Smartphone is Smart Tool for Travel Research

March 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

HiResThe smartphone has become the go-to tool for travel and travel planning. Some 85% of American travelers reported using smartphones while on holiday, while just 46% reported using tablets.

Travel Bragging?

Sixty-one percent (61%) of travelers report using social media while on vacation because most don’t want to miss out on any of their friends’ or families’ news while away, and 10 percent (10%) want to make their friends jealous with their travel updates.

When traveling, we are still using our smartphones for calling and texting. But we are also looking for restaurants, posting those great pictures on Facebook, looking for travel sites and reading reviews. Once we are at our destination, some 58% of leisure travelers use online sources to evaluate local activities.

Going Mobile

Travel professionals are trying to make their mobile offerings a priority. And for good reason, the top mobile offerings U.S. travelers are looking for from a travel business are a mobile-friendly website, ability to book and special offers.

According to Trip Advisor, the top five apps we use for travel planning are travel advice/recommendation like TripAdvisor, weather, hotel/accommodation, airline and activity.

So it is no surprise, that 2015 will be the tipping point for digital travel research. eMarketer reports half of digital travel researchers will check out flights, hotels and more, not just on a laptop or desktop, but also on a mobile device. By 2018, 71% of travel research will be mobile.

Are TV and Digital Still Going Steady?

October 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

There is so much talk about the close relationship between television and your second screen but new reports show that the relationship may not always be as close as we think.  We need to understand our target audience and what they are doing on that second screen.

Ellen_Degeneres_Twitter.pngTelevision and Twitter.  

We might think the top shows have the most Twitter traffic but that’s not always the case, it depends on the audience. While CBS had five of the top ten broadcast shows for the 2013-2014 season,  they don’t have the most Twitter active crowd.  You see, CBS has an older audience among networks, with a median viewer age of 58. And it follows, older adults use Twitter less.  Pew Research says 9% of Americans 50-64 and 5% of those 65 and older used Twitter in 2013, compared to 31% of those 18-29 and 19% of those 30-49.

Who did have the highest Twitter traffic? Blockbuster events that cross many age groups like the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Oscars score high on Twitter usage.   The Super Bowl had 1.8 billion tweets and Ellen DeGeneres selfie-stunt was shared some 1.1 million times and even knocked Twitter offline for a few minutes.  “Breaking Bad” had the highest traffic for a single airing of a show and of course, it was the finale.  And that amazing Bryan Cranston had 6 million followers.  Other popular Twitter shows include “Walking Dead”, “Pretty Little Liars”, “The Bachelor”, “Game of Thrones”,  “Teen Wolf”, “American Horror Story”, “Scandal” and “Dancing with the Stars”.   These shows have a younger audience and some of them use Twitter in an interesting way.  Variety reports “The Voice” set a record for most tweets during their May 13 telecast.  Some 1.92 million posted #VoiceSave to rescue their favorite contestant.  Nielsen research shows the volume of tweets can relate to statistically significant increases in live ratings in some 39% of the episodes tested.

Twitter has their own study that says 48% of Twitter users said that after seeing a brand’s on-air ad they were more likely to remember seeing a tweet from that brand.

Television and the Second Screen

175879The most common use of digital is while we are watching TV, but it doesn’t always mean our activity is directly related to the show or ad we happen to have onscreen.  According to 2014 Millard Brown study, some 78% of US internet users accessed second screens during shows, compared with 71% who did so during ads.  And it seems that most of our second screen viewing happens during the show, not during previews, credits or commercials.

What are we doing online while watching TV?  We are reading our email, checking into social media, texting, calling someone, searching online and shopping.  Only some 4-7% of viewers are actually looking at the product being advertised.  So, it seems that a large percentage of our second screen time is not triggered by the program or advertising calls to action.  When we plan synergistic activities, we should understand our demographic and their online habits to know how best to interact with them.

 

 

What We Can Learn from The New York Times Being Behind the Times

May 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

320-Innovation_fullThe Gray Lady has problems – more than just the firing of Jill Abramson or lack of reporting on Jill Abramson’s demise. It seems the Times is behind the times in all things digital.  On May 15, Buzz Feed leaked the 96-page New York Times Innovation Report that candidly describes the digital struggles and weaknesses of the legendary print icon.    The report focuses on digital providers like Vox, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and BuzzFeed.  The report describes the institutional inertia that is keeping many businesses from embracing the new face of marketing.  And in some terrible irony of ironies, it was that upstart BuzzFeed that leaked the story.

Key learnings for all marketers today.

1.  Beware of Disrupters.  The news biz is changing like all business today.  Once small outsiders like BuzzFeed and  Huffington Post are now garnering more traffic than the Times.  Sound familiar?  Like Amazon, AirBnB, Uber and other disrupters?  The report gives some of the hallmarks of disruptive innovators – introduced by an outsider, less expensive than existing products, targeting new or underserved markets, initially inferior to existing products and advanced by an enabling technology.  Sound familiar in your business category?  Your competition may not be who it was yesterday. Today the New York Times is facing disparate competition such as LinkedIn’s Pulse Publishing platform,  Flipboard’s visual presentation of news, Vox as a collector of live blogging in passionate verticals, or Yahoo News that has hired Katie Couric and repurposes the best of news.

nytimescompetitors

2.  Stories Find Readers Today.  The Times identified a trend showing that users are moving away from browsing and actually expect the news to come to them through social media, mobile notifications, aggregators and more.

Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of The Guardian’s website says, “The realization that you have to go find your audience — they’re not going to just come and read it — has been transformative.”

 

Death of the Home Page.   Only a third of readers visit the home page of The New York Times. And those who do visit are spending less time on it. Page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages in the year 2013.  Where do people see your content?  We cannot expect our website to be the first view of information.

home-page-v-socialNews from Social Media.  Less than 10% of the New York Times traffic comes from social media compared to Buzzfeed who gets 60% of their traffic from social media.  In fact, I read the story about the New York Times report on LinkedIn and Mashable first.

Marketers cannot expect just one media to work for them.  It takes  multiple ways to get your important news out.  Social media, email marketing, guest posts, podcasts, interviews, speaking engagements, search marketing and even advertising, if well timed and placed.

3.  Content Packaging is as Important as the Story.  Journalists have thought that the story is the thing.  Build it and they will come.  But today, a journalist must craft the right story for the audience, understanding the reader relevance.  I was stunned by a story from Forbes writer Kashmir Hill who took an anecdote buried in a 5,000 word article in the times and repackaged it as “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.”  Her Forbes article has been viewed 2,455,821 times, and was the chief traffic driver for the Times story.  Crafting the right point of view takes a real understanding of your target audience.  And then, you have to position your story appropriately, with engaging content.

4.  Timing is Everything.  The Times is publishing their best content on a schedule meant for print.  They publish the majority of their content in the late evening, in order for it to make the morning paper, while  the majority of their traffic is in the morning hours. The biggest stories are published on Sundays for the venerable Sunday Paper, even though Sunday is the slowest day for traffic online.  A lesson to marketers here is are you publishing at times when you audience will see them?  In today’s world, the news is a 24-hour operation and news consumers expect to have it on a 24-hour schedule.

5.  Every Story Needs A Promotional Strategy.  All content needs a promotion strategy.  The publishing of the story is just the beginning.  What is the social strategy?  Is there a checklist for publishing that includes search headline, tags, images, pre-written Facebook and Twitter posts?

“Even ProPublica, that bastion of old-school journalism values, goes to extraordinary lengths to give stories a boost. An editor meets with search, social and public relations specialists to develop a promotion strategy for every story. And reporters must submit five tweets along with each story they file.”

How can you repurpose the content?  The Times report tells, “On a whim, Andrew Phelps created a Flipboard magazine of our most important obits of the year and it became the best-read collection in the history of the platform.”  The Gawker took a 161 year old story from The Times to help introduce “12 Years as a Slave”.

Consumers Expect Personalization.   The Times is looking at new engines to foster personalization online.  Increasingly, consumers are expecting to have options served up to them based on preferences.  Can readers follow their favorite columnists?

Engagement is everyone’s job.  A key learning is that you need to engage with your audience – respond to comments, answer emails and converse on social media.  Equally important is looking at the list of influencers that can help spread your message and interact with them.  Or events that help create community.

6.  Silos are out, teams are in.  Here is the telling statement:  “Our Twitter account is run by the newsroom. Our Facebook account is run by the business side.”  Departments need to break down walls and work together.  The refiguring of team is important to create more harmonious efforts.  The Times has recognized the power of collaboration focused on reader experience.  What a wonderful concept!

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.  So, as The Times goes, it seems they are embarking upon an important journey.

Marketing to Women: The Pressure to Be Popular Online

May 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

mean-girls-8137Peer pressure beyond acne, the cool crowd and first dates?

I recently heard Bridget Brennan of The Female Factor speak at the M2W Conference about the immense impact of popularity on society today.  It’s not the popularity that we dealt with in middle school or high school.

Today, it is the pressure to be interesting online.  How interesting are your posts?  How many people follow you?  How many times have your posts been shared?  We check our stats incessantly.  Heck, some job interviewers even want to know your Klout score.

Why is Online Popularity Important?

Today some 98% of  persons online in the US use social media, so does social media relate to social capital?  Social capital has always been important.  It is considered to be the sum of the networks, connections, influence and interactions people have with other individuals.  There have always been different types of social capital based on your sphere of influence, your wealth, your status in aristocracy, your celebrity and your accomplishments.

In today’s world, online influence can be measured as those with the most Twitter followers – Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama or top Facebook Pages for Shakira, Rihanna and Coke. Bloggers like The Pioneer Woman have created complete media platforms from their original blog, and LinkedIn has introduced us to the Influencers.   Digital influence raters like Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred are investing millions of dollars to understand how our social media activity translates into influence.

It seems that you can increase your social capital online if you follow some important rules.   If you use social media to communicate directly with other individuals—by posting valuable information, commenting on friends’ posts, regular posting, being helpful—it can increase your social capital. Personalized messages seem to have more value  than “one-click communication”.  Just reading and occasionally posting does not add to your popularity.

Brands are beginning to learn that scores do not matter as much as engagement and real relationships. Businesses need to develop meaningful social influence strategies and define their desired outcomes. Not all followers are created alike.  Just like in high school, not all popular people were really fun to be around.

Marketing to Women: Six Truths about Social Media Usage

April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Six truths about Women and Social Media.  (Infographic below.)

1.  Women have dominated social media for some time. A greater percentage of adult U.S. women use Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter than male counterparts. The one social network that boasts more men is the professional-networking site LinkedIn.

2.  Women use social media more often during the day.  Thirty percent (30%) of women use social media several times daily, compared to 26% of men.

3.  Women are more likely to interact with brand in social media, compared to men.  Women show support, access offers, stay current and comment at greater rates than men.

4.  Women consumer more news in social media than men.  Some 58% of women consumer news compared to 42% men.

5.  Women also use smartphones and tablets more often for social media.

6.  And women post more images to social media, helping to grow visual sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.

1393972619-women-dominate-every-social-media-network-except-one-infographic-1

 

 

Marketing to Women: A Twitter Photo is Worth a Thousand Retweets

March 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

resizeFor those of us watching the Oscars this year, we know that this little selfie set a new retweet record.  In just a matter of minutes, the Ellen tweet had 1.9 millions retweets and even crashed Twitter for a moment.  The previous record was 778, 801 for President Obama’s “Four more years.”

But what about that Tweet made it so special?  I mean,  other than Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Ellen and that cutie Jennifer Lawrence.  Seems it was because it was a star-studded photo.

Why do some tweets have higher engagement?  Twitter did a study of its own to find out what makes some tweets so popular.  Looking at more than 2 million Tweets sent by thousands of verified users across different fields over the course of a month, Twitter determined that the addition of hashtag, a number or stat, a quote, a video or a photo increased the effectiveness of the tweet.  So it seems that a Twitter Photo is worth a Thousand or maybe a Million Retweets!

Overall, the most effective tweet components across all verified accounts were:

Photos, which averaged a 35 percent boost in retweets.
Videos, which got a 28 percent boost.
Quotes, which received a 19 percent boost in retweets.
A number or stat, which received a 17 percent bump in retweets.
Hashtags, which garnered a 16 percent boost.

The overall effectiveness of different elements vary across various categories.  The chart below shows the effectiveness of photos for news, but in television it might be a quote or a video url.  However, the premise is that tweets need an enhancement to make them shareable.
retweet-percentage-news

Marketing to Working Moms: New Scarborough Study!

January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person.  They are more educated,  more affluent and more wired than ever before.  Working Moms represent 40% of moms.

Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.   For more, see the infographic below.

95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority

27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.  

72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.

Working moms are spending less for name brands.  They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  

Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.

Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.

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