January 23, 2015
“It wasn’t like that in my day….”
“When I was your age…”
These idioms are now applying to social media too. Channels are changing quicker than we can take a selfie. The younger generation is continuously finding new ways of communicating and moving on from previous popular sites whilst the older generation is started to get socially active more than ever before.
An American report entitled “Social Media Update 2014” (see link here) concluded that whilst Facebook remains the most popular social networking site, others are growing at a higher rate. What does all of this data mean? What are the current trends?
Let’s look at social media by age group:
Users of social media are bound by terms and conditions and age restrictions. The youngest user of Facebook is required to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (and older in some jurisdictions) and Twitter restrictions clearly states that the site is for users over 13. Do these age limitations stop the youngest users from interacting on social media? This guide on how young kids should be in order to join Instagram is viewed over 400 times a day, so this is clearly on the minds of parents and tweens. We shouldn’t assume that all youngsters follow the guidelines and avoid social media; rather the opposite.
An article in the Telegraph (see here) found that “Teenagers are moving away from ‘traditional’ social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in favour of mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.” It would seem that teenagers want something instant and immediate, and don’t have time for Facebook which may now be seen as ‘uncool’. Whilst the jury is not out as to whether teens have abandoned Facebook and Twitter, the trend seems to be moving towards this age group using other apps as well. A common sense media article highlights the sites that teens are most likely to use.
For this group, it’s all about the photos.
Instagram is now more popular than Twitter (source), and this age group is partly responsible. According to the report mentioned above, half of online adults aged 18-29 used Instagram, and more than half use it every day. However, as Business Insider pointed out, Facebook can’t be ignored and is still the most popular social network with 58% of all age groups saying they have a personal profile page.
30-49 year olds
According to Pew Research Internet Project (see here) for adults age 30-49, a whopping 82% of them use social networking sites. This is only marginally less than 18-29 year olds, of which 89% use social networking sites. However, it is important to note that this is the only age group in the Social Media Update report that dropped in Facebook usage – could this mean that as usage is up, maybe this group is looking elsewhere as well?
Although Facebook was originally launched at Harvard for college students, the user demographic has changed and continues to change! By 2014, according to the Social Media Update, more than half of online adults 65 and over are now using Facebook, which is the biggest jump amongst all of the age groups. Online usage of all social networking sites increased but not as significantly as on Facebook.
Interesting trends! Is it worth breaking down the data to see where best to focus your social media marketing in 2015.
December 24, 2014
Exploding onto the scene, making a quiet entrance or growing in popularity?
There is always talk about which new social media platforms are replacing the existing channels. Although it is never as simple as a platform becoming obsolete in a matter of days, new tools and apps and sites are popping up all the time. Whether or not they will grow in popularity and gain cult-like status or disappear into the cloud ether never to be seen again, only time will tell.
WeChat – mobile voice and text messaging service from China, WeChat has now become the largest standalone messaging app by monthly users. More than 100 countries can register their phone numbers and sign up through Facebook. Bye-bye WhatsApp?
eva – a video based social networking site. Describing itself as “the mobile YouTube for the Instagram generation,” eva is set up for people looking to share content and express themselves through video. What do you think: is this innovative or been done before?
Instagram – not new by any stretch, Instagram has now taken over Twitter in monthly users and Citigroup has raised its valuation to $35 billion (see source) from a mere $19 billion. The platform appeals to younger users and has grown significantly in popularity. Is this the dawn when Instagram becomes the new Facebook?
Yik Yak – yakking is what people do best. Sharing content on Yik Yak is private and creates a live feed of what’s going on around town.
tsu – “We believe in quality content, real ownership, and the value of one’s own network.” Tsu claims to be socially responsible, rewarding users for quality content and allowing users to maintain ownership of their content. One million users joined in just over one month, that’s not too shabby!
We can’t complete this post without mentioning Facebook and Twitter. The two most popular social media sites are going to need to change with the times to keep up, stay fresh and resonate with young audiences.
January 7, 2013
What trends in social media are we expecting over the next few years?
We know that it has only just turned 2013, but at agency: 2 we like to always be two steps ahead of the game, so our minds are already drifting to what will be the trends in social media for 2014. We predict that the social networking sites that will be most successful in 2014 will be those which make the most effective use of data, and allow users to get the most targeted and relevant experience.
We believe the most successful social networking sites will use the tri-factors of user behaviour data, user intent data and demographic data to create the most valuable & relevant experiences.
Social networking sites which make the most valuable use of this tri-factor will add the most value for users and ensure that they keep on coming back to that specific site.
By 2014 engaging content will be more important than ever, with everything on social networking sites having a clear intent and purpose. In our last blog article we discussed how we believe that sites such as ‘Newsle’, which cut through the clutter and ‘social noise’ on the web to provide a specific purpose, will increase in popularity. If social networking channels can provide a valuable service which enhances the user’s web experience and generates positive results they will be successful (as seen with LinkedIn).
At agency:2 we are looking forward in the next few years to using our knowledge and experience to ensure that brands can successfully target their messages at the right people, with a focus on the needs and desires of specific individuals.
May 10, 2012
The folks at Flowtown have cut through the data on users of geo-social networking and location-based services to produce this infographic – and guess what? it’s the under 30 year old males that lead the way. Delving a little further into the whos and whats shows us that users with spending power look to location-based services to find out what brands can offer them. And with the data showing that those people most likely in the US to access these services on their smartphones are in the higher – the learning for brands is that location-based services can help you find your target market.
April 20, 2012
From 26 May 2012 websites operated in the EU will be required to inform their users that they are being tracked with cookies, and to ask users for their consent. There’s much that brands can do to support site architecture changes by reviewing how they relate to their B2B and B2C customers in two areas:
Businesses using cookies must be completely transparent in how they collect, store and use data.
Businesses must be aware of all cookies utilised within their website – the legislation includes both your own cookies as well as cookies set by a third party. So remember, you are responsible for all cookies on the site and ensuring they comply with the legislation.
Ultimately, when used responsibly and effectively, cookies are an invaluable way of enhancing the user experience and customer satisfaction, as well as providing marketers with a vital tool to improve conversion rates. Transparent and responsible use of such data will safeguard these benefits for both parties.
April 12, 2012
The London Games begin in just over 100 days’ time involving many thousands of spectators, participants and sponsors:- the physical architecture is more or less in place, the infrastructure pretty much on track, the athletes are reaching the apex of their training, games volunteers have been recruited, and trade in tickets, travel and accommodation is ramping up.
Heralded as the ‘Social Games’ (following on from the ‘twinter olympics’ in Vancouver 2010) the challenge for one of the most tightly-protected super brands is to nourish authentic social engagement around what is arguably the biggest show on earth. A snapshot of the twittersphere shows that push marketing is in evidence: – the obvious messages are getting traction [who IS coming down to the CocaCola Olympics Gig in Hyde Park]; along with issues that reflect the UK national news agenda [anti -cuts ‘street parties’ to rival Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympics?]; and the troubled global backdrop [somali Selectors worry will people they choose now still be alive come July?].
The learning from recent Games is that the three ‘Cs’ – conversation, collaboration and community – that underwrite successful social campaigns can be achieved with planning, structure and insight. Not all of which is yet in evidence in official Olympic channels.
By Rachel Moses
March 1, 2012
TV is inherently social; shows have been weekly appointments to gather around the screen and it is a small step from watching a show to telling friends or blogging what we think about it. The proliferation of second screen devices means viewers are able to explore, share and engage with content before, during and after the screening event – and in so doing become users or even contributors.
We are talking about fundamental changes to how programme makers, advertisers and viewers connect, moving from a shout media model to an interactive one. Specifically, developments are in content – how programmes are broadcast and created; in discovery – how we find new shows to watch or information about on screen products; in engagement – amplifying conversations around particular shows or products; and in integration – multi-platform screens and apps.
What this all adds up to is the opportunity for fully integrated campaigns across broadcast, digital, print, outdoor and social media. With the technology and hardware in place brands are starting to create responses that capitalise on diversified touchpoints – but are campaigns reaching their potential?
NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Media premiered their Spanish language drama ‘Relaciones Peligrosas’ that connects with twitter fans to develop the on screen narrative – a slow burn in terms of social media engagement, the real pay off will come as this new show gains momentum.
Coca Cola’s campaign for Superbowl XVLI (with viewing figures of 111 million) involved their polar bear characters hosting a virtual party and interacting in real time with fans via facebook and twitter – a victim of its own success as the facebook app crashed the website, creative content was less impressive leading it to list on polls for the worst Superbowl ad.
Honda’s Jazz car campaign in 2011 is an example of augmented TV allowing viewers to grab characters from the ad by swiping their iphones in front of the screen – a fun idea, well delivered, but the numbers show an incomplete return on investment with YouTube hits at 200,000 after one year (100,000 of which achieved in the first 2 weeks).
Marks & Spencer have launched an app for Samsung smart TVs with advice and buying tools across its product range, although online shopping does not feature – an example of early adoption, possibly too early adoption as the obvious shopping function is not enabled.
Sky UK are working with Zeebox to integrate their TV schedule and content into the app that syncs to Facebook and Twitter to create a social media TV companion – and rolled out during Sky UK’s Premiership Football coverage on 3 March 2012. This tie in offers a powerful all in one solution that knows what viewers are watching, shows them what their friends are watching and provide links to shop for products and download.
Social TV has great potential for brands to enliven the conversation that they have with consumers, to engage with a light, playful touch and to build mass communities around their products and services. And the building blocks are accessible, so even smaller budgets can get cut through and benefit from longer touchpoints.
By Rachel Moses
December 20, 2011
When Google+ launched it was about connecting people on a personal level, but the search engine giant always maintained that they would be launching a solution for brands to promote themselves on the platform.
In November 2011 Google finally unveiled brand pages for Google+, allowing businesses and brands to join Google’s social network.
So why should your brand care about Google+ pages? Initially it would seem there is little difference from Facebook. Google+ brand pages are similar to Facebook in both appearance and layout. However, it’s been claimed that Google+ is not a Facebook ‘killer’ but is rather an evolution.
So, while Facebook may be at the centre of the social world, Google is positioned firmly at the centre of the business world – and a closer look at Google+ reveals added benefits that will help businesses make closer connections with their audience.
For these reasons, and because of its unique features, businesses must seriously consider establishing their presence on the channel. While at this early stage Google+ pages are where businesses interact with early adopters and Facebook is where you interact with everyone else (Facebook boasts 800 million users, while Google claims around 50 million) there is a lot to suggest this could well change in the future.
Here are our top 3 reasons why brands should consider using Google+ brand pages:
Demonstrates commitment to innovation and offers unique features to engage
Launching a Google+ brand page now will help set your brand apart, marking you out as an early adopter – and puts you in a stronger position than your competitors. It also demonstrates your willingness to be innovative within your field and shows you are ready to engage with your audience on the latest platforms.
While Google+ pages at first appear very similar to Facebook there are a range of key differences – not just in terms of appearance (though Red Bull’s use of Gifs in their page is worth taking a look at) but in terms of the unique functionality which allows you to engage with fans in new and powerful ways.
One of the main features of Google+ is Circles which allows users to group followers in specific categories. While it may appear initially a challenge (you can’t add a person to a brand page’s circles unless he has first added your brand page to his circles), once you have won the right to be in a person’s Circle you can create lasting bonds with the pages (and people) that matter most by sending targeted, relevant messages to niche audiences sets.
Google+ Hangouts offer brands another unique feature, allowing them to hang out with followers or customers through video chat. This is a great feature for customer service for example and could potentially also be used to host live events.
Brands can also use competitions to build engagement. While currently, Google+’s content and promotion policies page states you cannot run promotions DIRECTLY on your Google+ page, you may link to a separate site (such as your website or blog) that promotes your competition.
Google is also adding a feature that will allow users to “check-in” via the Google+ mobile application in order to receive time-sensitive deals or discounts. This feature is mentioned in Google Places’s Help documentation, but has not yet been made available to business owners using the Google Places service.
As Google continues to build on its initial model and offers brands greater and more compelling ways to engage with their audience we will see a rise in its effectiveness as a way to drive traffic, raise brand awareness, increase audience reach and engage with your audience in more powerful ways.
The Google App-roach
The vast reach of Google and its range of apps will allow you to reach and engage with its huge existing audience base – this offers almost limitless potential.
Apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome and YouTube – to name just a few – are tools that many online users make use of everyday — and can be tied back to Google+. By aligning Google+ with these platforms extends the reach of the platform and by extension your brand page.
We are already beginning to see opportunities arise – Google is using social to integrate their apps, providing a personalised approach and helping to drive users through to Google+ and enabling users to easily share content with friends.
YouTube is a great example. The deep Google+ integration has seen Google add a YouTube search tab along the top right edge of each Google+ screen. Plus, when logged into Google all the subscriptions and channels you follow are organised into a left sidebar, which makes it easier to see videos that are shared from people within your social circles on Google+. When users search for a video, they now see a pop-up video player and playlist of related videos, and each one can be +1’ed and shared with the user’s Circles.
Google has also created integrations with Google Reader and Chrome. As they add to this they are increasing the opportunities for brands to drive people to their Google+ pages – and this is a great benefit for brands. It means as Google+ grows it will be able to further promote its social network — and the branded pages within it — in ways that are inaccessible to Facebook or Twitter
Being the largest search engine in the world certainly gives Google a massive advantage – one which they are taking advantage of. This is where Google has a competitive advantage over Facebook. That’s because creating an engaging brand experience on your Google+ page will help improve your search rankings.
Now that users can +1 your brand (the equivalent of a “Like” on Facebook), your + 1 will begin to affect the rating and placement of your brand in the search results, especially Google’s. Google’s Product Management Director Dennis Troper said Google will add up all +1 button clicks — from brands’ pages for Google+, websites, and search results — and the single total will be used to determine relevancy in Google’s search ranking results.
Google.com attracts over 1 billion unique visitors per month so this is obviously a massive benefit for brands and by implementing a strategy that is focused on keywords and optimising all relevant terms, brands can use Google+ to really benefit their search engine rankings.
Google is also debuting a feature called “Direct Connect” so that users who type “+” in front of a company’s name in Google’s search field will be connected directly to the company’s Google+ Page, if there is one.
Google + Brands = audience growth
While Google+ is still in its relative infancy it is clear that it has grown at an impressive pace and offers brands new and compelling ways to reach their audience. With such a huge range of apps and platforms at their disposal and a willingness to integrate these in social ways, Google is showing that it can challenge Facebook and provide brands with the tools and data they need to target their audience – which means you need to be there to talk to them.
December 9, 2011
Back in March 2011 we reported on a significant day in the history of digital and social media marketing and advertising. When the ASA’s (Advertising Standards Authority) remit was extended to cover all brand owned websites, their social media pages as well as video and mobile campaigns.
The changes to the Cap Code meant the ASA had the power to regulate all online and mobile marketing communications and ensure compliance with the Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (The CAP Code). This covers all businesses, regardless of size, and extends to other non-paid-for space online under your business’ control (e.g. messages you post on social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook).
This Code also extended to cover not just what the brands themselves posted but also rules on how brands should not retweet messages or Like comments on Facebook that a user has written which are incorrect as they will still be liable based on them endorsing the content.
The intention was to make all online communications more transparent and ensure people reading online content are receiving honest and truthful messages. However, since the laws have been implemented brands have still unintentionally broken the law within social media, and the IAB has had to launch guidelines to help brands comply with consumer protection law around the payment for content to promote products within a social media environment.
Recently Saville Home Management was found to have Tweeted misleading and unsubstantiated claims on the Twitter feed of cmRENT estate agents that “cmRENT have 93 Rental properties available” and “cmRENT have 105 Rental properties available”. They were reprimanded by ASA and the offending tweets were removed.
It is clear that brands need to be more mindful of the laws that have been put in place and agencies need to be offering their clients greater guidance as to what is and isn’t allowed as part of the Cap Code. At agency:2, as one of the Founders of the DMA, we have constantly adhered to strict ethical guidelines. We are proud of always working ethically and legally for the good of our clients – brands must be increasingly aware that whatever they post on social platforms must be transparent and clear.
December 1, 2011
At it’s first-ever U.S. press conference yesterday, Spotify unveiled their new app platform, which they hope will be the next big step in social music.
The platform allows third-party developers to use the streaming service’s music library and community to create personalised and tailored services for their users. Initially the Spotify Platform is only launching with a dozen apps but more are expected to appear shortly.
Spotify have so far confirmed they have partnered with the likes of Rolling Stone, Last.fm, Billboard, Songkick and The Guardian, as the online music service aims to build on its current offering and enhance the user experience.
An app launching its own app platform is a fascinating move and also an exciting one – it should allow companies and services to use Spotify in new and inventive ways.
For music publications such as Rolling Stone and Billboard, apps offer a way to allow users to read a review while silmultaneously listening to the album. However there are even more exciting and compelling ways that services can use Spotify. Let’s take the example of the Last.fm app within Spotify.
Last.fm is the world’s largest online music catalogue, powered by your scrobble. Spotify has long allowed users to integrate their Spotify listening to their Last.fm accounts. Now, the integration is bolstered with customised playlists. The new Last.fm app allows users to generate related song playlists based on the track they are currently listening to – by clicking “Similar Tracks Playlist,” Last.fm will generate a playlist of similar tracks of music available to listen to or subscribe to within Spotify and suggestions for users.
That’s not all – the “Now Playing” section of the Last.fm app allows users to get more information about a track or band.
The future of social music?
Having launched in America, begun its subscription model and formed a partnership with Facebook it has been a busy year for Spotify. These new apps will help to continue to build the brand and add a new and exciting dimension to Spotify’s user experience.