December 2013






The New Year…

naturally gets us thinking about honing the way we work and exploring new avenues. As we gear up for 2014, we hear how a productivity-master Connector tackles his day, examine tactics for covering events on Storify, learn about a campaign to help people plan for the future, and see what innovative brands have been up to on Tumblr. All this, plus sloths, sharks, contrite CEOs, noteworthy December headlines, and much more.

Cover photo: New Years fireworks
at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort
Social Stats
Social Networking Stats

  What’s Trending

Search Traffic Dropped, Social Traffic Doubled in Past Year
“If you rely on social media platforms for a large portion of your traffic, get ready to scale up your social media marketing efforts and budget. If you’re currently inactive on social media, begin carving out more and more resources for social. The data suggests you won’t regret it.”
Source: Shareaholic

There’s no need for panic here. Search and social are both wise, complementary investments. They just work differently. The immediate traffic gained on social channels rapidly declines as posts get buried and disappear. Giving content a permanent, search-friendly home, such as a blog, mitigates this inherent content decay. Linking to blog content from social posts also helps with search rankings, and may drive search activity: People often see content in a social feed, then Google it. According to Adobe, this “first-click attribution” accounts for some 75 percent of social media referrals.

Global Trend

Badoo Becomes No. 3 Social Network in Brazil
“The most significant change, however, came with Badoo’s ascension to third-most-visited social network site in Brazil, pushing both of Google’s social networks, Google+ and the declining-but-popular orkut, even further from the top.”
Source: eMarketer

Badoo has taken some harsh blows in the past over deceptive marketing, lax privacy, and the creation of bulk fake profiles. Some also question whether this is a social networking site or a hookup enabler. As with any niche network, do your homework and make sure the audience and content is right for your brand’s participation.

Active Users: 1,190,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 167,000,000

Monthly U.S. Active Users: 53,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 232,000,000

Active Users: 259,000,000
Registered U.S. Members: 84,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 62,000,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 174,700,000

Users: 150,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 25,200,000

Blogs: 150,000,000

Users: 70,000,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 35,900,000

Users: 51,600,000
Monthly Visitors: 60,000,000

Registered Users: 200,000,000+
Active Users: 100,000,000+
Monthly Visitors: 44,000,000

Users: 65,300,000

Monthly Unique Visitors: 19,000,000

Registered Users: 194,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 54,000,000

Users: 600,000,000
Daily Active Users: 60,200,000

Monthly Active Users: 623,300,000

Users: 50,000,000

Cats vs. Sloths



“It might be that right now, people don’t care about stories about cats that much, and instead, sloths are more popular. So I’ll have a rule – cats are out, sloths are in, focus on sloths because that’s going to be your meal ticket.”

– Gawker editor Neetzan Zimmerman on predicting what stories will go viral, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal
Advertising Trends


Is a Controversial Ad Better Than No Ad at All?

“It seems clear that it indeed drove awareness — whether you liked the ad or not, you probably have been thinking more about Kmart in the past five weeks than in the five weeks prior.”
Source: Mashable

Although many marketers are competing for the most “viral” video, data have not proven that these high engagement rates result in conversions. Spending advertising budgets on videos that create noise doesn’t always create sales. However, some brand videos that go viral also succeed in conveying key messaging. Most recently, WestJet Airlines’ viral video (“Christmas Miracle”) garnered over 34 million views and sustained awareness while getting across their core messaging of teamwork, customer care and efficiency.

Facebook Introduces New Video Ad Format

“This week, we’re starting to test this richer storytelling format for advertisers. Compelling sight, sound and motion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns, particularly when brands want to increase awareness and attention over a short period of time. From launching new products to shifting brand sentiment, this video format is ideal for marketers who are looking to make a large-scale impact, and for people who will discover more great content in their News Feeds.”
Source: Facebook

Facebook’s reach and engagement currently rivals television’s, and with spending on digital video ads up 43.5% from last year, the market trend is in Facebook’s favor. Not only will video ads help Facebook compete with television networks, it will also tap into YouTube’s market share, which totals 20% of the digital video ad spend to date. Taking the recent onset of additional competition into consideration, YouTube will need to innovate and enhance its services to maintain their current market share.

“Native” Expanding At Twice The Rate Of Display

“Native advertising formats — ads that mimic the native non-advertising content on a publisher’s page — now represent more than a third (35.7%) of all advertising sold by social media outlets in the U.S. […] The analysis, which is an update to its U.S. Social Local Media Forecast, projects native formats will rise to 42% of social media spending in 2017.”
Source: MediaPost

While the data on native advertising effectiveness is still inconclusive, it makes sense that customers would engage with content that enhances the online social experience more than advertising that interrupts it. For example, sponsored Facebook stories your friends and family have interacted with may be more interesting than ads to the right of your news feed. The fundamentals apply: Focus on compelling content that makes a connection with the user.

Noteworthy News


Facebook Brand Page Reach Declined
Rapidly in December

“Ignite analysts reviewed 689 posts across 21 brand pages… and found that, in the week since December 1, organic reach and organic reach percentage have each declined by 44% on average, with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.”
Source: Ignite Social Media

This news validates the need for a hub and spoke approach in brand publishing. It’s risky to count on a Facebook brand page (or any other channel you don’t completely control) to be your primary content delivery method. Producing a mix of social content, blog posts, and static content can help ensure your content is found in search and social.


Fired Chef Seizes Restaurant’s Twitter Account

“Protip: After firing your head chef just days before Christmas for wanting to take time off to spend with his newborn daughter, remember to take away his access to the restaurant’s official Twitter account. Unfortunately for them, the Plough Pub in Oxfordshire, England, failed to follow that basic rule of wrongful termination, leading sacked chef Jim Knight to seize its Twitter feed so he could tell his side of the story.”

Source: Gawker

This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last. It’s not enough to rely on internal social media policies or legal contracts to curb this kind of behavior. Disgruntled employees can tear apart your reputation, whether their arguments are valid or not or in compliance with their contract or not. A CRM/publishing tool like SocialEngage makes it simple to remove a single user without changing passwords on a dozen or more accounts. This safeguard can save brands and companies from a huge headache.

Vine Gets Vanity URLs

“As a holiday treat, Twitter has announced that it will begin allowing Vine users to register for vanity URLs for their profiles… Although not specified in its correspondence, one thing that users will also receive is a Vine-specific profile page. Currently, when you view someone’s Vine, there’s no option to find previous videos that they’ve done.”

Source: TheNextWeb

This is a big new feature, on par with Instagram rolling out vanity URLs after being mobile-only for a long while. Finally bringing web profiles to Vine will allow brand publishers who have established a presence there to cross-promote that profile more extensively, particularly on-domain.

Vine Vanity URLs

SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor Tweet Sparks Outrage

“Perhaps more amazingly, assuming it is not part of a brilliant trolling strategy, 13 hours later the tweet still stands, as defiant as the pose Mr. O struck. It is also destined to enter the pantheon of bad brand tweets, made in the name of real-time marketing and the desperate need to be relevant.”

Source: Digiday

Brands can’t win when it comes to sensitive subjects like this, and the ground is especially shaky when the event isn’t relevant to the brand’s identity. In this case, the playful tone felt insensitive, and SpaghettiOs went on to demonstrate a general disregard for their followers by leaving the tweet up for half a day while they got lambasted. Real-time marketing can work in some cases, but it must be brand relevant and match the tone of the event. A nice counter-example is DiGiorno’s “Sound of Music” live tweeting. DiGiorno made it on-brand and matched the tone of the event, and “The Sound of Music” isn’t a terribly polarizing subject.

Target vs. Tesla

“Target’s letter does not provide any indication that the CEO understands the problem, and by leaving out any data, it implies readers won’t either. Tesla’s note doesn’t bleed emotion; it just leans on brutal transparency.”

– Len Kendall, in an editorial for The Next Web comparing CEO open letters addressing Tesla car fires and Target’s massive credit and debit card breach.


Three Species of Tumblr Brand Blogs:
A Field Guide

Tumblr is a force to be reckoned with on the social Web, with traffic to the site increasing by 74% from 2012 to 2013. Still, for many brands it’s an open question whether – and how – to leverage the platform. Among the many brands already succeeding on Tumblr, we’ve delineated three broad types of blogs to help provide some insight into what’s working particularly well. (Although, of course, many brands blend elements of the different types.) Here’s an introduction to each of those types, with some illustrative examples of how different brands are making the format work for them.

NBA Through the Lens
The Museum of Modern Art
The Visual Stunners

These blogs are all images, all the time, and they’re all about looking impressive. They function well as both follower-friendly channels and eye-candy destinations unto themselves. The brands that make these blogs work best have lots of visually arresting content to share.


PlayStation’s Tumblr mixes GIFs and images from PlayStation titles with hand-picked fan art curated from the gaming community. The community engagement and playful tags make it clear that the brand bloggers love gaming just as much as the fans do.

NBA Through the Lens
The NBA’s Tumblr is elegant and straightforward. It offers nothing but high-resolution, captivating photos with basic descriptive captions.

Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art naturally lends itself to a visual-focused Tumblr strategy. The blog represents the brand perfectly: It’s both irreverent in tone and respectful of the intrinsic value of art (much like many works of modern art). Occasional references to pop culture help the content feel fresh and relevant, as in a post that compares Beyoncé to Magritte, and one that references the TV series “Arrested Development.” These are a particularly good fit for Tumblr’s youthful, pop culture-savvy community.

The Lifestyle Blogs

These blogs tend to blend in with the Tumblr community more than typical brand blogs do. Their content is a mixture of branded and non-branded, original and curated. These blogs seek to do more than showcase products; they want to create a personality for the brand.


Tomorrow is Now
Jeep’s Tumblr features almost no explicitly branded content; even the URL doesn’t indicate that it’s a brand blog. Instead, the blog’s subhead asks, “What adventures will you seek?” – with the implication, of course, that Jeep will be your ally in the quest. Most of the content is curated user submissions, which, more than inorganic ads, convey the point: Jeep is a brand of carpe diem, ready for excitement and the unknown.

General Electric
General Electric uses its Tumblr to take a brand that many perceive as old-fashioned or intangible and make it human and relevant. The personality the blog constructs is cutting-edge and smart, showcasing both recent GE innovations and a commitment to the spirit of innovation.

The White House
When it comes to personality-filled brand blogs, nobody does it like the team behind the POTUS. The tone of the White House Tumblr is down-to-earth and frank as it shares peeks into the human side of presidential life. It’s friendly and familiar without being inappropriately goofy. The blog strikes a good balance between respecting the dignified nature of the “brand” and catering to the Tumblr community with GIFs, humor, and pithy statements.

Tomorrow is Now
General Electric
The Official White House Tumblr

Rookie Mag
Yahoo Finance

Branch Blogs

For brands with high-frequency publishing programs, it’s both redundant and inefficient to set up a whole new content plan for Tumblr. Instead, a brand that churns out a lot of content – like a news outlet or active corporate blog – can use Tumblr as a “branch” off of its central platform. In these cases, content from the main site can be selectively crossposted to Tumblr, with an eye-catching image or quote and a link back to the source. Of course, some original content in the mix gives the Tumblr its own flavor and value to followers.


NPR’s Tumblr curates the most notable or intriguing stories from an abundance of available content. The posts come from both and reblogs of more niche NPR-affiliated Tumblrs, like those for individual NPR programs. The secret sauce that makes this blog especially fun to follow is the clear voice of the blog’s various contributors. Members of the Tumblr team will personally sign posts or commentary they write and share candid, first-person remarks in the post tags.

Rookie, an online magazine for teen girls, is right at home on Tumblr. The content includes both posts linking back to the main site and curated reblogs, all with original commentary from Rookie’s Tumblr team. The personalities of the bloggers are clearly conveyed in each post, and the individual author of any original post or commentary is plainly noted. The whole package comes with funny tags and an irreverent tone, written in the same style as used by the blog’s readers – think minimal capitalization, acronyms, and the use of tildes for humorous emphasis.

Yahoo Finance
The Yahoo Finance Tumblr punches up its relatively dry subject matter with an emphasis on visual assets and a tone that’s both playful and knowledgeable. Curated content is chosen based on what will be most useful to followers or easily catch their attention.

On Workflow: Mike Manuel
Confessions of a Paper Hater

Behind every successful Connector is a unique way of looking at day-to-day workflow and process, whether deliberate and carefully crafted, or organic and ad hoc. Lifehacker’s How I Work series is a perennial favorite of many of us, and we thought it would be enlightening to take a similar look at the various ways folks on our team get things done.

We’re happy to begin the “On Workflow” series with Mike Manuel, PNConnect’s General Manager. Special thanks to Mike for letting us peer over his shoulder to learn how he approaches his day.

What do you listen to while you work?

Lately I’ve been listening to soundtracks – specifically “Dark Knight.” It’s like a lot of Hans Zimmer music: something I can listen to in the background. It’s got some dimension to it, but it’s not yelling at me and pulling attention away from other stuff.

What does your desk look like?

I keep my desk as sparse as I possibly can. I don’t collect things, and I don’t print out a lot of stuff that I receive during the day. I don’t get a lot of mail. Of the things that might build up, I keep them in electronic form.

I do believe there is such a thing as visual stress and a desk that’s overflowing with papers to me is a form of visual stress. Working at a messy desk to me is like trying to cook in a messy kitchen. Who prefers that?

How do you get started with a new client?

I have my pre-flight to-do list, which is a handful of things I know I need to do when an account is getting onboarded. That could be administrative stuff — is the contract signed, do we have the SOW… minor checkboxes for me to keep me honest.

And then the other side of it is the team: Have I told them what the projections are, what their tasks are? That’s an Evernote note that I keep so I go back and reference it if I need to.

What’s one thing you do that everyone else thinks is crazy?

I don’t keep any apps on my iPhone home screen. I use Search any time I want to use an app. I showed a colleague that and he was like, “Man, that’s crazy.” It’s the same as nested folders in Outlook — I just don’t believe in it. So, I keep my apps nested in folders on the second or third screen and then use Search any time I need one.

What does your day-to-day workflow look like?

I’m certainly an advocate of Getting Things Done. With some modifications that’s how I approach most things throughout the day. And to me, GTD and Inbox Zero go hand in hand. If you’re doing the GTD protocols correctly then you have inbox zero.
I never use my email inbox as my to-do list. I feel very strongly about that practice. If I get a note that I can respond to in 30 seconds, I will. If it’s something that takes more time, it becomes a to-do item, dumped into a program called Omnifocus.

Whenever I have a moment, I’ll go through and process email… then I’ll spend time in Omnifocus to figure out when and how to attack things that need to get done, today, this week, next week.

How do you take notes in meetings?

For me, capturing information is still a manual process. What I don’t want is to be redundant and have to-dos in a notebook, computer, everywhere — in general I just don’t like paper.

The cool thing I’ve been playing with, which I just got over the break, is a Wipebook. Essentially, it’s a notebook, but all the pages look and act like a whiteboard. I’m liking it because notebooks don’t work great. I’ll dump notes I’ve taken on paper into Omnifocus, but then the value of the original filled notebook is kind of lost for me. Can’t search it, don’t remember what’s in there, so it’s kind of a broken system for me. With the Wipebook, I’m staying focused on a couple pages, and as the need goes away, I erase and start over. I like to draw as well, so it allows that. It has many pages, so I can archive things as much as I need to.

What recurring work problems have you not been able to solve?

The big pain is that my system is my system, and I wish that everyone processed to-dos the way I did. To me that would create some efficiencies. I create “waiting” to-dos, which are things I’m waiting for other people to finish dependencies around.

In order to close out, I have to spend a lot of cycles chasing different folks to see if they’ve completed their piece. Unfortunately I don’t have a system to see if you or the client has made progress against a thing so I can move ahead.

Safe to Get Back in the Water


“This kind of innovative thinking is exactly what we need more of when it comes to finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict.”

– Alison Kock, research manager of the Shark Spotters program, in a story on NPR about Australian sharks with GPS trackers that automatically tweet when they’re near a beach


Case Study

PN Case Study
Preparing for the Future

With the number of people over age 65 set to double by 2020, the importance of planning for old age has never been greater. The Administration on Aging asked Porter Novelli Public Services (PNPS) to educate Americans about the benefits of planning for future care, motivate them to take action, and make it easy for them to do so. Research showed that the target audience starts the planning process with online research, highlighting the strategic importance of a user-friendly, action-oriented website.

First and foremost, it was essential to create a positive, intuitive experience across The team streamlined navigation and overhauled site copy, replacing acronyms and jargon with everyday terms like “The Basics.” As research had shown a significant portion of the audience received Medicare or Medicaid, the team covered the topics in new, standalone section highlighted on the home page. New animated videos provided straightforward, benefits-focused explanations on key issues. Additionally, the team added a simple PathFinder tool to every page, allowing visitors to find targeted resources based on their age and need state.

To drive traffic to the site, PNPS researched and executed a paid and earned media plan. The integrated campaign included display ads on websites trusted and visited frequently by the audience, including AARP, AOL, Kiplingers, and WebMD, as well as public service radio ads and earned media coverage in the New York Times, New Old Age blog and elsewhere. Partnerships with the Huffington Post positioned editorial content and infographics on topics such as the “Seven Myths of Long-Term Care” next to the ads. The team optimized paid search daily to ensure peak effectiveness and efficiency.

Overall, site traffic sustained after the campaign, remaining 48 percent higher than pre-campaign levels. Advertising not only increased traffic during the campaign, but the continued traffic levels suggest an increased awareness of both the site’s content and the need for long-term care. Additionally, site updates helped decrease overall bounce rate by 46 percent, indicating higher visitor engagement.

When addressing a busy audience, an effortless user experience is critical. Streamlined design, intuitive navigation and tools that offer value are keys to keeping a user interested in learning more. Amplifying easy-to-use and helpful information using a diverse media plan can not only ensure that a campaign reaches the target audience, it can have a lasting effect on awareness even after the ad dollars run out. The campaign delivered on all of its goals and positioned The Administration on Aging for improved results moving forward.

On Millenials and Facebook

Are Millennials suffering from “Facebook fatigue”? The answer is yes and no. New data from Porter Novelli show that Facebook is still the most popular social network for Millennials, but around one in four (24%) are using it less than they did a year ago, with newer services like Snapchat and Pinterest gaining share. Our latest Digital Demographics USA infographic has more data points and insights to help brands and organizations engage with this important audience on Facebook and beyond.

You can download the full report here.



Covering Panels with Storify

Storify is a simple and effective way of weaving together social media updates into a compelling narrative, especially when used to chart a real-time event. Yet it’s often either underutilized, or simply harnessed to pull together a list of tweets without any supporting commentary that would add depth and context. Recently Porter Novelli’s DC office used Storify to capture the discussion from a panel titled “New Age in Aging” on the impact of the 78 million Baby Boomers moving into retirement. To share the discussion beyond the attendees in the room, we created a Storify summary. Here are our five tips on how to get the most from this tool.

1. Determine Your Narrative

What’s the point? Decide the story you are hoping to tell through Storify. Just as with any other story, hitting the interesting highlights is key to keeping readers engaged. When you are selecting social media posts to include, make sure to keep the purpose of the event front of mind.

2. Provide Background

For panels and other live events, giving background on the event at the beginning of the story is essential. Share information about the topic and the speakers including their names and professional titles. For a story based on an educational panel, many readers will want the opportunity to look up the speakers to learn more about their credentials.

3. Create an Event Timeline

Help readers feel like they experienced the event in real-time. Social media posts, in chronological order, can help account for the entire event. For a panel, many attendees are live-tweeting with quotes or data that the speakers shared.

4. Include Many Voices

Not everyone is a social media expert, but everyone has a voice. Give your Storify more life by incorporating a variety of voices into the narrative. Attendees, program hosts and sponsors all bring a different perspective – share some of each.

5. Expand on Posts

Some tweets speak for themselves – others do not. Make sure to expand on posts to provide context and highlight other relevant information. This will create a richer, more engaging story. It also gives the opportunity to share facts and insights that may not be conveyed in 140 characters or less.


PNConnect is the global digital services offering from Porter Novelli. Our global team spans 60 countries and brings the combined digital resources of our social media marketing, creative production, paid promotions and web development capabilities together for one purpose — to help our clients share their story with the world.

For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.


Thank You


Many thanks to our December contributors.

Mary Gaulke in Winter Haven, Florida, contributed this month’s Feature about brands on Tumblr, and Mary Walker in Washington, D.C., shared her guide to covering an event with Storify. Chris Thilk and Chad Hyett contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats and Noteworthy News sections, and Amanda Wu provided the latest stats. Allison Brill in Washington, D.C., shared updates and insights on Advertising Trends and our case study on The Administration on Aging. Helen Nowicka in Washington, D.C., shared our Digital Demographics USA infographic. Mike Manuel in San Francisco gave us a look inside his workflow, with photos from Joel Espanol. The Disney Parks Blog provided the photo for our cover page, and Josh Hallett provided the Welcome page photo. The sloth photo was uploaded to Flickr by Marissa Strniste, the shark photo by Jeff Kubina, and the arrows photo by Hans Splinter, some rights reserved. Some backgrounds courtesy of

Thanks to Jennifer Laker, John Ciacia, Peter Schiebel, Jeremy Harrington, and Sean O’Shaughnessy from the Platforms team for providing design and development support, and to Mary Gaulke, Josh Hallett, Dave Coustan, Tom Harris and Lauren Sandelin for editorial oversight and proofing.

Drop Us a Line

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this edition and your suggestions for future issues.



Top iOS Apps

iPhone Top Paid

Cut the Rope 2 – Games
Heads Up! – Games
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
AfterLight – Photo & Video
Plague Inc. – Games
Ski Safari: Adventure Time – Games
7 Minute Workout Challenge – Health & Fitness
Survival Games – Games
Scribblenauts Remix – Games
Facetune – Photo & Video

iPhone Top Free

Jet Car Stunts 2 – Games
Scanner Pro by Readdle – Business
Flipagram – Photo & Video
Facebook Messenger – Social Networking
QuizUp – Games
Hot or Not! – Social Networking
Snapchat – Photo & Video
Farm Heroes Saga – Games
YouTube – Photo & Video
Nike Training Club – Health & Fitness
iPad Top Paid

Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Cut the Rope 2 – Games
Heads Up! – Games
The Room Two – Games
The Room – Games
Survival Games – Games
Feed Me Oil 2 – Games
Ski Safari: Adventure Time – Games
Scribblenauts Remix – Games
Notability – Productivity
iPad Top Free

Yahoo Weather – Weather
Scanner Pro by Readdle – Business
LEGO City My City – Games
Farm Heroes Saga – Games
Calculator for iPad Free – Utilities
Netflix – Entertainment
The Weather Channel – Weather
YouTube – Photo & Video
Angry Birds Go! – Games
Skype for iPad – Social Networking

Top Android & Windows Mobile Apps

Android Top Paid

Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
SwiftKey Keyboard – Productivity
Titanium Backup Pro Key Root – Tools
Poweramp Full Version Unlocker – Music & Audio
Nova Launcher Prime – Personalization
The Game Of Life – Games
Root Explorer – Productivity
Beautiful Widgets Pro – Personalization
FoxFi Key – Communication
WipeOut – Arcade & Action
Android Top Free

Facebook – Social
Pandora – Music & Audio
Facebook Messenger – Communication
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Clean Master (Cleaner) – Tools
Instagram – Social
Netflix – Entertainment
Farm Heroes Saga – Games, Casual
Subway Surfers – Games, Arcade & Action
Skype – Communication

Windows Top Paid

Amazing Weather HD – News + Weather
MoliPlayer Pro – Music & Video
Nextgen Reader – News & Weather
Note+ – Tools + Productivity
Music+ – Music + Video
Facebook – Social
Stopwatch+ – Tools + Productivity
SuperPhoto – Photo
Switch to iOS – Tools + Productivity
Measure Note – Photo
Windows Top Free

Instagram BETA – Photo
Kik Messenger – Social
Pandora – Music & Video
Facebook – Social
Netflix – Entertainment
6snap – Social
Adobe Reader – Tools & Productivity
Skype – Social
WhatsApp – Social
Flashlight-X – Tools & Productivity