— blending the mix

That was the week in social 25th November

Getting through thousands of pieces of content per week, I figured that there would be some value in sharing some of those most relevant pieces in a weekly blog post. Like Scott’s, this also goes around various people within the Telefonica business to help them keep track of the major changes and trends in social media.

I’ll be putting this out every week as a bit of a wrap for the week but if you want to make sure you get this and any other posts I put out on the blog, make sure you subscribe here.

That was the week in social 25th November 2013 

Platforms

Facebook

Headlines around the demise of Facebook make great ‘bedroom-analyst’ link-bait, but it will be some time yet before we need to start worrying about what is happening to a network with over 1.1bn users. Seeing an opportune moment to launch more quotable research, Global Web Index have shown that Facebook remains the network with the most penetration and engaged users, despite Google+’s size:

smchannels penetration Engagement-split-at-a-global-level

 

But where in October, Facebook looked to have cracked the mobile experience (with over 48% of users now mobile-only), research from Forbes suggests that the jewel in the crown, the hugely popular mobile messaging app is now coming second to some of the emerging platforms such as Whatsapp.

top-3-messenger-apps-copy

Whilst Facebook users are still relatively new and (as a result) sensitive to mobile ads in their timeline, Facebook needs to tread even more carefully not to push ads too much. Snapchat, Wechat and WhatsApp have little by way of formal advertising programmes yet are seeing successful early adoption of revenue-generating initiatives.

WeChat, of all the new starters has seen the most success, with its paid-for stickers product (emoticons which add graphics to chat), but more recently saw the staggering success of a mobile phone launch, the Xiaomi Mi-3. The 150,000 devices were only available via WeChat and all devices sold out within about 10 minutes!

Now whilst Facebook (and Path) have also trialled stickers, with limited success, is this kind of partnership the best way to proceed? Whilst Facebook, Twitter etc. have always allowed brands to fight for eyeballs on their platforms with ads, it looks like the new messaging platforms are likely to introduce a very different brand/platform relationship.

All of this begs the question – is this lack of brand presence the reason WHY audiences are flocking to these channels in such large numbers? In which case, what opportunities to brands have to play a role in the lives of users on these networks?

News also broke this week that the reach of Facebook and YouTube (individually) are not too far behind those of TV. US-figures yes, but we all now where it’s going!

tv audiences

Twitter

Since going public, Twitter has done a great job of showing how innovative it is, clearly working to demonstrate its value. Last week it emerged that a new account called @magicstats was discovered. Its goal is to “favourite the best tweets I see in real-time’. Techcrunch believes that whilst it is not digging out the breaking news, it does favourite content that gets lots of favourites and RT’s. Its hard to understand how this will add value though given the existing “Trending” topics, or existing tools like RadURLs.

Interesting news from Dick Costolo last week too, that he believes Twitter could do much better at events. With the emergence of exciting new features for TV audience targeting, you can’t help but feel that live music is also now in for a shake-up too, perhaps helping tools like Eventstagram add real value to a live event experience.

I’ll end the Twitter section on a cautionary note…make sure (like us!), you have a pretty robust password process…unlike Nokia NZ…

nokia

Could have been much, much worse…but still…#cringe

Instagram

Interesting news from Toyota, trialling Instagram video as a Facebook page post link ad (below)

It’s a bit cumbersome in the sense that it won’t autoplay, and you have to click to get through to another page to view, but the artistic values that Instagram permits offer a great reason for fans to engage. At the last count, the post had received over 800 likes.

YouTube

Further tweaking going on at YouTube following the recent changes to its comments system. Last week, changes were being made to ensure that comments couldn’t be hijacked by ASCII code or by bad links. With YouTube fast-catching TV for reach and advertising money and its continuing search prominence, it’s great to see YouTube finally dealing so consistently with comments.

There are thousands of opportunities to engage with YouTube audiences with (because of Google+ integration) increasingly important SERPS benefits, but no brand in their right mind is likely to fully embrace comments until they’ve been cleared up!

It’s a shame in some way, because you can’t help but admire the effort that goes in to some comments…

ascii

Research & Insights

Make your YouTube videos under two minutes (or between 31s and 1m for most effectiveness):

YT engagement

B2B Buyers are increasingly B2C/Social

Avanade-The-Consumerization-of-B2B-Buying-Nov2013

Social Ads DO influencer purchasing decisions:

Sociomantic-Targeted-Messages-Influence-Buying-Behavior-Nov2013

Is NFC the new QR Code? (and should we not give new technology a proper name rather than an acronym)

Deloitte-Mobile-Owners-Use-of-NFC-Tech-Nov2013

 Payments

One area that has seen some exciting news recently has been the world of mobile payments.

Ironically looking at the above chart on NFC adoption, Vodafone launched an NFC-enabled wallet product in Spain. It is built on the Global Platform open standard which ensures that it will be able to integrate with other card services much more easily in the future.

So whilst Voda’s announcement is nothing new, Paypal’s recent launch in Germany is a really interesting initiative. paypalHaving eaten at one of a select number of retailers, customers can then check in to the shop and have their paypal account debited the appropriate amount of money.

On the face of it, the scheme seems a dramatic first shift towards location-based payments. Looking in more detail, it still requires a wee bit of faith and human involvement to make happen, not least from the retailer themselves. But, in light of local initiatives like Small Business Saturday and the growth of small business payment services like  Square, it’s a really interesting move towards physical/local/social commerce in a world where customers are always on the go.

And on the money-front, you can’t have failed to hear that Bitcoin topped $1,000/unit last week. For the uninitiated, here’s an almost idiot-proof guide to Bitcoin…and why it might actually matter. If that doesn’t work, here’s the Quora thread with a target audience of five year-old kids!

Summary

In and amongst the many diverse topics this week, the two things that stand out for me centre around YouTube:

1) YouTube reach encroaching on TV reach

2) YouTube comments continuing to be cleaned up

For years, YouTube comments have been the thorn in the network’s side. It’s not for the lack of community features that the platform provides but the ways that most users use the comments.

In the last three months, there have been fundamental steps taken to clean this up, first by surfacing the most contextually (content and audience) relevant comments to you, then by the integration of Google+ to ensure that trolls can’t hide behind anonymity.

Thinking back to last week’s $100m ad deal (including YouTube and Google+ assets), the previous week’s Nielson YouTube tagging permission, YouTube coming second in search behind Google.com, and Google+ second only to Facebook on social (with 42% of its 763m users actively engaged), the opportunity for brands on YouTube and Google+ is enormous – but only if its clean. It looks like it’s getting its act together – so I’d say it’s time to take a longer, harder look at YouTube and Google+.

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