Tag Archives: friend

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.

 

 

Introducing Pinterest Place Pins

Now here’s something an advertiser can love: new Pinterest Place Pins. Digital Market Asia explains exactly what they are:

Pinterest has introduced a whole new initiative: Place Pins. With about 1.5 million places being pinned every day, Place Pins were designed to combine images with an online interactive map. This is powered with Foursquare’s location API, along with Mapbox’s map technology, to aid users to explore and plan travel trips which can then be shared with friends.

More advertising avenues, with a few things to remember
Although Pinterest currently doesn’t offer ads on the site outside of Promoted Pins, Place Pins have ad potential as Pin locations include information such as addresses and phone numbers. This can be especially useful for travel and tourism businesses to, for example, help visitors discover things to do in an area. There is however a list of things that brands need to know.

Available on iOS and Android: Not only can Pinterest users find inspiration and plan trips online, they can keep track of places they would like to visit while they are on the go, through the Pinterest app.

Any Pin can be a Place Pin: Any existing pin on a board can be updated to include geographical data by selecting ‘Add Map’ in the Edit section of a board.

Any location can be Pinned: Even if a location isn’t on the map, pinners can add locations of their own.

Make a site Place Pin-friendly: Pinterest have partnered up with various businesses such as Foursquare and Hotels.com that will automatically include location info on their Pins. This and Pin It buttons on site images make it easy for pinners to save places they want to go to.

Create a place board: Make sure the place boards reflect and are relevant to the brand. The actual creation of a place board is simple enough: select ‘Add a map’ when creating a new board or edit an existing board’s settings. After this, you can map all your new and existing Pins to the board. For some inspiration check out Visit Britain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK.

In this example, the Visit Britain UNESCO World Heritage Sites page on Pinterest displays a map with clickable pins.

pin1

Clicking on any of the pins reveals a pop-up with more details about that particular destination and a button to learn more.

pin2

In this example, clicking on the Learn More button takes users through to the Foursquare site for more information.

The opportunities for travel and tourism advertisers are fairly obvious (and this Pinterest enhancement is especially designed for travel planning), but what about other marketers?

  • Any business that has more than one location could benefit from this facility
  • Alternatively, Pinterest Place Pins lend themselves to promotional usage, for example if you want to organise a treasure hunt or a car rally or any other location-based event
  • you could link yourself to other businesses in your region that offer complementary products or services

The possible marketing uses are really only limited by your imagination.

Is OTT Messaging The New Social?

We’ve all become increasingly familiar with the tragic tales of people going for a job, standing for a public position or simply claiming to be off sick, only to be outed by their Facebook posts which reveal their failings, sins and indiscretions to the world.

We live in increasingly glass houses, where our lives are (in the finest tradition of The Truman Show) broadcast live to the world. Even if we avoid posting selfies in flagrante delicto, we can still end up tagged in photos that unflatter us. In the process of sharing stuff with our friends, we’re more and more likely to end up sharing with Google and its few billion acquaintances as well.

We’ve tended to view this is as an inevitable social transition, as the archaic notion of privacy is abandoned in favour of an always-connected “what happens in Vegas … now stays online forever” transparency paradigm. Yes, today’s employers may tut-tut and refuse to hire those whose indiscretions are blatantly displayed online; but tomorrow’s employers, their own failings similarly emblazoned across social networks, are likely to be more tolerant (or so we hope).

What we’re now seeing, however, is a move away from open social networks to the closed user spaces of OTT* messaging applications, especially amongst teens and young adults who are tired of leaving a digital trail which can be seen by parents and employers and by which they can be judged.

* These messaging applications are called OTT (Over The Top), to indicate that they sit on top of the mobile infrastructure, using internet data connectivity rather than the cellular messaging facility, usually at a much lower pricepoint

The move to OTT messaging is problematic for marketers, however, for several reasons:

1. No Clear Leaders

As ReadWrite notes:

“The messaging landscape is fragmented. Teenagers are ditching social media to chat on services like WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and KakaoTalk. Apps like Kik, Line and Tango are other popular SMS replacements, [along with] Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe and Skype.”

2. Advertising May Not Be Welcome

It doesn’t help that service providers such as WhatsApp are saying they don’t want to include advertising:

The people at WhatsApp say explicitly that they “are not fans of advertising.” Because of this, “WhatsApp is currently ad-free and we hope to keep it that way forever.” Are you listening, every other company? Because this is what users want.

Mainstream OTT messaging providers such as Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts will be more sympathetic to marketers’ needs — but first they need to capture a significant market share.

3. Messaging Platforms Are Aiming To Keep Those Eyeballs Engaged

As always in the mobile space, the Asian markets demonstrate the future of OTT messaging platforms. According to BGR:

Mobile apps linked to messaging services are taking over the two most important Asian app markets, Japan and Korea. Today, nine out of the ten biggest revenue generators on South Korea’s Google Play app chart are Kakao apps. It is effectively becoming impossible to launch a major hit in the Korean app market unless you use Kakao’s messaging app as your platform. This in turn means that everyone interested in mobile apps is using Kakao. The messaging app has turned into the dominant platform for game distribution. LINE’s role in Japan is not quite as strong, but games for this messaging app regularly hold about half of the positions in Japan’s top-10 iPhone and Android app revenue charts.

… Time spent on messaging apps is exploding even in markets where games linked to these platforms have not yet taken off. According to The Hindu, people in India now spend 27 minutes per day on chat apps, up from 7 minutes just two years earlier. Many of the most populous countries in the world — China, India, Japan, Korea — have now fallen in thrall of the messaging apps. Their share of the daily leisure time of consumers is rapidly expanding. This will inevitably give messaging app vendors a golden chance to turn into content delivery companies. And to stage a serious offensive against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Second, revenue growth generated by games linked to messaging apps is unearthly. LINE is now generating 67% revenue growth — between quarters, not annually. China’s WeChat is already on a big, global marketing binge, which has helped it boost its presence dramatically from Italy to Nigeria over the past summer.

Finally, one of the hottest app industry topics in Tokyo [at the Japan Game Show in September 2013] was the expansion of content services that we are about to witness. Over the next year, a rapidly expanding selection of comics, videos and music will start flowing to users of WeChat, LINE and Kakao.

4. OTT Messaging Is Taking Over from SMS

OTT Messaging isn’t only competing with Social Media, of course — it’s also taking on good old SMS text messaging, and (according to an April 2013 study by Informa) it’s already won. Business Insider reports that 41 billion OTT messages are now exchanged every day, compared with 19.5 billion SMS messages.

A late-2012 white paper by McKinsey highlights the key drivers of OTT adoption:

  • Technology Readiness, in the form of 3G or 4G networks; and penetration of smartphones
  • Cost Incentives, with SMS too expensive relative to data charges
  • Social Propensity, particularly driven by smartphone adoption amongst teens and young adults
  • Market share of specific OTT messaging applications

Here’s how those triggers drove adoption in South Korea and the Netherlands, according to McKinsey :

ott-triggers

Do most of these triggers apply in New Zealand? Indeed they do.

5. Blink And You’ll Miss It

As if the proliferation of messaging platforms was not enough to worry about in itself, we’re now seeing the development of content that, like SnapChat, self-destructs. Forbes reports:

[Ephemeral apps, such as, in this example, Frankly, work like this:] send a message, and your recipient will initially see a box of blurred text. Once they tap it, a set timer counts down the seconds till the message has been deleted; sent to the digital afterlife. Chat windows, for the most part, thus stand empty at all times. Each time someone sends a text, they can also tap a black “x” afterwards to take it back, in case they change their mind. The idea is that the sender is always in control.

“Maybe, just as the rise of big data and government surveillance and privacy concerns and the over-curated self images on Facebook, people are saying, ‘I miss the days when I could have a private conversation,’” says Frankly founder Steve Chung. “‘Maybe I’m not saying anything bad, but you and I sit down in a coffee shop and we remember what we remember. When we leave, we don’t have reams of paper that recorded it all.’”

The question then isn’t if people want their messages deleted — plenty seem perfectly happy to keep reams of recorded texts — but whether they want more control over what is recorded.

Other ephemeral messaging services include such little-known names as Wickr, Blink, Gryphn, Ansa, SecretInk and Tiger Text. They’re fighting for market share in a still-developing arena, responding to consumer demand for a little more privacy.

Your messages probably still aren’t safe from the likes of the GCSB, Julian Assange or Edward Snowdon, but at least your boss shouldn’t be able to read them without your permission.

PS We cover OTT Messaging in detail in our new Mobile Marketing course

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.