Study Social Media: How to budget, staff & measure

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A recent survey from Wildfire by Google and AdAge asked 500 executives from large companies how they budget, staff and measure their social media business. Over half (50,7%) of the surveyed managers work for businesses with $1 billion or more in annual revenue. It shows that marketers in enterprises are increasingly investing in people for this business topic. 46,5% of companies with revenues over $1 billion have a team of 50 or more employees looking after the social business.

Furthermore, they are not afraid of asking for help when needed: 65,5% use a mixture of agencies and in-house personell to manage social media. This is different to smaller companies with revenues of less than $1 billion a year. These companies tend to have one to five employees for social challenges, and almost two out of three use 62,4% use own resources, and not agencies.

Google Wildfire AdAge Allocation Industry Social Media

From all respondents, 45,6% of respondents see their social media spendings rising by 10% next year; 15,9% see even an increase by 11% to 30%. Just 29,1% of the managers have a “pure” social media budget. Others managers seem to be getting their budgets from other marketing budgets like traditional media – 23.9% said their budgets are coming from print, television, and radio.

Keeping up the high level of audience engagement is the main issue for marketers. However, most managers are quite confident today about brand damage due to negative postings. This came in last in the concern list. This could have two reasons: Either shitstorms are not as problematic as some social media consultants define or describe them. Or all managers have a strategy in place how to handle these conversation issues.

Not surprisingly for us, finding tactics to effectively measure social media conversations is the second biggest concern for managers. Maintaining a consistent brand message came in third place probably as many companies have challenges in establishing a streamlined culture of social engagement in their company which we realize as one of the main management topics from top level management to “normal” employee.

Google Wildfire AdAge Concerns Social Media

Retailers managers also see metrics tied to ROI more important than other managers. Still, most companies (58,4%) are tracking content shares as their “most important or important” metric for measuring the ROI of social media. Counting followers comes in second (55,8%), number of page impressions (54,7%) finished third.

Google Wildfire AdAge Measuring Social Media

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It is interesting to see that companies are still quite likely to put social media spendings under general brand marketing or digital media budgets. This obviously gives them more flexibility to shift budgets when needed. However, it also shows that the ROI in social media is not really proven in some companies. Predominantly retailers, followed by technology, media and entertainment companies, seem to be confident that there is a reason for social media budgets and have already dedicated budgets just for social.

Travel: The Hyper-Connected Digital Elite (Infographic)

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When I am on (biz) travel to see clients, I am very much a cross-platform user. Sometimes, I book and buy from my tablet, then from my smartphone, and less often via my laptop. In the hotel room, I use my laptop, at the airport lounge the tablet comes into play, and between meetings more often I just use my smartphone: 3 screens, always-on but hard to catch for marketers.

True? Well, some recent by Google states that almost two thirds of travelers are interested to book and buy travel products “whenever they can” and “wherever they can”. It becomes clear that hyper-connected travelers spend 30% more than less-connected travelers. As you can read from the infographic by Monetate the always-on active travelers show some significant purchase habits…

- 74% of travel consumers who use tablets were under 45 years
- 40% of travelers plan their trips via smartphones and tablets
- 32% of business travellers use smartphones to book their travel (under 30 years)
- 7.5% of all online travel bookings came from tablets

Digital-Elite-Travellers-Infographic

Study: Online forums still popular and leading community option (Infographic)

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According to a recent “2013 Social Media Survey” by Proboards the interactive communication preferences across platforms are still heading towards forums. Although you might think that they asked their own users (which is probably right), the survey still shows the importance of forums and communities. For their results the company promoted the research toover 150 respondents via Facebook, Twitter, and the ProBoards customer support forum.

The study claims that online forums are still popular. What was interesting for me to see is that they were even preferred compared to social media platform for interactive communication. Two out of three respondents (67%) stated that forums were the social media tool they found most valuable. Obviously, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Google+ follow but the question here could be asked whether most people realize that all these platforms are also forums if used in the right way. That LinkedIn did not figure in as a significant social media tool is in my eyes not correct as the forums there within, are very powerful and interactive, plus they generate very valueable input for managers.

“The survey results do not surprise us since platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do not give you the level of control that forums do,” said Patrick Clinger, founder and CEO of ProBoards. “Forums provide greater customization and more options…”

Forums -although we would define them as communities according to our Community Centric Strategy- offer a great way of engaged communication, and probably with better and deeper quality than any other social network. There is more information in the infographic attached…

ProBoards-Social-Media-Study-Forums

Study Search Ranking: What makes your brand look good on Google

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It is one of these questions that many brand marketers are asking themselves: What makes us reach the top search results on Google? A recent report based on Searchmetric data for 10,000 top Google search keywords sheds some light here. It was based on correlations and website characteristics of 300,000 URLs appearing in the top search result position in the US between March 2013 and June 2013.

The report shows that those websites tend to perform best that have a high social impact in terms of likes, shares, tweets and Google “+1″‘s. It also makes clear that there is a realationship between ranking high on Google and collecting Google+ links to achieve better ranking impact which the graphic below indicates.

Searchmetrics-Rank-Correlation-Facts-Social-2013

Despite common believe that fast website performance through intelligent on-page coding might create some benefit for the search ranking, the study shows that just not having it will let websites achieve lower rankings. This means that SEO basics like having H1 and H2 tags or providing brief descriptions now are seen as standards but won’t support any boost effect.

Searchmetrics-Rank-Correlation-Facts-2013

Still, content is king for Google. Good rankings were correlated always positively with good and unique content and had a bigger effect in 2013 than the year ago. As main ingredients of positive content can be named a clever internal link structure, a URL with a clear message and longer text plus a sensible number of integrated (audio)-visual files. This could be as of the fact that Google wants to boost their own pictures search sites and obviously Youtube.

Keywords keep up their impact on the rankings. On the page, they still need to placed in the title as close to the front as possible and in the text they need to be placed wisely as well. As of some algorithm changes compared to 2012, the importance of keywords in the domain name or the URL has lost its significance.

According to the report, websites of brands and other domains seem to play on different levels for Google. Obviously, brand websites seem to be superior to normal sites. The report states that it looks as if the search engine finds it normal for brands to generate more backlinks with the brand name appearing in referring content pieces alone.

The infographic provides some more information – and if this version is too small, just click here and download it
Search-Ranking-Factors-2013

Study: Increase in marketers social spendings expected (Infographic)

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With their recent study The Creative Group predicts that the majority of advertising and marketing executives (62%) expect an increase of their company’s spending on Facebook marketing in the follwoing twelve months – 9% more than they predcited one year ago.

Not surprisingly, the advertising spend on Facebook leads the list of social ad spendings. However, the majority of executives will also invest in other channels more than last year: LinkedIn (51% up from 38%) and Google+ (50% from 41%). Twitter is also on the plan for a budget increase with 48%, as well as Youtube (40%), Pinterest (35%) and Instagram (32%)

Although this shows a great breakdown of all industry sectors and job titles in an overview, the different industry segments and job titles varied in their view on budget increase:

Facebook
- Large companies (100+ employees): 74% of marketers expect an increase in Facebook spend
- Smaller companies (100-249 employees): 60% predict an increase for Facebook spendings

Twitter
- 57% of advertising executives expect an increase in spendings
- 48% of marketing executives expect an increase in ad spends
- 12% of marketing execs expect a decrease in spend
- 6% of advertising executives expect a decrease

The study was based on a US survey of 300 marketing executives and 100 advertising executives.

How about your marketing budget planes with Facebook, Twitter and the likes? Increase or decrease?

Forecast-Social-Media-Spend-2013

Study: Fortune 500 are getting better in Social Media

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They are on increasingly on Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and Youtube (69%): Fortune 500 companies. However, in terms of blogs (34%), Google+ (35%) or Pinterest (9%) they seem to be a bit behind or not seeing the value. And the report obviously forgot to look at LinkedIn. This is the findings of one of the latest research pieces of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Fortune 500 Companies Blogs 2013Although from our perspective, blogging is seen to be the essential starting point of a social media strategy, most companies are not there yet. Not all industries see corporate blogging similar. The use varies significantly by industry. It is striking that no company in the pharmaceutical and tobacco section blogs. In contract, 53% of Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications industry do. Almost 80% of the blogs show regular activity, have got RSS feeds, appreciate comments and offer subscription.

Fortune 500 Companies Social Media 2013Twitter is used in eight out of the top 10 companies (Apple, Chevron, Exxon, Ford Motors, General Electric, General Motors, Phillips 66, and Wal-Mart). All these companies offer frequently status updates on Twitter. Just Berkshire Hathaway and Valero Energy are missing out. Interestingly enough, Facebook has got most followers on Twitter. Google comes in second, then Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Walt Disney, JetBlue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. 

On Facebook only Exxon is not showing up with an account. The rest, nine of the top 10 companies (Wal-Mart, Chevron, Phillips 66, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, General Electric, Valero Energy, and Ford Motors), has got a Facebook page. Obviously, the special retail shows strong use of Facebook (96% with a Facebook fanpage) versus 44% in the utilities sector. That Facebook has most Facebook fans is not surprising. Coca-Cola is number two with 66 million fans, followed by Walt Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Target. These companies all collected more than 20 million fans. 

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What we found interesting in the report is the mention that 59% of companies link to the social platforms from their corporate homepages, whereas for the other companies it required the research team some additional searching. Looking at further social networks and results shows the different strategies. From companies ranked in the top 10 just Berkshire Hathaway has got its own YouTube account. In terms of Google+, 35% use their Google+ accounts actively while 19% set up corporate accounts which are unactive. 50% of the top 10 companies got actove Pinterest boards (Apple, Exxon, Ford, General Motors and Wal-Mart). And although Instagram is now a part of Facebook, only Ford Motors opened an account here, as Wal-Mart is the only top 10 company making use of Foursquare.

The Google Graveyard (Infographic)

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“I think all great innovations are built on rejections.” Louise Berliawsky Nevelson

Although Google has been one of the innovation rock stars as a web company for years, it also had it’s nightmare. And nightmares usually end someone on a graveyard. The list is long and the guys from WordStream created a nice infographic which reminds us what did not work them.

The latest product that -despite a very intense but small fan group- did not make it, is Google Reader. But also other products that looked promising were laid to rest: Google Talk (instant messaging ended May 2013, however Google+ Hangouts is much better), Google Buzz (social networking ended Dec. 2011, messaging tool and microblogging) and Google Labs (ended July 2011, formerly called “a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas, and offer feedback directly to the engineers that developed them.”).

Google_Graveyard

Google_Graveyard

Spot On – How to write the perfect post (Infographic)

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It is something we keep being asked seminar after seminar. What is the perfect status update looking like on Google+, Facebook or Twitter? Well, the answer is there is no secret sauce. Or maybe there is now? The guys from Mycleveragency have at least try to define it and put in as much knowledge as possible. If it helps when all tweet and chat on social platforms at the same times, I might doubt here but still…

PerfectPost

What kind of (big) data big web companies collect (Infographic)

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Data and online privacy is a big topic, especially in Germany where the National Security Agency (NSA) did their research without anyone knowing of it. While some people might be handling this issue from a legal perspective, many people use social networking without paying attention to what kind of data they might share with friends and foreigners. The latest Universal McCann Wave 6 study makes clear that people are quite superficial in handling their privacy on the Web. The question remains whether people have any idea of to what extent data might be collected.

The team from Baynote has published a great infographic which illustrates the privacy issues of the different platforms. Somehow, this might result in some scared faces, for some it might be just what they expected.

How about you? Does this scare you of? Is it impressive? Do you see challenges that social networking might cause for you in the future? Looking forward to getting your views on how and what kind of data Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Yahoo collect from you.

Infographic_Big_Brother

How the viral video web world is emerging (Infographic)

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Audio-video content and video content networks are on the rise. Not one company in the FMCG industry that did not try to start their own initiative around their brand or product in the last two years. From the hype of Social Media another hype was creaping up that many have not yet fully understood but think it might change the world of the advertising industry in the future: viral videos.

The advertising business hopes to make money through Youtube channels and the Google AdSense business. Google invested 100 Mio. US Dollars in the launch of new and original TV content for their Youtube platform, plus they built production studios in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo which might build up Google’s audio-video channel to become one of the main challengers for TV.

Next to the increase of vimeo traffic, more and more video advertising companies arise that produce content, media houses create content hubs as well as PR agencies. Obviously, social advertising companies like Unruly, hallimash or ebuzzing are doing their best to get bloggers implementing and writing about viral ads that their brand customers create. And in the end, the Social Star Awards will make all marketers happy when their virals have made it to become a “viral star”.

The following infographic by the Masters in Marketing Degrees offers some statistics on how the viral web video industry has emerged in the last few years.

The Economics of Going Viral

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