We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #51


Sina Weibo’s new version allows selective sharing, à la Google+ 
The new version of Sina Weibo includes an option for users to share selectively, like Google+’s Circles feature. Existing users will be guided during the upgrade process, though they can also access the new site instantly at http://weibo.com/new. This is welcome news for users, as limited sharing allows them to choose if their Weibo messages are to be shared publicly, only for private viewing, or to be shared within a select group. Other changes include larger profile photos and Facebook-like wide banner covers.

China’s underdog microblog hits 260 million users
Microblogs (known as Weibo in China) are big in China, with the largest two players being Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. Between the two, Sina Weibo is the most popular with 368 million registered users and 36.5 million average daily active users while Tencent Weibo trails with less buzz even though it has 469 million registered users. Although much less known, Netease Weibo is the third largest micro-blogging service in China, and recently crossed 260 million registered users. Although the company declined to reveal its active user numbers, it did attribute its growth to a new content channel and user interface for its Weibo service. Although Netease Weibo is unlikely to cause concern for Sina Weibo at this point (its users currently appear to be more focused on the platform’s gaming facilities), the fact that it has already attracted more than a quarter of a billion users is a significant milestone.

Tencent’s WeChat demographics look set for an upheaval
This could be a turning point for Tencent’s WeChat. The China-born messaging app has naturally amassed a user base that is predominantly Chinese.  However, this looks set to change as a surge in international user numbers in recent months set the demographics on a course for change. WeChat is focusing its marketing efforts on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as key markets within Asia. Meanwhile, the app has also gained users in Arabic-speaking countries and the US. Tencent’s intentions are to keep the app open to facilitate integration with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Monetization isn’t on the cards yet as the company is focused on increasing its user base, replicating the strategy it adopted with QQ instant messaging that has since achieved dominance amongst Chinese netizens and amassed 30 million premium users. Tencent used profits earned from QQ to fund new initiatives like WeChat,which has recently doubled its user numbers to reach 200 million users. The venture is already starting to pay off though, as brands such as Nike look to WeChat as a new advertising channel.

Indonesia’s Pulsk, a new platform with a ‘wow’ factor
A new Indonesian-born Pinterest-like social sharing platform, Pulsk, seeks to facilitate Indonesian’s need to share information on the the latest and greatest things with a ‘wow’ factor. In place of Facebook’s ‘like’ function, users can express their approval with ‘wow’ buttons. Within two weeks of its beta launch, Pulsk has seen promising results with 110,000 visitors registering 850,000 pageviews; 2,200 registered users posting 2,250 items and 10,000 wows. Statistics indicated that each visitor viewed an  average of 7.91 pages per visit, within an 8 minute period. The founders plan to monetize through advertising and are open to creating brand-sponsored badges and channels.

Facebook test market by giving Indian users US$1  in calling credit
Developing from Facebook Zero, a mobile-only site allowing users in selected countries to access the social network for free, Facebook is testing the Indian market by launching Talktime. The service offers users 50 Rupees (S$1.14) worth of calling credit when they sign up for Facebook via mobile device. Facebook says that this is a test aimed at driving more usage in emerging markets as users are more price-sensitive and unlikely to use phone credits for non-essential phone calls or text messages. To encourage more users to sign up, Facebook is offering users an additional 50 Rupees for each friend referred. The test is expected to be successful as about 30% of Facebook signups in India were via mobile devices. Having recently reached 1 billion users and faced with slower growth from developed markets, Facebook now has its eyes trained onto mobile and emerging markets as the next opportunity for growth.

India’s Shaadi.com – Most Engaging Brand on Facebook
LocoBuzz, an Indian social media monitoring company, conducted a user engagement study of the Top 100 Global Brands on Facebook with 1 million fans or more. The study showed Shaadi.com, the world’s largest matrimonial service, to be the ‘Most Engaging Brand on Facebook’. Shaadi.com beat global brands such as MTV, Coca-Cola, Disney, Tata Docomo and Kingfisher with a Facebook engagement rate of more than 25% and LocoBuzz engagement ratio of 7%. The brand’s Facebook page statistics were impressive with more than 1,310,696 likes, 120,730 comments, 327,084 people talking about it on a weekly basis and a reach of 8,213,094 unique people weekly. Shaadi’s formula for success lies in its strategy to constantly engage its audience on real issues such as life and relationships while creating awareness on social issues such as child marriage and empowering women. Its ‘Angry Brides’ game was part of a campaign to generate awareness on the social problems caused by dowry which attracted the attention of more than 600,000 people and leading media in more than 35 countries.

UK lagging behind other markets on FB ads engagement levels?
A new study suggests that there is low engagement on Facebook UK ads compared to the other main markets and that the average cost-per-click on paid ads has dropped to 2010 levels. Interestingly the US surged to a 99% click-through rate while the UK dipped:

Overall though, average CPCs during Q3 2012 were only 5 percent more than Q2 2010’s.

Facebook introduce Global Pages
Facebook has released a new Global Pages structure for global brands that enables brands to provide a more localised experience for the user. Users will be directed to the most appropriate page depending on their location and could view an entirely different visual experience (for example; cover photo, ‘about me’, Page apps and milestones) to someone in another location. Page managers will also be able to set a default page for other all regions without a localised page. This setup is only available to those spending enough on Facebook advertising to justify a named account manager. In an interview with Econsultancy, We Are Social’s Jordan Stone warned that:

brands should make sure they only set-up local pages for markets that can properly support one. In light of the recent changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, where only the most engaging content appears in fans’ newsfeeds, it’s even more imperative that local markets produce the sort of high quality content that will keep fans engaged.

LinkedIn completes their profile facelift
LinkedIn is revamping their profiles to make them more visually engaging. Okay, it doesn’t sound particularly exciting but the new profile is certainly nicer to experience and information is far more accessible without necessarily providing further insight. Possibly the most notable change is the more accessible insights into your network which makes “simpler to discover people outside your network and make more meaningful connections.” Check it out and request your invitation here.

YouTube allows non-profits to set campaign goals
Google has announced ‘YouTube Campaigns’ that allows non-profit organisations to set a public goal overlay on their videos, much like publicly raising money. An organisation can activate the campaign and set the target for all to see which YouTube hopes will encourage virality.

Klout for the real world?
Klout continued its redevelopment last week to make Klout scores be more relevant and useful. Klout.com hope that influencers will be able to carry their Klout score further and see value from it even in an offline world all via ‘Klout Pass’. Centrally users will be able to connect their Klout experience with other websites and redeem value and perks for it. For example, users with a 90-plus Klout score will be able to claim perks and discounts on photo sharing and selling website ’500px’. This could also be true for content sites that could allow influencers to jump a pay-wall and access content for free.

WellPoint goes social to net future consumers
WellPoint, a giant US health insurance company, have pinpointed Facebook to establish a long-term connection with future consumers and have invested in a new app that lets users track, and in particular, share their health and fitness levels. In a twist on similar apps, WellPoint allow users to compare and contrast their achievements with their friends.

Bodyform apologises to all men and dispels ‘myths’
In what became one of the biggest social stories of recent weeks, Bodyform engineered a wonderful response to a flamboyant Facebook message left by Richard Neill. The rant that criticised Bodyform for spreading lies about this “wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things” received nearly 100,000 likes and was featured on Mashable. Bodyform “CEO” Caroline Williams delivered a blunt, no-holds-barred, response that apologises and explains that it was all because men simply could not handle the truth. The response quickly went viral and has been watched more than 2.5 million times inside a week. Watch the video if you think you can handle it…

Kit Kat piggybacks on Felix Baumgartner

Many companies jumped on the Red Bull Stratos launch as a quick and easy way of manipulating the freefall to their own advertising needs. One of the best examples of this was Kit Kat’s 3 stage #BreakFromGravity campaign. A popular and reactive Facebook post after the initial jump was postponed was followed by Nestle attaching a Kit Kat to a balloon and launched into space with a camera to relay video content. This content was used for several Twitter updates and eventually a simple yet entertaining YouTube video.

Aldo succeeds in concept but forgets the finer detail
Shoe maker Aldo launched an ‘Instagram Street Banner’ campaign and experienced both success and failure. Passers-by needed to stand on a welcome mat, photograph their shoes and upload them to Instagram with the tag #Aldo and their shoe size before ‘ringing the doorbell’. Moments later people were rewarded with a brand new pair of shoes. Despite great engagement (457 doorbell rings and more than 500 Instagrams with nearly 800,000 interactions) the content and detail let the campaign down. Photos of any shoes with a tag of #Aldo and no explanation resulted in a confusing end-product and Aldo will be hard-pushed to reuse the content gathered.

Comodo creates Instagram menu
NYC restaurant Comodo has launched a campaign encouraging diners to take photos of their food straight after it has been delivered and upload it to Instagram with the #comodomenu hashtag. Comodo hope to entice more diners to visit and share recommendations before dining.

TalkSport launches Twitter commentary outside Europe
TalkSport is pushing its new global commentary service a step further by embedding its radio player onto Twitter so users can view the player in a tweet and share it. In an exciting move, Twitter can cement its ‘media company’ reputation and demonstrate the capabilities of embedding onto the platform. Next stop video?

England players told to be social media savvy
After outbursts from England players Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand, the Football Association has released a ‘Code of Conduct’ that applies to all social media sites. The document (probably late in coming considering the common sense of most footballers) dictates that England players must not use social media 24hrs prior to an England match. There is a good chance that league clubs may well adopt this policy in the future.

Twitter censors Neo-Nazis
Twitter has enforced its local censorship policy that has blocked a Neo-Nazi account at the request of the German government. Although the previous tweets will be visible to the rest of the world, they will not be visible in Germany. Members of the group behind the account have been charged with inciting racial hatred and creating a criminal organisation.