Who’s Using Which Social Networks?

January 2015: As we start another year, YouGov has just released a new survey regarding Social Network usage among adults in the US. And, it seems that the majority are members of social networks: overall only 15% stated they are not a member of any social networks. This number is higher for men (18%) than it is for women (12%). Among the larger platform,s only LinkedIn and Google+ have more male than female members.

As expected, Facebook is still in the lead, with three-quarters of all survey participants (80% of women, 70% of men) reporting being members. From the other networks, Twitter has (31%), Google+ has (29%) and LinkedIn has (28%). While men and women reported roughly equal use of Twitter, men were slightly ahead in Google+ usage (31% vs. 28%), with the gap larger on LinkedIn (30% vs. 25%).

Bringing up the rear is Pinterest with 18%. Interestingly, there is a large gap between men and women using Pinterest (28% among women; 9% among men). This is followed by the fast-growing Instagram (13%), although its audience leans more heavily towards teens, whom were excluded from the survey.

This data originates from a survey questioning how users react to certain type of post (such as racist, political, and sexist ones). The survey was fielded online from December 19-22, 2014 among 2,341 adults (18+), with the figures weighted to be representative of all US adults.

Graph social media

The YouGov survey results indicate the following usage among age groups:

  • Twitter usage is highest among the 18-34 bracket (41%), with the 35-54 (31%) and 55+ (23%) brackets following behind;
  • That disparity is even greater for Instagram, with 27% stated penetration among 18-34-year-olds, versus 12% among the 35-54 group and 4% in the 55+ bracket; and
  • The +55 group (31%) is the largest user group on LinkedIn, compared to 28% of 35-54-year-olds and 23% of 18-34-year-olds.

Finally, when looking at race and ethnicity (in the US), the results reveal that:

  • Twitter continues to appeal to Black Americans (42%) more than Whites (29%) and Hispanics (26%);
  • LinkedIn is less popular among Hispanics (18%) than among Whites (28%) and Black Americans (28%);
  • Instagram proves more attractive to Black Americans (19%) and Hispanics (15%) than to Whites (11%); and
  • Google+ similarly sees higher reported penetration among Black Americans (35%) and Hispanics (34%) than among Whites (27%).

So mobile messaging has taken over texting…..

So mobile messaging has taken over texting…makes a lot of sense. Interesting reading from techworld.com

SMS texting in deep decline in UK as mobile message apps take over

Mobile users move on

By John E Dunn | Techworld | Published: 17:51, 13 January 2014

The SMS text message came to define the start of the mobile era but now the mobile era is moving on. New OFCOM figures show the numbers being sent across UK mobile networks dropped sharply during 2013.

Buried inside Deloitte’s TMT Predictions Report 2014, the UK telecom regulator’s numbers report that a total of 145 billion made their way between mobile devices during the last year, down around 7 billion from 2012.

Although that sounds like a modest 4.6 percent drop that is still a jolt for a once-mighty form of communication that as recently as 2010 to 2011 recorded a growth rate of 18 percent.

It is not (as some stories have claimed) the first ever fall in UK text volumes; that happened around the last quarter of 2011, as reported a year later in stories suggesting social media as a possible cause. But if the quarterly figures put out by OFCOM for 2012 showed smallish but consistent quarterly drops, the new numbers used by Deloitte have that accelerating.

Projecting ahead, Deloitte predicts that SMS volumes will now drop to around 140 billion for 2014, which might turn out to be generous.

If social media halted the SMS juggernaut it is mobile instant messaging (MIM) that is now eating it. Once marooned inside small PC applications, this has migrated to mobile apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype that don’t charge for communication.

No amount of SMS bundling by mobile networks will stop their rise.

Deloitte predicts that globally in 2014 MIM messaging will carry twice as many messages as SMS, which still leaves text messaging generating $100 billion (£61 billion) in revenues, about 50 times that for MIM. SMS might no longer be king and queen but it still makes huge amounts of money.

“We expect SMS to continue to generate significantly greater revenues than MIM even as far out as 2018, by which point global SMS revenues are expected to have started falling,” said Deloitte.

“We would also expect MIM services on mobile phones to continue to substitute not just for SMS, but all other forms of communication, from e-mail to phone calls.”

MIM will also therefore start to hit phone volumes and even emails so SMS won’t be the only loser. If that’s correct, the change from SMS, phone and mobile email isn’t simply about the changing habits of smartphone and tablet owners.

This preference also shifts the communications axis from one controlled by mobile operators to one controlled by software and Internet firms. Mobile firms will hope that the rise in 4G traffic will compensate for that but there’s not getting away from the fact it reinforces that they are dumb (but profitable) pipes first and foremost.


Social Media as a Branding Tool

While over 90% of major brand owners are now using social media such as Twitter and Linkedin, however social media still remains primarily a marketing medium rather one that generates tangible revenues according to a recent survey by Booz & Co and Buddy Media.

From 100 large organisations, (94%) listed Facebook among their top three social priorities, closely followed by Twitter on (77%), with YouTube lagging at (42%). Blogs and branded platforms scored (25%) each, LinkedIn posted (13%) and location-based tools like Foursquare received (8%).

The average organisation typically has 4 to 5 social media sites at present, set up by Marketing departments (81%); digital teams (62%), PR units (48%) and customer service groups (26%).

The general consensus (94%) was that being an early adopters and reacting quickly was essential to social media success. They also believed in having an internal “owner” and “champion” (93%), all of which was well supported by leadership and in-house education (90%).

What are they being used for?
The main use for sites such as facebook and twitter is advertising and promotions (96%), while (88%) used them for PR; 75% maintained open links for customer service and (56%) used them for market research.

Commercially, it is still early days, although (44%) expect to have revenue-generating platforms linked to social media in two years time. Just (40%) are employing them for sales purposes, and a further 46% think they deliver purchases and meaningful leads.

By contrast, (90%) mentioned benefits tied to brand building; 88% agreed they stimulated buzz, 81% referenced securing consumer insights and 78% cited enhanced marketing effectiveness.

A majority of companies also already have dashboards, and enjoy partnerships with specialist agencies as they follow a clear, integrated social media strategy.

Similarly, while 67% of businesses allocate less than 5% of digital marketing budgets to social channels today, a 55% share believe the proportion of new media spending directed to this route will be at least 10% three years into the future.

What this shows is that large, leading companies are shifting their marketing focus to actively transform their model from brand management to brand curation.

via Booz & Co & Buddy Media as read in WARC

Social buying and Flash sale sites: Generating revenue and creating loyalty within hospitality and private online travel clubs?

An interesting debate is going on within the hospitality and travel trade: should they participate in social buying/flash sale sites to supply fresh competitive deals?

The new kids on the block…private online clubs with exclusive hand-picked travel offers and very attractive savings of 60-70% off hotel rack rates and brochure prices….all with a limited time span, typically a few days or as as flash sale. The take up has been incredible. In line with the current love affair with social buying sites such as groupon, kgbdeals and other popular discounting and flash sale sites, they are emerging as a new distribution channel, poised to change the way consumers view their buying decisions.

The hospitality and travel trade are not sure of what to make of them. Some fear they are a reaction of the recessionary buying trends, while others are eager to jump on the band wagon. The emerging picture is that the field is divided. There are hoteliers who think that social buying/flash sites will ultimately lead to price and brand erosion, damaging the long term price integrity and overall online revenues. And there are the hoteliers who are more interested in the immediate results, filling rooms that may otherwise remain empty. Re-active? Certainly, but happy to exploit the here and now approach of this buying phenomena.

The fears being discussed include the fact that there is an oversaturation of players, leading to market share and revenue corrosion, consolidation and failures, together with a significant weakening from industry suppliers which will probably result in a weakening demand from the members of these sites. Loyalty may not even play any part in the decision making process.

According to Hitwise the popularity of flash sale websites with limited time & inventory offerings have grown exponentially over the two years. Online shoppers’ love for the thrill of snagging a bargain, be in experiences, travel, designer clothing, home décor, restaurant visit, beauty and spa treatments and even wine have caused visits to the category to increase 368% in July 2011 as compared to the same month two years ago and 109% one year ago.

Leaving a lasting impression

How good is your social branding? Are you influencing enough of the right people? Are you using social media to determine your ongoing strategy?

Some 83% of companies worldwide use social media, but fewer than half of those have teams that use social media to influence proposition (service or product) design, creation, or strategy.

In a recent Forrester report, it appears that 72% of consumer product strategy (CPS) professionals claim that social media will enhance their existing capabilities of using customer input to shape product strategy. They talked about how social co-creation is an important opportunity for consumer product strategy (CPS) professionals — and it’s something that some, but not all, of those companies who are active with social media use.

In a discussion on the topic among Before and After 6 business network members, it was obvious that social branding was the topic of the day. Apart from leveling the playing field, it allowed companies to carry out a form of dialogue with clients, colleagues, friends or simply “followers”. Linkedin, Twitter and facebook topped the list of social networks in use, although there was a difference in opinion on their effectiveness within the target markets, especially for service providers such as lawyers and accountants. In fact, many saw it as an extension of their business networks and networking initiatives. Whatever their industry though, it was the undoubted decision that social media cannot be ignored from a branding perspective.

We are currently working with clients to help them navigate the social branding arena. We help them build their brand, determine their positioning and extend the brand online with relevant pages and groups targeting their markets. In this way, at least they are harnessing the phenomenal reach of this medium, even though it may still be early days for them in terms of active conversions from followers to clients.