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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Marketers: how to reach the teenage audience (infographic)

Monday, July 15th, 2013

student with mobileIf you want your marketing to appeal to teens who might become brand customers for life, a new study by digital marketing agency iProspect suggests you have to find content that helps them say something about themselves and prompts them to share it. Where and how you deliver the content is much less important than the message.

The study found that while 90 percent of teens view television as the top source of entertainment information, they’re also watching programming on Netflix, YouTube, and other channels where they can watch on their own schedules.

A fragmented social ecosystem

But they share their thoughts and feelings via a somewhat fragmented “social ecosystem” that presents an opportunity for brands to reach them.

“Even with the exponential growth of new media channels, it’s not the particular app or platform that teens are loyal to, it’s the content,” said Danielle Smith, group account director, iProspect. “Marketers need to focus on developing the most relevant content that helps teens make a statement about themselves or pushes them to share with others.

“To do so, we recommend that brands create visual messages that can be consumed quickly on social networks, where nearly 80 percent of teens get entertainment information. Brands also should develop humorous messaging or cause marketing to spark interest, and crowdsource projects when possible to encourage a sense of belonging among teens.”

It recommends marketers:

Be flexible and fast. Tweak and test. Move quickly

Be current. How are teens messaging about current trends?

Always crowdsource: help teens feel connected to unique groups.

Spark their interest. Use humor, cause marketing.

Create visual messages they can consumer (and share) quickly.

Personally, we think those constitute good advice for digital marketing in general, not just to teens.

Here’s an infographic on the study findings: (click link for the full infographic)

Companies plan hiring for new tech jobs, cloud, social, security

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

CareerBuilderAlthough companies are hiring more employees to keep up with demand for their products and services, they’re not looking at full scale expansion of their headcounts, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. Mobile, cloud, social media, data analytics and cyber security positions are all cited as among the hottest job prospects.

Robert Half Technology also reports that IT hiring is in session for more than one in three firms.Thirty-five percent of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed said they plan to hire new IT graduates in 2013, according to a recent poll by Robert Half Technology 

But not all CIOs polled give new graduates high marks when it comes to being ready for their first job. More than one in four respondents (26 percent) said entry-level professionals aren’t prepared to contribute right away. Among these executives, more than half (55 percent) said the reason is a lack of skills in areas such as communication and leadership.

Temporary hiring, which has been a mainstay for many companies during the economic downturn, will increase by 10 percent in the back half of 2013, the CareerBuilder survey suggests.

The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 14 to June 5, 2013, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

“Companies are adding more employees to keep pace with demand for their products and services, but they’re not rushing into a full-scale expansion of headcount in light of economic headwinds that still linger today,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.

Pace of permanent hiring stronger

“The projected surge in temporary hiring from July to December is evidence of both a growing confidence in the market and a recession-induced hesitation to immediately place more permanent hires on the books. However, the overall pace of permanent hiring is stronger today in various industries and geographies, and will continue on a path of gradual improvement for the remainder of the year.”

Economic Modeling Specialists (EMSI)1, a CareerBuilder company, found that temporary work accounted for 15 percent of all job growth nationally over the last four years, even though the industry makes up roughly two percent of the nation’s workforce.

The study conducted by Harris Interactive shows there will be a continued boost in temporary hiring activity as well as hiring for full-time and part-time positions, with 44 percent of employers planning on hiring fulltime employees, 25 percent part-time employees, and 31 percent temp or contract workers.

Many formerly fulltime employees moved to freelance, temporary and contract work when fulltime jobs were scarce but companies hired to fill specific short term needs.

This trend continues even as the economy improves.

Careerbuilder cites several hot ares for job-seekers, including: 

e following areas:

  • Jobs tied to mobile technology – 16 percent
  • Jobs tied to cloud technology – 15 percent
  • Jobs tied to social media – 13 percent
  • Jobs tied to managing and interpreting big data – 12 percent
  • Jobs tied to financial regulation – 10 percent
  • Jobs tied to health informatics – 10 percent
  • Jobs tied to cyber security – 9 percent

Small business hiring

The number of small businesses planning to hire over the next six months is trending up while the number for larger organizations declined slightly compared to last year. More than half (56 percent) of companies with more than 500 employees expect to add more employees by year end, down from 58 percent in 2012.

  • 50 or fewer employees – 24 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 21 percent in 2012
  • 250 or fewer employees – 34 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 31 percent in 2012
  • 500 or fewer employees – 37 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 34 percent in 2012

Digital first is the new normal for newsrooms

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

newspapersThe full digital tool-set is now in use in newsrooms and editorial offices around the world – with far-reaching implications for the public relations industry, the latest Oriella Digital Journalism Study has found.


Back at the first part of this century we worked for one of the first online tech news outfits and broke a considerable number of technology stories online ahead of local media. A columnist for a local publication said it probably gave established traditional print news outlets morning headaches. Now, however, most news organizations understand the importance of breaking news online.

A ‘digital first’ policy, breaking news online as it happens, is in place at over a third of the media titles surveyed with use of mobile apps, in-house produced video and social media as a news source all on the rise.

The Oriella Digital Journalism Study, based on a survey of almost 550 journalists from 15 countries spanning Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, tracks how digital technology is impacting how news is gathered and published around the world.

Wholesale changes in gathering and reporting news

This year’s study – the sixth – provides evidence of wholesale changes in how publications gather and communicate stories. This year’s study further found a quarter of the journalists surveyed often prepare multiple versions of the same story as it develops, while a fifth said that ‘citizen journalism’ now carries as much credibility in their organization as mainstream reporting.

mobile devicesDigital media is also shaping publications’ revenue models. The proportion of respondents saying their outlet has a mobile app has nearly doubled over the past two years to 40 percent. In addition, use of premium apps to monetize content has increased by a third since 2012.

Robin Grainger, Director of the Oriella PR Network, said: “Our study suggests 2013 is a watershed year for the world’s media. The growing interest in ‘digital first’ reporting, video, real-time news, mobile content and citizen journalism all exemplify what we’re calling the ‘New Normal for News’.”

Game-changing ramifications

“If these trends accelerate, there are some potentially game-changing ramifications for media and communicators alike. First, touch-screen interfaces will open up new possibilities for storytelling. One example could be interactive graphics (or ‘digi-graphics’) which blend high design and big data to enable readers to navigate their own path through stories.”

“Second, we may see a polarisation of journalistic output. At one end short, ‘tweet-like’ news updates will provide near real-time coverage of events in print and on video, optimized for small screens.

At the other end, we may see much longer-form feature and investigative pieces. ‘Shorter but quicker’ journalism could also afford media brands greater prominence – and consequently greater traffic – in search rankings, news readers and ‘social news aggregator’ apps such as Flipboard and Pulse News.”

Amid the technology change, traditional values remain

social mediaThe study finds that journalists are using social media for newsgathering, but continue to place an emphasis on trusted sources and pre-existing relationships.

For example, 51 percent of journalists said they source new stories from microblogs, such as Twitter and Weibo, but only when they already know the source behind them.

When the source is unknown, their use by journalists halved, to 25 percent. By contrast, 59 percent of respondents said they sourced their news from conversations with industry insiders.

The sources most trusted by journalists were academics and other experts, who were trusted by 70 percent of journalists; technical experts in companies (trusted by 63 percent) and analysts (trusted by 49 percent). Generally, we’ve found, academics and technical experts are much more oriented toward telling what they see as the truth than other sources, so this makes sense.

Company CEOs were trusted by only 41 percent, and actually distrusted by one in eight journalists. The least trusted individuals were politicians, PR professionals, heads of marketing, and community managers – all of whom were more distrusted than trusted by journalists (see chart).

Personally, we’ve had nearly all of these sources attempt to mislead us over the years. A CEO, PR pro, or politician will outright lie if they think they can get away with it – and some will do it even knowing you’re aware that they’re lying or fudging the truth. That’s why multiple sources are important on stories where there is any doubt.

Journalists’ attitudes to their job

Despite all the changes occurring within newsrooms, the study found journalists remain upbeat about their jobs. Thirty-four percent said they believed digital media had improved the quality of their journalism over the past two years. However, the digital model is creating headaches for many of them: almost a third (32 percent) agreed that they are finding it harder to keep abreast of events on social media.

Grainger continued: “For all the technological change, the fundamental role of journalism remains the same – to gather evidence from sources, build narratives, and then convey them.

What has changed, however, are the tools at their disposal. The brands that achieve cut-through in the ‘New Normal for News’ will be those keeping abreast of these changes. They will be the ones that integrate their storytelling – using conventional text, video, graphics and interactive content – as well as harnessing the social media profiles of their own people, and those of key influencers around them.”

The ROI of social media is not hit and run

Monday, June 10th, 2013

By Marsha Friedman


Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman

I was never a fan of the cocktail party-variety networking scene. I will never be one to dart around a room shoving business cards into people’s hands. I prefer meaningful conversations with people, getting to know them and vice versa.

But social media networking? That’s something different altogether. Done right, it’s never a hit-and-run. Rather, it consists of building relationships over months and even years by sharing information – both professional and personal – through posts, comments and responding to questions in various online communities.

What’s the return on investment, the ROI, for putting that kind of time into social media? Actually, it’s called the RON – the “return on networking.”

And for me, it’s huge.

I’ve been on Facebook for five years; I also have Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts, among others. All totaled, I’m now approaching 100,000 friends, followers and connections. Those followers expose my name and message to their audiences every time they “like” one of my posts or share one of my links.

Talk about exposure!

Recently, someone re-tweeted something I’d shared on Twitter – he had 130,000 followers. That’s a potential audience of 130,000 people I likely would have never reached otherwise.

Talk about exposure!

Who knows how many of those people may someday become my clients? Who cares? I’ll still consider the exposure a good return on networking. Here’s why.

The RON of social media isn’t always tangible, not immediately, anyway. By establishing a continued presence online through regularly sharing content of use to my followers, I’m building my platform and my reputation as an expert. That grows in surprising ways – and it lives in surprising places.

A recent case in point: Late last year, I got a call from a prominent New York City hair stylist, the director of a salon in one of that city’s premier department stores. He wanted to talk about some publicity needs and what my company could do to help him.

When I asked how he got my name, he explained he’d written some books over the years with a co-author, and she’d heard me at a speaking engagement.

Well, that made sense. Speaking at conferences is still a great way to get your name out while also building credibility.

A complete surprise

But the next thing he said came as a complete surprise.

“So, then I contacted the corporate office (of the department store chain) and asked what PR agency they would recommend.” And they recommended me and my company.

I don’t know a soul in the corporate offices of that high-end retail chain. I can only guess they learned of me through social media.

Just being on Twitter or Google+ isn’t enough, of course. You have to make a diligent effort to regularly post content that people find valuable, including links to informative articles, tips relevant to your topic, and/or informed insights on topics in the news.

You also have to “be a human,” as our lead social media strategist, Jeni Hinojosa, likes to say. She and our other social media producers encourage clients to send photos when they go on vacation, celebrate milestones or engage in hobbies. Posting those photos with a comment adds a personal touch that allows followers to connect on a more emotional level.

social mediaOur social media producers also make sure clients’ personalities shine in their posts, showing their sense of humor and letting followers in on the other things they care about, whether it’s victims of a natural disaster or a favorite charity.

Interaction is equally important. Strive to respond to every comment or question posted on your networking sites. Interacting is engaging, and people who are engaged tend to be happy followers. The more you take part in conversations via comments and responses, the more lively and visible your presence becomes.

The RON includes increased traffic to your website; increased trust in your brand and what you’re selling; and greater word of mouth than you could ever hope for by attending a cocktail party or even a speaking engagement.

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST


Social media worm returns, spam rises dramatically

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

lockA significant spike in instances of the Koobface social networking worm and a dramatic increase in spam, among other security threats are reported in the McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2013,

McAfee Labs also saw continued increases in the number and complexity of targeted threats, including information-gathering Trojans and threats targeting systems’ master boot records (MBRs).

McAfee Labs found almost three times as many samples of Koobface as were seen in the previous quarter, which is a high point for the social networking worm that targets Facebook, Twitter and other social networking service users. After three years of stagnation, spam email volume rose dramatically.

Stock pump and dump campaigns

One significant element behind this growth in North America was the return of “pump and dump” spam campaigns, which targeted would-be investors hoping to capitalize on all-time equity market highs. The McAfee Labs report showed the continued increases in Android malware, malicious web URLs and overall malware samples.

But the increase in the number and sophistication of targeted advanced persistent threats (APTs) represented the most notable evolution in the threat landscape, as information becomes as valuable as money on the cybercrime landscape.

The report found a 30 percent increase in MBR-related malware and new instances of password-stealing Trojans being repurposed to capture information on individuals and organizations beyond the financial services industry.

“Cybercriminals have come to appreciate that sensitive personal and organizational information are the currency of their ‘hacker economy,’” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president, McAfee Labs.

Koolface return

social media“The resurrection of Koobface reminds us that social networks continue to present a substantial opportunity for intercepting personal information. Within the enterprise, we see password-stealing Trojans evolving to become information-gathering tools for cyber-espionage attacks. Whether they target login credentials or intellectual property and trade secrets, highly-targeted attacks are achieving new levels of sophistication.”

Each quarter, the McAfee Labs team of more than 500 multidisciplinary researchers in 30 countries monitors the global threat landscape, identifying application vulnerabilities, analyzing and correlating risks, and enabling instant remediation to protect enterprises and the public. This quarter, McAfee Labs identified the following developments:

  • Koobface Trojan. Koobface, a worm first discovered in 2008, had been relatively flat for the last year yet it tripled in the first quarter of 2013 to levels never previously seen. The resurgence demonstrates that the cybercriminal community believes that social network users constitute a very target-rich environment of potential victims.
  • Spam Volume. McAfee Labs found the first increase in global spam volume in more than three years. In addition to popular “pump and dump” scams, a surge in growth hormone offers and an escalation of spam campaigns in emerging markets accounted for category growth.
  • Targeted Espionage. McAfee’s latest analysis of the Citadel Trojan found that criminals have re-purposed the bank account threat to steal personal information from narrowly targeted victims within organizations beyond financial services. The industry should expect to see more instances of banking malware used for cyber-espionage operations within non-financial and government organizations.
  • MBR Attacks. The 30 percent increase in Q1 MBR-related threats included instances of StealthMBR, TDSS, Cidox, and Shamoon malware. Key to performing startup operations, MBRs offer an attacker a wide variety of system control, persistence, and deep penetration capabilities. The category has set record highs over the last two quarters.
  • Malicious URLs. The number of suspicious URLs increased 12 percent as cybercriminals continued their movement away from botnets as the primary distribution mechanism for malware. Malicious websites launching “drive-by downloads” have the notable advantage of being more nimble and less susceptible to law enforcement takedowns.
  • Mobile Malware. While the growth of mobile malware declined slightly during the quarter, Android malware still managed to increase by 40 percent.
  • PC Malware. New PC malware samples increased 28 percent, adding 14 million new samples to McAfee’s malware “zoo” of more than 120 million unique malware threats.

To read the full McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2013, please visit

Ad economy is back, digital follows only TV in growth

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

MarketingMedia buying agencies are experiencing major business growth and expect that growth to strengthen throughout the rest of the year, according to the latest quarterly survey conducted by STRATA, the leader in media buying and selling software.

The recent study revealed that almost half (48%) of agencies polled said business is increasing this year over the same time last year; while 39% expect to see more growth in the first half of 2013 than the second half of 2012.

This growth has led to many shops expanding their business as 39% plan on hiring this year (the largest amount since the first quarter of 2012). This is fueled by the fact that 28% say their clients are increasing their Marketing/Advertising budgets from last year.

Digital follows on TV in core spending

Samsung Smart TV

A Samsung Smart TV.

Even with more cash available, advertisers continue to spend on core channels.

Compared to all other media types – TV was the most utilized avenue last quarter at 48%, followed by Digital (34%) and Radio (9%). When asked about their approach to TV, respondents were more interested in spot cable than they have been in five years (32% were more interested in cable than they were a year ago). Spot TV also saw a spike in interest, up 22% from last year.

While these signs of an increase in business are encouraging, they do present unique challenges. Finding new clients has become a new difficulty for agencies, as 53% stated that client attraction is their biggest challenge (the highest number in the history of the STRATA survey and 49% higher than the first quarter of 2012).

The second largest challenge was client spending (18%). However, most agencies are taking on this challenge by focusing more on business development (69%), and 47% say they will even expand into new advertising areas (such as streaming or online radio/TV).

Advertising economy is back

“The advertising economy is back, thanks to the return of the big spenders. Home improvement, financial services and automotive companies are the driving forces, which is always a sign of a strong ad economy,” said John Shelton , CEO and President of STRATA. “Advertisers will continue to use newer channels and further expand the media mix moving forward, even as traditional TV and Cable spending will maintain their hold on the top ad revenue.”

Powered behind a nearly even split between Online Display (73%), Search (68%) and Social Media (61%), Digital is an increasingly strong option for advertisers. In the first quarter, 76% said they are more interested in digital than they were a year ago (up 51% over 2011).

A couple of newer advertising options are on media buyer’s radar this year.

Streaming/Online Video is one area where agencies are taking a strong interest. In the study, 46% of respondents say they are more interested in this option than a year ago. Streaming/Online Radio also looked even more promising with 54% saying they are more interested in this than last year.

Social media a hot, dynamic trend

Social Media continues to be a hot and dynamic trend. Sixty-seven percent of respondents use free social media to support client campaigns. In terms of a return on that investment (ROI), 22% say their clients don’t see ROI on Social. It is fairly split when comparing paid versus free Social Media, 20% say they see better ROI on paid Social and 18% say they see better ROI on free Social.

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve seen reports suggesting advertisers and marketers have not completely cracked the code of using social media to sell. It lags other channels – at least in driving traffic, one study says.

social mediaWhen comparing social media options, Facebook is still the top choice for advertisers at 78% (though this is Facebook’s lowest number ever seen in the STRATA survey). Twitter is the second choice for marketers (39%), while YouTube comes in at third (31%). Pinterest continues its rapid growth as it vaults to fourth at 22% (up 104% over last year).

While Social and streaming options are gaining momentum, agencies are saying that a couple of the trends buzzing on Madison Avenue have yet to catch on with Main Street. 76% of agencies said they either have the same or less interest in Second Screen advertising than a year ago. Only 9% of respondents said they were more interested in gaming advertising than last year.

Other key findings:

  • 26% expect their business to return to a strong growth period by late 2013
  • 21% are more interested in radio than they were last year
  • 64% say they are less interested in print than they were a year ago
  • Out of Home witnessed a small bump with 22% more interested than a year ago
  • iPhone is still the top mobile option for advertisers (83%) with Android second (67%)

How contact centers can reduce credit card fraud

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

credit cardsEvery credit card transaction conducted over the Internet introduces a security risk for the cardholder. Data stores can be hacked, card numbers overheard, data streams might be vulnerable to interception; even contact center agent integrity is not beyond question.

That sort of concern, backed up by the many high profile data breaches at companies large and small over the last few years, is one reason some people are still wary of using credit cards to shop online. It’s also a motivator to use alternative currencies such as bitcoin.

 To increase controls around cardholder data and reduce credit card fraud, the industry-wide Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council first defined its Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in 2004 and updated it in October 2010 to current version 2.0.

Frost & Sullivan‘s white paper, Protect Customers with PCI Compliance, analyzes the risks for data breaches and theft in the contact center, and helps contact center managers understand the actions that can be taken to increase agent vigilance and data security.

Rigorous, multilayered response needed

Taking steps to identify and prevent cybercrime in customer contact channels involves a rigorous multilayered response.  This includes meeting and complying with the PCI DSS standard by submitting to and passing periodical comprehensive scoping, assessment, validation, and reporting requirements, and by meeting the standard between assessments.

“Compliance with data standards like PCI DSS is entwined with preventing data theft.  To manage both issues often requires expert advice and recommendations from experienced companies like SPS,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Brendan Read .

Strategic Products and Services (SPS) offers PCI DSS compliance consulting and advice.  SPS also supplies a wide range of other services that support PCI DSS compliance including interactive voice response (IVR) and call recording solution selection and implementation.

Successful social media customer care

“PCI considerations come up in many parts of a contact center’s business processes, many of which have implications on technology choices for encryption, recording, data storage and retrieval,” said SPS Chief Technology Officer, Mike Taylor .

“Requirements differ, based on the customer’s industry and size of the data center operation.  SPS provides guidance to ensure that customer data management is PCI-compliant, especially in the areas of IVR systems and call recording. We tell them what is required and what is possible for an operation in their industry and size.”

social mediaFrost & Sullivan also released a white paper titled: Enabling Successful Social Media Customer Care, which is another goal for many contact centers that are engaging with customers through social media channels.

Customers are already using social media to voice issues, obtain information and support, and to collaborate and network with other customers. Contact centers that successfully monitor and engage with these channels gain an opportunity to display highly proactive customer service.

But integrating contact-center systems with social media channels introduces new business challenges and opportunities, along with the significant IT integration requirements.  Security concerns, confidence scams, and even implications for PCI compliance over social media can raise additional requirements.

Click HERE to access the white papers and videos related to this release .

“Social media is fundamentally different from all other customer engagement channels in that it transmits public conversations one-to-many rather than private ones one-to-one. This factor, above all, makes providing effective and secure customer care over the social channel challenging,” said Read.

Create a single department

To be successful with social media, Frost & Sullivan recommends that firms create a single department responsible for customer engagement strategy across all media – one that has ongoing participation by other departments, including Corporate Communications, Marketing, and Legal.

Making use of customer social media usage requires advance planning, supported with the right blend of social monitoring software.

Using such systems, customers are associated with targeted “social profiles” which enable the firm to pursue a strategic and customized social strategy that correctly targets individual customer contacts.  Policies must also be put in place to govern what content may be published to social media channels by contact-center agents.

“Blending social media into the wider picture of the total customer experience requires a thorough approach, combining business process consulting and communications technology,” said Taylor.  “A strategic communications partner like SPS can help you understand what’s possible, develop and prioritize your plan of action, and provide a single point of accountability through implementation.”

Social media lags as ecommerce traffic source

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

social media logosCompanies haven’t cracked the code for leveraging social media to drive ecommerce.

Social media is not sending much traffic to ecommerce sites despite significant brand investments, according to – Monetate, a customer experience engine. Its Ecommerce Quarterly report (Q1 2013) also found that while tablets and smartphones are grabbing more device share of ecommerce traffic, only a handful of companies optimize for those devices.

Among the report’s key insights:

  • Social media is lagging as direct traffic source to ecommerce websites and for online purchases, despite brand investment. Social media represented just 1.55 percent of all ecommerce traffic, way behind search (31.43 percent) and trailing email (2.82 percent). And social media traffic numbers were down from Q1, 2012, when they were 2.36 percent. The data lead to the question: Should brands change their approach to social marketing?
  • Tablets and smartphones are grabbing more device share of ecommerce traffic. Tablets and smartphones were 21.02 percent of traffic, compared to just 2 percent two years ago. Tablets (10.58 percent) led smartphones (10.44 percent) in ecommerce traffic. Despite the rapidly increasing traffic being driven to sites through tablets and smartphones, only 14 percent of companies optimize for tablet users and only 13 percent optimize for smartphone, compared with 43 percent that personalize for desktop users, based on a recent Econsultancy survey.
  • It pays to market to U.S. military personnel. The numbers show conversion rates among military personnel in the U.S. (5.15 percent), Europe (4.30 percent) and Asia (3.57 percent) were significantly higher than the overall U.S. consumer segment (2.53 percent). And the average order value of military personnel was 23.39 percent higher than shoppers across the U.S.

“As marketers know, data can tell a story and the EQ1 2013 tells the story of a fast-growing ecommerce market where companies face growing opportunities and challenges,” said Blair Lyon , vice president, marketing, Monetate.

Digital east Ecommerce Panel

A panel at TechMedia’s Digital East conference.

“We focused this EQ on social commerce since the data shows the companies have not yet cracked the code in leveraging social media to drive ecommerce traffic. We know that social media plays an important role in influencing social purchases – to what degree brands are able to leverage social to build loyalty is the next big question.”

Here at the TechJournal, we suspect part of the problem of leveraging social media is that it’s time consuming and cannot be simply push, push, push. As many of the experts who attend TechMedia’s digital summits have said time and again, companies have to master techniques that engage their customers in a dialog and that’s a lot easier said than done.

Not only that, in many cases, the tactics a company uses to successfully leverage social media probably vary considerably from firm to firm, industry to industry, and product to product.

It’s a much more complex problem than just post and go.

What 3 factors drive TV social-media related use?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Samsung Smart TV

A Samsung Smart TV.

Three key types of motivations leading fans to engage in TV-related social media activities: Functional, Communal and Playful, according to “When Networks Network: TV Gets Social,” its new multi-country study investigating the relationship between TV and social media usage by Viacom.

The multi-country study involved social media diaries in the U.S., as well as online communities in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. International online surveys were conducted in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Braziland Russia with more than 5,000 Viacom viewers ages 13-49 who use two or more social media platforms on at least a weekly basis.

“Our objective with this research was not only to understand what drives our audiences to social media, but also to see how their social media activity impacts viewing behaviors,” said Colleen Fahey Rush , Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Viacom Media Networks.  “At Viacom, we’re focused on creating social experiences that continue the conversation off-screen and deepen the relationships between our fans and their favorite shows and characters.”

How much do viewers engage in TV-social activities?

Viewers engage in an average of 10 TV-related activities on social media platforms on a weekly basis, including: interacting with friends and fans (72%); following/liking a TV show (57%); sharing or recommending (61%); watching full clips and trailers (61%); searching for info and show schedules (66%); and gaming or signing up for freebies (49%).

Out of 24 social media activities tracked, three distinct types of motivations for TV-related social media use emerged: Functional (searching for show schedules, news, exclusives); Communal (personal branding, connecting with others); and Playful (gaming, entering contests).

Of the countries included in the study, Viacom found that viewers in Brazil embrace TV-related social media activities the most frequently, while those in Germany are the least likely to do so.

1.  Functional: Information Above All

Function trumps all other motivating factors, including socializing, when it comes to TV-related social media use. This is true of all the countries in the study, with viewers in Germany leaning the most towards the functional motivations. Viewers are more interested in the experiences and content offered by networks and TV shows than communicating with others on social media. They use social media sites to:

  • stay informed about air dates and times (44%);
  • keep up with the latest show news (45%); and
  • access exclusive show info (37%), video (36%) and plot clues (36%).

video playerFunctional motives are stronger for teens and young adults. Viewers 13-17 are most likely to use social media to search for show schedules and exclusive videos, while those between the ages of 18 and 24 are most likely to search for the latest show news and to access spoilers.

“We found it intriguing that TV-related social media behaviors and motivating factors were consistent across all five countries that we looked at in this study,” said Christian Kurz , Vice President of Research, Insights and Reporting for VIMN. “Globally, social media is becoming today’s version of a TV guide for viewers – it is really how they prefer to get their information about the shows they watch.”

2.  Communal: The Value of a Facebook ‘Like’ or a Twitter ‘Follower’

Twitter birdCommunal factors are the second most common reason for engaging in TV-related social media use. Viewers reported using social media to brand themselves and share taste (34%); to connect with the show (28%); and to connect with other fans (28%).

One way viewers satisfy their Communal motivation is by “liking” a show on Facebook or “following” on Twitter. Viacom’s research has uncovered the long-questioned value of such Facebook “likes” or Twitter “follows” when it comes to TV. After “liking” or “following” a show, viewers were a full 75% more likely to watch that show. Viewers also watch more in an average of three different ways (live, stream, reruns), and engage more with TV shows and channels on digital platforms:

  • 41% access its social media more
  • 39% visit show/channel site more often
  • 27% are more likely download related apps

“Liking” or “following” also satisfies functional motivations by providing show schedules and updates.

3.   Playful: Social TV Games Matter

Third, playful experiences drive TV-related social media activities, including playing for rewards (24% to get freebies or enter contests) or playing games (25% games; 24% quizzes/polls).

  • Over 30% play TV show-related social media games on a weekly basis.
  • Of the social gamers who watch a TV show and play the related game, about 75% play off-season.
  • TV-related gaming is a persistent touch-point and a way to connect year-round with viewers.

Social media games help drive viewership, with around 30% of respondents having gamed before ever watching a show. About half reported watching a show more due to the show’s social media game. Game shows, comedy and reality shows come in as the top genres for gaming.

Social Media and Show Discovery

social televisionSocial media ranked third (39%) as a source of show discovery, behind promos (54%) and word of mouth (50%).  The exception is Brazil, where social media ranked even higher as a source of show discovery, second only to TV promos.

The research revealed that social media-fueled show discovery uniquely and positively impacts live tune-in, with viewers significantly more likely to watch a show premiere on live TV when that show is discovered via social media.

  • Seventy percent are likely to watch the live debut of a show that was discovered on social media, versus 48% live if it was discovered elsewhere.
  • Forty-one percent are likely to watch a show live past its first season if the show was discovered on social media, versus 28% live if it was discovered elsewhere.

Drivers of live tune-in from social media include Facebook friend’s comment, a show’s post, or a friend “liking” the show.

Social media and review sites play major role for car buyers

Friday, May 17th, 2013

FacebookWith any luck, we won’t have to buy another car for a while, but when we do, we’ll definitely do online research before heading out to dealer lots. We have lots of company doing that.

Online dealership reviews on social media networks are now playing the most important role in the dealership selection process, according to the Spring 2013 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study released by Digital Air Strike, the nation’s leading automotive social media, online reputation and digital response company.

The bi-annual study included an in-depth analysis of how 650 U.S. dealers use social media and an online survey of 2,000 consumers who purchased a vehicle in the last 6 months.

The majority of car buyers said they consider review sites as “helpful” in their decision as to where to purchase a vehicle. The study found that 24% of consumers consider online review sites to be the “most helpful” factor, exceeding all other factors including the 15%of car buyers who consider dealership websites “most helpful”.

The study also showed that review sites are becoming increasingly important in organic search. 81% of car buyers who use review sites said they look at review scores in search results.

The dealer component of the study revealed that, on average, five review sites show up in search results. Car buyers use the top five sites 13% more than just 6 months ago.

Most popular review sites

The most popular review sites are (61%, previously 55%), (54%, previously 50%),), Google+ Local (37%, previously 44%), Yelp (14%, no change), and Yahoo (11%, no change) – the same rank order as the October 2012 study.

The study went on to reveal that there is a 43% probability that a consumer will search for a local dealer on Facebook using Facebook’s new Graph Search. The study revealed 67% of car buyers search for local business using mobile devices with 41% having “checked-in” to a local business using their mobile device.

Additional Facebook findings include:

  • There is a 59% probability that a consumer will trust a review from a Facebook friend more than reviews on other sites.
  • 27% of car buyers click on mobile ads on Facebook.
  • There is a 45% probability that a consumer will view the dedicated feed for brands in the forthcoming Facebook News Feed.
  • Clicks on automotive dealership Facebook ads more than doubled from October 2012 to April 2013 – from 16% up to 39%

What are companies making their top priority?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

SasOver the next three years, global organizations will make understanding and interacting with the customer their top priority. So says a new study from The Economist Intelligence Unit Voice of the customer: Whose job is it, anyway?

Yet only 56 percent of respondents to the survey, sponsored by SAS, believe their companies clearly understand the customer today.

Worryingly, many companies find it challenging to restructure their businesses around the customer, having been organized traditionally around products or geographies. Only six in ten viewed their companies as customer-centric and just over half report a clear understanding of customers’ tastes and needs.

So whose responsibility will it be?

So whose responsibility will it be to champion the voice of the customer within the organization? And what new skills and capabilities will they need in order to restructure around the customer instead of products?

The report reveals a disconnect amongst executives on these questions. Nearly one-quarter of CMOs surveyed want a Chief Customer Officer to take responsibility; another quarter see the onus on themselves. Currently, the CMO is considered the voice of the customer at just 18 percent of organizations, trailing the head of sales (31 percent).

Obstacles for the CMO include the diversity of the CMOs’ current obligations, few of which are currently customer-facing functions. Regardless, whoever aspires to serve as the voice of the customer must draw on customer insights to create an exceptional customer experience that spans all physical and digital channels.

The key to the CMO delivering on an organizations’ evolving customer-centric mandate may lie in the rise of web, social and mobile channels that are poised to take on greater significance in customer engagement.

Social and mobile to eclipse email?

mobile devicesIn the next three years, social and mobile will eclipse e-mail and the corporate website for customer engagement. Few organizations, however, are currently leveraging emerging social and mobile media channels effectively to reach customers.

Just an editorial aside from the TechJournal, but up to now, predictions that email would become less important have tended to be way off base.  And people do use mobile to check and even reply to email, especially those who travel for business.


While social media is predicted to become the second most important channel for customer communication, face-to-face interactions will remain the most important customer engagement channel.

“A growing shift to digital marketing also provides a rich foundation for data-driven customer insight,” says Wilson Raj, Global Customer Intelligence Director for SAS. “CMOs are in a prime position to be champions for the voice of the customer—if they shore up digital and customer analytics skills across the marketing organization.”

Four steps to increase your social marketing success

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

social media

Marketers need to adopt more sophisticate social advertising and marketing tactics if they want to improve their ability to hit objectives.

So says, Kenshoo Social, a global social marketing platform, which has  published a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, “The Key to Successful Social Advertising,” that evaluates how marketers are using social advertising. The goal: educating marketers on how to develop social media strategy and activate the most effective tactics. Findings will also be presented by Kenshoo Social and guest from Forrester in a May 29 webinar.

Based on a survey of large social advertisers (i.e., social media and advertising professionals whose companies spend more than$100,000 per year on social media ads), Forrester found that, while social advertisers use a wide range of organic and paid strategies across a variety of social sites, more than one in three are not satisfied with their efforts.

The findings emphasized the increasing needs for more sophisticated social advertising tactics and methods to better match tactics to objectives.

“Generally, social advertisers get what they pay for,” according to the study. “They are more satisfied with the results they achieve from paid advertising than the results they achieve with less costly organic tactics like branded pages, groups or accounts alone.”

Notable findings from the study include:

Organic posting is the most popular social media tactic, but paid advertising is the most successful. Social advertisers use a wide range of social sites and strategies. The most popular tactic is maintaining branded pages on general social networks, business networks and microblogs. Branded pages alone, however, do not make an effective social marketing strategy.

Social advertisers still are not using advanced optimization tactics. More than half of large social advertisers use ad rotation, but only one-third use granular targeting to reach the right audiences. Most of those who do target primarily use basic criteria like demographic targeting.

Social marketers should pay for promoted content to drive awareness and buy ads to drive sales. The survey measured the tactics of satisfied social advertisers and found that different paid social strategies drove different kinds of success. Social advertisers who paid to promote their branded content were most satisfied with the awareness they created; while those who bought standard social ad units were happiest with their ability to drive purchases. Brand-focused social advertisers and response-focused social advertisers must deploy the tactics proven best for meeting their specific objectives.

“With billions of people around the world actively connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, marketers have eagerly turned to social media to engage their target audiences,” said Aaron Goldman , chief marketing officer of Kenshoo. “Today, most marketers include some type of social advertising in their programs, but the options available to them have increased exponentially, as has the ability to measure the effectiveness of their outreach.

“This research study demonstrates the importance of using advanced technology platforms to create highly-targeted campaigns at scale, leveraging a portfolio approach across promoted content and standard ad units to achieve overall business goals,” Goldman continued.

“Furthermore, marketers must connect the dots across paid, owned and earned media placements to understand the impact of each touchpoint along the path to conversion.”

The Forrester study concludes with four initial steps marketers can use to immediately improve results:

– Start with clear marketing objectives.

– Promote your brand and your content.

– Take advantage of robust targeting.

– Develop a holistic approach for greater success.

Visit to download the full complimentary study or sign up for the May 29 Webinar.

Best practices for healthcare social marketing revealed (infographic)

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) may not be defining guidelines in the use of social media in healthcare communications, but the professionals within the space are rapidly shaping best practices for marketing communications.

The current issue of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare is showcasing a research study that measured the attitude of healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences executives on the use of social media. Survey respondents hold positions from CEO to CIO, from Marketing Director to Brand Manager, are active in their positions and serve primarily the United States. The results are surprising, especially given the historically conservative nature of the healthcare marketing community.

The survey focused on those who are tasked with the development, creation and delivery of brand and product information to target audiences.  When asked about whether or not marketers should be permitted to use social media to promote their products and services to the public, most were positive. The mix of media (i.e. YouTube, Flickr, Twitter etc.) appears to be as important as the message.

The data indicates healthcare communications professionals are most reticent to adopt Twitter, a mainstream corporate communications tool. YouTube’s acceptability was pervasive, in fact twice that of Flickr or Twitter. The study also flushed out a number of perceived risks of embracing social media marketing in healthcare communications.

Intuitively, Twitter would have seemed to be the most likely adopted marketing tool based on its 140-character limit: no photos, few words, simple messages and clean delivery. But this is not the case for surveyed healthcare communications professionals.

Social media has long been a resource for industries such as financial services lifestyle products and retailers, but healthcare has been slow to adopt.

Kevin Popovic, Founder & CEO of Ideahaus, conducted much of the research from the company studios in Pittsburgh and San Diego. Popovic, the co-author of the paper, explains, “We’ve worked with every type of business for more than twenty years. As new types of communications have evolved, most industries have kept pace – except healthcare – and the hesitancy stems from a lack of guidelines from the FDA.”

“There is no question that the FDA’s lack of leadership in providing guidelines has limited the broad adoption of social media,”Chauncey SmithMarketSMITH Services, LLC headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA and paper co-author, added. “Can these media be abused as a promotional communication channel by not being fair and balanced? Absolutely. But could social media become a force for positive change in healthcare? We think so, which is why we will continue exploring this topic.”

This research project is a follow-up to the Popovic and Smith 2010 publication in the Journal of Communication in Healthcare(Vol. 3, No. 2) ‘Tweeting @DoctorWelby: Practical Examples of Social Media in Healthcare.’

Popovic and Smith continue to believe that social media should be embraced as an integral part of any healthcare communication plan, and see signs that this is occurring with greater scale and frequency.

Read the full version of ‘Attitudes on the Use of Social Media in Healthcare Communications’ in the Ideahaus Professional Community, or download the article at the Journal of Communications in Healthcare website.

How TV viewers really use social media

Monday, May 13th, 2013

social mediaDifferent media channels drive different social media behaviors.

The findings were revealed today from the TVB (, the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry, in the organization’s 2013 Cultural Currency study.

In conjunction with Colligent, a social affinity mapping company, TVB married Nielsen Media Research and Kantar Media data with social media behaviors (not conversation) across Twitter and Facebook to identify the quantity and intensity of behavior for broadcast and cable TV, radio and newspapers at the national and local level.

The study has important implications for how TV programmers and marketers can effectively synchronize social media with their traditional media investments.

Twitter bird

The Cultural Currency research analyzed social media behaviors among 167 million Facebook and Twitter users across 4400 primetime television programs, 540 consumer brands, 570 TV stations, 1823 radio stations and 358 local and national newspapers.

Roadmap to social media experiences

As more content producers and advertisers turn to social media to build and engage program and brand fans, this study provides a roadmap on how to build social media experiences that will maximize consumer engagement and help programmers and advertisers set the right action standards for success.

The findings showed that fan behaviors that drive Cultural Currency activate a different set of personal interactions and necessitate different strategies for brand engagement. Local broadcast TV viewers are 85% more likely to post photos and videos than users of all media (radio, newspapers, broadcast and cable television), primarily because of their strong connection to community.

Samsung Smart TV

A Samsung Smart TV.

Local newspapers outperform all other media in generating retweets (54% more likely), while radio and cable TV users are avid content likers (each 46% more likely).

Across all media channels, broadcast television offered the most balanced set of social media behaviors to activate across content offerings.

Brian Wieser, a leading media industry analyst at equity research firm Pivotal Research Group, highlighted the study’s importance. “This important research from the TVB highlights the growing inter-relationships between television, social media and second-screen content more generally.”

The study unearthed critical insights for programmers and advertisers who build complementary social media experiences to enhance their media investments, including:

  • Broadcast TV Builds Brand Fans With its Combination of Big Audiences and Deep Engagement.
    Broadcast TV at the national and local level is still the dominant brand-builder in the media landscape, generating as much as192X more brand fans within social media than advertisers in the same category who only purchased cable. The use of social media to prove the correlation of actual media investment with brand affinity is a game-changing insight that provides marketers with the ability to target their most engaged brand fans using the efficiencies of mass reach media.
  • Social Media Platforms Are Not Equal Across the Television Landscape.
    There is a polarization of platform preference depending on the programming genre. Viewers of mainstream primetime genres, driven by big hit programs, exhibited more active behaviors on Twitter than on Facebook, suggesting that Twitter has established itself as the “in-the-moment,” simultaneous platform for cultural currency traders and that “appointment viewing” is now an interactive “appointment experience” that offers advertisers more opportunities to engage in real-time.

“Mass culture that is accessible to many and used in social exchanges both online and off, provides the Cultural Currency needed to attract, maintain, and grow our relationships with others as well as with brands,” explained Stacey Lynn Schulman (formerly Koerner), Chief Research Officer at TVB.

“In our eagerness to embrace technologies that enhance personalization and customization, our society has become more isolated, and mainstream media products, particularly broadcast TV, provides the glue that connects our virtual and physical lives. Just like monetary currencies, different cultural products provide different value in this new eco-system, and it’s not surprising that Broadcast Television – from local stations to national networks – excels in this regard.”

Small businesses embracing mobile technologies

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

mobilephonesFor those wondering if small business owners are actually using mobile technology for their business, the answer is a definitive “yes,” according to new survey data from Constant Contact®, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTCT).

Of those surveyed in March 2013, 66 percent report currently using a mobile device, including smart phones and tablets, or a solution, like mobile-optimized websites and text message marketing.

While this majority adoption is promising, it’s important to note that, of the 34 percent not using any mobile device or solution for their business, a resounding 65 percent have no plans to do so in the future, mainly citing a lack of customer demand.

Email and Social Media Marketing Paving the Way

How are small businesses using mobile technology? The top two ways are email and social media marketing, and they have a considerable lead over other uses:

  • 73 percent conduct social media marketing.
  • 71 percent conduct email marketing.
  • 44 percent advertise through social platforms.
  • 34 percent have a mobile-optimized website.
  • 18 percent run a mobile tablet-based payment point-of-sale.
  • 18 percent use mobile apps to manage operations, like accounting.

“It’s encouraging that a majority of small businesses recognize that their customers are relying more than ever on their mobile devices to find information, look for deals, and even to make purchases,” said Joel Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development.

“That said, small business owners are still getting their sea legs, so it’s not surprising that they’re leading with two areas where they have a solid track record of success with customer engagement: social media and email.”

social media logosWhen asked what types of mobile/social advertising they currently employ, 97 percent of respondents said social media like YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Location-based promotions (Foursquare® check-in, etc.) came in a distant second at 17 percent, and text message came in third at 15 percent.

A deeper look into mobile-optimized websites of small businesses reveals that 70 percent are social-media optimized. Other findings:

  • 44 percent contain a menu.
  • 40 percent contain individual product listings.
  • 39 percent contain videos.

Apple & Android– The New POS?

In the battle of iOS vs. Android, iOS is the clear winner.

iPhone 5

The iPhone 5

Among small business owners, iPhone users trump Android users 66 percent to 39 percent, while iPad users trump Android tablet users 49 percent to 15 percent. iOS popularity among small business owners is not reflected among the general public where, according to a recent comScore MobiLens study that measures the smartphone platforms used by everyone in the U.S., Android subscribers account for 52.3 percent of all subscribers, while iOS subscribers account for 37.8 percent.

Small businesses are using these devices for point-of-sale functions. Seventy-one percent of small businesses using mobile technology accept mobile payments and 52 percent utilize a mobile-/tablet-based point-of-sale system.

Mobile Apps for Managing Operations

Mobile apps are playing a growing role in how small businesses manage operations.

  • 82 percent use a calendar/time management app.
  • 74 percent use a customer communications app.
  • 52 percent use a GPS and mapping app.
  • 44 percent use an accounting/invoicing app.
  • 44 percent use an app for industry news/information consumption.
  • 29 percent use a travel planning app.

Why Aren’t All Small Businesses Mobilizing Behind Mobile?

mobilewalletWhen Constant Contact asked small business owners not using mobile the all-important question of why, here’s how they responded:

  • 56 percent said their customers haven’t expressed demand for mobile communications.
  • 47 percent said their customers haven’t expressed demand for mobile payment solutions.
  • 36 percent said they are interested in mobile solutions but don’t know enough about how to best use them.
  • 33 percent said they’re interested in mobile solutions but haven’t had time to implement any yet.
  • 31 percent said they don’t have a work-/business-related smartphone.
  • 28 percent said mobile is not relevant to their industry/business.

“Generally speaking, small business owners have very little spare time on their hands, so learning how to use mobile technology for their business is not necessarily tops on their ‘to do’ list,” said Hughes.

“We received some anecdotal survey responses that said ‘It costs too much’ and ‘I have no idea how this stuff works,’ representing the subset of small businesses that will forgo mobile opportunities until their customers start demanding mobile communications or payment solutions.”

Public cloud sprawl worries enterprise IT leaders

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

skypeAre you using Dropbox, Evernote, Skype or other public cloud services at work? Many are and it worries some firms.

There is growing concern among Enterprise IT leaders over the unauthorized use of the public cloud by business units within the enterprise according to the 2013 PMG Cloud Sprawl Survey of 234 North American corporate IT professionals.

Unauthorized cloud services of most concern to business IT processionals include the use of public cloud storage (70 percent), cloud synchronization (68 percent) and cloud-based collaboration applications (53 percent).

The pattern of unauthorized usage of cloud services seems to be on the rise despite the fact that IT says the vast majority (89 percent) of employees understand the need for data security.

Many have a policy

Today, 54 percent of corporate IT professionals surveyed say their organizations have a policy in place regarding the use of public cloud storage services.

However, the plurality (43 percent) admit to being only “somewhat effective” in educating business users on the pitfalls of the public cloud. Twenty-eight percent of IT pros say they are not effective in educating business users on the downside of using public cloud solutions, 20 percent say they are effective and 10 percent are not sure how effective they are.

Complete findings from the 2013 PMG Cloud Sprawl Survey, a blind survey of 234 North American corporate IT professionals conducted in March of 2013, are available at

Cloud sprawl

The ever-growing use of public cloud services and apps by individuals or business units within a company, often without permission from IT, also known as cloud sprawl, is a trend most tech professionals see as negative.

A majority of IT pros (52 percent) say cloud sprawl will have a significant or somewhat negative impact on operations and resources, and 34 percent say they don’t yet know how it will impact IT.

“Cloud services will continue to expand within companies, in fact this study found 38 percent of IT respondents turn to the cloud because it offers faster deployment,” said Joe LeCompte , principal at PMG. “Savvy IT departments are focusing on finding better ways to offer enterprise-grade cloud services to internal users as a way to stem cloud sprawl and safeguard corporate information.”

Top Cloud Concerns

Security tops the list of the biggest issues associated with unauthorized cloud sprawl. When asked, here is how corporate IT ranks the following concerns:

  • 79 percent data security,
  • 57 percent compliance,
  • 55 percent network security,
  • 51 percent loss of control,
  • 48 percent unmanaged application.

DropboxSpecific cloud services or applications IT has prevented or limited enterprise access to include social media sites (66 percent), Skype (61 percent), Dropbox (59 percent) and Google Drive (40 percent). Sixty-four percent of those surveyed say much of the increased usage of cloud solutions has been driven by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in today’s workplace.

Efforts To Make Cloud Procurement a Positive

When IT uncovers the deployment of public cloud solutions without IT’s assistance or knowledge, 65 percent say they evaluate the service and act accordingly (either approving or denying usage), only 15 percent immediately pull the plug and 11 percent say they don’t get involved in the deployment of department-level cloud solutions.

The strategies IT is using to better manage cloud sprawl within corporations are varied but include the following:

  • 48 percent assign an IT resource to work with business units/departments seeking cloud solutions,
  • 39 percent have developed internal cloud solutions for business units/departments to use,
  • 33 percent have developed and enforce a corporate-wide cloud services IT policy.

The silver lining in the cloud sprawl conundrum is that 72 percent of IT leaders say employees are willing to use corporate installed cloud solutions. This is good because 82 percent of IT respondents are predicting the volume of cloud service procurement by business users over the next 24 months to be greater than it is today.

Big Data


With 60 percent of those surveyed reporting big data is or will become vital in future enterprise cloud deployment, the ability to integrate data between cloud applications or cloud application and on-premise application is key.

To date, 46 percent have had incompatibility issues when trying to integrate data between cloud and on-premise applications. Forty-six percent surveyed say this is because of the use of unsanctioned cloud applications.

“At the end of the day, IT is not going to paint all public cloud solutions as ‘bad’,” said LeCompte. “In fact, 69 percent of IT executives say a hybrid cloud strategy using both private and public cloud offerings is the wave of the future inside the enterprise.

Containing cloud sprawl to protect corporate information and ensure security can be done by providing cloud services in a structured manner with a proper governance framework.”

Getting Personal with IT Professionals

On the strictly personal side, the survey found that most technology professionals had a split personality – when it comes to operating systems.

The vast majority (72 percent) prefer the Windows OS for personal computing (outside the work environment) compared to 25 percent that answered Apple and four percent that opt for Google.

On the mobile side of things, a majority (53 percent) prefer the Apple mobile OS, 34 percent Android, 9 percent Windows and 4 percent BlackBerry.

BigBang Theory

The Big Bang Theory pokes fun at super smart “geeks” who love science, comic books and the girl next door.

When asked what fictional TV character most represents today’s IT professionals, the “wicked smart” Dr. Gregory House from House M.D. got 27 percent of the vote, followed by the “lovable geek” Sheldon Cooper , Ph. D. from The Big Bang Theory with 21 percent of the vote, and Sherlock Holmes from Elementary cited by 19 percent.

We’re not sure about those choices. While Cooper is certainly a geek, his TV friend Wollowitz is really the computer nerd.

The bottom of the list included Tony Soprano (8 percent), Homer Simpson (6 percent) and Elmo from Sesame Street (1 percent).

For in-depth survey findings from the 2013 PMG Cloud Sprawl Survey visit

Online gamers face massive increase in cyber crime

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

lockDo you play online games? If you do, beware. Cyber criminals are trying to steal your personal information.

The APWG reports in its Q4 2012 Phishing Activity Trends Report this week that phishing attacks against online game players saw a massive increase, climbing from 2.7 percent of all phishing attacks in Q3 to 14.7 percent in Q4.

“The success of the sector and the richness of in-game commerce options available in online game systems has attracted the attention of phishers who’ve had a decade to hone their skills against online banking and commerce systems. Playing safe is an important today as playing fair,” said APWG Secretary General Peter Cassidy.

Attacks doubled

Attacks against social media sites doubled to 6 percent, up from 3 percent in Q3. Financial services continued to be the most-targeted industry sector in the fourth quarter, with payment services close behind, the report found.

Online gaming credentials are valuable to certain criminals, who sell them on the black market. In-game items held in those accounts can also be sold by phishers for real-world cash. Depending upon how much information is revealed, the victims can even have their real-life identities stolen.

Increased emphasis on malware

Overall the APWG’s statistics show that the number of phishing sites declined every month from April 2012 through December 2012. In Q4, the APWG received reports of 51,232 unique phishing sites in October, falling to 28,195 in December.

This and other statistics reveal that criminals are relying less on pure social engineering scams such as classic phishing based on social engineering schemes. Instead, there is increased emphasis on deploying crimeware – malware designed to steal the user’s credentials automatically and placing them in the phisher’s control.

Trojans continue to account for about three-quarters of all newly detected crimeware threats.

Penetration of malware is high

The penetration of malware payloads is also high. According to APWG contributor Luis Corrons of PandaLabs, during Q4 about 30 percent of personal computers worldwide were infected with malware. More than 57 percent of PCs in China may have been infected, while PCs in European nations were infected least-often.

“These shifts are due to fraudsters using more advanced phishing techniques, such as geo-IP blocking and malware,” said Ihab Shraim, Chief Information Security Officer and VP, Anti-Fraud Engineering & Operations at MarkMonitor.

“Phishers are also taking advantage of the availability of non-traditional platforms such as social media and mobile to launch newer types of targeted phishing attacks.”

The full text of the report is available here:

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.


Facebook, Youtube, Twitter dominate social media brand ranking

Friday, April 19th, 2013

social mediaThe four most valuable social media brands in 2012 were able to defend their leading positions and increase their brand values, with Google+ rising fast.

The rankings are from the Department of Social Media Management of HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich, in cooperation with BV4 Certified Brand Valuation Experts.

Facebook takes the top of the current ranking with an estimated brand value of $ 34.320 billion, followed by YouTube with a brand value of $ 26.824 billion, and Twitter with $ 23.656 billion.

Less well known in the Western world is the Chinese network Qzone which, with a brand value of $ 16.336 billionn, is in fourth position.

Google PlusTop winner of this year’s ranking is Google+, which gained 14 ranks ($ 5.878 billionn).

Together, the thirty most valuable brands have a monetary value of nearly $ 200 bn

Trends positively influenced brand value growth

Actual social media trends had a positive influence on the strength and value development of the analyzed brands, fueling a growth of 59% compared to the top 30 brands in 2012: on one hand, the most successful social media brands such as Facebook and Twitter were able to further develop their dominance with regard to their financial brand values.

On the other hand, Chinese social media brands expanded their strength and value thanks to the impressive Chinese Internet usage statistics that are characterized by a rapidly increasing number of Internet users and an intensive daily use of social media networks.

Furthermore, the new brand arrivals Instagram ($ 2.101 bn, position 22) and Pinterest ($ 1.987 bn, position 24) clearly benefitted from users’ augmenting need to share pictures among their digital peers.

Finally, the trend of increasingly using mobile devices rather than PCs to access social media platforms is an additional factor that positively influenced the strength and value development of the most valuable social media brands in 2013.

The growing importance of social media brands

Brands are important intangible value drivers for consumer goods and service companies. Compared to corporate values, intangible values like brands are continually increasing.

This is also true for social network brands, which have spread rapidly throughout the world and were able to continue on this path to success. Some of the important value drivers of social media brands are global awareness, growing user numbers, omnipresence in the day-to-day life of consumers, as well as facilitation of simple and efficient communication.

The detailed report “The Most Valuable Social Media Brands 2013″ can be obtained free of charge at . Follow the hashtag #socialbrands13

PR spend up, but there is unmet demand for better tools

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

MarketingThe 2012 global spend for public relations information (including regulatory disclosure) & software was up 4.41% versus 2011, to reach $1.99 billion. If you’re looking for a product opportunity, though, you might look into the need for better tools to track key influencers, journalists, and social media.

The UBM PR Newswire unit and Cision were the overall market share leaders with 14.32% and 7.33% respectively, in what is generally a fragmented industry.

The report also shows that Social Media is the fastest-growing area of spending for PR professionals. Almost 60% of respondents to an exclusive Burton-Taylor survey expect their spending on social media tools to grow in the coming year.

“Since the economic meltdown in 2008, there has been much greater emphasis on transparency and tighter controls on information distribution, which positively impacted the Press Release Distribution space,” says Douglas B. Taylor , Managing Partner of Burton-Taylor.

Desire for online visibility boosts growth

“Client Interest in online visibility, especially via social media, is also boosting growth.”

The B-T survey results show HootSuite and Radian6 currently top the list when PR practitioners are asked to name their primary social media provider.

“Contact management tools for PR professionals are another consistently strong area,” says report contributor Chris Porter , Director at Porter Walford Consulting.

“There’s a real unmet demand for better tools to pinpoint key influencers, whether journalists or social media commentators, to track their coverage across all channels and to maintain strong relationships with them.”