Tuesday, March 10, 2009
February 12, 2009: from Pew Research Center -- In the past three years, developments in social networking and Internet applications have begun providing Internet users with more opportunities for sharing short updates about themselves, their lives, and their whereabouts online. Users may post messages about their status, their moods, their location and other tidbits on social networks and blogging sites, or on applications for sending out short messages to networks of friends like Twitter, Yammer and others.
As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others. Just a few weeks earlier, in November 2008, 9% of Internet users used Twitter or updated their status online and in May 2008, 6% of Internet users responded yes to a slightly different question, where users were asked if they used "Twitter or another ‘microblogging' service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others."
Of the standalone applications that enable short messaging to a network of friends, Twitter is the most well known. First made available to those online in August 2006, Twitter allows users to send messages, known as "tweets" from a computer or a mobile device like a mobile phone, Blackberry or iPhone. Users of the service are asked to post messages of no more than 140 characters and those messages are delivered to others who have signed up to receive them such as family, friends or colleagues.
Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one-in-five (19%) online adults ages 18 to 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults ages 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35-to-44 year-olds and 5% of those ages 45 to 54 using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older Internet users; 4% of 55-to-64 year-olds and 2% of those age 65 and older use Twitter.
The use of Twitter is highly intertwined with the use of other social media; both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood that an individual also uses Twitter. Adults who use online social networks are much more likely to say that they have used Twitter or some other service to update their status and read the status updates of others. Nearly one quarter (23%) of social network users say they have ever Twittered or used a similar service. In comparison, just 4% of those who do not use social networks have ever used Twitter or updated their status online.
As noted above, Twitter users are overwhelmingly young. However, unlike the majority of other applications with a similarly large percentage of youth, Twitter use is not dominated by the youngest of young adults. Indeed, the median age of a Twitter user is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, Facebook user is 26 and LinkedIn user is 40.
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By reevaluating a marketing mix, advertisers can research and isolate components that are no longer effective in times when consumers are hesitant to spend; it can also unearth channels that are better suited to reach users when they are spending more time researching purchases and less time actually making them. Once marketers acquire this information, they can make smart budgetary choices that make the most impact with users. Good news for marketers is that while users may cut back on their spending, they are still active online. eMarketer reported in January that users spend 30 percent of their leisure time online; this number is up from 15 percent last year. This means that marketers still have an opportunity to reach online users-even more than in years past-attract casino visitors, and meet occupancy numbers.
As we all know, it is more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain one. I urge marketing departments to take a look at their customer relationship management programs (CRM) to make absolutely certain that relationships with existing customers are not neglected. One point that I cannot overemphasize is that in the online space brand evangelists are a companies' greatest asset. By cultivating a relationship with previous guests-creating a more resilient bond-hotel and casinos can generate a base of brand fans that essentially do the job of a marketing team. With social communities, blogs, and review websites, users have a vast amount of online real estate to promote or slander their experiences at your property. Digital marketers need to use this to their advantage as much as possible. Whenever appropriate feature links to guide satisfied users to these sites and encourage their participation. This will help marketers get the most traction out of each interaction and positive user experience without any additional outreach. Peer reviews influential factors during a customer's purchase decision making process, so tapping into this conversation is extremely effective.
By paying attention to how users interact with your web site, how they find you, and where they are in a conversion funnel, sales teams are also in a better position to reassess their efforts to capitalize on inbound leads. When every sale counts, analytics data can illuminate user insights, such as brand affinity or path to purchase.
While not ideal, a recession does force marketers revamp stagnate campaigns and maximize our creative muscles. By optimizing each component of a marketing plan, you can better drive relevant traffic to your Web site. These efforts will ensure that when the economy rebounds, you will have a stronger base of loyal customers and a firmer grasp of what works best to acquire new ones. This solid foundation also will help you execute more extensive or experimental campaigns when budgets loosen and consumers have more to spend.
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Facebook Research Suggest Engagement Is Low
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009: from Marketing Pilgrim -- In an attempt to entice more of its users to engage advertisers, Facebook is planning a re-design of its "Pages." However, new research from The Participatory Marketing Network (PMN) suggests that it may not be the ad format that's the problem, but the platform itself.
According to a study of 220 social network users aged between 18-24, they're just not that interested in ads on social networking sites. 62 percent of Gen Y's have visited a brand or fan page on a social network, but only 48 percent have joined.
The top five reasons for joining a brand or fan group are to "get news or product updates" (67 percent), "view promotions" (64 percent), "view or download music or videos" (41 percent), "submit opinions" (36 percent), and "connect with other customers" (33 percent). While 84 percent noticed ads on social networks, 74 percent say they click infrequently and 36 percent say they don't click on ads at all. Only 19 percent say they find ads on social networks relevant. 51 percent say they'd join a separate social network to manage their brand interactions.
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In the current tough economic environment, the care and handling of customers becomes even more important to business success. It is almost always more profitable to keep and grow an existing customer than to acquire a new one, but today that may be even more true. Yet financial pressures will no doubt lead many companies to make cost reductions that may negatively affect the customer experience. Those who have the ability to closely monitor experience, loyalty and satisfaction and who have developed a culture that responds quickly to customer needs and challenges will be in a much better position to weather the downturn.
Companies that develop highly tuned disciplines and processes for quickly identifying customer issues and opportunities can limit defections and increase customer loyalty and value. Those that integrate real-time listening and analysis across their extended enterprises, including channel partners, can be more adaptive, responsive and engaged with their markets.
Those that effectively leverage the Web and online environments for learning and active customer advocacy can multiply the power of go-to-market communications and limit exposure to negative word-of-mouth in an age when customer voice is more powerful and magnified by the Internet.
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"Boomers are a natural fit for social networks and technologies. They have the time, the life experience, and--more and more these days--the need for social tools to help them accomplish their own goals." said Matthew Lees, Vice President, Analyst, Patricia Seybold Group.
"The fact that they've been relatively slow to embrace social media underscores more of an opportunity than any innate inability or aversion. But they don't want to be marketed to.Those organizations that can use social media to engage with, learn from, and support boomers will find especially receptive partners and, consequently, greater business success than those who see social media simply as another marketing channel," Lees added.
Baby boomers are also actively engaged in user generated content such as ratings and reviews. "While it's true that Millenials (the 13-24 generation) share content at double the rate of baby boomers (56%), 31% of Baby Boomers share their own user generated content. This could be in the form of reviews, blog posts, comments, discussion forums, etc." noted Sam Decker, Chief Marketing Officer of Bazzaarvoice.
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