Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
We alluded to this the other day, but infographics are everywhere these days. As if to reinforce our point, we recently came across another one that we found interesting, courtesy of B2B Marketing, which we wanted to share with you today. This infographic, which draws on data from the 2013 B2B Marketing Social Media Benchmarking Report, deals with the state of B2B social media at the present time. We hope you find it interesting, too.
Earlier this month, AdAge and Thoughtful China ran a conference entitled Market to Watch: Building Brands Beyond Tier One in China. In a country where ‘Tier 2’ cities may have populations of 7 million or more, there’s certainly plenty of reason to look beyond the more obvious markets of Beijing and Shanghai.
Some of the top growth strategy takeaways from the event are shown below:
Following the recent stock market floatation of Facebook, Kyle Cockett this week discusses the potential implications for the market research industry.
From a quick glance at some of the recent technology acquisitions published in the press, it would be understandable to hold a belief that we find ourselves on the cusp of a sophomore dot com boom. Microsoft has recently purchased the business enterprise social networking service Yammer for $1.2 billion, while Facebook acquired the free photo sharing program Instagram for the princely sum of $1 billion. In addition to this, Facebook recently had a well publicised initial floatation on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The initial price offering of $38 valued the company at approximately $104 billion, with the launch generating around $19 billion for the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
In theory, all of the acquired ventures listed above have no formal business model in place; such high valuations are likely to leave some financial analysts scratching their heads. After all, at least the original dot com boom start-ups, such as eBay, had some underlying plan for revenue generation in place. The acquisition of Instagram in particular raises questions. On paper, the application is merely a platform for users to share retro or Polaroid styled photographs with friends or followers. It is likely that the sole objective of the purchase is to direct Instagram’s loyal, highly engaged users towards Facebook’s photo sharing services. On the surface, any concerns raised around the lack of a successful business model do not appear to trouble Zuckerberg, who at the time of Facebook’s initial floatation stated:
However, it is likely the public floatation of the company will now generate extra pressures in terms of upping advertising revenues. Zuckerberg is likely to find himself between a rock and hard place – the fulfilment of building something that makes a ‘big change’ to the everyday lives of Facebook users or generating the advertising revenues that shareholders will demand, undoubtedly angering core Facebook users in the process.
On the face of it, things appear to be rosy in terms of revenue generation. Facebook’s advertising revenues already reached a record high of $3.1 billion in 2011, representing a 69% increase from the previous year. However, while these figures may appear impressive, Facebook revenues are floundering in the face of their nearest competitors. Google has half the page views of Facebook but generates ten times more in revenue terms. One of the main reasons for this gap is that Google users often have purchasing intent – they are often actively looking for products to purchase when they type terms into a search engine. In comparison, Facebook users are more likely to want to chat with friends or share media, without having the distraction of display advertising. As a result, question marks have been raised over the effectiveness of Facebook advertising. General Motors recently cancelled a $10 million deal after deciding that paid Facebook advertising had little impact on their revenues.
As things currently stand, it is hard to envisage how Facebook will ever be able to remodel its offering to gain the same purchasing intent as Google users. Therefore, it is feasible to suggest that Facebook may now turn to alternative revenue streams to satisfy the thirst for shareholder dividends While the purchase of Instagram generated the most hoopla in the business press, Facebook has also quietly acquired application developers such as Tagtile and facial recognition software developer face.com. In terms of publicity and headlines, these purchases have quietly crept under the radar. However, they represent the biggest hint towards the future direction of the company. Tagtile is of particular interest – it is a customer loyalty system offering rewards for those who ‘tap’ their smartphones in store. This will add yet another layer of rich location and purchasing data to Facebook’s user database.
So, what are the implications of these recent developments for the Market Research industry? Examining the current terms of service of Facebook, there are two points that stand out – data may be used to:
From these terms, we can easily conclude that Facebook is already being employed for promotional research purposes. Once Tagtile and other applications begin to be fully integrated with user data, Facebook will be able to provide an even clearer picture of who views promotions, how many follow on with purchases and where they purchase from. One of my recent blog posts was on the powerful benefits of harnessing ‘big data’ sources. Facebook has the potential to build the biggest, most powerful data source of all. Is it conceivable that with a slight amendment to their privacy terms Facebook could create a new revenue stream by selling this data to external agencies? Previous hints have already been dropped from internal Facebook sources about the company’s potential as a giant worldwide consumer panel.
At present, the market research industry is only just beginning to face up to the use of social media research extraction tools – the debate currently rages on as to what is truly ‘public’ when shared through open access social media spheres. Without any doubt, there would be similar ethical dilemmas for research agencies should Facebook begin to open up user data. Of course, this is assuming agencies aren’t bypassed completely should this development happen. There are also likely to be question marks over the usability of such data – do the everyday actions of consumers reflect their adopted online personas?
I would be interested to hear the opinions of any fellow researchers or readers.
Social media marketing seems very much to be the domain of consumer companies, but increasingly b2b organizations are being encouraged to get in on the act.
An interesting article written by one of B2B International’s clients, GlobalSpec, and recently published in Quirk’s, offers some handy tips to B2B companies taking their first steps in social media marketing:
1. How often and for what purpose does your target audience participate in social media?
By looking at how often and why your target audience participates in social media, it will help you to decide the sort of content – and the frequency – that you should be aiming for.
2. Which social media platforms do they prefer?
With a huge choice of social media channels to choose from, and more springing up every day, you must consider which would best capture the attention of your target audience.
3. What are your organization’s goals in implementing a social media initiative?
Depending on whether you’re seeking awareness, demand, engagement or actual sales, will influence your chosen social media strategy. Social media is particularly good at playing a supporting role in brand recognition and visibility in your target markets; building relationships with your audience; and establishing your company as a thought leader in your industry.
4. What resources (i.e., people, time, budget, etc.) do you have available to invest in social media without taking away from other online marketing efforts?
Social media can be budget-friendly, but don’t forget that time and resources are still required to create fresh content and analyze the results of your efforts. It’s important to remember that social media should merely complement rather than replace any existing successful online marketing programs.
5. How will you integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy?
With limited resources, key to maximizing your social media efforts is integrating it into what you are already doing, for example reposting your regular blog posts on Facebook, or Tweeting about a webinar you may be hosting.
6. How will you define success and measure ROI on your social media investments?
You already measure the effectiveness and ROI of all of your marketing initiatives. Social media is useful in building awareness, engagement and thought leadership. To achieve those goals, consider driving traffic to your Web site by offering downloadable content (e.g., white papers, research, infographics, etc.).
7. How will you promote your social media efforts in other initiatives?
To drive traffic to your social media platforms, you will want to incorporate them into your other marketing initiatives: Include links to your social media channels on your Web site, blog, business cards and in your collateral. Add them to your e-mail signatures.
Read the article in full here
This week, Kyle Cockett takes a look at the growing trend of ‘big data’ in the research industry, and the potential future implications.
During my tenure as a Research Executive, I have found myself working with a growing number of data sources during quantitative research projects. With a growing appetite for actionable insights, I increasingly find myself working in partnership with clients to source internal data that will help to provide quantifiable and conclusive findings. The process of harnessing such data is becoming progressively easier due to the increasing number of clients with well managed CRM systems in place. Coupled with the quantity of data shared on social media sources – regardless of the ongoing ethical debate – this means there is often an abundance of data to be examined and analysed during the reporting stage of projects.
The ever expanding size of datasets is not a new phenomenon – datasets characterised by large amounts of complex data from disparate sources have been around for many years. Tesco are often cited as one of the forerunners of large scale data mining with their Clubcard scheme, which gathers data on the purchasing habits of millions of customers. Despite this, only recently has the term ‘big data’ risen to prominence within the industry to describe such datasets, perhaps prompted by the ever increasing number of data sources – social media, smartphones and blogs are just a few examples of relatively new data streams. Google Trends reveals that the use of the term ‘big data’ has been growing in use exponentially in the past few years – and it is expected to grow even further. Ray Poynter, of Vision Critical, positions big data as the ‘one big trend’ at the forefront of the market research industry, ahead of twelve other multiple strands of expected change. As Poynter indicates, this prediction is firmly backed by the latest industry reports:
This does not necessarily mean the end of traditional quantitative research techniques, such as telephone surveys. However, it is expected that the findings from such surveys will increasingly begin to be used in conjunction with data from other sources – they will become one of the many scores or metrics fed into the big dataset. This is not expected to be an easy transition – many researchers currently work with data that has a size in the order of megabytes, while most big datasets are in the order of terabytes or even greater. Poynter states a belief that the move towards big data will be a ‘bumpy and a not altogether pleasant one for many market researchers’. If this is the case, then what is the benefit of gathering such large data sets? According to a research report by McKinsey Global Institute, big data is:
In order to conquer this frontier, it is essential that clients exploit the full potential of big data – the rise of big data provides huge scope for actionable insight and predictive modelling. Through the use of big data analytics, it is possible to create models that can predict changes in revenue, develop targeted customer value propositions, develop advanced segments, and identify where to focus resources among customers amongst other possibilities. There are many examples of such data mining already present in the retail industry – Tesco has a successful strategy of sending targeted discount vouchers to customers based on their typical basket of goods, while many online retailers offer purchase recommendations based on the past purchase history of their customers. These personalised touches often give retailers the extra edge over their next best rival. Applications are not always limited to customer satisfaction or retention either – by developing bespoke offerings, businesses can extract the full willingness to pay from their customers by accurately targeting premium offerings to appropriate segments. McKinsey estimate that a retailer using big data has the potential to increase operating margins by 60 per cent.
While many of these examples are heavily focused on retail, big data analytics also have the potential to shift approaches in business to business markets. Though B2B companies do not have the potential to mine data from social media sources as consumer companies do, they often still have well developed CRM systems that can provide a wealth of information on their customers. Who knows, it may take only one extra measure to provide insight that leads to a competitive edge?
To find out more about how we can extract insight from your big data, click here.