Hope everyone is well?
Plenty of news across the social web this week…
LinkedIn and Twitter ad revenue will slow
According to a new report from eMarketer, the ad revenues of two of the largest networks will decline this year. Though the numbers are still impressive, with Twitter’s ad growth predicted to be up 83% with revenues of $540m. LinkedIn will see $226m in ad revenue through 2012, and by 2014 60% of the company’s income will come from US sources and top $405m.
eMarketer forms it’s estimates of social network ad revenues through a meta-analysis of data, from dozens of research firms, company information and industry trends. This forecast represents an upward revision of LinkedIn’s revenues and growth rate compared with eMarketer’s previous forecast, issued in September 2011, due to a stronger-than-expected advertising program on the site. Twitter’s ad revenues are close to those expected last September, with growth continuing on the expected trajectory for an additional year.
Corporations are slowly realising that their customers can be a valuable component of their product or service development teams. After contacting Mattel about an idea for a new bald Barbie; to highlight hair loss in those with an illness, and receiving no response from the company, Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham set up their own Facebook page that currently has over 142,000 likes.
Companies clearly can’t follow up every idea they receive for a new product, but in the past consumers had no other channel to publicise their ideas. Today, social media platforms are offering this voice to any consumer. Once again, corporations need to pay close attention to the exposure that they are receiving and integrate this where possible into their product development cycles, and also include these touch points in their customer services activity.
Read about how Dell uses customer feedback in our exclusive feature Made By Us.
Personalised soup wins Heinz fans
The development of f-commerce continues apace, with personalisation of products rapidly gaining market traction including some from Heinz. The company tested the use of personalised products by allowing customers to send special bottles of Balsamic Tomato Ketchup to Facebook fans. The company has now gone one step further and is utilising digital print services to personalise their soup cans.
Social commerce will grow to $30bn in 5 years
The development of social commerce has been rapid, but according to a new report from Booz&Co ‘Turning “Like” to “Buy” Social Media Emerges as a Commerce Channel’, this is set to top $30bn by 2017. The report concludes:
“Social network sites promise to be the next generation of e-commerce engines and are moving rapidly in that direction. Marketers and strategists are smart to feel a sense of urgency in understanding and experimenting with direct commerce within these platforms; early movers will have a solid foundation on which to build their social commerce capabilities as the platform evolves. As always, learning what doesn’t work will be as important as learning what does.”
It’s still very early in the development cycle for social commerce to yet make a major impact on a corporation’s bottom line. However, unlike e-commerce, social commerce does have an impetus that shows no sign of slowing. Only those companies that begin planning now, and test how social commerce can be integrated into their businesses will become the market leaders in their sectors.
New analytical engine for retailers
IBM has just released details of its new analytics platform, which aims to help retailers make sense of the petabytes of data they have about their customers. The new IBM Netezza Customer Intelligence Appliance addresses data overload issues by providing retailers with big data analytics that allows them to analyze all customer interactions within their brand.
A combined offering from IBM and business partner Aginity, and Cognos software, lets retailers gain a single view of each customer, spanning all channels and sales touch points, including mobile, online and in store shopping. This means retailers can gain insights on the fly, better predict and target products and promotions, as well as improve store design and pricing.
Bass Pro Shops adopted IBM’s new appliance to gain insight on their customers’ needs and provide better products and shopping experiences across all their channels, consisting of retail stores, boat dealerships, internet and catalog sales, wholesale, and hospitality, including restaurants and world class destination resorts.
“IBM analytics allowed us to quickly get information across our multiple channels and lines of business in one place to deliver meaningful analytics that drive top line and bottom line results,” said Leslie Weber, Chief Information Officer at Bass Pro Shops. “We can now create and deliver more targeted promotions, circulars and catalogs to create a better customer shopping experience.”
Using the new appliance, retail clients can now also expand their predictive analytic capabilities, with SPSS Predictive Analytics and IBM’s Global Business Services, allowing them to go deeper into customer segmentation and business analytics than ever before.
Brands connect with customers via virtual currency
Brands like social gaming behemoth Zynga are reaping the rewards of linking their gaming platform to the social networking space. Juniper Research has estimated that the virtual currency space will be worth nearly $5bn by 2016. The virtual currency space is already proving to be highly popular and lucrative, with over half of the top grossing apps in Apple’s App Store using the virtual currency model.
However some brands are now levering the loyalty they have cultivated from their social media channels – most notably Facebook – by offering credits managed by the start up Plink. These credits can then be used in games like the Sims. Major brands including 7-Eleven and Taco bell have already signed up for the low cost scheme. Expect to see more movement in the virtual currency market as virtual gaming and social networking move even closer together.
A new infographic from Zendesk makes for very interesting reading especially if your corporation is looking at how its customer services can be integrated with social media. The data shows that 62% of consumers have used social media to make a complaint. As consumers continue to embrace their social networks, nearly half now prefer to receive customer support via these spaces.
The numbers attached to the imminent Facebook IPO are staggering. A day doesn’t seem to go by without a new set of statistics being released. This infographic pulls all of the more important and relevant data.
If you’ve wanted to know what the profile is of the average Pinterest user, data from comScore will make for interesting reading. According to their report the vast majority of the site’s users are women aged between 25 and 44 with a household income of between $25 and $75,000.
A new report commissioned by Facebook has shown that the company has a major commercial impact on the EU economy. Focusing on just the UK, the report states that Facebook supports over 35,000 jobs and delivers £2.2bn to the county’s GDP.
One of the key foundations of social media is trust. The Edelman’s Trust Barometer for 2012 has shown that corporations and especially CEOs have fallen behind peers in the trust stakes. The report also shows that within the social media space has increased by a massive 75%. However, the survey does point out that most consumers need to hear something several times before believing it. It appears that corporations must develop several social media channels to get their message across and convince their customers that they can be trusted.
Until next time….
The Useful Social Media team