We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #47


Whatsapp may be ousted by WeChat?
Tech In Asia recently assessed how Whatsapp measured up against the competition. Whatsapp has not evolved much since its launch a few years ago whilst competing apps such as Tencent’s WeChat (aka Weixin in Chinese), Line and Kakaotalk have evolved to incorporate social elements. WeChat is packed with features (available as plug-ins) such as allowing users to make video calls, read news via a newsfeed, make a cloud-based backup of their contacts, search for people nearby to chat with, upload photos to a timeline and update their statuses. By contrast, Whatsapp seems scanty and uninspired, making it difficult for them to stay in the good graces of  an audience that has become accustomed to constant improvements and feature-rich apps that combine social networking with mobile messaging.

Tweet in case of emergency
Japanese Twitter users can now use an uber cool feature called Lifeline that allows them to find and follow accounts maintained by local government bodies – accounts that matter in emergencies. All they need to do is to key in their postal code to gain access to updates and relevant information in case of an emergency or outages affecting necessary services. Lifeline is only available in Japan at the moment. After the 2011 Virginia earthquake, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that affected people use Twitter, Facebook, email and text messages to communicate with friends and family to avoid jamming phone lines for emergency services. Perhaps it’s time to update emergency contact details to include important Twitter handles?

Apple’s iOS 6 comes with Weibo included 
China’s Sina Weibo is integrated with Apple’s iOS 6 for users with English language and Chinese settings. A source Tech In Asia spoke to indicated that the initial plans were to only make the integration available to users with Chinese settings at the launch of iOS6. Perhaps due to a change of mind or error, it is now available to English speakers as well. This is an interesting development as English speakers have always preferred Twitter. Could something be cooking in Sina Weibo’s kitchen?

Qihoo 360’s search engine’s new domain name is www.so.com
Qihoo 360 announced its new domain name recently in a move to improve users’ experience of its search engine. Qihoo, which was originally an anti-virus business, explained that the short and snappy name also stood for “Safe” and “Open”, hence “S” and “O”. Qihoo plans to monetise the search engine and is given a leg up against competitors like Baidu, Google, Sogu and Soso, with a domain name that’s shorter and easier to remember.

China’s answer to LinkedIn will likely be mobile
Professional social networking site LinkedIn has achieved great success in China registering 80% growth in 2011 and over a million users. Though faced with competition from clones that have diluted LinkedIn’s market share and confused users, Renren’s Vice President Huang Jing expects China to respond with a mobile social networking solution. He drew his conclusion from statistics showing that 60% of Renren’s users are using mobile platforms to access the social network.

Marketers want relationships, not just growth
Awareness, a US Social marketing software company, have conducted a survey of US marketers and discovered some interesting results. Firstly, the leading business objective for Social Media was discovered to be ‘Better Customer Engagement’ with 78% of respondents citing it as a central goal. This was followed by revenue generation of 51%. What this shows is that the marketers are far more interested in building relationships than building figures.

When it comes to investment, 66% of respondents said that multi-platform social media presence is high on their priority list. Additionally, 56% are investing more in the frequency on content published and 50% said that they would invest more in social media integration within their existing marketing initiatives.

‘Hello, welcome to the Facebook Ad Network’
Facebook has launched the beta-version of it’s new ‘Mobile Ad Network‘ which, in short, will allow advertisers to use Facebook’s data to target ads at you in other mobile apps based on age, gender, location and Likes.

The ads will be ‘non-social’ display ads meaning users will see social signals from friends interactions or be able to share them.

Facebook ‘Offers’ global domination
After its trial period, Facebook’s ‘Offers’ has been proven to help drive positive business results for its users and Facebook has announced that the testing period is over, paving the way for a global release. From now, companies with over 400 Facebook fans can create ‘Offers’ straight from their Facebook page and can also include unique codes to aid in the results tracking. Our very own Robin Grant, as quoted in Adweek, is delighted with the introduction of unique codes as it “finally makes Facebook’s Offers a mature and usable product for retailers wanting to drive volume sales and CPG brands wanting to drive trial”. One caveat in the small-print though is that any Offers must be paired with Facebook ad purchases. According to Robin the move is no great surprise and the pairing is not a deal breaker because Facebook is “just asking for a nominal amount to be spent on ads”. This should prevent any spamming of small, worthless offers. For a detailed summary of Facebook ‘Offers’, check out Simply Zesty’s run-down.

Facebook ‘Custom Audience’ ads rolled out to all advertisers
Facebook has extended its ‘Custom Audience’ feature beyond advertisers with managed accounts to all Power Editors and Ads API partners. A custom audience is one targeted via email address, phone number or user IDs that have been collected from a brand database and can be used for a more direct targeting of existing customers.

Social vanity leaps to new levels with Facebook’s ‘Highlight’
After an apparently successful initial trial, Facebook has broadened the beta version of ‘Highlight’ to become ‘Promote an Important Post’ that allows users to part with actual money to promote their own posts to be seen by more of their friends. Whether or not this is to become a common feature in Facebook remains to be seen.

Tweet ‘cards’ the future of Twitter?
Twitter has confirmed that by the end of the year brands will have the opportunity to create and display Tweet ‘cards’. Cards may include real-time sports results or polls. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, while speaking at the Online News Association conference, commented: ”We want to migrate to a world in which the 140 characters can serve as a caption for additional functionality. We’d like that to include things like real-time data, even an application functionality”.

Twitter’s mobile experience just got better
Twitter has spruced-up its iPad app and their Android and iPhone apps has also had a makeover with the same new header photo alongside photo-swiping and pinch-to-zoom. The new header photo will also interest marketers who can customise their brand pages to engage further with consumers with the header photo, but also with a more customisable background image.

Tumblr doubles yearly traffic, plus search visits up 200%
News in from comScore puts Tumblr on the rise with over 100% increase in unique visitors for the year between July 2011 and July 2012. With smartphone traffic also up, especially in the last five months – up 51%.

Search traffic has catapulted to 24 million search visits in July alone, 200 percent gain on 2011. The success of Tumblr has at least in part been due to its celebrity and brand uptake, boasting Beyoncé and adidas to name just a couple.

Google+ has 400 million registered users, no really it does!
Let the haters be hating, but it would seem that Google+ has some fans, with 400 million registered users and 100,000,000 monthly active users. This more then impressive stat comes straight from the mouth of Google’s Senior VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra. From the looks of the numbers, Google has the user base, but it is currently only converting 1/4 to become active users.

Vimeo launches Tip Jar and pay-per-view service for filmmakers
Vimeo is a hotbed for talent and many would-be filmmakers use the site to share their latest creation with the world – currently for free. The new initiative from Vimeo will offer these filmmakers the chance to make a little dosh in the process. One way it hopes to do this is to play on the good faith of its 75 million users and offer up a Tip Jar to viewers. This would rely on viewers contributing directly and of their own accord and is available now. The second option is a more direct approach, setting a pay-per-play scheme that is due to roll out “over the next few months”.

Walmart’s local approach to Facebook pages draws them in just 2m fans
Walmart is one of the biggest brands on Facebook, with over 21m fans in total and has taken local to the next level with ‘My Local Walmart”. Partnering with Facebook, the supermarket wanted to create a more local approach and “enhanced local interaction at an unprecedented scale”. As a result the supermarket created around 3,500 local Facebook pages for its stores, but the results so far have so far not reflected that of the success seen with its other Facebook pages.

In total it has attracted just 2 million fans altogether, with the majority of local stores have between 101 and 1,000 fans, with just 4% having more then 1,000. When it comes to engagement the story doesn’t get any better, the local pages scored well below the 7% active fans achieved by Walmart’s main page, with just 0.01% being active fans.

Head of Tesco takes to the net with new blog to build trust in brand
Philip Clarke, chief executive at UK supermarket chain Tesco, has decided that if you want to get a job done properly do it yourself. Launching a group blog to build trust and “explain what we are thinking and how we see the world”. The blog, dubbed ‘the talking shop’, launched last Friday and in his first post Mr Clarke starts off by explaining why the blog is there. It won’t just be Clarke posting, but also a “whole range” of the Tesco exec team, the stores and “out on the road” – so we may see Mary from Tesco Metro in Clapham North giving her two pence soon!

Waitrose takes a kicking with finish the sentence tweet …
Poor old Waitrose, another rather more upmarket UK supermarket chain, made the classic social media mistake – Finish the sentence – which turned bad on Twitter last week when the high-street store tweeted; “I shop at Waitrose because…” An accompanying hashtag #Waitrosereasons gave everyone the perfect tool to track as the hilarity unfolded.

Was this a total #fail on the part of Waitrose? As our very own Jim Coleman told Ad Age:

I think they genuinely wanted some insight from their customers, and opportunistic punters took the opportunity to play on the middle-class stereotype that Waitrose has. They didn’t react quickly enough or with a clear plan. It shows why being prepared with a crisis plan is key to your social comms, whatever brand you are.

New Facebook Deals from Kraft
A mobile start-up by the name of Endorse has just announced a partnership with Kraft to offer deals direct to consumers on Facebook. The new “Social Offers” feature will be released with Kraft’s Planter’s brand, helping Kraft link actual purchases with giving customers generous discounts.

The service can be shared peer-to-peer and also direct from the brand to the consumer. For peer-to-peer sharing the Facebook user will see a discount jump from 20% to 50% off following a share. The deal will then appear on that user’s wall to be claimed. Planter’s has launched its brand-to-consumer offering today and it can post deals to fans via its Facebook page.

1-800-Flowers.com celebrates 500,000 Facebook milestone with freebies
Hitting a big milestone on Facebook is certainly cause for celebration and not least for 1-800-Flowers.com. Who celebrated hitting 500,000 with free shipping, dropping service charges and a $10 Zynga gift card via Facebook Offers for its fans. Over 2,000 claimed the generous offer and it’s not the first time the company has been so generous. For Mother’s Day it ran a similar campaign drawing in 12,300 claims, half of which came from Facebook ads.

Amit Shah, director of mobile and social at the flower company, said that “The half-life of the redemption of the claims is very quick … the matter of days – not weeks”, adding that this has proven much more successful than an offer sent in an email.

American Express pair with Harvey Nichols for Sync ‘n Save deal
New ways to link up location, sales and offers are a key area of interest for many brands at the moment. A new partnership between American Express and high-end retailer Harvey Nichols aims to do just that with a Sync ‘n Save deal. This means customers can unlock a £25 statement credit when they check-in on Foursquare and spend £25 on their card.

In advance of this, customers need to sync their AMEX card with their Foursquare account. After check-in the customer is prompted to “Load to Card” and then they can get spending. That means a seamless experience in the store and no fiddly need to show your phone at the check-out. The deal runs until 1st October and looks to be American Express’ first Sync ‘n Save partnership outside of the US – definitely one to watch.

Twitter no-no from Kellogg’s Krave
There is no doubt that Kellogg’s social strategy on Facebook for its Krave cereal has been a great success, accumulating 277,000 fans. It’s latest campaign surrounds the launch of the white chocolate variety of the cereal and sits in a Facebook competition app. However Twitter is a different story, as Gordon MacMillan points out.

Krave has both social networks linked to from its website, but their Twitter account has not been updated for 18 months! It seems that the brand started off with both, but decided to opt for the more successful Facebook. As Gordon points out in his article “either use it or take it off” – certainly not good social sense to have a profile that is not actively managed.

Resident Evil 6 releases ‘shared nightmare’ campaign to Facebook
Last week developer and publisher Capcom launched a scarily named “shared nightmare” interactive campaign on Facebook to mark the release of Resident Evil 6. This marks the latest installment of the “No Hope left” summer campaign to launch the game. The game has some 3.7 million Facebook fans and the video was released to them last week.

The video depicts the viewers last moments as a deadly “C-virus” spreads, using data pulled from the viewers Facebook profiles they can send friends a final farewell message mid-video. You can check out the app here, if you dare!

Whatever you do #DontGoHome with Cole Haan
The shoe brand Cole Haan wants to be down with the kids and has as such released a new campaign “Don’t Go Home”. To accompany its re-brand, it is encouraging the young-uns to stay out late and #DontGoHome. The campaign hopes to boost awareness of the launch of its latest shoe, the Chelsea pump, which includes special Nike Air tech to make it super comfy.

The campaign started in advance of New York Fashion Week, with closed shop front metal shutters with text printed on like “You can sleep when you’re dead” and “Your fairy drag mother says don’t go home” and included the hashtag to be shared on Twitter and Instagram.

Obama’s after the younger vote with ‘For All’ social campaign
Barack Obama knows that the youth vote is a strong one and he needs to pull out all the stops to not only get their attention, but also to get them to actually go and vote.The campaign that hopes to achieve this is “For All” and was launched last week on Instagram with the likes of Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba. The campaign aims to target those making their first vote, whilst also addressing the damaging comment from Mitt Romney that his “job is not to worry” about the 47% who don’t pay income taxes, are “dependent on the government”.

The campaign asks supporters to share their picture with hashtags: #forall, #obama2012, #campaigntrail, #opendoors2012 and #dnc2012.