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.

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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 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.

Are CEOs Anti-Social? 68% Not On Social Network

August 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

marissa-mayer-lead1I am pretty fascinated about this little factoid:  68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on any of the major social networks.  The homework on this little fact was done by DOMO and CEO.com. Why aren’t CEOs more involved with social media?  I think there are several reasons:

1.  Only 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.  Women tend to be more comfortable with the use of social media.  Of that 4.2% female CEOs, the ones using social media stand out.  Meg Whitman of HP and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! are prime examples.  A recent ranking of the top CEOs on social media finds only four women out of 30 execs, but they are impressive – Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Angela Ahrendts of Burberry, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Harriet Green of Thomas Cook.

2.  Resistance to change could be a reason.  The age of CEOs and their comfort with social media may affect their participation, and their own self-imposed importance might hinder their launch into social media.  But here are two examples of brave CEO types that are over 50.  Warren Buffett joined Twitter in May of this year and currently has 545,554 followers.  Of course Warren has only tweeted twice but the second one was about his new essay on the importance of women to America’s prosperity.

Way to go Warren! The other new social media leader is THE POPE.  @Pontifex has 2,827,155 followers.  I loved his post today:

We are all jars of clay, fragile and poor, yet we carry within us an immense treasure.

3.  CEOs may underestimate the power of their voice online.  Fortune 500 CEOs gain followers almost 20 times faster than average users.  Some CEOs have almost rockstar influence when they choose to participate.  Those not participating are missing out on the opportunity to model engagement, transparency and passion for their employees and their customers. screen-shot-2013-08-07-at-11-19-08-am Even those who have a presence on social media may not really be using it.  Only 3.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are actively using Twitter.  But it seems that LinkedIn holds some fascination for CEOs; I call it the Facebook for business.  There are currently 140 (27.9%) Fortune 500 CEOs on LinkedIn, compared to 129 (25.9%) last year.  One of the features of LinkedIn that might be a draw for CEOs is the “Influencer” program that allows CEOs to be seen as an expert. I am sure we will continue to see CEO participation in social media grow as digital natives move into the ranks, but those currently not using it might want to rethink their position.

Hello Instagram Video! Goodbye Vine?

June 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Will there be a shoot-out between Vine and Instagram?  After it’s debut in January 2013, Vine detonated the boundries of social media with its six second streaming videos.  This week, however, Instagram has announced a similar upgrade allowing videos to be posted and edited on their site.  This severely damages the distinctive quality found in Vine, and people are starting to wonder if Vine will fade altogether.

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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.

The Winner?

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.

Marketing to Women: Get Ready! New Face for Facebook!

March 9, 2013 § 2 Comments

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When Facebook announced its new design for the Facebook newsfeed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it was their goal to to give everyone in the world “the best personalized newspaper.” Who is everyone?  The 67% of online adults that use Facebook —  71% of women and  62% of men.  Read on to see what it means for consumers and marketers.

What does this mean for consumers?

Larger Images.  Well, it means there are larger images in your feed.  According to Facebook, photos make up 50% of all news feed stories.  So the new news feed takes up more of your Facebook page.  They call it putting a spotlight on what friends are sharing.  The shared articles also feature larger images and more information like longer snippets. Check-ins are also more visual with large map images, as is content from third-party sites like Pinterest.

Multiple Feeds.  Content specific feeds will allow you to sort between a range of different categories: Close friends, all friends, music, photos, games and people and brands you “follow” (as opposed to friend). And you can still see the chronological news feed.

Continuity in Look across All Devices.  Instead of a different interface on all media, Facebook has figured out how to incorporate the same look across smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Okay, how do I get it? Well, there’s a site for that and it’s pretty simple.  But don’t hold your breath, it’s a rolling conversion so you may have to wait awhile.  First, go to facebook.com/about/newsfeed.  Second, click the big green “Join Waiting List” button at the top of the page. Done!

What do marketers need to know?  

facebook-hangoverGood news here:  Ad Are Much Bigger!  Even the sidebar ads look bigger.  The larger canvas is good news for creative – but will it by annoying to users?  It will need to be engaging.

New Opportunities for advertising.  Promoted Posts, Sponsored Stories, and Page promotion ads can be visually engrossing – to flow with the rest of the news feed.

Filters for content are a question mark.  Facebook says there’s been consumer demand for filtered content like photos and music.  But will users use the filters.

If the filtered feeds are used, it could make for a splintered, hard to reach audience.  If people use the feeds, it will fragment the audience.  And, if they only use their friends feed, advertising will be lost to them.

Filtered feed might become sponsorship opportunities.  No real news here but if the music feeds and other entertainment feeds take off, sponsorships might follow.

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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