When we search on the internet we are investing a small amount of trust in the speed, responsiveness and accuracy of the search engine that we are using. After all, the future of your brand is micro. We trust that Google or Bing is reliably trawling the web for the latest information, indexing knowledge to the deepest level and connecting the dots between what we need to know and where it can be found.
Both Google and Microsoft invest significant resources in improvements to their search engines. But it’s not just about the information source – it’s vitally about relevance. This is the scary truth about search – that the search engines already connect a vast amount of information about us and make it available to the public – to people, brands and businesses.
But this fantastic chart from Silicon Alley Insider reveals that when it comes to recommendation – specifically for app discovery – social referral accounts for almost as much as search. The research carried out by Nielsen indicated that 63% of Android and iOS users use search to discover new apps in the various app stores – only slightly in front of personal recommendation from family or friends at 61%.
But the thing that drives both of these figures is trust. We trust search and we trust our friends and family. We trust search and social. And together they can be a powerful driver of sales – for whether we like it or not – we are all retailers now.
Social media can seem to be all about “me me me” – with plenty of commentary on “personal brands”, “citizen journalism”, bloggers, Twitter celebrities and the like, but some brands understand the broader trend of which social media is an enabler. With the right approach, some brands can actually use social media to bring their customer-centric strategy to life – demonstrating that social BUSINESS is about “you you you”.
Recent analysis by analytics platform SocialBakers.com reveals that a massive 25% of total Facebook users reside in Asia. And that in Australia, fashion and eCommerce (yes, more fuel for my Social Retail crusade) are the clear winners – with one exception. Australia’s most popular Facebook page is See Australia with just over 3.3 million fans.
Our actions can come back to haunt us – as movie makers, novelists and storytellers the world over remind us. But what happens when the time between action and reaction reduces. What happens if we don’t have a whole summer to forget about what we did, why we did it and how it happened?
Welcome to the world of social media.
Following up on this infographic on the volume of data and activity that takes place across the web each and every minute, I thought it might scare/intimidate/excite you to know that happens to that data. The folks at Baynote have pulled together this infographic that goes some way towards explaining how your data, information and behaviour is mapped against a series of business outcomes:
Location based services
But the big question for brands and for marketers is not even “what did you do”. It is “are you ready to be held to account for your actions”. It seems that despite our personal use of social media technology, precious few companies are ready for the social web at an organisational level. How about you?
Remember when we used to think about how many “messages” people were exposed to during the day? Some would say hundreds, some thousands. Some of these messages would be subliminal – some would be “in your face”. Many of these would be difficult to recall – others would stand out, be unforgettable. Fewer still were remarkable.
But then along came the web with its banners, text ads, affiliate links, sponsored tweets, branded content, apps and dedicated websites.
The big difference between the pre-web and post-web world is not just measurement. Sure we can capture the number of actual impressions and clicks from online advertising – but we can capture so much more. We don’t just know how many, we often know who. We know when. We know what happened before you clicked and where you went afterwards. We know who you know and what you like.
It’s called “big data” and there’s a whole lot of behavioural information trapped in the clicks and links that we all make each day on the web. The challenge we face as marketers is to sort this data in ways that are meaningful for our businesses.
But what can all this data tell us? This infographic from business intelligence platform Domo explains what’s happening with each and every minute.
For years I worked in business to business marketing in one form or another. I understood how all the different channels worked, loved the way that the newly emerging web brought immediacy to my communications and got a sense that the concept of “branding” was shifting under my feet.
And then I landed in the world of business to consumer marketing – working for an agency on big FMCG/entertainment and QSR brands. Despite years of experience I felt out of my depth. And one of the most challenging aspects was understanding the nature of SCALE. In the B2B world, your focus is on much more narrowly defined audiences – whereas for large consumer brands, scale is what works.
Over the last 10 years there has been a lot of cross-pollinating between B2B and B2C. Much of this has been driven by social media – or by our new appreciation of audiences that are a by-product of social media. Yet, I can’t help feeling a little disappointed that we haven’t learned another lesson of social media – that it’s not scale or reach that is important. It’s the engagement – and the potential to impact BEHAVIOUR – that is vital.
Take a look at this infographic from Pardot comparing Google+ and Facebook brand pages. The numbers are huge. The scale is amazing. But think about it – in B2B you often know WHO you want to reach (I don’t mean “who” in terms of a persona – I mean actual people working in actual businesses). The challenge is to find innovative and creative ways to not just reach, but to engage and prompt them to action. And if you think about that rather than the being dazzled by statistics, you might just find that Google+ is your new best friend.
Each year, venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers release their research and analysis into the trends they are observing across the web. Compiled by Mary Meeker, it’s packed with statistics and pithy one liners – and will provide plenty of fodder for your upcoming client presentations – especially where you need to reinforce the reports key themes – “internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages”.
There were a few items that caught my attention:
Growth in internet user numbers is being driven by emerging markets – with China, India and Indonesia in the top 3, with the USA down the list at number 8
Australia ranks 14th in terms of mobile 3G subscribers – with 76% penetration and 21% year-on-year growth
While iPad adoption is astonishing (3x the iPhone) – Android is outpacing all devices currently running at 4x the iPhone
Mobile web traffic now accounts for 10% of all internet traffic
And while the statistics are fascinating – especially for the data nerds out there – the compelling part of this presentation is the focus on the “Reimagination of almost everything”. The report covers a wide variety of consumption habits, technologies, cultural and artistic production, information and so on – announcing what many of us already know – that the magnitude of change that is coming (or is already upon us) will be stunning.
One of the benefits – and strategic advantages that Google is able to tap into each and every day – is the huge volume of data that is generated by our collective use of the free website measurement tools known as Google Analytics. Not only do these tools provide rich data and analytics capabilities to organisations and individuals the world over, that information is also aggregated by Google.
So while we are able to learn more about how people find, use, convert and engage on our websites, so too is Google able to tap this data store to reveal trends, understand behaviours and make sense of our globally connected work and life styles.
Add the abundance of information that comes from our daily use of the Google search engine, and this data store is awe inspiring.
Over the last few years, Google has made a range of tools available to tap into this data. Google Trends provides fantastic insight to search data – but the new Brand Impressions tool from Google thinkinsights team takes it a step further. You simply enter a brand name and wait while information is drawn from Google+, YouTube, Google Images and Google News, Google Maps and of course, Google Search. And in a few moments you have a nice, interactive infographic built specifically for your brand (or your clients’).
Here’s what was revealed when I queried global software brand SAP. Fascinating. And I am sure this is only the beginning. Over time, this tool is bound to improve – making it a great addition to your strategic insight toolbox. After all, data is great, visualisation can be breathtaking, but true insight is divine. Time to put your thinking caps on!
In the fast-moving world of social media, technology and marketing, you can be excused for feeling like you are being “left behind”. There’s always another new site, social network or mobile app to assess, figure out or show off to your friends and colleagues.
Now, the majority of these come from the US – but we are seeing more of these innovative startups appearing on the local Australian scene (take for example the recent launch of Roamz).
But startups are one thing. Adopting these innovations and using them in your business is quite another.
So a couple of months back I asked for input to a survey on the BUSINESS practice of social media. I wanted to know what people were thinking and what they were doing. I wanted to understand the ROADBLOCKS and the challenges as well as the opportunities that were emerging – specifically in an Australian context.
And now the results are in – and make for fascinating reading. The use of social media appeared far more widespread than I had expected – with a change in focus and a deeper commitment in terms of budget and resources. Moreover, this commitment cuts across all business sectors and sizes – it’s not just the small business owner who is investing in social business … the pattern is repeating right up to the largest national and global enterprises.
The real challenge is seems is twofold:
Addressing the perception gap – the difference between what and how brands use social media and the expectations that their customers have
Demonstrating value – we clearly need to find metrics that work for our businesses. Note that this does not seem to be a roadblock to investment!
With all the hoopla about Facebook’s IPO, I thought it would be interesting to dig a little below the surface. Brian Solis points out that with 845 million monthly active users and 100 billion friend connections as at December 31, 2011, we’re looking at a valuation of about $5.90 per active user and about 5c per friend.
So, for the average Dunbar bound individual, it values your network at around $7.50 (there’s a premium calculation there on your individual active user value). But what does “average” look like in the Facebook world? This infographic from JESS3 provides a nice insight.
Often when we talk about the big, world changing trends that will shape our future, we focus only on technology. But, for me, the single biggest challenge facing us all in the next ten years is the retirement of the generation known as Baby Boomers.
It was previously expected that 2011 would mark a turning point in global demographics with Baby Boomers reaching retirement age. This has partly been ameliorated due to the global financial crisis which saw retirement savings slashed. But time waits for no man (or woman) – and the coming years will see drastic changes in our workplaces. Not only will we begin to lose corporate knowledge, business experience and capabilities – it will be replaced by a younger generation – the millennials (or Gen Y/Z) – with vastly different priorities and expectations.
The shock waves that radiate from this change will impact almost every aspect of our lives. This infographic from OnlineGraduatePrograms.com sums up some of these impacts nicely (with thanks to R Ray Wang). But think beyond the figures – think also of the behaviours – for that’s where the real change will hit us full force. Get ready.