Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Foursquare’.
Today’s #SDMW report focuses on one of Asia’s most exciting markets: India.
With the world’s second largest population, India holds huge potential for marketers from all over the world.
The country’s 1.2 billion inhabitants have embraced social, digital and mobile technology too, and India’s online ecosystem offers some truly startling numbers.
To start with, here are the top headlines:
- India has 137 million internet users – more people than the total population of Japan.
- More than 60 million people in India use social networks – equivalent to the total population of Italy
- India is home to a staggering 934 million mobile subscriptions – equivalent to more than 13% of the world’s entire population
Despite these impressive numbers, however, internet penetration in India remains quite low, with just 11% of the population having used the internet.
The country’s 137 million users still put India in 3rd place on the global rankings by number of internet users though, and this number is continuing to rise by at least 1.5 million users per month.
Moreover, with 56% of India’s population aged below 30 – and a new child born in the country every 2 seconds – it’s clear that India’s digital journey still has plenty of potential for growth.
Indeed, India is the fastest growing online market in the world, and internet usage grew by more than 40% in the year to July.
Indian netizens also appear to spend a considerable amount of time online each day – up to 8 hours each – which adds extra weight to the basic user numbers.
These users spend plenty of money too; The Times of India reports that Indian youth will spend more than US$9 billion on mobile internet activities in 2012 alone. That’s more than the GDP of the Bahamas.
Social Networking continues to be the main driver behind much of India’s increased online activity, although social media penetration in India remains remarkably low at just 5%.
Facebook continues to dominate India’s social media landscape with more than 60 million active users, and the world’s most popular platform show no signs of slowing either, adding a new Indian user every single second.
With social networking use expected to grow by more than 50% in 2012, it’s likely that these numbers are also on the conservative side; estimates from eMarketer and Global Web Index both put Indian social networking users above 75 million.
Interestingly, 60% of India’s Facebook users are under 25, with barely 12% over the age of 35. They’re still predominantly male too, with barely 3 female users in every 10 on Facebook.
More than half of India’s social media users purport to use more than one social platform too, with Google+ claiming the second largest user base at around 50 million.
Twitter and LinkedIn are also popular amongst Indian netizens, with each claiming more than 15 million users.
YouTube has particular appeal for Indian audiences too, with 20 visitors every single second. Each month, almost 56 million visitors from India consume more than 4 billion videos – 25% of them via mobile devices.
And it’s mobile usage like this that’s leading the charge towards the future.
With almost 1 billion mobile subscriptions, India’s mobile market is second only to China’s.
Critically, more than one third of these subscriptions are from the rural areas that are home to 69% of India’s population.
Many of these rural areas still lack fixed communication infrastructure (mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed line telephones 30 to 1), so mobile holds the key to India’s evolving digital world.
Tellingly, there are already more than 50 million mobile internet users across the country, but this 36% of users accounts for more than 50% of national internet use.
Smartphone use is also picking up quickly in India, and the nation’s 27 million smartphone users each spend an average of more than 40 days every year using their phones – roughly 16% of their waking lives.
With numbers like that, it’s clear to see why we’re excited about India’s digital future too. We’ll see you there.
The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can also download a high-res PDF of this report here.
Here’s our regular mashup of the week’s social media news, with the added bonus of a picture of some eggs. We hope you had a great Easter…
A fifth of European 9-12 year olds on Facebook
Despite being a ’13 and over’ site, a fifth of European children from 9-12 years old are now using Facebook, with a staggering 79% of children aged 13-16 now using Facebook on a regular basis. The research that produced these figures, conducted by the London School of Economics, also highlighted a worrying lack of understanding regarding Facebook’s privacy settings, with almost half of younger users and a quarter of older users saying they didn’t know how to change their accounts’ privacy settings.
Facebook adds ‘send’ button
A year or so ago, Facebook introduced the ‘Like’ button, a social plugin that allows users to instantly share content with all of their Facebook friends. Now Facebook are following up on that initial offering with the ‘send’ button, ‘because sometimes it’s private’. The premise is the same, except now a target, be it an individual or a group, can be selected. Users can also choose to deliver the message as an email, a wall post or a direct message.
The future of Foursquare
Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO of Foursquare, gave an audience in San Fransisco a taste of the future of Foursquare last week. Describing Foursquare’s current check-in process as “clunky and heavy”, he said he envisioned a ‘hybrid check-in’ model that would recognize when you’re in a place you’ve previously visited and ask you if you’d like to check in there. Crowley also described a recommendation system that could, for example, buzz in your pocket and tell you if you’re near a sandwich shop that you read about online or tell you when a friend is nearby.
Royal Wedding to be Livestreamed on YouTube
You might not have heard, but apparently there’s a royal wedding coming up. Well, in an effort to ensure that people around the world are able to share in the royal wedding spirit, the event is due to be livestreamed on YouTube. For more information, or to upload your own messages of ‘congratulations, inspiration or well wishes to the happy couple’ head on over to the official Royal Channel.
Orange’s Royal Plateful
For some reason there’s been a steep increase in royal wedding themed memorbilia in recent weeks. In light of this, Orange have taken to Twitter to ask users to share their “un-royal” moments, the best of which would be rewarded with their very own ‘un-royal wedding illustrated plate’.
Republic launches 20% off Facebook deal
With a healthy 43,000 Facebook fans to their name, UK fashion retailer Republic has launched on Facebook deals. When a Facebook user checks-in to a Republic shop, they can now cash in on a 20% in-store discount.
Chanel’s F-commerce pop-up shop
Chanel earned themselves some F-commerce ‘cred’ recently with the unveiling of their slick pre-launch pop-up lipstick store on Facebook. The new Coco Rouge Shine range was made available early to Facebook fans, with the Facebook store appearing not only as an app on Chanel’s page but also a ‘wall-store’ in fans’ news-feeds, allowing purchase without necessarily visiting the Chanel page.
Renault show off Facebook ‘share pillars’ at the Amsterdam motorshow
In a bid to bridge the gap between offline and online activity and encourage users to share their approval of Renault with the minimum effort, Renault pioneered ‘Facebook pillars’ at the Amsterdam Motorshow. Basically, attendees were encouraged to collect a free Renault RFID micro chip embedded card, which could then be linked to their Facebook account and swiped at the pillars, instantly generating a Facebook like. An innovative example of offline activity resulting in automated online action.
Nike launch ‘Zuperfly’ campaign
Making the most of Ibrahimovich’s 1,000,000 Facebook fans, Nike have launched Zlatan Zuperfly, a campaign that gives users a first person experience of how it feels to be a world class footballer. Users take control, choosing whether to dribble, pass or shoot, and are then given the option to share the resulting footage generated by the game with their Facebook friends.
Eastpak launch ‘Human Tetris’
Going one step further, Eastpak have launched ‘Spak’, a Facebook game that takes the concept of human tetris and extends it to your network of Facebook friends, allowing you to arrange play two player games. We’d like it better if the faces of your friends were superimposed over the faces of the human tetris blocks.
“The Awesomest Panda Parade Ever”
And in a similar, but perhaps less distressing vien, in anticipation of the launch of Kung Fu Panda 2, Dreamworks have launched a campaign using Facebook Connect to create a Panda Parade that features all of your Facebook friends. Pictures of the parade can then be shared with your aforementioned Facebook friends….
Puma launches three new Foursquare badges
Puma are trying to encourage Foursquare users to check in to their Puma Social Clubs found in major cities, including New York, London, Paris and Stockholm – with the release of two new badges awarded to Foursquare users that repeatedly check-in at their Social Club venues. A third badge – a little more up my street, to be honest – rewards users that check in to three restuarants after 2am.
UK residents among you may well have seen the ‘extreme ironer’ that took to the closed section of the M1 to iron his shirt last week. It seems that, along with extreme ironing, there is a bit of a trend for taking seemingly mundane activities and ‘spicing them up’ with a bit of extreme action. Case in point, Samsung, who asked six bloggers to recreate the online trend of ‘unboxing’ videos, but asked them to do so while jumping out of a plane, rally car driving or mountain climbing. To see the whole range of videos, head over to their Youtube channel.
Volkswagen’s ‘Linkedout’ – Inventive marketing on Linkedin
I’ve always wondered how long it would be until brands up their game and attempt really inventive marketing campaigns on Linkedin. Obviously Linkedin’s ads are available to marketers, but there is still plenty of fresh ground to be covered interms of creative marketing efforts. Well, Volkswagen have stepped up to the plate.
Basically, ‘Linkedout’ encourages users to pick friends to ‘battle’, the game will then compare the two ‘players’ based on their LinkedIn profile – ie. number of connections, recommendations and experience – and pick a victor (à la Top Trumps).
Darron Gibson receives frosty Twitter welcome
Well, maybe ‘frosty’ is a bit of an understatement. In less than two hours, having been welcomed to the site by his Manchester United teammate Rio Ferdinand who encouraged his 842,000 followers to follow Gibson, Gibson cancelled his account amid a torrent of abuse from his own fans. A #getgibboback campaign has since been launched, but something tells me that he poor ol’ ‘Gibbo’ won’t be back to Twitter any time soon.
We’ve got Klout
We Are Social is not included in Advertising Age’s Agency Family Trees, but if we were, we’d be in joint third place alongside Razorfish on Klout’s list of the top ten agencies on Twitter, ordered by Klout score. How do you like them eggs?
Facebook set to launch Groupon-style deals service
As you’ve no doubt noticed, Facebook are in the process of increasing the range of services and products available to its vast and ever expanding user base. In keeping with this, last week they announced that they would test a Groupon style deals service, to be incorporated into their present Deals program.
Facebook’s move comes as little surprise at their present rate of diversification and will no doubt increase Facebook’s pressure on the existing online deal service providers. According to the Virginia based consulting firm BIA/Kelsey by 2015 the daily deal service industry will generate $3.93 billion.
Facebook improve Insights service
As the number of brands that are using Facebook as part their marketing (and sales) strategy increases, so too has the pressure for Facebook to improve their Facebook Insights service, which previously offered only generalised performance feedback.
Twitter changes its tone with client app developers
Ryan Sarver, Twitter’s API leader, released an official statement to the platform’s developer community today that marks a dramatic shift in the dynamic of the relationship between Twitter and their previously strong developer community.
Developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.
Existing Twitter API clients are safe, for now, but as for developers looking to develop new ways for users to make the most of the platform, back to the drawing board methinks…
Foursquare 3.0 launches and also make it easier for users to find local deals
Foursquare celebrated its two-year anniversary last week with the launch of Foursquare 3.0, a new release of the app which includes recommendations from experts in your social network, and new-style rewards for businesses to offer to customers.
The new app also includes an ‘explore’ option which gives personal recommendations based on your history and interests, as well as an overhaul to the leaderboard that makes it a lot more social – it offers more points for new activities, such as checking in at new venues, especially if it is with old friends. Impressive stuff.
They’ve also released a feature that alerts users to nearby deals, following the lead of AT&T’s Shop Alert service and Living Social’s mobile app. As part of this move, they’ve adjusted the vendor-end of their service, making information such as gender, time of check in, and other information that previously wasn’t available to vendors, accessible.
Gowalla and CNN iReport join forces
Meanwhile, users of Gowalla – a service similar to Foursquare – will now be able to share stories of places that are particularly special to them via CNN’s iReport.
Warner Bros to stream full movies on Facebook
In keeping with Facebook’s current expansion of its services, Warner Bros. announced last week that it would make a number of its films available to be streamed on the social network. Viewers will have to pay 30 Facebook credits ($3) to rent the film for 48 hours.
By tapping into the existing Facebook user base, Warner Bros have access – with no immediate competition – to a 500+ million strong market, potentially blowing competitors such as NetFlix and Amazon Prime out of the water. The first film to be rented was the 2008 DC Comic adaptation, The Dark Knight. Good choice.
Chrysler join the Twitter hall of #fail
It’s all becoming a little familiar now: a huge, largely respected brand; a Twitter user who thinks they’re signed into their personal account; and an ill judged or downright offensive tweet…
Chrysler were the latest brand to step up to Twitter-fail plate when one of their agencies’ employees landed the automotive firm in the proverbial, with the tweet: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive”.
In time honoured fashion, the agency fired their employee, Chrysler fired the agency responsible, and are said to be taking the matter ‘very seriously’. Gordon MacMillan from The Wall Blog has suggested that in so quickly sacking the individual, Chrysler may have missed a chance to turn this disaster into a social media opportunity:
What happened to Chrysler has echoes of what happened recently to the American Red Cross. In that instance a personal tweet went out on the main account. The US charity quickly owned up and then smartly rode the good will and publicity that came with its admission.
We can’t believe how often these sort of situations arise. With proper workflow managment software used to update brand accounts (i.e. a separate Twitter client from the one used for personal accounts) and rules of engagement in place, this sort of thing just shouldn’t happen.
Nikon’s ‘The Chase, powered by Ashton Kutcher’
Nikon, together with Ashton Kutcher, have launched a clue-based game at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Users are encouraged to follow a set of clues left on Twitter and Facebook by Ashton for different locations around the city that they need to get to. Once users arrive and checkin on Foursquare, they’ll have a chance to win a bunch of free stuff. Camera stuff.
UK Uncut hack Vodafone website
Vodafone has recently been the target of lobbying group UK Uncut over its reported six billion pound unpaid tax bill – and it continued with the World of Difference blog (Vodafone’s charity scheme) being hacked. A blog post was published which declared that: “We demand that the Government force Vodafone pay the £6bn in the tax it owes to the public, in order to prevent the cuts to charities and essential public services”, but the site crashed and Vodafone managed to wrest back control later in the day.
Share your breakfast
Kellogg’s have started an innovative campaign around people sharing pictures of them eating their breakfast – for each picture uploaded, Kellogg’s will donate a breakfast to a child who would otherwise go without. The campaign is a real integrated effort from Kellogg’s – but we can’t work out what it has more of: snap, crackle or pop?
Fortune 500 companies embrace social media
The American magazine Fortune, has long compiled its Fortune 500 list, which details the top 500 PLCs by gross revenue. SMI reported this week that 22% of companies in the list now have an active company blog (a 6% increase from 2008). Of these companies, 31% now use their blogs for video posts – a 10% increase from 2008 to 2009. With no data out yet for 2010, a further increase in top companies blogging looks likely.
That said, the number of Fortune 500 companies blogging compares unfavourably with Inc. 500 companies – the list of the fastest growing companies in America. There, 45% maintain an active company blog, suggesting that social is the way forward.
Marketers use social for SEO
A study from search marketing software provider SEOmoz has revealed that one of the main reasons companies blog is for SEO. 71% of respondents to the survey said they use social media as part of their SEO strategy, with Twitter an easy way to drive inbound links. 20% of those who responded said that improving visibility was their main reason for embracing social media. It’s interesting to see just how important social media has become to SEO – in fact you could argue that once you’ve taken care of the hygiene factors, SEO is purely about social media these days.
Facebook’s astounding growth
15 months ago, Facebook was in a battle with Twitter as to whose ‘live search’ feature would work better. While it would be disingenuous to say that Twitter’s had a bad year (30% year-on-year growth in the US) it doesn’t quite compare with Facebook’s 55% year-on-year growth. Facebook has had such a good year that according to Hitwise, it now accounts for one in four page views in America. That, truly is amazing.
Facebook Credits on sale in the UK
From this week, gift-cards for Facebook Credits – its virtual currency – will be on sale in UK high street shops including Tesco and Game. Facebook Credits can be used to buy virtual objects within games and can also be earned through some applications (in a manner similar to air miles). Deborah Liu, manager of product marketing for Facebook Credits was quoted as saying that
using major retailers such as Game, Tesco and others in the future is also intended to give small developers who sign up to use Credits a wider reach into a new source of income.
This seems a good idea and ties in with the general perception of Credits – that they give a trusted and convenient way to buy premium features within apps.
MySpace introduces Mashup with Facebook
The re-launch of MySpace is gathering pace with its launch last week in the UK and now MySpace revealing its new feature: Mashup with Facebook. As the video above shows, simply by using Facebook Connect, MySpace can import a user’s likes and create a stream around it. As the new MySpace is all about being an entertainment destination, this seems a really cool new feature – it means that MySpace will know what a user already likes and therefore, can recommend new content and introduce users to things they might not know about. It also means MySpace is living up to its word about it being an entirely different product from before.
Twitter launch official analytics product
According to Mashable, Twitter has started inviting users to test a new real-time analytics product. This comes as no surprise since a Twitter exec said earlier in the year that we should expect a Twitter Analytics product by the end of the year; but what will be an unwelcome surprise to the third-party clients which already offer analytics, is that Twitter plan to offer this service for free. As the screenshot below shows, Twitter will be offering extensive analytics, and it’s hard to see how these businesses can survive.
Foursquare launches partner badge program
As part of changing the way it displays badges, Foursquare now differentiates between Foursquare badges and partner badges. Partner badges come from other organisations and have a distinct shield shape to highlight that they’re not from Foursquare. For the first time, they’re encouraging organisations to take part in its partner program by applying online. Early partner badges have come from the American Red Cross and MoMA, among others.
Foursquare’s response to Facebook Places
On Thursday Foursquare launched a pilot programme together with Safeway and PepsiCo which may well be an indicator of the direction the company is headed in.
The new idea is to tie existing loyalty accounts with Safeway into Foursquare. It’s designed that it can move bigger and could even incorporate Walmart. But crucially, it’s designed to be a far longer-lasting rewards programme than what Facebook Places had to offer – there were 10,000 pairs of Gap jeans to give away but then they were gone. As Austin Carr from Fast Company explains:
Now, when participating customers earn Foursquare’s “Gym Rat” badge, they might be offered a SoBe Lifewater; or, if you often check in bright and early, Foursquare will recognize you’re a morning person, and may offer Tropicana orange juice or Quaker Oats–all specials on PepsiCo products, redeemable at Safeway stores.
Foursquare only has 4 million users compared to Facebook’s 500 million; but this seems a far less ephemeral way of handing out rewards, and indeed, may well help grow their user base.
Coca-Cola team up with SCVNGR, Disney with Gowalla
Coca-Cola have shown that they believe the location based world is bigger than just Facebook and Foursquare by teaming up with SCVNGR, the location based gaming app. This follows from Ben and Jerry’s working with Stickybits, and suggests that the big companies aren’t just going straight to the market leaders. Coke are using SCVNGR by asking users to complete tasks in the real world in return for prizes ranging from bottle openers to gift cards. The campaign is currently only for 10 malls in America, but if successful it may well be rolled out further. Disney have also launched a new location-based campaign for their theme parks. They’ve teamed up with Gowalla to create virtual passport stamps to collect while going round the theme park. This is sure to be popular with kids!
Onitsuka Tiger’s Facebook Places campaign
Onitsuka Tiger ran a pretty cool campaign to tie in with the Sydney Bicycle Film Festival. As the video shows, all people had to do was check in with Facebook Places at three of the locations and then post on the wall of the Facebook page, to be in with a chance to win. The campaign was the first of it’s kind in Australia so it’s success is really impressive: over 50% of attendees at the first event checked in, giving Onitsuka Tiger huge exposure.
Facebook as a real book
Bouygues Telecom wanted an idea to launch their Facebook platform with, and came up with the very cool idea of creating a real book…
Brands invest in online co-creation
This week Tim Burton launched a collaboration with MOMA in New York to tell a story on Twitter – by making use of user-generated content. This seems very similar to the work we did at Halloween, where we used the Tesco Twitter account to tell a great ghost story. There’s an interesting wider point about this though which is discussed in this week’s NMA. It highlights how New Look launched MyLook to give customers a say in business decisions, and how it’s looking to take this forward with a loyalty scheme. But Jim Coleman, our very own client services director, makes a very salient point in the article:
There are those low-engagement brands where using social media to divulge opinion and insight is just not going to work, or at least it may not provide enough of a trend to gain real insight; and then there are those that are high-engagement, such as Marmite, Tesco and Dell, who’s brand ubiquity generates enough conversation to make it useful for the brand.
What this hits on is the crucial point: online co-creation doesn’t work without an existing audience.
Question Time as big as The X Factor
David Dimbleby made an interesting aside during last week’s Question Time when he pointed out that the Question Time hashtag – #bbcqt – is now bigger than The X Factor on Twitter. The Guardian ran an interesting article on how it’s helped the programme develop, but it also alludes to a general point about how TV is now consumed: research from Cisco suggests that 47% of 16-to-24 year olds regularly engage in ‘social TV’ – writing about a programme on the internet while watching it – and whilst this percentage falls among older demographics, it explains why TV programmes like Question Time are so popular on Twitter.
The newest Youtube sensation
Natalie Tran has almost 800,000 subscribers to her Youtube channel which is the 22nd most popular of all time. It’s fair to say that she’s a Youtube sensation. Her two minute long videos are basically ‘skits’ where she plays all the parts. In a surreal way, they’re funny, and they’re clearly incredibly popular. But, the good news is, in spite of all this popularity, she has no ambitions to be the next Justin Bieber. Phew.
MySpace relaunches with different focus
Over the past few years, MySpace has faced its fair share of challenges. A quick straw poll in our offices found that while most people still had a MySpace account, few had actively used it since registering on Facebook. Which is why it’s is worth noting MySpace’s relaunch as a ‘social entertainment destination’. According to MySpace CEO Mike Jones, the site lost $100 million last year while external analyst David Bank put the figure closer to $350 million. Whatever way you look at it, they had to do something to try and turn their fortunes around. And according to Jones, that’s exactly what they did:
This is a full rethink. This is an entirely different product.
Time will tell that if by re-positioning itself, MySpace will reclaim it’s previous market share and glory. We’ll certainly be following its progress closely…
Facebook page managing made easier
Facebook have launched a new Page Manager, designed to make managing Pages easier and quicker. At the centre of the new design is a single, left-hand navigation to access the different aspects of your Page, from applications to admins.
When is Facebook used most?
An interesting study from Vitrue revealed that 3pm EST on weekdays is when Facebook users are most active. There were other noteworthy findings including the news that Sunday is the day when fans are least active. Perhaps this is because pages are only updated during the ‘working week’ but nonetheless it suggests that people use Facebook less at weekends.
These findings are important as they help brands to know when to target users. As the graph below shows, there is a huge disparity between when users are most active and when users are least active. What’s important for page managers is to maximise interactions with the page and to create more conversation. Statistics such as these should help them achieve this goal.
From Russia with likes
According to comScore, Russia has the most engaged social networking audience worldwide. In August, 74.5 % of the Russian online population visited at least one social networking site.
But what makes the Russians such an important audience is that they spend on average 9.8 hours in the month on these social networking sites. This compares very favourably with the average of 4.5 hours and the next closest country with a relatively large online population is Turkey, which only averages 7.8 hours per visitor.
It should come as no surprise therefore, that Facebook is trying to expand in Russia. They’ve agreed a deal where they will provide page updates to Yandex in return for extra exposure in Russia. Currently, Facebook has only registered 1.1% of the Russian population so the partnership with Yandex marks a new way of gaining exposure to Russia’s 60 million internet users.
Nasza Klaza up for sale?
Moving further west, it’s rumoured that the top Polish social networking platform – Nasza Klaza – is up for sale for €130 million. At it’s height the service had over 27 million users, but with Facebook rapidly gaining on it’s market share, it would make sense for it’s current owners (Tiger Global) to sell while it’s still the premier social network in Poland.
German firms ban Facebook and Twitter
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at this story, but most of the 30 blue-chip firms listed in Germany’s DAX stock market are banning employee use of social networking sites. Porsche says it’s intended to protect the company from industrial espionage, while fellow car firm Daimler cited concerns about employee productivity. If it wasn’t so obvious, we’d make a joke about Germans desiring efficiency…
Digg’s massive hole
In August, Digg released a major new design which met with a user backlash. Since then, things have only gone downhill for the company: they’ve lost 70% of their page views and 30% of their unique visitors. The numbers for October are not yet out but compared to a year ago, they’ve lost 16 million visitors. No wonder the company has had to let go a third of its staff.
Real-time analytics from Google
Last week Google released a new interface for Feedburner which provides real-time stats about where clicks are coming from. Rather than seeing a whole day’s updates at once, instead one can click on ‘last two hours’ and see updates come in instantly. PostRank have also taken advantage of this development to include Feedburner information in their own engagement dashboard.
WPP and Buddy Media working together
WPP, the world’s largest communications services group and Buddy Media, the Facebook management system of choice for many brands, are working together to help brands “more effectively scale their marketing efforts on Facebook”. It’s a huge vote of confidence for Buddy Media, as WPP are adding a further $5 million to the $23 million investment which was recently announced.
Disney’s Facebook fans
Disney has created an innovative leaderboard on all its pages which tracks how many fans it has over all its different brands. It’s clearly working because as well as having over 69 million fans, the Disney page itself gained 534,800 new likes last month, making it one of the top growers on Facebook.
Check into billboards with Facebook Places
Facebook Places was only launched a couple of months ago and it continues to spark interesting ways of using Facebook. This week, brings news of a campaign on behalf of Cheryl Cole to win tickets to one of her concerts – all you have to do is check in (using Facebook places) to one of the billboards where her new album is advertised.
This is interesting for advertisers insofar as it should provide good data about which billboards are effective and which aren’t. In other words, social media is now being used to help conventional advertisers work out where to market their product.
Busy week for Foursquare
Foursquare have created an ‘I Voted’ badge for the 2010 American Mid-Term elections tomorrow. This should be an interesting way of gauging turnout, akin to how The Guardian used #ukvote to create a map of where people had voted in the General Election in May.
They’ve also teamed up with Mazda for a cool campaign in America where there’s a Mazda 2 up for grabs. Mazda have created three badges which are quite hard to attain, and if you can get two of them, then the ‘Inner Driver’ badge will be unlocked and you’ll receive instructions on how to enter the draw for the Mazda.
Finally, they launched two new badges for Halloween. The first, was easy to unlock: it just required use of the word ‘Halloween’ as part of a check-in. The second was much harder, requiring swarms on the night of Halloween itself.
Orange ‘Balloonacy’ race returns
In 2008, Orange ran a Balloonacy campaign, in which 40,000 users flew balloons across a course of 1500 websites. This year they’re running the campaign again but making it more social: balloon owners will be able to boost their balloons by tweeting and posting status updates about it, and balloons will go faster if friends give them a boost. With a first prize of an eleven night trip to Kenya, don’t be surprised to see tweets about this in your Twitter feed.
Skittles spread everywhere
Skittles have opened a Rainbow Call Centre, manned by 15 staff, which will ‘rainbowfy’ status updates. According to NMA:
Status feeds will be converted into a “weird and wacky” video clip that will then be posted on the user’s profile page. The social media engagement campaign is running for the next two weeks, after which fans can vote on their favourite video from the library.
This marks the second stage of Skittles’ new social media campaign, after last week they submerged a fan in Skittles.
Election motivates internet pranksters
The Mid-Terms have been hotly contested in America, with Tea Party candidates coming to the fore. Internet pranksters have tried to combat this by changing their profile pictures in a practice called letter-bombing and then posting together on a page wall. They had great fun with Sarah Palin…
Corporate Twitter #fail
And finally, hat-tip to Malcolm Coles for spotting this tweet from Cheapflights.co.uk. Someone out there will be a lot more careful in future about which account they’re logged into…
Social media research task force formed
Big news last week from the Council of American Survey Research Organizations, who established a task force to “address the many ethical and methodological issues developing in the wake of social media research’s emergence”. CASRO cites the “unique and complex issues” associated with social media research regarding privacy, disclosure, and the proper handling of data as the driving force for the move. As you’d expect, we see this as an essential step for the industry and we’ll be following developments closely.
Corporate Blogging Goes Mainstream
Now, you’ve surely seen this headline many times before. But a recent report by eMarketer estimates that:
34% of US companies will use a blog for marketing purposes this year, a proportion that will continue to grow to 43% by 2012.
The study points to a variety of blogging benefits, such as “communications, lead generation, customer service and brand marketing” driving this trend.
Twitter as stock market predictor
Studies have previously found a link between buzz on Twitter and a movie’s success or failure at the box office, but new research from Indiana University is believed to be the first to study Twitter and Wall Street:
Researchers at a US university found they were able to predict the rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average with near 90 percent accuracy several days in advance by analyzing messages on Twitter.
Researchers measured the ‘collective public mood’ by looking at more than 9.8 million “tweets” from 2.7 million users of the micro-blogging service during 10 months in 2008.
It’s a pretty amazing finding, and one that I imagine will have some social media specialists out there trying to replicate so as to reap the rewards on the stock market. And with an average 90 million Tweets now being sent per day, I wish them well.
We’ll however be trying to emulate the work of Economist-turned-advertising executive Jason Harper, who has developed a “Velocity and Acceleration” model to predict sales results, based on online conversations.
Foursquare Hits 4 Million Users AND outer space
Location-based mobile game Foursquare has passed four million users, according to co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley. The service hit the 3 million mark a mere 50 days ago, in August 2010. According to GigaOm, this rapid growth can be explained by Foursquare beginning to “see a network effect — the more people sign-up, the faster it grows.”
Bets on when it will hit 5 million?
Meanwhile, one user is worth noting: Doug Wheelock (Astro_Wheels). He’s a Space Station Commander at the International Space Station, and the first to checkin on Foursquare from space. He was also the first person to unlock a new NASA Explorer foursquare badge. Eat your heart out Neil Armstrong.
The checkin is a part of a larger tie up between Fourtsquare and NASA:
Earthbound users will be able to earn the badge when Wheelock returns to earth in late November by following NASA and checking in at their recommended locations. The locations eligible for the badge are all related to the history of spaceflight, like the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL or the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Foursquare tips have been left at each location, making this a pretty cool partnership and a ‘great way for NASA to connect with a younger generation’.
Journalism on Twitter – two different takes
A well-publicised Twitter gaff by a Washington Post staffer last week prompted an internal memo to be sent telling all journalists “not to answer critics from Post-branded Twitter accounts or to use their personal accounts to ‘speak on behalf of the Post’.”
The memo was sent after a controversial guest article was published in the wake of a number of suicides by US teenagers who were bullied for being gay. The article, which argued that homosexuality is a mental health issue, was met with complaints via Twitter and blogs. A post staffer tried to defend the publishing of the article, which only fueled more controversy. The tweet was later described by the Post as “misguided both in describing our rationale for publishing the piece and as a matter of practice.”
But, while the Post is trying to discourage the use of branded Post accounts to answer critics, The Guardian is taking a slightly different position to social media with their new guidelines.
The Guardian encourages their staff members to participate in conversations about the Guardian’s content, to present facts and embrace reader’s additional knowledge.
Which? launches first online community
Independent consumer rights group Which? has launched its first online consumer rights community, called Which? Conversation aimed at promoting debate around “technology, travel and transport, home and energy and money.” Which? Writers and guest bloggers will be contributing to the community, and the group intends to use it to keep their ‘finger on the pulse of the issues that really matter to consumers’.
Customers Asked to Share Handy Uses for Vaseline
Just in time for Vaseline Petroleum Jelly’s 140th birthday, the company launched new packaging as part of a wider social media campaign to ask customers about the many ways they use the product “other than its original intended purpose.”
The promotion is being conducted on a dedicated Vaseline Facebook page and on Twitter, and the 140 best use cases will be compiled into a video montage by the brand to share with others. I’m not sure I’d want to be the moderator for that competition.
And there’s more – all entrants will automatically be entered in to a sweepstake having the chance to win a limited edition jar of Vaseline, covered in Swarovski crystals. Which answers the call from millions of male consumers for a jar of Vaseline they can finally leave in plain sight…
Google launches Realtime search page
Google launched their new Realtime Search homepage to add to the real-time search features already in place in the main Google search. The homepage allows people to search on particular terms geographically, to review conversations as they happened by altering timescales and to set up alerts for real-time conversation. They have also produced a video to show you how to get the most out of Realtime:
Social media across the generations
Older users have been noted as ‘especially enthusiastic’ about embracing new social networking tools over the last year, with social networking use amongst those over 50 in the US nearly doubling from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010. Uptake in those over 65 grew by 100% from 13% to 26% in the same period. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘tweeny bloggers’ are growing in number quickly as more take to their computers to write. The Independent reports that while only 2% of 8-11 year olds in the UK have a blog, almost 20% would like to start one, and that the trend is likely to continue with tweeny blogs becoming more and more popular.
Facebook’s growth (or lack of)
With the 500 million marker being passed a little while ago, there’s stats suggesting that Facebook could be close to reaching saturation here in the UK. Despite this, there’s plenty of growth elsewhere, with stats showing that Facebook is now the top social network in India and Arabic taking a clear lead as the fastest growing language on Facebook.
Organic Facebook page fan growth slows down
Robin wrote a great post on Facebook Places last week tying in lots of the best information on what it is and how it works. Well since then, Inside Facebook has noticed that the algorithm, which determines what users see in their news feed, must have changed to boost impressions of Facebook Places. It appears that pages have been given less weight in people’s news feeds and places are getting more, thus leading to a significant decrease in the amount of new likes per day which is shown in their graphs.
Foursquare fights for its place in the social space
With Facebook Places having launched in the US, and being just around the corner here, there’s speculation about the future of Foursquare. But fear not Foursquare fans (and brands) because, as well as reaching nearly 3 million users, there’s a heap of new bits and bobs coming soon. So keep your eyes peeled for potential improvements such as the integration of Facebook Places, a mobile-friendly site, photos, how close you are to being mayor, points 2.0, rewarding more than the mayor, better friend communication and a recommendation engine. In addition to offering more to it’s users, Dennis Crowley has said that Foursquare is in the process of building a self-serve tool for creating brand profiles – thus putting an end to the lengthy process of applying to Foursquare and having them manually created.
Nutella migrates fans from unofficial pages
Nutella have recently combined multiple fan-run Facebook pages from around the world into one official global page. Originally these pages were owned by extreme fans of the brand and were kept updated regularly, but since they’ve migrated fans from other pages into theirs there’s been barely any activity (in fact they’ve posted a message saying they’re on vacation for a while). Let’s hope their fans are prepared to wait…
Facebook ‘likes’ help with determining popularity of clothing…
Urban Outfitters has begun arranging the clothes on its website by the number of Facebook ‘likes’ each item has been given by its 312,000 Facebook fans. Visitors to the US website can choose to sort clothese by their Facebook popularity when they arrive on the page.
…or lack of clothing in Playboy’s case
Meanwhile, Playboy have started their search for a Miss Social, the girl most Playboy Facebook fans would like to see undressed in the next issue. Social Media Influence reports (with one of the best opening lines we’ve seen of late) however that the contest has not driven as much interest as may have been expected with such a hook.
Cat bin lady
When a security video was uploaded to YouTube of a Coventry woman throwing a cat into a wheelie bin, there was a huge public outcry which quickly manifest itself into death threats from individuals on several Facebook pages. Mary Bale was outed by 4chan members (b-tards) in a matter of hours and she was placed under police protection soon after her details appeared online. Interestingly, one of the pages which has attracted over 45,000 ‘likes’ has now dissipated the public anger by focusing on raising funds for the Coventry RSPCA.
Climate Camp get ridiculed for their middle-class demographic
We’ve all seen how social networks can be used to lobby people together to campaign for a particular cause, for example when Greenpeace boycotted Nestlé and their use of Palm oil in KitKats. But what about when it all backfires? Well last week Climate Camp tried using Twitter to publicise their protests at the Royal Bank of Scotland corporate HQ but it all went wrong when Twitter turned against them. It appears that they’ve cut down on using the #ClimateCamp hastag since it was swamped with ridiculing tweets such as this and this.
Social Media Dominates Asia Pacific Internet Usage
Nielsen announced its Asia Pacific Social Media Report and found the region has undergone an unprecedented level of growth in the past year. Notably, social media is seen as having a noticeable impact on consumer purchasing decisions:
In Asia Pacific, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends. This is particularly so for purchases of consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars – products where consumers are most likely to base their purchase decisions on online product reviews.
The report looks at Internet usage across Korean, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore and China.
Foursquare in talks with Google, MS and Yahoo! about search partnerships
The Telegraph reports that Foursquare is in talks with the three major search engines which could allow people to look up the most popular bar or restaurant in their area in real-time. Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s co-founder, has said:
Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search… Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to – and where is trending
It’s worth noting that Twitter’s first commercial deals were with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, licensing its real-time feed of information.
Say Hello to the New MySpace Profiles
After reports of falling traffic figures, it looks as though MySpace is trying to change its fortunes by completely redesigning its user profiles. MySpace confirmed that it was demoing a new look and feel to the site, which includes:
- An improved UI and navigation menu
- A Facebook like newsfeed with a user’s recent activity
- Social network integration with other sites like Facebook or Twitter
Facebook will announce 500 million users; announces 150 million on mobile
In anticipation of hitting the half billion user mark, Facebook is planning to mark the occasion with a new consumer marketing initiative called ‘Facebook stories’ in which they hope to celebrate the impact of the social network on their users’ lives.
The announcement is expected any day now, and will sit alongside other large milestones announced last week, such as hitting 141 million unique visitors in the US (comScore). There are also an estimated 150 global mobile users, according to Facebook’s Head of Mobile Products Eric Tseng, who also indicated last week that we can expect to see Facebook’s “Like” buttons in mobile applications soon.
The New York Times notes that with this impressive growth, comes some grim challenges at the social network grapples with how to handle deaths in the system as older users die:
Now, people over 65 are adopting Facebook at a faster pace than any other age group, with 6.5 million signing up in May alone… People over 65, of course, also have the country’s highest mortality rate, so the problem is only going to get worse.
That said, big steps have been made to improve the ease with which ‘ghosts in its machine’ are identified, and profiles can be “memorialised” such that grieving friends can still post messages on those pages as a tribute.
Apple deleting mentions of Consumer Reports’ iPhone 4 piece on forums
Since the iPhone 4’s release last month, Apple has been going through a bit of a rough time with widespread reports of an antenna design flaw that was causing the mobile signal to degrade and calls to be dropped.
Consumer Reports last week released independent findings that confirmed there was a design flaw with the iPhone 4 which caused problems with its reception. This news spread quickly online, but Apple made the questionable decision of “deleting threads about the Consumer Reports article from its support forums”, which deepened the crisis further.
Old Spice social media campaign
Last week Old Spice / Wieden+Kennedy turned a lot of heads with its innovative use of social media for its ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign. We’ve twice written about the campaign so it needs little summary here – head over to our previous posts to learn more.
Starbucks is the first brand to reach 10 million Facebook fans
Following on the heels of Lady Gaga becoming the first ‘person’ to gather 10 million fans, Starbucks has now become the first brand to collect 10 million fans for its Facebook page. According to Inside Facebook:
The company’s audience of 10 million people around the world has been hard won with marketing, promotions and advertising. Over the years Starbucks has given away free ice cream on Facebook, been recognized by Facebook [for fan page innovation] and was also the most popular brand [on the social network].
Ben & Jerry’s drops email in favour of social media
Ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s is looking to abandon its current email marketing activity in favour of using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to engage with customers on an ongoing basis. The decision was based on the feedback they received from customers who would prefer being contacted via social media. Ben & Jerry’s still plans to send one email update to customers each year, and the company has received “mainly positive feedback on the decision” thus far.
K2 Skis redirects entire company website to Facebook
K2 Skis has made the bold decision to redirect the company’s entire website to its Facebook Fan Page in an effort to boost its fan base. By becoming a Fan of their page, users will be able to see next year’s line up. All Facebook notes that this is the first time they’ve “ever seen a company shut down their corporate site as part of a promotion,” but it doesn’t appear to be driving significant numbers just yet.
BT uses social media to decide ending for TV ad campaign
BT has taken to Facebook in order to have the public decide the ending to their long-running ‘Adam and Jane’ TV ad campaign. Fans of the “Please don’t let Adam and Jane off the BT home hub advert break up…” Facebook group were given a sneak peak of the ad before it aired this weekend, and asked to vote on the ending which will be aired in late August.
The Human Avatar
This just about sums up The Human Avatar campaign for EA’s new game All Points Bulletin (APB). To tie in with the customisation available in the new game, APB decided to take a real person and over the course of several weeks transform them into a real-life avatar that will be released in the game – all to be decided by votes via their website. After selecting the candidate Josh, users then voted on his haircut (cyber punk), piercing (septum) and tattoo (back wings).