Hope everyone is well? We've moved our weekly update and will be posting on a Wednesday from now on.
So, onto the social news and analysis of the week!
Tech companies need to be more sociable
You would think that tech companies would have embraced the social networks, but research carried out by PR agency EML Wildfire showed that technology companies are missing out on the potential of social media by not being social and failing to use these new channels to engage with their audiences.
While tech companies understand the importance of social networking, only 31% of brands with a Facebook account used it to engage with users and, of those that used Twitter, only 14% of tweets were replies and retweets. When it came to the companies that had a blog, only 20% received comments and only one company took the trouble to reply to comments received.
One of the most interesting findings this year was that the use of Facebook amongst B2B companies had skyrocketed in the last 12 months with 70% of B2B companies on the platform compared to just 40% previously. Overall, Linkedin was still the most popular network used (92%), followed by Twitter (80%).
YouTube remained the least popular for the second year running (44%). Despite the increase in adoption, most companies were still only using these channels for ‘push’ marketing techniques with 65% of companies with a Facebook page using it for one way communications and 96% of blogs simply broadcasting article and news content without inviting responses.
Debby Penton, Director at EML Wildfire said: “The vast majority of businesses we speak to now accept that social media is something they should be doing. But we are still seeing confusion about how to approach these new channels and get the best out of them. It is therefore no surprise to see even some of the UK’s most successful tech businesses still struggling to adjust and approaching the situation with ‘old media’ mindset.
“Social media gives companies a unique opportunity to reach their audience directly. But without the right strategy in place and the skills required to execute, brands could actually risk damaging their online reputation rather than harnessing the positive commercial impact that social media should and can deliver.”
Paid search increases mobile presence to 12%
New research carried out by Marin Software an online advertising management platform has released its report on US online advertising activity. The research finds mobile and tablet users accounted for 10% of all U.S. search ad clicks during Q4 2011. This represents a doubling of click share as a percent of total since Q3, 2011. Furthermore, the report reveals the click through rate (CTR) of search ads served on tablets, such as the iPad, was 38% higher than the CTR of ads on desktops.
“In Q4 2011, we saw paid search marketers allocate a larger portion of budgets to mobile devices than ever before,” said Matt Lawson, Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Marin Software.
“Given the favorable performance characteristics of mobile advertising today, we expect this trend to continue as advertising dollars begin to chase consumer behavior. Marin Software will also be a driving factor behind mobile growth, offering advertisers a powerful, intuitive platform for managing desktop and mobile campaigns within a single interface,” concluded Lawson.
Paid Search Key Findings:
During Q4 2011, 10% of all clicks on paid search ads in the U.S. were made either on a tablet (4%) or a smartphone (6%). Ads served to tablet devices provided a 37% higher CTR than ads on desktops while smartphones yielded a 31% higher CTR.
Across Google, Yahoo and Bing, paid search spend increased 35%, click volume increased 56%, CTR increased 23% and cost per click (CPC) decreased 14% during Q4 2011 on a year over year basis. The combination of improving CTRs and declining CPC, point to significant efficiency gains for advertisers over the past year.
Compared to 2010, search advertisers on Google saw a 48% increase in clicks during Q4 2011 without an accompanying increase in impressions. CTR on Google also increased 48% while CPC decreased 7%, suggesting large-scale advertisers realized efficiency gains through improved matching and more effective bidding.
On Yahoo and Bing, impressions increased 43% on a year over year basis most likely as a result of advertisers building more robust search campaigns and increasing spend on the Search Alliance. Compared to Q4 2010, Yahoo and Bing advertisers realized a 44% increase in click volume, a 9% increase in CPC and a 1% boost in CTR during Q4 2011.
Who are social gamers?
Social gaming continues to be a major component of the growth that corporations are seeing within their social spaces. The latest figures to come out of the Econsultancy show that nearly 20% of consumers have played social games. The frequency is also increasing with 30% stating they played more than once a day. For corporations this level of engagement is unprecedented on other channels.
The commercial value of social gaming is also increasing. According to Juniper $4.8 bn will be spent within social gaming by 2016. The question is who are social gamers? A new infographic from Flowtown reveals that there are slightly more women (54%) than men (46%) engaging with brands via their social gaming initiatives.
Turn a negative into a positive
The furore that surrounding a recent video posted by a customer of FedEx that showed their courier throwing a computer over the customer’s fence shows how corporations can turn what at first appears to be a PR disaster into a positive outcome for the company.
FedEx were quick to respond to the video that accumulated over two million hits with their own video apology from none other than Matthew Thornton III, Senior Vice President, US Operations at FedEx. The video was also accompanied by a blog post that read:
"Along with many of you, we've seen the video showing one of our couriers carelessly and improperly delivering a package the other day. As the leader of our pickup and delivery operations across America, I want you to know that I was upset, embarrassed, and very sorry for our customer’s poor experience. This goes directly against everything we have always taught our people and expect of them. It was just very disappointing.
"This matter is an unfortunate exception to the outstanding service FedEx team members deliver every single day. Our customers know and value that service. We have been doing this almost 40 years, and if we weren't doing it right, we wouldn't have gained the widespread respect we have enjoyed. As a matter of fact, we have a very simple motto we try to live by – the Purple Promise: “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.”
If you haven’t see the original video post and the FedEx response they are below. For corporates the use of video is becoming increasingly important. In FedEx’s case a video response was deemed to be more appropriate than simply a written apology on their website’s blog.
Loyalty means more in-app purchasing
For many businesses the development of an app has proven to be a new revenue channel that will continue to expand over time. However, in-app purchasing can be enhanced if the customer can be developed into a loyal follower of the brand. This is the conclusion of research carried out by Localytics.
The results show that 26% of new customers can indeed be fickle, installing an app and only using it once. However, the share of customers lost with each additional usage drops quickly and half of customers use an app four or more times.
More importantly, 26% of new customers also become the most loyal customers, using an app more than 10 times over the following months–and many go on to use an app hundreds of times.
Localytics also states: "The users who wait and interact with an app multiple times before making their first in-app purchase are more valuable in the long run, making 25% more in-app purchases over their lifetime as a customer. First session purchasers will make an average of 2.8 purchases in a given app during their user lifetime, compared with 3.5 purchases for all other purchasers.
“By building your app’s engagement and your brand’s presence in a user’s mind, you can generate better overall revenue based on a loyal base of repeat users. Given the 12-day average time between downloading an app and making a purchase, driving loyalty across a period of weeks will often generate greater revenue.”
European antitrust regulators have indicated that Google could face charges by the spring. According to Reuters: "I will receive comments from the case team towards the end of the first quarter. I do not expect anything sooner. Let us see," said the EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
F-commerce may be in its infancy but one company is showing that as a commercial channel Facebook can be used successfully. Australian wine merchant Winestore.com.au has see sales from its Facebook page rocket over a very short space of time. Using a combination of exclusive offers that promote loyalty, the store is successfully using the f-commerce application VendorShop Social.
If your company has been keeping an eye on China, the latest figures from Wireless Intelligence show that mobile take up is huge and accelerating. At the end of 2011, just under a billion Chinese now have mobile connections through the main carriers. This represents a leap of 16% on last year. This was largely due to the increase of 3G availability across the country Any corporation planning its M-commerce strategy would be wise to factor in China as a burgeoning market.
The BRIC economies have been rapidly developing for several years. The end of 2011 was, however, a tipping point for Brazil that overtook the UK as the sixth largest economy. NMK reported: “When it comes to social networking, the most noticeable trend in both countries is their growing addiction to micro-blogging. According to Mercopress, Brazil still sits in the top three countries with the highest Twitter penetration (24%) and China proves to have the fastest growing micro-blogging sphere of all times.”
That’s all from us for this week. Stay tuned for more news next week.