Friday Wrap #19: recovering from a tweet gaffe, promoted Twitter surveys, Instagram tops Twitter2012-10-05
(c) Can Stock PhotoAnnouncements have been flying fast and furious this week, so it’s almost all hard news in the Friday Wrap, my weekly review of interesting reports from the previous seven days. Every time I find something I might want to include in the wrap (or on my blog or podcast), I save it to my link blog on Tumblr, which you’re welcome to follow.
KitchenAid recovers nicely from a presidential debate gaffe
Thinking he was using his own account when he was actually on KitchenAid’s official Twitter account, an employee of the appliance company unleashed an offensive anti-Obama tweet during Wednesday’s presidential debate. As the President talked about his grandmother, who died days before he took office, the employee wrote, “Obama gma even knew it was going 2 be bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president.’ #nbcpolitics” That didn’t go over well with a number of audiences, including those who expect a non-political comment stream from KitchenAid. It became a full-blown media story.
KitchenAid isn’t the first company to experience a troublesome tweet mistakenly sent through the wrong account and it won’t be the last. The real tale is in how the company dealt with the crisis. As told by Irene Koehler on her Almost Savvy blog, KitchenAid’s Cynthia Soldead, senior director of Brand and Marketing Services, apologized immediately and personlly, identifying herself and including the #nbcpolitics hashtag so those following the gaffe would see the mea culpa. She also issued a separate apology with the President’s Twitter handle. Most significantly (in my view), she sent individual tweets to media outlets that covered the story. The messages, sent under the KitchenAid account read, “My name is Cynthia Solidad, and I’m the head of KitchenAid. I’d like to talk on record about what happened. Please DM me. Thanks.” “There is no way to undo what had been done, but changing headlines on news stories from ‘KitchenAid Insults Obama’ to ‘KitchenAid Apologizes for Insulting Obama’ is huge,” writes Koehler. “Equally important is the fact that sentiment of commenters online shifted significantly from a roar of complaints to many thanking Cynthia for her openness and quick apology.”
An example comes from the Los Angeles Times, which focuses on KitchenAid’s attempt to repair the damage rather than the tweet that started the whole mess.
Tumblr offers insights through new analytics platform
Tumblr can be used for many things but it has become particularly popular as one of the vehicles for social visual communication. A number of organizations—notably fashion companies—have adopted Tumblr as a way to share graphics, but measuring whether those images are performing hasn’t been much of an option. “By opening up Tumblr’s black box, Union Metrics is able track how a
Tumblr post performs and propagates across the platform, and brands can use its tools to spot trends and influential users on specific topics,” writes Tim Peterson in an Adweek post. Union Metrics is able to analyze 100 million data points from initial posts, reblogs and likes, according to Hayes Davic, the firm’s CEO. “Every public activity being generated from Tumblr, we bring into our system,” he told Adweek.
While the analytics platform will monitor buzz around a brand, marketers will most likely be happiest about tracking “how their own content spreads across the site.”
Promoted tweets surveys now available from Twitter
Twitter Surveys make it possible for people to fill out surveys from inside a tweet on both computers and mobile devices. The product is in beta now with five major brands covering a variety of business sectors, and will be opened more broadly early next year. The idea, according to Christopher Heine, writing in Adweek, is for brands using promoted tweets to “better understand the impact of their spend…to measure recall, purchase intent, brand favorability and other traditional marketing metrics.” The surveys have been producing the same level of engagement as a regular promoted tweet, about 1 to 3 percent.
Facebook users can now pay to promote their posts
Brands have been able to promote Facebook posts for a while, but regular old account holders have had to do their best to get their friends to engage with them in the hopes that they might impact the EdgeRank algorithm and get into their friends’ newsfeeds. Now, however, U.S. Facebook members can fork over $7 (the test price) to increase their posts’ visibility. By promoting a personal status update, members can be assured that their comment or photo gets “prominent billing in their friends’ newsfeeds,” according to Alexei Oreskovic, writing for Reuters. “Facebook will place the paid-for postings towards the top of people’s newsfeeds for a limited period of time,” writes Oreskovic. “Facebook’s newsfeed typically displays content by freshness and relevance.”
QR code popularity continues to rise
Pity the poor QR code. No matter how much people continue to adopt it, the chorus of critics remains large and loud. Pay no attention to them. New research shows that the response rates from a QR code have surpassed those of other direct marketing tactics. The Nellymoser study, “Scan Response Rates in National Magazines,” “found that readers of national magazines can QR codes, microsoft Tags, digital watermarks and other mobile action codes at an average rate of 6.4 percent,” writes Chantal Tode in Mobile Marketer. “The report also found that mobile users are actively engaged and view an average of 18.9 mobile pages.”
According to Nellymoser Executive Vice President Roger Matus, “The big news is that QR style mobile codes in magazines get higher response rates than other printed direct marketing tools.” And I remember when a 2 percent response rate from direct mail was considered a success!
Digital news consumption surges
We’ve hit the point in the U.S. where more people get their news online than from newspapers or radio, according to Pew’s biennial study of news consumption habits. According to an Andrew Beujon report from the Poynter Institute, half the number of people surveyed in 2000 read a newspaper the day before the survey. The report notes that “substantial percentages of the regular readers of leading newspapers now read them digitally. Currently, 55% of regular new York times readers say they read the paper mostly on a computer or mobile device, as do 48% of regular USA Today and 44% of Wall Street Journal readers.” While TV remains the single most popular source of news, its audience is getting older. “Only about a third (34%) of those younger than 30 say they watched TV news yesterday,” Pew reported; “in 2006, nearly half of young people (49%) said they watched TV news the prior day.”
The adoption of smartphones and tablets could well account for the increased consumption of digital news, according to Jeff John Roberts, writing for paidContent. Citing the Pew study, Roberts writes, “news was the second most popular activity after email on smartphones and tablets, and that people who used both types of devices were likely to consume more overall news than before.”
Instagram tops Twitter with mobile users
Instagram just can’t be stopped, and the fact that U.S. smartphone users visited Instagram from their phones more often and for longer periods than Twitter just adds evidence to the importance of social visual communication. In August, according to a mobile measurement report from comScore, Instagram had an average of 7.3 million daily active users while Twitter had 6.9 million. “What’s more,” writes Mike Isaac on AllThingsD, “the average Instagram user spent 257 minutes accessing the photo-sharing site via mobile device in august, the data claims, while the average Twitter user over the same period spent 170 minutes viewing.” I guess there’s more of a reason to linger of a nice photo than a 140-character tweet. What it means, according to Isaac: “While Twitter may have had a greater number of smartphone users visiting its site (via the mobile Web and via Twitter apps), Instagram’s users appear to be returning to the site on a more frequent basis, and spending longer on the site each time they return.”
Wanted posters: A new use for Pinterest
The creative uses of Pinterest just keep emerging. The site—already the fastest-growing in the Web’s history (and all while in private, invitation-only beta) is now hosting pins of police wanted posters. The Pottsdown Mercury, a Pennsylvania newspaper, is sharing pictures of wanted individuals and some 800 people are following the board, where they are invited to share any information they may have. According to TViralBlog‘s Martin Michalik, “The project has resulted in a 58% increase in arrests.”
There’s a smartphone inside that print magazine
Get ready to fork over a few bucks for a print magazine, a must-have for true geeks. Entertainment Weekly’s October 5 edition features a digital ad displaying video and live tweets. That’s an actual, full-sized 3G cellphone embedded in the magazine, according to Mashable‘s Lance Ulanoff. “The digital ad is designed to promote the CW network’s fresh lineup of action shows (The Arrow and Emily Owens, M.D.) and, when you open the magazine to the ad, the small LCD screen shows short clips of the two shows and then switches to live tweets from CW’s Twitter account,” Ulanoff writes. The specs: “a smartphone-sized battery, a full QWERTY keyboard hidden under black plastic tape, a T-Mobile 3G card, a camera, speaker and a live USB port that will accept a mini USB cable which you can then plub into a computer and recharge the phone.” Mashable staff was even able to make a call from the phone. EW produced only 1,000 of the issues, so a phone-enabled copy could be hard to find at this point; I couldn’t even find one available on eBay.