(c) Can Stock PhotoI don’t usually start the Wrap with a commercial, but I want to let you know about an eight-week, interactive, online workshop I’m presenting with my friend and colleague, Thornley Fallis CEO Joseph Thornley. For the third year, we’re offering the course on strategic social media through IABC. Each week, you’ll work through a multimedia learning module created using a state-of-the-art online learning program. There are opportunities for discussion on a closed Facebook group with other workshop participants and Joe and me participating. And each week we host a conference call to review key points and address questions. Joe and I hope you’ll join us; the course has earned high praise from the 100 or so participants ine ach of the last two presentations. Details are here.
Now, let’s get on to the wrap-up of this week’s news and reports. You’re most welcome to keep an eye on all the items I collect for the Wrap over on my link blog, LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
Above the Fold
Minimal impact from social media? Why it’s important to look behind the numbers
A study from Custora, an e-commerce analytics company, finds that only a tiny percentage of retail sales results directly from social media. “Just 2% of unique purchases made from Nov. 1 and onward this year began as social posts that people clicked on, according to aggregated customer data from more than 100 U.S.-based retailers,” according to Cotton Delo, writing for Advertising Age. Most sales (26%) originated from organic search, followed by direct visits to retailer websites (25%), email marketing and paid search. If you just look at direct clicks from social, it’s easy to agree with Custora co-founder Corey Pierson, who said they “very rarely lead to orders.” The devil is in the “direct,” however, since consumer behavior isn’t consistent with reading a single social post and then clicking directly to buy. Another study—this one from advocacy activation firm Social Media Link, found that people need to read up to 10 reviews of a product in social media before making a purchase decision. (Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog has the story on this study.) And after reading 10 reviews, will the link to the e-commerce site come from one of those social platforms? It’s just as likely someone will go directly to the website or conduct a search. Still, over two-thirds of respondents said they trust Facebook for product and service recommendations, followed by Pitnerest (56%), YouTube (51%) and Twitter (415%). So the fact that sales aren’t occurring as a result of a link from a social site doesn’t mean social sites aren’t influencing sales.
With direct messaging, Instagram challenges Snapchat
Instagram has launched a messaging service allowing users to send photos and videos directly to followers. The sender and receiver can engage in comments beneath the image or video. That’s a shot across the bow at SnapChat, a potentially effective one given that half of Instagram’s users open the app every day (compared to Snapchat, which doesn’t disclose user numbers), according to AdAge‘s Cotton Delo. Snapchat isn’t the only service in Facebook-owned Instagram’s cross-hairs. Over-the-top messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp and Kik are getting more and more popular. There are no plans to incorporate advertising into the Instagram Direct service, but that doesn’t mean brands can’t take advantage of it. Seth Fiegerman writes in Mashable that it took only a couple hours before GAP, the fashion retailer, solicited comments on an Instagram Post, then used Instagram Direct to send messages to the first 15 commenters “with a limited GAP product.” Fiegerman quoted GAP social media director Rachel Tipograph saying the service will “be a great tool in terms of deepening relationships with customers. We can now have a visual conversation with them in real-time and help them faster and hopefully with more customer satisfaction.”
Controversy has a “sweet spot” for businesses
Generating or leveraging controversy has long been a tactic for marketers, but it can only get you so far, according to new research from Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger. Knowledge@Wharton reports that “there is a limit to how much conversation can be generated by a modest amount of controversy,” but if you amp up the controversy and conversation declines, which is counterintuitive to what most marketers think. “When people do not have to reveal their identity, moderate controversy increases conversation because it increases interest without increasing discomfort,” Berger and marketing doctoral student Zoey Chen write of the results. “When people have to reveal [their] identity, however, controversy fails to increase, and actually decreases, conversation because it makes people feel uncomfortable.” That doesn’t mean marketers should avoid controversy, “because word of mouth has proven to be such a valuable branding tool,” but each brand will have to find the right level of controversy.
Below the Fold
Think there are a lot of Internet-connected devices now? Just wait
There are more mobile phones in people’s possession than toothbrushes—an oft-cited comparison that inspires awe over both the proliferation of mobile technology and the decline in oral hygiene. Add tablets and it’s clear that Internet-connected devices are flooding the marketplace. When I think about these devices, though, I usually don’t include the FitBit One that hangs from my waistband. This sensor is part of “The Internet of Things” (IoT)—machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. Gartner expects the volume of such devices to explode into a $300 billion industry within six years. That represents 26 billion units by 2020, “a 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion units today,” sais ZD|Net‘s Colin Barker. That compares to 7.3 billion tablets, smartphones and PCs expected in 2020.
Don’t try convincing Red Bull that print is dead
Red Bull is cited far and wide for its digital acumen, attracting hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and other social sites. Few think of the energy drink company as a print publisher, but The Red Bulletin, its print magazine launched in 2007 (well after most predictions of print’s demise had become old news) is not enjoying a print run of 2.7 million. The magazine earns revenue from display ads, subscription fees and newsstand sales. Sound old school? ” The Red Bulletin covers many of the same concepts and issues other lifestyle magazines are tackling, but instead tries to contextualize them from the brand and its consumers’ perspective,” writes Caysey Welton for Folio Magazine.
Google+ company page posts can be turned into ads
It was only a matter of time. Google is testing +Post ads, a form of promoted posts “that translates public Google+ content from their brand sites into a display ad that can run across Google’s Display Ad network,” according to TechCrunch.
Twitter boosts search with broad match for keywords
It just got easier for companies to sell ads against tweets, writes Emil Protalinski for The Next Web, with Twitter’s introduction of broad match for keywords. According to Twitter, “users have conversations about topics in different ways that express the same intent: by using synonyms, different spellings, or Twitter-specific lingo.” The new search feature will let advertisers reach these users by expanding their targeted keywords to include related terms. A campaign designed to reach those whose tweets have included “love coffee” will now be able to reach those who said “luv coffee” and “love latte,” for example.
Truth is a victim in the desire to create viral content
In the rush to get content to go viral, consumers are believing a lot of what is shared with them because it is positioned as real stories. Frequently, however, they’re not. The New York Times reports that several recent viral stories turned out to be less than real. One—about a fight on a plane—was completely made up. Another was lifted from a comedian’s material. A third as revealed to be “impressionistic” rather than factual. The belief that “viral trumps verified” could have a long-term impact on the degree to which consumers will believe what they read, even if the stories come from previously-trusted sources. The mistake editors are making is articulated by The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grimm, who says, “We assume a certain level of sophistication and skepticism from our readers.” Good luck with that.
Mobile-first customer survey platform launches
How long have I been saying, “Think mobile first?” I’m pretty sure I first appealed to consider mobile uses before desktop/laptop at least two years ago. A look at GetFeedback clarifies why. GetFeedback was designed to fill a gap in the mobile market: mobile-first customer surveys. The startup, from ex-Salesforce CMO Kraig Swensrud and partner Sean Whiteley, already has 1,000 customers including Amazon.Com, LinkedIn and DropBox. The survey market is worth some $2 billion, according to TechCrunch, and while it’s a crowded market, the mobile-first opportunity just wasn’t there. Rather than just shrink surveys to fit a mobile screen, GetFeedback adopts the visually rich look and feel of Instagram and other mobile apps, and adds “bells and whistles that are already commonplace in mobile media experiences.”
Are you ready to master sequential messaging?
As we become a multi-screen society, advertisers and marketers are starting to think about how to take advantage of combinations of screens rather than focus strictly on one channel for deployment of a message. “Picture a brand’s multipart marketing story that begins on your tablet and ends on your smartphone,” Adweek says. The article covers the challenges in adopting the sequential approach and how some companies are starting to address them.
As a grammar geek and spelling nerd, I’m always gratified to find evidence that grammar and spelling count in the world of digital and social media. Now, a new study from London agency Disruptive Communications found that opinions of companies that commit more errors are lower than those that get it right. Pepsi suffered more than Coke as a result of more effors, and Ford had an advantage over GM, which produced more mistakes in its social media messages. Business Insider has the story.
But wait! There’s more!
- WestJet proves you can get into news feeds without paying
- Restaurant fights back when blogger asks for free dinner
- PR firms mine gold from Obamacare rollout problems
- LinkedIn announces the best Company Pages of 2013