Hope everyone is well, and Happy New Year!
Lots of activity in social media this week to get the Olympic year started…
Teen tech users still like face-to-face contact
If your business thought that all teenagers prefer to text each other than have a real life conversation, new research may make you think again. A study from Ericcson (PDF) of 2,000 US teenagers aged between 13-17 revealed that they still prefer face-to-face meetings.
Activity such as liking someone on Facebook was seen as just a tool and that physical contact with their peers was still very important. It appears that texting isn’t the obsession of all teenagers that use texting simply as a communications tool. Also, video chat is now more important than ever with over a quarter stating they have increased their usage over the last year with ooVoo emerging as the platform of choice for video chat.
Your customers are consumers not creators
Social networks may give your consumers the opportunity to create content and join in the conversations, but a report from Forrester has revealed that the vast majority of Americans just consume content on their social networks and are not active participants. Nearly three quarters of US users of social networks maintain a profile, but they are little more than spectators. The figures are also similar across Europe.
Looking at Asia the figures are reversed with three quartets of users in China and India creating content. According to the research only 28% of Japanese users visit social networks, with less than 15% of Japanese adults visiting Facebook each month.
Also, the use of mobile technology is the focus of another report from Forrester. The reports showed that 25% of Americans, but 33% of Chinese access social networks via mobile devices. What these reports reveal is that all enterprises need to pay close attention to the actual users of social networks and not simply be blinded by the massive user bases of some networks. It seems many consumers are still browsers and not buyers.
Could G-commerce supplant F-commerce in 2012?
If your company has been focusing on its commercialisation of Facebook, 2012 could be the year that you enterprise will need to look closely at Google. A report from ThreatMetrix and Ponemon Institute looked at the security issues that consumers are concerned about on using social networks when making purchases.
While Google came out ahead of Facebook in terms of fraud prevention intentions, findings also showed more than half of consumers feel Google is more effective than Facebook at actually keeping them safe from online criminals. In fact, Google recently announced it is aiming to enhance its online retailing strategy, which some say will challenge Amazon.com. Google would partner with major retailers and shippers to enable consumers to shop for goods online and receive orders within a day for a low fee.
The survey results indicate that consumers have yet to really adopt online shopping habits through social networks. Only 32% of consumers surveyed have browsed a company’s Facebook page and then bought something on the company’s website. In turn, only one in five consumers indicated that they have purchased something directly within a Facebook storefront.
“Consumers have yet to adopt social shopping habits because it’s largely unavailable, with many retailers still trying to figure out their strategy in offering their products via social outlets like Facebook,” said Faulkner. “And with the current consumer perception that Facebook isn’t doing enough to protect against security breaches, Facebook storefronts still face hurdles in gaining widespread adoption.”
More understanding of Facebook ‘Likes’ needed
Brands clearly understand that social media is now a vital component of their marketing activity. Yet another report has, however, shown that a clear roadmap that lays out how corporations will develop their social networks is still lacking.
Coming from the leading CRM company Lithium and the CMO Council, the report succinctly states: “Consumers say they engage with brands through channels like Facebook and other social networks largely to learn about new products (55%), enter unique promotions or contests, or to play games (65%) offered specifically, and often exclusively, through these channels. Most consumers use social specifically to connect with other fans (25%) or to share positive experiences (32%).
“But considering that the overwhelming majority of consumers are looking for deals and savings, it is telling that only 43% of marketers are using their social networks to answer this consumer call. When asked to prioritize investments, special offers and promotions also place low on the list, with most marketers placing these deals as the least important investment in their mix. Instead, marketers are focusing on offline investments, search, web, and digital.”
With 2012 now under way, now is the time to re-evaluate every aspect of your social media marketing. Clearly understanding what a Facebook ‘Like’ actually means to your company is vital marketing information to obtain as soon as possible.
As CES is in full swing this week, the show floors are filled with the latest Internet connected televisions. Interactivity via the TV is now gaining pace with every TV vendor having a new set that offers a range of services. This new level of interactivity is also delivering to businesses a new channel to reach and engage with their customers.
Imagine smart devices that can immediately take action based on media content or an ad being viewed regardless of its sources. These sources of media may include linear broadcast, on-demand channels, Blue-ray players, game consoles and over-the-top (OTT) Internet content. The “smart” in these devices opens a vast new world of opportunities for advertisers to engage their customers and deliver offers to them.
One company that is developing this technology is Audible Magic. From their white paper (PDF): For instance what if a best-selling suspense novelist is being interviewed on TV. A viewer is watching the show “time shifted” and doesn’t view the commercials. Yet an app on the smart TV uses CR to recognize the program and offers to take the viewer to an “Amazon-like” experience—clicking to read additional reviews of the book, comments from other fans, and perhaps the novel’s first couple of pages all posted on a box on the TV screen. Then, if still interested, the viewer clicks to authorize a “One-Click Buy,” automatically paying online for the book and the shipping.
Some observers have been critical of these ideas, saying that advertisers will just follow their audiences and that, at least for now, audiences aren’t that interested in interacting with ads. However, much of the solid evidence has proven otherwise. During a recent televised Melissa Etheridge concert, for example, nearly half the people viewing – 46% – saw saw an offer on their TV screens for a CDnow.com discount, went to the website and clicked through to learn more.
It may also be more likely that any ads or other calls to action would appear on viewers’ smartphones, as an increasing number of consumers now tweet and blog while watching their favourite shows. With audiences continuing to fragment making traditional ads less effective, systems like those proposed by Audible Magic could be the future of TV advertising.
Businesses that are looking to geographically target potential consumers via their Facebook presence should be developing their pages for users in Brazil, Mexico, India and of course China. Tracking the user statistics of Facebook by country, Nick Burcher has shown that countries like Japan for instance are not growing their usage of Facebook as fast as many companies have believed. In fact around 75% of Facebook users are outside of the USA.
M-commerce has the potential to eclipse even the meteoric rise of e-commerce, and with the latest Consumers and Convergence report from KPMG revealing that a quarter of Americans would welcome this technology, NFC could make major strides into the mainstream soon.
“US consumers are warming up to the ‘mobile wallet’ concept in which the mobile device will function as a payment and financial transaction instrument,” says KPMG’s Mitch Siegel. “Whoever will master the privacy challenge will gain a significant competitive edge.”
The continued rise of Google+ now has some statistics to back up the claims that the platform is expanding faster than even Facebook did in its early years. According to Experian Hitwise, Google+ saw a 55% increase in its traffic though November and December.
Social commerce was the buzzword throughout 2011 as enterprises got to grips with how they could lever their social media presences into tangible commercial channels. This group of infographics shows that social commerce will continue to rapidly expand into 2012.
A recent piece in the FT cited a number of brand owner such as Overstock.com claiming that social commerce had failed to deliver any commercial advantages with one company commenting that: “the commercial aspect of social media is overhyped and no one’s really caught that rabbit yet.” Perhaps spending more time on Useful Social Media would show these companies that social commerce is here to stay and will deliver a sales channel to any brand that understands how these platforms work in practice.
That’s all from us for this week. Stay tuned for much more best practice, insight, case studies and analysis throughout this year that looks set to be very exciting as social media continues to develop.
See you then!
The Useful Social Media Team