We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #60


Just how many Twitter users are there in China?
According to a recent study, there are only 18,164 active Twitter users in China. This is in sharp contrast to data released by GlobalWebIndex indicating 35.5 million monthly active users. The huge disparity prompted yet another study of the numbers. The latest study revealed a tiny userbase of  about 8,000 active Twitter users in China out of a sample size of 43,784 people who tweeted in Chinese. The pie chart below depicts the global distribution of Chinese-language tweets according to timezone. Have you read other reports with similar figures?

China uses Weibo for quake warnings
Chengdu credits the use of Weibo for advanced warnings as being a contributing factor in reducing earthquake casualties during last week’s quake. The warning system is wired to send messages within five seconds of a shockwave being detected in an area covering 20,000 square kilometres. Emergency usage of Weibo is still in its infancy in Chengdu with less than 1,000 followers. However, with the combined population of one billion registered users on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, social media will increasingly be used as a means to provide people advanced warnings for earthquakes.

Brad Pitt’s the latest celebrity to join Sina Weibo
Hollywood star Brad Pitt is the latest celebrity to jump onto the Sina Weibo bandwagon to a warm reception from Weibo users. Within 2 hours of his first post with the cryptic message, “It is the truth. Yup, I’m coming…”, the actor’s status update received 8,000 comments, 20,000 reposts and acquired 73,000 fans for his verified account. Though Brad Pitt is not the first international movie star to join Weibo, this development is interesting because he’s supposed to be banned from entry into China due to his starring role in the 1997 movie ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. The coming days will reveal if the actor’s foray into the Chinese webosphere is part of a promotional effort for an upcoming movie or if he’s acting as a spokesperson for brands he represents.

Chinese flirting app, Momo, adds check-ins
In an effort to monetise the popular flirting app Momo, the next app update will include check-in features and user-generated listings of local points of interests in a move that challenges similar apps such as Jiepang and Sina Weibo’s  “Places”. The app will also include Instagram-esque photo filters with an intent to use the listings as a source of revenue. The new features will only be available for the Chinese version of the app at the moment as the management plans to keep the international version simple during the market penetration phase.

BitGifting allows friends to pool resources for a prepaid card gift
The days of gifts being tossed out or stuck in a storeroom because they didn’t fit the recipients’ tastes or needs may finally be over. The new BitGifting app allows users in India to send a prepaid card that can be redeemed at any outlet or payment gateway that accepts Visa cards. Users can login using their Facebook accounts or register for a free account onsite. They even have the option of pooling funds with friends for a combined gift. Gift card recipients can opt to receive a physical card or keep it virtual and activate it online after completing a form requesting for their details. The cards remain valid for 12 months after activation. Whilst the reviewer liked the clean interface and ease of use of the app, it is worthy to note that there are fees involved that were not explicitly communicated in the Terms & Conditions or FAQs. BitGifting charges the sender convenience fees while the recipient pays card issuance fees to the partner banks.

Facebook adds audio to Messenger App, tests voice over IP service
In an attempt to become a yet larger part of overall communications, Facebook have introduced voice messaging to their standalone Messenger App for iPhone and Android. Users will be able to send one another voice messages of up to one minute. More interesting is the news that a voice over IP service is being trialled in Canada, which would look to rival the likes of Skype and Voxer. Whilst these services currently have a powerful market share, the ubiquity of Facebook and subsequent convenience mean that this looks a powerful prospect.

Facebook announce changes to allow greater freedom for marketers
Facebook have announced a variety of changes this week, which will look to benefit marketers in a number of ways. Firstly, ‘flexible sentences’ have been enabled for Open Graph activity, allowing brands to alter the text that appears when someone uses their app.

This is set to be complimented by customisable headlines on adverts for pages, apps and events, which already existed for ads that led away from Facebook. This is set to look as follows:

Finally, Facebook are going to begin bundling together any API changes that will break existing code and will release them on a quarterly basis. Previously, Facebook announced these changes individually and gave developers 90 days to make any necessary changes to apps. However, this meant that changes could build up over time and end up with a new alteration needed every month. Now, all changes can be done at once, saving the time of those building for Facebook.

Forcing signups helps Google+ to 105 million unique monthly users
October 2012 figures from comScore have shown that Google+ attracted 105 million unique monthly users, up 60.9% from 65.3 million at the same time last year. This is in comparison with a 4.3% growth from 788.2 to 822.1 million for Facebook. Twitter claimed 182.9 million visitors and LinkedIn 161.9 million. However, the social network is still lagging in terms of mobile visits, with 7 million to Facebook’s 91.3 million. This rise comes during a period of forced signups from Google, with those wishing to use many of the company’s other features being forced to sign up to a Google+ account. For example, you cannot post a review on any Google service without a Google+ account. Perhaps surprisingly, this seems to have helped considerably with the growth of the social network.

Pinterest makes its first acquisition
Pinterest has this week made its first acquisition, a recipe site called Punchfork. The two year old site allows users to share images of food and accompanying recipes, as shown below:

Pinterest has long been used for sharing food and recipe related content and Punchfork’s interface is not a million miles away from the social network’s own. It seems that Pinterest is looking to go deeper into recipe sharing…

Brands marketing with temporary photo sharing apps
Brands have started using apps like Snapchat and Facebook Poke, which allow users to share a photo that auto-erases after a certain amount of time, as part of their marketing. New York Frozen Yoghurt chain 16 Handles, for example, have created a Snapchat campaign called ‘Snappy New Year’, asking customers to share an image of their purchase with the company’s Snapchat account in exchange for a free voucher.

Meanwhile, Delta Lingerie shared a video through Facebook poke. The video, which showed a model putting on the lingerie, was sent to the brand’s Facebook fans and automatically deleted after viewing. Going forward, it will be interesting to monitor how other brands attempt to market on emerging platforms like these.

Polaroid launches ‘Fotobars’, stores for printing your Instagram photos
Polaroid, once the king of instant photography, are attempting to venture into the digital age by creating stores where people can print their Instagram photos. The idea stems from the insight that, whilst many of us have hundreds of photos on our phones, few of these ever see the light of day. The company’s website says that it “offers a very easy, simple and cost-effective process to transform your favorite digital photos from your phone, computer or camera into extraordinary, cherished pieces of art”. It will be interesting to see whether people take to the idea, or if this is a desperate attempt at an appeal to a bygone age.

Hunter create Facebook campaign dependent on the weather
We’re happy announce our first campaign of the year – We Are Social has created a Facebook app giveaway, with daily prizes dependent on the ever changing British weather, for British-based Wellington boot company Hunter. Each day, fans will be asked to create and capture an image basd on the weather in order to win a prize, ranging from a pair of wellies in wet conditions to fleece socks in the snow. The campaign is based on the insight that one of the few good things about bad weather is getting to wear certain beloved winter clothes and it will be intriguing to see how fans engage with it through the coldest month of the year.

Breaking news on Instagram
To fans of UK Premier League football, it will come as no surprise to hear that Frank Lampard may not be at Chelsea next season. However, what is of interest is the way in which club captain John Terry alluded to the news on Instagram, posting an image of the two players holding the FA cup with the text: ”Devastated is an understatement. We should retire the number 8 shirt in honour of Lamps.” It is as yet unclear whether John Terry has ever won the FA cup, or was indeed present in any of the images on his Instagram account.