21st Feb2010

Social Media Sticky Behaviors – Google & Facebook

by Dorothy

One of the great things about digital is that it really helps to crystallize certain behaviors. This means visible, predictive intelligence online. One of the most sticky platforms still remains the ubiquitous Facebook, while Google is practically synonymous with search. While they both started off as very distinct entities, it seems that FB has evolved enough to actually start moving into the Search space.

Games

Ever contemplate disabling or deactivating your Facebook account? You know what is top of mind of users when they worry aloud in the FAQ section of FB about losing their data from Farmville (or any other FB game, really!). This, instead of losing all their friends and contacts. This was a few months ago, when Farmville concerns were right at the top of the discussion topics.

It will be interesting when the games and virtual goods segment in FB grows. The question then is how this will translate in markets like South Korea, where there is an entire virtual economy flourishing. It is also a market where other global players such as Myspace, Youtube and even Google have either had to bow out or simply be content with a smaller pie of the market share. Will FB finally have enough clout to go against the likes of Cyworld?

Another question is what happens when (and if?) app revenues surpass that of Facebook?

Zynga (creator of Farmville, Mafia Wars and etc) which has 230 million monthly active users was reported to have revenues of $200 million in 2009. The WSJ says Facebook revenues could hit $710 million in 2010, so there’s still some distance between the two figures. Still, if a fair percentage of return visits are due to the addictive FB games, it remains to be seen if the gap will narrow.

Facebook: Your One stop Internet Destination

You’ve seen the stats. Early 2009, Zuckerberg quipped the most overused quotable line about how “If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria.”

Then, he was talking about 150 million people. It is now 2010. Techcrunch reports that Facebook now has something along the lines of about 350 million registered users, with over 175 million of them logging in daily.

That’s a whole lot of visits, a whole lot of eyeballs, a whole lot of power.

Enough power to simply change the FB layout AGAIN without word or warning. I hated it, but have since gotten used to it, since there wasn’t anything much I could really do about it (deja vu?). Everyone seems to have gotten used to the fact that we are all experimental guinea pigs, sigh and get on with our lives. And we  still keep going back to the site.

And now, FB has its sights on Google, who apparently has 800 million visitors.

“According to Web measurement firm Compete Inc., Facebook has passed search-engine giant Google to become the top source for traffic to major portals like Yahoo and MSN, and is among the leaders for other types of sites.” – Source: SF Gate

You can also read more about how FB could kill Google here. The gist is that FB and Google are complementary for now (since FB is leading all those eyeballs to Google), at least, until unique visits for FB surpass that of Google. Microsoft last cut a (non exclusive)deal with FB in the last quarter of 2009 to include real time search results from status updates, but it remains unclear where FB may run with the search pie.

What are these sites to you?

Interestingly, at least for now, Google seems to resonate more with users in terms of the serious stuff – maps, translators, finance info, useful software like chrome/earth.. versus more of a slant towards entertainment and games on Facebook.

Many people still use the Google search bar as a place to type in URLs like Facebook.com (for reasons I can never fathom.. why they can’t type it directly into the actual URL bar is beyond me).

These results below do feature a bit on the importance of mobile as well – with the mobile related and FB lite mentions.

I’m still curious as to how all this will play out and how people will respond to all/any of these changes online… What will keep people coming back for repeat visits?  Also,  with all the talk on privacy and merging of identities on various platforms,  something to explore in future posts!

30th Jun2009

Ad:Tech Singapore Thoughts: #3 Blogger’s Session with Scott Goodstein

by Dorothy

I suppose I could wax lyrical about the amazingly well received digital campaign that backed President Obama during the US elections, but I’m sure everyone has already read many articles about that. Maybe lesser known to the general public, is the man and his team behind the digital campaign – Scott Goodstein, whom we got to meet!

scottgoodstein

Strategy, Strategy

One of the things that stuck to me was how Scott detailed that they didn’t roll out onto 50 sites at once. That is also why I like parts of this post about 3 common social media mistakes and the “shiny new object” syndrome.

It’s true. Just because the tools/sites are out there, doesn’t mean you have to use all of them at once or all of them, ever. He was also about figuring out what metrics made sense for each of the
channels, and using those to measure ROI, instead of sticking to the
traditional definitions of success.

… make certain that the social media strategy is right for your
particular company, not because everyone else is doing it. One size
doesn’t fit all.

He mentioned how the team figured out that when rolling out a Youtube video, the critical point was really in the first 24 hours. Once a video made Top video of the Day, it was more likely to ride on a wave of viewership.

“You don’t stop doing radio because you can’t tell which radio ad got you the sale.”
It was also interesting that Scott didn’t quite seem to focus on the distinction between the traditional and new media. Again, at the end of the day, the focus was on delivering a consistent, strong message across the various networks- SMS, email, websites and the lot. It wasn’t quite the struggle between “Should we channel our funds to traditional print ads or a digital campaign?“. “Good old fashioned online stores work too”, quipped Scott, on their Tshirts sold on Myspace.

Other takeaway snippets:

  • The message + messenger are key

This paragraph highlights this nicely.

and for the multi-channel, hyper-connected, user-generated,
co-created, always-on world we now live in — a world where the good
gets what it deserves and so does the bad? What if we stopped getting
all hot and heavy over the latest new media success stories
du jour,
and starting realizing that the real triumph of, say, the Obama
campaign was the product and the story, not the channel used for
storytelling?

  • Customer service is now two-way communication
  • Every organization must set online goals
  • Be willing to experiment
  • Engage your audience.


I hadn’t realized that Scott had come out of the music industry, having experienced and watched young artists trying to find a new tool (Myspace) to sell their records. He shared how he had been watching the trends through young artists, and trying to figure out how to tap into this.

Well, he must have done something right!

grp_goodstein

Credit goes to Bernard for the group pic, and shoutout to Anubha from Upstream Asia for the invite to this session!

More Link Love: Some other posts on the Goodstein Bloggers’ Session….

Bernard, ShalabhMohan, Saurabh , Daniel

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14th Jun2009

The (Facebook) Name Game

by Dorothy

Picture 7Picture 6Picture 8Picture 9Picture 10

Tadah!Picture 12

For a brief moment, the world was divided into the happy ( I got my Facebook Vanity URL!) and the not-so-happy ( Someone got there before me!). At least, it was for those who were concerned over this issue.

For some sense of reality, there were people out there who had to wait for their lunch because I -had- to be online at noon. I say -had to- because most in the know had already been forewarned that if I did not get my name, grumpiness would ensue.

For the uninitiated, the reason why some people were parked in front of their computers geeking out and getting an adrenaline rush for “no apparent reason”, FB was finally giving people the chance to get www.facebook.com/yournamehere, instead of the very clinical www.facebook.com/id=1230974952365, which is only great for those who qualify for the Guiness World Records for ability to remember strings of numbers, not so great for the other mere mortals like us.

What’s in a name?

Quite a bit, it seems. Judging from the groups of people around the world stalking their Facebook profile for the name grab. It was a moment that defined the importance of this particular social networking site that emerged in 2004 and has since taken different parts of the world by storm, especially in the more advanced markets.

For those who are into numbers, here are the official FB usage statistics. e.g impressive numbers like

  • More than 200 million active users
  • More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
  • More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older

I would have liked it better if they could have shown some comparisons, but I am not entirely sure that would be allowed. Numbers on their own never ever really help. Great, FB have 200 million active users, but what makes it more significant is the fact that Comscore reports MySpace users total at around 125 million for some contrast.

What’s the BEST name?

A higher level of geekdom came from the bloggers and Tweeters who were discussing SEO issues and the likes:

  • your-name-here or yournamehere?  ( p.s only “.” are allowed, so this needn’t be debated at this time)
  • your.name.here or yournamehere?  (FB doesn’t seem to recognise the “.”, so both options are actually the same!)
  • your.name.here or your.online.nickname.here ( A valid question, since this is the name you’re going to be stuck with, at least while FB reigns). Maybe THE.KING0101 semed like a cool idea when you were 21, not so when you’re nearing 45.

You know you’re a social media junkie if you were on the various platforms discussing with  your friends which was the best name you ought to take. For some reason, Chris Brogan has refused to do a facebook.com/chrisbrogan.  Someone (the other Chris Brogan) out there must be relieved. I bet he is also going to get a whole lot of uninvited hits because of his more famous counterpart.

You have our private geographic time zone details, use it.

I was glad that Facebook eventually gave instructions in our time zone. It’s ironic if they couldn’t, given that being able to figure out where a user is surfing in from and pointing them to appropriate front pages, is not even rocket science right now. Also, telling me that something is going to happen at 13th June, 12 am (EST), leads to a lot of uncertainty and googling for global clocks to do the necessary calculations.

Props to them also for making everything easily accessible and not buried within the account settings because there was no word on how we would eventually be able to choose our name.

All in all, I was impressed that Facebook (unlike Twitter might have) did not go down as feared. It was quick, painless, and clear (unlike their privacy filter settings or any other control feature for that matter), and as you can see, the outcome extremely satisfactory.

An interesting episode altogether!

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04th Apr2009

Search Portals v.s Social Networking Sites – A Fight for the Advertising Dollar (& our eyeballs)

by Dorothy

Social Networking sites have gone mainstream, with news of how people are spending more time on SNS than their email, and how Facebook is sending more traffic than Google to some sites.

However, if it is true that there is going to be an expansion of the available domain names, (think .burger, .cola and so on) search is probably going to come back in a big way. It seems rather counterintuitive to introduce such a system on the grounds that we are running out of domain names to register under the current .com .net extensions. There is already a list of other generic top-level domains such as .edu, .info, .jobs, .gov, .travel for example, not counting the country extensions like .uk, .ca, etc.

I cannot imagine having to go manually go through all the possible extensions if I am looking for a particular website, so I’m probably going to head straight for a search giant like Google instead of trying my luck (and wasting my time) with the extension guessing.

On the flip side of the coin…..

here is what was happening last year, when it was predicted that the advertising dollar would shift from SNS and portals.

Portals, Social Networks Lose Share in Razorfish Ad-Spending Study
Digital Shop Says Clients Shifted Dollars to Search, Ad Networks in 2008

“There were a few surprises when digging into the various verticals where Razorfish spent its dollars. Spending on community sites, which include social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, actually went down to 16%, from 19% the year before.Spending on entertainment sites was way up in 2008, to 23% of share from 18%, for two reasons: First, Razorfish finds that people in leisure environments are more open to advertising and the ads appear to convert better, and second, there were many new premium video sites where advertisers could spend their dollars. Said Ms. Baehr: “Hulu didn’t really exist for us in 2007.”



Right now in 2009, FB might be bringing and directing more traffic than Google to certain sites, but in general, I think it remains to be seen how this will play out. This issue is raised here in this article “Is Facebook’s Rise a boon for Google?” as well.

Personally, I am a triffle annoyed at the multitude of advertisements, repackaged as “suggestions”, in the new Facebook layout. FB is trying to be clever in placing your friends’ updates on the homepage on the right, training your eye to tune into the right sidebar area, so that perhaps you’ll make it a habit to glance through on your own profile page, where the Suggestions are. It’s not working. Too much clutter, and I’m on advertisement block out autopilot viewing mode.

I would rather go with Google’s interpretation of suggestions – sites that I actually am looking for, so that I’m getting help for my results even before the typing of the search term is completed. Talk about reading my mind.

FB needs to clean up their act and clean up their interface. It only takes a little nudge (and perhaps a great new platform that takes its users into account) to spark off a mass migration. This is the potential reverse social network effect looming. Then again, maybe FB shouldn’t listen to anyone, since they have never done so, and some good might come out of that.

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