October 2008 Archives

Razorfish Report on Consumer Purchasing Behavior


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feedcover.pngNot surprisingly, our recent Razorfish Consumer Report uncovers that social media directly influences purchasing decisions. And not just that but "connected consumers" are comfortable with seeing advertising on social networks and 4 out of 10 made purchasing decisions based on the social advertising. 76% welcome advertising on social networks.

These findings are probably welcome news for the many social media platforms in the marketplace. With the slowing economy, many platforms including the social media ad networks are getting worried that fewer ad dollars will come their way. These findings tell a different story - a story about consumers pay attention to ads in social networks (even if they are not always clicking on them) and more importantly make purchasing decisions based off of what they see. Big news.

What's also interesting in the findings is that 7 out of 10 connected consumers are embracing social media like nothing before. 7 out of 10 have customized their home pages with content feeds, scheduled updates and other features. A startling 60 percent use widgets on websites. Little did we know how pervasive widgets were. It just shows much marketers need to pay attention to them. Other findings show that consumers value personalization and loyalty programs in purchasing environments - they definitely influence purchasing decisions.

Another interesting finding is that the social web has become the mainstream web. Regardless of which social media property consumers choose, they have spent a massive amount of time interacting with each other. The majority of them (75%) spend at least one hour a week on these properties with 19% spending more than seven hours a week on them. The report which also explored peer and anonymous influence showed that peer recommendations are playing a much larger role than ever before in purchasing decisions.

You can find the full report here in an interactive flash format or download the pdf if you want to print it. Don't miss my own article titled Twitterific on page 45! And lastly, here's some external coverage of the report.

Fighting Social Influence Marketing Myths


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For something as discussed as Social Influence Marketing, there are a surprising number of myths that still inhibit its adoption. Here some of the more common ones are debunked.

1. Social Influence Marketing is about targeting Generation Y. Some people equate social media with Facebook. They also equate Facebook with a college audience. Both assumptions are false. There is a lot more to social media than Facebook, or MySpace for that matter. And Social Influence Marketing is not just about targeting Generation Y on the social media platforms.

The largest demographic blogging in the country is the 25-34 demographic (36%), closely followed by the 34-44 one (24%). The 35-49 demographic is the largest on LinkedIn, with its 12 million visitors. In fact, LinkedIn increasingly competes with the Wall Street Journal for ad dollars online. For its own part, the Journal and Businessweek have just launched online communities catering to a much older and more affluent demographics. Finally, some of the most successful online communities are ones that cater to niche, older audiences whether they be Patientlikeme.com, Flixtser, A Small World or Café Mom.

Social Influence Marketing at Publishers Summit


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On Friday I presented at our Razorfish Publishers Summit in LA to 400 publishers - the people on whose websites we buy media for our clients. I discussed what social influence marketing is, the new imperative for publishers and how it is up to them to deliver the social graph to advertisers. Here's the deck.

HP becoming a truly social brand


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tam.jpgHPs long running "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign has included some interesting social elements too. And those social media elements are making the brand increasingly social in a way that every brand needs to be.

Last fall, they ran a contest in partnership with MTV inviting participants to submit designs for a special edition HP laptop. Called "Take Action, Make Art" the winner was rewarded with his design featuring on an HP laptop. The event drew 8,500 submissions from youth across the world with regional winners being selected by popular vote and the final winner being chosen by a panel of judges. The site drew 5 million hits.

Back in 2006, HP ran a viral campaign around the Soccer World Cup. In that effort, an anonymous site showed a man performing soccer tricks using two fingers and a paper ball on a desk. Visitors were intrigued with the tricks wondering if they were even possible. The site drew 180,000 unique visitors to the site prompting huge discussions in the blogosphere.

More recently, HP has launched a line of computers targeted at fashion conscious women. They partnered with fashion designer Vivienne Tam to design and launch these laptops. And not surprisingly, the laptops look more like digital purses than computers. By their very design (and an accompanying clothes lines that matches the laptops), these laptops will become social artifacts taking people to place that one wouldn't expect. The marketing effort around this launch harnesses social media - and because it brings the worlds of fashion and technology together it has been attracting a lot more attention in the blogosphere than one would expect.

What allows HP to successfully run these campaigns? Its the fact that their brand has become increasingly social. The tag line "The Computer is Personal Again" is inherently a social one focusing on the lives of consumers versus touting features of a specific technology. They're making their brand social and are inviting customers to participate and take ownership of it in different ways. More brands need to move in that direction.


Blogging is not a youth phenomena. Brands take notice


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I'm tired of hearing that social media is just a youth phenomena. Maybe because Facebook had its roots in colleges, people continue to believe that social media is just for Generation Y. People forget that there's so much more to social media than Facebook (targeting older demographics) and that Facebook too is getting older everyday.

The Technorati State of the Blogosphere report is another proof point showing that the average of bloggers is certainly higher than many people may have thought. 25-34 year olds make up 36%, 35-44 year olds make up 27%, 45-54 year olds make up 15% and 18-24 year olds make up only 13% of bloggers on the internet. Interestingly, more than half have a household income of greater than $75,000 and 59% have been blogging for two years or more. So the next time your CEO tells you that blogging is for children, show him or her these statistics. 

Brands are also taking blogs a lot more seriously. They believe that within the next five years, 51% of internet users will get their news and entertainment information from blogs over traditional news sources. That's a fascinating numbers and highlights how much attention brands need to give to the blogosphere. What's interesting too, is that traditional media has been responding to this trend by becoming more blog like in many ways. 

The Advertiser has lost touch


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Here's a great clip passed onto me from my friend Terri. It says it all. How we're talking down to consumers when we shouldn't be. We're acting like we know consumers but rather we know segments and statistics. Time for that to change.

Social media goes global


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dmnews.jpgI was interviewed for a DM News article recently on social media in a global context. The other interviewees were Scott Monty head of social media at Ford and Bob Pearson, VP of communities and conversations at Dell. It's a great article covering the ins and outs of taking social media efforts global. Below is an extract of what I said.

Social media as a marketing vehicle is still its infancy, but Shiv Singh, VP of social media and global strategies at Avenue A/Razorfish, says most brands already realize that what works in one market may not work in another.

“One of the major reasons why social networks and social media have become a runaway phenom enon is because it is very localized,” he says. “It is very much a local activity with local friendships and local relationships.”

It is important to also remember that culture plays an important role in social media behavior in a specific country. In some cases, online social media is considered an alternative culture movement and in others it is a natural extension of the physical world. Having worked in three continents, I've seen this first hand.

As a result, social media campaigns and other social media initiatives need to be looked at carefully for how they will work from country to country. One should also keep in mind that if you connect customers from different parts of the world together, it may result in some unexpected consequences. A brand can be incredibly strong in one region and very weak in another. Read the full article.

OMMA Global Whither Social Media Panel


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A few weeks ago I spoke on a panel at OMMA Global here in New York. This main stage panel was hosted by Cathy Taylor from MediaPost and included Tom Arrix from Facebook, Bant Breen from Interpublic Group, Angela Courtin from MySpace and David Hahn from LinkedIn. View the video clip

My key messages - look at social media as one component of a larger marketing effort. Think about how it touches every part of digital, integrate it into all your digital efforts, recognize that different tactics work at different points in the marketing funnel and most importantly focus on peer influence. 

Red Bull leads by example with Facebook Connect


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I am extremely impressed with Red Bull's Facebook Connect efforts. Residing within Flash, it lets people within a social graph see each other's comments to blog posts. 

So when I login with my Facebook account, I see all the blog posts and then the comments by friends of mine from my Facebook social graph. What could be more useful. This allows for social influence among a peer group - among people know each other and share similar interests. I'd much rather be viewing the comments of my friends than of strangers and this allows for that. Beautiful. What's more, by encouraging me to post my comments to my Facebook profile as well, it tacitly encourages other friends to join this conversation on the Red Bull site.

We're going to see a lot more examples of Facebook Connect in the coming months. I'll be keeping an eye out for ones that really benefit users and naturally allow for social influence to take place. This one certainly seems to do so.

Google to research Social Influence


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Businessweek and MediaPost are reporting that Google is going to study how influence actually works on social networks. This is a welcome change and if you've been reading this blog regularly, you can guess its something that I've been hoping for. 

Now we don't know how exactly Google is going to do this but we do know what they're trying to do. They're trying to understand (as they should) which friends in a social graph play a bigger role in social influence than others. They're going to figure out which friends in my network do more to spread information, which start conversations rather than end them and which influence most other people to take specific actions. 

Google is trying to create an influence rank, sort of similar to what folks like SocialMedia.com tried to do within the confines of a social network ad network (Facebook in their case). I can only manage how much easier it will be for them to sell ads once they have something in place especially if it also includes YouTube. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? It is and a marketers dream.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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