Facebook’s Takeover Explained

As we have established, Facebook is the most dominant social media site currently, with over 1 billion active users as of early October this year. However, despite this milestone more and more statistics are highlighting Facebook’s decline in popularity. In a recent survey it was determined that about one third of Facebook users had updated their status in recent weeks and 37% of participants said they shared photos on the site. Each of these figures is significantly lower than they were at the same time in 2014. In 2014 half of participants updated their Facebook status and 59% were sharing their photos. Not only, but in comparison to last year the number of social networks people were part of has also increased from 2.5 to 4.3. This hardly comes as a surprise considering the rising popularity of Instagram where people tend to prefer posting their pictures nowadays. Snapchat is another social media platform where people are able to send pictures and videos, along with alternative competitive social platforms Twitter and YouTube. On top of that, despite Facebook’s strong most recent quarter three earnings, the majority of it came from growth in Instagram and Whatsapp, which the company owns.

After reading these statistics it gives an indication as to why Facebook is continuously trying to push itself into other markets. Within the last year Facebook has broadened its reach by focusing on other features like their messaging app, videos, media and their most recent shopping feature. One way or another for Facebook to remain at the top it of course needs to be innovative and expand its outreach, which finally gives a partial explanation to its behavior in recent years.

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However, before you begin to assume that the end of Facebook is near, it’s not. Facebook is still the most used social media platform in the world by a large margin with a user gap of roughly 15% between second place social media app, Instagram. Its overall monthly user rate is 1.39 billion in comparison to Whatsapp’s 700 million and Instagram’s 300 million user count.

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As Facebook remains successful at present, it is unlikely that its popularity will diminish anytime soon. At the moment a reasonable explanation is given to understand its recent actions, which personally I think are wise because although it bothers me now that Facebook wants to be everywhere and that it potentially could be. Just like most things there is tends to be an end, and it will be interesting to see where Facebook will go from here. Will its identity as the leading social media hub remain? Will it transition into a leader of another sector? Or will it end all together?

Resources

  • Facebook has a sharing problem. (2015, November 3). Retrieved November 5, 2015. http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/03/technology/facebook-sharing-down/index.html
  • O’Reilly, L. (2015, November 5). Here’s what analysts are saying about Facebook’s strong 3rd-quarter earnings. http://uk.businessinsider.com/analyst-notes-on-facebook-q3-earnings-2015-11

Facebook’s big five changes to user profiles

After Twitter and Snapchat introduced new graphic features like auto-play and animated selfie lenses, Facebook decided to get a step ahead in incorporating new graphic features to user profiles. These changes could make Facebook more visually stimulating and appealing, while simultaneously aligning its business with its user experience.

These features include:

  1. Profile Videos
    Facebook users could upload a 7 second new profile video, which will auto-play without sound (unless clicked) on your profile. This will be a great opportunity for users to bring their profile to life.
    I find this new technology very engaging as it can increase creativity of the users and add a new dimension to their profile!

    Profile Videos

  2. Featured Photos
    This feature gives users the option to select upto five featured photos (which could include anything from your favourite activities to selfies) that will appear pinned to a section at the top of their profile. This could provide a better hint to your identity to those considering your friend request or who just met you.
    I believe this feature will also help in easy identification of a user.

    Featured Photos and new Bio description

  3. Temporary Profile Pics
    Users could select a profile picture that lasts for a specified time before reverting back to your previous profile picture. This would be useful for promoting a cause, an event or a special milestone.
  4. Visibility Controls and Bio
    Facebook is adding in-line privacy controls to the ‘About’ information fields which will now appear on the profile immediately below the profile pic (As seen in Image 2). Users could also describe themselves in words within a new 100-character Bio field.
    This feature could help people to easily find friends in a particular demographic area, university, school etc by directly looking into their profile as long as the information is public. Users will also be incentivized to keep their information up to date.
  5. Mobile Design
    The final feature includes making these features appear in a different format by moving things around on the user profile in a mobile-friendly way. This involves enlarging and centring the profile photos/videos.

    Facebook is currently testing these new updates in California and the UK with promises to roll out to users soon.

I believe these changes could have a huge impact on people, as they will start thinking about different and creative ways to express themselves through their user profiles. Brands could make use of these features, and create innovative ways of promotion and advertising. Features such as profile videos and temporary profile pics could enable brands, marketers, event managers etc to generate a shift in online marketing.

My question to you is- as a Facebook user, would these new features cause a concern to your privacy? Since Facebook has a wide range of users from various age groups, how comfortable do you think the users will be in adapting to these changes?

Sources:

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/30/facebook-profile-gif/#.0n0lev:31zF

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/10/facebook-profile-video-update/

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2015/09/facebook-makes-big-changes-to-user-profiles/

MyStarbucksIdea.com: Starbucks’ Succesful Crowdsourcing Platform

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To warm everyone up for this weeks topic, I did a little research on crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is the process in which companies or individuals engage a ‘crowd’ to contribute to a specific project or cause. Usually the crowd will benefit from their contribution, hence there is a common goal, which is often efficiency, innovation or problem solving (Crowdsourcing Week 2015).

An example of a company acing crowdsourcing is Starbucks and its successful platform MyStarbucksIdea.com. The platform was launched in 2008, which positions Starbucks as one of the first adopters of engaging a crowd in product development on such a large scale. In the year of the launch of the website, consumers had submitted over 70,000 ideas, generating valuable information to the company. In 2014, over 190,000 ideas were submitted, of which 300 have been implemented by Starbucks (Gurley, G 2014).

The platform is built for customers to submit ideas for better products, ways to improve the customer experience, and allows customers to provide feedback on products and experiences. This provides Starbucks with free ideas, feedback, customer loyalty, an edge over its competition and the ability to replace costly and lengthy focus groups for product development. On the other hand, consumers are eager to contribute as they have the opportunity to create a better product for themselves. Customers tend to get annoyed when companies make numerous changes without consulting their opinion. Hence, Starbucks has created a win-win situation for the company and customers.

Everyone can create an account on the website and submit their own ideas, vote and comment on ideas submitted by others. This virtual platform has become an online community with the goal to share and discuss ideas revolving around Starbucks.

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Infographic showing the growing number of submissions and implemented ideas 2008-2012

What do you think about MyStarbucksIdea.com and similar platforms? Why do you think some companies are still lagging behind when it comes to this type of social media engagement? Is it hard to implement? Can you think of any drawbacks of crowdsourcing?

References

Crowdsourcing Week. (2015). What Is Crowdsourcing?. Available: http://crowdsourcingweek.com/what-is-crowdsourcing/. Last accessed 19th Oct 2015.

Gurley, G. (2014). Starbucks’ Crowdsourcing Success. Available:
http://blog.betterific.com/2014/03/25/starbucks-crowdsourcing-success/. Last accessed 19th Oct 2015.

Smartwatches are taking over!

The first digital watches were introduced in the 1970ies and almost put conventional watches out of business back then. This eventually was postponed until the 1990ies. Samsung introduced its first smartwatch in 1999.

Today, Oktober 2015, Samsung has just introduced its Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. This impressed a lot of technicians, because this was a big innovation in the field of smartwatches, especially for Samsung, who didn’t make very much impression in this area the last few years.

Nu.nl has got the chance to try the sports version of the new smartwatch from Samsung. It is not a nerdy gadget, because it isn’t that big and therefore doesn’t stand out. This ensures this new smartwatch from Samsung to be miles ahead of the old Samsung smartwatch, which was enormous, ugly and it barely functioned. The quality of the new watch is a lot better and the rubber band is comfortable.

The watch can be controlled by a circle around the screen. With every click, you switch apps or screens. This makes this watch directly understandable, in contrast to the Apple smartwatch which is pretty difficult to understand.

The most outstanding characteristic is actually invisible: in contrast to other, former Samsung smartwatches, this watch is also functioning in combination with Android-smartphones from other manufacturers. This makes this watch more attractive to other Android-users, who don’t use Samsung. I think this is a very smart move, which would definitely raise sales.

Watch the video below to get a better idea of how this smartwatch works.

After reading this information about the new Samsung watch, would you consider buying one? It is clear that the smartwatches nowadays are only getting better and that this is the smartphone of the future. Do you think that smartwatches really are going to replace smartphones eventually? I would like to hear your opinion about it!

Website Nutech, http://www.nu.nl/reviews/4119020/eerste-indruk-samsung-imponeert-met-gear-s2-smartwatch.html, accessed at 17th Oktober 2015
Website Nutech, http://www.nu.nl/gadgets/4146578/samsung-smartwatch-gear-s2-30-oktober-verkrijgbaar.html, accessed at 17th Oktober 2015

Digital Marketing and Advertising in the Social Media era

Checking your Facebook after searching for new shoes on Google, and within seconds your search results will pop-up on your screen. Digital advertising is everywhere and every minute, if you like it or not… On your Facebook timeline, Instagram hashtags or you twitter account, you can not ignore the newest trend in advertising.

The past decade advertising switched from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Posters, newspapers, magazines and billboards are replaced with banned adds, pay-per-sale ads and sponsored search ads. In digital advertising, pay per click, pay per action and pay per impression are being sold and the ads are shown to a particular set of viewers.

The leading question in the article “Can you measure the ROI of your social media Marketing” is how can you tell whether social media are working? An important point in this article is the fact that marketers need to focus on the reasons behind the use of the social media. In that way, they will have a clear image, for long-term returns. Another article is “Social spending: managing the social media mix”. This article describes a lens for strategically thinking about social media, and by identifying important dimensions of social media with respect to execution. The conclusion in de article states that social media is a good substitute for traditional advertising. “For mobile devices, think apps, not ads” is focussed on the mobile devices and their relationship with digital advertising and marketing. The article reveals five strategies that can help them succeed. First, add convenience, in this way marketers will have a great return on investment. Second, offer unique value. Third, provide social value. Fourth, offer incentives and last but not least, entertain.

There are a lot of examples of social media and digital branding. The first example is Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign during the summer of 2014. Coca-Cola removed the famous and very well known “Coco-cola” logo and replaced it with the 250 most popular first names for American teens. Coca-Cola personalized the campaign, by giving customers the opportunity to send “virtual bottles” and share them via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Another example of successful social media campaigns is the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. In this campaign people asked for awareness for ALS victims. People shared videos, giving friends and family the challenge to throw a bucket off ice over their heads.

A big similarity between the two campaign is the use of videos and personalization. Where Coco-cola used names and the Ice Bucket Challenge used real faces, the campaign reach out to the customers personally, where the loyalty of the campaign grew. Another comparison is the use of a hashtags, which made the marketing go viral very fast and let customers drive the campaign to a success.

Coco-cola and the Ice Bucket Challenge are great examples of successful digital advertising and marketing. The companies managed to reach a worldwide audience, using a simple hashtags, and creating extra revenues for their firms. While doing so, they entertained people and made hundreds of lives better everyday.

Digital marketing trends 2015: did it come true?

Earlier this year, I ran into a blog post on a website. This post was all about online and digital marketing and what the trends for 2015 would be. Of course, a big advantage of digital advertising is the possibility to share on social media platforms, which increases attention. It is thus very important for contemporary companies to follow these trends, so that they are not competed out of the market by competitors who do use these new techniques. I would like to discuss this article and kindly ask you, my readers, did these trends come true this year? Or do you think these trends are going to be more important next year?

Hereby, a selection of the most important advertising trends and some interesting examples.

1. Transparency
Companies have to give their customers a ‘realtime peek’ into their businesses, to give people a relevant experience. A great example of transparency is a ‘’behind the scenes’’ movie, hereby an example of a Vistaprint movie.

2. Realtime marketing becomes local
Because of social media, consumers are more volatile than ever. For companies, it is important to be able to make use of certain events right away, instead of planning marketing actions months before. More and more tools make realtime marketing possible, such as this cool asset sharing tool:

3. Human advertising
Review marketing becomes human advertising, consumers determine the message of a company. Instead of collecting reviews, companies are given the ability to respond directly to customer recommendations. Companies can reach their public any time, based on the newest review posts. See this video of Rivvur:

4. E-mail marketing
A lot of consumers would definitely say that e-mail marketing is not a good way of advertising, because they find this really annoying. Marketers believe otherwise, because the one-on-one contact with consumers is valuable. With the help of new tools and smart customer data, customer behavior can be used to send targeted e-mails.

For me, transparent companies are very interesting. I like to see something from within the company and I’ve seen this a lot in 2015. I’m very interested in your opinions and maybe some additions. I haven’t mentioned all the trends, but I think the upper mentioned trends are the most important.

http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/de-10-trends-voor-online-en-digital-marketing-in-2015

http://www.forbes.com/sites/avidan/2014/11/09/11-marketing-trends-to-%20watch-for-in-2015/

http://www.saydaily.com/2014/11/trends-in-digital-media-2015

How social is social media?

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How social is social media?  

I came across an article, which raised the question ‘how social is social media?’ It made me think and there are a few things that I noticed, but to which I do not have an answer.

Social Media can be fun, but it can be a little bit less fun when you see things you don’t want to see. Or when you get bullied, stalked, see videos about war and refugees these days… Cyber bullying is bigger then bullying at school, mostly because of the increase in social media. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to know the news and what is going on. But there is a difference between reading a newspaper – whether that is online of offline – and scrolling down your Facebook page and see images you’d rather not see. Should you have a choice in what you want to see? Should there be some kind of filter so you can avoid messages related to the topic you don’t want to see? Do you make Social Media more or less social by avoiding those things you don’t want to see? Because, what’s left without it? Should Social Media only be fun?

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For example the Dutch ‘Zwarte Piet’ discussion. In the Netherlands we have a feast similar to Christmas, only called ‘Sinterklaas’. The discussion is about racism and that Zwarte Pieten (black pete) is discrimination and that the Zwarte Pieten reminds people of slavery. People have set up a Facebook page called ‘Pietitie’ where you can sign if you want the ‘Zwarte Pieten’ to stay. The discussion is still going, but opinions differ. Of course there should be freedom of speech, but you can go to far with it.

On the other side, social media is getting more and more commercial. We are used to the advertisements, but what is so social about these advertisements? It is all about marketing, integrating advertisement into social media and calling it social commerce. Did you know that 86% of the people have used social media for customer service and 1.000.000 people view customer service related tweets every day? Social media is thought to be a better customer service platform than a call centre. And 32% of the people who used social media to get in touch with the customer service, expects a response within 30 minutes. Social media needs to be quick and useful.

There are a lot of different reasons to use social media. I came across a funny infographic about the social media use between men and women. Women are more likely to use social media to stay in touch with family and friends, to share photos, for entertainment and self-help, while men use social media more for business reasons and dating compared to women. To me social media is mostly about getting in touch with friends, interaction and entertainment. But, as it seems, social media is so much more then these things. It is about news, about advertisement and customer service. So in a way it is social. But how social? What is social media to you?

http://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2015/05/01/waar-gingen-social-media-ook-alweer-over/

http://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2015/03/30/klantenservice-via-social-media-hoe-snel-moet-je-reageren-infographic/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/196610339957241781/

http://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2014/07/23/laten-we-social-media-nu-echt-sociaal-maken/