Cover


MONTHLY TRENDS REPORT

November 2013

 

 

 

 

Welcome

 

Making an Impression…

is no small feat for brands clamoring for a share of voice on social media. In this month’s feature, we consider strategies for creating social content that stands out during the holiday season. Our November Spotlight subject discusses the unique challenges for brands on social media in Latin America. We also share Insights into setting goals that accurately gauge your brand’s online impact. All this, plus noteworthy November headlines and stats, a new case study, and much more.

Cover photo: The Standard High Line hotel in New York City
during the launch event for the PlayStation 4
Social Stats
Social Networking Stats

  What’s Trending

Programmatic is on the Rise
“The fact is, programmatic is a fast-growing part of the buying and selling of media. How fast? This year, eMarketer predicts that advertisers in the U.S. will spend $3.36 billion on a thing called ‘real-time bidding,’ up from just shy of $2 billion in 2012.”
Source: Adweek

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
AOL, Google, and a number of other publishers are embracing programmatic ads – broadly speaking, ad-buying driven by software and algorithms applying a set of rules. Many advertisers are using it as a way to automate media-buying decisions, which is a tempting and promising proposition particularly at scale.

Global Trend

India Leads Worldwide Social Networking Growth
“The fastest growth in social network usage is happening in less-developed markets, however. India, with the highest growth this year, will increase user numbers by 37.4 percent, while Indonesia’s numbers will climb 28.7 percent and Mexico will grow its social network user base by 21.1 percent.”
Source: eMarketer

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
Emerging markets provide excellent opportunities for brands in the social media space because the adoption and engagement is very high. And according to Global Web Index data, social media users in emerging markets are far more likely to engage with brand content online. If you are focused on India, China, South America or any emerging market, we recommend focusing on the local networks and taking great care to produce content that conforms to the inherent online culture within those markets.


Worldwide
FACEBOOK
Active Users: 1,115,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 164,600,000

TWITTER
Users: 231,700,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 90,100,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 232,000,000

LINKEDIN
Users: 238,000,000
Monthly U.S. Members: 84,000,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 77,300,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 184,000,000

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

TUMBLR
Blogs: 147,000,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 300,000,000+

PINTEREST
Users: 70,000,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 28,000,000

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

RUSSIA
VK
Registered Users: 200,000,000+
Active Users: 100,000,000+
Monthly Visitors: 49,200,000

Odnoklassniki
Users: 65,300,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 19,000,000


KOREA
Cyworld
Users: 25,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 1,200,000


CHINA
RenRen
Users: 170,000,000+
Monthly Visitors: 54,000,000

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

Qzone
Monthly Active Users: 599,000,000
Monthly Global Visitors: 101,500,000


JAPAN
Mixi
Users: 50,000,000
Monthly Visitors: 15,000,000

Porn vs. Social Media

“As social networking traffic has increased, visits to porn sites have decreased. My theory is that young users spend so much time on social networks that they don’t have time to look at adult sites.”

– Bill Tancer, GM of Global Research at Hitwise, on porn’s drop from 20 percent of searches a decade ago to about 10 percent today, in an interview with Reuters

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising Trends

 

Sponsored-Content Growth Faster Than Predicted

“The new forecast predicts that marketers will spend $1.9 billion on sponsored content this year, a 24 percent hike from last year, and devote $3.2 billion to the tactic by 2017.”
Source: AdAge

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
Much of the growth is coming from digital publishers introducing new product offerings that open up opportunities for brands and organizations. The keys to success are ensuring your sponsored content is clearly marked as sponsored and ensuring your content both takes advantage of the unique appeal of the platform and hits on what your audience wants.






Tumblr Introduces New Trending Ads on Mobile

“The Yahoo-owned social blogging site announced today that it would sell Sponsored Trending Blog placements to brands looking to post messages via Tumblr’s mobile app. The new ad format is Tumblr’s second on mobile and fifth advertising product overall, according to a release from the company.”
Source: Adweek

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
With yet more opportunities for brands to buy their way into people’s Tumblr Dashboard, Yahoo! could be approaching a tipping point, shifting from providing value to users (and advertisers) to alienating those users with advertising overkill. But at this point, especially for brands looking to reach young people, Tumblr can be a great place to advertise – if done properly.

A Look at Ads on Instagram

“You’ll know a photo or video is an advertisement when you see the ‘Sponsored’ label where the time stamp normally would be. Tap this label to learn more about how advertising works on Instagram. We want ads to be creative and engaging, so we’re starting with just a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”
Source: Instagram Blog

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
As expected, this program is starting with brands that are already big Instagram users. Eventually, it’s likely brands will have access to a special dashboard that will allow them to give a paid boost to the photos they publish to reach more people. Just as with Tumblr, if you are trying to reach certain core actively sharing audiences, this could be a good choice.



Noteworthy News

 


Pinterest Introduces Place Pins

“Place Pins were designed to combine the beautiful imagery of a travel magazine with the utility of a map online so you can share it with friends. You can access them from anywhere on your smartphone, too, which means you can find new places on the go and even get directions! Place Pins also include extra details like the address and phone number right on the Pin so you can easily pull up useful info on a weekend adventure or a night out.”
Source: Pinterest Blog

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
It’s remarkable that with one feature addition, Pinterest has jumped into the ring with Yelp and Foursquare. By simply offering the ability to attach pins to a map, they’ve created an instant place-based review/recommendation engine. Out of the gate, users have voiced frustration with the feature’s usability. Success will depend on delivering an intuitive experience and quality content.


 


 


Google Kills Currents, Launches Newsstand

“Google said on Wednesday that it is launching a one-stop Android shop for magazine, newspaper and blog content called Google Newsstand, an app created by merging Currents — the Flipboard-style magazine app it first launched in 2011 — with its existing Google Play magazine store.”

Source: Gigaom

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
This appears to be not only a major move against Flipboard, but also a substantial gesture to appease news publishers. By integrating registrations and subscription accounts from other sites, Google is likely hoping to undo ill will engendered by unauthorized content aggregation on Google News. But it’s hard to trust the service’s long-term viability in light of the fates met by Google Reader and other products.


Twitter Introduces Custom Timelines

“Custom timelines are an entirely new type of timeline – one that you create. You name it, and choose the Tweets you want to add to it, either by hand or programmatically using the API (more on that below). This means that when the conversation around an event or topic takes off on Twitter, you have the opportunity to create a timeline that surfaces what you believe to be the most noteworthy, relevant Tweets.”

Source: Twitter Developers Blog

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
This is a big new development that brings a limited palette of curation chops to native Twitter publishing – a major missing feature that has led to brands and others jury-rigging solutions, such as curated hashtags, or using third-party tools like Storify. The addition could be significant for live events and other moments publishers want to highlight. Right now, the functionality is only available via Tweetdeck (not surprising considering it’s an owned tool), but it will likely expand to other tools in the coming months.



Bernanke

“…While these types of innovations [Bitcoin and other virtual currencies] may pose risks related to law enforcement and supervisory matters, there are also areas in which they may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.”

– Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on virtual currencies, in a letter to Congress that may have caused Bitcoin’s value to shoot up to $1,000.

Feature

Tips for Brand Social Media
During the Holidays

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and many of us are looking forward to some end-of-year time off. But while we relax at home with hot cocoa and family, the hectic world of social media will continue to race forward. Here are some tips to help ensure your brand doesn’t fall behind while everyone’s out of the office.



Big-Picture Thinking

  • Reduce your publishing cadence. Your active audience will be much smaller, especially on days most people have off (such as December 25). So scale back your frequency and be tasteful in the type of content you do share. Remember that most people will not be paying attention to what brands have to say on these days.
  • Consider giving your social channel a holiday/end-of-year facelift. The PN Connect team can help develop holiday-neutral cover images to suit the season.
  • Keep common responses handy. Build out a pre-approved list of responses to frequently asked questions to be in a position to quickly respond while offline.
  • Expect a dip in traffic and engagement. Don’t be surprised when your numbers are lower in December than in other months. Focus on comparing to past Decembers for a more accurate measure.


Plan, Plan, Plan

  • Start planning content early. It is much easier to draft content 2-3 weeks in advance than scramble to piece together updates that are disjointed or just filler.
  • Be aggressive in pursuing holiday content plans and ideas. Begin discussing holiday content several weeks in advance during team meetings.
  • Set a concrete deadline by which all content must be written in order to get it prepared and scheduled prior to the break.
  • Carefully track the status of holiday content: What’s planned for which dates, what’s been written, and what’s scheduled. In the weeks leading up to the break, share regular updates about what’s been completed and what still needs to be done.





Communicate About Coverage

  • Transparency is key. As soon as possible, share a comprehensive listing of time off for everyone on both the agency and brand sides of the team, for both the holiday break itself and any additional vacation time surrounding it.
  • Plan an on-call schedule for who can be available on which days during the break. This ensures that there will always be someone to contact if necessary.
  • Set clear expectations about what work will be necessary during the holiday. Is the on-call schedule meant only for emergencies, or are there additional tasks that will need to be completed during the break?
  • Before the break begins, send a final handover reiterating the status of holiday content, the up-to-date coverage schedule, and the procedure for contacting the team over the holiday.


Content Ideas

  • Review previous years’ content to brainstorm new ideas or see if there’s a recurring feature you’d like to revisit.
  • Be tasteful and true to your brand. Think about what’s authentic in terms of how your brand acknowledges the season, both in tone and quantity of holiday-related content. This is a good time to take a break from selling and be human, placing the focus on traditions and nostalgia.
  • Consider long-form or premium content. With all the holiday downtime, followers are more willing to invest their attention in quality content for which they may not typically spare the time.
  • Show your brand’s human side. Is giving back to the community a priority for your brand? Now is a good time to showcase recent activities, especially ones associated with the holidays.
  • If you’re not able to generate new content, you can take a new approach in repurposing old content. The holidays are a great time to spotlight the year’s best content, but be creative in how you package it.
  • Look ahead. The end of the year means the beginning of the next year. Look for opportunities to talk about industry predictions for the coming year.
  • Remember your audience is global. You can tie in holiday references but don’t forget that some of your followers are still looking for the type of content they’re used to seeing.





Spotlight
Moises Feintuch


Each issue, we hear from a digital or social media program leader. This month we talk to Moises Feintuch, Digital Manager at Porter Novelli Mexico.

What role do you play at Porter Novelli?
My role since I joined Porter Novelli Mexico three years ago has been to turn the traditional PR practice into a social practice, integrating the best of both worlds to benefit our customers in Mexico and Latin America.

What developments on the Web are you most excited about right now?
Broadly speaking, I’m excited about how quickly the digital world is moving and evolving. This year, I’ve been fascinated by the ways social networks have become not only a social site for friends, but also critical business tools. I’ve been especially interested in Yammer and Asana. I think we’re at a turning point, and it’s clear receiving hundreds of emails a day is no longer an efficient way to conduct business or work as a real team. Imagine what platforms we’ll be using in the next 5 years.

What one thing would you change about the digital landscape today?
The Latin American region is in the process of understanding and adopting the digital world. People are beginning to understand how social media can meet a range of personal and professional needs. But the vision inside many companies still needs to change. As companies in Latin America begin to adopt social media as a pillar in their marketing and communication campaigns, the leaders in charge of making it a successful campaign should think, feel, and understand the digital world. Simply opening a Facebook or Twitter account isn’t a strategy. To be successful in the digital world, you have to understand the complexities that go along with it.

What are the toughest challenges you and your clients are facing?
Social media is a practice that involves different areas within a company. You could define it as being a direct channel to the consumer or client. It could be seen as a marketing or customer service platform. Today, it’s probably the first contact you can have with a potential customer. Social media must be one of the first components of a communications strategy, rather than a supplementary piece, which happens quite often.

What’s one thing you see differently now compared to a year ago?
Thanks to the vast penetration – and most of all the acceptance – that social platforms have had in Latin America, countries in the region have made it into the top 10 user rankings in different social media platforms. Now businesses are continually promoting their digital presence, through advertisements or routing offline media to the online world. Certainly, every day, Latin American countries are becoming more social.

Fail Whale

 

“So the Fail Whale image is not served by Twitter anymore. It had a long history and some of our users feel very connected to it. But in the end, it did represent a time when I don’t think we lived up to what the world needed Twitter to be.”

– Christopher Fry, Twitter’s SVP of Engineering, in an interview with Wired.

Case Study


PN Case Study
Aiding a Transition

Whenever the latest version of the Windows operating system is introduced, PC brands can find themselves overloaded with confused (and often frustrated) customers seeking help navigating the latest OS. With the launch of Windows 8, HP Customer Support & Services faced the challenge of helping HP’s customers transition to the new operating system. While HP was more than ready for the Windows 8 era – including revamping online support sites that were packed with information about product drivers and helpful user tips – it was clear that a digital PR strategy would be critical in reaching customers who seek tech support online.

With a key focus on raising public awareness of HP’s brand-owned resources, PNConnect developed a three-part strategy to reach, engage and inform that balanced HP’s owned, paid and earned media to deliver key messaging and educate customers. First, the team arranged a sponsored partnership with Microsoft to host a special, support-focused edition of #winchat – a popular weekly Twitter chat on Windows tips and tricks, with a built-in audience. The PNConnect team also worked closely with notable Windows media influencers from publications like The Verge, Ars Technica, About.com and PCWorld in the weeks leading up to #winchat. In addition to encouraging influencer participation as guest hosts during #winchat, the team spurred promotion of the event on the influencers’ blogs. Finally, PNConnect helped HP keep the conversation going after the chat, by recapping the event on HP’s popular Next Bench consumer blog.

During the one-hour Twitter chat, PNConnect’s strategy generated 1,496 positive tweets, with 7.8 million impressions, increasing the #winchat activity by 900 percent. HP’s dedicated customer support Twitter handle, @HPSupport, also gained more than 200 followers during the event. Metrics aside, the HP Support & Service team campaign delighted its customers and received overwhelming positive feedback.

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
Twitter chats can be an effective way for brands to promote specific efforts and deliver key messages. Leveraging the reach of paid media through a notable sponsor (in this case, Microsoft Windows) and earning the interest of industry media influencers and their publications will greatly amplify the reach, ultimately connecting the brand with more users.

Publishing a recap post on one of HP’s own blogs, including links to useful resources, ensured the campaign wouldn’t just be a flash in the pan. By integrating HP’s earned, owned and paid media, the campaign still lives to this day – and it’s just a Google search away.


INFOGRAPHIC
The Digital Gender Divide

 


Last year, Porter Novelli published “Men Are From Foursquare, Women Are From Facebook,” a groundbreaking look at how gender influences online behavior in Europe. The latest installment in our Digital Demographics USA series, “The Digital Gender Divide,” shows that in America, women tend to drive social sharing, while men are less keen to publish their personal news.

You can download the full report here.



Insights

Setting Quarterly Publishing Goals

With all the chatter around “real-time marketing,” it can be easy to miss the value of taking the longer view on program measurement. Weekly and monthly goals serve as a key barometer of how programs are going, but the noise of week-to-week fluctuations can obscure incremental progress towards core goals. Quarterly metrics reviews allow social media publishing teams and clients to step back and see the forest for the trees. Each program will have its own unique objectives across the spectrum of Awareness, Engagement, Conversion, and Advocacy, and corresponding quarterly measures will vary depending on that orientation. Here are four recommendations for moving beyond the monthly view.

1. Set a stake in the ground for network growth

A monthly report only allows you to look at week-to-week audience growth and attrition. Looking at this metric quarterly smooths out some of that churn while still providing an interval that allows quick corrective action and monitoring. For a blog-centric publishing program, a good rule of thumb is often to shoot for 10 percent organic traffic growth each month. For social channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, we know that newer programs will see faster percentage growth, while more established programs will find it harder to grow quickly as a percentage of size. We take that into account and set those benchmarks accordingly. If your program is aimed more at share of voice growth rather than network growth, think about ways to balance out the seasonal and topic-driven ebb and flow of organic conversation to look at a baseline that can really grow and sustain from quarter to quarter.

2. Match up metrics to audience subsets

Zero in on whom you’re talking to. Analyze how the content you’ve created for an audience is performing, as well as the next action you hope they’ll take. While social platforms usually can’t give you much granular detail on performance against audience types (with some exceptions), you can gauge how your various content types performed and then think about the audiences those types are built to satisfy. Even if the broader success metrics are up, it could be that you’re hitting doubles and triples with some audience types but struggling to get on base with others.

3. Rank content based on year-to-date interest

Three months is a great stretch of time for evaluating the top performers across everything you’ve published. Rather than looking at the level of individual posts or one-offs and outliers, it’s really useful to rank sets of content. If you don’t already have meaningful content types that form your framework, think about how you can group what you’ve published into similar sets. Do this by platform (Twitter, FB, Blog, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.) rather than overall. If these findings don’t line up with what you believed your audience wants and needs to be at the start of the program, it may be an opportunity to revisit those expectations and consider making adjustments to the program framework.



On the quarterly scale, it’s often best to compare performance across content sets, rather than individual posts.

4. Make Your Goals Attainable

It can be tempting, particularly when in the middle of justifying a budget or doing a huge program revamp, to shoot for the moon. But doing so doesn’t do anyone any good if there are no planned strategic or tactical changes that can realistically generate that kind of new traction. The team will look like they’ve failed when they miss the goals, and the team leaders will have to have some very uncomfortable conversations with their stakeholders.

Stretch, of course, but base goals on things that are achievable, taking into account what you know about upcoming changes and experiments. Every program is different, but typically the elements that can quickly make one quarter look very different from the previous one would be things like an infusion of paid media support, an upcoming integrated marketing program, a new product or feature launch, etc. For example, we would expect PlayStation’s PS4 launch quarter to look very different from the same time the previous year. Similarly in the B2B world, the quarter that includes Palo Alto Networks’ Ignite user conference would look different from previous quarters.

About PNCONNECT



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 November contributors.

Mary Gaulke, Lisa Kay Davis, Chad Hyett, Ed McClendon, Beca Mueller and Andy Stoltzfus all contributed to this month’s Feature about holiday social media strategy. Christopher Marsh in Austin contributed our case study on HP’s #winchat, and Chris Thilk in Chicago and Dave Coustan in Atlanta shared their guide to setting quarterly publishing goals. Chris Thilk and Chad Hyett contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats, Advertising Trends, and Noteworthy News sections, and Amanda Wu provided the latest stats. Helen Nowicka in Washington, D.C., shared our Digital Demographics USA infographic. Moises Feintuch in Mexico City took center stage for the Spotlight, and Lily Szabo Photography provided the photo for our cover page. The whale photo was uploaded to Flickr by Mike Baird, some rights reserved. Some backgrounds courtesy of subtlepatterns.com.

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.

Appendix
Appendix

 

Top iOS Apps









iPhone Top Paid

Blackflip Madness – Games
AfterLight – Photo & Video
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Duck Dynasty: Battle of the Beards – Games
Moves – Health & Fitness
Heads Up! – Games
Angry Birds Star Wars II – Games
Plague Inc. – Games
Facetune – Photo & Video
Free Music Download Pro – Music

iPhone Top Free

QuizUp – Games
Zombie Killer Squad – Games
Bitstrips – Entertainment
GT Racing 2 – Games
My Talking Tom – Games
MoviePop – Games
Snapchat – Photo & Video
PicFlow – Photo & Video
PicPlayPost – Photo & Video
YouTube – Photo & Video
iPad Top Paid

Oceanhorn – Games
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Angry Birds Star Wars II – Games
Peekaboo Sesame Street – Education
Duck Dynasty – Games
Cops N Robbers – Games
Pixel Gun 3D – Games
Frozen: Storybook Deluxe – Entertainment
Notability – Productivity
Pages – Productivity
iPad Top Free

My Talking Tom – Games
GT Racing 2 – Games
Calculator for iPad Free – Utilities
Shave Santa – Games
YouTube – Photo & Video
Kids Face Paint – Games
Cops N Robbers – Games
Candy Crush Saga – Games
GarageBand – Music
Deer Hunter 2014 – Games

Top Android & Windows Mobile Apps









Android Top Paid

SwiftKey Keyboard – Productivity
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Titanium Backup Pro Key Root – Tools
Nova Launcher Prime – Personalization
Beautiful Widgets Pro – Personalization
Root Explorer – Productivity
Poweramp Full Version Unlocker – Music & Audio
ROM Manager – Tools
HD Widgets – Personalization
ROM Toolbox Pro – Tools
Android Top Free

Facebook – Social
Pandora – Music & Audio
Instagram – Social
Candy Crush Saga – Games
Clean Master (Cleaner) – Tools
Snapchat – Social
Super-Bright LED Flashlight – Productivity
Facebook Messenger – Communication
Netflix – Entertainment
Skype – Communication

Windows Top Paid

EmiPSX – Entertainment
Readit – Social
MoliPlayer Pro – Music & Video
Nextgen Reader – News & Weather
Facebook – Social
PlaceCam – Photo
FlashVideo – Music & Video
Instagraph – Social
Photo Editor – Photo
Craigslist Classifieds – Shopping
Windows Top Free

Facebook – Social
Vine – Social
Kik Messenger – Social
Pandora – Music & Video
Adobe Reader – Tools & Productivity
YouTube – Music & Video
Skype – Social
WhatsApp – Social
Flashlight-X – Tools & Productivity
Twitter – Social