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The big winner at the Super Bowl? #EsuranceSave30

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Just after the Super Bowl last night, online insurance company Esurance aired the first post-game commercial, saving 30% on their ad. (Quite the bargain at ~1.5 million dollars off the 4 million dollar game-time price!)  Esurance spokesperson John Krasinski told viewers that Esurance was passing these savings onto them: Someone who tweeted using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30 would win 1.5 million dollars.

Their promoted tweet about the contest, including a link to more details.

So how’s the campaign going? There have been more than 1.8 million tweets using the #EsuranceSave30 hashtag in just the first 12 hours. That’s more tweets than any other advertiser got around the game, that’s for sure.

Written by Sarah

February 3rd, 2014 at 10:39 am

Posted in Events

Tagged with , ,

Super Bowl XLVIII: Brands on Twitter

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On Friday we took a look at all the brand chatter on Twitter leading up to last night’s blowout Super Bowl game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. The lack of action on the field turned a lot of faces toward their second screen instead, and made for some entertaining brand interactions (Marketing Land catalogued some of them).

Here’s a second look at the brands we examined on Friday- this time for activity on game day alone- and the answer to the eternal question “Is SodaStream still making Coke and Pepsi say #sorry?”

Budweiser

Budweiser’s #UpForWhatever hashtag saw 7k tweets from 6k contributors with an overall reach of 14.6 million; about 5x the activity they saw leading up to the big game. The most retweeted tweet was again from Bud Light and featured Arnold Schwarzenegger:

This tweet has seen 600 RTs so far.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola saw 49.4k tweets on big game day, from 41.4k Twitter users for a total reach of 32.5 million, just over three times the activity from their game day lead-up conversations. The most retweeted tweet was from the official Coke account and included their #AmericaIsBeautiful campaign hashtag and was retweeted over 5k times so far:

Doritos

Doritos aired the two winning commercials from their Crash the Super Bowl contest last night, and each saw some activity around around their respective hashtags- #TimeMachine and #CowboyKid- and the whole conversation around Doritos, including their campaign hashtag #ForTheBold, saw 16.7k tweets from 15.1k contributors for an overall reach of 14.6 million. That’s about six times the activity we saw in their game day lead-up.

The most retweeted tweet around the Doritos conversation with the #Doritos hashtag came from their official account, congratulating the Seahawks on their win:

It has seen 94 retweets so far.

Kia

The conversation around Kia last night didn’t change much from their lead-up: 1.4k tweets from 1.2k contributors, for an overall reach of 3.2 million. The most retweeted tweet actually came from some entertaining brand interaction from Xbox, based on Kia’s Matrix-themed commercial:

This tweet was part of a back-and-forth conversation from the brands, and has earned a total of 276 retweets so far.

SodaStream

SodaStream has the most activity around its name by far in the lead-up conversations we looked at last week, but yesterday saw much lower activity numbers for them: 6.6k tweets from 4.9k contributors, for a total reach of 16.4 million. It seems a little brand controversy will get you talked about leading up to an event, but not necessarily boost the conversation once the event takes place.

One of the most retweet tweets featuring their hashtag #SorryCokeAndPepsi came from the official SodaStream account, and referred to their celebrity spokesperson Scarlett Johansson:

It has seen just 23 retweets so far.

Toyota

Terry Crews and The Muppets teamed up for Toyota’s #NoRoomForBoring ad last night, and the conversation around Toyota saw a little boost in activity, if a drop in reach, from their lead-up: 12.4k tweets from 10.2k contributors, for a total reach of 14.3 million.

One of the most retweeted tweets came from the official Muppets account, and featured King Prawn Pepe doing a touchdown dance on Vine:

311 retweets for the dancing King Prawn so far, and some decent crossover exposure for Toyota.

What about brands who didn’t buy ad time?

A lot of brands who don’t buy ad time still live-tweet during big cultural events to interact with viewers and other brands; last night saw a lot of discussion between brands, riffing on the commercials and more. A standout was definitely J.C. Penney, who decided to tweet in a pair of mittens to very mixed results. The numbers, however, are in their favor: 131k tweets from 81.2k contributors, for a total reach of 36.9 million. That’s slightly more reach than Coke, who usurped SodaStream on game day, but more than twice the amount of activity.

Both of their slightly incoherent tweets saw around 20k retweets:

22.7k retweets so far.

19.2k retweets so far.

A number of other brands- even some of the big game advertisers- interacted with J.C. Penney’s tweets:

Coors Light jumped in first, getting some exposure- 7.1k retweets- on a night dominated by their competitor Bud Light.

Kia’s tweet has seen 3.1k retweets so far, while Snickers and Doritos both offered themselves as snacks to soak up any extraneous Coors Light:

Snickers has gotten 3.1k retweets so far, and Doritos 1.3k.

The Takeaways

We are living in the real-time marketing present, it would seem. The brands who saw the most activity and reach last night were the ones who were interacting like people do on Twitter around big cultural events, and inserting their brand in ways that were funny and relevant. J.C. Penney may have confused a lot of people with their decision to tweet in mittens, but it definitely got everyone talking about them. It remains to be seen whether it will help them sell any more mittens.

Watching brands interact during events like the Super Bowl has become an unexpected highlight for many viewers, especially when the action happens to be slow on the main screen.

What was your favorite social moment of the big game last night?

Written by Sarah

February 3rd, 2014 at 8:31 am

Super Bowl Preview: Brands on Twitter

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Super Bowl XLVIII will be upon us in two days, so we thought we’d take a look at what the chatter is like on Twitter around some of the brands who have purchased multi-million dollar ad time around the game.

Budweiser

Budweiser had already released its full #BestBuds ad and a teaser for their hero’s welcome ad when they released the full version yesterday. They kept their biggest ad under wraps until yesterday as well, leading up to it with a full series of teasers sharing the set-up, including some celebrity names: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle (with a llama), Reggie Watts, and a promised fourth (who turned out to be Minka Kelly and not the llama, Lilly).

The hashtag for the ad, #UpForWhatever, has been used in 1.3k tweets from 1.2k contributors, with an overall reach of 3.1 million– all since Tuesday, January 28th. The most retweeted tweet? From the official Bud Light Twitter account, sharing the full spot, with 453 retweets:

 

Coca-Cola

Coke’s big game spot “Going All The Way” was released in full this week, and the conversation around Coke and the Super Bowl on Twitter since Monday, January 27th has seen 15k tweets from 12.5k contributors, for a reach of 12.8 million. That’s about four times Budweiser’s reach, so far.

The most retweeted tweet with their hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful is this one from the official Coca-Cola Twitter account, sharing their full ad and promising a $50k donation to the Boys and Girls Club of America for 10k shares of the spot:

 

Fortunately it’s not based on retweets, since it was only retweeted 49 times.

Doritos

Doritos ran a contest to air a fan-made ad again this year, but unlike last year they opened it to residents outside of the U.S., provided they live in one of the other countries where Doritos are sold. Voting has ended, and two of the spots will be shown at the big game on Sunday (in addition to other prizes).

2.7k tweets from 2.4k contributors about Doritos and the Super Bowl, their contest, and their hashtag #ForTheBold have been tweeted since Tuesday, with a reach of 4.4 million, or about 1/3 of Coke’s reach so far.

The most retweeted tweet in this conversation around Doritos and the big game is from ESPN Sports Business Reporter & ABC News Business Correspondent Darren Rovell. It’s a recipe idea for a big game party:

This was retweeted 240 times.

Kia

Kia reached back to the 1999 movie The Matrix for Morpheus to reveal to Super Bowl audiences the truth about luxury. On Twitter using hashtags #KiaK900, #RedKey, #BeTheOne, and #ChallengeLuxury, 1.3k tweets have been posted by 1.2k contributors for a reach of 1.4 million since January 22nd, putting them at the bottom of the list of brand mentions right now. The most retweeted tweet comes from the official Kia Twitter account, and shares the full game ad:

 

Morpheus was retweeted 865 times; a lot of revealed luxury.

SodaStream

While SodaStream’s ad has been banned by Fox for its direct mention of competitors Coke and Pepsi (the line from the ad is reflected in their hashtag #SorryCokeAndPepsi), that hasn’t dampened the conversation around the Scarlett Johansson spot on Twitter: 18.6k tweets have been made by 13.9k contributors since Tuesday, for a reach of 56.2 million. This time it’s just #SorryCoke so far; we’ll have to wait until later to see if they usurp Pepsi too.

The most retweeted tweet featuring their hashtag #SorryCokeAndPepsi is this one from the official SodaStream Twitter account, explaining the controversy over their ad:

SodaStream might have the most reach in the Super Bowl conversation thus far, but that tweet only garnered 7 retweets.

Toyota

Toyota has teamed up with former NFL player and actor Terry Crews and timeless entertainers The Muppets to show off their new Highlander, which has #NoRoomForBoring. Since Tuesday, 10.1k tweets have been made by 8.3k contributors for a reach of 24.5 million. That’s about double Coke’s reach, but still half that of SodaStream. One of the most retweeted #NoRoomForBoring tweets was from the official Toyota account, and featured a custom Vine of Rowlf:

 

It has seen 125 retweets so far.

Want more?

We’ll be back Monday with more numbers from the big game itself. Let us know if you end up making those Doritos Crusted Chicken Strips.

Written by Sarah

January 31st, 2014 at 4:31 pm

The Week in Social Analytics #87

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Stop Chasing Shiny Objects, Invest in the ‘Classics’ [from Mack Collier]

“No matter how many shiny tools you master, none of that will help you if you don’t understand your customers.”

And:

“There are two areas you need to focus on in 2014:

1 – Understanding how your customers are using these tools

2 – Understanding how customer behavior is changing because of emerging tools and technology”

Predicting The Social Future Of eCommerce For Small Business [from Viral Blog]

“It won’t be long before we’re buying certain products almost exclusively online, even if we’ve demoed them in person.”

Trust: Do We Believe Your Social Media & Content? [from Heidi Cohen]

On average, two-thirds of customers need to hear a company’s message 3 to 5 times before they believe it based on Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. This ratio has remained relatively constant for the past few years.”

Emphasis orignal.

5 Tips for Creating Social Content That Stands Out [from Edelman; written by Alison Fleming]

“Find the white space that your community fills. Then, find a way to use social content to add value to your community members’ lives. Sure, you’re selling widgets too, but make content so great that people barely notice the product placement. Selling eReaders? Make an online book club. Hawking cameras? Make an online photography gallery. Social content 3.0 has a rich, deep narrative that can only be achieved through insights. Insights -> content -> engagement -> insights. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.”

6 Tips for Managing a B2B Crisis Using Social Media [from Social Media B2B; written by Allison Rice]

“But even though sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may make managing a crisis trickier, they can also help you communicate with your customers, demonstrate your commitment to them and bolster your reputation. In fact, a well-managed crisis can not only help you retain customers, but it can lead to new customers and additional deals.”

Empowering Employees with Social Media Improves Customer Relationships and Grows Revenue [from Social Media Today; written by Brian Solis]

“Organizations can no longer rely on inbound and outbound sales reps, people willing to jump through hoops and obstacles via call centers, or traditional marketing to boost awareness and demand. Customers demand engagement, in real time, and that takes human beings, training, and support.”

Here Is Your Future: 9 Experts Provide 29 Public Relations and Social Media Measurement Predictions for 2014 [from The Measurement Standard; edited by Bill Paarlberg]

“Wait a minute. How about last year’s predictions: How did those work out? As a matter of fact, many, and perhaps most, of last year’s 27 predictions came to pass. You’ll have to judge for yourself, however, which ones were actually Nostradamus-level prescient, as many were either loosely phrased (‘more Facebook commerce’) or very general (‘increasing interest in big data,’ ‘increasing mergers and acquisitions’).”

1 in 5 Social Network Users Likely to Make A Purchase Directly On A Social Network This Year [from Marketing Charts]

“Among Gen Y respondents (born 1980 through 1995), slightly more than one-quarter claimed to be either very likely (13%) or likely (14%) to make a purchase on a social network this year. That figure was matched by Gen X respondents (born 1962 through 1982), of whom 26% are likely to make a purchase.”

Men are also more likely than women to make a purchase directly on a social network (23% vs 14%).

4 Ways Twitter is Socializing TV [from Jeff Bullas]

“So what can TV teach us about how your business can use Twitter?

  • Companies and brands can use Twitter to provide valuable feedback from their customers and prospects
  • Twitter can be used to organise conversations at expos, conferences and presentations
  • It can assist in humanizing the brand that reveals the human side of the organisation
  • Twitter can include calls to action that ask people to buy, inquire or make booking”

Yahoo’s Tumblr-Based Tech And Food Sites Have Seen 10M Uniques Since Jan. 7 Launch [from TechCrunch; written by Darrell Etherington]

“Tumblr’s user base has grown 30 percent since March last year, Mayer says, and usage on mobile is faring even better, with over 50 percent growth between the same time and today.”

Written by Sarah

January 31st, 2014 at 9:11 am

TweetReach: Where our Twitter data comes from

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We use Gnip so we don’t have to send poor Merle down into the Twitter data mines.

We’ve written before about the five questions you should be asking your social analytics provider, and we wanted to make it clear what you’re getting when you choose TweetReach Pro. If you still have questions after you read this, feel free to share them in the comments below, or drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help answer them!

Does Union Metrics have access to the Twitter firehose for TweetReach?

This is a question we get fairly often, and although we address it in our help docs, we also wanted to address it here as it’s a little more complicated than it might seem. The short answer is yes. As for the long answer…

Twitter has two licensed data resellers - Gnip and Datasift - who can provide access to the full Twitter firehose to third parties. The full Twitter firehose includes full-coverage, real-time streaming access to all of the data from Twitter. In most cases, direct access to the full firehose is unnecessary, not to mention very expensive to consume and store. After all, as of last fall, Twitter has 215 million monthly active users, 100 million daily active users, and sees 500 million tweets per day.

So companies like us here at Union Metrics work with one of these data resellers, who have built powerful filtering tools on top of the Twitter firehose to provide high-quality access to the data we need. This makes it more efficient in both time and money for us provide the detailed, comprehensive Twitter analytics our customers want. We’ve elected to work with Gnip, and in fact are part of their Plugged In to Gnip partner program, which means they recognize that we can deliver you the highest quality Twitter data available through licensed access to the full Twitter firehose. This means you don’t have to worry about missing any data.

Our TweetReach Pro Trackers are built on Gnip’s real-time PowerTrack stream, meaning we have full access to all tweets as they are posted – with no rate limits! – for any keyword, hashtag or account you want to analyze. Similarly, TweetReach premium historical analytics are built on Gnip’s Historical PowerTrack product, and provide complete access to the Twitter archive, dating back to March of 2006. Both include full tweet coverage.

To sum up: TweetReach Twitter analytics are built from licensed access to the full Twitter firehose through Gnip.

What about Union Metrics’ other products?

Union Metrics is a certified Plugged In To Gnip partner, which means we have commercially licensed, full-coverage access to both Twitter and Tumblr data. That’s reliable, reputable data you can count on, both now and in the future. Here’s the breakdown of the data source for each of our products:

  • Our TweetReach Pro Trackers have Gnip PowerTrack access – that’s full coverage of all public tweets in real time for any search terms you enter. That means no missed tweets and no sampling.
  • Our TweetReach snapshot reports use the Twitter Search API, so they’re great for quick estimates of recent activity, but are limited to about 1500 tweets from the past week.
  • Our TweetReach premium historical analytics use Gnip’s Historical PowerTrack. That gives us full access to any public tweet in Twitter’s history, dating back to the very first tweet posted in March 2006.
  • Finally, with Union Metrics for Tumblr, we consume the full Tumblr firehose. That means we process 100% of all public posts, notes and other Tumblr activities.

If you have any other questions about our data access, please just ask!

Written by Sarah

January 29th, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Guides,Help

Tagged with , , , ,

The Week in Social Analytics #86

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

2014 Edelman Trust Barometer [from Edelman]

“The technology industry continues to lead as the most trusted sector.”

3 Scientific Studies With Real Insight Into Social Media [from Convince and Convert; written by Pratik Dholakiya]

“As marketers, we can’t always wait for the data to catch up to our hunches, but we are foolish if we ignore it once it arrives, and the data is telling a fairly consistent story. Audience retention and interaction are key: reach is secondary.” (Emphasis original.)

If you read one piece today, make it this one.

Instagram Is The Fastest-Growing Social Site Globally, Mobile Devices Rule Over PCs For Access [from TechCrunch; written by Ingrid Lunden]

“According to research published today by the GlobalWebIndex, Instagram is growing the fastest of all social media sites worldwide, increasing its active user base by 23% in the last six months.”

8 Ways to Stand Out on Instagram [from Social Media Today; written by Stephanie Clegg]

“Your images are the most important thing on Instagram. You want to make sure they fit in with the feel and vibe of your brand but more importantly they have to fit in with the vibe of the Instagram community. Instagram is a thriving community and like on any social network, if you want to survive and succeed you are going to have to play by their rules.”

How Social Media Influences Purchase Decisions – Statistics And Trends | Infographic [from Invesp Blog; written by Khalid Saleh]

“4 in 10 Social Media users have purchased an item online or in-store after sharing it or marking it as a Favorite on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.”

How SM Influences Purchase Decisions

Click through for full infographic.

The Rise of Visual Storytelling [from B2B Marketing Insider; written by Michael Brenner]

“All this available information and data is creating a battle for customer attention between brands, publishers, and each one of us who creates content. But more importantly, it’s forcing businesses to think and act like publishers.”

The answer to gaining some of this precious attention? Visual content.

Is Tumblr Right for my Business? [from Intuit Small Business Blog; written by Brenda Barron]

“Just because you don’t offer a visual product doesn’t mean you should avoid Tumblr. Your use of the site just might not be as intuitive at first.

In lieu of posting product photos, consider posting photos related to your products. For instance, eyeglass maker Warby Parker doesn’t merely offer photos of its high-end frames. . .The company promotes a lifestyle — what people who wear its glasses do — and sells indirectly by posting compelling content that goes beyond its products.”

And here’s a bonus video to check out from this week’s Digital-Life-Design conference: A conversation on creativity and tech, featuring David Karp, Georg Petschnigg, and Felix Salmon [DLD14 - On Creating Tech]

Written by Sarah

January 24th, 2014 at 9:33 am

Pump your fitness up with social media support

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Social networks evolved out of a desire to connect and share in a new way with people already in our lives, then further evolved as a way to reach out to new people we want to add to our lives, sometimes both online and off. Using these networks to seek out those with similar goals and struggles for both accountability and support is a natural extension of this; finding advice, commiseration, or just about anything else having to do with health and fitness is now just a couple of clicks away.

Every social network is what you make of it, and we wanted to take a look at how people are using them for support networks.

Using Twitter to support fitness endeavors 

January is the month we all promise ourselves we’re going to get back into shape after an extensive treat-yourself-holiday-season, but most of us don’t follow through even though support is just a tweet or post away. In fact, one study showed that Twitter helped participants lose more weight. Fitness bloggers create Twitter lists of other fitness-centric accounts to follow, and join in fitness tweet chats like #FitBlog and #FitStudio.

And what about other social media?

Communities of fitness enthusiasts exist on every platform. On Tumblr and Instagram you can find like-minded fitness folks to follow, particularly through exploring hashtags related to fitness. Fitness-focused Pinterest boards cover everything from suggested workouts of the day to healthy meal recipes, desired fitness equipment, and more.

One of the most popular fitness-related tags on any site is #fitspo, meaning fitness inspiration. A quick search on Instagram alone shows over 6 million #fitspo-tagged photos, and we’ve looked at the size of the Tumblr fitness community- or “fitblr”- before as well. While the basic premise behind fitspo is to stay motivated by sharing inspiring photos of fit models, athletes, or regular people (along with meals, progress, inspirational/motivational phrases, and more), the practice has come under fire for focusing more on the aesthetics of the bodies being shown rather than the physical work and accomplishments of the people to whom the bodies belong.

A social media counter-culture has arisen to combat this, however. For example, Tumblr user The Exercist works to combat problematic fitspo by using a tag the blog invented- #reclaimingfitspo- and encouraging other Tumblr users to post photos that show athletes or other people in action and relating their accomplishments below. The Exercist also writes posts to combat harmful or dangerous fitness myths, shares sources so readers can find more information, and points out when popular fitspo images have been Photoshopped.

On Instagram, many fitspo posters will share photos with those who belong to the same gym or running group as them with the tag #fitfam, meaning “fitness family”. This brings real world support in the form of workout buddies to social media; your fitfam might now include people who are several states or even countries away, offering an extra dose of support. Other tags often used for fitness include: #MondayMotivation, #TuesdayTransformation, #WednesdayWorkout, #Fitness, and #FitnessAddict.

As for social platforms that solely focus on fitness, there are options like Fitocracy (which has both a site and an app), MyFitnessPal, or the new Instagram-compatible app FitSnap that adds workout stats to your photos you can then share on Instagram or elsewhere. Wearables with social aspects are also hitting the market: Fitbit, Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone Up, and a host of others. You can even put your money where your mouth is with GymPact and earn cash for your workouts– or pay out when you don’t.  CNN covered a whole range of fitness devices and apps in an article last summer, along with discussing the psychological motivation that comes from social fitness shares.

If it’s accountability you’re looking for in your fitness journey, you no longer have to look much further than the device screen nearest you.

Written by Sarah

January 23rd, 2014 at 8:40 am

Posted in Trends

Tagged with , ,

Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady on Twitter

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The NFL NFC and AFC conference championships both played out yesterday, determining the Super Bowl matchup of the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks. To make things more interesting, we took a look at mentions of quarterbacks Peyton Manning of the Broncos and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots on Twitter, before, during and after they played out the AFC championship game. We were curious if the same name would come out ahead in social mentions as in the game itself. The verdict?

Tom Brady came away with about 13% of the mentions in the overall conversation, but Peyton Manning got ahead of him with 15%. And while the range of things said about professional athletes on Twitter is impressive, the two tweets below naming the QBs sum up the mood around each of their mentions pretty well.

The most retweeted tweet mentioning Brady:


And the most retweeted tweet mentioning Manning:

 

This just didn’t turn out to be Brady’s year. Better luck next time, Brady! In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye on the talk around Manning and much more as the Super Bowl approaches.

Written by Sarah

January 20th, 2014 at 4:01 pm

The Week in Social Analytics #85

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for This Week in Social Analytics and our favorite posts of the past week in the world of measurement, analytics, and social media. See a great piece we missed? Link to it in the comments, or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

More than Half of Social Media Ads Spending Will Go to Native In-stream Ads [from Social Media Today; written by Aaron Elliott]

“A study conducted by BI Intelligence shows that among all social media sites, the ones that will find natural ads most valuable are the ones that focus on photo sharing, like Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram.”

6 Tips for Instagram Marketing Mastery [from Jeff Bullas]

“What might be the biggest hurdle for the more business-minded individual is the understanding that Instagram is not just about selling.  In fact, using your account as a megaphone to promote your product or service is a surefire way to lose followers and leave you feeling like you are shouting into a deserted room.”

Brand Journalism: Breathe New Life into Old Content [from Spin Sucks; written by Gini Dietrich]

Relevant to this past Monday’s #MMchat; a fantastic resource for digital marketers or anyone interested in marketing and social media

How to Mobilize Your Brand Advocates through Storytelling [from Mack Collier]

“The most powerful thing about organic advocacy is the story behind customer’s experience. And because the endorsement is not paid for by the brand, and the story is something others can truly connect with, it becomes a great motivator in getting others to act on the endorsement. Advocacy, done right, becomes true influence. And influence is what impacts behaviors.” 

Emphasis original.

Update from the FDA on Social Media Guidance [from Common Sense; written by Aaron Strout]

“It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like the FDA is getting around to providing guidance to the healthcare industry around social media. Granted that realtime online conversations and the heavily regulated drug industry aren’t the most obvious of bedfellows, but it’s a reality and it’s here to stay.”

Cool or Uncool? Consumers Weigh in on Social Media Behavior [from Marketing Charts; written by staff]

“Brands ought to be wary of overstepping boundaries: two-thirds of respondents feel that a brand’s use of their content on its social media site without permission is ‘uncool.’ Also uncool? Brands calling with automated personalized messages, according to 57% of respondents.”

The Few, The Fervent: Fans Of ‘Supernatural’ Redefine TV Success [from NPR; written by Neda Ulaby]

“‘Nielsen has done a lot of research as to whether social media is helping people to tune in to TV,’ he says, noting that a show’s traction on Twitter and Tumblr is starting to affect how networks pitch shows to the all-important advertisers. ‘They’re no longer just including Nielsen ratings. They’re also including social TV data.’”

HBO Hedges on Social Media to Reach ‘Challenging’ Demographic [from Entrepreneur; written by Geoff Weiss]

“The HBO smash Girls, for instance, is making a full-court press in the digital sphere to hype its third season, which premiered last night. The network is prioritizing micro video apps like Snapchat and Vine over traditional advertising formats to galvanize its sizable digital audience.”

Written by Sarah

January 17th, 2014 at 7:32 am

A brief history of social commerce

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With the holiday season just behind us, it’s easy to forget that what is commonplace behavior now- bookmarking wanted items onto wishlists to share with friends and family, or using Twitter to give and receive product recommendations both spontaneous and prompted- were only just beginning to blossom five years ago.

The new year is the time most businesses write up their reviews of the past year and put together their predictions for what’s coming next. These reflections and predictions don’t have much weight without context, however, and that’s what we aim to provide here: A brief history of social commerce that can hopefully shed more light on why everything that worked in 2013 did so, and give us a better foundation for looking ahead to 2014. As social platforms become more integrated into our lives, social commerce becomes something every company must address, if only from a support perspective.

Social Commerce in 2008

The term “social commerce” was actually first introduced on Yahoo in 2005, but it wasn’t until three years later, in 2008, that it really began to build the foundations of what we recognize now as modern social commerce. 2008 was the year that expectations and suggestions around social media and e-commerce started to actually become business practices. However, the thinking was that social platforms were only good for increasing brand awareness and general marketing; the potential for revenue remained unrealized. Most companies thought of social ventures as a bonus activity, and not a requirement for success. (x)

2009

In 2009 as new technologies become ubiquitous- Twitter, smartphones- online and offline shopping begin to blend together more. Companies take notice of their customer’s changing behavior and build communities for them to interact and share information in. (x)

An argument grows about what exactly social commerce is: A revolution from e-commerce, or an evolution of it? Others argue that social commerce is something that shoppers do together (social shopping) while e-commerce is businesses being in a social space together. (x) This debate will continue to evolve over the next several years, without a final clear answer (though currently e-commerce and social commerce seem to be used pretty interchangeably with the term social shopping being differentiated).

2010

2010 found social commerce really beginning to pick up steam around the world– however marked cultural differences become clear between those who turn to social outlets for shopping in order to save money, and those who come primarily for the fun, social aspect of it (x). An all-encompassing global strategy therefore isn’t going to cut it; brands wanting to engage in social commerce will have to develop targeted, regional approaches.

Group buying endeavors like the aptly named Groupon hit their heyday in 2010, and Facebook begins to turn a real profit, getting skeptics seriously excited about the future possibilities with social commerce. Twitter users follow brands for deals and are often motivated to click through to a site where they can make a purchase, but a click-through doesn’t guarantee a purchase and shopping cart abandonment is an issue. Consequently, this is also the year that stores work harder via social to retain customers and keep them coming back to the physical store to shop (x).

2011

Pinterest, launched in 2010, sees explosive growth in 2011. Its image-based design with easy click-throughs to sources makes it perfect for showcasing products.  Facebook gets its own term for social commerce on the platform: F-Commerce. Options range from built-in storefronts that lead off-site to make purchases, but that include varying levels of social engagement (“ask a friend” about a product, for example) to complete in-Facebook purchasing with companies like 1-800-Flowers. The future of F-commerce is uncertain, but seems promising if some kinks- like having to go off-site to complete purchases- can be ironed out.

Since 2011

A lot shifts as e-commerce picks up steam in conjunction with social platforms, from 2011 onward. F-commerce sees decline from clumsy design; big stores like Gap, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney close their Facebook shops. A few tweaks could revitalize F-commerce, however, since Facebook’s core user group remains loyal and users still consult their social networks when shopping.

Pinterest continues to gain market share (possibly in part due to its long tail sales cycle), but may have a solid challenger in relative newcomer Polyvore, a social commerce site that allows users to build “sets” to express their style, then buy.  Other platforms- like photo sharing site Instagram and blogging site Tumblr- begin to experiment with advertising, which may eventually lead to e-commerce efforts. Google+ has potential too, from the sheer size of the user base and potential SEO benefits.

With the “Internet of Things” fast approaching on the horizon, 2014 looks to be the debut of things such as t-commerce, or buying H&M underwear via your smart TV during the Super Bowl. What about Twitter commerce; shouldn’t that be t-commerce? In 2013, Twitter hires its first Head of Commerce to help enable shopping directly via its 140-character posts.

Overall, online retail is only expected to grow, with Forrester predicting sales of $370 billion by 2017. Increasing portions of the population use the mobile and tablet devices they use for social platforms to shop as well, which reinforces the idea of growing social commerce. It will be interesting to see how quickly being able to buy something directly from whatever platform- or object- you happen to be using becomes ubiquitous, and whether one platform or object will be able to rule the lion’s share of the social commerce field.

So, with all of that, what are your predictions?

 

Note: The Evolution of Social Commerce: The People, Management, Technology, and Information Dimensions by Chingning Wang & Ping Zhang (pre-publication version)- was a tremendous help in forming the basis of this research, especially in the summaries of the years before 2010. Paragraphs and sentences built from its ideas have been marked and linked (x).

Written by Sarah

January 16th, 2014 at 12:35 pm