Crackdown on social media in parts of Asia
In China, police arrested six and shut down 16 websites after rumours spread online that military vehicles were on the streets of Beijing. As a result, microblogging sites Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo have prevented users commenting on other users' posts from 31 March to 3 April in a bid to stem the spread of news, even though they can still use other functions such as "retweet" or post on their own channels.
In Dubai, the government is also trying to fight back against social media users stirring the seeds of discontent against the government. The Chief of Police Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tami accused the country’s Muslim Brotherhood of trying to cause trouble through Twitter:
We aim to clean Twitter’s space from any abuse. We want to make it a social networking medium and not a tool to create disharmony and disintegration.
Online word-of-mouth source credibility in China
Social business intelligence provider CIC's research reveals that consumers find review and recommendation sites the most credible online source of word-of-mouth information, followed by wiki sites and social shopping sites. It's interesting that crowdsourced information is deemed more credible than what's disseminated through microblogging sites such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo or social networking sites such as Renren, which rank 7th and 10th on the list respectively, even though information on these sites are likely to be shared by close friends and family.
Foreign enterprise accounts on Sina Weibo
We previously wrote about Sina Weibo's 130,565 enterprise accounts, of which a large majority are ran by restaurants. The more intriguing question is, how important is Sina Weibo to foreign enterprises wishing to tap into the 1.4 billion population of China, of which more than half are on the Internet? According to Sina, there are 1060 overseas enterprise Weibo accounts, of which the majority helm from the US, followed by Japan, Australia, UK and France. Sina also claims that 143 Fortune 500 companies are on Weibo. Even though it's not an overwhelming figure, it's as good a start as any considering that Sina Weibo is not available in English.
Google's Cherry Blossom Street View
In cooperation with Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) and Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Google has created its Street View guide to Japan: Cherry Blossom Season Edition. Just in time for Japan's famous Cherry Blossom season, Google has featured eight main tourist areas Ginza, Tsukiji, Akihabara, Asakusa, Kamakura, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka. There's more detailed information on the sidebar to the right, including descriptions, dining, and shopping information that would be useful to tourists.
Spending on digital marketing continues to rise
According to a survey conducted by Duke University, US marketing budgets will rise by 8.1% over the coming twelve months. This rise will mainly be spent online, with digital marketing budgets forecast to rise 12.8% over the next year, whilst ad spend on traditional media will drop by 0.8%.
The area which will rise most is social media: marketers said that they planned to allocate 7.4% of their overall budgets to social media in the coming year.
L’Oreal has a team of 400 staff working in social media
At Wednesday’s Facebook Marketing Conference in London, L’Oreal CMO Marc Menesguen revealed that L’Oreal has a team of 400 staff working in social media who post new content on Facebook everyday:
It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of commitment. The digital revolution is on at L’Oreal and we are integrating digital and social as early as possible in the marketing process.
Social media delivers higher value sales
New research has found that ecommerce sales which occur after exposure to a brand on social media deliver more than $280 per order, compared to less than $100 for those driven by natural search:
Tumblr now on Timeline
Similar to Pinterest and Instagram, your Tumblr posts will now appear on your Facebook Timeline in addition to your News Feed when you choose the "send to Facebook" option from Tumblr, whereby your Tumblr activities such as "reblogging", "liking" or posting will be grouped together just like Pinterest pins and Instagram photos for easy viewing. This option is adjustable through users' blog settings.
10.5 billion minutes spent on Facebook daily, what’s Timeline’s effect?
According to a tidbit of info released by Facebook, in January users spent an average of 10.5 billion minutes on the site daily, excluding mobile – or around twelve and a half minutes each a day.
This increase has mainly come from a growth in the userbase: aggregate minutes per day increased 57% and average minutes per user per day increased 14% year-on-year.
Nonetheless, it’s unclear whether Timeline is driving a boost in engagement, in addition to the figures above. Inside Facebook detailed a few studies which have been released about Timeline engagement rates, but the small sample size, coupled with the important caveat that most engagement takes place in the News Feed, means that it’s essentially impossible to draw a verifiable conclusion. The most reliable study comes from Edgerank Checker, which has looked at over 3,500 Pages and they have struggled to find anything which suggests Timeline has a discernible impact on engagement.
Local Facebook Pages outperform global Pages in reach and engagement
New research has found that local Facebook Pages with 30-100 fans reach five times more fans (as a percentage) than corporate Pages with 100,000+ fans, with engagement eight times higher.
It goes to show that for businesses with multiple small branches – say, McDonalds – there’s value in having both a corporate Page, and a local Page for each store.
Facebook adds permalinks to individual comments
Last week, Facebook added permalinks to individual post comments, with spam comments now automatically hidden.
Facebook expands Sponsored Stories, keeps Offers niche for now
Facebook has expanded Sponsored Stories in the News Feed, with a new ‘Page Like’ unit that includes the page’s profile image and thumbnails of more friends who are connected to the page.
Although the change applies to all new Page Likes – sponsored or unsponsored – it’s fair to say the greater impact will be for Sponsored Stories, as the old News Feed Sponsored Stories were easily missed.
Another post option – Offers – is still exclusive to premium advertisers, though it will be available free to all Pages later this year. Offers are a new free story type that allows Page owners to post coupons that users can collect from the News Feed or ad units.
YouTube hits upload record, holds Vlogging contest and adds video duels
User uploads to YouTube have hit one hour per second, and to mark this milestone YouTube have launched a website which visualises what happens in a minute on the site.
In addition, YouTube are running a new video blogging competition:
Starting today through April 18, applications will be open for sixteen promising vloggers to take part in three months of intimate educational workshops held on Google+ Hangouts. Each vlogger will receive $5,000 worth of video equipment and more than $10,000 worth of promotion on and off YouTube. Participants will also receive mentoring from industry experts, such as iJustine, one of the most successful vloggers and content creators on YouTube!
Finally, in a busy week for YouTube, they’ve launched YouTube Slam, where users can create their own video duels, and people can vote for which video they prefer. Although YouTube has been experimenting with this for a few weeks, it’s the first time users can manage the game themselves by choosing the videos included. Nice.
LinkedIn updates ‘People You May Know’
LinkedIn has launched an update to ‘People You May Know’, one of the site’s features which helps users grow their network. The biggest change is its now possible to filter by company/university, to find relevant contacts more easily.
Google+ adds new features
Google+ continues to add new features in their seemingly desperate attempts to get more active users. The latest new features include a series of apps in Hangouts, including a face-to-face poker game, and Google Effects.
The other new on-site feature is the option to phone people directly from Hangouts – calls are free in the US and Canada, and cheap elsewhere.
Off-site, Google have added Google+ functionality to Gmail – if you receive an email saying somebody has added you to their Circles, you can quickly add them to yours.
BBC News personalise content on their Facebook Page
As different people are interested in different news stories, BBC News have added a Control Panel which allows Facebook fans to filter which updates they see. By liking different BBC News sections, correspondents and programmes, more relevant updates will appear in your News Feed.
The Economist reaches one million Facebook fans
Political magazine The Economist reached a million Facebook fans last week, an impressive milestone considering Time and the Wall Street Journal haven’t even reached half a million.
It’s noteworthy how they’ve set their Page up to cater to a global audience – re-posting stories at different times to hit different markets. Spot on.
Heineken unveils bottle designed by two Facebook fans
Beer brand Heineken has released a limited edition bottle which was designed by Facebook fans. The competition asked fans to design a bottle and then pair it with another in the gallery, and it attracted 30,000 entries. Nice.
Pepsico and Arby’s offer rewards for engagement
Although they’re doing it in different ways, both Pepsico and Arby’s are offering consumers rewards for engagement through digital channels.
Arby’s, an American fast-food chain is offering Facebook Credits in return for in-store purchases, thereby driving greater footfall.
In similar news, Pepsico has announced a tie in with reward company Kiip to offer fitness enthusiasts ‘achievement rewards’ when they log a run through fitness apps such as Nexercise and MapMyRun.
After a workout, bike ride or run users are rewarded with PepsiCo’s Propel Zero drinks mix packets.
Econsultancy’s David Moth drew a salient conclusion from the two campaigns:
The two examples are slightly different – Pepsico is offering physical rewards for digital engagement while Arby’s is offering digital rewards for physical purchases – but in essence they are part of the same trend. Consumers have come to expect discounts and rewards and increasingly we are seeing that brands are willing come up with the goods.
Samsung in search for Olympic bloggers
Samsung is searching for 100 bloggers to blog for them during the Olympics and join their Samsung Global Blogger (SGB) programme. Winners will blog and produce a daily show across the entire Olympic Games period using Samsung products, including the Samsung Galaxy Note, which the company wants to position as the perfect blogging device.
Spotify puts over 1,000 years of music on Facebook Timeline
Spotify have launched a really cool Facebook Timeline, which goes through 1,000 years of music history, and lets users discover some music they might otherwise have missed. On song.
Marvel teams up with GetGlue
Marvel has teamed up with GetGlue to offer exclusive stickers in return for checking-in while reading comics. As the stickers are so nice, there should be plenty of takers for this one.
Twitter user jailed for 56 days
A Welsh Twitter user who tweeted racist abuse about Fabrice Muamba, the footballer who collapsed on the pitch, was jailed for 56 days last week for inciting racial hatred.