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Archive for March, 2009

Go Global – Social Networks Around the World

March 18th, 2009

And the winner is….Facebook.

As promised, let’s revisit Global Faces and Networked Places by Nielsen,  this time for a look at the most popular social network sites around the globe.  Facebook took the lead from MySpace in 2008, growing their active global reach a whopping 168% to 29.9% and a global unique audience of 108.3 Million.  Thirty percent of all Internet users around the world visited Facebook in 2008.

MySpace comes in 2nd at 22.4%, followed at a distance by Classmates Online, Orkut and LinkedIn.

Facebook Leads in Global Reach

Facebook Leads in Global Reach

MySpace still held the lead in the United States, where it had built a solid following by the time Facebook emerged in 2004, but if this is still the case today, it won’t be for long unless something changes fast.  Facebook’s US growth rate will simply outpace MySpace soon.  

Gaining fast in global prominence over the last 2 years, Facebook is the most popular social network in Australia, Spain, Switzerland, France, UK and Italy.  In the UK, Facebook has almost a 50% reach, with 44% reach in Italy. Even in the US, where Facebook comes in second, it has a nearly 40% reach. 

Source:  The Nielsen Company

Source: The Nielsen Company

However, in several markets, both Facebook and MySpace have failed to gain market momentum, including China, Brazil, Germany and Japan, which are mostly led by homegrown social networks.  Japan and China (as well as the US) are dominated by social networks orginating in their own country, largely due to issues that include complexities of doing business and language barriers, that allowed local companies strong first-mover advantages.  China is led by 51, with MySpace at 5th and Facebook not even in the top ten. 

China's Most Popular Social Networks (Nielsen, 2009)

China's Most Popular Social Networks (Nielsen 2009)

The exception in this group to a native network dominating is Brazil, where Nielsen estimated Orcut’s reach at 70%, the largest domestic reach for a social network in any country.  What apparently started out as a contest by Brazilian students to make Orcut more popular in Brazil than in Orcut’s native US, has ended up Brazil’s third most popular internet site.

Why has Facebook grown so rapidly?  Nielsen attributes Facebook’s rapid growth to simple design, broad appeal, focus on connecting (not entertaining), innovative features and open architecture, member’s control over privacy and good old fashioned Media Coverage.

Time to Stop Playing Around! (with Social Media…)

March 17th, 2009

Two new reports are recently out this month, both reminding us that Social Media is not only here to stay, but is essential to future marketing and customer engagement strategies.  Playtime is over and it is time to get serious when in comes to investment in this channel!

This point is summarized in the title from Forrester’s Social Media Playtime is OverJeremiah K. Owyang explores how corporate spending continues to rise in the recession.  Some of the main points include:

  • According to 114 Global Social Media Marketers at companies with over 250 employees, 53% of them plan to increase investment in Social Media, and only 5% plan to decrease investment during the current economic turmoil. (see charts from the report below)
  • Further, they indicated that they would continue to increase investment in social media if the economic turmoil continues, even while decreasing other channels. (see charts from the report below)
  • Budgets for Social Media remain very small (too small?), with 75% budgeting only $100,000 or less (and 30% spending $3000 or less!).  This is largely due to the exploratory and experimental social plans to date as companies seek to answer how social media can help them thrive (and it can!).
  • It’s time for companies to stop experimenting and get serious -  those who are the most innovative and forward thinking will develop a long term plan.  Advertising Age quotes Jeremiah from the report: “…As one of the few marketing budget items increasing during a recession, social media marketing needs to be taken seriously and treated as a corporate asset. To be successful, social media marketing must be managed as long-term programs, not short-term experiments. To succeed, make sure you have dedicated resources in place, including both social media strategists and community managers.”  He further ads:  “If you continue to fund social applications only as experiments, you’re unlikely to be able to do enough to make an impact, or to have a secure source of funding for the future. One way to put these efforts on a firmer footing is to concentrate on objectives and measure progress… rather than just experimenting to see what happens.”

social_media_marketing_budget_breakdown

The time really is now to get serious.  As Marketing Pilgram’s Andy Beal pointed out: “If you spend peanuts on social media, you’ll get…peanut butter–not filet mignon–when it comes to seeing results.“  I love this quote, and based on my own research and experience, I couldn’t agree more.  If you are going to invest in social media, you need to consider what level of invests will be required for technology, marketing, promotion, customization, training and support – and then to integrate where necessary into your own organizational structure while still accomodating your customers’ social graphs.

social-media-spending

 

On March 9, 2009, Nielsen released “Global Faces and Networked Places:  A Nielsen report on Social Networking’s New Global Footprint.”  Findings included:

  • Time spent in ”Member Communities” (include both social networks and blogs) growing 3x faster than Overall Internet Rate
  • 67% of the global online population visit Member Communities
  • Communities account for 10% of all time on the Internet
  • Biggest increase in visitors to Member Communities in 2008 was among the 35-49 age group
  • Mobile access of Member Communities increased 249% in the UK and 156% in the US in 2008

 

This report is packed with way more information than summarized above so be sure to check it out!  I’m sure we’ll be visiting it again in this blog when to look at various global markets.

Nielsen Global Faces Charts

charts from Global Faces and Networked Places, The Nielsen Company.

 

Note:  You can purchase “Social Media Playtime Is Over” from Forrester for $749.

Where do we go from Twitter

March 16th, 2009

Some more good information from Hitwise.  Senior Online Analyst Heather Hopkins has posted Where to From Twitter looking at where web traffic goes from twitter.  Interesting.

Also, be sure to check out Bill Tancer’s Hitwise blog for some great information as well!  As of today, his latest post is about Hulu, who by the way, has some great tv ads!

Weathering the Storm

March 14th, 2009

I attended a great presentation last week  put on by the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Marketing Association at the Town Point Club here in Norfolk, Va.  Russell J. Held, Deputy Executive Director of Virginia Port Authority, shared many of the marketing challenges and opportunities faced by The Port of Virginia in the current economic storm with a great message for us all as we face our own challenges today.

The important message:  Now is a good time to go after new market share.  Thanks to the willingness to invest in the technologies and global messaging to differentiate the Virginia Ports and their benefits, they have increased market share during the economic turmoil over the last year.  Once the economy improves and import/export volume begins to increase again, market share increases will translate into increased revenues and profits, continuing to push the Ports forward.

I agree.  Now is the time for those who can invest in the strategies, technology and marketing to get your message out and increase customer share and customer engagement.   Building a larger customer base and increasing loyalty will help the difficult times and make the good times better.  In many cases, media is now cheaper to purchase and better negotiations are possible for purchasing technologies to improve the infrastructure that will allow you to deliver your message and engage your customers.  Plus, there just might be less noise to contend with to get your customer’s ear as competitor’s cut back on getting their message out.

On another note, guess what the number one export leaving the Ports is.  Waste paper products.  Yep, our number one export there is more or less trash we generate.  It heads to Asia where it is turned into cardboard boxes, which are filled with goods that are shipped back as imports.

Social Media Platform Reviews

March 13th, 2009

If you’re in the market for an enterprise social media/ community platform and haven’t uncovered these three resources, check them out:

Who Really Cares?

March 13th, 2009

Let me start with a little backround. This blog really started back in August of 2006. I know, I know, the post date of this entry is actually March 2009….let me explain.

During that summer of 2006, a combination of fate and fortunate circumstances recently landed me at Operation Smile, a great organization dedicated to providing medical relief to children around the world. A reforming cynic, I was excited to join Operation Smile and work to make the world better.  I have since enjoyed an exciting career in which I have been able to act on a passion for bringing online and interactive programs to the organization that have made a measurable positive impact. It was my first non-profit industry event and my enthusiasm was palpable.

I was sitting in one of the meeting rooms at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, attending a DMA Non Profit Association’s annual Conference, listening to the very engaging speaker and writer Arthur C. Brooks. As many of you may know, Brooks had recently published a book titled, coincidently, Who Really Cares? The take away from Brooks’ lecture and the book were basically that, well, we should all care….a lot!! Backed up by a variety of research – I recommend you read the book here – Brooks contends that the more we care, the better off we are. Those that donated to charities, it turns out, tended to be happier, wealthier, and healthier. Further, nations with generous populations were stronger for it. So, Who Really Cares? We all do!

Wow. As the realization of this set in, it was great. Not only did charitable giving allow for help to be distributed around the country and world, personally touching lives across the globe, but it benefited the giver themselves in numerous ways. My new efforts at working for the common good, it turned out, have more benefactors than just those Operation Smile and other charitable organizations are helping around the globe.

It was really at that point, on that afternoon, that this blog started. I wanted to exchange ideas on how interactive, web, and social media strategies and other disruptive technologies can help make the world a better place.

Join me and exchange ideas on how we can Disrupt IT > Bringing new media and technologies to impact the common good.

Coming Soon!

March 4th, 2009

Welcome to Disrupt IT, dedicated to exploring disruptive technologies, new media and marketing strategies that can help maek the world a better place.

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