Trust in social grows
According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, social networks and consumer-generated media continue to have a significant impact on advertising as consumers reliance on word-of-mouth in the decision-making process has increased significantly. The report showed that 92% of consumers trust friend’s recommendations above all other forms of advertising – up 18% since 2007, with trust in consumer opinions posted online up to 70%, a 15% increase in four years.
Sponsored ads on social networks, a new format included in the 2011 Nielsen survey were found to be trusted by just 36% of consumers, underlining that a paid strategy for social networks alone is not enough.
Consumers respond to social media symbols on TV
A new survey has reinforced the idea that social media and television are a perfect match. The survey, carried out by Accenture, found that one-third of US television viewers interacted with a social network ‘after seeing a social media symbol on the TV screen’, with the Facebook ‘Like’ being the most recognised symbol. Interestingly, US television viewers are more likely to recognise QR codes than Twitter hashtags.
Facebook tests and launches a range of new features
It’s not exactly news that Facebook is focusing on mobile – witness the purchase of Instagram – but it is interesting that they’re focussing on all mobile users. Recently, they’ve launched a new ‘Facebook for every phone’ app which creates a much better mobile experience for non-smartphone users, and in good news for brands, includes the ability to vist Facebook Pages within the app. It’s a move which shows Facebook is keen on mobile domination across the market.
Facebook has implemented a ‘listen’ button on artists’ fan Pages that lets users instantly stream songs from an artist’s catalogue. The feature could help make Facebook a go-to option for people looking for new music, similar to the Myspace in its glory days, but more likely will just integrate music more strongly into the existing Facebook product.
Facebook is also testing a new “trending articles” feature to highlight social reader articles within users’ News Feeds in an attempt to drive more users to Open Graph news apps. Particularly for smaller news sites, this could have a big impact on the number of people reading their site.
In addition, Facebook has delivered “real-time” analytics to Page admins for the first time. This overdue improvement provides new abilities to help marketers measure how well a post is performing on their Pages now, rather than 48 hours later, and modify their content (and advertising spend) accordingly.
It’s an interesting move now, as over the next few weeks, Facebook will introduce more granular metrics, measuring actions other than ‘Likes’, within its ads management platform. Facebook’s product manager for Pages Insights David Baser said the measurable actions “could be anything [such as] commenting or sharing a page post, claiming an offer, or, instead of just installing an app, actually using an app or doing things within an app.” The new feature titled “Action Measurement” will appear as a column and pie chart in Facebook’s Ads Manager and will help marketers tailor ads for relevant consumers.
It seems clear that Facebook are trying as hard as they can to get existing advertisers to spend more money with them – both through letting marketers to optimise the performance of their posts, and by making advertising more measurable.
Google products get the social treatment
YouTube aims to become more social and increase revenue by possibly introducing Google+ comments to the site. It could be a mutually beneficial move for Google – encouraging better quality comments on YouTube and also increased use of Google+.
In a smaller piece of news, Gmail users can expect to see recent photo and video thumbnails from Google+ when they hover over the “people” widget within their inbox.
Foursquare announce 20 million users and advertising platform launch
Foursquare announced last week that it now has 20 million users accounting for 2 billion checkins and adding another 10 million new members since it hit the 10 million mark in June 2011. Users were awarded with the ‘4sqDay 2012′ badge, which took them to a page reading:
In 2010, Foursquare fans declared April 16 4sqDay (4/4^2 – nerds after our own heart!). Two years and two billion check-ins later, you’re still why we get out of bed each day. Thanks to all 20 million of you for making us part of your lives. Happy 4sqDay!
Plans for a mid-June launch for a paid-media platform have surfaced which will give merchants the ability to promote a deal to check in at a given place. According to the reports, Foursquare is pitching brands to become launch partners, and it’s a move which we can definitely see being of particular interest to restaurant chains.
Tumblr to overtake blogs, will introduce advertising
Tumblr looks set to overtake ‘blog’ by the end of the year in Google searches. It’s not surprising then that the micro-blogging giant announced monetisation plans for the site with the obvious route being into paid advertising.
Tumblr CEO David Karp has in the past dismissed the idea of using ads to monetise the site, but it looks like he has little alternative now – investors want a return on their dollar, and ads are by far the easiest large-scale way to monetise the site. Nonetheless, it will be a bespoke ad product, as rather than launching display ads, brands will be able to pay to promote their Tumblr posts on users’ dashboards.
Pinterest losing its interest
After its explosive growth in recent months, it seems Pinterest’s bubble may have burst and might now actually be losing users. Monthly active users of their Facebook app are down from 11.3 million on March 1 to just 8.3 million today. It’s likely that the hype around the photo-sharing/collecting site motivated many people to join who have now decided Pinterest is not their bag.
Quora and Path both raise funds and plan expansion
According to TechCrunch, Quora is set to raise between $30 – $50 million in its Series B fundraising, giving it a $400 million valuation. Co-founder Adam D’Angelo will also be investing up to $20 million of his own money along with other investors according to one source.
Location-based app Path closed its Series B funding of ”more than $30 million” with investors including Sir Richard Branson, which values it at $250 million. In his email statement, Path CEO Dave Mortin noted the investors’ commitment to building Path “for the long term” with the funding being used for “international growth and expansion as well as user adoption”. It’s unclear whether he meant they would be spending money on advertising, or just on improving the product to boost user adoption.
Klout launches Brand Pages – ‘a new twist on influence’
Klout, the influence measurement company, is now topping 12 billion API calls a month – and has launched Brand Pages to try and work more with brands. According to Klout, the newly launched Brand Pages give ‘influencers a place to be recognised and have a direct impact on the brands they care about most’.
Red Bull have teamed up with Klout for the Beta launch and are offering their top advocates the chance to win a trip to the X Games or, more likely, some merchandise. It’s good to see Klout trying something new, but what they really need to work on is their influence measurement which could do with some work.
Brands tweeting and the Olympics
If you’re working for a brand which isn’t an official Olympic sponsor, even mentioning the Olympics on social media channels could get you in hot water. While Rax Lakhani makes a fair point that it will be impossible for the IOC to keep an eye on every tweet, but while the rules are clearly overbearing, it’s still an unnecessary risk to break them.
It was notable in the pre-Christmas period how little variety there was on brand social media accounts, with everyone talking about Christmas and little else, so it will be interesting to see how skilled community managers perform in posting content which deflects attention away from their competitors’ Olympic sponsorship, without breaking the rules.
In other Olympic news, the IOC has launched the nicely designed ‘Athlete’s Hub’ which will bring together social media updates from different athletes. While you could just follow them all on Twitter, this is an easier way to follow the Olympic stars, with less effort for the ordinary fan. Nice.
Honda ask people to give up Pinterest – sort of
The new Honda campaign for the CR-V strikes of one where somebody has come up with a decent pun – Pintermission – and built a campaign around it. The campaign revolves around offering active pinners $500 to give up Pinterest for a day, and instead go outside and do the things they’ve been pinning about. It even features personalised invitations and persuaded a few super-users to give Pinterest up for a day.
But as Adweek neatly put it:
The campaign is nicely designed and executed, but somewhat frustrating. If the only way your brand can relate to Pinterest is by dissing it, isn’t it disingenuous to build a whole campaign around it?
Dr Pepper’s new Facebook Connect campaign
Dr Pepper have launched a new campaign called ‘The Best Day Of High School’ which creates a bespoke video for each user by connecting it up with their Facebook profile. Considering how long Facebook Connect has been around, it’s a little underwhelming.
Air New Zealand give consumers cashback for recommendations
UK-based Air New Zealand customers can earn £50 for every Twitter, Facebook, email or blog recommendation that turns into a premium economy booking. Consumers that register for the trial can earn cashback on bookings for the premium economy seats. Although the campaign will probably show impressive numbers, it will hard to prove it has convinced people to book who wouldn’t have otherwise. Looks like the marketing team may be winging it.
Fulham FC attempt Foursquare Super Swarm
Before their home game against Wigan on Saturday, Fulham attempted to unlock the Super Swarm badge for all those checking in on Foursquare. While this isn’t particularly innovative or interesting on its own when you consider there was a crowd of 20,000+ at the Cottage, Fulham also plan to introduce special offers on tickets and retail items throughout the season that you can only redeem with Foursquare.
Boris joins Sina Weibo
Boris Johnson’s campaign for re-election as Mayor of London has even seen him join Sina Weibo in a bid to win over London’s Chinese community. We don’t think we’re going out on too much of a limb to say Boris probably isn’t writing his updates…
Italian ‘blog killer’ law returns
In a quite incredible story, the Italian government is trying to pass a law so brilliantly ridiculous one could be mistaken for thinking Silvio Berlusconi was still Prime Minister.
The proposed law – which is designed to protect those libelled online – works like this:
In order to protect people from online defamation, this law states that each webmaster of whatever website must rectify within 48 hours (even if you’re a private blogger who just left for the weekend!) any page on the website itself, if somebody just tells him or her (how?) that they consider themselves wronged by that page. No discussion or reply allowed, no judge needed, and the fine for not “rectifying” within 2 days is 12K Euros [about $15,000].
Nuts. In other words, if I write a fact and somebody disputes it, I have to change what I’ve written. Looks like the trolls have finally won.