We Are Social's Monday Mashup #97


More evidence of social media’s business value
A report by business consultancy Bain and Company has revealed yet more evidence that investing in social does lead to monetary results. According to the study, customers who engage with companies through social media channels spend 20 – 40% more money with those companies than other customers, as well as demonstrating a deeper emotional commitment to the companies.

Facebook integration benefits e-commerce
Sociable Labs has found that 50% of visitors to ecommerce sites are logged in to Facebook simultaneously. What’s more, 88% of Internet Retailer Top 200 retail sites are integrated with Facebook, strengthening the impetus for using social data to personalise customers’ e-commerce experiences.

Digital coming of age
According to a Digital Diaries survey, by the time most kids in the West turn eleven, they have already moved onto mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Japanese children have the lowest social network penetration out of the surveyed countries.
Age children graduate onto mainstream social media

The Anatomy of Facebook
In collaboration with researchers at the Università degli Studi di Milano, Facebook have released a pretty impressive account of the social network’s digital anatomy. Their study covered all 721 million active Facebook users at the time – that’s more than 10% of the global population.

Anatomy of Facebook - six degrees of separation

Using the ‘six degrees of separation’ model, which states that, on average, any two people are separated by no more than six intermediate connections, the study found that six degrees actually overstates the number of links between typical pairs of users; the average distance in Facebook between users is 4.74 hops. That’s down from 5.28 hops in 2008. Therefore, as Facebook has grown over the years, representing an ever larger fraction of the global population, it has become even more connected. How social is that.

Mobile social networking continues to grow
Research by comScore has found that the audience for mobile social networking in Europe’s five largest markets grew 44% in the last year. comScore Europe vice president for Mobile, Jeremy Copp, says that this growth has been “driven largely by the growth in smartphone adoption, making it easier than ever for users to stay connected and engage in social activities while on-the-go”. 46.8% of this audience access social networking sites daily, and Facebook remains the most popular site, with an average monthly audience of 39m mobile users in Europe during September.

Apps are pushing the growth of mobile social networking, with a doubling in the number of people using them for social networking compared the previous year. However, most mobile users still access social networking sites via a mobile browser. comScore’s study also reveals that 44.3% of mobile social networkers reading posts from brands. Furthermore, more than one quarter reported receiving coupons, offers, or deals on their phones.

Facebook’s targeted advertising faces curbs from the EU
A new European Commission Directive that may be introduced in January looks to make targeted advertising that makes use of private information harvested from users by Facebook opt in. If it comes into action, this directive will have implications for behavioural targeting everywhere on the web.

The value of a fan
According to SocialCode, the latest in a slew of such studies, the average monetary value of a brand’s fan on Facebook is $10, assuming a constant cost-per-click of $1. The study also found that fans perform desirable actions such as installing an app or making a purchase at a much higher rate, and it’s significantly cheaper to prompt them to do so through advertising than it is to prompt non-fans. However, SocialCode did not take offline sales for CPG advertisers into account, and so the value of fans could be an underestimate.

Comments more valuable than likes
EdgeRank used Facebook metrics to figure out the value of comments and likes, finding that for every comment a post gets, it received an average of 15 clicks, compared to just 3 for every like. This means that a comment is roughly four times more valuable than a like, reinforcing the importance of creating engaging content that will stimulate discussion. Day of the week is also important, with posts on Wednesdays having the best shares and clicks ratios.

Seamless sharing on Facebook: like?
Critics are not fans of Facebook’s seamless sharing. As ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick puts it;

“When you see a headline posted as news and you click on it, you expect to be taken to the news story referenced in the headline text – not to a page prompting you to install software in your online social network account … That hijacking of your navigation around the web is the kind of action taken by malware. It’s pushy, manipulative and user-hostile.”

But publishers are giving the seamless sharing system a big thumbs up. Seamless sharing has led to The Independent’s Facebook traffic increasing several times over, partly due to the high number of shares of years-old content. These positive responses will no doubt see a strong growth in Facebook’s importance to publishers.

Google’s new organisation of a brand’s Facebook pages still a little off
Google algorithms now organise a brand’s Facebook pages by name, grouping together results as below:

Nike Facebook Google Grouping

Although this has resulted in a number of strange groupings, this is still great news for brands. If they have an overarching Facebook brand page, their smaller pages can now be found more easily by users. It also adds site links to individual pages as well, which should drive more traffic to these pages.

Google Google+ TV ads
It seems Google is going all out to promote its social network. Over the Thanksgiving weekend it ran television adverts for Google+. The ads are essentially the same as the videos released for the site’s debut in July 2011, despite the length being around a minute longer than Mad Men would advise.

Google+ is also sponsoring and live streaming a four-game NBA exhibition tour starring LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and other big stars next month, who will each host a game in their respective hometowns.

Google+’s big players
Another reason to dust off your Google+ account – Barack Obama is on the site now. This is big news for the social network, since Obama’s social media clout is pretty sound and is often touted as a major factor in his successful first presidential campaign. And yet the lack of excitement surrounding Obama’s arrival is rather disappointing – his first post had just 110 shares after 12 hours. Furthermore, Britney Spears is now the most followed person on Google+, with 773,805 followers. Obama has only 7,346. Come on, Barack, get your act together.

China’s Twitter equivalents hit 300 million users
It may sound like a strange little alien creature, but Weibo is actually the word used to describe China’s home grown versions of Twitter, which now have over 300 million users collectively, which is way over half of the online population. Although issues such as government control and business models still affect social media in the country, China still has the biggest online community in the world, with more than 485 million users.

Has the tech bubble popped?
With news of Groupon trading below its $20 per share IPO price and LinkedIn’s 11% fall in shares over the course of last week, doom mongers could be forecasting the deflation of the tech bubble. However, it’s going to take a little more than a poor week for Groupon and LinkedIn for most to start selling their tech shares.

And the Black Friday winners are …
Facebook stats from Socialbakers reveal that over the Black Friday holiday weekend, Walmart maintained the highest number of fans as well as gaining almost 200,000. However, Target gained 500,000 new fans and was the only retailer to increase its fan engagement. The holiday spending continues today with Cyber Monday – expect the results of this next week.

KIA television advert integrates Facebook
Many television adverts feature a Facebook or Twitter address at their end, but KIA takes social integration to the next level with an advert that continually references a social network. We like.

Persil crowdsources brand ambassador via Facebook
Unilever are inviting their Facebook VIP club members to choose who they think should be the next ‘stain ambassador’ that they think could best represent the brand’s message that ‘getting dirty can be fun’. There are 10 choices, including survival expert Bear Grylls and even non-celebrity mums and dads.

Nivea’s friendship-driven Facebook campaign
Expanding upon their ‘moments of closeness’ ethos, Nivea have created a Christmas Facebook campaign that lets users send gift packs to their friends wrapped in customised paper featuring photos and comments that illustrate their friendship as it appears on Facebook. This is more heart-warming than toasting your toes by the fireplace, and the gift packs come at affordable prices ranging from £6 – £13. Though we’re not sure whether we’d want Facebook pictures there for all to see under the Christmas tree …

A twist on the old pop-up shop
Pop-up shops on a brand’s Facebook shop are so passé. Now it’s all about pop-up shops for blogs, as demonstrated by Lagerhaus’ original initiative of inviting leading interior design blogs to embed a pop-up shop widget on their blogs and customise it with their favourite products. This not only takes advantage of the extra reach the blogs will give them, but also has more credibility as the products are chosen and endorsed by the bloggers themselves. Lagerhaus’ pop-up shop campaign generated 13,000 peer-to-peer invitations to the fan-only opening of the online store, and increased Facebook fans by 226% and interactions by 360%.

The Sun to launch in-game advertising
Sun Football Legends – a footballing RPG – is The Sun’s first social gaming initiative, and it’s set to incorporate in-game advertising. The company are looking for partnerships with entertainment, lifestyle and sportswear brands for advertising opportunities in-game. The game is free but players can purchase goods in-game using Facebook credits.

Littlewoods under fire from Mumsnet, Facebook and YouTube users

Hundreds of angry Mumsnet and Facebook users have spoken out against the Littlewoods Christmas television advert. The ad features a nativity play with children rapping and singing about their presents bought by their mums, a scene seen as distasteful and insensitive given the current economic climate. The controversy has also spread to YouTube, where a debate over whether the ad should banned has had over 20,000 views.

Think before you tweet
Quantas have ruffled their followers’ feathers by running a Twitter competition that asks people to describe a “dream luxury in-flight experience” amid the airline’s labour dispute and after last month’s grounded aeroplanes situation.

Durex have also experienced a social backlash after the South African account posted a joke that many found offensive and inappropriate:

“Why did God give men penises? So they’d have at least one way to shut a woman up. #DurexJoke”.

Well, at least the controversy got #Durexjoke trending, though not for the right reasons.

Thai Facebookers could be persecuted for liking anti-monarchy posts
Thai Facebookers have been warned by a government minister that liking posts that might be offensive to the monarchy could be prosecuted under the country’s strict lèse-majesté (insulting a monarch) laws. This warning comes two days after a 61-year old Thai man was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for sending text messages with anti-monarchy sentiments.

Hotel owners fear blackmail from Tripadvisor users
We all know the damage a bad review can do, and it seems that some Tripadvisor users are leveraging this to try and get free upgrades, refunds and extras from hotels, despite nothing being wrong with their experience. More than 80 hotel and bed-and breakfast owners have reported being subjected to such threats from customers, and thousands more have claimed fraudulent reviews. Tripadvisor have spoken out against such practices by its users.

Chinese paid-posters exposed
Such underhand practices are even worse in China. An undercover team from the University of Victoria in Canada have exposed the practices of the Chinese Internet Water Army – paid-posters who are seen as flooding the internet with content for money. Paid posting is a well-managed activity involving thousands of individuals and tens of thousands of different online IDs. The team have used their insights to build software that can find repetitions and similarities in messages as well as the other behaviours they’d identified in order to identify paid-posts.