Tag Archives: fact

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.

 

NZ Facebook Marketing 2015: June Update

There’s been a lot of talk — and, frankly, a fair amount of doom and gloom — about marketing on Facebook in 2015. The most significant development in that sphere came from Facebook itself, which announced late last year that from January 2015 self-promotional posts on Facebook pages would no longer be shown to Facebook followers.

As we’ve commented previously, that’s both good news and bad news. Bad news because marketers fondly hoped that the fascinating news that they were offering a discount or having a sale would be freely distributed to all their followers by Facebook; good news, however, because the new rules actually require that marketers create posts that are relevant and interesting if they are to be shared.

So, here we are at the middle of 2015. How are we doing?

NZ Facebook Marketing 2015

If we look at how New Zealand Facebook pages scored this time last year versus this year, the answer is: not so good.

Across the 25,603 New Zealand pages we track, just 0.75% of followers were (to use Facebook’s terminology) “talking about” the pages in June 2015, compared with 1.92% in June 2014.

In other words, on average expect less than one in 100 of your followers to be “talking about” your posts this year, half the engagement you might have expected last year.

As always, of course, there are outliers — Facebook pages that achieve far better results. Let’s take a look at some of those pages and see what we can learn.

Most engaged Kiwi Facebook page of all (in percentage terms), at least in mid-June 2015, was the Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park & Motels page.

This normally unassuming page, with just 647 likes, achieved a “talking about” score of 812.86% – 5254 people were talking about this page, more than eight times as many as actually followed the page.

The reason for this indecent popularity: a single good Samaritan post that was widely shared.

Fox Glacier TOP 10 Holiday Park & Motels

This success is, alas, likely to be a one-off. On the other hand our next example is more replicable. It’s from Kings Sound Centre, whose page enjoyed 367.69% popularity thanks to a series of videos as part of an online talent quest, their NZ Music Month Ibanez Guitar competition:

Kings Sound Centre

For a more sustained success formula, check out ZM Online, whose success (272.82%) derives from multiple posts each contributing to total engagement.

ZM Online Facebook Stats

One common thread that you see across all these pages: these marketers are NOT talking about themselves, surprise surprise!

Media channels such as ZM Online obviously find it really easy to talk about other things that are relevant to their audience, without lapsing into self-promotion. They’re simply doing online what they already do through their own channels.

On the other hand, if we look at some of the NZ Facebook pages that are under-performing the average, we typically find plenty of posts that Facebook has deemed self-promotional and not to be shared (without the advertiser paying for the privilege).

For example, when NZ Breakers writes about products it is selling, such posts only get 9 likes and 1 share (despite the team’s 79,209 Facebook followers):

NZ Breakers

On the other hand, posts about its returning superstars do so much better:

NZ Breakers-2

Similarly, despite 1391 followers, My Little Gift‘s really cute pictures also fell afoul of Facebook’s new rules and attracted just 10 likes.

My Little Gift

Perhaps the toughest task in NZ Facebook Marketing 2015 is faced by retailers (both online and traditional), who’ve been accustomed to posting their new products to Facebook and attracting attention as a result. Now, businesses such as Designer Gear Women are greeted by deafening silence (just a single like for the post below) despite having 6,854 followers.

Designer Gear Womens

It’s not that their followers don’t like what’s being posted, but rather that (under NZ Facebook Marketing 2015 new rules), they’re simply not being shown the posts.

By the way, we should note that the three examples we’ve chosen are simply that — examples, drawn from the 13,836 New Zealand Facebook pages that have less than 1% of their followers talking about them. In fact, these three are much more successful than most, having already attracted thousands of followers. All we’re saying is that times have changed and now new Facebook Marketing strategies are required in 2015 and beyond.

 

So how can you actually succeed with NZ Facebook Marketing 2015?

For you to achieve success with NZ Facebook Marketing 2015, you need to put on your thinking caps and do some serious brainstorming about your content.

In our Facebook online training courses (Facebook Accelerator and the Complete Facebook Marketing course), we tackle the issue head-on, and recommend that you:

  • use Graph Search to learn more about your followers and the sort of content that will interest them
  • identify the types of posts that your followers are most likely to share
  • create more of those types of posts
  • create posts in styles and formats that encourage more engagement
  • identify when your followers are most likely to be active on Facebook
  • publish your posts at those times
  • post more frequently than in the past
  • pay to promote the best of your posts to your followers
  • bump evergreen popular content
  • aim to drive Last Actor engagement as much as possible
  • crunch your numbers regularly to see exactly how well you’re doing (and whether or not you’re fulfilling your potential)
  • use Facebook advertising to drive Facebook users to your website

PS We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest that you check out our Complete Facebook Marketing and Facebook Accelerator online training courses, which discuss in great detail exactly what you need to succeed in NZ Facebook Marketing 2015.

qvVSPUQn4v8

Atlas by Facebook

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Facebook is relaunching its Atlas advertising programme, enabling marketers to tap into its treasure trove of consumer data. Re/Code explains:

  • Facebook is reintroducing Atlas, the underused platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
  • Facebook says Atlas can help marketers track the effectiveness of their ads around the Web; it also says it will allow them to buy ads on non-Facebook websites and apps, using Facebook targeting data.
  • Facebook makes a point of saying these ads aren’t “Facebook ads.” But it is also playing up the notion that the ads marketers buy via Atlas will be more effective than other big ad platforms, because they use Facebook’s data.
  • Facebook says it is working with lots of partners, but so far has named only two. Ad holding giant Omnicom, which already has deals with Facebook, Google, Twitter and most other big digital players, says it will buy ads with Atlas. Facebook’s Instagram will also work with the platform. The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.
  • What’s that? You’re worried about people using your Facebook data to serve you ads? Facebook says you shouldn’t worry, because your identity will remain anonymous to advertisers and publishers — they’ll just know some basic facts about you. But really, if you’re worried about this kind of thing you shouldn’t be on Facebook. Actually, the whole Web is probably a no-go zone for you. Sorry.

From a marketer’s perspective, the Atlas initiative is an inevitable development, as Facebook attempts to out-monetise Google.

As Pando notes, there’s another important side-effect to the Atlas initiative, as the world goes mobile:

Atlas solves a technical problem that has frustrated advertisers since consumers flocked to mobile devices: the inability to see how ads viewed on one device influence purchases made on other devices because digital “cookies,” the Web’s little stalkers, can’t track smartphone activity.

Check out the video, and check out Atlas, coming soon to a marketer near you.

Most Talked About NZ Facebook Pages – August 2013

If you’ve taken any of our Social Media courses, you’ll know that we keep harping on about Engagement — creating content that your followers want to talk about and share with their friends.

We thought it was time once again to check out which Kiwi Facebook pages are the most engaging right now, as at 19 August 2o13. We’ve sliced and diced the numbers two ways, firstly measuring Engagement as a percentage of Page Likes and secondly in terms of total volume.

Leading the first list by a country mile: Made4Baby.

made4baby

This Kiwi brand, which provides natural skincare for babies & children, has only 2,457 Likes but was talked about by 14,300 last week, representing 584.2% Engagement — nearly six times as many people talking about the Facebook page as it has followers.

And the most talked-about post? This one, on August 6:

dirtydishes

This image attracted 286 likes and a staggering 7,393 shares — the sentiment too good not to spread. Clearly Made4Baby understands its audience!

What other New Zealand Facebook pages got people talking? Here’s our Top 10 list:

Most Engaged NZ Facebook Pages August 2013
Engagement as a percentage of Page Likes

Page Name Likes Talking Engagement %
1 Made4Baby 2,448 14,300 584.2%
2 Kaukapakapa Veterinary Services. 55 176 320.0%
3 Shed 10 36 68 188.9%
4 TripMe.co.nz 618 1,139 184.3%
5 Deborah Quin 259 403 155.6%
6 The Factory 570 763 133.9%
7 The Natural Parent Magazine 41,718 55,002 131.8%
8 nzblokes.co.nz 38,527 47,232 122.6%
9 O’Neill New Zealand 587 634 108.0%
10 Dairy Womens Network 1,107 1,123 101.4%

On the other hand, if we just look at the total numbers talking about Facebook pages, these are the Top Ten:

Most Engaged NZ Facebook Pages August 2013
Highest Numbers of People Talking About The Page

Page Name Likes Talking About Engagement %
1 All Blacks 2,016,724 101,459 5.0%
2 The Natural Parent Magazine 41,718 55,002 131.8%
3 nzblokes.co.nz 38,527 47,232 122.6%
4 Paw Justice 268,229 28,398 10.6%
5 Flight of the Conchords 1,626,814 24,782 1.5%
6 Made4Baby 2,448 14,300 584.2%
7 Air New Zealand 647,475 13,710 2.1%
8 Tip Top Ice Cream 129,218 13,560 10.5%
9 Vodafone Warriors 107,180 13,416 12.5%
10 Peter Jackson 1,029,657 13,327 1.3%

NB: We’ve discarded a few pages which were Australia/New Zealand pages (eg BlackBerry Australia/New Zealand) or which were parent/child pages (eg Nissan NZ, where reported Likes and Talking About statistics were cumulative totals of all official Nissan pages globally).

Source of this analysis: the 19 August 2013 edition of our own Netmarketing Courses database of more than 31,000 NZ Facebook pages, for which we gather updated data weekly.

Nutella Joins The Ranks Of Social Media Failures

You’d think by now that brands would have figured out how to behave in this post-social world. But no — every so often, along comes a brand determined to destroy its own reputation online.

Latest epic social media #fail: Ferrero, makers of Nutella.

Here’s how the disaster was reported on Gawker:

Many brands would kill for a hugely popular, entirely fan-fueled International “holiday” dedicated to expressing affection for their product by buying it by the boatload.

But Nutella, which had exactly that in World Nutella Day, decided instead to kill it.

nutella fail

The annual celebration of all things Nutella was ordered to cease and desist by Ferrero, the hazelnut spread’s manufacturer.

Nutella superfan and World Nutella Day creator Sara Russo announced the news on her blog, Nutelladay.com, late last week:

“On May 25, 2013, I’ll be darkening the World Nutella Day site, nutelladay.com, and all social media presence (Facebook, Twitter), in compliance with a cease-and-desist I received from lawyers representing Ferrero, SpA (makers of Nutella).”

All the media coverage generated by that announcement (Time, BusinessWeek, Adweek, News Australia and about 1500 others) led to a belated change of heart:

Positive direct contact between Ferrero and Sara Rosso, owner of the non-official Nutella fan page World Nutella Day, has brought an end to the case.

Ferrero would like to express to Sara Rosso its sincere gratitude for her passion for Nutella, gratitude which is extended to all fans of the World Nutella Day.

The case arose from a routine brand defense procedure that was activated as a result of some misuse of the Nutella brand on the fan page.

Ferrero is pleased to announce that today, after contacting Sara Rosso and finding together the appropriate solutions, it immediately stopped the previous action.

Add Ferrero to the list of companies that just don’t get social media.