What social media tools are used and what works?

This is interesting from eMarketer.

The graph below details the social media tools currently used form 2009 to 2011. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter sit at the top as used by more than half those surveyed.

Social media tools currently used

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research’s longitudinal study on social media marketing usage among the Inc. 500

But what was successful in the opinion of those surveyed?

Social media tools 500Inc are having success with

Some of the tools marketers are abandoning are still reported to be highly effective—at least for those companies that continue to use them.

Interesting that blogging – decreasing in use – was used by 37% of those surveyed,  but is increasing in success by those that use it.

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What platforms are marketers in social media using and how do they measure success?

The State of Social Media marketing annual survey report on what marketers are investing in and what are their challenges, indicates Facebook (87%), Twitter (83%) and LinkedIn (76%) are most widely used… no surprise there. YouTube came next at 66% and blogs 57%.

What’s interesting though is how social media is being measured.

Top Social Media marketing ROI metrics

Social marketing ROI gets its definition from marketers within companies measuring multiple components of their social marketing initiatives.

For nearly 80% it’s fans and followers. 67% monitor website traffic. Share of social conversations 40%. What’s interesting though, is leads and sales as a ROI metric are less than 40%. Isn’t the end game selling stuff?

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Is our online, offline marketing world disconnected from our consumers?

Recently I watched my mother using her iPad to Google answers to questions she is always asking. She’s has an inquiring mind for a 75 year old and the internet has given her immediate access to knowledge that in the past mean hours in a library when she had time between raising a family.

As marketers, we often get asked how do customers and consumers forage for information? Current thinking from Peter Pirolli, suggested as the father of information foraging theory, tells us that we look for information online just as we look for it offline and indeed just as we used to forage for food in stone-age times. Pirolli tells us we look for clues in our surroundings to find the most efficient road to get to what we want. The difference Pirolli points out, is whilst we still have the same time and energy constraints ancient man had, we are awash in information.

Two Hadzabe men in Tanzania walking, carrying bows and today's catch.

Two Hadzabe men in Tanzania walking, carrying bows and today's catch. Source: Andreas Lederer. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence

So our stone age forefathers didn’t walk past the berries to throw a stone at a goanna, and of course, today’s project team doesn’t assign one member to find information online and another to look offline.

But wait a minute, as marketers we have separate teams for online and offline, just as we had above the line and below the line agencies in a distant past, which is just a little disconnected with how our consumers and customers forage for suitable purchases.

Maybe worth a rethink? What do you think?

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Are digital natives really all that different to digital immigrants?

I used to watch my kids when they were early school age, bounce between play station and online computer games with nano-second attention spans. Now they compose music on laptops, communicate on facebook and tell their parents and their friends how to program their iPhones, set up their printer and get more out of their technology.

I always liked to let my children know that my generation invented the computer, however they grew up with the digital world where as I immigrated to it.

So there is a real difference between the Digital Native and the Digital Immigrant created by Marc Prensky in 2001. And here’s the proof.

A 2008 study conducted at UCLA by Dr. Gary Small, Dr. Susan Bookheimer and Dr. Teena Moody, all experts in neuropsychology and neuroimaging used MRI scanning to study brain activity and measure neural pathways during computer tasks that involved reading and Google searches.

MRI study of the brain of digital Native and Digital Immigrant

There is a distinct difference when comparing Internet-savvy users and naïve users during the Internet search task.

These guys, who did this study, go on in their literature to suggest that the influence of digital technology on childhood development may redefine traditional stages of development.

The scary thing is that Palfrey & Gasser in their book, “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives” suggest that social identity has changed too, with many Digital Natives having multiple personas online.

Know anyone with a different Facebook persona to their offline one? How many gamers use a different name online or online community members who use a different name in forums and chat rooms?

Is each one a different social personality with different interests and tastes? What are the implications of that on our society? How do we market to consumers with multiple personas?

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Run faster than the competition on SEO factors

Search Engine Optimisation is the art and science of being found on the web by your customers. David Klein writes in his SEO blog recently featured on SEOmoz an interesting story about two men walking in Africa when they see a lion. One pulls out running shoes and the other stares in disbelief asking his friend if he thinks he is faster than the lion. “Not at all” says the runner. “I just have to beat you”. David suggests it’s not about beating Google but about beating your competition “on the keywords that matter to your business”.

I recently found this “Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors” from Search Engine Land.

A search engine such as Google rewards your page if it has the right combination of SEO ranking factors highlighted above as ‘on page’ and ‘off page’ ranking factors. There are also violations and blocking factors to consider.

I guess what this chart doesn’t show is the weighting search engines like Google give each factor. Where do you focus your efforts?

SEOmoz provides some insights with this graph below.

Graph overall ranking algorithm

Statistical and opinion-based data from SEOmoz

Page level links and Domain level links account for over 40% of the game and keywords on your page and website another 26%. That’s the opinion of their research and 132 experts.

Although if you listen to Google themselves, they’ll suggest it is all about quality content that their customers (those who use their search engine) want to find.

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What counts in social media, numbers or time spent?

Time spent surely. Old media rules would suggest that the money goes where the audience is but sometimes less can be more.

A recent report “It’s a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows about Social Networking and Where It’s Headed” from comScore, released last month in December 2011 and reported by eMarketer, indicated that Facebook still leads the way with not only number of users (est 166 million) but the time spent per user, was up 40% in growth from October 2010 at over 390 minutes.

Social media sites visitors and time spent Nov 2011
Compare Social media sites, millions of visitors and minutes spent November 2011.

In unique users, Facebook was followed by Twitter, LinkedIn each with over 35 million and MySpace (25 million) as seen in the graphic above.

Of most interest, however, is Google +  showing the lowest of the top seven in average minutes per visitor – 5.1 minutes on average per visitor, and Pinterest with 4.9 million unique visitors, but visitors spending an average of 88.3 minutes on the site. Only Tumblr with 141 minutes in time spent on average per visitor was higher excluding Facebook.

As far as engagement is concerned Tumblr and Pinterest would have to be something to keep a close eye on. So a key question is “have you been invited to Pinterest?”

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No one watches TV like we used anymore

I like the occasional Foxtel movie and I know other members of my family negotiate over the remote when their favourite TV sitcom comes on. But do we watch TV like we used to, all eyes glued to the box, yes you don’t hear that word anymore do you.

A quick glance around our living room when the family has decided a program is worth watching together, or they lost the argument over the remote, and you will see some members hunched over the reflected light from the iPhones or iPads.

Even Roy Morgan is looking beyond ratings and demographics data, to ascertain the level of engagement of a TV program’s audience in terms of the audience’s attention level.

Roy Morgan research

Roy Morgan TV program attention levels

The research shown above indicates that in September 2011 and according to Roy Morgan, “Serial weekly TV dramas or comedies — like Packed to the Rafters and Downton Abbey — tended to deliver a more engaged audience, whilst reality TV programs (particularly those that are screened every weeknight, like The Block or MasterChef) were more likely to have a higher proportion of viewers who paid some or not much attention.”

So media buying isn’t all that easy anymore. Chasing the best rating programs is not a surefire method of get your message to your audience anymore.

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