We Are Social's Monday Mashup #137


Does ‘dark social’ account for most shares online?
We think of the social web as the creature that spawned Web 2.0 and all of the sites that we hold dear: Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and the like. But social sharing has been around much longer than that, through chatrooms, ICQ messages and email. It’s easy to see how a link is shared in the public forums of the social web, but what about the more unknown side of private messages? Even with Google Analytics and fancy web trackers, we aren’t always sure how links are shared and where traffic comes from. Enter the dark horse in this equation, now called ‘dark social’, which represents links that are shared through e-mail chains and Skype conversations that are difficult to track and measure. The Atlantic found that nearly 60% of their referrals were ‘dark,’ more than twice the number of referrals the magazine got from Facebook.

A research firm looked into these figures across more media sites and found that ‘dark social’ accounted for an even bigger portion of social shares, closer to 70%. Facebook came in at 20% while Twitter was down at 6%. Only search drove more visitors to these sites than ‘dark social,’ which took up 18% of total referrals.

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Twitter users
Beevolve has just published an exhaustive survey of Twitter users around the world. So what does the average Twitter user look like? The user is slightly more likely to be female and probably lives in the US. She probably has fewer than 50 followers and follows fewer than 50 people too. She’s probably under age 25, though just 0.45% of Twitter users disclose their age on their profile. Young women occupy more Twitter accounts, but that distinction equals out and then reverses in older age groups.

Unsurprisingly, tweeting more often is more likely to bring you followers. The 27 million active users from this study sent more than 28 billion tweets, and a quarter didn’t tweet even once. Read the full report for more insight into these graphs and stats.

Exposure to political tweets increases visits to campaign donations sites
2012’s first presidential debate was the most tweeted about political event in history, and Twitter has now revealed some interesting tidbits about just how much tweets can change the course of politics. Twitter users are 68% more likely to visit a campaign donation page than the average internet user, and that increases when they’ve seen political tweets from friends or promoted tweets or hashtags with a political twist. And the more exposure to political tweets, the better. Twitter said these findings hold true across the red and blue political spectrum. Think they’ll also try to predict the outcome of the election?

Smartphone owners jump on social media while watching TV
Nearly 90% of smartphone owners say they use a second screen (such as a phone or tablet) while watching TV, and almost half of 16-24 year olds are using social media to talk about what they are watching. Most users like to chat about reality shows and sports events, but independent dramas drive the most commerce-related talk. A different study looked specifically at tablet users, who said that the multitasking activity they did most while watching TV was posting to social media sites. A full 63% of tablet owners said they multitasked while watching TV, with their activity breaking down as follows:

Facebook halves the reach of brands’ posts
As you might have seen reported in Adweek or the Financial Times, We Are Social and our partners at Socialbakers have confirmed that Facebook has changed in its EdgeRank algorithm to reduce the number of brand posts appearing in fans’ newsfeeds. It looks like since the end of August, the reach of the average post has dropped by about 50%:

Average reach
Average post organic reach 10th Aug- 9th Oct, based on 15,380 posts made by the 157 of the most active commercial pages in the period.

However, engagement has remained relatively stable, which could only mean that posts that are getting seen by fans are getting more engagement. So what’s happening? Friends and brands are fighting for attention in our newsfeeds, and in addition to Facebook hitting 1 billion monthly active users, brands are posting three times more often now than they were six months ago. The solution? As our global MD Robin Grant wrote:

Facebook’s changes mean brands need to shift to creating social content that is ‘as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family’ and supplement this with a sophisticated paid promotion strategy.

More Facebook users are going mobile and staying quiet
A new study has shown that the numbers of users on Facebook mobile has increased rapidly over the last year. But it also revealed that Facebook users are becoming more passive and less engaged, saying they would rather browse friends’ updates than post their own. Is Facebook losing its appeal, or has it just not adapted quickly enough on mobile?

Birthdays and gifts top new Facebook mobile newsfeed
Facebook birthdays have long been buried on mobile, but now some users in Facebook’s test group will see a big update to the mobile app, which now pushes birthdays and gift ideas to the top of the newsfeed. One click lets you buy people gifts, and Facebook will take a slice of your purchase. This update isn’t yet available for everyone, but Facebook promises that it’s coming soon, most likely also with the option to buy gifts straight from your newsfeed.

Facebook changes rules for Open Graph to prevent overposting
Facebook has created a set group Open Graph verbs that it allows to automatically share content, and users must opt-in to auto-sharing all other custom verbs. Content that you like, watch, read, listen or follow can still be shared automatically, but other verbs will now require permission. Facebook also announced that it would make Open Graph stories more prominent in the newsfeed and on Timeline, which feature a bigger image.

Twitter buys Vine, a video-sharing startup
Twitter has gotten its hands on Vine, a three-man video startup in New York that has yet to publicly launch. Vine describes itself as “the best way to capture and share video on your iPhone.” Vine isn’t your standard video app, though, because it allows you to piece together a continuous shot from short, snappy recordings. What will Twitter do with Vine? No word yet, but we’re eagerly waiting to hear.

Google+ mobile app now supports Pages
Google+ just got a big updates for its Android and iOS apps, and page owners can now view, post and comment from their phones. Google says this has been one of the most requested features for mobile, and that’s no surprise, as Pages have been available for nearly a year. The iOS app also got a few new updates that Android already had, such as letting you edit posts after they’ve been published and saving photos to your camera roll.

PinPointing make Pinterest shoppable
Shopping on Pinterest isn’t easy, as lots of the images come from broken links and don’t have good descriptions or even the product name to make them easier to track down. Enter PinPointing, which tries to match products from online shopping service Zappos to a user’s pins and boards. The service isn’t spot on yet, and of course it can’t always find the exact product, but it’s a good start on demystifying where you can find that pair of shoes you spotted, which also won’t be bad for Zappos’ revenue.

Poor Haitians read #FirstWorldProblems in ad
In a new ad for the WaterIsLife charity, poor Haitians read out real tweets that used the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag, complaining about things such as big houses and heated leather seats. The ad is both moving and cringe-worthy, as you remember how many trivial complaints you’ve posted in the last week, which has now sparked a debate about what exactly the hashtag means.

Arrested Development recruits walk-on actors with hashtag
Want to be on the next season of Arrested Development? It could be a simple as posting a photo on Instagram or tweeting something witty with the #BluthWalkOn hashtag. Netflix and Arrested Development have teamed up for their competition called ‘You’re gonna get some walk-ons’ to do exactly that. The website where all of the images and videos are hosted might be the strangest compilation of TV fandom and nerdery the internet has seen in a while.

Vogue is looking like a million followers
Vogue is celebrating reaching 1 million Twitter followers with a scrolling timeline and a dedicated hashtag, #storyof1million. On the beautiful microsite, users can scroll through more than four years of tweets, photos and even the notable followers to relive the journey from Vogue’s Twitter beginnings in 2008 to the present day.

UGG Australia brings together the Creative Council
UGG Australia is fueling its own social and creative side through a collaboration with eight influencers in the worlds of fashion, music, photography and pop culture, called the ‘Creative Council.’ UGG has just released a great case study and dishes out some worthwhile tips about the power of bringing outside voices into your brand while promoting your shared qualities.


Ralph Lauren trades dollars for likes on Tumblr
To support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ralph Lauren pledged $1 to charity for every like and reblog it gets on its Tumblr posts up to $25,000. The post was published late last week, but it’s already well above the 25,000 mark.

ASOS have launched a new campaign in the UK that encourages users to watch ‘The X Factor’ and keep their eyes peeled for certain ASOS clothing. The viewers with the keenest eyes can tweet using hashtag #ASOSonXFactor, and if they are first — and correct — ASOS will give them the item for free.

Pretty Polly rewarding a poor sense of fashion
Here’s one for all the horrific pairs of Christmas socks: The Pretty Polly Sock-Horrometer. Maybe not a great name, but a useful app nonetheless. Users can upload photos of their worst pairs of socks and have them analysed by the app before they receive a partial, or even full, discount on a seductive replacement.

Barbour knits Twitter with Facebook
The new ‘Tweet Your Knit’ campaign from Barbour encourages users to tweet a story and photo of either their favourite or least favourite ‘knits’ using #TweetYourKnit. User photos will be contributing to a Facebook-based #TweetYourKnit gallery, and fans are then entered for a chance to win a piece of knitwear from Barbour’s new collection. This campaign shows just how tight-knit Twitter and Facebook can be.

Crisis shows Littlewoods the value of social media
Littlewoods has outlined how using social media allowed the company to better respond to a crisis after a poorly-judged Christmas ad. Littlewoods responded to the customers earlier than they could have done previously, and they also proactively “interrupted” conversations about the brand. The parent company plans to double its social team, as it’s learned that community management cannot be done by a “call centre team that do it as a part time job”.

O2 goes ‘ghetto’ in controversial customer service twist
Network operator O2 has been in the news once again for another piece of renegade customer service by rejecting all conventions and responding using a customer’s slang on Twitter. Ballsy. And the customer has now tweeted to say that’s not actually the way he talks, so O2 can go back to its normal conversations.