Marketing to Teenagers: Facebook Fail

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.

2013_10_23_Facebook_TeensFacebook 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.

Marketing to Women: Endorser Ads Starring “You”

October 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

65a15f5839fa11e393b222000aa8011b_6Are 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.

sharedendorsementexamplesAccording 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.

Marketing Back-to-School to Parents: What Social Media Tells Us

August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Lipstick Economy is interested in Back-to-School this year and how this year might be different from other years because of trends such as year-round school calendars, just-in-time shopping, family and teen-age budgets and online versus offline.  The topic generated conversation among readers who provided some great information.

An online friend Kim Wilson of Ebro Foods shared this infographic on Back-to-School.  I was fascinated because it is based on Social Media research and it has some great take-aways:

Parents feel some worry about the school transition and like deals and sales that help them with stretched budgets. Moms are in charge - A recent survey revealed that 59% of shoppers say that mom makes the final decisions for back to school shopping.  And as the Chief Budget Officer, she is juggling.

Families still prefer to do back-to-school shopping together.  64 percent of shoppers prefer to shop with their child versus the 36 percent who would prefer to shop alone.  Don’t forget that many Moms have already done their research before they hit the stores and are comparing prices as they shop.  Some 71 percent of shoppers will use their smartphones to compare prices or download mobile coupons during their shopping trips.

Families tackle the most expensive purchases first and time them around deals and sales.  More than half (55%) of shoppers will make back-to-school purchases throughout the school year instead of purchasing everything at once.The cycles are changing and retailers need to be alert to these changes.

SAP_BackToSchool_infographic_FINAL

Marketing to Young Women: Is Facebook Fatigue Real?

August 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

fbfatiguefatiguelkjhbgIt was all over the news.  Facebook fatigue. Beginning in February of this year, studies and articles surfaced regarding the current state of Facebook and the apparent decline in use and overall membership. While company leaders deny its validity, the studies seem to tell a different tale.

In a study done by the Pew Research Center in February, Pew found that 61% of Facebook users who responded had taken an extended, multi-week break from Facebook in the previous year.  In the same study, researchers found that of Facebook users aged 18-29, 40% said they planned on using Facebook less in the coming year.

Why does this matter? Teen and young adult Facebook users make up an $819 billion consumer segment whose opinions are often influenced by what they see on social media.  With less of that segment on Facebook, advertisers might need to find a way to bring their ads to other increasingly popular social media outlets, causing Facebook to lose ad sales.  Overall, this could affect the way companies, people, and advertisers interact with the young adult demographic.

My favorite take on Facebook came from a Mashable Post:  I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook.  The 13-year old cites that her friends are on social media but they prefer Snapchat, Instagram and Vine.  Some of the reasons for the fail of Facebook for this generation are the number of parents online, bullying and the fact that Facebook is just trying too hard! 

Many cite the influx of older users as the cause of the deterrence, particularly the increase in use by parents and grandparents of current young users.  Similarly, people cite that Facebook has issues of privacy.  Privacy is an issue.  TRUSTe revealed that 94 percent of U.S. online adults want the ability to control who collects their personal information and tracks their activities online, not what Facebook intends.  In a 2012 Associated Press-CNBC poll, three of every five Facebook users said they had little or no faith in Facebook protecting their personal information. But more surprising, in the same report, an astonishing 51 percent of young adults consider Facebook a passing fad.

Well, Facebook is a fad with a billion users.  The truth is that social media is constantly evolving, and each generation will find its own place online.  Facebook may make changes and attract different audiences, but the truth is Facebook is probably not going the way of My Space anytime soon. There are still a billion people on Facebook and many businesses are built on it – like the youth-friendly Instagram.

But for marketers, it is important to understand the usage patterns of our target audiences and be aware of new patterns developing.  I always advise clients to spend about 10% of their budget experimenting with new media tactics.

Marketing Travel to Women: Do Travelers Trust Online Reviews?

April 27, 2013 § 4 Comments

images-1It’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 TripAdvisorYelpGoogle+ Local, and Travelocity.

To find out how to spot a fake review, check out the infographic from Olery.

Olery-Infograpghic-TrustReviews_AMS10

Marketing to Women: 8 Reasons In Defense of Twitter

January 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Wall Street Journal published a survey in January revealing that just 3% of small business owners polled believed that Twitter had the most potential to help their companies.  However, 60% of those small business owners believed that social media was important to their companies.  I believe most businesses do not understand the way to use Twitter.  Most think only about sales leads, rather than thinking of the other important purposes of Twitter.

MK-CA546_SBSOCI_NS_20130130180907What social media did small businesses prefer?  LinkedIn was preferred by 41% of the respondents, 16% picked YouTube and 14% chose Facebook.  About 14% of the business owners surveyed said they use Twitter. That figure matches with research released last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which found that about 15% of all online adults are Twitter users.

In Defense of Twitter, I think that many businesses do not understand the strengths of Twitter and how to use it.  So here are some of the strengths of Twitter —

1.  Research.  Because of the amazing topics covered on Twitter, you can use it for research, listening to customers and competition, and discovering new topics of interest.  The multitude of interests covered can help you stay informed on a wide breadth of topics.  You are exposed to an amazing array of thought, wisdom and insight.  One company learned a new use for their product just by listening to their Twitter users.  Twitter is often a quick way to get a response to a question, find out about referrals or get comments on new ideas.

2.  Customer Service.  Twitter is a wonderful customer service tool.  Everyone from airlines to local restaurants sue Twitter to connect with customers to offer information, assistance, updates or apologies for poor service.

3.  Real Time News.  This is where the real breaking news is – across all topics – across the planet.  Citizen journalists across the world come to Twitter with news bulletins for almost any topic.  Even Twitter users in countries that are war torn or in rebellion have used the media to get their message out.

4.  Syndication of Your Content.  Your content is news on Twitter.  Twitter is an effective tool to share blog posts, pictures, videos and others relevant content.  Some groups hold Tweeting Parties, giving a way for groups to interact.

5.  Grow Your Circle of Influence.  As you find people who are of interest to your business, you can follow up to 2,000 Twitterers without any limits.  This service allows you to interact with potential customers, current customers and peer groups.  It’s a great way to meet people that complement your services and to learn from others.  Twitter is very democratic.  You can converse with business contacts online that you might not ever be able to meet otherwise.

6.  Search Engine Optimization.  Activity on Twitter will boost your search engine visibility.

7.  Strut Your Social Savvy.  Depending on what business you are in, it might be embarassing if you do not participate in Twitter.  I always advise clients to check out the social activity of potential marketing partners to see if they practice what they preach.  It’s amazing how many don’t.

8.  Public Relations Opportunities.  Since journalists troll Twitter, it is a great place to be seen and potentially picked up and to add to your authority.

Marketing to Women: Are We Addicted to the Internet?

January 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

Do you get that panicky feeling if you forget your phone?  Do you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?  Well, you are not alone.

More than half  (55%) of respondents to a Siteopia study of internet usage feel they are addicted to the internet, while almost 62% of us admit we “need’ the internet to function in everyday life.   

One in ten of those participating said they can’t go longer than ten minutes during the day without catching up on social media or email.

The Siteopia study of 2,000 internet users reported that, on average,  most respondents only go a maximum of 90 minutes during the day without checking Facebook, Twitter or email.

Many of us are using mobile as the device of choice for checking in and updating our status - 10% of people now access the internet primarily on their mobile, with 5% accessing primarily via tablet.  75% have already been online before 9am every day, with almost one in five checking their e-mail or catching up on social media during their commute to work.

A whopping 62% now do all their banking online.   A third do all of their clothes shopping online, with free returns and delivery becoming an ever more common feature.

How Many Devices Do You Use?

I am on my laptop as I write now, but earlier today I used my iPad and iPhone to check in.  Seems I am fairly normal - the average internet user can now get online via three different devices.  But some 10% of us have as many as five devices, illuminating the growth of smart devices like televisions and gaming consoles.

Usage by Gender

Surprisingly, even though women spend more time with online shopping and social media, it’s men who spend more than 19 hours a week online – more than 42 solid days each year, and over a third longer than women, who only spend 14 hours per week surfing the web.  Men spend more time on news, Twitter, gaming and Not Safe for Work sites.

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