The Super Bowl was a flurry of social media activity and hashtags dominated the conversation by showing up in more than 50 percent of commercials that aired. The longest hashtag, #Americaisbeautiful caught a lot of controversy and #esurancesave30 was a Twitter trending topic seconds after the commercial aired. Thirteen brands used their actual name in their hashtags and a whooping 45 hashtags were used as part of commercials.
Facebook also played a prominent role in ads for GoldieBlox, Maserati and Bob Dylan pitch for Chrysler, which surprised everyone. Though the big game may have left some viewers disappointed, the social media conversation was heavier than it had ever been proving that traditional advertising dollars are quickly being redirected to create social conversation both on and offline. This infographic, from Offerpop, recounts the social highlights of the Super Bowl, hashtag by hashtag.
Did you know that 82 percent of professionals use at least one social network actively for work purposes?
11 percent of U.S. and UK professionals use Twitter (compared to 18 percent in emerging markets), 18 percent use Facebook (37 percent in emerging markets) and 26 percent use LinkedIn (24 percent in emerging markets). Moreover, workers who collaborate using social media at work are more satisfied than abstainers.
This infographic from Thomson Reuters takes a closer look at how social media is impacting the office of tomorrow.
8. 25% OF SMARTPHONE OWNERS AGES 18–44 SAY THEY CAN’T RECALL THE LAST TIME THEIR SMARTPHONE WASN’T NEXT TO THEM
9. EVEN THOUGH 62% OF MARKETERS BLOG OR PLAN TO BLOG IN 2013, ONLY 9% OF US MARKETING COMPANIES EMPLOY A FULL-TIME BLOGGER
Social Media is a fast moving industry sprouting quickly into new dimensions. Increasingly, businesses are learning that building an online community through social media is the key to nurturing relationships, strengthening word of mouth marketing, standing out from the crowd and in return converting leads.
With new social networking platforms appearing from behind every corner, it can be hard to know exactly where to commit your time and resources as the new year approaches. As 2013 wraps up, it is safe to make prediction about where social networking is going, and how one can get on board.
#1. Social Media is a Necessity, not a luxury.
Social media will move from “should have” to “must have” in 2014. It has always been important to invest time and resources into a social media strategy; however, 2014 will prove that it is no longer a just an option. Businesses are already seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic, and revenue.
Companies will continue to move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and experience the benefits of dedicated staff. For those still not aware of the many social media benefits, they include improved social signals and SEO (factor in the search ranking algorithm), branding, improved awareness, word of mouth, increased loyalty, and improved audience reach just to name a few.
#2. Social media as part of an overall marketing campaign
This brings us to trend #2. Social media is a not a silo that can function on its own. Previously, companies may have been jumping into social media because it was the newest trend without a strategy; however, increasingly more businesses are realizing the role of social media in the overall marketing plan and how it benefits the overall goals. It is essential to integrate social media when execute campaigns also while connecting the offline and online as this truly completes the customer relationship. Social media helps amplify the message and adds an engaging component to what is usually a one way conversation. Something as simple as having an online conversational component to a print advertisement, offering perks and rewards to your community and hosting events for your loyal advocates, helps build an engaged following. Social media and conversational marketing transform brands like no other by changing the fundamental nature of the brand/customer relationship.
#3. It’s a mobile world.
Mobile friendly content is essential for 2014 as the shift from computers to mobile devices accelerates, businesses won’t remain competitive unless content is accessible and engaging to mobile users. In fact, Forbes predicts that by 2017, an astounding 87% of connected devices sales will be tablets and smartphones. What are people doing with mobile phones? Accessing their social media accounts of course. It has also been indicated that people may not actually mind mobile social media ads. Facebook’s share of global mobile Internet ad revenues will reach 15.8% this year, up from just 5.35% in 2012 with the overall mobile ad market to grow 89% in 2013 to $16.65 billion [≈ 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami aid]. It’s the world of a mobile social customer and your social media strategy must adapt.
#4. Get on Google+
SEO plays a large role in this trend. Google+ is attracting a significant following now that the “+1″ button plays an important role in Google’s search rankings. Google’s social network is designed for deeper engagement of shared interests and it is more suited for business and education interactivity. Part of what makes Google+ more business friendly, is that it encourages you to meet new friends online, whereas Facebook wants users to focus on adding existing friends. Sure, Facebook continues to lead the pack in terms of number of active monthly users (1.15 billion at last count) but Google+ is quickly gaining steam, and in fact, now has the second highest number of monthly users (343 million).
With Google using the platform to collect personal information (think demographics, location, etc.), Google+ should no longer be thought of as ‘just’ another social network because it’s increasingly proving itself to be an integral part of Google’s grand scheme in terms of SEO, social signals and providing a more personalized search experience (think Google Authorship).
#5. And maybe get off Foursquare
With stale traffic numbers, and significant difficulties raising capital in 2013, Foursquare continues to struggle. With social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter now offering location-based features, there is not much of a use for a platform like Foursquare that operates entirely on location based mobile app with not much else to offer. As a matter of fact, Foursquare seems to be stuck in a strange zone that is neither search nor social and it’s user base is becoming less relevant. If FourSquare wants to survive in search, it has to compete with Google, Facebook, Yelp and even Apple. On the other hand, if they want to compete in couponing, it will have to face the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial. Either way, it is a tough battle.
#6. Think images.
Our attention spans have caused us to be very visual in consuming media. The consistent trend in2013 toward sharing through image (and video) over text-based content has been evident as visual content is increasingly becoming a critical piece of any solid content strategy. Ecommerce is going through a Pinterest-ization phase and the social media platform will continue to shed its reputation as a female network becoming an integral part of retailers’ marketing.
Other image-based social media sites like Slideshare, Tumblr, Path, and Mobli will continue to grow requiring businesses to become more mindful about sharing photos on their websites and blogs in order to gain significant benefit from their social media content marketing efforts. Overall, it will be important to consider how users’ expectations for strong visual content will affect brad social media strategy in 2014.
#7. Think video.
With Instagram video and Vine, micro video will continue to rise in popularity. We’re seeing even more movement toward user generated real-time video sharing with none other than user’s smartphones. It will be interesting to see how this user generated content from Instagram and Vine will change the playing field when it comes to video-based social media.
Video and social media without a doubt will continue to grow and as Cisco predicts 85% of all internet traffic in 2015 will be video. For brand videos, it’s all about video engagement as the demand is shifting away from total number of video views, to different level of engagement. Brands want to know that their video is actually impacting viewers and how call to action can be integrated when viewing content. Expect to see brands experimenting with location video targeting. As an example, earlier this year Longo’s market has opened up a new location in Leaside creating a video series to showcase the new store but to also encourage people from the area to visit the location and increase awareness. Longo’s created videos targeting viewers who live within a 7km radius of the store. Once the ad is seen, a clickable ad-overlay is displayed at the bottom of the video saying “Longo’s Gift Card Draw” where users are encouraged to click on the ad. Once clicked, users are directed to Longo’s Facebook page where they can enter the contest and/or redeem a coupon for the Leaside location.
#8. Ad Retargeting
Re-targeting means that ads can be placed on social sites based on a visitor’s interaction with other websites. For example, say you were shopping for a vacation and you logged into expedia.com to look up a trip to Los Angeles – the next time you log in to Facebook, you are more likely to see an ad for a California getaway. Although this can be annoying at times for consumers, re-targeting could lead to more efficient spend of advertising dollars for marketers and can also cater exactly to the audience.
Only two percent of web traffic converts on the first visit; ad retargeting can help increase conversion rates by reminding consumers what product or service they saw online. Browser cookies are utilized to track visited websites and once a user leaves a site, those products/services will be shown to them again in ads across different websites. This keeps the brand and product at the top of the consumer’s mind and due to the success that many marketers have had with ad retargeting, there’s a good chance that it will become more mainstream in 2014.
#9. Native Advertising
Native ads place brand content such as videos, photos and articles directly into the content of the publisher’s website, matching it up with the website instead of fitting ads into boxes separated from and around the content. Some of the examples include but are not limited to: Facebook Sponsored Stories; Twitter’s Promoted Tweets; promoted videos on YouTube; promoted articles like TrendHunter Sponsored Posts and BuzzFeed’s Featured Partner content; Yelp Sponsored Listings and promoted playlists on Spotify.
People generally respond much better in a natural setting and one could argue that the most effective advertising has always been native to the environment. As a matter of fact, the best click through rate is received from Facebook ads that target friends of friends and note the recommendation of their peers rather than direct brand advertising.
Leading the path with native advertising is video as it is most promising asset for scalable native advertising. Brands and agencies are doubling down on video production, beyond traditional 15-30 second ads. The commitment of branded content production and native video advertising pours yet more fuel on the fire in whichever direction you look. However, if you don’t get the social sphere, your brand will be frowned upon by the digital savvy and smart consumers of today.
It’s always an exciting time in the fast evolving social media industry. Cheers to a great year ahead!
Source: Forbes – Jonathan De Meyer
Brands are consistently trying to find innovative ways to engage with consumers on Instagram. Heinken is taking it to a new, creative level with an Instagram scavenger hunt that will eventually lead winners to free tickets to the U.S. Open Men’s Final.
The contest, created with Wieden+Kennedy, challenges fans to search a mosaic of Instagram photos for clues that will ultimately lead them to nine pairs of tennis tickets. In order to prove they’ve found the next clue, users must comment on the correct photo with the codeword “#SHHH.”
Unlike the Instagram scavenger hunt Fox put on during Comic-Con, all of the clues in Heineken’s contest are located on its @crack_the_us_open Instagram page. This allows contestants to complete the entire hunt without leaving Heineken’s page.
What’s more, the fun factor of the scavenger hunt is such that Heineken is able to generate numerous impressions for its brand without users being forced to think about the “sponsored” nature of the brand’s sponsored content.
So far, 47 people commented on the first photo in the scavenger hunt since it began at noon. Here’s what the mosaic looks like:
There was a time, namely the second half of 2011, when retailers thought Facebook and other social media channels would become major storefronts for their platforms.
“We expect Facebook will become a major channel of commerce,” Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta, said in an interview with Mashable in late 2011. Miki Berardelli, CMO of Tory Burch, echoed that statement a few months later: “We believe that social shopping, or F-commerce as everyone is calling it now, is the future of ecommerce,” she said.
Unfortunately for Oscar de la Renta and Tory Burch, as well as for Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, GameStop and dozens of other brands and retailers that set up Facebook shops in 2011, this hasn’t been the case. Of all those retailers, only Tory Burch still has a Facebook store, which it uses to offer occasional discounts on select items to Facebook fans.
But it’s not just Facebook stores that are failing to drive sales. Social media networks in general just aren’t effective platforms for acquiring new customers compared to more traditional methods, like search and email marketing research, digital consultancy L2 finds. In a study of nearly 250 prestige brands — defined loosely as heritage brands with an “affordable luxury” price point, like Kate Spade or Coach — the firm found that over the pastfour years, less than 0.25% of new customers have been acquired through Facebook and less than .01% from Twitter. Furthermore, customers acquired via social media spend less money over time (i.e., have a lower lifetime value) than those acquired via search.
Even Burberry, a leader in the fashion/luxury/digital arena, has pulled back its investments in Facebook in favor of investments in traditional CRM and ecommerce infrastructure, L2 reports. (A Burberry spokesperson declined to comment.) This is significant especially given Facebook’s growth over the past five years, from under 200 million users to 1.15 billion.
Social Media Still Has Value
Overall, it’s damning data on the sales front, but that doesn’t mean social media is a complete waste of resources for prestige brands.
Social media plays a big role in organic search rankings (see chart below). Second, Facebook’s ad products, particularly its retargeting and mobile ads, are reporting solid numbers on the engagement and conversion front, L2 finds. Finally, a new wave of visual social media platforms, like Instagram and Vine, are proving good marketing tools that generate up to 25 times the engagement of other community-based platforms.
The consensus: Social media is still an important tool for marketing and organic search. But for prestige brands focused on customer acquisition and conversion, a Facebook page or Twitter account may not be the best investment.
Image: Rob Loud/Stringer/Getty Images and L2