Archive for July, 2010

Fewer Women Online Spending More Time

Women account for slightly fewer than half of global internet users but spend more time online than men, according to a new study from comScore.

Women Account for 46% of Global Web Users
“How Women Are Shaping the Internet” indicates that globally, women represent 46% of internet users age 18 and up. However, this percentage varies by region. For example, women represent 50.4% of North American internet users.

North America has the highest percentage of its adult internet-using population represented by women. In Asia Pacific (42.1%), Europe (47%) and Latin America (48.1%), women are still underrepresented.

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Broken down by individual country, Singapore, the US, New Zealand, Russia and Canada have the highest proportion of adult female web users – all with 50% or more. Countries with the lowest proportion of female web users include two countries where internet penetration is still extremely low – India and Indonesia, with 28 and 35%, respectively.

Asia-Pacific Has Most Female Web Users
Asia is undoubtedly the largest regional online market, and is still growing rapidly. Women online in Asia outnumber women in North America by more than two to one. China alone accounts for more women online than all of North America and, together with Japan, South Korea and India, account for more women online than Europe, according to comScore figures.

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In Most Regions, Women Spend More Time Online
The average 15-plus female spends 8% more time online than her male counterpart. In April, the global average was 24.8 hours per month for women, compared to 22.9 hours for men.

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Looking at time spent by women 18 and up compared to men of the same age by region, Asia-Pacific has the widest gap. Women spend an average of 17.9 hours per month online, 7.2% more than the 16.6 average hours spent online by men.

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North America is the one region where men spend slightly more time online per month than women. Men average 38.6 monthly hours, 2.6% more than the average 37.6 monthly hours spent online by women.

Women spend more time online than men in Europe and Latin America, but the gap is narrower than in Asia-Pacific. European women spend an average of 26 hours a month online, 3.8% more than 25 hours spent by men. In Latin America, women average 27.1 monthly hours online, only 1.5% more than 26.7 monthly hours average by men.

Women Do More Social Networking
Social networking sites reach a higher percentage of women than men globally, according to other comScore study results.

“How Women Are Shaping the Internet” indicates 75.8% of all women online visited a social networking site in May 2010, compared to 69.7% of men. Globally, women demonstrate higher levels of engagement with social networking sites than men. Although women account for 47.9% of total unique visitors to the social networking category, they consume 57% of pages and account for nearly 57% of total minutes spent on these sites.

Women spend significantly more time on social networking sites than men, with women averaging 5.5 hours per month compared to men’s four hours, demonstrating the strong engagement that women across the globe share with social sites.

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Marketers Put More Lead Gen Budgets Online

Online channels most effective—especially when rigorously measured

Lead generation budgets were slashed by many companies in 2009, but now that the economy is on the uptick again, dollars are flowing and acquiring new customers is a priority.

According to the “2010 Lead Generation Optimization Key Trends Analysis” from CSO Insights, more than 91% of companies worldwide reported increasing new customer acquisition was one of their top strategic marketing objectives for 2010.

Based on the quantity and quality of leads generated, companies said email was their best lead generation program, followed by live events, website registrations and webinars. The effectiveness of online channels, coupled with the fact that prospects indicate the web is the first place they look for more information, makes it natural for companies to be increasing their investments in web design, email marketing and search engine optimization.

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Investments in new media are also on the rise, even if it remains less effective than more traditional channels.

At the same time, the web was the area companies were most likely to say needed improvement in its ability to execute lead campaigns. For many marketers, there has already been significant improvement: 51% said the web did not meet expectations in 2010, compared with 68% who said the same in 2009.

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In addition, marketers’ ability to measure their own success affected whether they thought the web was an effective channel. Among those companies that had not adopted a lead generation management system, 65% were dissatisfied with the performance of web-based lead generation efforts. But among marketers that did have a system in place to track leads, only 37% agreed—putting the web on par in effectiveness with traditional media advertising and ahead of direct mail or telemarketing.

“As more lead generation efforts shift to the Internet, tools to help develop, execute, and track campaign effectiveness will become a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have,’” said the report.

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Antisocial Social Media: The British Monarchy Joins Flickr

britishmonarchy260 thumb Antisocial Social Media: The British Monarchy Joins FlickrFor such a classical institution, the British Monarchy has tried surprisingly hard to be tech and social media savvy in recent years, but it has failed to embrace the “social” side of the term. The latest example of that is the royal family’s Flickr account, which just launched with hundreds of photos.
The Monarchy’s profile hosts images new and old, ranging from a wedding photo featuring Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to more recent photos from the Queen’s visits to New York City and Canada. There are even photos of the Queen as a baby. Each member of the family has his or her own set of photos, and there are a few more general sets such as “Latest News” and “Royal Events.” The categories match those found at the family’s website.

Buckingham Palace already maintains a Twitter profile, and it launched a YouTube account a couple of years ago. The Twitter account has a little bit more than 50,000 followers. It’s not used conversationally, of course; it’s merely a publishing platform for links to news stories and updates on the website.

The YouTube channel is a bit more interesting (though no more engaging) because it features interviews, speeches and documentary coverage of the activities and travels of the royal family. The videos are all promotional or informative in nature, and comments are disabled.

According to the AP, officials have said that bloggers are welcome to embed and share the photos from Flickr, however the images are watermarked “© Press Association” and no Creative Commons leeway is given. As is also the case with YouTube, you can’t comment at the royals’ Flickr account.

It’s interesting to see an institution so immersed in tradition embracing new and social media, but unsurprisingly, that embrace is a measured one. The propriety of distance is maintained even in the digital realm. Aren’t they missing the point?

Story by Samuel Axon Mashable

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Facebook membership hits 500 million

The number of people using Facebook has hit the 500 million mark, meaning one in every 14 people on the planet has now signed up to online social-networking service.

"As of this morning, 500 million people all around the world are actively using Facebook to stay connected with their friends and the people around them," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

"This is an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world."

To celebrate, the California firm introduced an application that lets members of the online community "tell the incredible stories of the moving and interesting ways they’ve used Facebook."

Examples given by Zuckerberg included NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen jogging with Facebook fans during his term as Danish prime minister and a US woman using the service to battle breast cancer.

"Our mission at Facebook is to help make the world more open and connected," Zuckerberg said.

"Stories like these are examples of that mission and are both humbling and inspiring. I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started 6 years ago

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Facebook Earns Poor Customer Satisfaction Marks

Leading social media site Facebook earned a poor American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report score in 2010, according to analysis by ForeSee Results.

Facebook Below Generally Poor Social Media Scores
The aggregate social media ASCI score in 2010 was 70, placing it well below leading industries such as personal care and cleaning products (85). However, Facebook scored a 64, making it one of 10 companies out of 223 included in the ASCI index to score below 65 (including fellow social media site MySpace).

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Furthermore, Facebook and MySpace were two lowest-scoring online companies out of 30 included in the index.

Despite Complaints, Facebook Remains Popular
When asked why they didn’t like Facebook, survey respondents gave answers including privacy and security concerns, the technology that controls the news feeds, advertising, the constant and unpredictable interface changes, spam, navigation troubles, annoying applications with constant notifications, and functionality.

However, Facebook remains extremely popular, with 9% of all US website visits and 55% of all US social media visits. ForSee analysis indicates reasons for this include Facebook’s large existing user base, a skew toward dissatisfaction with older internet users, provision of benefits despite poor customer service, and user investment in the site in terms of storing personal photos and videos.

Wikipedia Earns Praise, Less Frequently Used
Wikipedia leads the social media pack with the highest ASCI score (77). When asked what they liked best about Wikipedia, survey respondents most frequently mentioned ease of use, and the variety, depth, and breadth of information available. When asked what they like least, most respondents answered that either there was nothing they didn’t like about the site, or the credibility of user-generated information.

Wikipedia users are less frequent visitors when compared to other social media sites and tend to visit weekly or monthly, rather than daily. About one in five (20%) Wikipedia users visit daily (compared to the 57% of Facebook users who visit Facebook daily), but Wikipedia still enjoys a fairly loyal customer base, with a total of 65% of users visiting weekly or more often. Wikipedia also receives high marks for its lack of advertising.

Social Media Not a Major Product Recommendation Source
Social media does not appear to be a significant source of product recommendations for most internet users. Of the four social media sites covered (Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia and YouTube), YouTube had the highest percentage of respondents say they seek out recommendations of products and services, 17%. There was little differentiation among the four social media sites in this area, with MySpace coming in last only three percentage points behind (14%).

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Even fewer internet users have actually purchased a product or service based on a social media recommendation. YouTube also leads the four social media sites in this area, with 14% of respondents indicating they have purchased a product or service based on a YouTube recommendation.

There is a little more of a gap among the four social media sites in terms of the percentage of internet users who have actually made a recommended purchase. MySpace is also at the bottom of this ranking, with only 8% of respondents having made a purchase based on a MySpace recommendation.

SocNet Reviews Most Influence Younger Adults
A recent survey by Harris Interactive shows social network reviews of products as having a more substantial affect on purchase behavior, especially among younger adults. When asked how much reviews from friends or people they follow on social networking websites influence their decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product, 45% of online adults said they have a great deal or fair amount of influence.

Broken down by age demographic, social network reviews are most influential on 18-to-34-year-olds (50%). This percentage drops with each advancing age group, hitting its lowest rate (37%) among adults 55 and older.

About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the US. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 45 industries and 10 economic sectors, as well as more than 130 federal government departments, agencies, and websites.

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Boomers Spend Money, Use Tech

The Baby Boom Generation is still responsible for a substantial portion of consumer spending and is technologically sophisticated, according to new data from The Nielsen Company.

Boomers Spend 38% of CPG Dollars
An estimated 78 million Baby Boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, currently reside in the US. This population segment spends 38.5% of CPG dollars. Yet it is estimated that less than 5% of advertising dollars are currently targeted towards adults 35-64 years old (which includes the latter half of Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1976, in addition to Boomers).

With most marketers generally targeting 18-49 year olds, more than half of the affluent Boomer demographic is ignored entirely. It is worth noting that Nielsen data shows Boomers dominate 1,023 out of 1,083 consumer packaged goods categories.

Boomers Watch TV, Employ Technology
Boomers watch one-third of all TV content consumed in the US. In addition, defying stereotypes of older people being out of touch with technology, Boomers:

  • Watch the most video: 9:34 hours per day.
  • Comprise one-third of all online users, social media users and Twitter users.
  • Time-shift TV more than 18-24-year-olds (two hours and 32 minutes a month compared to one hour and 32 minutes a month).
  • Are significantly more likely to own a DVD player.
  • More likely to have broadband internet access at home.

Boomers Have Similar Web Tastes to Younger Adults
Baby Boomers have similar tastes in internet sites to adults aged 18-34. Of the top 10 sites favoured by 18-to-34-year-olds, eight are shared by Baby Boomers. Both demographics rank Google and Yahoo as their top and second-favourite sites, respectively. Baby Boomers rank Bing third and Facebook fourth, while 18-to-34-year-old reverse this order of favouritism.

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The two sites Baby Boomers rank in their top 10 which 18-to-34-year-olds do not are Ask.com (ninth) and Amazon.com (10th). In comparison, 18-to-34-year-olds differ in their preference for Fox Interactive Media (eighth) and Apple (ninth).

Pat McDonough, SVP, insights, analysis and policy at the Nielsen Company, said Baby Boomers should be as desirable for marketers as Millennials (ages 15-32) and Gen-Xers (ages 33-44). “As the US continues to age, reaching this group will continue to be critical for advertisers,” said McDonough.

Boomers like Savings Tied to Spending
In previous analysis, Nielsen advised that Baby Boomers tend to be big spenders who like monthly or quarterly cash-back savings programs that reflect spending levels. The upsell can be pursued into prescription medications, insurance, gifts for grandkids and kids, entertainment, travel, even discount wines by the case.

In addition, Boomers are big online shoppers, comfortable using email and messaging to stay in touch. Twitter is a huge untapped outlet for reaching Boomers, who increased utilization 469% during 2009. Reach one and you can reach their entire follower base with product info and special offers.

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Companies Throw Their Weight Behind Online Video

Most of the attention in the online video space has focused on either media content and consumers or marketers and video advertisements. But companies continue to push further into this realm with non-advertising content.

Recent studies have shown that growing numbers of retailers are adding video capabilities to their sites. Surveys of Fortune 500 companies also indicate a broad-scale increase in the use of video for marketing purposes. In this sense, video has gone from a luxury to a near necessity for companies seeking an edge in marketing their products. From home-goods merchants to automobile manufacturers, companies across a wide spectrum are finding ways to use video in their marketing efforts, and consumers are embracing—sometimes demanding—these changes.

Retail is a sector where online video is becoming more important for driving sales. When asked by Multichannel Merchant to identify rich media features that they used, 46% of US multichannel retailers picked video, making it the highest-ranked category in the survey. Another 42.3% of respondents said they planned to add video capability in the next year.

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Several studies point to increased use of video by US companies. According to Forrester Research, the percentage of the top 50 US online retailers that offer videos on their sites skyrocketed to 68% in 2009 from 18% in 2008.

Marketers are on board with more than just ecommerce applications, as well. A study led by the Society for New Communications Research noted 31% of Fortune 500 companies with public-facing blogs used video blogging in 2009, up from 21% in 2008.

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Ad-ology asked US marketing executives whether they would increase, decrease or make no changes in their 2010 marketing budgets for social and traditional media. Nearly 27% said they would increase their online video budgets for viral clips and podcasts, while 5.5% would decrease their budgets. Out of the remainder, 41% would leave the budget intact and another 27% said they did not use video. These responses put video ahead of mobile marketing and search optimization as budget priorities for US marketing executives.

As eMarketer’s Tobi Elkin noted in the report “Consumer Packaged Goods Sector Taps into Online Video,” “Creating an online video presence helps marketers facilitate an ongoing dialogue with consumers, boost brand equity, lure prospective customers and solidify support among brand loyalists.”

On the receiving end of these marketing efforts, consumers are accessing increasing amounts of video on multiple platforms, from laptops and home PCs to smartphones and tablets. As these devices continue to penetrate the market, consumers will expect ubiquitous access to video content. Examples might include watching product videos at the point of sale or viewing a portion of a podcast on a PC and resuming the session on a tablet. Marketers are aware of the potential and are upping their game in a variety of sectors.

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More Businesses Finding Customers on Social Sites

Smaller companies most successful at social acquisition

While many marketers struggle with how to measure social media marketing return on investment, some businesses are finding at least one hard metric where their efforts have paid off—customer acquisition.

According to a February–March 2010 survey from office services firm Regus, smaller companies see the most success, with nearly half of small businesses around the world having acquired a customer through social networks. Large companies were less successful, but more than a quarter had seen social success through customer acquisition. This was despite large companies being more likely to devote budgets to social marketing.

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The survey of senior managers and business owners from around the world found customer acquisition varied by country, with the US coming in the lower half of the pack. Overall, 40% of businesses studied had acquired a customer through a social site, but only 35% of US businesses said the same.

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“While the most popular function of these networks remains that of keeping in touch with contacts, businesses are also successfully acquiring new customers, supporting their retention efforts and interacting with customer groups,” said Sande Golgart, vice president at Regus, in a statement. “Organizations who have not yet ventured into the world of social networking may be missing out on sizeable business opportunities.”

In January 2010, Hubspot found that more than 40% of companies using social media marketing had acquired a customer through the channel. The Regus survey, which was not limited to businesses using social marketing, suggests that number may be slowly climbing.

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Google Sites Tops List as Most-Visited Property in Asia Pacific

In May 2010, Google Sites ranked as the most-visited property in the Asia-Pacific region, reaching 270 million unique visitors during the month, followed by Microsoft Sites with 218.5 million visitors and Yahoo! Sites with 205 million visitors. Baidu.com Inc. and Tencent Inc. secured the fourth and fifth most-visited positions with 177 million visitors and 174 million visitors, respectively.

In terms of engagement among the top 20 most-visited properties, Tencent Inc. ranked as the most-engaging property with visitors averaging 6.5 hours on the site during the month, consuming 716 pages of content and visiting the property an average of 39 times. Facebook.com also witnessed strong engagement, with visitors spending 3.5 hours on the social networking site and visiting more than 21 times throughout the month.

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Top Destinations Vary Across Markets

An analysis of the most visited Internet properties in each of the 13 individual Asia-Pacific markets revealed differing brand preferences across countries. Google Sites led as the most-visited property in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, while Yahoo! Sites attracted the most visitors in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. Microsoft Sites led the market in Australia reaching 93 percent of online users. Local entities topped the list in China and South Korea, with Tencent Inc. and NHN Corporation reaching the largest percentage of Internet users. In the Philippines, Facebook.com reigned as the most-visited destination reaching 93 percent of online users, the highest penetration of any global market for the social networking site.

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Why Many Teens Are Moving on from Facebook

The main reason? They just lost interest

There’s no question of Facebook’s position at the top of the social networking space, and one thing that makes the site so powerful is that when it comes to social networking, a user’s friends must be users too. But among some teens, Facebook may be losing its stickiness.

According to a study from OTX and virtual fashion site Roiworld, nearly one in five teens with a Facebook profile had decreased or discontinued their use of the site as of April 2010.

What’s more, the decreases seemed to speed up in recent months, with two-thirds of the lapsed users having turned away from the site in the past six months.

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In addition, 9% of teen internet users said they had a Facebook profile but had completely abandoned it.

This turnover does not approach the level of MySpace, where 22% of teens had completely stopped using a profile. YouTube and Twitter both sported relatively high 15% abandonment rates.

In Facebook’s case, decreased usage does not appear to be related to the privacy issues raised in spring 2010, or even to the influx of older users on the site. Instead, the plurality of lapsed users simply find the site boring.

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Keeping fickle teens’ interest will be important both for Facebook and the marketers who want to connect with them there. Social games, which most consider a cheap way to relax, have fun and kill some time while playing with friends, are one solution. According to the report, 73% of teen internet users play some kind of social games, and 81% of teen Facebook users play games on Facebook. And the time spent doing so can add up: Facebook gamers reported spending 7 hours a week on the activity.

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