Send your Christmas cards over Facebook
Advertising firm Dentsu and the Japanese Postal Service have partnered to create Postman, a Facebook app from which users from around the world can arrange to send physical Christmas cards right from the social network itself. The cards will cost from 100 Japanese Yen or US$1.29 onwards, while handling and postage fees will cost around 80 Japanese Yen or US$1.03 onwards. Users will first have to register an account and authorise payment details, following which they can choose an existing card design or even customise their own, select the recipient, and finally confirm the order.
The great thing about Postman is in not having to deal with the usual hassle of collecting addresses. Users can find their friends on Facebook or Twitter who have signed up for its service, in which case they can send those friends a card without having to ask for their addresses. Time to start sending those Christmas cards out.
Facebook ads get you emotional
Facebook have been selling different types of advertising for a while now and suggests those that resemble status updates are more engaging than elsewhere online. This claim has now been confirmed by two studies conducted by Neurofocus and Nielson.
The studies used brainwave pattern analysis to determine how effective marketing messages are in different formats. It was found on all measurements (brand recollection, recall and resonance), that Facebook scored better on both attention-to and emotional engagement with the test ads. It's strong emotional bonds which have kept traditionalists spending their budgets on TV advertising; perhaps these new insights will sway a few budgets in the direction of Facebook.
Facebook continues to lead social media in Europe
Continuing with Facebook’s success is a comScore report showing that Facebook continues to dominate the social networking site across Europe.
Facebook is ranked as the top social networking site across all of the EU5 markets with 68.4% usage. Spain leads the pack in terms of social media use, however the UK shows highest penetration for Facebook use with around 8 in 10 internet users logging in each month.
Chinese netizens use both Sina and Tencent Weibo
Among the thousands of Chinese weibo users surveyed by Admaster and SSI, the top social networking site that emerged from these users’ preferences was Sina Weibo, which was used by 90% of these netizens. Tencent Weibo is the second most popular at 85%, while Tencent Qzone follows very closely behind at 84%. The most interesting finding was that 77% of these netizens use both Tencent and Sina Weibo, and not one of either exclusively. For brands, being on Sina Weibo, the more popular of the two, might suffice in reaching their Chinese audience without having to exert a disproportionate amount of resources to reach more users on Tencent Weibo.
Are Chinese BBS forums a thing of the past?
Before microblogging, Bulletin Board System (BBS) forums were the original social networks in China. Tianya is a Chinese news portal and BBS forum that still boasts of a ‘fiercely loyal community’, but can it really effectively compete with its popular Chinese microblogging counterparts? It apparently thinks so, as it is ready for an IPO and merely waiting for just the right opportunity, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens if and when it does IPO.
When Twitter impacts TV ratings the most
Last year a report by Nielsen revealed that Internet buzz can increase TV ratings, recently Nielsen have released a taster of their research project measuring exactly how much Twitter impacts TV ratings.
Importance of different forms of Social Media varies through the lifecycle of a premiere:
Findings show that although social buzz can impact ratings weeks in advance, Twitter specifically has the most effect near to and during airtime.
The different types of Twitter storm
Research into the content of millions of tweets has found that sometimes mainstream newspapers can “reveal” Twitter storms that don’t quite deserve the definition.
The report has identified 3 types of Twitter storm:
The perfect Twitter storm: a story that starts on Twitter and through a feedback loop with traditional press generates a significant amount of attention across a broad audience.
Best examples: the Blackberry email outage, the Topman T-shirt slogan controversy and the John Lewis Christmas TV ad campaign
The storm in a teacup: a story that generates a comparatively small amount of interest on Twitter but is picked up by a large number of mainstream media outlets.
Best example: the row over the allegedly depressing Aviva promotions during the ad breaks of ITV’s Downton Abbey.
The Twitter-only storm: in its purest form, this is a story that sparks a very significant volume of messages on Twitter but is largely of interest only to a specific group and receives little or no interest from mainstream media.
Best example: the vast teenage Twitter search for the lost sunglasses of One Direction boy band member Harry Styles.
Whether full storms or just light breezes, the speed and unpredictability of social media can create quite the challenge for traditional media.
Facebook roll out timeline and private messages
The new Facebook timeline has begun rolling out in New Zealand, and will be available globally in the near future. The redesigned interface shows users activity chronologically right back to birth. Once live, users will have a small amount of time to curate their older activities before it’s all readily visible.
On top of the new timelines, Facebook are also trialling Private Messages between Pages and fans, which we further explored in a post last week. The new Private Messages feature will allow brands a chance to interact with fans in a more direct and individual manner.
Twitter gets a redesign and sets its sights high
This week Twitter launched their new updated user interface. The interface provides users a faster, simpler way to find out what’s happening around them and the news they care about. The launch added numerous features most notable the ‘Discover’ tab, a tab containing useful and entertaining information customised for the user.
After the launch of the exciting new interface, we have noticed a few similarities with Sina Weibo. The similarities (and differences) help illustrate how social networking is fuelling great innovations and sharing best practises between them.
The update has also seen the addition of enhanced brand pages:
As part of this release, we are introducing enhanced profile pages that help marketers create an even more compelling destination on Twitter for their brands.
Now, your profile page does more to help you make an impression with a large header image for displaying your logo, tagline, and any other visuals.
You can also control the message visitors see when they first come to your profile page by promoting a Tweet to the top of your page’s timeline. This Tweet helps you highlight your most engaging and important content and better connect with your target audience. The Promoted Tweet on your profile page will appear auto-expanded so that visitors to your page can instantly see the photo or video content that you link to from your Tweet.
This page and the Promoted Tweet are both free of charge and publicly accessible for the whole world to see. Your profile page is your own – your colors, your logo, and your messaging.
These enhanced brand pages will offer a much more customisable experience for their fans, allowing them to present their best content on Twitter, and Ad Age have a great overview of how the launch brands are using their pages. However, as We Are Social’s Jim Coleman said to Econsultancy:
Users will only see these pages when they’re first deciding to follow a brand – so we can expect follow conversion rates to go up slightly, but the new brand pages will make no difference to brands everyday interactions with their followers and customers as this still all happens in the stream.
The intent is obviously to make Twitter more ‘sticky’. Twitter has long been envious of Facebook’s amazing average time on site figures, and this is their attempt to bridge that gap. These changes will definitely move the needle in the right direction, but the question is how much.
Not happy with just releasing a simple, easier interface across all platforms, Twitter have also announced their new total user goal; 7bn people. The changes to the interface should help fresh users get to terms quicker, and perhaps the sky really is the limit for this bird.
In other Twitter-related news, an email from Twitter sales suggests the cost of a Twitter fan is between $2.50 and $4. The email discusses the benefits for brands as well as flaunting some enticing numbers such as the 15x increase in impression volume from Promoted tweets.
Embed tweets on your blog or website
You can now embed tweets on your blog or website, and continue conversations on your own branded platform instead of Twitter. This feature, available through the new version of Twitter as mentioned above, allows your readers to reply, retweet or favourite your embedded tweet right from within your website. Clicking on the name of the person tweeting brings you straight to his or her Twitter profile, but you can follow the person right from the embedded tweet as well.
This presents valuable opportunities in keeping visitors on your website for a longer period of time, as you can now refer to a previous tweet you made without having your visitors leave your website by clicking on an external link.
— We Are Social SG (@wearesocialsg) December 12, 2011
Google+ integrated into Gmail
An update to Gmail and Google+ introduces new functionality making Google+ a bigger part of the experience. Now you can grow circles from your contact book and even filter incoming emails by circle.
The update has also made sharing to Google+ seamless, meaning photos can be shared to friends in one swift click. In addition to the simple photo sharing, Google are also rolling out their new Find My Face feature. The system aims to help you find and tag yourself or friends in photos. Once the option is turned on, Google+ will prompt you when your face appears in pictures.
American Express supports small businesses
Once again American Express have teamed with Foursquare to encourage users to shop at small businesses throughout the holiday season, with a new ‘Spend $10, Get $10′ deal. Once the users' card is synced with their Foursquare, local deals are shown on a map and all users have to do is spend away with their card to receive the payback.
Isaiah Mustafa is ‘MANta Claus’
The well chiselled face of Old Spice is at it again with a promise to gift all 7 billion people on earth this Christmas. The video below is the first of many and gifts a ‘pair of high heeled lady shoes made out of necklaces’ to @beautyjunkies.
Other recipients include the city of Balitimore, 25 of his closest Internet friends and the whole country of Australia. Stay tuned to the Old Spice YouTube channel to see what he gifts the rest of the planet.
Share videos from your smartphone
Created by the former CTO of Chinese video-streaming service Tudou, iSheHui is a video-recording and sharing mobile app which allows users to share videos to Chinese social networks such as Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Renren. The app features filters similar to those on photo-sharing apps such as Instagram, which can be applied to the uploaded videos. Users can also follow their friends, comment on videos, and browse videos in their timeline. Most importantly, video files are apparently shrunk down to one-tenth of their actual size when they are uploaded, although the quality will remain relatively clear. This will allow seamless sharing even for areas with slower Internet speeds and for people with limited data plans. iSheHui is available on both the iPhone and Android.
Heinz 12 Days of Christmas
After an exciting year of groundbreaking campaigns across Heinz’s brands – from the launch of Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Balsamic to Get Well Soup for Heinz Soup – We Are Social has rounded off the year with a 12 Days of Christmas advent calendar across the Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Heinz Beanz, and Heinz Soup Facebook pages.
From the 1st – 12th December, fans have been visiting the Facebook app to open a different door on the advent calendar, which then entered them into a draw for that day’s prize.
Since going live there has been a phenomenal 114,214 entries into the competition across each of the pages, with 62,741 people sharing the competition with their friends.
Blackberry users can now send virtual gifts over BBM
Research in Motion (RIM) has made a few changes to its Blackberry World portal that will allow Blackberry owners to send, receive and request gifts via Blackberry Messenger (BBM), just in time for gift-giving this Christmas. Blackberry World now has extended local language support as well, namely in Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Dutch.
O2 give Santa a helping hand
O2 have launched a campaign aiming to cheer up consumers this Christmas with personalised videos from Santa himself. All you have to do is tweet 02 using the hashtag #o2Santa to receive your own personalised video from the jolly man himself.
PayPal in social media hell
After talking about Twitter storms, it seems PayPal managed to find themselves right in the epicentre of one last week after purportedly squashing a toys-for-tots Christmas initiative. Although PayPal has now released funds to the website and apologised, the hundreds of angry comments on both Facebook and Twitter show being a scrooge at Christmas is never a good idea.
Wikipedia investigate PR firm for edits.
Wikipedia have suspended at least 10 accounts linked to PR firm Bell Pottinger for content manipulation. It has been said that the accounts were linked to positive statements being added and negative being removed from clients' pages. The main issue being that the firm was not disclosing their link to the brands, helpfully the founder of Wikipedia has offered to go into the company and give them advice on ethical editing of Wikipedia.
$2.5 million for being defamed by blogger
A lawsuit involving a blogger and a large investment firm has ended with the blogger being ordered to pay the firm $2.5 million in damages. The courts ruled that the blogger was not a journalist as defined by media shield laws designed to ensure that journalists aren’t compelled to reveal the identify of their sources, and therefore must pay the damages. A stark reminder that what we write on the internet can have very real repercussions.
Russians fight Facebook and Twitter battles over election
Both Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with users trying to organise protests agains Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. In response, thousands of fake pro-Putin Twitter accounts seem to have appeared with an aim to drown out true messages by bombarding hashtags with unrelated tweets.
Facebook played small role in London Riots
A Guardian and LSE study suggests that rioters paid little attention to Facebook despite the harshest judicial sentences being awarded for those who used the platform to incite rioting. It would seem that although some of the rioters involved in the riots were also using the service, they saw BBM as the way to contact each other, avoiding Facebook and Twitter as they’re seen as public forums.