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Posts Tagged ‘Pinterest’

Online, mobile M&A deals up, values down

Friday, July 12th, 2013

YahooOnline and mobile mergers and acquisition deals increased by 7 percent in the first half of 2013, but value decreased 29 percent, from $32.54 billion in the second half of 2012 to $23.16 billion.

The median revenue moved from 2.3x to 2.1x, while the median EBITDA multiple increased from 10.0x to 16.0x, according to the  Berkery Noyes mid-market investment bank, for the first half 2013 mergers and acquisitions trend report

Yahoo!, with 13 transactions, was the industry’s most active acquirer in first half 2013. Aside from its $1.10 billion acquisition of Tumblr, Yahoo! has mainly focused on small, mobile-based transactions this year.

Tumblr was Yahoo!’s largest deal in the Online & Mobile Industry since 2003, when it acquired search and internet advertising company Overture Services for $1.63 billion.

SaaS & Cloud was the most active market segment and underwent a 15 percent increase in volume, totaling 291 transactions year-to-date. M&A activity in the Communications segment improved 22 percent since second half 2012, making it the sector with the largest half-to-half year increase. One notable Communications transaction in first half 2013 was Dropbox’s acquisition of mobile email application Mailbox.

Mobile a strong driver

mobile devicesIn addition, acquirers are looking to add mobile solutions that aggregate relevant content in relation to individual users, as news is shared in real-time.

There were several deals over the past six months that focused on news summary and content sharing, such as LinkedIn’s acquisition of Pulse for $90 million, Google’s acquisition of Wavii for $30 million, and Yahoo!’s acquisition of Summly for $30 million.

“Mobile continues to be a strong driver of M&A activity in the information marketplace,” stated Mary Jo Zandy, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Content delivery methods are evolving, and acquirers in general are showing more interest in semantic technologies that improve the end-user experience.”

Ebook guides SMBs to effective social media listening

Friday, May 31st, 2013

 social media“The Art of Social Media Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages,” by Jennifer Finke ,  available via Kindle Edition, offers readers an overview of how to manage and grow a social media presence through active listening online.

Finke says she was annoyed when small business owners told her that they thought “managing” a social media page meant simply pushing out posts, tweets and pins.

“Clients and prospects would ask me to manage their social media efforts, yet they had little knowledge about the effort it took to do so properly. I delivered a presentation on this topic a few months ago to share my insights on the efforts involved in social media management, specifically social media listening.

Several of the participants encouraged me to turn my presentation into an eBook so I could share these practical social media tips more broadly,” says Finke, who is also founder of the Denver PR agency, Red Jeweled Media.

SMBs getting it wrong

Another motivation in writing this eBook, says Finke, is that she says she believes many small businesses are doing social media themselves and getting it wrong.

“The push out a Tweet and a Facebook post and then say, ‘I’m done with my social media efforts today,’ isn’t how social media management is done,” says Finke. “Social media takes time and active listening,” says Finke.

In the Art of Social Media Listening, Finke teaches small and mid-sized business owners and PR professionals how to:

  • Create social media objectives
  • Identify key influencers within their social eco-system
  • Actively listen online
  • Prioritize their social media listening efforts

“This eBook was written for the up-and-coming social media enthusiast, PR freelancer, and do-it-yourself entrepreneur in mind,” says Finke.

Finke adds that the eBook is a quick read because, “Social media listening shouldn’t be an arduous task.” Plus, she adds, “All the recommendations in my eBook are free to implement; I do not push expensive monitoring tools that entrepreneurs and PR freelancers can’t afford and may not need.”

To download a copy of the Kindle Edition of, “The Art of Social Media Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages,” ($2.99), visit

Consumers do respond to online & TV ad calls to action

Monday, May 20th, 2013

social mediaThe effectiveness of social cues in advertisements varies by the medium the ad appears in, according to a Burst Media survey revealing how and why web users interact with brands via social media.

Among respondents who recall social media prompts in advertising, digital ads (61.0%) and television ads (58.7%) are most effective at driving interaction with a brand’s social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

These are followed by print ads (52.4%), radio ads (41.5%) and outdoor ads (39.4%).

Notably, two-thirds (67.6%) of 18 to 34 year-old respondents—including 73.9% of 18 to 34 year-old women—say digital ads that feature prompts to social media assets are effective at inspiring them to take action.

“We found that marketers who use social sharing and action prompts within advertisements create authentic interactions that drive further engagement,” said Mark Kaefer , marketing director, Burst Media.

“On the digital front especially, display, mobile and sponsored online content campaigns that include social media prompts can virally and exponentially extend campaign reach through consumer status updates, likes, tweets, pins and more.”

Survey Highlights

Web users interact with brands on social media for a variety of reasons.

  • More than one-half (53.8%) of women and 44.1% of men who interact on social media via cues in advertising cite “to show my support for a brand that I like” as a reason for doing so.
  • The gender divide is even wider with the next most-cited reason, which is to access special offers, coupons and/or promotions: 53.2% of women versus just over one-third (35.5%) of men cite this as a reason.
  • Notably, two-thirds (66.7%) of 35 to 44 year-old women cite the access to offers/coupons as a reason to interact with a brand’s social assets.

The majority (65.4%) of all survey respondents have at least one social media account set-up for personal use.

  • Facebook—at 53.0%—is by far the leading provider. Google+ follows a distant second, with one-quarter (25.6%) of respondents reporting they use the up-and-coming platform.
  • Three-fifths (58.6%) of respondents with social media accounts use them at least once a day, and another one-fifth (22.3%) check accounts at least once per week.

Interestingly, Pinterest and Instagram—as image and photo-driven social platforms—skew towards a female audience.

  • InstagramOne-fifth (21.9%) of all female respondents have a Pinterest account, versus only 4.8% of men. The disparity of Pinterest use between the sexes is even greater among 18 to 34 year-olds: 1-in-4 (25.5%) women in this segment have a Pinterest account, versus just 3.6% of men this age.
  • Instagram’s audience also skews more female than male—10.4% versus 5.8%, respectively. Again, the gender gap is biggest among respondents aged 18 to 34, as 20.8% of women this age have Instagram accounts, versus 8.4% of men.

Download the full “Expanding the Conversation: Leveraging Social Media for Brand Interaction” Online Insights report (PDF) at



Linkedin offers you a billboard to 20M people

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Jeff Sheehan

Jeff Sheehan

So, how do you get 195,000 followers on Twitter? Buy them? Bribe them? Offer them ice cream cones?

“Honestly, I worked my tail off,” says Jeff Sheehan, a marketing and social media consultant at  Sheehan Marketing Strategies, who is recognized as one of the Top 100 Marketers to Follow on Twitter, who now has more than 199,000 followers.

Sheehan, who has 30 years of high-tech global sales, marketing, and advertising experience marketing to Intel, Cisco, Apple, HP, and IBM, is a well known speaker in the Atlanta area on the use of Linkedin, Personal Branding, Social Media, and Marketing.

He’ll be talking about Linkedin at the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15, joining dozens of other digital media, marketing, advertising, and technology thought-leaders from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, and many others.

“The power of social media is incredible,” Sheehan tells the TechJournal. “It levels the playing field and gives you the ability to position yourself regardless of your background. So anybody can be a somebody if they’re good at branding themselves online.”

Tips on using Linkedin

LinkedInAn expert at using Linkedin, Sheehan offers these tips on using the social network:

First, he says, “Be credible. Put up the best profile you can.” That means also including appropriate keywords – although he rails against people who overdo it the way sites used to overuse keywords for SEO. On his blog for instance, he cites one unnamed job hunter who was in social media less than a year but includes a whole long paragraph with nothing but the phrase “Social media marketing.”

You should, though, include a professional photo and a complete picture of what you’ve done.

Next, Sheehan suggests, you have to build your network. “Find people with common interests and ask to join their network,” he says.

Once you’ve acquired endorsements and recommendations on LinkedIn, it adds to your credibility, he says, although we’ve heard some dissenting voices regarding the value of endorsements.

Like your own billboard

After you establish your identity, Sheehan notes, Linkedin is “Like your own billboard with a potential audience of 200 million people. You can display your work and provide your network with material you think is relevant, articles, news.”

He warns, however, “Don’t spam people.” One person in his network “Puts out post after post after post,” he says, so Sheehan used the Linkedin “hide” feature. That keeps the person in his network, but he’s not longer bothered by all those superfluous posts.

“You want to keep people in your network,” he says. “The more people you are connected to, the easier you can be found. So it’s important to retain the size and integrity of your network.”

Longer shelf life

On the other hand, used judiciously, you can “Get a lot of visibility via Linkedin updates,” which have a shelf life a bit longer than the rapidly moving Twitter stream.

Twitter bird

Just call me Larry.

Sheehan, who has called himself a “Twitteraholic,” says he also sees great potential in Google+. “Google is going to continue to invest in it,” he says.

Facebook, he says, “Is mostly for friends and family.”

Pinterest, which had quite a buzz last year, “Is not as universal” as the other social networks, he adds. “It’s audience is 85 percent female. But it has benefited a lot of businesses.”

There are so many social networking tools, with new ones such as Instagram and Vine popping up all the time, that no one has time to manage them all.

“Pick your poison and figure out where you’re going to focus,” he says.


Break down walls and pop the social media bubble

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, SVP, Expion, is participating in the upcoming Atlanta Digital Summit.

What’s the biggest change in digital marketing since the beginning of the year? “Social media has gone far beyond just being a marketing source,” says Erica McClenny, vice president of client services with Expion.

“That’s a huge shift since the beginning of the year,” McClenny says. “A lot of companies are breaking down walls to integrate and overlay what social is doing on the whole picture rather than looking at it on its own as a social bubble.”

What companies want now, she says, is to know what its social media users are saying on a real time basis. They say, “Give me something I can do something about and take action on.”

social mediaExpion is a social software company. Its centralized platform empowers global brands, agencies, and retailers to localize and manage their social marketing efforts to listen, content plan, publish, moderate, analyze, govern and share content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social channels across thousands of users.

It has 20,000 pages managed by its software, including those of many high profile brands that have mounted hugely successful digital marketing campaigns via the platform (Expion does not do the creative end, it’s platform executes the campaigns).

The system produces real-time community intelligence giving brands and retailers the power to optimize consumer engagement, service, and ad performance. Its Marketing Insights Technology allows companies to integrate multiple social activity streams in real-time creating highly visual analytics to discover patterns, breakouts and trends.

Participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit

McClenny’s input into the development of a simple local interface for the local user has been a crucial piece to Expion’s success. She is a firm believer in collaboration between the agency of record, corporate marketing teams, and the integration local employees to gain valuable insight and best practices for a successful local expansion.

McClenny is one of dozens of digital thought-leaders, top brand executives from Google, Twitter, AOL, AT&T, The Wall Street Journal, Adobe, Apple, MailOnline and others participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

Oreo Mars cookie

Oreo created this Mars Rover cookie, complete with Rover tracks, for one of its digital marketing campaigns that inspired much social media sharing.

McClenny says another major shift she sees this year is a greater emphasis on “contextual listening.” One of Expion’s clients is Oreo, which has had enviable success with several social media and digital marketing campaigns. So, a brand such as Oreo might start listening not just for mention of its own cookie, but for conversations about cookies.

Smart companies do this

“Smart companies are becoming category aware, not just brand aware,” McClenny says. They listen for words associated with their product. “Then they can jump into the conversation in a matter of seconds when it makes sense, not days later when it’s irrelevant.”

She notes that more social channels are rising to the top with Vine the current “hot one.” But she also sees a “huge advantage” possible in using Google+. “Google dominates search and Google+ is a way to make search richer,” she points out. “It can show you everything you and your friends touch. I think it will be amazing. The business part needs some backend tools but it will be a huge powerhouse.”

She likes a new feature called Google Ripples that allows you to track the sharing and impact of a link you post on the Google+ site. “You can drill all the way down to how many plus 1s – it’s really rich,” she says.

Pinterest needs an API

PinterestPinterest, on the other hand, still has limitations. “It’s too broad. It doesn’t have any geographic capabilities and brands using software to help with all their data don’t want to go to a native channel for one thing when they’re aggregating everything else. I think Pinterest will have a lot more legs in the business world when they have an API. (the interface that lets programmers create applications to make it more useful).

As something of a rule of thumb for social media marketing, McClenny says to focus on what you want to happen, avoiding fluffy terms such as “engagement.” “Be focused,” she says. “We want X number of things to happen: drive people to my website, increase the number of shares. You don’t just want lots of activity. You need to know what kind of activity you want and what result you want from that.”

Don’t overthink the process

It’s not just sales that produces ROI. You might instead increase product awareness by 25 percent over a quarter. “You can’t focus just on the bottom line first or you’ll never get there,” she says.

She warns, as many experts in social media marketing do, that brands can’t be overly promotional, using a “radio voice” with no interaction or reason for it.

She also suggests that some companies “overthink” the whole process, taking days to approve a social media post. Also, every post does not have to be professionally slick with high resolution images.

“Sometimes a behind the scenes, outtake type of thing can have more reach than a commercial you spend a lot of money on,” she suggests.


Small & medium sized businesses embracing social media marketing

Monday, February 4th, 2013

socialmediaopolisSmall and medium size businesses are embracing social media as a key strategy in their marketing programs internationally, according to, a website for social media marketers.

“While most people think of major consumer marketers as driving the growth of social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms, the reality is that many more small and medium size businesses are now successfully driving social media marketing programs,” said Michael Crosson, who publishes the site.

Crosson states that a key venue leading this increase is, which recently passed the 200,000,000 member mark. “We have seen a significant increase in companies from one to 100 joining the Social Media Marketing group over the previous year. More importantly, these companies have expanded their use of social media into other services besides Facebook and Twitter. We have seen incredibly strong growth in Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr, for example.” Said Crosson.

The survey can be seen in its entirety here:

Some of the highlights from this study include:

  • The U.S. represents 65.7%, and the rest of world is 34.3% of responses. (Infographic #1)
  • Independent consultants and Small/Medium Size Businesses (up to 100 employees) comprise the large bulk of the responses: 80.4%. (Infographic #2)
  • The various social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others are fairly even divided, but MySpace continues to lag far behind at 4%. (Infographic #4)
  • 54.7% are primary decision makers. (Infographic #4)

“This survey is a good snapshot of the international social media playing field at the moment. Members of our Social Media Marketing group on, which has over 500,000 members, participated. The group is growing by an average of 1,100+ new members every day, and we poll them annually,” continued Crosson.  The full results of the survey are available at

Top retailers let 73 percent of customer tweets go unaswered

Monday, December 17th, 2012

social media logosIf you have tweeted a major retail brand on its own Twitter account but never received a response, you’re not alone. Most top retailers have signed up on the major social networks, but many are using them haphazardly or sporadically, Twitter in particular.

While 90 percent of the brands surveyed in Acquity Group’s 2012 Brand eCommerce Audit are on Twitter, less than 27 percent actively participate in Twitter conversations with consumers.

That means 73 percent leave customer tweets unaswered – which may be worse than not being on the network at all.

The Audit, which evaluatedInterbrand’s 2012 Best Retail Brands on customer engagement across major digital channels, including big browser, social, and mobile, found that every brand on the list except one has a Facebook page.

And 45 out of 50 are on Twitter, only 12 brands had a cohesive presence across all five of the major social networks analyzed (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube).

Avoid haphazard use of social media

“Although most brands are signed up for the major social networks, many struggle to understand how they fit into their overarching business strategy. As a result, our audit revealed several critical areas of improvement when it comes to actually connecting with consumers across social channels,” said Jay Dettling , executive vice president at Acquity Group.

“The important take away for brands is to avoid haphazard or sporadic use of social media. When a new social media channel is introduced, brands need to take the time to analyze the potential impact and return, and develop a solid strategy from there.”

Brands were most active on YouTube, with 80 percent of the brands leveraging the channel at an 85 percent engagement rate.

Top scoring brands in social interaction

Even though the majority of companies (56 percent) have yet to utilize Instagram, the brands with a presence on this platform also had a high level of interaction (79 percent).

Pinterest was identified as the most popular up and coming social network, with 60 percent adoption and 70 percent interaction. According to Dettling, these findings demonstrate the growing importance of engaging consumers through videos and visuals.

The 10 brands scoring best overall in social interaction include, in order of ranking: Target, Home Depot, RadioShack, Bath and Body Works, Nordstrom, Gap, eBay, Coach, American Eagle Outfitters and Banana Republic.

To download the full Brand Audit report, visit .


Top 25 social commerce retail leaders adopting new best practices

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

social mediaBest practices that top brands implemented during 2012 include offering social expression capabilities and rewards, creating social list and curation opportunities, enabling social discovery features, and using Interest Graph data, according to 8thBridge’s second annual Social Commerce IQ report.

The study revealed a number of new best practices as compared to the 2011 report, including an extended focus beyond simply increasing social network presence to include creating richer social shopping experiences that are directly integrated with, and driven from, the top players’ ecommerce sites.

The 2012 SCIQ: Retail report covered more than double the number of companies as the 2011 study, which focused entirely on retail brands. View an infographic detailing the report’s findings.

The report also reflected a major shift in social commerce strategy that is perhaps best exemplified by increasing interest in Pinterest, which has been adopted among 78 percent of IR 500 companies in less than a year but has not generated a corresponding rise in traffic or sales conversion.

PinterestPinterest emphasizes curation and the concept of an Interest Graph that creates more meaningful connections based on things that interest people rather than simply who they know.

Wade Gerten, CEO of 8thBridge, said, “Three types of companies have emerged as leaders in this year’s report – the first is ecommerce companies that have deeply integrated social functionality into their sites, the second is ‘in-transition’ companies that do well in all social commerce areas, and the third is strong viral companies that score exceptionally well in social network branding and referral traffic.”

The top retailers identified in the SCIQ report included many who were new both to the SCIQ 25 list as well as this year’s IR 500 rankings.  Based on a weighted total of four key success factors, the top 25 companies are:

  18. (American Eagle Outfitters)

Other key usage statistics emerged, including:

  • Facebook upstream traffic is now 2.46%
  • Pinterest upstream traffic is now 0.11% (low)
  • Twitter upstream traffic is now: 0.06% (a distant third)
  • 35% of companies researched had apps on Facebook that were not functioning and/or were out of date.
  • 51% of companies have incorporated the Pin It button

FacebookAdditionally, the report included results from a survey of 1,819 U.S. residents between July 9 and July 12, 2012, regarding their Facebook usage and interest in social commerce.  Key findings include:

  • 70 percent of respondents would rather hear about a new product from a Facebook friend, than from a brand.
  • 57% have asked their friends on Facebook for advice before purchasing a product.
  • 31% say they don’t share products on social networks, while 63% say they share on Facebook, 25% on Twitter, and 22% on Pinterest.
  • 64% said that more Facebook “likes” on a product do not increase the likelihood that they will buy that product.
  • 44% say they are most likely to discover new products compared to 21% on Pinterest and 13% on Twitter, but 37% don’t pay attention to posts about products.
  • 56% do not share things on social networks to get rewards.

Retailers pumping more money into social media & mobile marketing

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

social mediaSocial media marketing has gone from being a minor blip on the radar in 2007 to an essential in the retail industry, according to a new BDO USA survey.

The survey found that 86 percent of retail CMOs have included social media in their marketing strategies, continuing a dramatic rise from just four percent of retailers who did so in 2007. In a nod to its growing importance, retail CMOs say social media accounts for 10 percent of their holiday advertising and marketing budgets this year.

While many focus on Facebook and Twitter, many are also exploring Pinterest and mobile is on everyone’s radar.

With Google reporting that four out of five consumers plan to use their mobile devices to shop this year, it’s clear that mobile marketing is becoming increasingly important. Half of the CMOs surveyed say they have included mobile in their marketing strategy, up 39 percent from 2011, but still showing that many retailers are playing catch up with the platform’s exponential growth.

“Over the past five years, we’ve seen an enormous change in the way retailers are marketing to consumers during the holidays,” saysStephen Wyss, partner in the Retail and Consumer Products practice at BDO USA, LLP.

“The growth in social and mobile marketing gives retailers more opportunities to acquire and engage customers, and we expect the returns from the holiday push in these platforms to be significant.”

These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. The retailers in the study are among the largest in the country, including 20 retailers in the top 100 based on annual sales revenue. The telephone survey was conducted in September and October of 2012.

Additional findings of the 2012 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs include:

Digital channels see a bigger share of marketing dollars. While a majority of CMOs (67 percent) say their holiday marketing and advertising budgets are flat this year, there are notable shifts in the way budgets are being divided. Print advertising is the top expenditure for 42 percent of CMOs, but this year 31 percent say they will spend the most marketing dollars online, including social media sites.

This marks a 35 percent increase in the number of CMOs giving the most resources to online marketing and advertising over last year. Broadcast advertising remains the top expenditure for 22 percent of CMOs, down slightly from 2011.

Big data presents a big challenge and opportunity. Retailers were early adopters with big data, but the amount of customer data they now have access to through in-store purchases, email, social media, and e-commerce and mobile sales has skyrocketed. Nearly all (93 percent) of CMOs surveyed say they find it a challenge to integrate and manage the data, and 40 percent specify that it is “very challenging.” Still, the opportunity to use that data to provide better service and generate revenue is clear. By looking at what products are purchased together, and when and where they were purchased, retailers can glean insights on optimal product assortment and timing of merchandise introduction. Two-thirds of retailers (66 percent) say they will increase their use of customer data for targeting efforts in the next year.

Retailers focus on Facebook, many exploring Pinterest. Among the retailers who are incorporating social media into their marketing efforts, 99 percent say they are focusing on Facebook. In addition to engaging with consumers and sharing promotions on Facebook, more retailers, including Brookstone and, are now able to use the platform for e-commerce.

Retailers are also looking to capitalize on the popularity of Pinterest, which is currently the third busiest site after Facebook and Twitter, according to comScore. One in five retailers say they are marketing on Pinterest this holiday season. Twitter also remains a popular site for 51 percent of retailers.

CMOs pursue a variety of mobile tactics to reach shoppers. When asked which kinds of mobile promotions they are most focused on, retailers are divided. Flash sales and daily deals are the top priority for 30 percent of CMOs, while 23 percent are most focused on text messages and 20 percent on mobile coupons.

Because mobile is still a new platform for marketers, they are exploring many avenues to reach and engage shoppers. This holiday season, retailers have been slowly rolling out new forms of mobile engagement, including in-store GPS and apps that provide product reviews.

According to the survey, the development of mobile apps is the primary tactic for 14 percent of CMOs, and another 14 percent cite QR codes.

Image traffic exceeding video on some mobile networks

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

InstagramThe ease of taking and sharing pictures is resulting in rapid growth of image traffic on mobile networks. Image traffic growth has surpassed video traffic growth for those markets with a high level of smart phone penetration, according to Flash Networks.

Image traffic grew 33 percent as compared with five percent growth for video traffic in the Americas and Europe for the last six months. Where smart phone penetration is lower, primarily in Asia, video traffic is still growing faster than image traffic.

Flash Networks has collected this data over the last six months from several Tier One Operator networks located in Europe, Asia and the Americas, collectively servicing over 200 million subscribers. Approximately 85% percent of the overall traffic was running on smart phones in saturated markets.

Mobile social networks increasing the flow

Mobile social networks such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are increasing the sharing of images which is greatly contributing to the traffic surge on mobile networks.

Flash Network’s data revealed that Instagram version upgrade in September alone increased image traffic by 20% for operators in the Americas and Europe.

Other recent reports confirm the rising popularity of sharing images over mobile networks. comScore reported a nearly 8.5-fold increase in Instagram mobile users in less than six months. Diffbot reported that 36 percent of all links shared on Twitter are images, and 42 percent of all Tumblr posts are photos.

When we use Tumbr, Facebook or our tablet, we marvel at just how image addicted our society has become – and we’re no exception. We’ll scroll through hundreds of Tumbr posts and Facebook images. Google Plus is also image saturated, with photographer circles extremely popular.


Half the world’s top brands using Instagram

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

More than half of the world’s top brands now view Instagram as a major part of their social strategy, although it still trails Google+ and Pinterest in adoption.

InstagramThe Simply Measured quarterly study of Instagram found that the mobile-only photo sharing site has grown 35 percent among brands in the last quarter, quietly outpacing the growth of other social networks including Google+ and Pinterest.

In total, 54 percent of Interbrand 100 companies are using Instagram today.

Apparel brands in the spotlight

While last quarter’s report highlighted luxury brands, this quarter apparel brands moved into the spotlight. Nike, which ranks fourth among the Interbrand 100 in total Instagram followers, is one of many brands that saw a significant jump in engagement, along with GAP and Adidas.

Much of Nike’s success can be attributed to cross-posting on Facebook, which now allows users’ “likes” on Instagram to appear in their Facebook feed. In fact, more than 90 percent of Instagram photos posted by brands were also shared to Facebook, allowing consumers to engage natively on both platforms.

Of the newest brands to join Instagram which include MasterCard, Philips and Samsung, Volkswagen has quickly amassed a strong following by celebrating both new and vintage cars through visual storytelling.

Instagram not just a fun social network

“Seeing this level of activity, it’s more clear than ever that Instagram has graduated from a ‘fun new social network’ to an integral component of a brand’s social strategy,” said Adam Schoenfeld, CEO at Simply Measured. “While early adopters are seeing a majority of the engagement, there’s still time for newer brands to jump in and leverage the visual nature of the platform to engage and grow their audiences.”

The Simply Measured Instagram study evaluates brands and verticals in the Interbrand 100, identifying key trends and strategies shaping the way companies engage with consumers through social media.

Key findings include:

  • 54 percent of the Interbrand 100 are now active on Instagram. This is up from 40 percent one quarter ago – a 35 percent increase quarter over quarter. Instagram still trails Pinterest and Google+ in total brand adoption, but is growing at a much faster rate over the last 3 months.
  • Brand adoption is impressive due to limited admin features and mobile-only focus. Unlike other social networks, Instagram is mobile-only and currently offers no admin-focused features for brand managers. Despite this, brand adoption has exceeded 50 percent.
  • Brand activity has also increased. 34 percent of the Interbrand 100 now post at least 1 photo per week, up from only 26 percent one quarter ago. Brands are not just creating a presence, but are becoming more active on Instagram and making it a key part of their social media marketing mix.
  • Cross-channel activity is powerful. The Instagram-Facebook combination has proved very valuable for brands. More than 90 percent of Instagram photos posted by brands were also shared to Facebook, allowing consumers to engage natively on both platforms. Brand actively cross post to Twitter as well, with 60 percent of photos being tweeted.
  • Laggards beware. It’s still early, but the time is now. With adoption on the rise, brands that arrive late to the party risk falling behind. Only eight companies on the Interbrand 100 have more than 100,000 followers, however those brands have seen an average 48 percent increase in followers quarter over quarter. Over the next quarter, leaders are expected to cross the one million follower mark.
  • Lo-fi remains the most trusted filter amongst brands.

Small businesses spending more time and money on social media (infographic)

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Social Media MarketingSmall businesses are spending more time on social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter, but struggling with the extra work it takes, according to the results of an exclusive survey on how much time and money small businesses spend on social media by vertical response.

The company surveyed 462 small businesses on how much time they spend on social media activities, including finding and sharing content on popular social networks and blogging, and what tasks take the most time. VerticalResponse also inquired about marketing budgets.

“Our survey confirms that small businesses are understanding the value of social media,” said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO/founder.

“They’re spending more time doing it, and investing more money into it at a faster rate. But the extra work will likely lead to time management issues, especially for the small business owner who’s handling social media on top of all the other responsibilities of running a company. This implies that small businesses are in need of tactics and tools now to help them save time.”

Among the study’s findings: Facebook is still king, with 90 percent of small businesses using it, while 70 percent use Twitter and 50 percent are on LinkedIn. Adoption of Google Plus and Pinterest is slow. Only 32 percent are on G+ and 29 percent on Pinterest.

Ignoring Google Plus could be a mistake according to interviews we’ve done with digital marketing experts attending the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-9. Dana Todd of Performics, for instance, says Google is in the process of connecting all of its services, including search, and others have noted that Google Places is a way small businesses can get a mobile site free.

The study also found that small business social media budgets are rising faster than overall marketing budgets, with 22 percent of respondents saying they increased social media spending over a year ago and only 6 percent saying it decreased.

More than a third – 36 percent – are paying for social media publishing and analytics tools.

Vertical Response created this infographic to show its study results:

Moms buy products based on social media recommendations

Monday, October 29th, 2012

social media logosMoms love Facebook but trust blogs and 92 percent of those active on social media networks buy products as a result of a social media recommendation.

So says a new study, How Moms are Using Social Media RIGHT NOW — and How You Can Make the Most of It,” conducted by Child’s Play Communications  Among the study’s findings:

Facebook, Twitter, blogs most popular platforms

Facebook, Twitter and blogs were the three most popular social media platforms among moms surveyed

Pinterest was the platform that most moms (63 percent) tried for the first time this year

Instagram topped the list of technologies moms (28 percent) were likely to try next

Polyvore and Olioboard were among the new services these early adopters were exploring

Moms are spending more time on Facebook than in the past (64 percent of moms) and less time on Twitter (33 percent)

Blogs influenced purchases most

Of all social media platforms, blogs impacted moms’ purchasing decisions more than any other (80 percent)

Toys were the No. 1 kids’ product purchased by moms as a result of social media recommendations

“The study results underscore how moms’ immersion in social media has dramatically changed their purchasing behavior,” said Stephanie Azzarone, president, Child’s Play Communications. “Alongside recommendations from family and friends, it is the most valuable tool for companies that want to market to mothers.”

Which site drives the most e-commerce traffic, Facebook or Pinterest?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Despite all the hoopla over Pinterest in recent months, Facebook drives more e-commerce traffic than Pinterest.

Statista created this chart from averages based on 689 million shopping sessions in the US between January and August 2012.

You will find more statistics at Statista

Fewer than 90 seats left for Digital East: speaker interviews

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Digital East 2012Digital East, a major Mid-Atlantic conference, says fewer than 90 seats remain for the third annual event Oct. 2-3 just outside Washington DC at the Westin Dullas Airport, Herndon, VA.

The event includes more than 60 thought-leaders, speakers and panelists from top brands such as Google, Mashable, National Geographic, PBS, The Economist, IBM, comScore, The Travel Channel, Huffington Post/AOL, Slashdot, The American Red Cross, McAfee and many more.

Topics include social media, email, and search marketing to digital advertising, mobile apps, online fundraising, web analytics, customer engagement, online branding, ecommerce, online video, big data for marketers, design.

For just a sample of what you’ll experience, here are TechJournal interviews with a handful of the thought-leaders who will appear at this year’s event:

IAB Rising Stars units out perform traditional digital ads

Search and Social: SEO tips from AOL’s Simon Heseltine

Two changes that will boost your Facebook engagement numbers

A formula for social media success and 4 great content tips

Social media marketers need business sense, not just technical skills

Three tips for using Pinterest successfully

To measure engagement, you need more than numbers, you need context

Paid ad campaigns on social media need targeting strategy

Seek quality, not quantity when gathering social media marketing data

Americans turning to mobile apps and social media in emergencies

Speakers at Digital East include:

  • Anthony Melchiorri, Host & Exec Producer-Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible
  • Greg Robleto, Director of Community & Social Media -The Motley Fool
  • Jessica End, Industry Manager, Non-profits & Religion -Google
  • Criag Oldham, VP of Digital Engagement -American Red Cross
  • Melanie Phung, Director of New Media -PBS
  • Gadi Ben-Yehuda, Social Media Director -IBM
  • Michael Aldana, Sr Manager of Mobile Design -McAfee
  • Sean Murphy, EVP e-Commerce -CustomInk
  • Khurrum Malik, VP Product Marketing -comScore Inc
  • Steve Harris, Sr Director Web Analytics -Capital One
  • Simon Heseltine, Director of SEO -AOL/Huffington Post
  • Anthony Douzet, COO & Co-founder -TheLadders
  • Stephen Wellman, VP & Editor-in-Chief -Slashdot
  • Brian Dreseher, VP of Business Development -Mashable
  • David Plotz, Editor -Slate
  • James Kobielus, Big Data Evangelist -IBM
  • Nick Schaper, Exec Dir, Digital Strategic Comm -US Chamber of Commerce
  • Leigh George, PhD., Director of Digital Strategy -R2Integrated
  • Stanton Fish, VP of Customer Insights & Analytics -The Economist
  • Andy Wiedlin, CRO -BuzzFeed
  • Andrea Fishman, VP of Strategy -BGT Partners
  • Cory Siansky, Manager, Business Consulting -Sapient
  • Jeff Allen, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Analytics -Adobe
  • Miguel Monteverde, Vice President, Digital Media -Discovery Communications
  • Matt Peters, Co-Founder & Creative Director -Pandemic Labs
  • Daniel Maloney, CEO & Co-Founder -PinLeague
  • Susan Cato, Director of Business Development -Balance Interactive
  • Kevin Dando, Director of Digital Marketing & Communications -PBS
  • Matthew Shevach, Director of Product Marketing -TRUSTe
  • Chi-Chao Chang, President of Products & Technology -xAd
  • Jed Williams, Program Director, Social Local Media -BIA/Kelsey
  • Michael Renner, VP Solution Design -3Pillar Global
  • Robert Hancock, VP of Sales and Marketing -Smart Online
  • Jon Brendsel, VP Products -PBS
  • Joe Gizzi, Senior Strategy Manager -New Media Strategies
  • Bill Leake, CEO
  • Joel Sucherman, Senior Director, Digital Products -NPR
  • John Backus, Co-Founder, Managing Partner -New Atlantic Ventures
  • Teresa Spangler, Founder & CEO -Plazabridge Group
  • Ori Hoffer, Social Media Strategist -General Services Administration
  • Leo Dalakos, Vice President of Strategy & Analytics -Performics
  • Mark Cooper, Co-Founder and CMO -Offerpop
  • Cameron Brain, Co-Founder -XYDO
  • Stephanie Slobodian, Senior Information Architect -NPR
  • Adam Landrum, President & CEO -Merge
  • Matt Kaplan, Vice President, Sales -Mail Online
  • Sam Kimball, Exec VP, Advertising & Brand Sales -Livestream
  • Will Elliott, Vice President, Sales and Marketing -Contactology
  • Marc Shull, Sr. Director, Customer Insights -YesMail
  • David Favero, Southeast Sales Director -Shoutlet
  • Todd Marks, Founder -Mindgrub
  • Chris Brooks, Manager, Social Engagement -Hilton Worldwide
  • Ryan Steelberg, CEO and Co-Founder -Brand Affinity Technologies
  • Brian Dalessandro, VP of Data Science -Media6Degrees
  • Devon Smith, Director of Social Media -Threespot
  • Michael Goldberg, Director of Marketing Communications -Martini Media
  • Mick Winters, Creative Director -Threespot
  • Brandon Hess, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, ReadyTalk
  • Daniel Backhaus, Vice President, Marketing -Infuz
  • Eric Evans, SEO Specialist -Merge
  • Adam Figueira, Product Marketing Manager -Monetate
  • Alex Lustberg, Vice President of Marketing -Lyris
  • Justin Freid, Director of Digital Media -TPG
  • James Wong, Co-Founder & Partner -Empowered Ideas
  • Virginia Johnson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner -Empowered Ideas
  • Andrew Taylor, Vice President, Business Development -Grab Media
  • Justin Spring, Co-Founder of and Adept Marketing
  • Eric Shoicket, Director of Brand Partnerships -Kiip
  • Andrew Beranbom, VP of Business Development & Co-Founder -Extole
  • Christine Borgia, Senior Director, Email Intelligence Group -Return Path
  • Andrew Ray, Partner -Bingham McCutchen
  • Joseph Olesh, Emerging Media Director -Tier10 Marketing
  • Saya “Sally” Behnam, Creative Director -Design 4UX
  • Tom Grossi, Partner -NEA
  • Josh Freeman, CEO -TeamVisibility
  • Frank Reed, Director of Sales -Edgeworks Group
  • Gill Haus, SVP, Technology -RideCharge
  • Angela Hausman, Owner -Hausman and Associates

Register for the event.

Study shows how social networks perform for retailers (infographic)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

social mediaFacebook may be struggling to keep its stock price up, but it is dominant as a source of shopper traffic, according to a new RichRelevance Shopping Insights study that benchmarks the performance of major social channels – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – in driving traffic to retail sites.

Shoppers who click-through from Facebook account for the overwhelming majority of shopping sessions at nearly 86% (85.8%), followed by Pinterest (11.3%) and Twitter (2.9%), the study says.

  • Shoppers who started at Facebook browse more – and buy more often: Shoppers who enter retail sites from Facebook tend to stay longer (nearly seven pages per visit vs. nearly three for Twitter and just over four from Pinterest) and purchase somewhat more frequently (conversion rates of 2.63%) than Pinterest (.93%) or Twitter (1.09%).
  • Pinterest drives larger orders – nearly double that of other social channels: While shoppers who come to retail sites from Facebook and Twitter purchase more often, Pinterest users spend dramatically more than either ($168.83 average order value vs. $94.70 for Facebook and $70.84 for Twitter).

“Every social network promises a new way of connecting consumers with retailers and brands,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance.

“However, the big take-away from our research is that not all channels in the social space are created equal. As retailers and brands continue to sort out how to take advantage of social networks, this infographic provides great insight into better understanding the nuances of each channel, how they resonate with consumers and how marketers can take advantage of each in their own unique way.”

social shopping infographic


Digital advertising up: Facebook grabs 87 percent of advertisers

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

FacebookFacebook’s IPO debacle apparently did not discourage all advertisers who want to get in front of its huge audience.

Digital advertising is up more than a quarter, according to a new STRATA Q2 survey, with 87 percent advertising on Facebook. and 38 percent on Twitter. Pinterest nabbed 15 percent of advertisers, closing in on Google’s 18 percent. Most advertisers and agencies do not see digital overtaking traditional advertising, however.

The outlook for advertising spending is positive for the remainder of 2012. That optimism is heavily backed by a solid year of political advertising along with media buyers spreading their buys to available venues, according to a new STRATA Survey.

STRATA, a provider of media buying and selling software conducted the survey of over 100 media buying agencies across the country.

The second quarter survey revealed that more than half (52%) of agencies polled saw their business increase in the second quarter of 2012 compared to a year ago, up 12% from the first quarter. Roughly 94% of agencies expect business conditions to improve or stay the same in the second half of the year, with about 40% projecting growth.

Few see any decrease in growth

The STRATA Survey also found that contrary to the somber U.S. economic outlook, only 6.6% of agencies polled forecast a decrease in future growth in the second half of 2012.

That is the lowest negative sentiment on record since STRATA began its survey in 2008, suggesting that the economy may improve at a faster rate than most economists think.

The advertising industry has long been considered a leading indicator for consumer spending and confidence.  At the beginning of the current recession in Q4 2008, less than a quarter of agencies polled in the STRATA Survey saw an increase in ad spending.

Today, that number stands at more than half. Despite the high unemployment rate in the U.S., 94% of ad agencies are planning to either increase staff or hold their current levels.

“The positive remarks we are seeing from ad agencies on spending and business are quite encouraging, especially as the rest of the world is telling us things are not going to improve just yet,” said John Shelton, STRATA President/CEO.

“Our data shows that political advertising is pushing ad sales for the second and third quarter of this year, and in June and July we witnessed over $640 million in TV buys flowing through our ePort system – a record for that time period. These were driven by political advertising.”

Of the over $1.2 billion worth of ad buys going through ePort so far this year, 40% were political advertising.

“Even the segments of the industry not supported by political ads are confident about the future,” added Shelton. “In fact, less than a quarter of buyers are waiting until after the elections to advertise, which indicates the willingness of advertisers to buy ad space during a competitive political ad season.”

While political advertising is creating more demand and pushing up ad costs, 42% of non-political advertisers surveyed said they will be competing for ad space during the campaign season, and another 40% are using alternative mediums to avoid the political ad costs. 86% of political advertisers anticipate increased or steady ad spending this year compared to 2010.

Consistent with expectations during a political campaign season, TV is still the most used medium for advertising with 43% of ad agencies customers focused on Spot TV. 44% said they use more than three mediums for campaign advertising.


  • Spot radio advertising saw an increase purchase by advertisers of 16%, up 80% over last quarter.
  • On the social media front, 87.3% of advertisers are using Facebook while Twitter is the second most used social media platform at 38%, marking a large gap between the two.
  • As a whole, digital advertising is up 26% and has seen steady growth in twelve out of the last fourteen quarters.
  • 79% will focus on online display advertising, which continues to see steady growth, up from 69% in Q2 2010.
  • Although digital media spending has grown, 44% still do not see it outpacing traditional media expenditure
  • Pinterest was used in 15% of advertising campaigns in the second quarter of 2012, beating out the more established social network Foursquare (7%) and closing in on Google+ (18%).


Company websites more effective than investing in social media

Friday, July 27th, 2012

social mediaSome common tactics brands use in their social media marketing are missing the target, according to a new study by  Get Satisfaction.

Bucking conventional wisdom, the study found that, for nearly 90 percent of some 2,000 consumer respondents, a company’s website — not a social network — is the preferred place to research products and find information that leads to purchasing decisions.

These findings clearly illustrate the gap between how consumers want to engage with brands via social media channels, versus how companies are actually using the tools.

Real value comes from branded communities or company websites

Conducted by the Incyte Group, the study demonstrated what savvy marketers already know — that real value for your brand doesn’t come through Likes, Pins or Tweets.

It comes down to engaging customers to create lasting relationships built on relevant information, which can only be accomplished via a branded customer community on a company website.

When customers look to part with their hard earned cash, they want to do so with brands they know and trust, not companies that repeatedly spam them on Facebook or Twitter.

Higher value on customer feedback than brand ads

Further findings suggest that, while consumers turn to social networks for personal connections, they prefer to join a branded customer community that is moderated by the brand when researching products.

In addition, consumers give a significantly higher value to feedback from other customers who have used those products than to brand advertisements on Facebook or Twitter. In fact, 50 percent of consumer respondents preferred content that has been vetted as high-quality by other consumers.

Common tactics questioned

“Consumers are clearly saying that a primary value proposition of a customer community is that it allows them to quickly access information that is relevant and accurate — and they prefer it when that information is provided by other people like them,” said Dale Sakai, partner, the Incyte Group.

The report calls into question many of the tactics companies use to achieve the holy grail of social media: the creation of brand advocates. In an effort to get a quick return from social media, many companies target consumers with lots of influence online and offer them swag as “payment” for positive social media endorsements.

But the Incyte Group study found that companies should avoid hiring “influencers,” and instead turn to their existing customers for more authentic advocacy. According to the report, 82.6 percent of customers will gladly act as a brand advocate after being part of a branded customer community, and fully 50 percent of them would do so without any incentive.

Companies not getting the results they want

“It’s clear that companies aren’t getting the results they need from investing in social media. Consumers don’t just want to be broadcasted to. They want to engage with each other and companies about products and services they care about,” said Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction.

“This study validates that social media strategy needs to include authentic customer engagement driven by a branded customer community and not be viewed and used as yet another digital advertising channel. Getting results from social media is about relevant interactions throughout the customer life cycle.”

Conducted by the Incyte Group, the survey focused on responses from 1,897 qualified consumers who actively use the Internet and represent adults from all age, socio-economic and geographic groups in the U.S. The full report is available here.

Pinterest inspires sales, particularly for smaller shops

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

PinterestPinterest is driving sales in some categories such as clothing & apparel, jewelry, art, and home & garden products, among others, according to a new study. Where are Pinterest users buying?

Nearly 1 in 5 online shoppers claim that their recent purchase made after seeing the image on Pinterest was at, according to the latest study from the Bizrate Insights Image Sharing and Shopping Series.

Branded stores and small boutiques came in at a close second with 13% and 12% completing their purchases at the aforementioned, respectively.

Image sharing sites inspire purchases

“Our research among online buyers shows that image sharing sites have inspired purchases, a trend that will likely grow as more categories/images/brands/retailers become available on sites such as Pinterest” remarks Hayley Silver, Vice President, Bizrate Insights.

“Smaller retailers appear to be leading the charge on sites such as Pinterest, as exemplified by their ability to ignite a passionate base of supporters to gain sales through grassroots efforts.  Therefore it is not surprising that today these retailers are in the spotlight.  It will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes as larger retail brands begin to emulate or improve upon customer engagement in the new medium.”

The study also takes a look at the browsing versus buying behavior on the popular social image sharing site as well as categories driving interest and engagement.

The most browsed categories largely mirror the top ten most purchased categories, but in somewhat different order.

The second series adds deeper insight to the first consumer pulse which found that 25% of those aware of image sharing sites, such as Pinterest, have made a purchase through them.

Pinterest chart

Is Facebook on the verge of losing a core audience?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

FacebookFinancial and mobile issues might prove the least of Mark Zuckerberg’s problems claims a report out this week from top ten award winning independent market research agency Conquest into the social media habits of 14-24 year olds.

It reveals that Facebook’s core audience- teenagers-are starting to fall out of love with the website and that activity may have peaked amid a mounting groundswell of dissatisfaction and concerns over privacy and bullying.

While Facebook’s pre-eminence is assured in the short term, “Fuicide” (the attempted or successful deletion of the account) is on the rise as are complaints about the damaging  impact of regular and prolonged Facebook use.

Grievances triggered by Facebook

Grievances triggered by Facebook’s culture include obsession with appearance and acceptance of sexually provocative behaviour; increased negative self esteem, vulnerability to bullying, depression caused by jealousy and comparing one’s life to peers and inability to project one’s true self.

Conquest used its avatar driven methodology Metaphorix to capture respondent’s authentic feelings about social media.

The Evidence

•    Over 30% of the group have had sufficiently bad experience online to recently attempt or succeed in deleting their accounts, with 13% of regular users planning to lower their presence over the coming 12 months.

•    Concerns about privacy, bullying and Facebook ‘making me feel down about life’ are the most cited reasons:-

•    Specifically:-vulnerability to bullying was stated by 44% as reason for feeling unhappy about using the site, as well as increased negative self esteem (28%); depression sparked by unfavourable comparisons with other people’s lives (25%);  and plain jealousy of others (24%).

•    Nearly half of all young women (45%) felt that Facebook intensifies an obsession with appearance.  Moreover, 33% of males concurred, with over a quarter stating that it boosts the acceptance of sexually provocative presentation.

•    A growing frustration was articulated with the Facebook culture’s inability to enable authentic expression of character. This is offset by young men’s relish at the opportunity afforded to exaggerate the facts about themselves, with 44% admitting to this.

•    Generally speaking it is unsurprisingly young women who suffer more from the adverse effects of Facebook than their male counterparts with more female deleters and complainants of harmful consequences.

Challenging Facebook’s monolithic status

New and different sites (like Pinterest and fashism ) have experienced phenomenal growth in 2012 while Myspace has remained a stalwart for those musically minded, challenging Facebook’s monolithic status.

David Penn MD of Conquest and inventor of the Metaphorix methodology said, “Could the future of social media be more niche networks catering for particular interests- those which users select in order to feel more comfortable, more inspired and ultimately more themselves?”

Conquest canvassed 300 regular Facebook users aged between 14 and 24 years old, equally balanced by gender and nationally representative on region.

Conquest carries out quantitative and qualitative research for Heinz, Pizza Hut, L’Oreal, GoCompare, ITN News, Nationwide, Lever Bros and  KFC. It is a pioneer of innovative online research methodology, welding neuroscience, communications theory and cognitive linguistics.