Tag Archives: different

5 Key Facts You Should Know About Messaging Apps

You’ve probably noticed that more and more people are using messaging apps on their mobile devices. You may even have signed up for one or two yourself, especially since Facebook split its messaging capabilities off from its main Facebook app and pointed its members to Facebook Messenger instead.

As it turns out, however, mobile messaging apps are far more important than you might have realized.

Here are five key facts that you really should know about messaging apps:

1. Messaging Apps (combined with other Dark Social sources) dominate social sharing

dark-social

What is Dark Social?
The term “Dark Social” was coined in 2012 by Alexis C. Madrigal, tech editor at Atlantic.com, to refer to web traffic that comes from outside sources that web analytics are not able to track. Dark Social sources include messaging apps, email and other private digital communications.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that, as traditional social media networks such as Facebook have gone mainstream, consumers have been less inclined to share their personal lives through such public channels. Instead, they have become much more likely to use Dark Social tools to share the juicy stuff with their friends.

In fact, Facebook has, according to a recent report from The Informant, been struggling to reverse a 21% decline in “original” sharing (personal updates) across its 1.6 billion monthly active users.

As the Guardian newspaper notes:

After more than a decade of picking up “friends” – everyone from your BFF to your grandmother to that guy who lived down the hall in your dorm way back in your first year of college (what’s his name again?) – we’ve decided that maybe we’re not 100% comfortable sharing intimate details of our lives with such random and disparate groups of people. Or, maybe we’re just all on Snapchat now – another major anxiety of Facebook’s.

Facebook employees are blaming something called “context collapse”: where people, information or expectations from one context invade or encroach upon another. Despite its elegance as a term, it’s a complicated and nuanced phenomenon – one that evokes norms of behavior, communication, sharing and privacy all at once.

For users confronting collapsed contexts on Facebook, the withholding of personal anecdotes and information isn’t a problem – it is a solution.

For years, Facebook’s strategy has caused regular controversies around user privacy and ethics – blunders that got people exposed, outed and emotionally manipulated along the way. Users seem to have combated the problem by taking Facebook’s own advice, as shared by Facebook’s president of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage, in 2010: “If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t.”

As messaging apps have gained traction, they’ve become the first choice of many for sharing information on a much more personal level.

2. Messaging Apps are now more popular than Social Networks

By the beginning of 2015, the top four Messaging Apps collectively had more users than the top four Social Networking Apps, according to BI Intelligence.

messaging-apps-big-4

Most of that growth has taken place since the beginning of 2014 — it’s an impressive ‘hockey stick’ pattern by any measure.

From those figures, you’d get the impression that nearly three billion people are now using messaging apps. No so much — there’s a lot of duplication.

3. Messaging App adoption is spread across multiple apps

Messaging App usage is far more splintered than social network usage, for a very obvious reason: if you’re connecting one-to-one, you need to use the app that your friend/family member uses. Because it’s trivial (and free) to download a messaging app, when you need to connect to a friend who uses a different app, you simply add that app to your phone.

messagingapps-individual

In the old days, people migrated from mySpace to Bebo to Facebook because that’s where their friends were clustering — but that was pre-smartphone. Nowadays, with messaging apps free and happily co-existing on the same device, those who use messaging apps typically have several different apps, with different clusters of friends connected through each app.

4. Young Adults are (currently) more likely to use Messaging Apps

Half (49%) of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use messaging apps, while 41% use apps that automatically delete sent messages, according to a 2015 Pew Internet study.

That’s not surprising — as Facebook went mainstream, younger web users were amongst the first to realize that it wasn’t a good idea to post content publicly that they didn’t want their parents to see.

Of course, the desire for privacy isn’t confined to the young, and the messaging apps have plenty of growth in them yet, as consumers of all ages graduate, not just from Facebook but also from limited-functionality SMS texting, to more powerful messaging apps that allow them to share multimedia in realtime, for free (in wifi zones) or nearly free (as part of smartphone pricing bundles).

5. Artificial Intelligence is taking over messaging

“I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.” Those chilling words, spoken by the HAL 9000 computer in Arthur C. Clarke’s legendary “2001 A Space Odyssey“, sum up both our hopes and fears when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. We want computers smart enough to understand us and take appropriate action — whilst at the same time we worry about what might happen if they are that smart.

We’ve already seen Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Facebook’s own ‘M’ at work, taking simple steps in response to our instructions. Now Facebook thinks that “chatbots” — AI programs that strike up a conversation with us — represent the best opportunity for corporates to involve themselves in messaging apps. We should note that competitors like Kik, Line and Telegram have had their own bot platforms running for some time, so the concept isn’t exactly new. What’s important about Facebook’s announcement is that the leading player in messaging has now put its weight behind the technology.

At April 2016’s f8 Developers’ conference, Facebook announced that (after running various pilot programs with select businesses) it was opening up its Messenger platform broadly, in beta, to let chatbots into the app on a large scale.

So far, the results from Facebook trials have been somewhat underwhelming:

poncho

So will chatbots actually be beneficial for businesses?

Yes, according to data collected by Daden Limited (based on chatbot usage on websites in the past):

  • “the use of avatars on Dell’s site found that users who interacted with them were twice as likely to give personal information than those who didn’t”.
  • “online campaign featuring avatars for V Graham Norton and Celebrity Big Brother…. generated clickthrough rates of 30%“.
  • “when avatars are used for e-learning content, use of the online courses increases by 400%
  • “Revenues increased by £6,000 a month
  • “Sales increased by 35%
  • “Click-through rates increased by 250%
  • 62% of visitors converted to registrants”
  • “Site traffic lifted and sustained by 200%

In other words, it’s good for the bottom line. So off you go, start building your Cyberdyne Systems bot.

In Summary

Messaging Apps are now an essential component of the digital marketing world. You owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can about messaging and how you can it in your business.

If you’d like to know a whole lot more about Messaging Apps, we cover the topic in detail in Lesson Two of our new Social Media Refresher online training course. For more details, click here.

 

Facebook’s Hottest Topics of 2013

It’s that time of year when the Internet giants crunch their Big Data and report on “the most _____________ of the year”.

Here’s Facebook’s contribution to the mix:

Conversations happening all over Facebook offer a unique snapshot of the world, and this year was no different. Every day, people post about the topics and milestones that are important to them – everything from announcing an engagement, to discussing breaking news, or even celebrating a favorite athlete or sports team.

Facebook analyzed the past year’s worth of these posts to reveal the top global trends of 2013:

Top Life Events
Check out the life events people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013.

Most shared life events on Facebook 2013

Global Life Events

  1. Added a relationship, got engaged or got married
  2. Traveled
  3. Moved
  4. Ended a relationship
  5. First met a friend
  6. Added a family member, expecting a baby or had a baby
  7. Got a pet
  8. Lost a loved one
  9. Got a piercing
  10. Quit a habit

Most Talked About Topics
Take a look at the most mentioned people and events of 2013, which point to some of the most popular topics around the world.

Facebook's most talked-about topics

Global Topics

  1. Pope Francis
  2. Election
  3. Royal Baby
  4. Typhoon
  5. Margaret Thatcher
  6. Harlem Shake
  7. Miley Cyrus
  8. Boston Marathon
  9. Tour de France
  10. Nelson Mandela

“Election” appeared in many languages, and was the second most mentioned term on Facebook worldwide in 2013. With high-profile national elections in countries like India, Kenya, Iran and Italy year, it’s not a surprise to see it near the top of the list.

Facebook also took the pulse of regional conversations in 16 different countries (alas, not including New Zealand). Here’s what our neighbours across the ditch were sharing:

australia

Topics Shared – Australia:

  • Vote
  • Princess Kate
  • Cricket
  • Kevin Rudd
  • Grand Final
  • Election
  • GST
  • Lions
  • Tony Abbott
  • Big Brother

Top Check-Ins Around The World
Explore the places around the world with the most check-ins (excluding transportation hubs).

Most popular Facebook check-ins of 2013

  • Argentina: Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
  • Australia: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), East Melbourne, Victoria
  • Brazil: Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo
  • Canada: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Egypt: Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
  • France: Disneyland Paris, Marne La Vallée
  • Germany: Reeperbahn, Hamburg
  • Hong Kong: 香港迪士尼樂園 | Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Iceland: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • India: Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)
  • Italy: Piazza San Marco, Venice
  • Japan: 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland), Tokyo
  • Mexico: Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City
  • Nigeria: Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Poland: Temat Rzeka, Warsaw
  • Russia: Центральный парк культуры и отдыха им. Горького | Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure
  • Singapore: Marina Bay Sands
  • South Africa: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • South Korea: Myungdong Street, Seoul
  • Spain: Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Catalonia
  • Sweden: Friends Arena, Solna
  • Taiwan: 花園夜市Tainan Flower Night Market, Tainan City
  • Turkey: Taksim Square, Istanbul
  • United Kingdom: The 02, London
  • United States: Disneyland, Anaheim, California

We’re still waiting on Google to publish its most popular searches of 2013, but here’s Bing’s list.

 

 

LinkedIn Adds Showcase Pages

LinkedIn continues to work on expanding its revenue potential beyond the recruitment industry, an evolution which we encourage and support — in our view, LinkedIn offers far, far more than just a place to strut your stuff in front of prospective employers.

In this latest development, announced earlier this week, LinkedIn has added a new facility to its Company pages — the ability to add up to 10 free Showcase Pages which (as the name suggests) allow companies to showcase specific products and services.

Yes, you can already have separate product or service pages linked to your Company page, but these new Showcase pages offer two significantly different features:

  1. Showcase pages attract their own individual followings — they do not inherit any followers from their parent Company pages. For some, that may seem like a negative (“you mean, I’ve put all this effort into building up a following for my company page, now I have to do the same for each individual Showcase page?”), but the reality is that if you provide several products or services that appeal to different target markets, then each product/service can have its own Showcase page with its followers.For example, we’ve just launched a new Mobile Marketing course (details here, if you’re interested: http://mobilemarketing.ac.nz/ecourses), which may not appeal to the same people who are interested in our Social Media or eCommerce courses. We can now encourage those interested in Mobile Marketing to follow our new Mobile Marketing showcase page on LinkedIn.
    .
  2. Showcase pages have their own Status Update facility. This is the key element that makes Showcase pages worthwhile — you can now post updates specific to an individual product or service (or even topic), and only reach those people who are interested in that topic.Using our Mobile Marketing example again: we can now post mobile-related updates to our Mobile Marketing showcase page followers, without bothering those interested only in social media.

So how do you create Showcase pages?

Glad you asked. First, you must be an Administrator of a Company Page, because all Showcase pages are linked to Company pages.

Secondly, note that the Showcase pages are rolling out around the world this week, so the facility may not be enabled on your page yet (if not, check back again in a day or so).

With those caveats out of the way, head to your Company page — and in particular to the “Edit” button on the right hand side of your Company page. You’ll find the “Create a Showcase page” option at the bottom of the accompanying dropdown menu:

showcase1

Select that option.

You’ll be prompted to create a title for your Showcase page, and also (optionally) to add Administrators:

showcase2

A couple of points to note on page title creation:

  • The words you choose for your title will also become the permalink for your Showcase page (for example, our selected words above meant that the address for our new page is http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-principles-&-practice-of-mobile-marketing). This has the usual implications for being found in the LinkedIn search engine and via Google, so choose carefully. (NB: LinkedIn advise that they’re not currently offering customizable URLs for Showcase pages, but are exploring the opportunity have this feature available in the future. )
  • The title words you choose will also appear over your main image, so shorter is better (we went back and shortened our title once we’d seen what happened to our image). However, if you want to benefit from the longer title in the search engines, you can always edit your title later, as we did.

Next, you’ll be taken to the main Edit page, for you to add:

  • a main image (LinkedIn calls it a “hero” image) — this image is not currently clickable
  • a short description (at least 75 characters but no more than 200 characters in total)
  • a small logo and an even smaller square logo
  • a website URL where Showcase page visitors can go for more information

showcase3

If you think this is minimalist, so do we. Still, the main point of this page is to serve as a rallying point for tightly-targeted updates, so don’t be too perturbed that you can’t include very much on your Showcase pages.

Here are the specs for the images:

  • Hero Image: Minimum 974 x 330 pixels. PNG, JPEG, or GIF. Maximum file size 2 MB. You can crop your image once it’s uploaded.
  • Logo: 100 x 60 pixels. Image will be resized to fit.
  • Square logo: 50 x 50 pixels. Image will be resized to fit.

The process for uploading images is simple enough: click on “Add Image” and follow the instructions, cropping your image as necessary.

showcase4

Do the same for the logos (which will show up in your updates and search results).

showcase5

Add in the URL for the website page related to this specific product. You can also choose an industry category for this page (which need not be the same as the category of your Company page) and decide whether or not to display other Showcase pages related to your company.

showcase6

Once you’ve finished filling out all these details, click on “Publish” and check out the results:

showcase7

As we said, minimalist. But it’s what you do next that counts:

  1. Start creating highly-targeted status updates
  2. Invite relevant LinkedIn contacts to follow you

Got it? Good. Then start creating those Showcase pages. Just remember, though: only create pages that you can feed with highly-targeted content, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.