designer: do you design for the intial experience or the resulting experience?
Bing and Google recently announced partnerships with Twitter and Facebook to provide elements of real-time and social search to their respective search engine results. On the surface, this probably blew past most business owners and marketers as not much in the way of being important. If the information is online, aren’t Bing and Google supposed to find it? And, frankly, the partnership has some interesting implications, but isn’t phenomenally noteworthy … yet.
Looking ahead to 2010, marketers will be facing Olympic hurdles that will require steadfast agility just to stay in the game, much less to hit the finish line ahead of the competition. Here are 10 ideas, wrapped in Olympic glory that should deliver the gold.
Any news organization’s web site can get a story picked up by popular sites such as Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Digg, or even Fark, resulting in a bump in page views. But that’s a traffic anomaly. A key metric media companies want to grow is their local audience, because local traffic is where the money is. “Local advertising pays the bills in most cases and local advertisers want to reach people who can actually come to their stores,” said Serra Media CEO Mark Briggs, author of “Journalism 2.0,” and the upcoming book “Journalism Next,” in an e-mail interview. “And, as national news has become a commodity, local news is the differentiating factor most local news operations are emphasizing these days. Or, at least they should be.”
Until August, Honda had been reticent about using social media platforms in a big way. The company had a MySpace page for the Element, and started dabbling in Facebook with the Fit compact car and, more recently, the Insight hybrid. Then, this year, Honda told its agency, Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA, that it needed a plan to talk about Honda's core values but on a tight budget. Thus began the Facebook-centric "Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda" effort launched in August without ad support. Last month, the Torrance, Calif., automaker added traditional media directing consumers to Facebook. Ads show real Honda owners talking about themselves and their cars in sliding pane-like frames that go from one owner to the next. Each owner is somehow connected to the previous one.
You know social media is a powerful tool for business when a grocery store attracts more Twitter followers than pop star Lady Gaga and almost as many as Miley Cyrus, whose departure drove her 2 million fans to make #MileyComeBack a trending topic for more than a day. If Whole Foods Market ever followed suit, its 1.5 million registered fans would surely start a virtual food fight.
Sometimes, we overcomplicate things by being worried about the technology part of it. Twitter and Facebook and blogs and mobile apps aren’t all that fancy. They’re just an unknown, and so people are worrying how they’ll do what they know how to do by other means with these new tools. Yes, it takes some new understanding, but at the end of the day, marketing hasn’t changed a lot. Think about the Four P’s of Marketing:
On Monday, Burberry introduced a social networking site, artofthetrench.com, to encourage people to share their own trench coat stories. It is the latest step by Ms. Ahrendts and her creative director, Christopher Bailey, to build on the brand’s British heritage and trademark plaid with a more modern twist. “It’s our differentiator,” Ms. Ahrendts said. “It’s not so different from what competitors do. Maybe one was born from shoes and another from luggage; we come from a coat. It’s our job to keep that category hot and cool and relevant for all ages.” The step reflects a broader move by luxury goods companies, which have generally failed to figure out how to sell their wares online. Indeed, many have shunned the Web, seeing it as mostly a place for bargain hunters to search for knock-offs or counterfeits.
The conventional wisdom is that brands should mostly concentrate on listening rather than talking in social media. This may not be totally accurate. Publicis Groupe digital shop Performics has found consumers are actually quite receptive to direct response-style product offers on social networking sites like Facebook. "Companies need to look for ways to do classic push marketing," said Michael Kahn, svp of marketing at Performics.
Question: Google has it, Hoover has it (in the UK anyway), TiVo had it, lost it and has somewhat got it back. Xerox had it, but nobody really cares anymore. So what is it? It's when a brand name becomes the verb associated with its use. So rather than searching, you Google, or TiVo when digital recording a television show. Arguably an even more powerful synonym is when a brand becomes a noun, such as Polaroid, for instant developed photographs, although that didn't end so well. The newest one would seem to Facebook, although it has two meanings.
Facebook is getting old. No, people aren't getting tired of it, it's actually getting old, as in its population is aging. In May of 2008, the median age for Facebook was 26. Today, it's 33, a good seven years older. That's an interesting turn of events for a site once built for the exclusive use of college students. So where are today's college students hanging out now? Well, to some extent, they're still on Facebook, despite having to share the space with moms, dads, grandparents, and bosses. Surprisingly though, they're also headed to another network you may have heard of: Twitter.
Have you noticed that most conversations about branding inevitably include references to Harley-Davidson and Apple? Sprinkle in mentions of Coke, Facebook, and Zappos, and you get the context of every agency pitch for more spending on brand engagement, loyalty, or whatever else these examples might suggest. I suggest you ban these references from your next conversation. Forget about them altogether.
As more and more brands are moving all of their ad spend online, defining how influence affects their return on investment is necessary and must be done as soon as possible. While some are making inroads to define these calculations many are overlooking the fact that influence affects everything. Without factoring in the real issue of different types of influence you run into a number of problems, for instance focusing on one group of influencers over another or getting broad sweeping numbers instead of knowing exactly how effective your time and money has been spent on the proper target. One thing that usually doesn’t sync up here is that these online influencers with large followings are not the offline influencers.
We live in the most hyper-connected time in the country's history; and yet we exist in a constant state of disconnection. While Apple, BlackBerry, Twitter, Facebook, LimeWire, Match.com, Fresh Direct, and Amazon are well-designed, convenient, and address specific needs -- and for the most part work well -- they are also responsible for the undeniable erosion in the kind of personal interactions we used to take for granted during the course of a regular day.
In a recent meeting at Facebook HQ, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Facebook is opening it’s doors to share roadmaps, data, and it’s experience. This strategy shifts attention towards Facebook.com as a sole destination, and towards a distributed network to the open web. Looking deeper, these impacts should shape your corporate web strategy as you re-allocate resources for application development, prepare for Social CRM, and prepare your corporate webpages to become “Facebook Fan Page” enabled.
Depending on how you see it, social software is either all the rage or so 2008. You know the stuff: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare.... There's no talking about the web these days without it—that's for sure—but social software tools are quickly becoming an integral part of the way we run our day-to-day lives. It's not just in the consumer space, either. Companies and large organizations are catching on to the benefits of social networking and improved collaboration tools. They want their intranets to be more like Facebook. They want to use crowdsourcing to leverage employee perspectives and wikis to help people help themselves. They want Twitter for the organization, (or at least they think they do).
You there, you who dressed as a sexy panther this Halloween, and are now clicking through the weekend’s photos on Facebook. (The ones of you clutching a vodka and snarling like a kittycat are particularly nice.) Your boss, your exes and your mother are probably looking at them this morning, too. What’s a hungover cat to do? There’s an app for that. Not an iPhone app, but a Facebook application from the detergent brand Wisk. Wisk-It, which will be formally introduced this week, promises to help get rid of objectionable photos.
Yes, there's a bit of a circus going on with real-time search, and a new player seems to appear weekly. Meanwhile, we get predictions of how Google and Bing had better do something soon with it -- or else. Let's try to rein it in a bit, starting with, just what is real-time search? You know what web search is -- do a search, get web pages. Image search? Search, get images. So real-time search gives you -- real times?
In a Times Square studio last Thursday, actor Ed Norton was interviewed as part of a Diet Coke promotion. The interview was beamed live to billboards in Times Square, as well as on the Diet Coke Web site and banner placements sprinkled on sites like E! Online, Cosmopolitan and Hello. Diet Coke is not the only brand going live to garner attention. Marketers including Burger King and Adidas are warming up to real-time Web content, mirroring a shift in digital media away from asynchronous communication and content delivery (e.g., the sending of e-mails and watching posted videos) towards instant feedback and interaction. Upping the ante for these marketers are real-time systems like Twitter and Facebook, which mix content delivery with communication, making something hours' old seem stale.
Viral marketing — the technique of wrangling word-of-mouth to create a buzz around your product or idea — has been a powerful tool since the first caveman started the first rumor. Spreading the word person to person is the stuff of Avon dreams — and Bernie Madoff nightmares. And it requires the confidence to lose control of the message by setting it adrift. The modern age of viral marketing began in the mid 1990s with (of all things) a cultish, childish cable TV show that defined “guilty pleasure” way before Beavis and Butthead. The producers of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the premise of MST3K is almost too ridiculous to articulate) knew immediately they had something viable, new and remarkable, and that their best marketers were the show’s smallish but loyal audience. In those dark days before streaming media, they encouraged the show’s viewers to videotape their copyrighted shows, and pass them along to friends — creating that sought after word-of-mouth buzz.
I spend a lot of time gazing into a crystal ball that I know is going to be cloudy half the time. Lately I have been pondering Facebook's future. Facebook is clearly on a roll and is knocking on Google's door as the biggest site on the web. Will it continue to dominate or see its lead slip? Here are two potential outcomes.
Last week, Facebook did something it had been urged not to: listen to its customers. At the end of last week, Facebook partially rolled back a redesign to its home page newsfeed that had been introduced late last winter. Before March 2009, the Facebook home page presented highlights from a user's friends who were of greatest interest, deduced based on their history browsing Facebook. This was changed into a news feed made up mainly of status updates in real time, which gave the site a Twitter-like feel.
A U.K. firm is set to launch a camera to capture every moment of a person's life. While you may reel at the privacy implications, I'd wager that the high price of not capturing and sharing every moment of our lives will soon dwarf the cost to our privacy.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd most populous country on earth behind China and India - but now Facebook thinks it can play Switzerland and lead a push for world peace. I'm not so sure that's a good idea. Facebook and the Persuasive (no, not pervasive, persuasive) Technology Lab at Stanford launched what they call the "dot peace" campaign today. There's reason to pause before enthusiastically supporting the effort. There are other ways that Facebook could make the world a better place and there are some reasons why the company deserves caution more than trust when it comes to its political agenda.
People don't get to choose their mothers -- at least until now, thanks to Kleenex. The Kimberly-Clark Corp. brand is offering mass-customized mothering to a nation gripped by H1N1 angst via GetMommed.com, where visitors can choose from among eight moms either directly or via Facebook-style quizzes. The unusual effort is the centerpiece of the iconic brand's cold and flu season marketing campaign this year.
Open source, open access, open standards, open architecture — all are part of why so many have fallen in love with Facebook, Firefox, WordPress, and — I’ll say it because everyone else is saying it — Twitter. They’re all flexible platforms, invite user opinions, and enable co-development and co-creation to varying degrees. The “open web” and its underlying set of technologies have indeed made a big impact on how we interact and engage with online properties, sites, social networks, and the like.
Kodak, this week, will hit the airwaves with its first new brand campaign since 2005. Beginning Oct. 31, the imaging giant will tell consumers “It’s Time to Smile” through a series of TV and Web ads. The campaign aims to focus on the moments and relationships that define people’s lives.
During General Motors' financial meltdown this year, politicians, corporate executives and journalists piled on to gripe about the auto-maker's business. Most of the chatter was expected, admits Christopher Preuss, GM's vice president of communications. What surprised company execs was the number of bloggers and social media hounds who chimed in to grouse about the car-maker and its vehicles.
As major events unfold, Twitter, Facebook and other similar services are increasingly becoming the nation’s virtual water coolers. They spread information quickly, sometimes before the mass media do, and their ricocheting bursts of text and links become an instant record of Americans’ collective preoccupations. It’s no wonder, then, that pundits and investors are salivating over the prospect of an effective way to search this information. Twitter, of course, has its own search engine. But others with names like OneRiot, Collecta and Topsy are also vying to become the Google of real-time search.
In August, Honda quietly launched an official Facebook page, themed "Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda," to recruit fans of the brand. Owners are encouraged to join as overall Honda fans as well as fans of a specific model, and to learn how they are connected to friends, family members and other owners around the world. Visitors can upload photos of their cars or link up to owners of their favorite old Honda.
Back-to-back deals on Wednesday to make the company’s steady stream of posts available to Microsoft and Google’s search engines may point to a potential new source of cash. How large, however, is not known. The terms of the deals were not disclosed and Evan Williams, Twitter’s chief executive, said in an interview that revenue was “not the focus of the deals.” Microsoft said it did not plan to put ads on its Twitter search service for now, and Google said ads might appear at a later date. The deals represent the latest evidence of the intense interest in what is known as the real-time Web — the constant stream of posts and updates on Twitter, Facebook and similar services. Unlike traditional Web pages and blogs, that real-time information has not been easily integrated by search engines.
Can social media sell cars? Ford Motors seems to think so. Fresh off the Ford Fiesta Movement, the American car maker is announcing another social media initiative designed to once again combine the passionate voices of happy Ford owners with the distribution opportunities made available through social media channels. Fusion 41, part of the Ford Drive One campaign, is a brand new challenge and campaign seeking 8 passionate 2010 Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid owners with an active social media presence.
A recent study by industry group the Participatory Marketing Network has unearthed some surprising data on Gen Y behavior. Apparently, the members of this young demographic (ages 18-24) would rather give up their social networking accounts before they would abandon their email. Given that this generation is typically viewed as "plugged in" digital natives who don't have any use for email, the study raises many questions. Have the previous reports about Generation Y's disdain for email simply been wrong? Or has Gen Y grown up a bit now and has learned the necessity of the medium?
For years in the automotive industry, marketers have known that getting someone to actually purchase a car depends on much more than the features and latest gadgetry. No one buys a car solely for the face detection alert software - though certainly something like that can influence the decision. What really sells those cars, though, is a person's prior experience with a brand and the opinion of others that they trust when it comes to experiences with the car or brand. Word of mouth and prior experience, those are at the top of the list.
And actually get to the heart of things. The touch of a human hand is always welcome. Yet it is what scares people the most. All kinds of push back and walls have been built to rationalize, compartmentalize and control the most basic of needs - that to connect with another human being. Yes, I'm also taking about social media environments. It's time to start mingling with the rest of the world - and do/create something. Doing business is a way of connecting, that of the current economic model and context. While it would be nice to think about intrinsic value, we use money to buy groceries and pay rent - business today equals earning money.
Social media advertising has stumbled in its current form, and needs new choreography. That’s the blunt message that media consultancy Media Link has for MySpace. Media Link has been advising MySpace since August, following a major executive shakeup at the troubled News Corp. unit. That message might as well be aimed at the entire social media landscape, which generates a disproportionate amount of ad impressions but commands such low prices that some in the industry even speculate it could hinder an expected online advertising recovery.
If marketing is about conversation, then the least conversational move is taking legal action to protect your brands. In a world of constant chatter, lawsuits can actually serve to cause the damage that the legal action was meant to prevent. In recent weeks, two German companies discovered this. Neither are megabrands, but both are quite successful and have a devoted customer base that spreads that acts as advocates.
So what links are Twitterers actually clicking on? Based on a user sample released Friday by Chitika, an online ad network, Twitter users most frequently accessed links directing to information about current events and news (28.49 percent). The sample consisted of about 974,000 impressions collected from Sept. 1-7.
Fed up with a barrage of letters that arrived at the FCC last week from net-neutrality opponents (or lawmakers urging a cautious approach toward the new rules), a coalition of Internet companies are urging the FCC chairman to hold steady. “We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation and global competitiveness,” a group of 24 CEOs and Internet company founders wrote in a letter to be delivered to the FCC Monday in support of the proposed net-neutrality rules.
The attention dashboard is rapidly emerging as the online hub for sharing and discovering information, connecting us to people, content, and events in real-time. According to research, we’re already spending more time in social networks than we are in email. New studies are only fortifying these findings, documenting an increase time spent specifically in Social Media and blogs. In fact, the Nielsen Company reports reports that time spent on social networks and blogs accounted for 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet in August 2009. Most notably, but not surprising, however, is that this discovery represents nearly triple the percentage of time spent using Social Media just one year ago.
Image is everything to luxury fashion companies. Preserving prestige is what sets brands such as Gucci and Hermes apart from Gap and H&M. But that same elitism is keeping certain luxury brands from engaging in social media, one of the most powerful forms of marketing at the moment. Luxury fashion companies are known for setting trends when it comes to their products, but their media preferences are surprisingly dated. Most prefer to simply buy ad space in publications where they can present--and control--their image in glossy two-page spreads. While traditional media will remain an important advertising vehicle for high-end fashion companies, social media needs to be part of the marketing mix too.
PepsiCo has found itself at a crossroads regarding its now infamous “Amp up before you score” iPhone app. The NC-17 rated application offers pick-up lines, strategies for picking up married women, a scorecard for sexual conquests and other edgy content. After PepsiCo received complaints that the app reinforced stereotypes about women, the company tweeted an apology as well as posted an explanation on Amp’s Facebook page. Still, the app remains available much to the disdain of some. “The app hasn’t been pulled so the apology is disingenuous, is it not?” said Lynne Johnson, svp, social media for the Advertising Research Foundation. “It’s time to pull it and go back to the drawing board.”
Web users are far more willing to share personal information with marketers via e-mail than on social networking sites, according to new research commissioned by lead generation specialty firm Pontiflex. The new study, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that just 12 percent of online adults have been willing to share information like their Facebook user name or their Twitter handle with a brand in exchange for information or promotional offers. However, a whopping 96 percent of online adults who have actually taken the step of providing brands personal information have shared their e-mail addresses with marketers.
When you want an answer to a question, you want it now, which is why the social Q&A service Aardvark first launched as an IM client, then via Facebook, then Twitter. Only today is it opening up its Website as a general social search engine. And it’s just a much better interface than the command-line-reminiscent prompts in the IM interface. You still have to sign in or sign up for the service, which sends your question to people in your extended social network (usually on Facebook, but also Gmail or Hotmail contacts) who are also on Aardvark. In the IM client, this results in a somewhat annoying back-and-forth, interspersed with tips from Aardvark about what text commands to use to unleash more functionality (see bottom screenshot). On the new Website, you simply ask a question, and it goes out to find answers, which are then displayed in logical groupings.
Honestly, categorizing human behavior and activities in social networks by financial status appears incomplete and almost insular. If we are learning anything in the study of and participation in social networks, it’s that individuals are forming networks that traverse across multiple social networks – and, they will continue to do so, forming one larger, expansive human network in the process. We’re bound by context and interests and it’s why psychographic data overcomes demographics when assessing how to best reach, engage, and galvanize the people who define our communities online.
With so many advertising dollars flowing onto blogs, Facebook and Twitter, it is not surprising that the Federal Trade Commission, which is charged with protecting consumers from sneaky advertising, has turned its eye on this new medium. Spending on consumer-generated and social-networking sites reached $1.01 billion in 2008, up 25 percent from 2007, according to PQ Media, a research firm. It is expected to grow about 20 percent this year. Much of this advertising is clearly labeled. But a lot of it is paid advertising masquerading as bona fide endorsements by celebrities, well-known bloggers and even ordinary people — honest comment, free from pecuniary considerations.
A new survey conducted by Citibank shares some disheartening news: "Few U.S. small businesses have adopted social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for business uses." The survey states that "three-quarters of small businesses say they have not found sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn helpful for generating business leads or expanding business." (The survey was done with 500 U. S. businesses with under 100 employees each.) I admit to being dismayed by the small number, but not necessarily surprised.
Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over. In its place, a new generation of services is starting to take hold—services like Twitter and Facebook and countless others vying for a piece of the new world. And just as email did more than a decade ago, this shift promises to profoundly rewrite the way we communicate—in ways we can only begin to imagine. We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.
With Halloween upon us, I thought I would partake in the festivities by channeling Washington Irving. This is a scary, yet realistic, story called "The Tale of the Headless Media Company." Once upon a time, we would browse from site to site, visiting each online media palace one at a time. But suddenly, the supply of information outstripped demand. The "destination web" died, and in ushered an age of "media brand agnosticism." No longer could media brands hope that if they build it, we will come. The next great media company will need to be all spokes and no hub. Yes, I am saying that media companies can exist without having their own website, or head.
Last week on Facebook, amid the cacophony of status updates, many men received a cheeky invitation -- "Turn up your man smell" -- from a hopeful new friend: Old Spice. The Procter & Gamble brand was running an ad on the social networking site hoping to increase its 55,000-strong Facebook fan base. By today, Old Spice boasted nearly 175,000. Brands are finding themselves in a position similar to that of the new kids at summer camp: they're anxiously looking for friends. In the world of social media, the potency of a person's network has always been key. Now, this virtual popularity contest has been joined by advertisers, who are scrambling to build fan bases they hope to mobilize on behalf of their brands.
As Facebook passes 300 million active users, it is quickly becoming the favorite engagement-marketing and communications platform of brands. While the robust social platform brings with it abundant opportunity, it also brings new challenges. Brand marketers and their creative agencies are more than ever operating in new territories, forced to rethink their tactical marketing approach and understanding of what metrics matter in this space. On Facebook, consumers and brands are friends. The notion of consumers as friends is inviting to brands, yet most marketers are still somewhat unclear what this really means and how they should approach this friendship. As such, the remainder of this article aims to unlock some of the secrets to a successful friendship between a brand and a consumer on Facebook.
I know it's all PC and cool to say that numbers don't matter. Number of fans, followers, readers of your blog -- none of that matters. It's all about just writing and sharing great content because that is the core of social media. [dramatic pause while I hug myself] Personally, I disagree. I think it's easy to say numbers don't matter when you have 30,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 fans on Facebook or an email list with over 100,000 readers. And it's easier to fall prey to that thinking and not challenge it, poke at it and see if well maybe... it's flawed somehow. I think numbers do matter for two reasons.
It seems that everyone is excited about social networks. But not quite in the same way as Harvard graduate student Erez Lieberman, whose evolutionary graph theory is encouraging people to think about social networks in a different way: as an evolving population. Lieberman developed the theory with Harvard mathematics professor Martin Nowak, who helped to lay its foundation through the observation that while most of evolutionary theory deals with populations that have either simple shapes or no structure at all, the world around us is full of evolving systems with all kinds of internal structure – whether it's the networks of cells present in the human body or the social networks that occur in cyberspace.
Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the website as the dominant digital channel in the brand’s communication tool kit? This question has been the focus of much discussion recently as statistics over the last three years show a significant decline in unique users to the websites of prominent brands. And while the number of website visitors declines, the number of people visiting social media and networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter increases dramatically.
It's been said that everyone has a double somewhere in the world. Now Coca-Cola is testing that theory with a new promotion for Coke Zero inviting people to find their own doppleganger via Facebook. The Coke Zero Facial Profiler app on Facebook invites users to upload their photos to a database the beverage giant is compiling to match people's faces using "next gen facial recognition technology." The Profiler effort continues the ongoing campaign theme that no-calorie Coke Zero tastes just like the real thing.
Nielsen offers a blog post that shows the various ways that people discover content online. Search is at the top, followed by “portals” (which feature search boxes); at the other end are blogs and social networks. However Nielsen argues that certain categories of people are increasingly social media tools as content discovery sources.
The power of social media marketing is that it is immediate and direct, allowing brands to engage customers in a real-time dialogue, but it's important to beware of the short window during which your message remains relevant (an hour, a day, a week) in each of the social media channels such as blogs, Twitter, and social networks. Think of message relevance in terms of "half-life" and durability. The half-life of a social media message is the time it takes for the message to begin losing relevance. The durability of a message is how long it takes for it to fade completely from view. If you give this concept careful consideration, you can create the right messages for the right audiences based on your predictions of how long the messages will last in each channel. Match the social media message and its expected duration to the appropriate online channel, and over time, your audiences will come to expect different types of communications from your brand on each channel.
History is littered with good ideas that didn’t work out because they were ahead of their time. Tablet PCs didn’t work out a decade ago, but with technology advances, they’re poised to make a comeback. Microsoft’s local information web site Sidewalk.com was a bust in 1997, but now sites like Yelp and Google Maps offer local information that many people couldn’t fathom living without. This week we saw the release of the highly anticipated Google Wave. It’s been touted as both an email killer and a Facebook killer. In short, there’s a lot of hype, and while Wave may prove to be a huge success, I think one thing it potentially represents is a great opportunity for Facebook.
I just got my Google Wave invite. No, I’m already out, so I can’t send one to you, sorry. But this service is way overhyped and as people start to use it they will realize it brings the worst of email and IM together: unproductivity. See, the first thing you notice is that you can see people chatting live in Google Wave. That’s really cool if you are working on something together, like a spreadsheet or a Word document. But it’s a productivity sink if you are trying to just communicate with other people. It also ignores the productivity gains that we’ve gotten from RSS feeds, Twitter, and FriendFeed. What do I mean by that?
Google last night invited 100,000 people to become the first users of its latest internet tool which aims to rival email, Twitter and Facebook. Google Wave allows a limitless number of internet users anywhere in the world to have instant conversations and share files. The service combines aspects of email, instant messaging, social networking and web chat and is aimed at friends catching up with one another and business partners sharing documents.
At the D&G runway show in Milan last week, the chief executives of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman were relegated to second-row and third-row seats. In front of them, sitting primly in the first row, was Federico Marchetti, chief executive of online retailer Yoox.com . The moment—coming as the super-sexy women's styles for next spring pranced down Milan's runways—marked a shake-up in an ultra-hierarchical world. The privileged treatment of a digital-media figure showed that luxury fashion is ready to introduce styles to the public in new ways—new, at least, to this old-fashioned industry.
Social Networks are among the most powerful examples of socialized media. They create a dynamic ecosystem that incubates and nurtures relationships between people and the content they create and share. As these communities permeate and reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another, we’re involuntarily forcing advertisers and marketers to rapidly evolve how they vie for our attention.
I was being interviewed as an expert by an ad agency the other day to help them with their client project and started to talk about how you would choose to text message certain pieces of information rather than make a call to say them. I’m not too sure if I gave agency the sound-bite they were looking for but it got me thinking a little about how we reserve the use of different platforms for different types of communication and it’s understanding this that might help us work out how to manage our information overload and even tackle texting while driving. In my interview I said that you’d never phone someone to say where you were going to be. You would text it because it’s a piece of information that wants to be consumed quickly and possibly referred to later. It will also definitely reach the respondent. A telephone call takes much more time to make, records nothing and there’s a good chance the person at the other end might not pick up.
Congratulations, you have a million friends. But what's it getting you? Marketers have worked hard to make friends online, but the benefits have been elusive at best. The real juice is word-of-mouth referrals from trusted sources, but you can't tap into that with a sledgehammer. Red Robin, a casual-dining chain that focuses on premium burgers with outlandish toppings and sweet, frothy drinks, recently asked its customer-satisfaction vendor to help drive social-media buzz. Empathica, which handles surveys for Red Robin among other brands, had recently developed GoRecommend, an application that asks consumers if they'd like to post a recommendation on their Facebook page when they seem to have had a particularly pleasant experience. In short, it's addressing a challenge many brands are trying to tackle in social media: how to turn passive fans into real brand ambassadors.
About two-thirds of Americans object to online tracking by advertisers — and that number rises once they learn the different ways marketers are following their online movements, according to a new survey from professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley. The professors say they believe the study, scheduled for release on Wednesday, is the first independent, nationally representative telephone survey on behavioral advertising. The topic may be technical, but it has become a hot political issue.
With two-thirds of marketers using social media, and retailers shifting marketing dollars towards social initiatives, it comes as no surprise that new research from the e-tailing group and PowerReviews shows that brands are more hip to social media than ever before. What is quite remarkable, however, is the extent at which brands and retailers are adopting and implementing social media tools, and their preferred social home — Facebook. According to eMarketer, a combined 99% of surveyed online retailers currently employ (86%) or plan to employ (13%) Facebook Fan Pages.
Last night Hulu continued their partnership with Facebook to allow people to watch the premiere of highly anticipated Fall TV shows such as Heroes and The Office with their Facebook friends through a "social TV" app. With this latest effort, they are trying to popularize a concept that has been talked about among the techno-elite for some time ... the idea that people could watch programming in a live stream online with friends and have a real time conversation about it as it was happening. In preparation for this blog post, I was all set to register for the event on Facebook and login at 8pm to watch the premiere of The Simpsons with any of my Facebook contacts who happen to be also watching it live. Unfortunately, that plan failed. My personal failure, however, offers a glimpse for marketers into what the true potential of social TV might be - and why there is so much skepticism and debate about whether it constitutes a real revolution in the world of entertainment, or is just another solution for a nonexistent problem by an industry increasingly desperate to find new revenue models.
Obsessed with Facebook? You're not alone. The hours you spend logging on to update your status, post photos, and make comments on friends' walls is not simply a "phase" you're going through which will end sometime soon. It's a ongoing trend affecting everyone these days and it has serious implications for the online advertising industry. According to new figures from Nielsen, the amount of time spent surfing social networking and blogging sites had tripled since last year, suggesting "a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used," says Jon Gibs, VP of media and agency insights at the company's online division.
Although Smartphones come with a multitude of Web capabilities, consumers are more often than not using these mobile devices for social networking. Social networking usage on Smartphones has skyrocketed by 187 percent to 18.3 million unique users in July 2009, per Nielsen. The increase, which nearly tripled the 6.4 users million seen in July 2008, allowed social networking sites to account for 32 percent of all Smartphone activity during the year.
Traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics are a great for both small and large bloggers and publishers. However, traffic data can only tell you so much. As conversations surrounding blog posts start to take in place other places (Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed etc.) and people use tumble blogs like Tumblr and Posterous to quickly comment and share helpful information, tracking that data and its correlation to overall traffic numbers can become really, really helpful. For smaller publishers or bloggers, getting all of this information in one place can be difficult. Today, PostRank is publicly launching PostRank Analytics as a way to capture social engagement and traditional metrics all in one place.
It’s hard to justify the time spent on social media account management. But there are ways to measure the real value (monetary or otherwise) of fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter. These top two social media websites offer free advertising, an open customer service and communication platform and a demographics database all wrapped up in one, so knowing the value of fans and followers can be a big help when deciding how much time should be allotted to social media efforts. Here are some of the ways to measure how much Facebook and Twitter users are really worth.
Twitter, Facebook and the many other social networks that have emerged are reminding us exactly how small the planet is, and how seemingly mundane or personal issues (where you live, what you feel) have all kinds of ramifications. While Facebook is busy increasing our awareness of other people's lives around the world, it stamps on globally sensitive nerves with one apparently very simple question: where do you live?
Every day, legions of new web sites appear, each competing for eyeballs and dollars. This presents an acute problem for companies. As consumers are presented with a vast array of online campaigns vying for their attention, businesses are grappling with the best way to target and engage them. Many are increasingly adopting an aggressive web-based strategy around sub-branding. So that rather than plaster the internet with, say, glossy blue-and-white logos, Ford, the motor company, is creating online communities for each of its vehicle lines.
Some of the most iconic companies of our time -- Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter -- attracted millions of users practically overnight, by unleashing what's known as a "viral-expansion loop." In plain English, they grew because each new user led to more users. The trick is that each of these businesses created something people really want and then made it easy for customers to happily spread their products for them to friends, family, and colleagues.
Facebook Inc. plans to announce a deal with online measurement company Nielsen Co., in a step to address advertisers' frustration with measuring how ads perform on the social network. Under the partnership, Facebook will begin polling its users about some of the display ads it runs on its site, such as a banner promoting a movie release. Facebook will provide that data, including responses from those who didn't see an ad, to Nielsen, which will package it for advertisers, say the companies. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is planning to introduce the product, called Nielsen Brand Lift, in a keynote address at an advertising conference Tuesday and to pitch it to marketers this week in New York.
Social media can be an incredible tool, both for producing and consuming incredible amounts of information. Over the last few years, there is no question that an unprecedented change has taken place, putting tools for publication and discovery in the hands of everyone – from simple text to photos and video. Social media tools are changing businesses in terms of how they can connect with customers, partners, peers and even the competition. But the non-stop promotion of the tools and, yes, the individuals who think they are “experts” is getting a little overwhelming. I believe that social media activity, be it Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, blog comments, Flickr, SlideShare or any other service, is part of the infrastructure. It is quickly becoming part of everything we do – both for our work lives and for personal lives.
The New York Times Co. has big plans for Twitter. The venerable news organization is exploring plans to build search products that can sift through thousands of Twitter feeds and pull together commentary on specific topics. According to Martin Nisenholtz, svp of digital operations at NYT Co., the company has built such a product for its popular fashion-themed blog The Moment, which aggregates Twitter commentary from both editors and readers related to the high-end fashion world.
CNBC's Advertising Week summit on how marketers connect to consumers could have been called "No, really, we love TV!" The discussion was intended to be a free-roaming exploration about consumer passion, authenticity, and marketing challenges in a world that has little trust for business. But the gravitational pull of Facebook (whose COO Sheryl Sandberg was, appropriately enough, seated dead center) kept the conversation on social media. The apparent subtext that TV might need to get its affairs in order wasn't lost on host Becky Quick, co-host of CNBC's "Squawk Box" show, who rhetorically asked more than once whether she would have a job next year.
Pepsi is targeting a somewhat overlooked demographic—African-American moms—with a digital community where such consumers will be asked to share personal and inspirational thoughts. The effort, promoted across various media with the tagline “We inspire,” will serve as the cornerstone of Pepsi’s African-American marketing outreach for 2010. Pepsi is aiming to build buzz for Pepsiweinspire.com via Facebook and print ads, in Essence and Black Enterprise, featuring actress Taraji P. Henson reflecting on the love she has for her mother.
What happens when a social media strategy takes off faster than expected? TGI Friday's found out this month when, after just six days of media support, its new marketing character, Woody, achieved a Facebook promotional goal expected to occur over almost 30 days. The momentum swell that initially buoyed the brand online, in fact, threatened to drag it down -- until some quick thinking helped save the day.
This is the marketer's and researcher's dream. Reconciling the natural tensions that challenge and befuddle brand planning: * Feelings & Facts * Sentiments & Statistics * Qualitative & Quantitative * Focus Groups & Surveys * Subjective & Objective * Why & What * Art & Science I'll admit, when I first heard about Google, Facebook, and Nielsen studying, decoding and monitoring language and chatter on the Web and "listening to conversations," the consumer part of me got a little bit of the creeps (Big Brother idea). On the other hand, the market researcher part of me was excited about the all the possibilities.
Will social networking giant Facebook kill search giant Google by sucking up advertising dollars? In the short term, the answer is clearly no. Longer term, that answer is very unclear. I chatted with nearly two dozen people who are buying ads on Facebook. Many of them are also purchasing ads on Google and other online venues. The overwhelming sentiment? Facebook ads are actually more effective and do a better job of getting them in front of their target audiences.
This is a no-brainer, right? Because we all know you create the strategy first, then find the tactics that help you best execute that strategy. Right? But. So many companies are jumping on Twitter and Facebook (for example) because they are the 'hot' sites of the moment, and/or because they think they need to be there. They use these sites for a couple of weeks, then realize they have absolutely no idea what's going on. That's when I get the 'we started using Twitter/Facebook but really have no idea what we are supposed to be doing with it' email.
In my opinion, online social networks have three distinguishing features: 1) They have profiles that enable people to express their identity 2) Ability for people to connect to these profiles 3) To be successful, there’s a greater value created by a group of people sharing than as individuals who do not. This week, Facebook announced it has ballooned to 300 million users, far more than MySpace and certainly Twitter. Yet, I want to assert that Facebook isn’t the largest social network, email is.
According to recent analysis by the Online Publishers Association (OPA), more people than ever are spending their time online visiting content sites which provide news, information, and entertainment. Despite the emergence of social networks, and in particular the rapid growth of Facebook, it's content sites which engage web surfers' attention the most these days - time spent on these sites is up 88% from only five years ago. That's not to say social networking community sites haven't grown too, it's just that their growth hasn't come at the expense of content. Instead, people are using traditional communication sites and services (think webmail, IM, and discussion groups) less and less and choosing to use Facebook and other social networks instead.
Here’s a piece of advance information from the Michelin guide for New York City 2010: 18 new stars will be awarded to restaurants. Michelin is rigorously tight-lipped about the information in its guides until they arrive in stores, and requires similar discretion from its reviewers, who are anonymous. But in this Facebook era, when privacy and anonymity seem like vestiges of a bygone time, Michelin is making itself a bit more accessible as it prepares for the New York guide’s fifth edition, scheduled to be in stores on Oct. 6, and San Francisco’s fourth edition, scheduled for Oct. 20.
Twitter users on Thursday will, for the first time, be able to make voice calls directly to each other through the microblogging service. A new third-party offering from Jajah known as Jajah@call is expected to go into beta Thursday morning that will allow Twitter users to initiate a two-way voice chat with other users by typing "@call @username"--where "username" is someone's Twitter ID--into any Twitter client. During the beta period, the company said, the calls will be limited to two minutes, but the company will evaluate that length during beta. However, it sees the two minute period--after which the call will end--as "the verbal equivalent of a tweet."
Scratch Facebook from the list of web 2.0 startups that don't make money: The world's largest social network said today it has become profitable. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook had crossed the 300 million registered-user milestone and that it had become "cash-flow positive" in the second quarter, ahead of schedule. Previously, Facebook had said it was targeting profitability "sometime in 2010."
Imagine for a moment that tomorrow everything blinked off. All sense of normalcy gone. No Internet. No phone. No electricity. Nothing. But darkness. What would you do? Well, if you're not throwing yourself out of a window in panic or looting the local electronics store (duh), your next step would be to start doing whatever is necessary to survive. Things like hunting for food, finding water and gathering firewood. But then what? Well, you’d probably reach out to others. That’s right, you’d turn to your network.
Within moments of shouting "You lie" at President Barack Obama during his speech last week to a joint session of Congress regarding healthcare reform efforts, Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, became the latest hot topic on the Internet. Almost instantly, the relatively obscure Congressman became the top search on Google, Yahoo Search and Bing. His name dominated tweets on Twitter and became a top topic of posts to news streams on Facebook. The blogosphere erupted. His even less-well-known political opponent, Democrat Rob Miller, an Iraq war veteran who is running for Wilson's seat in the 2010 election, got his own online impact: as of last Friday, he had received $750,000 in unsolicited Web-based campaign contributions, according to Politico.com.
If the ongoing social networking revolution has you scratching your head and asking, "Why do people spend time on this?" and "How can my company benefit from the social network revolution?" you've got a lot in common with Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski. Only difference: Piskorski has spent years studying users of online social networks (SN) and has developed surprising findings about the needs that they fulfill, how men and women use these services differently, and how Twitter—the newest kid on the block—is sharply different from forerunners such as Facebook and MySpace.
Taking another page from Twitter, Facebook is giving users the ability to "tag" friends and Facebook Pages in status updates and posts using the "@" symbol as with mentions on the microblogging service. Facebook has long allowed users to tag photos, videos and notes with friends' names. The latest step extends the popular feature for identifying and referencing people to other parts of the social networking site.
For most businesses, being part of the social-media evolution is no longer a new opportunity; it's a necessity. And yet for many, one of the most basic elements of a successful strategy seems dangerously undercooked: the "what?" What exactly is this currency we're now wielding? What are its different forms, how do they travel, and do we have a real understanding of them? What makes the content we're creating socially, culturally and distinctively relevant? For multicultural audiences, this is an especially crucial consideration. For the growing "non-general market," social media means much more than just Twitter, Facebook and blogs. It includes a wide range of content and channels, paths to entry more nascent than the staid mediums and content we're all familiar with.
Online shoppers trust the online reviews of strangers more than the recommendations of their friends, new research finds. "Conversations Among Consumers," a new report from online retail marketer Ripple6 and the e-tailing group, finds that shoppers buying products on the Internet are influenced both by online social networking sites and face-to-face conversations with friends. But when it comes to whose opinions influence the shoppers, strangers have as much if not more impact than friends.
Is every Tuesday Fat Tuesday for marketers on Facebook? According to new data from social media services provider ViTrue, that's the day of the week when click-through rates are highest on content posted on the walls of brand pages on Facebook, at 9.89%. More broadly, the click-through rate on wall posts on marketers' Facebook pages was highest from Monday through Wednesday, averaging 9.72% before dropping sharply to 4.39% on Thursday, and dropping further to 2.67% and 2.7% on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the rate starts rebounding, at 7.63%.
Tweetdeck, the popular, free Twitter client, is expanding its reach to Facebook and MySpace. The new versions of the desktop and iPhone program let you post to all three networks and read feeds from all three, all within the same interface. The big idea here, according to Tweetdeck founder Iain Dodsworth, is to make Tweetdeck a more powerful way to keep up with everything — like a web browser for socially-distributed information, be it news, memes, photos, or whatever.
One thing every venture capitalist knows but rarely talks about is the “revenue problem” with hot startups. When a startup is “growing like gangbusters” as Twitter cofounder Biz Stone told Bloomberg today, they tend to get a lot of attention from suitors. Twitter has been growing so fast this year, they’re getting more attention than they probably know what to do with. And that presents a problem of sorts. The company has to decide whether or not to turn revenue on. It sounds ridiculous, but it is a real decision. Once revenue is on, how the company is valued by the market can change dramatically.
I notice these days that I can spend hours at my computer, in a cloud. A swampy blur of digital activity, smeared across various activities and media and software. Emailing, writing, tweeting, designing, browsing, taking calls, Skyping, Facebooking, RSS Feeding – all blurred into a single technological trance. I seem to switch randomly from one to the other. But actually is there a subtle hierarchy in this cloud? Do I prefer some distractions over others? I think so.
Formula 50 is the Vitamin Water flavor co-created by 50 Cent, a top seller, and a personal favorite of yours-truly. As good as the flavor is, sometimes I think I could concoct something just a bit better. Vitamin Water, no strangers to social media marketing, agrees, so their handing over the keys to their flavor creator lab and tapping into the Facebook community for flavor innovation.
Recently, I discussed the validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. A Stanford study suggested that this might be the case. It seems that the initial research and its supporting data is now emerging to help us further analyze whether or not this is indeed true or merely hypotheses based on the various samplings of individuals who may or may not serve as relevant subjects. I do believe that we are becoming an increasingly social society. It could very well be the era of introversion to extroversion.
eBay announced it was selling Skype, while Disney announced it was buying Marvel this week. Meanwhile, thieves cleared out an Apple store and aliens descended on Google. The People of Walmart discovered their friends were Facebook quitters, and we all got ready to ride the Google Wave. Without further ado, here are the highlights of a topsy-turvy week in social media.
We’ve taken a look at using your blog for good, how to do good on Twitter, and how to change the world in only 15 minutes a day, but what about using other platforms to help social good? Today we’ll look at how you can use the popular social network Facebook to help contribute something positive back to the world. Do you have other great tips for using Facebook for social good?
Facebook used Nokia World, the mobile conference taking place now in Stuttgart Germany, to make a major announcement about the expansion of their Facebook Connect platform. According to Henri Moissinac, head of Facebook's mobile operations, the company is launching a new program called "Facebook Connect For Mobile Web." The Connect platform, which originally launched in 2008, is already available for traditional websites as well as Apple's iPhone. With this update, it can now exist for any mobile platform, too.
Skype's new owners — Silver Lake Partners, Marc Andreessen, and company — are getting a company valued at $2.75 billion (according to former owner eBay) with 405 million users. That's $6.79 per registered user, and a little over five times Skype's 2008 revenue of $511 million. Skype grew by 44% in 2008. So did the sale — in which eBay retains a 35% stake in the company — come cheap or dear? My guess is that the buyers got a good deal because the human voice is our most fundamental communication medium.
Just last week, holding company WPP announced a decline in profits of forty seven percent and indicated there would be more massive layoffs to come. Much is being made of how, in spite of the decline in most ad budgets, the increasing use of the Internet, and particularly social media, will save the ad industries bacon. Sorry guys, it ain’t going to happen. Simply because it will be impossible for online advertising and social media to deliver everything that is expected of it. The stark reality is that advertising on the Internet is not going to grow; it’s actually going to decrease. This is what happened during the dot com explosion ten years ago; this is what’s going to happen this time around (with perhaps the single exception of Google).
When Barack Obama hired John Berry to head his Office of Personnel Management earlier this year, the president did not mince words. “John, we’ve got to make it cool again,” Obama said to his new hire. Many of the nation’s brightest graduates are snapped up by tech start-ups claiming to offer not only high compensation but the feeling of being part of something exciting — not to mention such perks as meals by gourmet chefs, exercise and laundry facilities, haircuts, massages and other amenities designed to smooth the transition from college to adulthood while instilling a sense of loyalty.
There are more than 300 million of us in the United States, and sometimes it seems like we're all friends on Facebook. But the sad truth is that Americans are lonelier than ever.
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Facebook, the online social grid, could not command loyalty forever. If you ask around, as I did, you’ll find quitters. One person shut down her account because she disliked how nosy it made her. Another thought the scene had turned desperate. A third feared stalkers. A fourth believed his privacy was compromised. A fifth disappeared without a word.
In 1994 I had the opportunity to work on the first hotel company website, when we pulled together 64 pages of brochure-ware for Hyatt Resorts. At that point, keyword advertising was years away and it would be another five years before Permission Marketing would be published. As people started to think of what marketing would be like on the Internet, mass marketing was the paradigm they used, because that was what they knew. Looking back 15 years later, our mid-90s view of Internet marketing seems primitive. My opinion: In the future, our current view of social media is going to look similarly primitive, and this time we'll get smart much more quickly.
In a way we are all virtual stock holders in Twitter. We all have a vested interest in its success. Facebook is soon to monopolize the social stream to the same extent that Google has done with search. That is not good for anyone, including Facebook. I have had many discussions with people in recent weeks about the face-off between Twitter and Facebook and also about the high probability of Twitter cutting a deal with Google. When I was asked by Erick Schonfeld at the Real Tiime Stream Crunchup (Video) event about my opinion on Twitter giving Google their firehose feed, I responded that they could do that if they don’t plan to sell their company in the future.
Quick explanation for those not familiar with Facebook Connect. It is a service developed by Facebook that lets Facebook users login into partner sites using their Facebook account and share information with Facebook friends. Basically, a single sign-on authentication solution that websites can use instead of relying on building it for themselves.
Picture this: it's the year 2062 and Mark Zuckerberg, having recently celebrated his 78th birthday, is still, against all odds, running Facebook. The once-invincible social-networking behemoth has seen better days, and financially it's coasting on fumes -- Facebook's 38th round of venture-capital funding is about to run dry -- but no matter. Zuckerberg's still large and in charge, even as competitors eat away at his market share. The problem, of course, is that he never took TCOL -- total consciousness osmotic lifestreaming -- seriously, and now upstarts are using the device-free technology to run circles around Facebook.
From blogger unmaskings to social media bans, it’s been an interesting week in the social realm.
Tom Byron's restaurant, Pink Castle, is shaped like a giant nouveau castle, painted cotton candy pink and topped with blue fairy-tale turrets. The inside resembles an old-fashioned diner with comfy booths, checkered floors, balloons, video games and festive salsa music on the jukebox. Its most famous dish is a Pink Burger. Pink Castle has been such a success for Byron that he says he'd like to franchise it. On Facebook.
I had a fantastic conversation with Frank Eliason, Duncan Riley, and Chris Brogan last night during the Microsoft Windows Mobile Developer event at Chapel in Seattle. We explored the drivers that propel companies into social labyrinths and how they participate, react and in turn, strategically plan (or should) once they’ve arrived.
Put down your guard. It’s about people, not logos. These are the two primary tenets of effective social media. In practice, executing on them requires that you communicate with your customers and prospects across a variety of social media outposts, with significant frequency.
Historically, marketing has been departmentalized in corporations and positioned as a college major. With the advent of social media and our current economic situation, marketing has become a topic that everyone should—and can—care about and have expertise in. Now anyone with an Internet connection and some ambition can develop their own marketing platform, which can be harnessed for both career and financial success.
Championing a future where the dissemination of news is less about distribution deals and more about sharing stories among friends and colleagues, news aggregator The Huffington Post has partnered with Facebook to launch HuffPost Social News. The new platform will allow HuffPo users to interact with their Facebook friends.
Facebook continues to make a series of evolutionary moves in recent months, rather than react to the news, let’s take a holistic look at where the company is headed. I’ve given my perspective to SFGate, now but want to dive into details here. I’ll give my perspective, but as we’ve seen time and time before, the real value is the collective contributions in the comments.
I recently wrote about how, in future, search could greatly benefit on-demand digital television, but the future of search doesn't start there and isn't even that futuristic. I think search is about to undergo a major evolutionary shift that will change the underpinnings of how search works, is used, and is defined.
Twitter's effectiveness as a marketing tool is still up for debate -- but don't tell that to Homer Simpson or Jay Leno. Along with dozens of other TV characters and personalities on a variety of networks, their shows are being actively promoted on the short-form chat network, part of a drive by the major broadcasters to generate awareness and buzz for their new fall schedules.
I've spent a few columns this week looking at innovative usages of social media by big brands. Along the way, I've noticed many companies fail to fully capitalize on these efforts--they are not promoting their Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps and other alternative platforms to their loyal customers as much as they could.
Marc Andreessen is backing a new browser company called RockMelt. Not much is known about RockMelt other than it is being designed by an all-star team (including software engineer Robert John Churchill from the Netscape days) and that it is tied into Facebook through Facebook Connect. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has a screenshot of the sign-in page and speculates that RockMelt is in fact a Facebook browser. Miguel Helft at the NYT leans in that direction as well. It kind of makes sense since Andreesen is on the board of Facebook, but I suspect it is only half the story.
Media companies know that they’re not the only voices in the auditorium –the audience now talks back. They create media, content, and share it directly with each other on social sites —now brands, like Warner seek to embrace them closer. Rather than allow this inevitable social interaction on social networks like MySpace, they want to take it back by launching their own social features.
For years, Facebook and Twitter have maintained a friendly coopetition of sorts, with neither one taking a firm stance against the other. However, if you believe that Mark Zuckerberg does not actively contemplate strategies for either acquiring Twitter or rendering it obsolete, please think about the landscape and monetization drivers that aren’t yet readily apparent to us as everyday consumers. This may seem like the “Social Media Summer of Love,” but in the end, there are billions of dollars and users at stake here.
Starbucks has been racking up accolades in the digital and social media space. As of July 23, the coffee chain surpassed Coca-Cola as the most popular brand on Facebook, with more than 3.6 million fans, per InsideFacebook.com, an independent blog that tracks the social networking site’s developments. It was also named the No. 1 “most engaged brand” in a report published by Altimeter Group last month. These recent feats are the result of Starbucks’ aggressive digital and social media strategy, said Starbucks digital strategy director Alexandra Wheeler in an interview with Brandweek. That's because Starbucks has moved from “experimenting” to actively incorporating and utilizing social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, in its brand marketing plans.
In a world where the real social media players count their subscribers in the tens or hundreds of millions, Friendfeed hardly moves the needle. Mired at a million or so unique visitors a month and facing the likelihood of being crushed to a fine powder when Google Wave hits the streets, Friendfeed's investors and managers decided to take the first convenient off ramp when Facebook came a-calling. By now you've probably heard the specifics, since practically anyone with a keyboard has been breathlessly tapping away since the deal was made public late Monday: $50 million, most of which will be paid in Facebook stock. A nice payday for Friendfeed's small team (and most likely a relief to the company's investors, who must have known Friendfeed wasn't going anywhere as a solo act). But not a vast sum of money for a company that pays a million dollars a month just the keep the lights on. So why all the attention?
Facebook makes a play and acquires Friendfeed, a sharing and aggregation tool that helps people find out what their friends are doing. Read Friendfeed’s announcement, and Facebook’s blog post. A few months ago the Facebook and Twitter deal fell apart, and Facebook knows it must open its community to the open web –not just behind a login in order to benefit from generating revenues through advertising and search advertising. This Friendfeed acquisition make sense as it’s primarily a buy of the talent and team –not so much the website itself.
I've been meaning to post a long-ish rant on the importance of celebrities taking control of their own platforms, but never gotten to it, in part because I'm not that enamored with the incessant selling of celebrity that occurs in our culture. Yeah, I sound like a grumpy old man, but I can't help myself. It bums me out - not because I don't like celebrities, but because the current approach strikes me as driven by short term thinking.
Paragon of Rust Belt manufacturing and an icon since World War II, Zippo wears its American-ness on its sleeve. So does its VP-sales and marketing, Mark Paup, who has spent his entire 15-year career at Zippo and now leads all sales, marketing, design and product development for the Bradford, Pa.-based company. A smoker who rides a Soft Tail Nightrain Harley, you could say Mr. Paup, 44, fits the psychographic of the Zippo consumer.
More than 80 per cent of the largest US advertisers are using Facebook to promote themselves, suggesting that corporate America has embraced the social networking site as a mainstream promotional platform. This marks a striking shift. Companies were initially hesitant to advertise on social networks because users appeared resistant to advertising and there were fears that corporate logos might appear alongside offensive content.
If you are involved in creating digital strategy or working with social media from a professional point of view, you are bound to hear the word “influence” bandied about. Maybe you have been asked to work up an influencer outreach program for a new product. Perhaps you are thinking about commissioning an influencer engagement strategy to help you tap into the pot of gold that the social graph represents. Whatever your reasons, consider this first …
Twitter, the popular microblogging site, was out of service much of the day Thursday as it worked to defend itself against a Web attack, but service appeared to have been restored by late evening. Many of Twitter’s 45 million legitimate visitors were unable to use the service for hours. Analysts characterized the disruption as a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers overwhelm a Web site by sending it a deluge of junk requests, and one suggested the attack might have originated in Russia or Georgia.
The realization of a functional collective conscious is the ultimate outcome of ubiquitous digital communications. Our collective conscious refers to the things we all know, i.e. shared cultural knowledge, beliefs, morals, etc. A functional collective conscious refers to the new wealth of shared knowledge enabled by ubiquitous and instantaneous access to the internet. We are steadily moving towards a reality in which as soon as one person gains a piece of information, every human on Earth gains that piece of information.
A new wave of sophisticated e-commerce applications is appearing on Facebook, a sign that the world’s largest social network could rapidly emerge as a big destination for online shopping.
Procter & Gamble’s Dawn brand is cozying up to social media to drive awareness of wildlife conservation and cultivate an online community of followers. The dish care brand has been linked to wildlife rescue and animal rehabilitation care throughout its 36-year history, but, in a first for the brand, Dawn is actually running limited edition store packaging that asks consumers to help by purchasing a bottle of Dawn.
"It seems like there is always another social network to join or another tool I'm supposed to learn. How can I keep up?" At every talk I give, somebody asks this question. Here's the answer: you can't.
Back in March, I asked people to quit whining about Facebook's redesign. It wasn't that I liked the radical changes the site had made—they were unquestionably terrible. In an online poll that attracted more than 1 million respondents, 94 percent panned the new design. But I doubted the numbers: People always hate when their favorite site is redesigned. Lots of users were probably responding more to the suddenness of the changes than to the substance, and we'd all get over it soon enough. Five months later, I feel vindicated
Twitter cofounders have talked about the importance of discovery in interviews and at conferences over the last several months. This week a new design for Twitter.com went live featuring top tweets and a search box to find more of what you want, but Twitter and many other web companies could improve discovery much more by incorporating other players’ data.
We've gained so much in the digital age. We get more entertainment choices, and finding what we’re looking for is certainly fast. Best of all, much of it is free. But we’ve lost something as well: the fortunate discovery of something we never knew we wanted to find. In other words, the digital age is stamping out serendipity.
Users clicking onto videos links sent via Twitter spend significantly longer watching those videos than those arriving from Digg or Facebook, according to a new study by video stats site TubeMogul. The methodology (below) seems fairly robust, so it may offer a real insight into current Twitter usage: On Twitter you can follow interesting people, not just your friends.
In the last few days we’ve gotten multiple tips about a seemingly new phenomenon on Facebook: people are receiving status updates from people they’ve attempted to add as friends, but who have not yet accepted their friend request. In effect, they’re seeing these users’ status updates without being able to see their profiles — something that hasn’t previously happened on Facebook, at least not until very recently. So has Facebook finally turned on the Twitter-like ‘follow’ feature it promised months ago, which would allow users to start receiving status updates from people they aren’t friends with?
Teens create their identities by defining and redefining who they are -- a constant creative and collaborative process by seeking friends' input and, ultimately, their endorsements. Fashion is one of the key outlets teens have for self expression as well as assimilation. How teens dress signifies many things, from what peer group they associate with to how they want the world to perceive them.
Mark Zuckerberg proudly announced on the Facebook blog this week that the popular social network continues its global dominance jumping from 200 million to 250 million users. To commemorate the milestone, Facebook created a map that visualizes connections and adoption worldwide.
A Canadian privacy commission report released on Thursday says that Facebook breaches privacy laws there. The report, outlined by Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart at a press conference in Ottawa, criticizes the fact that Facebook retains user information after users have closed their accounts.
In the world of social media, scale is everything. Media darlings Twitter and Facebook boast, what, 30 sextillion members? It's enough to cause marketers to practically foam at the mouth.
Late last month, American Airlines launched a social media campaign to register 10,000 New York area "friends" on Facebook. I think the program evidenced a number of neat ideas, though ultimately revealed the limitations of social media as currently defined.
We need to be careful when we talk about digital media, that we don't get the tools mixed up with the behaviors. Obsessing over the significance of one site over another, or arguing the importance of participating on a site while not even considering what you're going to do when you get there or if it's even the right place, is a waste of time.
Sixteen-thousand samples distributed, 3,100 fans professing their admiration and 1,500 product surveys completed. Those are the results from a first-of-its-kind campaign conducted by Splenda for its Splenda Mist prototype, a pocket-size spray form of the sweetener, which has yet to hit the market. Traditionally, marketers in that situation might peddle freebies at grocery stores, embrace street sampling or organize focus groups. Splenda instead turned to Facebook.
To Increase Engagement, Brands to Allow Users To Login With Facebook, MySpace, Twitter In a recent report titled the “Future of the Social Web” we found that we are entering the era of social colonization, every webpage and experience will be social–even if brands choose not to participate.
I just asked my friends on Twitter what their first social network was (see their responses), and most gave a varying degree of responses of web based communities, a few claimed early BBS systems –I didn’t see anyone claim email.
Facebook has won over millions of users from social networking pioneer MySpace. It's becoming more alluring to advertisers, too. Even as overall U.S. advertising spending on social networks declines this year, ad sales are on the rise at Facebook, and the company is gaining a larger slice of the pie at the expense of News Corp.'s (NWS) MySpace, according to a new report from marketing researcher eMarketer.
Facebook Connect is connecting people across the social graph to fresh content and furthermore it’s channeling outside Web events into individual lifestreams. Essentially, Facebook is solidifying its position as not only your primary social network, it’s also a emerging as a central hub for your attention, updates, news, promotion, and enlightenment. Now, Facebook is extending its network to the World Wide Web, allowing brands and personalities who have or will host Fan Pages to embed a widget version of the page directly into Web sites, other social networks, social networks, and blogs. This builds a bridge between the 200 million strong Facebook network and outside visitors to strategically concentrate on promotion and community building.
Do you Twitter? Then you are more interested in sex than the average Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn user. Like LinkedIn? You're more likely to watch soap operas. Favor MySpace? You're probably not into exercise. Which social network you favor says a lot about you -- and you might be surprised just what it says. A new study by Anderson Analytics is helping identify users' likely interests, buying habits, media consumption and more for marketers. The survey studied the demographics and psychographics of both social networkers and non-users and found that "there are definite data-driven segments in the social-networking-site market, both for non-users and users," said Tom Anderson, founder and managing partner.
Imagine for a moment that you're standing on an overpass high above a busy L.A. freeway like the 405 or the 5. It doesn't really matter which. Pick one. In a span of a few minutes literally thousands of cars will speed buy. Some will be loud. Others quiet. Some will be notable, but most won't.
Sarah Palin yesterday announced her plans to resign from the role of Governor of Alaska, leaving the press clueless as to why. Does she plan to retire from politics completely, or is she preparing to make a 2012 presidential bid? Palin is talking to no one…except Twitter and Facebook. In fact, Palin used her Facebook page to criticize the mainstream media for their treatment of her.
Marketers trying to horn in on the conversations happening on the Web are paying closer attention to what many consider the ultimate prize: Facebook's user profiles.
Back in April I interviewed Mark Zuckerberg as part of my research for Wired’s Great Wall of Facebook piece. Here is an edited transcript in which the Facebook founder and CEO talks about the limitations of walled gardens, the evolution of privacy online and why Home Depot should “humanize” itself.
While many marketers are starting to understand that their employees can be their greatest asset, one small barbecue chain has taken it to an entirely new level. Smokey Bones, a 68-unit franchise concentrated in Florida and on the Eastern seaboard, has given some of its employees second jobs -- as its social marketers.
We love to solicit advice. Friends and family can be reliable advisers; fortune cookies, maybe less so. The Web in its glorious abundance could guide every imaginable personal decision, but it is guidance from strangers.
Blogs, Twitter, Facebook: these outlets are supposedly cheapening language and tarnishing our time. But the fact is we are all reading and writing much more than we used to...
The Associated Press' new social networking policy shows, once again, that the news organization hasn't yet grasped the workings of digital media.
Mothers of young children are spending far more time with social media than just three years ago. And most claim that as their personal time diminishes after becoming moms, they end up sacrificing time spent with magazines and newspapers.
The heads of the top U.S. companies might be engaged in the boardroom, but they’re switched off when it comes to social media, according to a new study that said CEOs should be more connected to their customers. Research conducted by the blog UberCEO.com looked at Fortune’s 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs to determine how many were using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, or had a blog — and found they were mostly absent from the rapidly growing social media community. The study found only two CEOs had Twitter accounts and 81 percent of CEOs did not have a personal Facebook page.
Given that Generation Y is often pegged as narcissistic, lazy, having high expectations, craving the limelight, and other such flattering characterizations, one might expect we'd be Twittering as if it were breathing. After all, Twitter is known as a place where people expose the most minute details of their lives--missing the bus, stubbing a toe, toasting an English muffin.
Larry Page should have been in a good mood. It was the fall of 2007, and Google's cofounder was in the middle of a five-day tour of his company's European operations in Zurich, London, Oxford, and Dublin. The trip had been fun, a chance to get a ground-floor look at Google's ever-expanding empire. But this week had been particularly exciting, for reasons that had nothing to do with Europe; Google was planning a major investment in Facebook, the hottest new company in Silicon Valley. Originally Google had considered acquiring Facebook—a prospect that held no interest for Facebook's executives—but an investment was another enticing option, aligning the Internet's two most important companies. Facebook was more than a fast-growing social network. It was, potentially, an enormous source of personal data.
Remember early Jib Jab cartoons where you’d manually upload your own photo and that of your friends? Now, it’s much easier with just a few clicks to Facebook Connect. Last week, I had dinner with Chris Pan (linkedin, twitter), Head of Brand Solutions at Facebook, who pointed me to a new social interactive marketing advertisement for a video game called “Prototype”. Upon accessing the site, Prototype Experience, (try it for yourself) you’ll be prompted to login with your Facebook account. After a rather lengthy loading period (it’s worth it, hang tight) you’ll watch a short teaser trailer.
What if you combined existing face recognition software with access to Facebook and other social network sites on a mobile device?
Facebook's targeted advertising program is "materially different from behavioral targeting as it is usually discussed," Chris Kelly, the social network's chief privacy officer, said in remarks prepared for a Thursday morning hearing before two House subcommittees.
Things are moving very quickly now, in fact I was pleased to learn about these contextual ads from my new friend Corey Brien in SF yesterday. In my latest report “The Future of the Social Web” we pointed that in the near future we’ll start to see web pages dynamically created based on user profile ID in social networks. Essentially, your corporate, media, or ecommerce site could provide contextual media, content, and advertisement based on users’ info before they login.
MySpace has fired 30% of its workforce, or about 400 people, just as parent company News Corp. scrapped a $350 million plan to consolidate it in a new office with the other components of Fox Interactive Media. Most of the business coverage sites blame falling advertising sales and traffic gains by Facebook. As you may know, News Corp. is busy implementing a strategic overhaul to combat these two issues, having recruited a new CEO for all its digital operations from AOL (an expert in falling ad sales), and one for MySpace from Facebook (adept at prompting visits that make it no money).
Since Facebook started giving out customized Web addresses like facebook.com/yourname last Friday, some 9.5 million people have rushed to grab their top choice. On Twitter, public fights have broken out over so-called impostor accounts, like those that should probably be in the hands of Kanye West or Bank of America.
Facebook is testing a realtime search engine for users’ news feeds that will challenge Twitter search, the company revealed on its blog today.
One of the key findings from the very popular report The Future of the Social Web (which has been translated into over a dozen languages by the community) is that identity technologies like Facebook Connect, OpenID, as well as existing identities will soon colonize the web, making every webpage a social experience –even if they don’t choose to participate.
While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.
This week’s social media news was dominated by three stories: the launch of Facebook Usernames, the activation of Twitter Verified Accounts, and the announcement of Apple’s iPhone 3G S. Mashable brought you all this news, including live coverage of the Usernames launch from Facebook HQ.
Social media is everywhere and for a lot of businesses they approach it likes it’s the magic wand that’s going to be the savior to their business. When you begin to talk to them, usually the conversation starts like this. “Can you help us with that Twitter thing and that Facebook thing, not to mention it’s vital if you can produce for us one of those viral videos. Second, this has to help our business look hip and cool and last but not least, we don’t have the time to really be involved in any conversations.” The other component that comes out in this conversation isn’t just what they want, but also what they don’t want. I’m still amazed when I hear the fear factor about the potential of negative comments being made about their brand or products. Which I wonder, if it’s really fear about negativity or it’s fear of being in a conversational space and having to deal with negative feedback.
YouTube has just enabled a new feature that allows users to directly share their recently uploaded videos to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader. This means you’ll be able to syndicate your newly uploaded content directly into your friends’ feeds. You can link your accounts on YouTube’s ‘Upload’ page.
There’s been a hell of a lot of chat recently about exactly how you can make money through social media. So far, the only ones cashing in have been the founding principals when they sell off a fraction of their site to a traditional media company, which immediately gives them an insane valuation in the billions. Right now the situation smacks of the late nineties, dot com “Field of dreams” model. The one that said if you build it they will come, then we’ll start making dumpster loads of money by selling lots and lots of really shitty and intrusive advertising on the site. It didn’t work ten years ago and billions of dollars worth of VC money went down the rancid tubes of hundreds of short lived Silicon Valley start-ups.
In the brief history of Web sites, there are few if any second chances. Remember Friendster? That's why it's difficult for some industry observers to see a comeback for MySpace, the large online social network that has seen its popularity flatline and its hipness surpassed by younger sites like Twitter and Facebook in recent months.
With the Internet’s ability to empower individuals, social media platforms have become powerful forces for change and community action. Social media interconnects millions of people at any given point providing everyone with a megaphone that can be heard far and fast.
Considering the magazine-heavy resume of The Daily Beast founder Tina Brown, it stands to reason the Web publisher would take her cues from that world. But rather than adopt the banner, the most magazine-like Internet ad format, the IAC-owned Daily Beast has sworn off "traditional" Web ads in favor of custom executions.
Social news site Digg is rolling out its first major ad product, borrowing a page from Facebook by designing units that mimic the site experience itself.
I just read an interesting report published by Nielsen that examines time spent on multiple Social and Micro Networks. The study compares total minutes in April 2009 compared to April 2008. The results are not as much surprising as they are revealing.
Retailers routinely post customers’ product reviews online, hoping that favorable comments will boost sales. But there’s a more powerful influence on shoppers that retailers have yet to harness: the advice of friends.
News Corp. executives often present MySpace and Facebook as competing in different markets, with Facebook used as a communications vehicle and MySpace for entertainment. Whatever the case, a straight line can be drawn between more time spent on Facebook and less on MySpace.
Recently, we’ve covered a variety of social media campaigns that utilize Facebook Pages as their primary marketing vehicle. However, Buddy Media continues to push what they call app-vertisements – essentially applications for Facebook that let users interact around a given brand.
The social web trend is more or less complete. Oprah's gone Twitter, your co-worker has a MySpace problem, and if your parents aren't bugging you with Facebook movie quiz invites, they probably will be by the time you're done reading this. People are flocking to these sites in record numbers, as Facebook now boasts over 200 million users worldwide, and Twitter has grown 3,000 per cent since last year. But for the social web to evolve into its final stage and take flight, the walls that separate these services, their users, and everything they create are going to have to come down.
Facebook has begun testing a proprietary payment system with three of its applications, according to TechCrunch. As of this week, you can now use these apps--which include GroupCard, PackRat, Birthday Calendar and Facebook's own icon gift shop--to purchase things using Facebook "credits," which you can add to your account with an major credit or debit card.
Reaching out beyond hardcore video game players to everyday consumers, Microsoft outlined an entertainment strategy on Monday for making the company’s Xbox 360 game console a gateway for movies, television and social networking.
While 99 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds have profiles on social networks, only 22 percent use Twitter, according to a new survey from Pace University and the Participatory Media Network.
A decade ago the ability to generate ideas for businesses was a terrific and unique offering, and often a good business. Many companies and consultants were conducting workshops aimed at coming up with ideas, hundreds of ideas, and getting paid handsomely to do it. Today, it seems most of the businesses I deal with have more than enough ideas, it's determining the right ones to invest time and energy into that is the trick.
When McDonald's launched its corporate social responsibility blog at the beginning of 2006, its title — Open For Discussion — signaled the company's readiness to engage with the blogosphere. Eight months later, it faced widespread criticism for the limitations of that engagement. McDonald's could have learned something from the tale of the Trojan Horse: beware of g[r]eeks bearing gifts.
When people talk about freemium businesses and business models, most of the time they're talking about it from a revenue or product perspective. Revenue, because the essence of the model is to give away something for free. And product, because this is the key to freemium success. Only a compelling, unique and engaging experience will keep people coming back regardless of whether they pay you or not.
Facebook will soon be allowing all users to claim a vanity URL pointing to their regular profile page, we’ve heard from a reliable source. The announcement should come sometime later this week. Afterwards, at a certain date and time, the landrush will begin. Users will be able to grab a vanity URL of their choice.
Alan Kennedy, 54, had never used social networking sites until he was laid off from his job as an engineer last November. Then he did what many job seekers are now advised to do: he set up profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn.
When the Facebook Platform was launched in 2006, it immediately became a hot property as thousands of eager developers rushed to launch the next great Facebook application. A few brands made the early leap as well, with some successes and a few total failures. It quickly became clear that if brands were to succeed on Platform, their applications would have to provide value, and not use Facebook as just another medium to push advertising messaging.
With social networks like Facebook transforming the way companies communicate with consumers, it's time for the ad industry to get its head out of the sand.
Social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are popular services on high-end cellphones like the iPhone and the BlackBerry. But extending their reach to the broader wireless market has been challenging, because most basic phones tend to have clunky Web browsers and can't support fancy software.
These days, we're all public figures. We're sharing our friends on Facebook, our photos on Flickr, our music on Last.fm, and our goofy links insightful observations on Twitter. So when Fast Company set out to capture the personalities of our 100 Most Creative People in Business, we started--where else?--by looking for online profiles. But when it comes to sharing themselves--not just their businesses, but their business--our creative class clams up.
Messaging with the boss much? Maybe you ought to be. Workers who have strong communication ties with their managers tend to bring in more money than those who steer clear of the boss, according to a new analysis of social networks in the workplace by IBM (IBM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has a second job. On top of managing growth of the popular social networking site, she is also a chef in Restaurant City, one of the thousands of games that run on Facebook. Facebook’s platform, which allows third-party developers to build services and games that run inside the social network, celebrated its second birthday over the weekend. In that time, it has spawned a new industry of profitable application developers, and a host of imitators. It has also allowed Facebook users, such as Ms Sandberg, to interact with friends through the new category of social gaming.
There was a time when having a dotcom was absolutely key to your brand, and once you had one, it was the URL you pointed everyone to in all of your marketing. But with the emergence of the social web, and opportunities to engage with fans elsewhere, is that really the right strategy – or even a requirement at all?
With more than 200 million active users and counting, Facebook has proven to be a powerful and convenient way to reach consumers where they already are. “Many consumers are already sharing information regularly on Facebook—this is just one more way to quickly share information in a place where they are already spending time,” says Michael Donnelly, director, worldwide interactive marketing at The Coca-Cola Company.
Facebook and Twitter have helped make social networking a household word. Now they need to make money. Efforts to monetize the popular Internet services are increasingly a priority within the two companies.
Companies are working fast to figure out how to make money from the wealth of data they're beginning to have about our online friendships.
Application developers have a new piece of real estate to strive for on Facebook, which on Wednesday unveiled its new Application Directory that showcases apps that have passed through the social networking site’s verification process.
The story is as old as the Web: A social network born among twentysomething college kids and young wired professionals sprouts up, apparently out of nowhere, and grows into a cultural phenomenon. Eventually, it reaches critical mass and explodes, its mushroom cloud drawing the attention of millions of Baby Boomers, leading to a huge influx of new users, which in turn triggers complaints from the youngsters who started it all. The invasion of the Boomers spurs some members of younger generations to flee the carnage (and the fallout) in search of fresher territory.
This analogy came to me at the recent Search Insider Summit during the Day 2 keynote conversation moderated by Gord Hotchkiss with Gian Fulgoni and Jordan Rohan. As always, these SIS-staples delivered many provocative thought-starters -- but I perked up when they started discussing the opportunity for richer brand experiences on the search engines.
You're a marketer who's hip to the idea of social media: You have a blog for your company or client, you know Facebook inside and out, and you can Tweet with the best of them. So you've got the communicating part down pat. But the big question is, Are you listening? If you have customers, chances are they're talking about you to their friends, to their coworkers, and to anyone else who will listen.
In Atlanta, I met a shy quiet 14-year-old girl that I'll call Kaitlyn. She wasn't particularly interested in talking to me, but she answered my questions diligently. She said that she was on both MySpace and Facebook, but quickly started talking about MySpace as the place where she gathered with her friends. At some point, I asked her if her friends also gathered on Facebook and her face took on a combination of puzzlement and horror before she exclaimed, "Facebook is for old people!" Of course, Kaitlyn still uses Facebook to communicate with her mother, aunt, cousins in Kentucky, and other family members.
There’s been lots of talk about the “death of advertising” and the increasing ineffectiveness of the media. There’s a tremendously well-researched, insightful and informative Bob Garfield post in Ad Age, with lots and lots of numbers supporting his version of “Apocalypse Now” for the ad industry. There’s no doubt that there’s agency layoffs, and client cutbacks and fear and uncertainty. So who am I to be the bearer of even an ounce of good news for the ad industry?
This week in social media has seen everything from Twitter revolts to Facebook scams. Twitter made big news with a change to its @replies system, Saturday Night Live created another classic clip and we featured a particularly trippy YouTube mashup.
Not familiar with BRM? Perhaps you are more familiar with its cousin CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. As technology has improved CRM tools and functionality, it has changed the way marketers connect to people by helping to organize and filter information about buying habits to better serve customers going forward. But with people connecting more and more to brands on social networks, the next wave of marketing may be providing people the information they need/want through social media, making it a "Brand Relationship Management" (BRM) tool.
The mad dash to set up Facebook fan or group pages by businesses has reached the early majority and may be entering into the late majority. Even United Airlines has a "fan" page (Is anyone really a fan of an airline? Notice they seem to have turned off posts. Perhaps JetBlue or Southwest Airlines in their early days?). The social media platform player Ning has grown quite a bit recently as more organizations determine they want more control and functionality over their organization-sponsored social network. Ning allows you to brand your site to your liking (for the most part), set up your own profiles and integrate more content than a public social network like Facebook.
Retail chain Target already gives 5 percent of its income to charity. For the next couple weeks, they are going to be allocating those funds – which come out to $3 million every week – to charities selected by Facebook users.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about monetizing social networks. MySpace has swapped out much of its senior leadership with talent more experienced in marketing. Facebook is floating plans to launch an ad network someday. Both services already put ads on their sites, sell sponsorships, etc. Most, if not all, of these kinds of efforts focus on using social networks as glorified channels for branding. Companies hope to sell things by paying to put their brands in front of consumers as they’re on their way to, doing things at, and planning to leave their networked communities. How is this any different than putting up billboards on the way to the fair? Is it possible that the true value of social networks could be derived from seeing them as places?
When we talk about "gateways" to the Web, most of us tick off the names of four Internet companies: Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft's MSN, and Time Warner's AOL. Collectively (with Google in the lead) they account for or broker 90% of the gross dollars advertisers spend online. And they get huge amounts of traffic, in part because millions of users choose one of these four as their home page. Each of the sites continues to draw well over 100 million monthly unique visitors. But a shift is under way--one that is ushering in the next stage in the battle for influence on the Web. Other players are becoming gateways, too, in a kind of evolutionary advance that will change the way we use the Internet--and alter advertisers' behavior.
Insisting it has no plans to face off with Facebook or take the place of MySpace, retailer Sears has quietly launched its own social networking hub. The chain has registered more than 200,000 registered users to MySears, a social networking site it rolled out in late March. This week Sears launched MyKmart, a similar site for its sister chain.
Aflac will debut a 30-second TV spot this weekend cross-promoting Disney-Pixar's first 3-D film, Up. This marks the first commercial to feature the insurance company's newly introduced tagline, "We've got you under our wing." Pixar handled the animation for the spot, which features characters from the film.
IN sailors’ parlance, it’s called local knowledge — the invaluable and detailed insights into a location’s prevailing winds, hidden shoals and tricky tides and currents, accumulated through firsthand experience. Without it, visiting mariners can find themselves in peril. Business travelers, whether they are government workers, small-business owners, entrepreneurs or professionals, need to tap into specific and timely intelligence as well. They are increasingly doing so through social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Yelp, using the expertise and wisdom of the residents of places they visit to help them find their way around.
I think Twitter and Facebook can both play a role in a branding strategy. Having said this, I also think that just as users think about Twitter and Facebook differently, so too should companies as they go about their branding efforts.
The fact is that LinkedIn, in its current incarnation, is not an everyday app. An everyday app is one that is used every day (or most days) by its users. This means that each and every day they do something with the app. Maybe they’re communicating with coworkers, or creating wireframes. Everyday apps in theory are as plentiful as bees in a blossoming apple tree. In practice, however, everyday apps are exceedingly rare.
Firefox doesn't keep track of the number of users it has but Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, said today that the company estimates that there are 270 million people using the browser. That's 35% more users than Facebook has signed up for accounts (200 million), and almost triple the number of people Facebook says log in to the social network every day (100 million). Why compare user numbers between a browser and a social network? Because there's every reason to believe that the two technologies are converging in the near term future. Here's why we believe that Firefox should be Facebook's biggest competition.
As a follow up to our recent webinar, Facebook Bootcamp for PR, you’ll see five blog posts in the coming weeks exploring the five trends set out in our presentation. This installment looks at the quickly evolving role of Facebook Connect and reviews how brands can use this open ID to enhance their Facebook presence and expand other social media programs.
Apple and Twitter sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I... well, you know the rest of that rhyme. There's a fascinating little rumor that recently surfaced on the Internet: Apple is interested in acquiring the hot little social networking/lifecasting tool--Twitter.
Facebook tried to buy Twitter. Google and Microsoft have been giving the red-hot Internet-messaging startup the eye. But we hear it's Apple that's closest to sealing a deal, possibly for as much as $700 million.
In a loud and proud public announcement, Facebook said it didn’t care whether its members visited Facebook.com at all. The company said it would provide a set of technology tools that will let other companies create programs that tap into the heart of the social network — the endless stream of photographs, status updates and comments that people post to the service. Saying it is unable to provide a range of access to the service from every possible gadget, Facebook expects developers to create Facebook programs that sit on computer desktops, run inside Web browsers and are tailored to a wide range of mobile devices like the iPhone.
A few months ago, a friend sent me an otter. It was a birthday gift, and it arrived via Facebook: a tiny digital representation labeled “Lonely Otter.” The person who sent it to me is someone I’ve never met or spoken to, a friend only in the Facebook sense of the term. The otter cost her a dollar. The dollar was filtered through the popular social network’s “gift points” setup, but ultimately it wasn’t a representation, the way the Lonely Otter is. It was an actual dollar.
For decades, Harley-Davidson has been singled out as one of the strongest brand names—in an exclusive circle of cult brands including Apple and Mini. But how does the marketing arm of the Milwaukee, Wis.-based manufacturer drive sales leads into its 650 independent U.S. dealerships? And how has the brand parlayed its audience’s rare offline devotion into an interactive marketing success story? To address these questions, Brandweek sat down with Randy Sprenger, manager of electronic advertising and direct promotions, Harley-Davidson, where he’s been leading campaigns for the last 10 years.
Most people and most businesses don't think they need a blog. In the next five minutes, I'd like to convince you that you have to jump into the world of blogging and Twitter and Facebook.
K-I-S-S: Keep It Simple, Stupid. It’s a mantra that always pops into my head when I’m looking at new startups. A lot of them seem to want to do a million different things because other companies have been successful at one of those things in the past. But that’s a bad idea. Way too many new products and services are too complicated. And I would suggest, often fail as a direct result of that.
As Edelman's crystal-ball guy, I can't go to a meeting without being asked what will succeed Twitter or Facebook as the future king of community. It's unfortunate, but it's just how history has conditioned us to think. Communities come and go. Hubs seem to lose their innovation edge just as consumers grow more fickle, new venues emerge and viable monetization options remain scarce. If history repeats itself, Facebook and Twitter will one day be replaced by something else. This time, however, it will be the open web.
Welcome to social-media message overload. The constant barrage of invites to sign up for this group or download that app are starting to wear on social-network users, presenting big challenges for the brands and marketers who are looking to use these sites to aggregate fans and cultivate relationships with customers.
Social media has had an eventful week - from Geocities shutting down to the astounding numbers behind an unprecedented YouTube success, there hasn’t been a lack of news and insight. So after an up-and-down week for many in social media, where do we stand? Here are some of the most eye-popping stories of the past seven days:
ou can already become a fan of Facebook Pages with a text message (for example, text “fan mashable” to FBOOK). Now, you can also subscribe to a Pages’ updates via SMS, via a link that has been added to the sidebar of Facebook Pages. As Nick O’Neill notes, this once again moves Facebook further towards Twitter (Twitter reviews), who already lets you subscribe to individual user’s updates via SMS. Facebook Pages – or public profiles as they are sometimes called – are part of the social network’s answer to Twitter, and with SMS now enabled, they have duplicated much of the functionality.
Each April, the National Football League holds the spring Draft, an annual event during which it recruits new players (mainly from colleges) to join its teams. In the past, this selection process was an “institutional event,” where football fans knew the drill and creating buzz around the event was not as necessary. In the age of Twitter, Facebook and mobile technology, however, the NFL is changing up its game.
Apparently, Facebook (Facebook reviews) has been asking some of its users whether they would be prepared to pay for a vanity URL. That means having something meaningful as the address of your Facebook profile; for example, “facebook.com/stan” instead of a random string of characters.
Recent studies on the effects of the internet and other new media on brain plasticity raises an open research question: Is Google making us smarter?
A new feature launched by Swedish start-up Polar Rose automatically groups Flickr photos using facial recognition technology. The company is now hoping Facebook and others will lean on its technology.
According to a social media study by Michael Stelzner for the Social Media Success Summit 2009, 88% of marketers in a recent survey say they are now using some form of social media to market their business, though 72% of those using it say they have only been at it a few months or less.
As Twitter and Facebook compete for your attention and social status, there's another story that serves as the undercurrent for something much more important, a fully pervasive and functional social operating system (OS) that serves as a open platform to connect you, your content, updates, and activity to your friends, peers, and followers across your social graph, regardless of network, browser, or device.
2009 is the year of social media. Once, Twitter (Twitter reviews) was a place where you could read about someone else’s cat. Now, it’s the first place you go to when there’s breaking news. Sites like Digg (Digg reviews), Reddit (reddit.com reviews), and Facebook (Facebook reviews) can now leave a huge impact on the real world; lives are changed, important questions are asked (and answered) there. Many milestones have been reached; the growth of nearly every aspect of social media has and continues to be enormous.
Plenty of people have been wondering about which company might come along and dethrone Facebook. What if the answer is so obvious that you wouldn't notice until all the pieces came together?
In general, there are two ways to model human relationships in software. An “asymmetric” model is how Twitter currently works. You can “follow” someone else without them following you back. It’s a one-way relationship that may or may not be mutual. Facebook, on the other hand, has always used a “symmetric” model, where each time you add someone as a friend they have to add you as a friend as well. An asymmetric model allows for more types of relationships. This attention inequality is the foundation of the Twitter service.
It’s been a while since I last wrote about the death of the microsite, but this week there’s been some comment worth noting on the subject.
Package-goods brands are still cautious about social media, figuring that the return on investment can't be accurately measured. After all, marketing on Facebook or MySpace might generate a conversation but not necessarily a sale. Now, however, a method is emerging to relate one to the other, potentially eliminating a major impediment.
Last week, we wrote that FriendFeed was in danger of becoming “the coolest app that no one uses.” The thought was that while FriendFeed is doing some great things both in terms of its technology and feature-wise, it has failed to capture the growth of the hot micro-messaging service, Twitter. But I think that misses the real key comparison. If you look at it, FriendFeed is actually a lot closer to Facebook these days. You know, that service that 200 million plus people use. They’re doing a lot of similar things — only FriendFeed is doing them better.
Facebook, by its very nature, is mostly about our past, sometimes about our present, but very rarely about our future. Being symmetric, it’s important that we have some sort of a prior relationship with a person in order to friend them on Facebook. Your classmates, neighbors and the folks you met at a party — these are all relationships from your past. Facebook doesn’t really allow you to discover new people — and that has been the part of its charm (and utility).
Few traditional media companies have scored major success in the Apple App Store, the increasingly popular outlet where outside programmers and developers can launch programs or tools -- i.e., applications -- specially designed for iPhone users. In fact, games dominate, based on comScore’s ranking of the top 25 downloaded applications.
If there were one word to describe what Facebook has added to my life, I would use it. It’s a multidimensional pleasure: It’s given me a tool for exceptionally mindless, voyeuristic, puerile procrastination; crowd-sourced pesky problems like finding a new accountant; stoked my narcissism; warmed my heart with nostalgia; and created a euphoric, irrational, irresistible belief in the good in men’s hearts among the most skeptical people I know—people who should know better.
Despite China’s massively growing internet market, international giants like Google and Facebook are having trouble making gains with the 300 million Chinese online users. China’s netizens are on average very young – 66.7 % of them are younger than 29 years old and 35.2 % of them are teenagers—with social networking and entertainment applications being the most popular. While companies like Facebook struggle to conquer market share in China and to create viable business models everywhere, their Chinese clones have built lucrative cash machines literally earning billions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, adopting Chinese methods may not help American social networks due both to cultural differences in Chinese user behavior and industry practices.
Twitter's management turned down a $500 million buy-out offer from Facebook late last year, which was an interesting move for a company that made zero revenue at the time. And now the rumors are heating up that Google is in talks with the company and a possible buy-out is on the table.
Part of what makes social media great is the ability to reach out and connect with people simply. Tools like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest are free or cheap, can reach lots of people, and promote two way conversations. You might be interested in using social software to promote your products or service or company, and that’s great. The thing is, this isn’t baseline advertising and marketing. You’re talking into a channel where people have gathered for different purposes. Some will be interested in your promotions. Others will reject them. Still others will rail against you for acting commercially in what they consider a sacred space.
Everyone's (or no one's) favorite redesigned brands, Tropicana and Facebook, came up yet again at this weekend's Y Conference as Liz Danzico, chair of the new Interaction Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts, focused on the concept of "designing in real time." She thinks redesign recalls are about to get a lot more common as designers are more likely to launch alpha or beta versions of experiences and then monitor user behavior to get feedback.
A South Bay business has now found an innovative way to use the hottest trend in social networking to help keep the business growing.
User-generated content: It's more like good old, tried-and-true broadcast branding than you think -- if done right.
When Facebook signed up its 100 millionth member last August, its employees spread out in two parks in Palo Alto, Calif., for a huge barbecue. Sometime this week, this five-year-old start-up, born in a dorm room at Harvard, expects to register its 200 millionth user.
Facebook is aging fast. The number of U.S. users over 35 has doubled in just the last 60 days, according to new data from Inside Facebook. The burgeoning crowd of older users means that the majority of Facebook members are now over age 25.
In its short history, Twitter — a microblogging tool that uses 140 characters in bursts of text — has become an important marketing tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses, promising a level of intimacy never before approached online, as well as giving the public the ability to speak directly to people and institutions once comfortably on a pedestal. In many cases, celebrities and their handlers have turned to outside writers — ghost Twitterers, if you will — who keep fans updated on the latest twists and turns, often in the star’s own voice.
Joining an energy conservation Facebook group and then smugly dusting off your hands--Well, that's settled!--is not social activism. Social media makes it increasingly easy to look environmentally responsible, for both individuals and companies, but a panel convened last night at the Green:Net conference to discuss how Internet sites can actually galvanize us to get out and do something.
Gareth Davis, Facebook's gaming guru, today confirmed rumors that the company is "looking at" adding virtual currency to its hyper-popular social networking site. Translation: Facebook is actively developing the feature, but reserves the right to abandon the project.
Electronic Arts' iPhone version of Scrabble now supports Facebook Connect, offering players the chance to compete against friends whether they're sitting at a desk or standing on the bus.
When you listen to your users, you get vanilla. feature creep. boring. It takes a dictator to create the iPhone and change the course of an entire industry. Imagine if Steve Jobs let other people add features to that device. So I’m surprised that Facebook, which has stared down its users so many times in the past, is folding on the most recent redesign flareup and reverting back to some old features. Just because, oh, a million people demanded it.
Social media isn't a good medium for advertising. It is the worst medium for advertising. It will never work. It hasn't worked for chat rooms, message boards, AIM or other socially interactive mediums. Jason Calacanis, founder and CEO at Mahalo, told OMMA Global Hollywood attendees Monday that social media may not work, but search does.
If there is one feature on Facebook which delivers “social utility” magic even to the most average of users, it’s Photos. In fact the feature is so popular that by Facebook’s own account 1 billion photos are uploaded every month—a staggering number that makes it the largest photo site on the Web. However, as with all good things, there are also drawbacks, and in this case discovery is high on the list. While Facebook makes it super easy to discover photos in which you were tagged, there is no chance that every one of those billion photos are tagged each month. And that leaves a big opportunity.
Do you hate Facebook's new design? Do you find the home page too noisy, with important updates from your friends getting buried under a stream of banal comments from high-school classmates and other people you pity-friended? I bet you think the site's confusing, too. It used to be easy to get to people's photos and notes, but now you've got to click around to find anything. Are you at your wit's end? I've got news for you: You'll get over it soon enough.
According to at least one early poll, the latest Facebook redesign is a flop. A week after the social network began rolling out the revamped home page, a "New Layout Application" on Facebook shows that few approve of the new version.
Did Twitter just make Facebook blink? If not, why did Facebook suddenly get so much more Twitter-like?
MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe talks about why he thinks he has a better business than Facebook and what it’s like to work for Rupert Murdoch.
What happens when you can design your physical world as easily as you can reformat your blog?
Users aside though, there is one audience that appears to be benefiting greatly from Facebook’s new design: brands. Not only are Facebook Pages – the network’s competitive play against celebrity Twitter users – revamped and more social, but their updates are taking up space on member’s homepages, and in turn, as our data shows, driving lots of traffic and engagement for brands.
Ross Sandler of RBC has done what every good analyst should do, which is say something interesting. What Ross has said is that, at its current growth rate, Facebook will surpass Google in size by 2011-2012.
Over the past few days, Facebook users have been gradually upgraded to a new layout for the fast-growing social network site. The company’s goals are twofold: First, simplify and expand the tools to manage the ever-increasing volume of friends’ messages, links, photos and videos. Second, experiment with new forms of advertising. The overwhelming reaction from users is, “Ugh, you changed it!”
As promised, Facebook has begun allowing users to open up all or part of their profiles for anyone to see. The move is part of the overhaul Facebook announced earlier this month meant to promote more and broader content sharing by individual users and companies.
Pop quiz: Who has the most popular page on Facebook? Barack Obama. Who's second? Coca-Cola. Yes, sugared water runs second only to the leader of the free world. Who was it again that said people don't want to be friends with brands?
The National Basketball Association is launching a new campaign promoting the playoffs, which start April 18, and the finals--which begin in June--with the theme "Where Will Amazing Happen This Year?"
When Facebook released a list of its most popular pages last month, the first two—President Barack Obama and Coca-Cola—were fairly predictable. But No. 3? What was Nutella doing up there?
Facebook began to roll out a new design of its homepage today, with a number of subtle features intended to make feed-based social networking more intuitive for the typical user. When the company first showed off its plans last week, we and many others compared some of the changes to microblogging service Twitter and lifestreaming service FriendFeed. But upon using the service, significant differences become more clear — and point to Facebook’s long-term strategy of gradually opening the site up to the web.
CEO Chris DeWolfe outlines his strategy for expanding profits, luring advertisers with "hyper-targeting," and keeping MySpace's U.S. edge over rival Facebook.
Mars, the maker of Skittles candy, earlier this month scrapped its home page on the Web and put in its place a collage of content from social networking sites. The hodgepodge included a live Twitter feed, chatter and video from Flickr and YouTube. Need know what flavors and colors Skittles offers? The Wikipedia report is there. Need to know about Skittles' fans? Its Facebook page is on display.
Every company wants to find the secret sauce for social media success, and last night, Tide took a stab at it under the guise of charity work. The company hosted 40 social media buffs from Facebook, Google, and other agencies at the Proctor & Gamble headquarters for a contest to raise money for Tide's Loads of Hope campaign. The campaign gives 100% from Tide t-shirt sales to disaster relief agencies in the United States.
Search, and Google in particular, was the first true language of the Web. But I've often called it a toddler's language - intentional, but not fully voiced. This past few weeks folks are noticing an important trend - the share of traffic referred to their sites is shifting. Facebook (and for some, like this site, Twitter) is becoming a primary source of traffic. Why? Well, two big reasons. One, Facebook has metastasized to a size that rivals Google. And two, Facebook Connect has come into its own.
One interesting fad that has popped up on Twitter of late and that is catching the eye of engineers at other network and applications makers for sites like Facebook is the rise of hash tags. Hash tags -- basically a group of words, acronym, or other descriptor proceeding by a pound sign -- are giving people a unique way to connect and are fast becoming a hot social networking trend.
Facebook sent out a message to advertisers Wednesday afternoon notifying them that there are two new features to target users with: language and target location radius.
Social Networks are among the most powerful examples of socialized media. They create a dynamic ecosystem that incubates and nurtures relationships between people and the content they create and share. As these communities permeate and reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another, we’re involuntarily forcing advertisers and marketers to rapidly evolve how they vie for our attention. It is the zeitgeist of socialized media and it’s manifesting into an obsession for branding, advertising, “viral,” marketing, and communications experts and professionals worldwide.
Papa John’s looked to kickstart its Facebook presence in November with a program that rewarded consumers for becoming fans on Facebook. During a 24-hour period, anyone who became a Papa John’s fan on the social networking site was given an online code which translated into a free pizza.
Marketers spend billions to attract search traffic from Google, but late last year Facebook started becoming a bigger source of traffic for some large websites, according to analytics firm Hitwise.
If they haven't already, your CEO will join Facebook this year. That's according to a new digital outlook report to be released today by the marketing specialists at Razorfish. "Executives are responding to social media and the real impact it's having on their brands," said Terri Walter, vice president of emerging media at Razorfish.
While there may not be sufficient data to indicate whether the economy is driving people to drink, major marketers of alcoholic beverages are maintaining or even stepping up campaigns to encourage drinking in moderation.
For the last several months, social-media pundits have busied themselves debating whether Twitter was the new Facebook. But last week Mark Zuckerberg & Co. hoped to change that dialogue, launching a pair of modifications that had people asking if Facebook was the new Twitter.
Facebook has a chief privacy officer, but I doubt that the position will exist 10 years from now. That’s not because Facebook is hell-bent on stripping away privacy protections, but because the popularity of Facebook and other social networking sites has promoted the sharing of all things personal, dissolving the line that separates the private from the public.
That Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks will increase the size of human social groups is an obvious hypothesis, given that they reduce a lot of the friction and cost involved in keeping in touch with other people. Once you join and gather your “friends” online, you can share in their lives as recorded by photographs, “status updates” and other titbits, and, with your permission, they can share in yours. Additional friends are free, so why not say the more the merrier?
Skittles chose the brand's Wikipedia site to become its home page after spending a week testing social media sites Twitter and Facebook, according to Ryan Bowling, spokesman for Mars Snackfood U.S. The goal is to create buzz by appealing to Skittles' core consumers who spend hours online in social and user-generated media sites. They often look to their peers for opinions on products, said Bowling.
As more and more marketers use Facebook as a key conduit for brands online, it is important to note some of the new changes to their Business Pages. Following last fall’s overall redesign, these pages will now migrate to the same Wall and tabs design that personal profiles have used.
Facebook has announced a completely redesigned homepage which significantly changes the focus of the site. Along with the new look, which offers much more organized, easy to digest updates from your friends, there are also some new features that users have been clamoring for for some time — like the ability to filter or mute content from select friends.
Today, when contacting a company, the first place I'd likely turn is its Web site. I'm saying that tentatively, as Skittles makes me wonder if corporate Web sites will be around much longer. The company's new site seems to herald the fact that the corporate site is nearing its expiration date.
Facebook's all set to make a product development announcement of sorts on Wednesday in the form of what it calls an "Open Door" event featuring CEO Mark Zuckerberg and several other executives. The most notable portion of it--according to an e-mail from the company's press corps--is that it'll unveil "the next evolution of Facebook Pages."
Producers of everything from animated films to video games are tapping the power of Facebook and letting the group do the heavy lifting.
Many marketers are applauding Skittles's groundbreaking decision to turn its site into little more than a channel to point visitors to buzz and information about the brand on consumer-generated media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Wikipedia. Instead of corporate-produced content, visitors to skittles.com see one of these areas (the landing page is being rotated) with two overlays.
You will, along with many millions of others, likely make an emergency appointment with your psychologist this week. After all, the words of Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College in Oxford, England, have probably slapped their syllables against your very core. Social-networking sites, she said, like Facebook (it's interesting how Facebook seems to have come to symbolize all social networking), are infantilizing the human mind.
On Friday, during our cloud computing event, Whose Cloud Is It Anyway?, Charles River Ventures partner George Zachary noted, “The cloud is the new dotcom.” He was one of the judges for the demo startups, and for good or for bad, he might be right. Cloud computing as a term is broad enough to encompass most internet startups and already is in danger of being latched onto as the next catch-all category. Yet there is also obviously something there. Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, and even Facebook all want to become the cloud platform of choice for startups and developers to build their Web apps on.
As part of its drive to seem more transparent, Facebook has announced that it will allow users to comment and vote on a new terms of service agreement. The move is designed to head off a rather vitriolic reaction to the site’s early attempt to revise its terms of service. But it’s not the terms of service themselves that offended users, it’s lack of control over their data on the site.
After the uproar that ensued when Facebook tried to change its terms of service a couple weeks ago, along with its subsequent backpedaling and public assurances that users own their data, the company is trying a different tack. It is inviting users to comment and contribute on proposed changes to its terms of service.
Facebook launched Facebook Ads in November 2007 to give brands and businesses a way to create a presence on Facebook and interact with users. Starting next week, says a source with knowledge of the new product, those pages will be substantially redesigned.
Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist.
The other day I asked somewhat tongue-in-cheek whether Tom Friedman had ever visited Silicon Valley. Today, I’m wondering if Lady Greenfield has ever used a social networking site. The professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford and the director of the Royal Institution has the United Kingdom up in a tizzy about the idea that Facebook, Bebo and Twitter are warping their children’s minds.
Lots of businesses are copying what Facebook has done right. But with social media becoming an increasingly important part of every businesses strategy, there is also plenty to be learned from Facebook's blunders.
Facebook Connect is getting in on the widget game. The service, which allows people to sign in to any supported site using their Facebook credentials, was previously available as an API for web developers, but the company has rolled out a new Comments Box widget which makes it dead simple to add Facebook Connect-powered comments to any website.
Facebook has a lot of communication problems. Most recently, changes made to its terms of service sent a ripple through the internet community, leaving users feeling like they had unwillingly ceded ownership of their data to the site. Facebook backtracked almost immediately, but the damage has been done. And as PR glitches continue to arise, the company runs the risk of being viewed as a faceless (ironic, huh?) and untrustworthy entity.
Today’s parents see Facebook the way earlier generations of parents probably saw the Beatles — as a threat to the known universe that could actually be fun once you stop panicking and really listen.
CNN.com and Facebook on Feb. 24 will attempt to replicate their wildly successful live streaming/commenting collaboration as seen during President Barack Obama’s inauguration, as the site ramps up coverage of the new president’s much-anticipated State of the Union Address.
Following on the heels of Facebook's decision to rescind a highly controversial move to store all content posted on the social network, new data has emerged to support consumers' increasing alarm over online privacy.
President Obama used it to get elected. Dell will recruit new hires with it. Microsoft's new operating system borrows from it. No question, Facebook has friends in high places. Can CEO Mark Zuckerberg make those connections pay off?
Facebook reversed course Tuesday on a recent and mildly controversial policy change about what rights it keeps once a user decides to quit the service. Many bloggers, some reporters and a vocal minority of Facebook users rejoiced at the Tuesday night mea culpa. But the story really shows how predictable responses are to still unresolved issues of who controls information in a culture of media sharing.
With Facebook's latest change to its service terms creating a bit of a row, I thought it would be a good excuse to think about the role of trust in this digital age of ours.
After a wave of protests from its users, the Facebook social networking site said on Wednesday that it would withdraw changes to its so-called terms of service concerning the data supplied by the tens of millions of people who use it.
When NBC Universal and News Corp. created Hulu, they gave the video portal a valuable but short-term asset: exclusive rights to distribute NBC and Fox shows outside of the media giants' own websites. From that base of content, Hulu.com has become the fourth-biggest online video distributor by unique visitors in January, behind YouTube, Yahoo and MySpace, according to the latest from Nielsen VideoCensus.
At Ford, Scott Monty is using social media to remake the automaker's image—and reinvigorate its culture.
Here we go again. Over the course of the last several months, we’ve heard that FriendFeed was going to kill Twitter. Then Twitter was going to kill FriendFeed. Then Facebook was going to kill FriendFeed. Now Facebook is going to kill Twitter. But something odd is happening. Instead of any of them dying, they’re all thriving, each gaining traffic and users — and they’ll continue to. So what gives?
Thousands of dancers jammed a major London train station in a Facebook-driven "flashmob" mimicking an advertisement for a phone company. And the event last Friday evening was so successful that another is planned for next Friday in Trafalgar Square in central London. Plus, a group has been set up to organize another one at Liverpool Street Station a week later.
Facebook just turned 5 years old. But a week that should have been filled with reflection and good times was instead marred by a series of breaking news reports detailing sex scandals, phishing, and other malicious activity on the world’s largest social network. In his blog post announcing the 5-year milestone, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “Facebook has offered a safe and trusted environment for people to interact online, which has made millions of people comfortable expressing more about themselves.” But is Facebook really as safe as everyone seems to think?
The OpenID Foundation has just announced that Facebook’s Luke Shepard will be joining the OpenID board as a corporate member, and that Facebook has made a $50,000 donation to the cause. The news marks the first time Facebook has officially signed on with the campaign, though some of its employees have been actively involved with improving the open standard for some time.
Facebook is giving its 150 million users a mystery virtual gift to celebrate its fifth birthday.
Facebook may be responsible for redefining the word friend and may also be responsible for introducing two words to the world: unfriend and defriend - both verbs. It may also be responsible for turning the word "friend" itself into a verb, as in, when somebody likes you, they friend you on Facebook. You can now get friended by somebody else, and we all know what that means.
We've witnessed zombies, vampires, sheep, parking spaces, kidnapping, pushpins and hundreds and hundreds of other silly Facebook apps take our time and waste it like nothing in recent history. But ever since Facebook's redesign, those apps have been relegated to other sections, and their popularity has waned. There is a new breed of app that may very well be more powerful than several poking and parking apps combined -- and draw even more attention to Facebook's split personality as both a media property and a platform.
Last week we wrote about MealBaby, a site that helps friends take care of each other in times of need. Then one of our spotters alerted us to FriendlyFavor, a start-up that helps people ask directly for things that could help them out.
A person could go mad trying to pinpoint the moment he lost a friend. So seldom does that friend make his feelings clear by sending out an e-mail alert. It’s not just a fact of life, but also a policy on Facebook. While many trivial actions do prompt Facebook to post an alert to all your friends — adding a photo, changing your relationship status, using Fandango to buy tickets to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” — striking someone off your list simply is not one of them.
Advertisers seeking to crack the code on reaching Facebook's growing audience have a new weapon in their arsenal: polls.
Want to know which is becoming the world's default social network? Hint: It's not MySpace. ComScore data is out and on a global basis Facebook is pulling away.
Following up a similar election-related effort, The New York Times is launching an inauguration-themed campaign on Facebook featuring ads aimed at driving traffic to its presence within the social networking site.
At its peak on Saturday, 215 people a minute were becoming fans of Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III on a Facebook page set up to honor the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549. By 2 p.m. on Sunday, there were more than 300,000 fans and 14,000 wall posts. Meanwhile, Vitrue's Social Media Index was showing scores for US Airways soaring since Thursday. At their peak, the airline's scores were up 171% from its December average, reaching a three-day average of plus-135%.
Burger King's Whopper Sacrifice took a novel approach for an application: rather than encouraging people to socialize with friends, it encouraged them to cull unwanted connections from their friends list. The catch: the application informed users' friends they had been "sacrificed" for a shot at a burger coupon. Facebook, however, wasn't happy. It informed BK the application could not go against user expectations because Facebook explicitly says it will not inform users about friend removal.
As the recession rapidly sucks the momentum out of Web 2.0's heyday, with it may go one of the era's most defining terms: the job title "social media expert."
It's a common problem for anyone who joined Facebook some time ago. You look at your friend list and wonder who these people are. Burger King wants to help consumers do something about it. The fast-food chain has released the Whopper Sacrifice application on Facebook. The app rewards people with a coupon for BK's signature burger when they cull 10 friends.
Facebook has ticked off various constituencies over the years with its various new-product introductions and policies, but recently it has pushed the button of one group that advertisers have learned are a force to be reckoned with: online moms. Specifically, in this case, lactivists -- or breast-feeding advocates.
Kraft hopes the holidays are for sharing -- both goodwill and its new Facebook application. Kraft will donate six meals to hungry families through the Feeding America charity for each friend users convince to add the application.
Getting through the Christmas online marketing rush is tougher than getting to a cash register today. And getting the attention of somewhat jaded, media-savvy young digital denizens is tougher yet. Palm, Inc. seems to have pulled off this trick - and in a short timeframe - with a Facebook campaign for its Centro smartphone that combines on-page applications and user applications that are producing some pretty impressive viral results.
Salesforce is in the middle of a metamorphosis that could put it in the center of the development of services that consumers will start using.
Facebook long ago passed MySpace in global visitors and time spent on the site, but now it appears to be gaining ground on Google.
In a time of growing unemployment, tumbling stocks and rising foreclosures, people are finding comfort on social networking sites.
The Times reports that traditional brand advertising on Facebook is a total failure. If you've been doing this for a while, this is no real surprise. Traditional advertising is inherently selfish. It interrupts in order to generate money (part of which pays for more interruptions). That approach doesn't work at a cocktail party, or at a funeral or in a social network.
For marketers, Web 2.0 offers a remarkable new opportunity to engage consumers. We interviewed more than 30 executives and managers in both large and small organizations that are at the forefront of experimenting with Web 2.0 tools. From those conversations and further research, we identified a set of emerging principles for marketing.
Brands, in general, have found Facebook unforgiving terrain for marketing. It's well known, for instance, that banner ads perform poorly on the site. But the Facebook Platform, launched 18 months ago -- which lets developers create social applications for users -- was thought to offer the perfect opportunity to move beyond banners to provide "branded utility." So far, however, Facebook apps from brands like Coca-Cola, Champion, Ford and Microsoft are as popular as desolate Second Life islands.
Recession — and social network glut — be damned! Frank DeRose, managing partner of Ferrata Capital Management, plans to invest at least $1 million into Total Prestige, an invitation-only networking site for one of the world's most underserved internet demographics: the super- and super-duper rich.
Classifieds site Oodle announced today that it will re-invent the Facebook Marketplace as a “social” market in which users can buy and sell with friends and community members.
Virtual gifts -- tiny icons displayed on user profiles, pioneered by Facebook as the intangible present of choice -- are being employed by several major companies this season.
Thanksgiving staples are going high tech this year, as marketers look for new ways to ingratiate themselves to a new generation of consumers. Shoppers can now get turkey advice on their mobile phones in the grocery store and get a free pizza through Facebook on Thanksgiving Eve.
Recognizing the limits of traditional advertising, established technology companies are diving headlong into the sometimes chaotic landscape of social media to promote their products.
From 'SNL' to Facebook, a look at some of the winners and losers and what it means.