Tag Archives: visitors

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.

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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 Cover Images: Dimensions July 2014

Have you taken a look at your Facebook business page lately – not just on your desktop computer or tablet but also via your smartphone?

Facebook now (Q1 2014) has more than a billion monthly active users who visit the site via mobile device, representing 79% of total Facebook active users, so if your Facebook page doesn’t look as smart as it should on mobile, you just could be discouraging three-quarters of your prospective customers/followers.

Facebook Cover Image Dimensions Have Changed

The most important visual element of your Facebook page is your Cover Image, which sits at the top of the page welcoming visitors. Below, you’ll see the real estate you have to play with (we’ve borrowed a template from these fine folks and added a few extra bits and pieces of our own).

Facebook-cover-image-July-2014

Looks complicated doesn’t it? The key point that you need to note is that the true active area that you have to play with (the area that should be safe on both mobile and desktop) is just 563 pixels wide by 175 pixels deep.

True Active Area Facebook Cover image

Yes, it’s a relatively small proportion of that seemingly glorious cover space, 851 pixels by 315 pixels, but the rest of your image is at risk of being covered by your profile photo, the title or category of your page or the like, follow and message boxes (except of course for the left and right-hand sides of the image, which simply won’t be displayed on mobile).

You still need to surround that active area with other imagery that reflects your brand values – but understand that most of that real estate is likely to vanish. A mobile visitor will never see it, while a desktop traveller may see only some.

Facebook Cover Images: Before And After

Here (gulp!) is what our Netmarketing Courses Facebook page, optimised for Facebook’s 2013 design, looked like under these new design parameters. Note that our subtitle “online training courses for businesses” was partly obscured by the profile picture.

desktop view 2013 Facebook cover image

The mobile view was far worse:

mobile view Facebook page 2013 version

So we gave our cover image an extreme makeover, shedding many of the design elements in favour of a centred logo, with the result below. It won’t win any awards but at least it communicates what we do (and we’re no longer losing any of the information featured in the image).

desktop view 2014 Facebook cover image

 

A quick look at the page on mobile shows that we’ve achieved our branding goals there as well.

mobile view 2014 Facebook cover image

It’s time for you to take another look at your Facebook page (start with your mobile device, ideally through the dedicated Facebook app) and see if you still scrub up as well as you should.

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.

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

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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.

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.
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  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.

NZ’s Leading Pinterest Pages

We’re slowly assembling a database of Pinterest Pages created by or for NZ businesses and we’d welcome your input. Please tell us in the comments about any NZ business pages on Pinterest with more than 100 followers (yes, as few as that — Pinterest is still an acquired taste for most New Zealand marketers, and Kiwi companies have only a fraction of the followers on Pinterest when compared to the numbers they have attracted on Facebook or Twitter).

On the inevitably-flawed basis of the 497 NZ Pinterest Pages we’ve collected and analysed so far, here are the Top Ten Kiwi pages (ranked by Numbers of Followers), as at March 12 2013:

10. Black Cow Nz (mystichillsnz) — 551 Followers

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9. DressMePretty .Co.NZ (DressMePrettyNZ) — 592 Followers

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8. Good as Gold (goodasgold) — 690 Followers

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7. Glassons (glassons) — 866 Followers

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6. Farmers – Your Store (farmersnz) — 918 Followers

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5. Superette (superettestore) — 978 Followers

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4. Pure New Zealand (purenewzealand) — 1192 Followers

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3. Styled NZ (StyledNZ) — 2,215 Followers

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2. Air New Zealand (airnewzealand) — 2,338 Followers

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And, leading the charge (and, frankly, way, way out in front):

1. Michelle Halford (mgrim) — 15,808 Followers

pin1-580

NB: We’ve included Michelle in this list because her blog accepts advertising and sponsorship revenues, which from our perspective makes her operation a business. We left out a large number of other Kiwis who might otherwise belong on this list because, at least from what we could observe, they pin for pleasure rather than for business purposes.

 

Content Types

The types of Pinterest pages that are topping the polls here are no real surprise. As we noted in an earlier article, these are the most popular content types on Pinterest:

If your product falls within one of those categories, we recommend that you consider adding a Pinterest Page to your product portfolio, sooner rather than later — 291,000 Kiwi consumers visited the site in December 2012, according to Nielsen Online Ratings. That may be only about a tenth of the number of NZ visitors attracted to Facebook, but it’s still a sizeable chunk of potential buyers of your products or services.

PS We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that we cover Pinterest in detail in Lesson Two of our Advanced Social Media Marketing course.