Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Google’.
Continuing our series of data snapshots for Social, Digital and Mobile usage worldwide, we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for the different regions around the world.
All indicators show significant growth since last year’s worldwide report, with mobile clearly the driving force for all aspects of our connected lives.
Internet penetration adds an extra 3 points year-on-year to reach exactly one third of the world’s population, posting growth of a quarter of a billion new users in the past 12 months.
Much of this growth has come from ‘developing’ nations, with Asia accounting for a significant proportion of the global growth.
Social media usage is up by almost the same volume, registering an additional 240 million new users in 2012.
However, in markets like China, the biggest shift we’ve been tracking is a change in usage patterns between different platforms, rather than growth in the absolute number of users of social networks.
Facebook continues to dominate the worldwide picture with close to a billion monthly active users, but Chinese platforms take the remaining 4 of the top 5 slots.
Sina and Tencent’s weibo offerings are clearly the biggest success stories over the past year, growing both their registered and active user bases by hundreds of millions.
Google+ has also made big gains since last year, although its 235 million monthly active users don’t quite give it enough weight to achieve ‘Global Top 5′ status. However, with more than 500 million registered users, it’s clear that Google+ has plenty more potential, and is surely one to watch in 2013.
Twitter continues its stellar growth too, passing 200 million active users a couple of months ago. The West’s favourite microblogging platform also passed the half-billion registered users milestone last year, and its popularity shows little sign of slowing.
Vkontakte continues to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe, with the latest figures suggesting the platform has amassed just shy of 200 million registered users.
Meanwhile, the new breed of ‘Instant Messenger Plus’ platforms like WeChat (Weixin), Line and KakaoTalk look set to change the global social media landscape over the next few months, with Tencent’s WeChat already surpassing 300 million registered users.
The mobile growth story continues to impress, with more than half a billion new subscriptions activated around the world in 2012.
Mobile subscription penetration now exceeds 91% of the world’s population, and although like-for-like data are hard to come by, it seems mobile now reaches at least as many people around the world as television.
All indicators suggest continued growth throughout 2013 too, so the critical question marketers need to answer now is,
How are we going to integrate all of these opportunities into a consistent and engaging approach that builds real brand value?
The answers to that question will be central to our posts in the coming months here on the We Are Social blog.
The online environment in Pakistan is changing rapidly, as a quick comparison between today’s report and our first edition from December 2011 will testify.
The key headlines from this second edition are as follows:
- Pakistan has almost 30 million internet users, although penetration remains low at just 15%;
- Social Media use has grown by almost 50% since our last report, passing 8 million monthly users in the past couple of weeks;
- Mobile continues to grow quickly, with the country’s telcos adding more than 1 million new subscriptions each month in 2012.
As ever with our SDMW reports though, it’s the more focused details that tell the best stories.
With more than two thirds of Pakistan’s 190 million inhabitants below the age of 30, it’s clear that the nation benefits from a young and dynamic population.
Furthermore, despite financial challenges – the average income in Pakistan is less than $3,000 per year – Pakistanis are embracing connected devices and the content that they offer.
Interestingly, 80% of Pakistan’s netizens spend more than one hour each day on the internet, although the average ‘internet session’ lasts just 5 minutes, suggesting that Pakistanis go online multiple times each day for short ‘browsing snacks’.
The majority of netizens use laptops to access the internet, although 30% of internet users go online via a mobile phone – perhaps unsurprising given that more than 100 million mobile subscriptions have been activated in Pakistan to date.
Mobile penetration still remains relatively low however, at just over 60% – well below Asia’s regional average of 82%.
Social media penetration also remains acutely low, with barely 4% of the country’s population using Facebook, even though the site appears to maintain its position as the most popular social network in the country.
Social media remains a largely male preserve too, with men accounting for almost 70% of the country’s social media users.
However, Facebook is adding new users in Pakistan at a rate of one every 12 seconds, and 28% of social media users make use of 2 or more platforms, suggesting plenty of potential for growth in social media use in the country during 2013.
Crucially for marketers, two thirds of the country’s Facebook users are below the age of 25, and more than half of them come from the country’s richest 10% of households, resulting in a highly concentrated social media audience of young, affluent consumers.
Nearly three quarters of these users log in to Facebook daily too, and spend an average of 40 minutes on the site each day, mostly between 6pm and midnight.
Twitter users hover around the 2 million mark, although some estimates put Pakistan’s Twitter population closer to 3 million. Google+ also appears to have a certain popularity in Pakistan, although exact user numbers are harder to come by.
As with many countries around Asia though, the real excitement lies in mobile. Someone takes out a new mobile subscription every 2 seconds in Pakistan, resulting in growth of 46,500 new subscriptions every day.
Despite this impressive growth, however, mobile internet usage remains sparse, and just 15 million people in the country access internet services via mobile, even though the government reports that 64% of the population has the potential to access mobile internet services.
Of those who already access the internet via mobile, 75% do so via Symbian-powered devices, and most people in Pakistan continue to rely on feature phones.
Lack of 3G coverage may play a role in the slow uptake of mobile internet, and extending the coverage of these faster networks beyond today’s paltry 0.4% of the population would likely boost the country’s online connectivity.
These numbers all point to significant opportunities for growth though, so Pakistan is certainly another one to watch for 2013.
The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can download a high-res PDF of this report here.
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.
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…
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 helps drive purchases by 10x
Recent research reveals that customers visiting an online store via social media are 10x more like to by something than other users: “whereas 7% of all visitors to an online store make a purchase, a significantly higher 71% of visitors initiated via social media will click their way to the transaction section.” The study showed that while many online stores are good at attracting visitors, a small amount will be converted to customers. But “reassurance from a positive review” and “social media marketing” can be highly effective in closing sales.
Sorrell questions commercialisation of social web
WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell likened social media to letter writing at one of the closing sessions of the 57th Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, and said that it could be “polluted” by attempts to monetise it. On the same panel, Keith Weed, the global chief marketing officer of Unilever, likened social media instead to the modern day equivalent of a pub or bar chat, and that social networking sites “will and they must” find ways to monetise their offerings.
…companies like ours can develop with companies like Facebook or Microsoft. So I think ‘yes’, they will monetise. How they do it, I think [Sorrell is], right they have to be clever.
Facebook commits to UK support
King Mark Zuckerberg was in London last week at the first official London Facebook Developers’ Garage event, and he committed to increasing support for UK brands and content providers. Zuckerberg also “stressed the importance of the UK to the company, and highlighted personalisation and its virtual currency Facebook Credits as key themes for the year ahead.”
Statistics update reveals that more than one million websites are using Facebook’s platform
Facebook has updated their official Statistics page, and announced in the process that more than one million websites have integrated with its developer platform, up from about 80,000 websites.
This difference is due, in a large part, to Facebook’s launch of the Like Box and other social plugins in late April; the company said this week that more than 300,000 sites have already implemented the plugins, and the number appear to still be climbing.
Elsewhere, it was reported in a study by Experian Simmons that half of US web users visit Facebook each month.
Twitter makes it easier to find friends and colleagues, Facebook ‘blocks’ Twitter friend finder
Last week Twitter announced that it was making it easier to find friends on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn, by improving their Find Friends section and tweaking their LinkedIn and Facebook applications.
The Tweets application by LinkedIn allows users to see which of your LinkedIn connections are on Twitter and follow the ones you choose right from the app. Meanwhile the Facebook app was meant to show which of your Facebook friends are on Twitter, but this was blocked by Facebook disallowing people to see which of their friends on the social network also have Twitter accounts.
A whole new way of experiencing LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups received their first major overhaul since August 2008, which is one of many that are expected in the coming months. In addition to improving the look and feel and ease of use of groups, LinkedIn has also:
- Made it easier to receive email updates from select group members
- Made it possible to vote up or down content and discussions
- Introduced a way to highlight the most active members/contributors to a group
We expect that these changes could go a long way to changing the way that users interact in groups for the better.
Foursquare hits 1.7 million users, and the threat from spammers looms
Foursquare announced that it had passed the 1.7 million user mark, after having added 100,000 in a mere 10 days. At that rate, the location-based service should hit 2 million users before August.
But with growing popularity, comes a greater threat from spammers. The Next Web notes that while spam is still a minor problem, it is becoming more prevalent as people ‘innovate’ by changing their profile name to a company name in order to raise awareness atop local leaderboards, or by leaving advertising messages as ‘tips’.
Foursquare, Starbucks need better blend of offers
When Starbucks and Foursquare announced their joint loyalty program last month in the US, it generated quite a bit of positive publicity. The offer, $1 discount on Frappuccinos to the mayors of individual Starbucks stores, has since come under criticism from Forrester analyst Augie Ray who laid out five reasons that it has become both ‘noisy and bothersome’, and potentially damaging in the long term. Fair play to Starbucks for being amongst the first to implement a nationwide Foursquare promotion, but there are certainly some lessons to be learned with respect to offering better targeted and easier to redeem Foursquare offers.
Virgin America Offers Free Flights to Twitter Influencers
Virgin America has partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users’ influence on Twitter, to offer free flights (plus tax) to influencers in Toronto:
The offer includes free round-trip airfare (Wi-Fi included) between Toronto and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) between June 23 and August 23. Those who received invitations for the offer — whether or not they decide to accept the flight that comes with it — were also invited to Virgin America’s Toronto Launch Event on June 29.
Interestingly, ‘influencers’ who have been offered the free flight aren’t require to blog or Tweet about the experience, though Klout has requested that users who do accept the offer and chose to write something, disclose the promotion. Handing out free flights to those with Twitter ‘influence’ is not without its critics however, and some question the validity of ranking people based on an algorithm alone.
JD Sports campaign turns 900,000 visitors into 180,000 sign-ups
A recent campaign for the JD Sports-owned fashion label Bank managed to generate 900,000 unique users and 180,000 sign ups for a competition to become the face of Bank and model the Autumn/Winter 2010 range.
It used Facebook Open Graph – only two clicks to connect with a site and then sending info that they’d signed up or voted for someone into the user’s Facebook profile, which meant that their friends (on average 150 people) also saw it.
LOFT ansers the Facebook call for ‘real women’
Meanwhile, LOFT, a US fashion retailer, received interaction of an entirely different nature on its Facebook Fan Page. The company posted images to Facebook of a tall, blonde model wearing the brand’s new silk cargo pants, and received a number of complaints that the trousers were not universally flatterig unless you’re a “stick like model”. LOFT quickly responded to calls for ‘real women in photos’ the next day by posting pictures of its own staff – ranged from size 2 to 12, and from 5′3″ to 5′10″ – posing in the cargo pants. In so doing they managed to turn things around, address the negative sentiment head-one and show that they were indeed ‘listening’ to their customers.
Digg redesign takes the fight to Twitter, Facebook
Digg has also recently announced a redesign, and “aims to directly challenge Twitter and Facebook by redefining the way Diggers share, view, and submit content.” Chief among the changes, are the ability to follow friends, publishers, and “taste-makers”; as well as view content shared/promoted by their friends.
The idea seems to be that Digg will become much more of a true social networking site, but still based around links and news so as to cut out miscellaneous status updates so common to Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, it will now be easier to submit stories to the site, as well as become easier for Top News to spread amongst friends.
FourWhere now combines Gowalla, Yelp and Foursquare
FourWhere, free service developed by Toronto-based social media monitoring and analytics company Sysomos, now integrates information from the three leading location-based services: Gowalla, Yelp and Foursquare.
If you’re not familiar with Fourwhere, it integrates data from Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp, and displays it using Google Maps API in order to provided users with “ an easy way to discover places and comments for thousands of restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, tourist attractions and other venues.”
Zappos lives up to its reputation for customer service
Over the past few years, online retailer Zappos has been highlighted alongside the likes of Ford, Dell or Comcast fairly regularly as a ‘go to’ case study for their use of social media for customer support. And it’s easy to see why with this example.
A pricing bug on a Zappos sister site called 6pm.com gave customers the ability to purchase any product online for no more than $49.99. The mistake was eventually caught 6 hours after it went live, but not before customers had taken advantage of the pricing bug to the tune of approximately $1.6m.
Balancing the backlash that might ensue online against the cost of eating the loss, Director of Brand Marketing Aaron Magness explained on the Zappos Blog that they would honour all purchases.
As Econsultancy’s Patricio Robles put it: “Zappos… clearly understands that its reputation is worth far more than $1.6m and that sometimes eating a loss is the smart thing to do. Interestingly, one might even suggest that Zappos will only boost its reputation and customer loyalty with this move.”
Independent blocks anonymous comments
The Independent dealt a blow to trolls everywhere by only allowing people to post comments if they sign in using their Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Open ID or Disqus accounts. Editor Martin King explained the move with the following:
Websites have been encouraging cowardice. They allow users to hide behind virtual anonymity to make hasty, ill-researched and often intemperate comments regardless of any consideration for personal hurt or corporate damage.
Well said. While this might not be able to stop individuals posting under a pseudonym using, say, a Disqus account, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction to try and deter those who seek only to defame or abuse in comments sections across the web.
BBC iPlayer adds Twitter and Facebook to socialise TV
The BBC’s video on demand service, iPlayer, is launching iPlayer Beta at the end of June, allowing users to link their Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger accounts to their ‘BBC ID.’
Users will more easily be able to share what they’re watching over social networks, while viewers using Windows Messenger can sync viewing with friends and chat about the show in realtime.
Buy lettuce, get virtual currency
Social gaming company Zynga and Green Giant have teamed up to offer purchasers of Green Giant vegetable products free virtual currency that can be used in Farmville.
At first glance, the promotion seems like a very good fit. Zynga will be able to easily track redemptions to determine if the promotion is a success, while Green Giant can (hopefully) get more people eating their ’5 a day.’ More importantly though, “the promotion highlights just how prominent virtual currency and games like Farmville have become in the mainstream.”
BP beaten in social media stakes by fake tweets
BP has had something of a mess on its hands lately in social media in the form of a tongue-and-cheek account: @BPGlobalPR. The account has swelled to over 97,000 followers, eclipsing BP’s official @BP_America account by some 88,000, and claimed to be the oil giant’s official voice throughout the ecological crisis in the Gulf, while delivering a healthy dose of satire.
The anonymous Tweeter has since penned an editorial in the Guardian, been unmasked by Wired magazine and even given a book deal. There is also a T-Shirt range with proceeds going to benefit the Gulf Restoration Network. Long may it continue.
Dr Pepper rolls out Facebook status takeover for teens
Coca-Cola has launched a Facebook app for Dr. Pepper which gives consumers the chance to win £1,000 if they allow Dr Pepper to take control of their status update.
The app ties into their ‘What’s the Worst that Could Happen?’ creative, and chooses updates at random with varying degrees of embarrassment such as ‘what’s wrong with peeing in the shower?’ or ‘never heard of it described as “cute” before.’
Domino’s UK Rewards Foursquare Mayors, Yahoo acquires ‘Asian Foursquare’
Domino’s UK is starting a nationwide Foursquare promotion that rewards mayors with free pizza once a week, a deal similar to the one Starbucks announced not too long ago. Additionally, every Foursquare user will receive a free side dish when spending over £10.
In other location-based news, Yahoo has acquired Koprol which has been described affectionately by TechCrunch as the ‘Asian Foursquare.’
Google Moderator on YouTube enables real-time feedback from your audience
YouTube has integrated the use of Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel. Google Moderator is a social platform that allows users to solicit ideas, ask questions, and have their community vote for the best comments in real-time. Crucially, it also allows users channel owners the ability to remove any content that their audience has flagged as inappropriate.
Twitter passes 15 billion tweet mark
After reaching 10 billion tweets at the beginning of March, Twitter has now announced that it has delivered its 15 billionth tweet:
It took Twitter almost a year to hit five billion, but only four months to hit 10 billion. By adding another five billion tweets in three months it is now growing at more than one billion tweets a month, which means it should hit 20 billion before the summer is out.
Assuming we even get a summer in London this year…
Tuenti switches on local for a location-based future
Spanish social networking site Tuenti, often referred to as the Facebook of Spain, has introduced a location-based feature called Tuenti Places (reads “Tuenti Sitios” in Spanish) allowing users to “add any local place, interact with it, share it with friends, upload images and write reviews.” Each Tuenti place (e.g. bars, clubs, restaurants) will have it’s own unique space for user interaction so unlike Facebook pages, there won’t be any duplicates.
Tuenti first built a massive and incredibly segmented community and now they’re introducing local, which in itself is social by nature, but they can build in local by crowdsourcing their 8 million active users who are already sharing places…. Overnight Tuenti promises to get thousands of very dynamic local business pages and will shortly introduce new features such as Foursquare-like check-ins.
With everyone expecting Facebook to introduce location very soon, it will be interesting to see how Tuenti’s location-based feature fares.
Middle-aged travellers leading travel social media revolution
The Social Travel Report by independent media agency Total Media, claims that the holiday industry is facing a social media revolution and that middle age travellers are shaping consumer views of the best hotels and holiday destinations. Based on a sample of 1,375 people, the report found what many people have long suspected:
Holiday reviews written by strangers on independent websites such as TripAdvisor, search results on Google and word-of-mouth advice from family and colleagues are more influential than brochures, advertising, media reviews and advice from travel agents.
Some of the highlights:
- Almost half of travellers over 45 are using websites to recommend or warn fellow travellers by posting a review
- 25% of British travellers say that online reviews by strangers help determine their travel plans
- Almost 70% of consumers use the internet to book their holidays
- Expedia was the leading online resource for consumers planning long trips (more than five nights) with 25%, followed by Tripadvisor and lastminute.com with 22%
Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.
It makes for an interesting read, and he goes supports his hypothesis by arguing that hate, exclusion and disempowerment are flourishing online, whereas there is no greater trust or a rise in value of relationships.
This created quite a stir, and invited about 188 comments from readers and almost 50 blogs in response. Two noteworthy blog posts responses came from Bud Caddell over on What Consumes Me and a lengthy post on Stowe Boyd and the /messengers.
In all, Umair’s argument about the devaluation of relationships because of social media is fairly grand one not necessarily supported empirically anywhere within his post. That said, it’s certainly refreshing (and desirable) to have the social media industry’s thinking about online relationships tested every now and again.