We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #64
HootSuite social media dashboard goes Korean
Social media dashboard HootSuite is now fully localized for Korean users. Though a Korean User Interface is not available on the mobile app yet, it’s in the works. Considering how often the Vancouver-based company has been rolling out updates to support Asian users, we reckon the months ahead will be interesting for users seeking a social media dashboard that supports a wide range of platforms in Asian languages. Just last week, we mentioned that HootSuite introduced new features for Sina Weibo and Renren, China’s version of Twitter and Facebook respectively. We’re waiting to see the new updates that the Hootsuite owl has under his wings.
Meet Zalo, Vietnam’s contender in the mobile messaging app battle
Mobile messaging apps have been making huge waves the past few months. Asian-born apps such as Line, WeChat and KakaoTalk have been making a play for the international market while battling for dominance within the region. Mobile messaging is much loved in Asia so it barely comes as surprise that Vietnam has jumped into fray with homegrown app Zalo. In a recent update, bugs in the app were patched, a VIP microblogging feature was added along with a Retina app icon. In spite of the newly added features, the app is still not on par with its stronger Asian competitors. Zalo in its current incarnation is not as slick or sophisticated as the other apps but it is learning from its competitors. Big changes could be underway as the app maker, VNG, has hired a large team to bring the app up to speed and to bring to life new features that will help reel in more users. Considering that it was only fully launched in November 2012 and has amassed over 500,000 users by late January, the app isn’t doing too badly in relation to VNG’s social media platform Zing Me’s 8 million users. In addition, due to VNG’s gaming background, industry observers expect gaming features to be rolled out on Zalo soon. 2013 could be the year of mobile messaging, do you think so too?
KakaoTalk releases K-pop emoticons for Indonesian users
Speaking of chat app and features, Korean-born KakaoTalk has released Korean pop star emoticons that have been localized for Indonesian users. Featuring animated text in English and Indonesian, the 5 sets of K-pop emoticons for acts such as Girls Generation, KARA, SHINee, Rainbow and Yoo Seung Ho are available as in-app purchases in the Android app. Costing IDR 3,300 (S$0.42) each, they’re currently not available within the iOS app although users can still receive and use them via the gifting feature. Till 8 February, Indonesian users stand a chance to get free K-pop emoticons by liking or following KakaoTalk’s social platforms and helping to spread the word.
KakaoTalk launches games on iOS in Japan
More on Korean KakaoTalk, in its latest move to challenge rivals like Line, the messenger app has unleashed its mobile gaming feature on iOS and Japan. The expansion of the app’s gaming service into Japan is supported by Yahoo Japan which owns half of Kakao Japan, the app’s local subsidiary. There are currently six third-party iOS game apps on KakaoTalk’s social gaming network: Tap Tap Blitz, Puzzle Zoo Zoo, Sushi Panic (shown in picture below), Zoo Zoo Bubble and Pocket Colony. The company hopes to offer 100 games by year end to its users.
Social becoming increasingly global
Earlier this week, we reported on GlobalWebIndex’s latest data, which displays a shift towards the use of global social platforms. This has meant an increase in user numbers for the ‘big three’ of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, which have increased their active user counts by 33.4%, 27.7% and 40.1% respectively.
Facebook’s 2012 growth
Facebook has, in the last week, shared their latest ‘active user’ figures for the end of 2012. The network now counts 1.056 billion monthly active users, a 24.97% increase since the same time in 2011.
In terms of daily active users, the platform has now reached 618 million, up 34 million from the previous quarter. Interestingly, mobile daily active users surpassed their desktop counterparts for the first time, showing that those who access Facebook regularly are increasingly doing so via mobile.
The number of pages has increased to 50 million and apps to 10 million, in comparison with 42 million and 9 million in April, whilst there are now 350 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day. All this has contributed to a strong financial quarter for the network, with $1.59 billion in revenue up from $1.13 billion in Q4 2011. In terms of profit, however, the story is mixed: $64 million profit in Q4 2012 was a huge improvement on the $59 million loss in Q3, but down from $302 million at this point last year.
Marketers to spend more on social in 2013
The number of marketers either purchasing media or sponsored content in social is set to grow in 2013, with 64% of those surveyed by Nielsen claiming they intend to increase their social budget in the future. This is likely to start as a small increase (between 1 and 10%) but nevertheless displays a shifting attitude towards more robust use of social media as a marketing tool.
Facebook testing verbs for status updates
Facebook has begun trialling a new system that provides a more structured method for users to share what they’re doing, such as watching or reading. As well as posting a normal update, there would be an option when writing a post to select from a drop down menu of feelings, films, books etc. or choose to write your own.
The example below shows how this would work for someone watching the film ‘There Will Be Blood’.
Facebook introduces Gift Cards
Facebook last week released a universal gift card, an extension of their ‘Gifts’ system, through which you can purchase presents for a friend via the platform. The card, available from now in the US, will hold on it the relevant amount of money a user has to spend in various participating retailers, as shown by the example below:
The initiative does have issues. Firstly, it may have been more useful to provide one unified currency to spend across Facebook, instead of breaking it up by retailer; however, it is of greater benefit to those retailers that the revenue be locked into their stores. Also, there is as yet no integration with the likes of Apple’s Passbook.
Facebook increasing transparency of targeted ads
Facebook has decided to make it more transparent when ads have been targeted, choosing to display the blue ‘AdChoices’ icon to a user when an advert that has been targeted for them, subsequently allowing users to opt out. However, the changes do not display wholesale transparency. Firstly, this only applies to display ads served through the FBX ad exchange. Secondly, the icon appears only when someone scrolls over the grey x in the corner of the advert, which itself only appears when the advert itself is scrolled over.
Facebook set to grow headcount in 2013, looking at increasing revenue
Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that 2013 will see Facebook grow in staff numbers, looking at further development of money-making streams such as Graph Search and Gifts. The platform, which grew by 44% to 4,619 employees in 2012, will increase its headcount even further, in order to invest on research and development for products that can increase Facebook’s long-term revenue. The statement also acts as a warning to investors that Facebook intends to focus on long-term over short-term profits, as the rise in staff will increase the platform’s expenditure by 50%.
Facebook’s image-based commerce
A tech company called Stipple, which provides the ability to add certain functionalities to images, has now extended the service to the Facebook stream. This allows brands who use Stipple to display pricing information on images and looks towards an eventual move to provide real-time purchasing in users’ news feeds.
Foursquare’s improvements for businesses
Foursquare has enabled a number of improvements for businesses. Firstly, they have released an app that allows business managers to more easily share updates, specials and discover information about their customers. The app, for iPhone and Android, is aimed at local managers who can switch between a few locations; an entire chain must still be managed via desktop. Furthermore, businesses can now choose to have their Twitter handles shown any time someone shares a check-in on Twitter, facilitating organic cross-platform growth.
UK Foursquare users can sync their accounts with American Express Cards
This February, AmEx is providing exclusive discounts to UK users who sync their cards with their Foursquare accounts. Spending at certain retailers will result in cash back on users’ next bills, with the stores involved including Harrods, Shell, Gap, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.
The Super Bowl on Twitter
Last night marked the Super Bowl, probably the biggest fixture in American sport. Unsurprisingly, Twitter was on excellent form and the network has published some statistics on the evening’s activity. The highest peak (in tweets per minute) during the game came when a power cut stopped play, with an activity rate of 231,500 TPM. The end of the game produced 183,000, whilst one particularly impressive touchdown gathered 185,000. However, the true star of the night, at least on Twitter, was Beyonce, who generated 5.5 million tweets during her half-time performance. The conclusion of her show was subject to 268,000 tweets per minute.
Twitter wins over Facebook in Super Bowl TV ads
Famous as the Super Bowl is for sporting action and overeating, the TV adverts have also become a celebrated part of the event. Yesterday showed the extent to which television and social marketing has become integrated by the number of mentions different networks received across the 52 national adverts, with Twitter receiving 26 to Facebook’s paltry 4 and a no show for Google+, in comparison with 8 mentions each for Facebook and Twitter out of 59 adverts in 2012.
Marketers take advantage of Super Bowl blackout
As huge numbers of Twitter users took to the social network to talk about the Super Bowl, marketers were on hand to take advantage of the blackout that stopped play. Brands such as Bud Light and Speed Stick purchased promoted tweets so as to be seen in conversations around the power cut. Many other brands, such as Audi, Tide and Volkswagen all produced relevant content.
Sending some LEDs to the @mbusa Superdome right now…
— Audi (@Audi) February 4, 2013
We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out. #SuperBowl #TidePower twitter.com/tide/status/29…
— Tide (@tide) February 4, 2013
Lost power during the Big Game… Don’t worry, #GetHappy: vwoa.us/VDSvjj
— Volkswagen USA (@VW) February 4, 2013
Calvin Klein used the opportunity to experiment with Vine, Twitter’s new video-sharing app.
Since the lights are still out… vine.co/v/b1iiiiUz5uq #SB47
— Calvin Klein (@CalvinKlein) February 4, 2013
The absolute winner has to be Oreo, who had an entire team on hand to sign off creative in real-time, producing the below Twitter update that was retweeted over 14,000 times. On Facebook, the same photo received over 19,000 likes and 6,500 shares:
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29…
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Duracell also reacted well, producing the below for Facebook:
Taylor Swift set to help Diet Coke in social Diet Coke have announced a partnership with Taylor Swift across all their marketing channels, from TV to print and digital. Interestingly, the deal’s launch depicts a distinctly social aspect to the campaign, with the singer announcing it in a 45-second YouTube video. Moreover, she encouraged her 39 million Facebook fans to ‘like’ the Diet Coke page as a resource for exclusive information about her upcoming tour, suggesting that one key aspect to using the brand advocate is to grow the brand’s online communities. It is worth noting that Taylor Swift has a huge online presence, particularly on Twitter, where her 23.5 million followers puts her only a few million behind US president Barack Obama.
Expedia app helps fans organise their holiday photos Expedia has released a ‘Find Your Story’ app that allows fans to choose photos from across Instagram and Facebook to produce a video collage of their trip, which can then be shared on Facebook. The idea is a clever one, in that it taps into the insight that many of us take hundreds of holiday snaps and fail to organise them correctly. The below video shows how it works:
IBM launch on Tumblr
IBM has released a Tumblr called IBMblr, aimed at ‘celebrating innovation’. Whilst the brands that tend to find the most success on the platform are ones with a strong visual element, such as design or fashion companies, IBM have a wealth of content to draw upon, having filed the most US patents for 20 consecutive years. As such, IBMblr will feature images of products from the past, as well as ideas about the future of technology. Whilst this is a bold step for a B2B brand, it will be worth following whether or not they manage to locate an audience on the platform. O2 predict the future on Facebook As part of their promotion for their new ‘Pay & Go Go Go’ service, which rewards customers the longer they stay with the network, O2 have released a ‘Future Timeline’ campaign, which creates an idealised version of the upcoming year based on fans’ Facebook data. For example, you may end up on a date with a celebrity crush, or your favourite football team might end up winning the league. In addition to this, content hosted on O2′s ‘Future News’ YouTube channel will feature ex-Arsenal striker, Ian Wright, presenting sporting news that is yet to happen. Fired HMV employee posts from company’s Twitter account A lesson to all companies intending to mass-fire their employees: make sure they don’t have access to your Twitter account. Last week, tweets appeared on HMV’s own Twitter feed that detailed how 60 employees were being let go in what was referred to as a ‘mass execution’. The company then followed up, explaining what had happened via the same channel, tweeting:
One of our departing colleagues was understandably upset. We’re still here thou, thx for supporting hmv thro these challenging times
— hmv (@hmvtweets) January 31, 2013
Obviously, when your business is being liquidated, spelling goes out the window. The disgruntled employee has since been revealed as former intern Poppy Rose Cleere, who claimed her actions were based on a sense of injustice that those responsible for HMV’s downfall were safe, whilst those lower down the chain lost out the most. Apparently, she has since been inundated with job offers.
Tesco troll Arsenal on Transfer Deadline Day
Transfer deadline day can be a tough time for fans of English Premier League football club Arsenal (I speak from experience). One account, poking fun at manager Arsene Wenger’s love for a bargain, attempted to make light of the situation, tweeting about negotiations with the supermarket chain. Tesco picked up on this and responded, pointing out that the manager has not always proved financially astute:
@wengerknowsbest We ain’t budging on this.If you can pay €7million for Andre Santos, you can pay our prices! 😉
— Tesco Customer Care (@UKTesco) January 31, 2013
This refers to Arsenal’s Brazilian left back, who has been largely criticised for lacklustre performances since arriving at the Emirates. Later that day, Arsenal purchased a replacement. Perhaps the Gunners have Tesco to thank.