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Tuesday generates highest engagement for social campaigns

Did you not ever want to know what the best day for a Social Media marketing campaign could be? Well, you can get some good indication with the following study…

Many Facebook campaigns go live on Fridays. However, the day that generates most user engagement for a campaign on the social network is the Tuesday, which ranked only fourth in terms of the number campaigns conducted. These are some of the findings of a recent study done by Yesmail Interactive. The results are based on a three-month study of consumer engagement with online campaigns for 20 major retails brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, or Ralph Lauren among others.

The study with the title “Using Digital Market Intelligence to Drive Multi–Channel Success” figured out the customer engagement of campaigns on the most popular social networks. In order to understand campaign engagement, it compared the relationship between “volume-based engagement” of Facebook campaigns (number of “likes” or comments a campaign generates) and “actual engagement analysis”. The finding is quite obvious, in that the lower the brand “likes”, the fewer likes and comments a brand on Facebook gets. Still, independent of the size of their fan base, some retail brands generate higher engagement levels than others through Facebook. Nevertheless, average-performing brands still performed as engagement winners, including i.e. Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer or Kenneth Cole. 

Although, we have already reported that a balanced frequency in posting status updates is important for the success of a Facebook campaign, there is no blueprint and guarantee for success. The most engaging brands had deployed between 20 and 32 campaigns per month. Compared to the five least engaging brands with 54 campaigns per month, it becomes obvious that posting less frequently is better. From a timing perspective, the best Facebook engagement was generated for campaigns launching between 10 pm and 12 am Eastern time (EST) which was also the least-used deployment time slot.

For Twitter, the research showed that most Twitter campaigns (20%) were conducted on Friday, which again is the least engaging day for such campaigns. Almost on the same engagement level performed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as those most engaging campaign days. Over 84% of all Twitter campaigns were deployed within regular work hours (between 9am and 7pm EST).

The performance of the 20 retail brands on Twitter showed big differences. Although Forever 21 came in first in terms of follower base, the brand’s campaigns showed significantly lower engagement among followers than the campaigns of brands with smaller follower bases.

The five most engaging brands did 45 to 70 Twitter campaigns per month on Twitter versus the five least engaging brands with an average number between 95 and 115 Twitter campaigns per month. It shows again that lower frequency is better than big blast promotions. If marketers want to generate high engagement, they should place their campaigns between 5 am to 6 am and 7 am to 8 am EST.

In terms of YouTube campaigns, the study found that 85% of the brands studied have a YouTube channel. Still, just 35% deployed campaigns during the research period. Some more findings indicate that on average, retailers conducted 3.5 campaigns per month during the study. The best day for interaction occurred to be Monday. Do we have to mention that this was the least likely day for campaign deployment? YouTube campaigns deployed between 2 am-3 am EST found the highest engagement rates.

The study is based on campaigns conducted from January to March, 2012 via Yesmail Market Intelligence. The selection of brands focusses on 18-35 year-olds as of their digital communication interest.

Why employers should rethink their attitude towards Social Media…

Many interesting infos have we seen concerning how companies and employers are seeing and opening up their minds about Social Media usage in their offices.

PayScale now comes up with an interesting collection of data based on how employers have adapted Social Media usage for their employees. Some key findings are in the following infographic which makes clear that companies are still in a control mode and have their difficulties becoming “The Social Enterprise”.

– Just a bit more than half of the companies (53%) have a formal social media policy.
– Still 42% of companies don’t allow any forms of Social Media activity at work.
– The smaller the company the more likely the company has a Social Media policy in place.
– With 65% the retail industry is the most evolved industry sector, followed by manufacturing and biz support.
– Energy companies are least likely to use Social Media versus media companies that do encourage their employees.

Spot On!
The infographic shows that there is some kind of ambiguity in the adoption of Social Media inside companies. Although most companies see value in employer branding, in recruiting people through Social Media platforms (80% according to LinkedIn) as well as for external communication like promotions, marketing and PR, many companies still don’t want to go the final mile in transforming their company into a “Social Business”. So, why are they banning the use of these platforms, if they see ROI for their employees in working with it? Isn’t the open and transparent use of Social Media in business more important for the future than it has ever been? For marketing and HR ok, for the rest of the employees not?

Just think about the fact that two out of five Gen Y workers rate Social Media above a higher salary (well, they don’t have kids and family liabilities…). When 56% don’t want a company than bans Social Media companies should rethink their HR strategy and see the value in a Community Centric Strategy

Study Gen Y: Moving communication to social networks

Many managers don’t believe that the next management generation might communicate differently from today. So, every proof we have could be beneficial to score here and it is necessary to obey the signs in every region in the world.

In India an increasing number of the Gen Y generation prefers to communicate via social networking platforms to stay connect with their peers. And they do it on mobile devices as their preferred tool for communication.

A recent survey called The GenY Survey 2011-12 by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) asked 12,000 high school students between 12-18 years in cities like i.e. Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune from July to December 2011. It finds that a “total of 88% respondents from metropolitan cities had a Facebook account while other platforms such as Orkut and India-based Apna Circle, Ibibo and Hi5 were more popular in small metros”.

The study states that 40% of the Gen Y’s have internet access on their mobile phones. However, television emerged as the least favorite gadget with not even 1% voting for it. An emerging trend is the use of tablets with almost 14% using these new devices, it quotes.

Some more findings of the study…
– 85% use social networking sites such as Facebook
– 84% have internet access at home
– 79% own a mobile phone
– 28% value the mobile phone their favorite gadget

Spot On!
There are already 38% of respondents in metros using Facebook or Twitter to communicate. Tweeting is now being used by one in three students according to the study, though just 1% mentioned it as their preferred site. Text and chat were said to be the preferred alternatives to voice calls with 50% of respondents in metros explaining they used SMS most frequently to communicate, 45% used instant messaging. Apart from that, they also value information technology as a career option followed by engineering and medicine.

At Mercedes augmented-reality lets gestures communicate

Some weeks ago, we have discussed the opportunity for car manufacturers with in-car internet access that KPMG sees as the “norm” in the near future. If this is to come true, then concepts like the Mercedes’ Dynamic and Intuitive Control Experience (DICE) is not far of, and the car windshield might get potentially more impact in terms of delivering essential contextual driving information.

The system was shown at CES for the first time and seems not to be too far away bearing in mind that we have seen smart windows from Samsung that become TV screens. Wether this is fiction or reaality soon, I definitely like the idea and the vision that Mercedes has…

The car manufacturer envisions complete new data transfer through windshields like seeing who is driving in front of you or getting relevant traffic data or restaurant tips. What sounds promising, might also become a challenge for the driver who needs to avoid being distracted by all that data. The Mercedes concept touches all new technology options that we know from smartphones and tablets in favor of gesture-based controls that communicate information while driving.

“With the DICE sculpture Mercedes-Benz provides a visionary perspective on how the vehicle becomes an intelligent mobility partner in the future. For this Mercedes-Benz uses a combination of Augmented Reality and natural gesture control to realize a completely new form of communication between people and their environment.”

Well, just have a look and decide if you like it or not..

The near future of Augmented Reality (AR) and QR codes

Augmented reality (AR) has a glorious future according to a new market research published by MarketsandMarkets. It will be interesting to see which role QR codes play in that future as more and more technologies arise.

The new market research report “Global Augmented Reality (AR) Market Forecast by Product (HMD, HUD, Tablet PC, Smartphone) for Gaming, Automotive, Medical, Advertisement, Defense, E-Learning & GPS Applications (2011-2016)” states that the total Augmented Reality applications market will be growing by over 95% from 2011 to 2016. The research sees it reaching a market volume of $5151,74 million.

According to Comscore research almost 10% of all smartphone users have scanned QR codes in June this year. The interesting fact is that most users scan their QR codes from home (57,4%). In public only 20% use those QR scan options from outdoor advertising or in public transport.

Although screen technology (smartphone, tablet and eye-wear) is still in its infancy concerning AR, and also facing some challenges, the Universities of Washington and the MIT see a better future on the experience horizont. Especially, the head up and head mounted displays have become mature, finds the study. Leading and growing in use are online apps, gaming apps and GPS apps. So far, campaigns like the following by MIRAT Paris work on the basis of QR coding…

But what kind of Augmented Reality technologies are rocking the transformation from the physical to the virtual world, or shall we say to the mobile world?

Some months ago, we only had browser technology like Layar and Wikitude. Today, companies like Tesco are experimenting with other capabilities in their retail shops. For a long time, we had to use QR codes or trigger points to initiate some activity with AR technology.

Layar’s latest innovation called “Vision” is another reason why QR codes are becoming uncool. Vision is a tool that lets advertisers and content owners integrate Augmented Reality ads in publications. As an example you may watch the Dutch magazine Linda how the technology works…

Some other technology innovations are also evolving that might catalyze the technology shift in the AR sphere. Here are three of them…

Aurasma
The Aurasma technology -unlike the GPS based technologies Layar (until the Vision version) and Wikitude that merely recognizes what someone has tagged as locations or places- is a new generation augmented reality browser. Aurasma recognises images through cameras in a way search engines recognise words. The browser then creates so-called 2D or 3D „Auras“ which show animated audio-video content. Just watch some examples of Aurasma campaigns.

blippAR
With blippAR the whole advertisment becomes the response tool. It is enough to simply point in the direction of the ad with the app. Still, the awareness challenge needs to be solved. And, the need for a specific browser to use the technology. See some examples of blippAR usage. At the moment you can even participate in the interactive blippAR campaign “escape the map” by Mercedes Benz.

Printechnologics
Printechnologics is based on Touchcode carrier technology. It contains a blind or transparent code which is embedded via invisible data storage development inside print products like carton, foil or simply paper. Printechnologics turns the AR identification around as you lay the paper on top of the tablet or smartphone, and not the other way round. And you don’t even need to modify your device, download a browser, use NFC (near field communication), or a camera for it to identify and initiate the online activity form the offline trigger. The last issue from the ICONIST carried a Printechnologics card and here you can see how it connect the two worlds….

Spot On!
In some months, the QR codes might be gone as an AR trigger, and thus leave the advertising world. However, all AR technologies have one weakness: You need to know that these technologies are embedded in any forms of campaigns. You need some trigger point, button, picture, image or QR code that people see. Thus, the main challenge for QR codes and Augmented Reality is to build awareness and understanding what it can do. Nobody is using a browser or a camera if there is no “visual” reason for virtual interactivity. I see TV using any of the forms as an extension for their TV shows in order to promote their digital content and advertising opportunities, just like the print industry did in the past. One thing is for sure: Augmented Reality will definitely become a new playground that connects the TV and online markets in the future…

What’s your view on Augmented Reality and QR codes? Let us know…

Incentivized ads boost brand perception, study finds

According to a recent study by KN Dimestore and SocialVibe brand messages and incentives influences most consumers to pay more attention to ads. In fact, if companies combine these two advertising and brand strategies, the interaction of consumers with brands increases by 91% and brand perception by 38%.

The study -which gathers data from more than 30,000 survey respondents- reported that when 48% of survey participants initially opt-in to engage with a brand for the incentive, they stay and pay attention to the brand message.

The aim of the study was to find out if and why incentives prompt people to engage with the advertisements, how they affect consumer perception of the brands, and if they influence people to visit the company’s website or „buzz“ their friends about the offer. Respondents gave feedback on ads from U.S. brands across financial services, CPG, entertainment, e-commerce and technology categories between June and July of 2011.

Some key findings of the study…
48% of those interact because of the incentive but pay attention to brand
12% interact purely based on brand
31% interact for brand and incentive
9% interact purely for the incentive

The results summary makes clear that engaging with the ad increased the odds that the consumers would purchase the product. Above that, incentives through ads drive website and in-store traffic, as well as purchases – and also conversions. Happy customers are coming back more often to the website when initially satisfied with an incentive through incentives. 36% of respondents were more likely to purchase brand-related products at physical store after interacting with the ad.

SocialVibe names the strategy “value-exchange brand advertising”. The company defines it as ads that ask for a consumer’s attention in exchange for something they want, such as virtual currency for social games or making a donation to charity. There is a clear differentiation from sign-up and straight purchase intended offers like cost-per-action (CPA) advertising.

Spot On!
The study is an interesting step in indicating the value of ads for branding. Generating consumer interest and awareness get’s more and more challenging these days with the masses of advertising we are faced with on a daily basis. Mobile advertising shows some similar development in terms of incentivization and engagement. Often companies said that the value of ads is getting lower as they just value it from a conversion-based ROI perspective. However, the study now shows that earning points, virtual currency or some other rewards finds the atention of customers. That’s when conversion comes into play, and that’s where brands need to foster engagement to a purchase via the right communication tactics.

Majority of Irish students favor use of private devices and Facebook…

What will companies say if employees want to bring their own devices to work? How about security issues and support opportunities for companies? A real challenge for the future when we look at an Irish study that interviewed 164 students in secondary school and at third level in order to understand how this generation is communicating these days.

The study by IT distributor Data Solutions on behalf of Blue Coat Systems shows that more than 60% of young people expect their employers to allow them to use their own personal devices (i.e. smartphone, laptop, etc.) for work purposes in the future.

The argumentation behind their expectations are obvious: They know how to use our private devices, so they don’t need to learn new technology which saves the company time and money. The challenge for companies will be to establish a set of new policy and security guidelines, as well as data safety and storing options.

“More than 85% of the students surveyed own or have access to a laptop, and almost 40% own a smartphone. This facilitates the trend towards ‘bringing your own device’, and every business is going to have to learn to accommodate this trend while ensuring security (…) When today’s students enter the workforce they will be completely in tune with the new ways of communicating and collaborating online, as most are already using social networking sites, blogs, Skype or instant messaging. Employers now need to look at new ways to facilitate their needs and expectations.” Michael O’Hara, Managing Director, Data Solutions

The study also shows the bluring use of email comunication. 75% of Irish students favor social networking sites like Facebook as their main channel for communicating online these days. Just 6% prefer to use email.

Spot On!
The study findings illustrate that social media sites continue to be on the rise in popularity, and it indicates how older traditional online communication tools like email become less attractive. When 88% have a Facebook account, it is not surprising that they are not swappping to Outlook anymore when communicating with each other, not matter if business or private. And it seems that this will have the same effect on the hardware and devices they want to use. Maybe we just need a separate login on our computers in the future? What is your view on this development…?

Hyperspecialization – The future of work 3.0?

All people engaging in the Social Web are eager to pull, push and share all kinds of specializing topics in different areas of thoughts, interests and visions. In some way these people define a new development where the work of generalists is being cut into workload of networks of narrow experts or specialists. At least, Tom Malone, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the Harvard Business Review article “The Age of Hyperspecialization,” sees this trend and explains in an HBR video why breaking jobs into tiny pieces yields better, faster, and cheaper work.

Malone sees the key “trend” behind this movement in “cheap communication technology” brought to us all over the world – more or less instantly and costlessly. Having said that, Malone’s illustration of scambled eggs being made ready to eat via the locations, Boston, China, Moscow, Paris and Singapore shows the limitation in the theory. For “brain workers”, it definitely makes sense and is a valid and applicable theory. Managers need to figure out how to break up traditional single job descriptions into pieces of hyperspecialist work and maybe rearrange their business processes if they want to make use of hyperspecialization.

What I definitely see is greater flexibility for employees in this movement. The development offers also some massive opportunity for freelancers being integrated into different projects. Thus, I would ask, whether the work of employees, sitting in office, could not easily be outsourced to even more specialized freelancers. Or if it will be more difficult to coordinate these specialists? Or would this be the work of a hyperspecialist again?

Is this really a new trend? Is this the normal evolution of worklife and business? Is this another step towards workplace 3.0, the mobile workplace? How do you see that…?

Study: C-level executives still unsure how to leverage Social Media for business growth

It seems to be a love and hate relationship: Executives and Social Media. On the one hand, companies see how critical a social business strategy is for their business. On the other, they still don’t know how to harness the value of the new modern media landscape and the feedback channel online world. This is the insight we get from a survey of C-level executives conducted by Harris Interactive for Capgemini.

The findings, which are part of Capgemini’s Executive Outsourcing Survey, were published with their launch of the social media management service. The survey asked 302 senior executives at Fortune 1000 companies.

The question where to position Social Media inside the company seems to be omnipresent: Marketing? Customer Service? Corporate Communications? Or really change the company to become a social business operation? Does someone have a crystal ball? More than half say that Social Media is a part of their company’s customer care operations. However, 64% of those responded that it is a pure responsibility of their social media marketing department.

Surprisingly enough, 74% executives stated in the study they were not even sure how many employees are dedicated to customer care via the Social Web activities of the company. The value of Social Media can be seen by 57% of responding executives who think that it is “inviting customer input on product and services, lead generation, responding to complaints, internal reporting, and measuring customer satisfaction.”

And it is best to forget the 13% who still believe that Social Media is not important for future success of the company.

Spot On!
The attitude from executives towards Social Media also describes the fact that less than half of executives (41%) are monitoring online conversations about their brand, product and/or services. They only respond to an online conversation when a customer poses a direct question, representing a significant missed opportunity for companies to proactively solicit feedback and enhance the customer experience. The ooportunity to engage with the customer is there but executives (and probably their management teams) need to embrace the opportunity and change their business into a social business strategy and align it with their web strategy team.