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Following on from We Are Social‘s hugely popular Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide in 2014 report from last week, we’re very pleased to share an even more detailed look at the online landscape around the Asia-Pacific region.
It also turns out that a week can make a big difference when it comes to online data; in the past 7 days, and with the help of some of the 200,000 people who’ve viewed our Global report, we’ve found some even fresher stats to the ones we published in last week’s report.
These new discoveries have had a particular impact on India’s stats, where figures for internet users have changed from 151 million to 213 million. Internet figures for Indonesia have also almost doubled, to 72.7 million.
These changes have had a significant impact on the regional and global totals too, so we’ll begin with a refreshed look at the stats from the very top.
The Global Picture
Following revisions to a number of countries, the number of worldwide internet users now exceeds 2.64 billion, representing global penetration of 37%:
Following our report last week, we also received a number of queries regarding the difference between mobile subscriptions and actual mobile users, so we’re delighted to be able include a new chart comparing the two in this report.
We’ve teamed up with the wonderful team at GSMA Intelligence for this, and they’ve been kind enough to let us share this valuable data for every country in APAC. You’ll find the individual country and sub-region data in the full report , but here’s the APAC picture:
In order to understand the context in which people use mobile devices, it’s also important to understand how people pay for their subscriptions (contracts), and whether they have access to potentially faster mobile data connections.
The chart below offers more detail on both these areas, detailing how many people have pre- vs post-paid contracts, and using 3G as a proxy for the likelihood people could access faster internet if they chose to take out a relevant mobile data plan:
Asia-Pacific In Context
APAC is home to almost 3.9 billion people, accounting for just under 55% of the total world population. The region hosts just under half the world’s Internet users, and 52.2% of the world’s active social media users:
click to enlarge
Although internet user data for a number of countries around the region hasn’t been updated as recently as we’d hoped, APAC has still shown impressive growth in recent months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 150 million new users since our previous report in October 2012 – many of which were in India and Indonesia:
However, internet access is still far from a universal reality around APAC, and penetration rates in some countries remain surprisingly low:
It’s interesting to see how the average number of hours spent on the internet varies around the region too, both in terms of desktop / laptop access, as well as the time spent on the mobile web:
It’s important to note that the figures in the chart above are based on claimed time spent on the internet, rather than on actual traffic. This has two important consequences:
- The data will, in part, reveal the story that people choose to tell about their internet use, rather than the exact number of minutes they spend connected
- However, in a similar way, this ‘claimed’ data helps to avoid over-counting internet usage when someone is connected to the internet, but not actually making use of it (e.g. the browser is open in the background while someone works on another, non-internet related application).
- There may also be some variations across cultures in what people consider ‘internet’ access. For example, someone who streams music through a service like Spotify for the whole day may not consider this ‘time spent on the internet’, even if we could argue the opposite is also true.
2013 was an impressive year of growth across almost every aspect of the social media world in APAC, with chat apps in particular seeing stunning growth thanks to platforms like WeChat, LINE, and Kakaotalk.
We’ve chose to focus on social networks for this report’s data though, as they continue to offer the greater opportunity for marketers.
User figures and penetration rates for social networks still vary hugely around the region, but the overall trend is definitely upwards (note that MAU stands for Monthly Active Users):
It’s worth highlighting that the figures for social media penetration often exceed those for internet penetration, especially in fast-evolving markets. There may be a number of reasons for this:
- Social media stats are almost always more up to date than those for internet usage, largely because they are collected by a commercial entity on an on-going basis and published at least quarterly to help with advertising sales. In Facebook’s case, the monthly active user figures are available in almost real-time.
- Many reports on internet usage and penetration omit mobile internet usage, meaning many mobile-only users aren’t included in the figures (partly because they’re more difficult to identify). In many emerging markets – particularly places like Indonesia or Myanmar – mobile-only use can account for a significant proportion of internet use. People accessing social media through mobile devices will be counted, however, meaning social media numbers are often a more accurate indication of actual internet use and penetration in these markets.
- On the other hand, some people may have multiple social media accounts on the same platform, leading to a slight skew in the data, although we don’t anticipate this is the main cause for the difference between internet and social media usage numbers.
We’ve also changed the way we report user numbers in this year’s report compared to our previous report in 2012, and we now only report monthly active user numbers (MAUs) for any given platform. This ensures a more reliable and actionable data set, and ensures organisations using the data have the most up-to-date picture of people’s preferences and behaviour throughout the region.
Facebook’s MAUs continued to grow across the region over the past year, adding 54 million by January 2014 in Asian countries alone (excluding countries in Oceania like Australia and New Zealand).
China’s Qzone added 25 million MAUs too, meaning that overall growth around the region is somewhere in the region of 80 million new active users – almost 10% growth year-on-year.
We opted not to include chat apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, LINE and Kakaotalk in this year’s analysis for a couple of reasons:
- The way that people use these platforms remains largely one-to-one, so they offer less of an obvious mass engagement channel for brands compared to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Weibo (although we recongise that this is changing, especially with tweaks to WeChat’s platform);
- The companies who operate these platforms tend not to publish monthly active user figures, and where they do, they aren’t broken down by country, making it very difficult for us to attribute usage by country.
However, for handy reference, the global user figures for each of the region’s largest chat apps are as follows:
- WhatsApp: 400 million monthly active users worldwide
- WeChat (Weixin): 270 million monthly active users worldwide
- LINE: 300 million total registered users worldwide
- Kakaotalk: 130 million total registered users worldwide
We’re pleased to offer time spent on social media for many of the region’s larger economies too, thanks to some great data from GlobalWebIndex’s Active Usage: Time Spent study, which they’ve kindly allowed us to share. You can find out more about this study here.
As with the time spent on the internet chart above, this data is based on claimed usage rather than actual traffic information. This again means that data may be coloured by the story people wish to tell about themselves, but at the same time, it also helps to avoid over-counting time where people have social media open in the background.
Based on our qualitative research, many people keep social networks open throughout the day in a distinct browser tab or tool like Tweetdeck, but do not necessarily spend all that time actively engaging with the platform itself, so the data above should be used in conjunction with traffic-based numbers (where available) to paint a multi-dimensional picture of people’s behaviour.
It’s interesting to explore the above chart in the context of the societal norms of each country too; it appears that the time spent on social media is determined as much by a nation’s culture as it is by the speed or ease of internet access. In many countries where fast internet access is still a luxury, people still spend many hours engaging with social media, highlighting once again that social media are playing a huge part in the growth and evolution of the online landscape in APAC.
However, to enrich this story, it’s worth looking at the infrastructural elements too. Mobile devices play a huge role in Asia’s social media scene, so we’ve added an extra data set to this report to illustrate mobile social access in more detail:
The number of mobile subscriptions in APAC continue to grow steadily in the past 15 months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 200 million new subscriptions since our previous report in October 2012.
Although it’s likely that some of these new subscriptions constitute second subscriptions (e.g. an additional contract for work or personal use), the importance of mobile devices even in the region’s less developed nations highlights the critical role mobile plays in people’s daily lives in APAC.
While it can be tricky to identify the exact number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices, we have identified reliable data for two important indicators that offer valuable insights: mobile broadband subscriptions, and people accessing social media through mobile devices:
It’s particularly interesting to note that the proportion of the population accessing social media through a mobile device is much higher than the penetration of mobile broadband, suggesting that many people continue to access social media through slower mobile connections.
You’ll find this data broken down for each country around the region in the full report.
The Individual Country Story
We’re delighted to announce that we now have social media and mobile data for every Asian country, as well as 4 key nations in Oceania.
Major additions to this year’s report are North Korea and Myanmar, and although the numbers aren’t likely to challenge China’s position as the dominant digital player in the region, it’s very exciting to see how online media are helping to open up some of the world’s most secretive nations.
In particular, Myanmar – or Burma, if you prefer – has surprised us with the sheer speed of growth, particularly when it comes to social media. From a country where Facebook was technically blocked barely 12 months ago, this Southeast Asian country now boasts well over 1 million Facebook users, and is still growing at an impressive rate:
Despite these impressive numbers though, this still represents a social media penetration of just 2% in Myanmar, so there’s clearly plenty more potential for growth as the country continues its journey towards a fully open approach to the internet.
Even mobile subscriptions struggle to reach double-digit penetration, while the internet – albeit based mostly on fixed-line figures – languishes at just 1%.
However, 2014 looks like a promising year for Myanmar’s online landscape, and we’re looking forward to plenty more good news from them in the months to come.
The story in North Korea remains less clear; with the internet still officially blocked in the world’s most reclusive nation, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what’s going on. However, Facebook themselves state that they now have 8,200 users within the North Asian state, 4,600 of whom access through mobile devices:
It’s unclear how many of these users are actually North Korean citizens though, and we suspect that a significant proportion may be foreign nationals based in the country.
However, the fact that it is even possible for these people to access Facebook from within North Korea represents a step forward compared to the situation this time last year, so we’ll take that as a glimmer of hope for 2014.
We’ve also included data for Timor-Leste, which, although still small in absolute numbers, represents another reason for optimism, given the young country’s recent history.
East Timor’s social media population in particular is growing steadily, with 6% of the population – or 76,000 people – using Facebook at least once in the past month:
As with many emerging economies, the numbers for internet usage in Timor-Leste are far lower than those for social media, mainly because it’s harder to measure the exact number of people accessing the internet.
Many people still access from shared devices in internet cafés or in places of work, and data is often collected by surveys that have taken quite some time to gather, analyse and publish.
Social media figures such as those made available by Facebook are almost real-time though, offering a more up-to-date and accurate picture of the online landscape within these fast-evolving digital ecosystems.
Excitingly, mobile phone subscriptions have already surpassed 50% penetration in Timor-Leste too, meaning many more people now have the opportunity to connect to the internet as soon as affordable mobile data plans become available.
Alongside figures for Australia and New Zealand, we’re also pleased to present some initial figures for Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Both nations play an important role in understanding the broader picture across Pacific nations, and the stories their data snapshots tell reveal some interesting insights:
Fiji already demonstrates relatively strong internet and social media penetration figures, surpassing the regional average in both areas.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea still has plenty of potential for growth, with barely 4% of the population using Facebook in the past month. However, with mobile subscription penetration of 42%, it’s clear that Papuans have an increasing digital opportunity, and we’re confident these figures will all grow considerably during 2014.
We’re also pleased to share statistics on mobile social behaviour for all 30 countries in this study, ensuring marketers have a solid understanding of the opportunities to engage their audiences in a variety of settings and contexts – here are some example stats for Indonesia:
As mobile increasingly becomes our predominant means of accessing online services and content, it’s likely that Asia-Pacific will continue to lead the world in defining the future of the online landscape.
The India Changes
Finally, given the major changes in internet user numbers since last week’s report, here’s how the individual country situation looks today:
So there you have it – another week, another bumper collection of stats. Do get in touch if you’d like some help making sense of these numbers, or turning them into part of an actionable strategy.
Be sure to check back to our blog for more updates in the coming weeks too – given how quickly the data seems to be changing, it’s clear 2014 is going to be another vintage year for online growth. We’re already looking forward to next year’s APAC report!
Sources for all the above data are listed in the full report. We’d especially like to thank Tom Smith at GlobalWebIndex and Matt Ablott from GSMA Intelligence for their help in providing data for these reports, and for allowing us to publish their valuable data.
Marketing Magazine recently published an article by me on social content strategy. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:
In 2013, brands are posting an average of 36 times per month on Facebook. Over a year that adds up to 432 posts. That’s a lot of content.
With the average Facebook user liking 40 pages each, they’re now seeing a whopping 1440 updates every month. A solid social strategy will help you jump out of the murky newsfeed pond, but strategy is only half the battle. What we really need to talk about is quality.
It’s hard to maintain consistency in your content when you’re producing it at scale, especially with limited resources. But quantity shouldn’t mean a sacrifice in quality.
Here are six questions to ask yourself before you post anything on social platforms:
Why am I posting this?
Your social strategy needs to start with why and repeat on loop ad infinitum. If you’re not constantly asking why, you need to drink more coffee and develop some anxieties. Same goes for your content.
Social content is not an afterthought. It is not filler. It isn’t a box to tick. Posting content because it’s funny or because you have to post something isn’t good enough. Neither is posting because the CEO asked you to, or because it got a lot of engagement when ‘Brand Y’ did it.
The answer you’re looking for is this: ‘because it is relevant to the community and provides value.’
And by value I don’t mean it saves them money. I’m talking about entertainment, information, advice. Value is what makes your content special. Value is what makes content shareable. Value is a customer insight, not a brand insight, and it’s the reason people want to engage with you on social platforms.
If you just do the same thing as everyone else, then you aren’t providing any value at all. If your content isn’t valuable and relevant, post something else. Better yet, don’t post anything. Go back to the drawing board and ask why you’re on social platforms in the first place.
Who is it for?
Your community is not your customers. Sure, your customers are in there, coiled in anticipation for the chance to click on a link to your latest product, but they aren’t going to do that unless your content speaks to them directly.
A consistent tone of voice will help. Your brand on social should sound like your brand everywhere else. Hopefully it sounds like someone your customers want to talk to. If not, fix that first, then come back. The post can wait.
It’s no good developing a fun, irreverent tone in order to ‘talk to the kids’ if your brand doesn’t always talk like that and your customers aren’t those same kids. It’s also no good being too sales-focused. You need to talk to your community, not at them. Think about the way your customers speak, think about the dialect and jargon specific to your location or industry. Make the content speak to your target audience. Rewrite or redesign until you get it right. Review and optimise your tone and style regularly.
You’ll reach more people talking to the right people than trying to reach more people by talking to everyone.
What do I want to achieve?
Most social content is confused. The call to action isn’t clear and it fails by trying to do too much.
Recently I saw this update: ‘How was your weekend? What are you going to do today?’
Two questions, two calls to action, low engagement. The questions cancel each other out. This should have been two separate posts, if it was the right thing to post in the first place. Remembering to put one call to action per post will save your engagement rate along with your blushes.
The type of update you post also affects engagement. Take Facebook for example. If you’re asking a question, then the goal of the post is comments. A simple status update will generate more comments than an image, but an image will generate more shares. So if you’re looking for amplification, post an image.
Everything you post should want to achieve something. If it doesn’t, then don’t post.
When am I posting this?
When you schedule a TV ad, chances are you try and do it at a time when your target audience are sitting down in front of the TV. Your social content strategy needs to take time into account also.
When are your audience online? When are they on Facebook? Check the data, find out. The days of ‘this has to go on out immediately’ should be well in the past. Your audience dictates when you post.
The half-life of a tweet is seven minutes. Depending on your engagement, the half-life of a Facebook post averages at around two hours (much less if you post poor content). Post at the wrong time and you’ll turn an urgent message into an unread one.
Where am I posting this?
A tweet has room for 140 of your finest characters. A Facebook status however, has room for 63,206 characters. That’s around 10,000 words, depending on the words.
Should you post a 10,000 word status update? Probably not.
The point is this: not all content works on all platforms, not all platforms engage with content in the same way, and each platform is home to a different community.
On Tumblr, 60% of all reflags are images, and using animated GIFs will ensure you get more of those reblogs. On Instagram, emotive images get more likes. On Pinterest, adding a price to your image leads to more click-throughs.
Each platform you choose to operate in needs its own content strategy. If the piece of content you want to post isn’t right for a particular platform, don’t post it there.
The platform-specific optimisations are many and minute, but it’s these one-percents that will give your content an extra boost, not a blanket of platform-agnostic mediocrity.
How else can I say this?
Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘The first draft of anything is shit’. He probably wasn’t talking about Facebook posts, but still. Too many updates are written once and posted first time.
The first thing you write might be adequate, but if adequate isn’t good enough for your product design, for your television ads or your customer service, then adequate shouldn’t be good enough for your social content.
Adequate is a failure. Be better.
Good copy is as little copy as possible. Can you say it in fewer words? Can you say it visually?
Think about your own news feed. What do you like to see? What would you click on?
Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And when you’re done, write it again.
Once you’ve asked yourself these six questions, you should be confident that you’ve got a solid, valuable piece of social content on your hands.
But there is a final variable in the social content equation that is just as important: you.
If you wouldn’t read it, if you wouldn’t comment or share or click, don’t post it.
Your community won’t tolerate bad content. You shouldn’t either.
Australia first for mobile payments
Mobile money is the next big battleground, with the industry set to generate $A271.9 billion by 2018, up from just $A13 billion in 2013.
With competing products from PayPal and Square already in market in other territories, MasterCard have announced a new digital payment system – MasterPass – set to launch first in Australia by the end of March before expanding to other markets.
MasterPass works with a wide variety of devices, including smartphones, and stores customers’ banking and personal information in the cloud. Shoppers will be able to use MasterPass on the web without having to key in their bank information and delivery address for each purchase, and by waving a smartphone equipped with Near Field Communications technology near a special reader.
So it looks like for the at times woeful eCommerce offering in Australia, there’s MasterPass. For everything else, there’s cash.
The internet’s importance in product purchase decisions
Consumers are more likely to purchase a new product after reading about it on the internet, according to Nielsen research into those with online access. The extent to which this is the case varies by product category; electronics are the highest, with 81% of those surveyed answering that the internet affects their purchasing decisions. Social media plays a large role in this, as 30% stated social channels would influence their decision and 27% took into account content posted on video-sharing channels.
The UK spends more time online than the rest of Europe
The amount of time spent online has increased by 5% throughout Europe to an average of 26.9 hours per person over the month. The UK had the highest overall figure of 37.3 hours, but the most growth was shown by Belgium, whose 22.4 hours showed an increase of 2 hours since this time last year.
Mobile and social leading shift to digital marketing
A shift is being shown from traditional to digital media, with mobile and social leading the way. At the same time as 1 in 3 marketers intend to decrease budgets in print media, 76% are looking to increase their social budgets.
Facebook integrates free calls to iOS app in US & Canada
Whilst users in North America have for some time been able to make free calls over the Internet through Facebook’s messenger app, the network has last week updated its main iOS app to integrate the service. The new app also boasts other changes, including more visible buttons for liking, commenting on or sharing content.
Bugs have been misrepresenting Facebook reach for months
Facebook admitted on Friday that bugs have been leading to erroneously low figures for page reach over the past few months. When updating their mobile apps in August and December, Facebook tried to increase speed by reducing the necessary amount of information sent when displaying news feed stories. However, one thing that was removed ended up being the marker used by Page Insights to measure reach, resulting in reach figures coming out lower than they should have. The bug has been fixed and figures should be back to normal from today. It remains to be seen if this explains the full extent of the decrease in reach we exposed in November.
Facebook update Offers product
Facebook have made a couple of important changes to their ‘Offers’ product. Previously, the only option for users was to click the ‘Get Offer’ button to instantly redeem it, which would in turn automatically generate a story on friends’ news feeds. The first change means that there are now two different options: it is possible either to ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Remind Me’, increasing the flexibility of Facebook offers. Beyond this, users can now choose whether or not to share the story with friends. Combined, these look set to increase the usability of ‘Offers’ and potentially increase the number of users taking advantage of the feature.
Facebook looking to match in-store purchases to advertising
Facebook are to partner with data companies such as Epsilon, Acxiom and Datalogix to match in-store loyalty card purchases with individual Facebook profiles through their email addresses or phone numbers. The move would, in theory, allow marketers to target Facebook ads to those that have purchased relevant products in the recent past.
Facebook events get cover photos
In place of the thumbnails they had before, cover photos are now available for Facebook events. Unlike pages and profiles, though, this is the only image they will be allowed; events will simply have the large banner at the top, but no profile picture.
Brands increasingly taking to Instagram
Some impressive figures have this week been released about Instagram: 59% of the world’s top brands are now taking advantage of its massive potential audience, which includes 90 million monthly active users, 40 million photos per day and 8,500 likes per second. The extent of brands’ adoption of the network is shown in the graph below:
Sports giant adidas (and We Are Social client) has been highlighted as one of the most successful brands on the network, having managed to double its follower numbers to almost 150,000 under 3 months, averaging over 5,000 comments across 49 quarterly updates.
Twitter launches new ads API
Twitter have officially launched their new ads API, which allows marketers to purchase adverts from within the dashboards they use to manage their social platforms. This will allow brands to run adverts on the network more easily and it will be interesting to see how this affects the number and nature of Twitter ads. One fear is that the number will rapidly increase, a concern that Twitter have quickly looked to waylay, arguing that the changes will simply affect ease for advertisers, not volume. One thing that will be affected, though, is the extent to which ads can be targeted; marketers will now be able to create their own custom audiences.
Twitter testing new way to generate leads
Twitter are testing a new addition to their ‘cards’ functionality; a way for brands to create leads. It will work as shown below in a tweet from Twitter themselves about their small business guide; when clicking on the link, a button appears below saying “get it now” . It will be interesting to see if the system, which is currently still being tested, is rolled out further.
Twitter to add language and importance information to API metadata
Twitter is set to introduce two new features to its existing API metadata. The first allows identification of the language a tweet was sent in, which will be important for translation and filtering. The second allows yet further filtering, this time by importance – or what Twitter considers ‘high value’ tweets. Of the two features, this is set to be the most exciting, especially for brands, who can use the tool to better assess their own performance on the network.
Burger King & Jeep’s Twitter accounts hacked, MTV fake their own hack
This week has been a big one for social media disasters, most notably after thehacking of Burger King and Jeep’s Twitter feeds, as well as MTV ‘fake hacking’ themselves. Obviously, hacks can have hugely negative consequences if left unresolved, but We Are Social’s own Jim Coleman has pointed out some of the positives; notably, they attract a lot of attention. Moreover, they need not be too damaging if dealt with promptly and humorously. Burger King at least did the latter of these fairly well. Although their response could perhaps have been speedier, the lighthearted response, when it did arrive, was amusing and appropriate.
Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) February 19, 2013
The incidents have sparked debate about Twitter’s treatment of brands, with only one type of account for brands with thousands of followers and individuals with very few. In particular, there have been calls for increased security and the introduction of two-factor authentication. Pinterest valued at $2.5 billion after $200 million funding round As its latest round of funding brought in $200 million, Pinterest has attained a valuation of $2.5 billion. The image-sharing platform has claimed that the money will be invested in product development, international expansion and acquisitions, with CEO Ben Silbermann stating:
Our focus is on helping millions of people discover things they love and get inspiration to go do those things in their life. This investment gives us more resources to help realize that vision.
Social media at the Oscars The Oscars last night were a hotbed for real-time marketing, following on from a similar showing at the Superbowl a few weeks ago. As stars walked down the red carpet, one actress was particularly popular on Twitter; for a time, #JessicaChastain was the second highest trending topic after #Oscars2013. Marketers took advantage of this, with Samsung, American Express, Royal Carribbean, Michaels Stores, Dell and Sprint amongst the many brands who purchased promoted tweets for the topics surrounding said actress. However, it is likely that, rather than being true examples of real-time purchasing, these tweets were purchased beforehand, based on forethought into the types of topics likely to trend. Oreo, heroes of RTM at the Superbowl, attempted a similar tactic again, this time posting four tweets related to relevant films, including one about the night’s fashion with a reference to zombie show ‘The Walking Dead’:
They also used the motion capabilities of twitpics, as can be seen in their James Bond tweet. Interestingly, none of these tweets received quite the same about of interaction as their Superbowl tweet, displaying how real-time marketing depends in large part on being truly reactive, as the blackout tweet was to a greater extent than last night’s.Another brand experimenting during the event was Smart Car, who posted a number of miniature takes on various award winners through Twitter’s Vine app, including the follow for ‘best actor’:
They have since made it clear that they had pre-recorded videos for every possible winner and have been posting the runners up throughout the day. Dulux’s real-time(ish) marketing at the Brit Awards With so much focus on real-time marketing at various big American events, UK brands are looking to get in on the act, too. A lot has been made of the below Dulux tweet, in relation to the Damien Hirst designed award statuette. However, whilst it may be an interesting way of producing topical content around paint, not normally known as the most exciting of products, the real-time element has been largely overblown. In fact, the nature of the statue had been known for months before the awards, meaning that this wasn’t really ‘real-time’ at all. A nice update, yes, but not in fact what has been described as an ‘Oreo moment’.
— Dulux (@duluxuk) February 20, 2013
Ford give away 100 cars to bloggers and influencers
In a ‘social remix’ of their famous 2009 ‘Fiesta Movement’ campaign, Ford are giving away 100 of the vehicles to bloggers and online influencers, including celebrities, in exchange for their documenting the experience. The cars will be entirely free for six months, including petrol, parking and insurance in exchange for using content, which will be used by Ford across their social channels, as well as in traditional media, such as print and television.
YSL launch new ‘Radiance’ range with Facebook app
Yves Saint Laurent are celebrating the launch of their new ‘Radiance’ range with a Facebook app, which allows users to manipulate photos as if by using the new products. Users can upload a photo, which they can then alter by ‘glow’ and ‘vitality’, then share. Users can also download a voucher for a two-week free trial of any two products from the range.
Bulmers and We Are Social launch new flavours through social
Here at We Are Social, we’ve recently produced a campaign to launch two new flavours of Bulmers cider: Bold Black Cherry and Pressed Red Grape. The ‘try it first’ Facebook app will allow fans to enter for the chance to be one of the lucky few who get to try the flavour before everyone else. Key Twitter influencers have also been approached to be amongst the initial group.
Marketing Magazine recently published an article by me on dealing with internet trolls.They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:
In The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne seeks advice on his latest foe, Joker, from his astute cockney butler Alfred.
Mr Wayne (logical, measured, likes to dress up as a bat) is stumped.
“Criminals aren’t complicated,” he tells his trusty manservant, “we just have to figure out what he’s after.”
Let’s pause there. Substitute the word ‘criminals’ for ‘customers’, ‘fans’ or ‘followers’, and you’ve about summed up the way most brands approach community management:
‘Customers aren’t complicated, we just have to figure out what they’re after.’
Most brands have a list of pre-approved responses, an escalation matrix, tone and style guidelines, brand voice guidelines, community guidelines and so on.
They probably have directives to respond to each post or tweet within a set period of time (after all, brands are being judged on how quickly and efficiently they respond to posts), and community managers are tasked with being the arbiters of these directives.
But these directives, these guidelines – these community management ‘principles’ – fail to take into consideration posts that don’t play by the rules.
Picking up where we left him, Bruce Wayne is failing to grasp why someone would commit crimes seemingly without motive.
“With respect, Master Wayne” Alfred tells him, “perhaps this is a man that you don’t fully understand.
“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with.
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
Alfred is of course referring to Joker, but his advice is also true for the arch nemesis of the community manager: the troll.
You can put in place all of the measures and matrices and management you can think of, but there will always be exceptions.
Trolls aren’t looking for customer service – in all likelihood they aren’t customers at all. They aren’t looking for a measured response or a reply within 15 minutes. They aren’t trying to make a point or a serious criticism.
They’re looking for opportunities to create chaos.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a top ten brand or a mom and pop shop, if the trolls see room to ruffle feathers, they’ll have a go.
So if the usual measures don’t work, how then do you deal with a troll?
In The Dark Knight, Joker is ultimately defeated by the people. They refuse to play his game, not giving him the satisfaction.
You can always do the same. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘don’t feed the trolls’, and certainly, that is one way to go.
But comments left unattended look messy and can result in more trolls joining in. And if the troll hasn’t used offensive language, or insulted or threatened anyone, then you really have no room to delete their post or comment.
No, feeding the trolls isn’t the issue. It’s what you feed them that makes the difference, and to understand that, you need to understand the fundamental reason they behave the way they do.
In their own words, they do it “for the lulz”.
So give them what they want. Next time you have a troll, try this; simply reply to whatever they post with ‘lol’.
By ignoring the rules, you’ll both diffuse the troll and let them, and the rest of your community know that you’ve got a personality – that you’re not a machine stocked with automated responses.
Batman had to go to extreme lengths to defeat Joker, building a machine with the power to spy on every citizen of Gotham. But you don’t need to be that rigid, that inflexible. You don’t need to take the hard line.
As Joker would say: “Why so serious?”
So, have a little fun every now and then. Lol the troll.
Marketing magazine recently published an article from me about putting people first. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:
A few years ago I attended a screenwriting class taught by a friend at UCLA. The topic that night was television.
After some discussion about the major television networks, a student asked what they generally looked for in a script.
“Well, who are their customers?” my friend asked the class – mostly mature students looking to break into full time writing. Hands shot up, and we all agreed that the viewers, the television audience, were the customer.
“Okay,” he continued, “what is their product, what are they selling?”
“The shows are the product,” a student answered, voicing the consensus.
“Nope,” my friend, a film and television producer, smiled. “Advertisers are the customers.”
“The product is you.”
It makes sense, of course, when you consider the origins of the televised serial narrative – the soap opera – funded by detergent brands in order to promote their wares.
It makes sense, and yet hearing it put like that, well, left a sour taste in the mouth. Something about that model just felt wrong. Obscured. Perverted.
But I’m not here to talk about television.
‘Advertisers are the customers.’
When Facebook went public earlier this year, much like television, people were no longer the customers. Brands were. Users simply became product to sell to advertisers.
When analysts spoke of Facebook’s need to monetise the platform, what they were really saying is that Facebook needs to monetise the users.
Since its IPO earlier in the year, Facebook has been building and testing, deploying and upgrading, optimising and tinkering. Why? To make its ads more effective.
To make users, Facebook’s product, more valuable. Users. You.
But I’m not here to talk about Facebook.
‘The product is you’.
Twitter is battening down the API hatches and locking the doors to its user base in order to more effectively monetise. Tumblr has begun rolling out (thus far relatively un-obtrusive) ad-supported content.
But I’m not here to talk about those platforms, either.
I’m also not here to talk about users, followers, likers, players, gamers, subscribers or customers.
Today I want to talk about people.
Today I want to consider the human.
Humans are an okay bunch. Most keep to themselves. They eat, they sleep, they love and laugh. They live. For a while anyway.
Humans have limited time, which makes them worry. They want ways to make their life easier, less complicated. They want less clutter.
They like new, shiny things. They like information. They like stories. In fact, humans love stories.
Humans buy what we sell. Sometimes because they need it, sometimes because their neighbour has one. If they like it, they’ll tell other humans. Sometimes, those humans will buy one too.
As marketers, humans are very valuable to us. But a single human can be subjected to as many as twenty thousand marketing messages a day.
That’s not very human friendly.
Marketers are human sometimes, but probably not often enough. Instead of finding ways to talk to other humans, to listen, to understand their needs, we spend time and money trying to shout louder than other marketers, and creating new places to put our messages.
How often do you hear a human say, ‘Well golly, those clever souls at Brand X found a devious and downright genius new way to show me ads. It’s amazing – the ad followed me around every other site I visited for days until I just had to buy one of their products. I just had to. It’s brilliant. I’m telling everyone!’
That’s not a speech I’ve ever heard a person give. Marketers… maybe. Perhaps this one is more recognisable:
‘I just read/watched/heard the most amazing/heartwarming/incredible/funny story. Brand X just shared it. It’s really good. I’ll send it to you.’
Humans love stories, not adverts.
When you’re thinking about your marketing plan for next year, when you’re allocating your budget and planning channels; consider the human.
Take some of that budget and hire content producers. Hire storytellers. Start campaigns that put humans first.
2013 is not the year of mobile, or whatever new social network your kids are using. 2013 is the year of the human. 2013 is about finding the right platforms and the right campaigns for the people who want to buy what you sell, and creating stories just for them.
Marketers are human sometimes. Why not think and act that way all the time.