October 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
Teenagers introduced us to Facebook and now they are moving on. Just 23 percent of teens think Facebook is the most important social site, down from 42 percent from a year ago, according a Piper Jaffray report on teens. Facebook is tied with Instagram as the second most popular social media among teens. Instagram is a social network a third of Facebook’s age and with a tenth as many users. Twitter came out as number one.
Facebook has been on a steady decline. Even though the numbers on Facebook are still huge, teens say that size, privacy and drama are reasons for the growing lack of popularity. What’s growing in popularity? Instagram, Snapchat and more niche social media are growing in importance among teens.
October 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Are you an unwitting testimonial in a social ad? You might be. Google is just the latest to roll out “shared endorsements”, which post users of Google+ and Gmail as endorsers of products they have shared using Google+.
These online testimonials will be shared beginning November 11 on Google products such as Google Maps, Gmail or Google search.
According to a recent LA Times post by Jessica Guynn, “any time someone “likes” or links to a product on Facebook, there’s a chance Facebook will put that person’s name and face in an ad endorsing the product. More of these ads are flooding the Web as companies look to exploit what has long been so effective in the offline world: a personal recommendation from a friend.”
Facebook is already doing it, so what’s the big deal? Sounds like great marketing? It seems that advertisers and social media are the only ones profiting from this relationship. It may be the price we pay to have free use of social media.
But here is the rub. The endorsements are trusted by consumers, yet may not be a true expression of the endorser.
Some 68% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations or “earned advertising” from other consumers, according to a 2013 global survey by market research firm Nielsen, up from 61% in 2007. Consumers also put less trust in ads appearing in newspapers (61%), magazines (60%), television (62%) and radio (57%).
After seeing a friend “like” a product on social media, 29% of U.S. Internet users check out the product, 14% visit the product’s website, 11% visit the product’s social media page and 5% “like” the product, according to research from Adobe Systems.
Many of us have “liked” a page, only to enter a contest, or get a discount, or to create a wish list on Amazon or eBay. That encounter does not always mean we have a relationship with the company. As I expressed in the recent LA Times article, the ads are not an authentic representation of the consumer. The “free love” period of social media is over. Doesn’t seem too free anymore, does it?
As marketers, I think it is important for us to be aware of the full story for endorser ads, and to advise our clients appropriately.
September 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
For the few dinosaurs out there who think that social media is a passing fad, listen up! Five years ago, only 29% of online Americans used social media. That was when your kids didn’t want you on Facebook, remember? Today, if you are marketing to women, you need to think social.
Now, there are 72% of us online using social media. And women are significantly more likely to use social media, according to the new Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Tracking Survey. Women have lead men during all five years of their tracking. Way back in 2005, we were still talking about how men were pursuing use of the internet for intensely than women. Well, that’s old news.
And not only do women lead men in social media, but they are the dominant audience of most of the social sites, particularly Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
Women do the most Facebook sharing (62 percent), while more men are on LinkedIn than women (54 percent). Men also spend more time on YouTube each week than women; men are spending up to an hour each week compared to 35 minutes for women. Google+ is also dominated by males.
Twitter has a larger percentage of women (62 percent) and, of course, Pinterest (70 percent) is dominated by women. Nielsen actually says 84% of Pinterest users are women and it is dominated by tablet users.
September 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
For marketers, football is almost as important as the holiday season. The all round appeal to both men and women has made football one of the most efficient delivery vehicles for marketing messages. Instead of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Football Holidays are the start of the season, the big game match-ups like the Manning Brothers Bowl, Alabama v. Anybody, the BCS and of course, the Super Bowl.
Part of the allure is the real time benefit of live sports. According to Tor Myren, president and chief creative officer at the Grey New York division, “It’s one of the few things America watches in real time, together and, as a result, the airtime is very valuable.”
Super Bowl cocktail party fact: Fox has already sold 85 to 90 percent of the commercial inventory for the 2014 Super Bowl, at a price of $4 million for every 30-second spot. Because of the major investment in television, the brands are extending their reach with social media, ala the famous Oreo blackout tweet.
More women (50.4 million) tuned into last year’s Super Bowl than watched the Oscars (24.5 million), Grammys (23.8 million) and Emmys (8 million), according to Nielsen. The Super Bowl’s female audience has more than doubled from only five years ago, and the last three Super Bowl broadcasts have set records for being the most-watched shows by female viewers.
Female football fan fact: If you are marketing to women, listen up. The NFL counts 185 million Americans as fans (60% of the US population) and 45% of those are women. About half of all fans are either avid or casual. Among avid fans, women compose one-third of fans, and are a slight majority of casual fans. (And this doesn’t include college football!)
For women, Marie Claire had an extra 16 page NFL insert in their September issue titled “The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Football.” There were five full-page ads for women’s apparel from the NFL’s Women’s collection, fashion tips, recipes and some football terminology. The insert was just one part of the NFL campaign that included print advertising, television and pop-up clothing boutiques at stadiums. The new apparel is not based on the traditional “pink it and shrink it” approach, but rather on jerseys cut for women and accessories made for women. Is it working? The sales of women’s apparel has tripled in the past four years.
Click here for this year’s NFL fashion show.
Tailgating is also a female sport with approximately $20 billion estimated to be spent at sports and non-sports events this season.
There is also another new term – “homegating” – which refers to all the entertaining merchandise needed for the Saturdays and Sundays at home watching games with friends and family. And of course, that customer is also female.
So if you think football, remember it’s not just a men’s event anymore.
July 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Hashtags are everywhere. Some 24% of tweets contain hashtags. Some 71% of people on social media use hashtags. Even Facebook recently instituted the lowly pound mark that has become a strong marketing tool. But here’s the thing? Do you know when to hashtag and not to hashtag?
Hashtags were created in 2007 by Chris Messina, as a way to monitor interests on Twitter. Internationally, the hashtag went mainstream on Twitter during the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests, as both English and Persian-language hashtags became useful for Twitter users following the events.
Here are our top six things to know about hashtags.
1. What is a hashtag? Hashtags are like keywords- preceded by the hash or pound symbol – that allow content to be organized on a social network. Twitter created hashtags and now they are found on many social channels like Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and now Facebook. Hashtags facilitate searching for topics by grouping all like hashtag content together. Simply put, if you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
2. Who creates hashtags? Here’s the beauty of it – you do! Events sponsors, groups and organizations will often suggest hashtags for their meetings to encourage communication among attendees and followers. To create a hashtag, simply include a # in front of a word or phrase. Celebrities use them to create more attention for their songs like Lady Gaga using #IWasBornThisWay. Disasters alert us with hashtags like #OKTornado. If you want to incorporate your hashtag across multiple channels, you need to consider the character restrictions of those social networks. If you’re creating a hashtag for an event with a long title like National Small Business Week 2013, consider using an abbreviation or acronym, #SBW13. It might be a good idea to do a search on a hashtag you are considering. A quick search might save you some time or embarrassment if there is a negative use of a hashtag.
3. What are typical uses of hashtags? Hashtags allow you to be part of larger conversation. Some of the most frequent uses are:
To identify an event or place – #Oscars, #American Idol, #CapitolGrille, #Nashville, #NBAFinals
To make an event social – #M2Moms, #SXSW, #NAMA
To express emotion or opinion – #Cher rocks it on The Voice, #surprised at Downtown Abbey finale
To make a recommendation – #MustRead, #MustWatch, #NowPlaying
To connect with others – #DachshundLovers, #CatLovers, #KidsBikeSafety
4. How many hashtags should you use? Well, research says that has shown that engagement drops when a tweet has two or more hashtags. On the flip side, tweets that have hashtags received two times more engagement than those without hashtags.
5. Is there hashtag etiquette or rules? No, but there are some best practices like don’t use more than two hashtags per post. When you are selecting your hashtag, make sure the phrase is used without spaces – like #MustRead. Your Mama would say don’t use profanity in your hashtags. You can put a hashtag anywhere in your post. On Facebook, your privacy will remain intact. Only your followers will see your hashtag.
6. What are implications for marketing and branding? It is becoming common to see hashtags as part of a marketing campaign. A good example is GE. GE’s recent TV commercials have included the hashtag #brilliantmachines. The hashtag represents the whole General Electric line of products whether they are talking about healthcare or engines. Using #brilliantmachines in their TV spots also reflects the symbiotic relationship between television and mobile – with between 75% and 85% of TV viewers use other devices while watching. If they see a hashtag on TV, it’s easy to look it up. Television shows are using it to advantage. But, again, it is important to monitor campaigns to see that they don’t take on a different life than intended. McDonald’s #McDStories turned into horror stories about fast food nightmares.
June 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Is this goodbye for Vine?
Vine, created by Dom Hofmann and Rus Yusupov, was intended to allow users to quickly launch a video from smartphones to share with family and friends. Within a matter of months after launch, it became the most used video-sharing application on the market, and by April 2013 was the most downloaded app within the entire iOS App Store. Vine was a huge success. Similarly, Instagram took the app world by storm, changing the look and feel of pictures across the iOS and Android world. Instagram, however, was designed for picture filtering and editing, only allowing a square-shaped picture similar to old fashioned polaroids. But Instagram’s merge with Facebook, the popular photo app took on new features such as additional filters, zooming, and focusing. The new feature this month is video streaming.
Differences between Instagram and Vine:
1 Time: Instagram now allows a whopping 15 seconds compared to the six Vine allows for their sharing.
2 Loop: Vine will constantly play the on-screen video, while Instagram is “one and done” when it comes to playing time.
3 Shoot: Vine allows the entire screen to be touched for recording, while Instagram has a centralized button.
4 Focus: Why does Instagram use a specific button for shooting? Because the screen can be used to focus. This means foreground and background transitioning for those video savvy users.
5 Stabilize: Instagram wins the stabalizing award, allowing users to opt-in for better quality shoots for shakey hands.
6 Delete: Instagram implemented a feature allowing users to delete. (Much needed!)
7 Filter: And what Instagram would be complete without one of the signature filters? These are available to use for Instagram videos as well.
8 Convenience: Instagram allows you to video within its app, essentially making it an app within an app. Vine, on the other hand, is standalone letting you be that much closer to capturing that golden moment.
Similarities between Instagram and Vine:
One of the biggest and most noticeable features that both apps incorporate is the shoot-pause-reshoot option. This allows a video to show progression, not just an instant period of time.
There are clearly more differences than similarities between these two medias, but which one wins out? It’s all a matter of preference. Depending on what people are looking for in an app, both media will be successful in the smartphone world. In the future we can expect more groundbreaking features to be implemented in both applications, giving the public more reasons to shoot and share!
And what will marketers use? Maybe both. Lululemon was among the first brands to use the new Instagram video. But other brands like Kate Spade, Lowe’s, Urban Outfitters, Lucky Magazine and Nordstrom are using Vine to provide sneek peeks, DIY ideas, new fashions and more in 6-second samplings.
Guest Post by Claire Whorton. An App-Savvy Digital Native living in Nashville, Tennessee.
May 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
On the eve of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be important to salute those amazing women who are influential in the lives of their nieces and nephews but have not given birth to a child. I know lots of these important women who have been nicknamed PANKs, Professional Aunts No Kids. They are actively involved in the lives of children around them. In fact, one in five women is a PANK, or approximately 23 million Americans. PANKs are roughly half of all the women who are not a mother or grandmother. This group is actually growing as women are choosing to stay single or marry later.
PANKs spend $9 billion on toys and gifts for children annually, according to “The Power of the PANK”, a study by Savvy Auntie and public relations firm Weber Shandwich. PANKs tend to have about the same income as the average woman, but they have more disposable income because they do not have children and are more likely to be single. PANKs estimate that they spent an average of $387 on each child in their lives during the past year, with 76% having spent more than $500 per child.
Additionally, PANKs are younger. The average age of a PANK is 36 (vs. 46 years for overall women), a highly desirable age group for marketers because it suggests that PANKs potentially have a network of friends and family members with growing families. This important group of women are also mighty among social media influencers. PANKs tend to spend more time on social media than women in general.
PANKs are great at sharing information about clothing, vacation/travel, websites/social networks sites, and products for digital devices. They also index higher on traditionally “mom” categories, such as groceries/food and beverages, household appliances and home decorating goods, and knowledgeable about more male-dominated areas of expertise: electronics, automobiles/other vehicles, life and property insurance, and financial investments/services.
Some 43% of PANKs say advertising and marketing is not geared to them, and half of them say that society does not acknowledge them. Imagine what would happen if advertisers acknowledged this group. This important demographic would be extremely loyal to brands that reach out to them.
April 27, 2013 § 4 Comments
It’s the travel season. I recently booked rooms in far-flung places where I had to rely on online reviews to steer my decisions. I looked for high ratings, seemingly honest guest reviews and photos that travelers had taken.
Do consumers trust online reviews for hotels? Yes, of course they do, and they trust online reviews more than brand websites and ads. TripAdvisor recently celebrated an impressive new statistic: the travel review site reached 100 million reviews and opinions this month. The reviews include more than 2.5 million accommodations, restaurants, attractions, and local businesses in more than 116,000 destinations. Central Park in New York has more than 12,000 reviews!
Here are some of the findings from Trip Adviser:
95% of travelers say reviews are trustworthy.
78% of travelers say reviews help them feel more confident in their booking decisions.
74 percent of travelers say that they write and post online reviews because they want to share a good experience with others.
53% of travelers won’t book a hotel that has no reviews.
35% of new reviews on TripAdviser are submitted by Facebook-connected travelers.
5% claim the hotel was not as good as the reviews implied, but 80% say the hotel met their expectations based on the reviews.
What signals a trustworthy review? Travelers look for the number of reviews, pictures and images, and the quality and detail. And all hotels should respond to hotel reviews. I gave the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago high marks because they have an active social media presence and will respond to guests on social media. It sets them apart. Almost 90 percent of hotel general managers agree that it’s critical for their staff to manage, respond to, and monitor hotel reviews on user review websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google+ Local, and Travelocity.
To find out how to spot a fake review, check out the infographic from Olery.
April 15, 2013 § 1 Comment
Whether we buy online or research online, all retail is going to be impacted by online activity. Not ten years from now, but just a couple of years from now. How can that be, you ask, when only 5.4% of retail sales were reported as e-commerce in the fourth quarter of 2012?
Well, here’s the news bulletin. While online retail sales are a smaller portion, many of today’s sales are web-influenced. In fact, 70% of consumers research online before they make an in-store purchase. And the average shopper may be using 10.4 sources of information to make a purchase decision. Social media and mobile continue to become important influencers in this shopping behavior.
Moms continue to be the heavy shoppers and one-third of all moms own a connected device. Moms spend 6.1 hours per day on average on their smartphones – that’s more than magazines, TV or radio. 62% use shopping apps and 46% took action after seeing a mobile ad. Mobile usage is growing among moms. It’s 40% higher today than in 2009 for these mobile moms. The statistics for moms shopping on tablets are off the charts - 97% made a purchase using their tablet in the last month. And 46% actually want to receive information while they are in a store.
Warning to Retailers: many retailers have been shown to be slow to adapt, and are without tablet websites or iPad sites. When you don’t keep up, you are giving the competition the edge and giving iPad shopping startups a shot, like Pickie or Fab.com or others.
For more statistics on shopping, read more here.
April 13, 2013 § 1 Comment
A new report from Nielsen confirms that women still control the spending power in the US. Some people estimate that we control $5-15 trillion annually. Now, I know that saying women still dominate retail shopping is like saying that it still snows at the North Pole, but there are some shifts going on that are interesting.
The report points out that men are taking a more active role in the shopping process than they have in the past. Woo-hoo! Between 2004 and 2012, U.S. women reduced the number of trips they made across most retail channels, while men increased their visits to all outlets except grocery and drug stores.
However women are still spending more money per trip than men in all shopping channels. Women drive the larger stock-up or planned trips and outspend males by $14.31 per trip in supercenters and by $10.32 per trip in grocery stores.
So basically, women are still doing the majority of shopping, but the data tends to suggest that men are beginning to assume more shopping duties beyond the trip to the convenience store for beer and chips.
Talking to the female shopper is more important than ever. So those at Nielsen are concerned, like we are, about the emotional and rational content of marketing and advertising messages.
Women remember more and differently than men do, so talk to both her emotional and rational sides and acknowledge her attention to detail. Layering emotional decision-making opportunities with rational information will increase purchase intent and will have strong “sticking” power. According to Nielsen NeuroFocus, the female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging should be positive and not focus on negative comparisons or associations.
In other words, women form value opinions based on both emotional and rational reasons to buy. That’s why the Darth Vader spot for Volkswagen was a game changer. It spoke to both men and women about the special moments of family life yet focused on a buying feature of the car. And yes, women are the buyers of most cars too.