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Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social sites

TechHive

Billions of people use assorted social networking sites, but just how happy are they with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and the rest? The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which measures exactly that sort of thing, put out its latest report on consumer satisfaction with e-businesses—that’s social media, search engines, and websites—and it’s an interesting look at just which service’s Like button is getting a workout.

Historically, social media sites tend to rank among the lowest-scoring companies on ACSI’s 100-point scale. This year, social media boasted an overall customer satisfaction rating of 71, up 4.4 percent from the previous study. The 71 rating puts social media companies above airlines (69), subscription television (65), and Internet service providers (63).

acsi rankings social media 100360859 large Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social sites

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index started rating social media companies in 2010. Scores are based on a 100-point scale. In this year’s rankings, Facebook and LinkedIn finished at the bottom, though both saw their scores improve over 2013.

Of the individual social networking sites, Pinterest was the most beloved site in 2014 with a customer satisfaction score of 76, stealing the crown from Wikipedia (74), which coincidentally was the only site to lose ground from 2013, falling 5 percent from last year’s score. Google’s YouTube and a newly-created “all others” category (which includes Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr) were hot on Pinterest and Wikipedia’s heels with a 73 rating, followed by Google+ (71) and Twitter (69).

Perhaps most notably, tied for dead last among social media ACSI still measures with scores of 67 apiece were LinkedIn and Facebook. Yep, you read that right, Facebook, the first network to crack a billion users and widely considered to be the pace-setter among social networking sites, couldn’t manage to top LinkedIn for customer satisfaction. That’s LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals that most people begrudgingly join for the sole purpose of scoring a better job.

At least Facebook and LinkedIn can console themselves in that they scored an improvement over last year, when both companies scored only a 62 on ACSI’s scale. That makes them big winners in terms of year-over-year improvement.

That good news comes with an asterisk for Facebook, though. ACSI notes that the scores were measured before Facebook revealed it had manipulated news feeds as part of a psychological test on hundreds of thousands of users. (That’s in contrast to the regular manipulation Facebook performs on our news feed.) But customers in this go-around seem happy with their revamped news feed and other enhancements, so maybe it’ll end up a wash. For now, Zuckerberg and Co. can take solace in a strong improvement in customer satisfaction, even if they are still tied for last in the category.

6 reasons to reconsider time spent with media when considering ad placement

INMA

Time spent with media seems to be the hot topic based on the number of times I have been shown this chart of Internet trends, created by Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. The chart details the amount of time spent with a medium compared with ad dollars spent in the United States.

People argue that newspapers get too many advertising dollars for time spent with that particular medium. This is one statistic from one source. It is one piece of the puzzle – like only considering hair colour when looking at the overall population.

  1. Consider how strange it is to look at time spent. If we analysed most people’s days in terms of time spent, the conclusion would be that we love working and sleeping. Both activities are a necessity for most people, but not how they would choose to spend their time.
  2. What we spend most of our time doing does not necessarily represent a good opportunity for advertising. If we spend most of our time working and sleeping, logic would argue that these are the biggest ad opportunities in our lives. However, they are not. In both cases, we are generally unavailable during these hours as we are consumed by other tasks.
  3. The time-spent argument does not peel away the content and get at time spent with ads – and this is what the advertisers really want to know. This information would be more revealing.

    People spend hours watching television each week, but do they fast-forward through or record the show and, therefore, not watch the ads? Time spent with ads on television might be close to zero for some people.

    What about advertisement engagement with radio programming? Do people change channels when ads come on?

  4. Do users want ads? In many cases – NO! The user would be happy to avoid them or not have them at all. When reading the newspaper, both print and Web users tell us they want ads.

    Newspapers provide local advertising information that, in many cases, is not readily available anywhere else. And let’s not forget about the deals and offers the medium highlights, as well.

  5. Engagement must be a factor. “Lean-in” media are those that users give their full attention to, such as newspapers and their corresponding Web sites.

    “Lean-back” media allow the user to do other things at the same time. For example, outdoor ads can been seen during a drive, when the radio is also on, and there is a discussion in the car with the other occupants. This does not allow for full engagement.

  6. It is also essential to consider a user’s frame of mind. If users are rushed and focused on something else, ads that they encounter may be fleeting, if they’re seen at all. Other media are used in a relaxed state of mind when users would be open to messages, with time to explore ideas and ads.

    Newspaper readers on all devices are looking for interesting content and ads provide this, too.

Time spent should not be viewed in isolation, and it may not even be the best criteria when determining where to place ad dollars. It is easy to track and present, so it is used as shorthand “proof” but it misses other key factors.

Think about the whole situation when considering time spent with media. Don’t judge based simply on the colour of our hair.

Email: The Old Kid on the Block’s Still Got It

eMarketer

Email’s not dead. In fact, Q2 2014 research by Gigaom found that 86% of US digital marketers used email marketing regularly—the highest response rate out of all programs listed.

176718 Email: The Old Kid on the Blocks Still Got It

On top of that, the June 2014 report detailing the survey results, underwritten by Extole, called email “the digital marketing workhorse,” meaning it was effective—and often considered the single most effective—for reaching all goals, including awareness (41% of respondents), acquisition (37%), conversion (42%) and retention (56%).

When it came to that last objective—customer retention—email dominated other programs, leading second-place social network marketing by nearly 20 percentage points.

Due to these positive results, one-quarter of respondents planned to increase spending on email marketing. This was the third-highest response, trailing social network marketing (38%) and content marketing (28%). Meanwhile, few marketers said they would up investments in newer digital formats such as mobile advertising (16%) and digital video ads (14%).

Based on April 2014 polling My.com, a chunk of those dollars would be well spent on mobile-optimized email. Nearly three-quarters of US internet users studied said they checked email on a mobile device. Android-powered devices were the most popular mobile platforms for checking email via mobile, cited by 48% of respondents, followed by iOS, with 38%.

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Worldwide Tablet Market Grows 11% in Second Quarter on Shipments from a Wide Range of Vendors, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion  300x99 Worldwide Tablet Market Grows 11% in Second Quarter on Shipments from a Wide Range of Vendors, According to IDC

The worldwide tablet grew 11.0% year over year in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14) with shipments reaching 49.3 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Although shipments declined sequentially from 1Q14 by -1.5%, IDC believes the market will experience positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to the previous year.

“As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC Research Director for Tablets. “We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets. Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market.”

Despite declining shipments of its iPad product line, Apple managed to maintain its lead in the worldwide tablet market, shipping 13.3 million units in the second quarter. Following a strong first quarter, Samsung struggled to maintain its momentum and saw its market share slip to 17.2% in the second quarter.  Lenovo continued to climb the rankings ladder, surpassing ASUS and moving into the third spot in the tablet market, shipping 2.4 million units and grabbing 4.9% markets share. The top 5 was rounded out by ASUS and Acer, with 4.6% and 2.0% share, respectively. Share outside the top 5 grew to an all time high as more and more vendors have made inroads in the tablet space. By now most traditional PC and phone vendors have at least one tablet model in the market, and strategies to move bundled devices and promotional offerings have slowly gained momentum.

“Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a levelling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase.”

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Brands ‘not ready’ for digital era

Warc

Many brands are still “not ready for the digital era” as their marketing departments lack the skillsets necessary to thrive in the connected age, a leading executive has argued.

Speaking at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference, Bob Liodice, the organisation’s president/ceo, asserted that technology was a “critical enabler” for brands.

But exploiting the opportunities currently available – from formulating one-to-one conversations to driving innovation and pursuing purpose-driven branding – will require a significant shift in skillsets.

“We need to build skills,” Liodice said. (For more, including insights from senior marketers from Unilever, Ford and more, read Warc’s exclusive report: ANA’s Liodice outlines challenges (and opportunities) for the digital age.)

At present, he continued, the majority of organisations do not have the requisite talent in place to move ahead at the desired speed.

“Survey after survey suggests that we’re not ready for the digital era,” Liodice said.

“We found, in one survey, that only 25% of marketers said that they have the skillset necessary to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that are now afforded to them.”

Taking the next step, he reported, would demand a transition in mindset away from the existing marketing model towards a genuinely integrated approach.

“We essentially need to make a change from digital marketing to marketing in a digital age,” the ANA’s president/ceo asserted.

Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s global brand building officer, has put forward a similar theory, as he reflected that traditional ideas of digital marketing were almost “dead”.

Liodice drew attention to other marketers who had elaborated on such themes, like Joe Tripodi, evp/chief marketing and commercial officer at soft drinks giant Coca-Cola, who has called on brands to “embrace the values of millennials”.

Antonio Lucio, global chief brand officer at financial services group Visa, has further asserted that millennials are the most “equipped” to drive change, adding that “digital natives will rule the world”.

Yusuf Medhi, chief marketing and strategy officer for the XBOX games console at Microsoft, has equally encouraged marketers to “consume new technology – use it, spend time with it and learn from people it has benefitted”.

Ready or Not, the Internet of Things Is Coming

eMarketer

Think the net neutrality debate is all about streaming videos? Think again. It’s actually much more than that: It’s about streaming your life. Internet connectivity might seem ubiquitous today, between the use of PCs, mobile devices, and smart TVs, but there are major swaths of daily life that aren’t connected yet that soon will become so, such as homes and cars, according to a new eMarketer report, “Key Digital Trends for Midyear 2014: The Internet of Things, Net Neutrality, and Why Marketers Need to Care.”

176056 Ready or Not, the Internet of Things Is Coming

Connecting all the unconnected devices, machines and systems will involve vast numbers of new internet-enabled objects and large sums of money. In a relatively untapped market with seemingly limitless potential, forecasts tend toward the sky-high:

  • International Data Corporation predicts the worldwide market for “internet of things” (IoT) solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.
  • MarketsandMarkets gives the IoT market a more conservative—but still lofty—valuation of $1.029 trillion in 2013, increasing to $1.423 trillion by 2020.
  • Gartner forecasts 26 billion connected objects worldwide by 2020 (a figure that does not include PCs, smartphones and tablets).
  • IDATE projects 80 billion internet-connected things in 2020, up from 15 billion in 2012. This figure does include PCs, TVs and smart devices, but the vast majority (85%) will be objects like car tires or shipping pallets that may communicate with the web via an intermediate device. Devices that communicate directly, such as PCs, TVs and mobile phones, will make up 11% of the total in 2020.
  • Cisco Systems predicts 50 billion things will be connected by 2022, yielding $19 trillion in new revenues ($14.4 trillion of which will accrue to private-sector corporations).

“There’s no doubt the world is moving toward a more connected future, but the speed with which consumers and enterprises make the transition to the internet of things is still to be determined,” said Noah Elkin, executive editor at eMarketer. “The timing of adoption will determine just how much money and how many things are involved.”

If you can’t check in, is it really Foursquare?

IDG News Service

Foursquare unceremoniously dropped its “check in” feature this week.

Now, the service has been re-created as a third-rate Yelp instead of a first-rate Foursquare. Check-ins are now done via Swarm, a new app launched recently by Foursquare.

The trouble with this is that, for many of Foursquare’s most loyal and passionate users, checking in to locations is what Foursquare has always been about.

This kind of late-stage pivoting is something of an unhappy trend. I believe the cause of these strategic errors by companies is a combination of taking longtime and passionate users for granted while simultaneously coveting thy neighbor’s business model.

That’s a risky strategy. A company that goes that route could fail to succeed with the new model and also fail to hang on to its most passionate users. Then it could be acquired by Yahoo, never to be heard from again.

Twitter trouble

The poster child for this kind of error is Twitter.

People who love Twitter fell in love with it when it was a hyper-minimalist, quirky, secret-code-controlled text-centric microblog. It was minimalism that made Twitter great.

But Twitter got a bad case of Google andFacebook envy. The company redesigned its spare minimalism to look almost exactly like cluttered Facebook. The CEO of a company called Berg illustrated this perfectly by putting his Twitter and Facebook profiles side by side. The redesign is part of a larger direction for Twitter streams to move from text-based to picture-based. Twitter is joining Google+ and Facebook in the arms race that has broken out as people use images, rather than words, to compete for attention.

Twitter also embraced the card interface, which Google has rolled out to multiple properties, from Google+ to Android Wear.

Twitter has recently been testing a feature called “retweet with comment,” which gathers up the original tweet in a card and essentially attaches it to the retweet. This moves Twitter away from its core idea, which is forced brevity.

Of course, new features can fail their tests and may never be rolled out. But the nature of Twitter tests suggests that the company is making the dual mistakes of taking its core user base for granted and simultaneously flirting with the business models of competitors.

For example, Twitter tested a feature that causes a link to a movie trailer to automatically appear when a user types in a hashtag for that movie.

Twitter is even considering dropping both the @ symbol, for identifying and linking to specific user accounts, and the hashtag, for linking to specific kinds of content, according to some testing it has done.

Over time, Twitter is evolving from something that people loved to something that is just like other services and has has few differentiating features.

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Mobile gadgets outnumber people in these 7 countries

IDG News Service

Wireless broadband subscriptions now outnumber people in seven countries as consumers continue to snap up smartphones and tablets, according to a new report.

Finland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and the U.S. had wireless broadband penetration of more than 100 percent as of December 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday. That means there was more than one wireless broadband subscription per person, usually because consumers have more than one mobile device that can go online. The U.S. just barely crossed the bar, while Finland led the group with more than 123 percent penetration.

Across all 37 OECD countries, wireless broadband penetration rose to 72.4 percent as total subscriptions grew 14.6 percent. The group spans North America, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe, as well as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Mexico and Chile. It’s sometimes treated as a barometer of the developed world.

Wired broadband subscriptions also grew in 2013, reaching an average of 27 percent penetration. That means there was just over one wired subscription per four people: Wired broadband services, such as cable and DSL (digital subscriber line), typically are shared. Switzerland led in that category with 44.9 percent penetration, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark. The U.S. had just under 30 wired subscriptions per 100 people, while Turkey came in last with just over 11.

DSL still makes up a majority of wired broadband subscriptions, at 51.5 percent, followed by cable with 31.2 percent. Fiber-optic grew to a 16.7 percent share, gradually replacing DSL services. Fiber more than doubled its share of the market in the U.K. and also gained strongly in Spain, Turkey and France. While those countries still have relatively low fiber penetration, Japan and Korea continued to lead the OECD for that technology. Nearly 70 percent of all wired broadband in Japan goes over fiber, and almost 65 percent in Korea.

The OECD has compiled some of its broadband statistics on a portal page. For all the technologies it tracks, the group uses a generous definition of broadband as a service capable of at least 256K bits per second downstream.

Facebook’s mobile app install ad business faces growing competition

Mobile Marketer

While Facebook’s mobile advertising business keeps growing – mobile represented a whopping 62 percent of ad revenue during the second quarter – the social network could become a victim of its own success, particularly on the application marketing front, as a growing number of competitors come out with their own, often compelling offerings.

The 62 percent of ad revenue delivered by mobile in the second quarter is up from 41 percent during the same period a year ago and from 59 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Facebook’s new mobile ad network and app install ads drive much of the mobile ad revenue but the company continues to look at ways to broaden its mobile ad business.

“When you think about our mobile ads, I do sometimes think that people think our mobile app install ads are all of the revenue or a great majority of the revenue, and they are not,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, during a conference call with analyst to discuss the company’s second quarter financial results. “They are only a part of the mobile ads revenues.

“Our mobile ads revenue is broad based,” she said. “We have large brands advertisers, small, direct response advertisers as well as developers using our mobile ads.

“The mobile app install ads which are run not only by developers but also by large companies that want to get people to install apps are growing. They remain a good part of our mobile ads revenue and we are excited about the opportunities there. But we see our opportunities in mobile ads as much broader than just installing apps.”

Mobile growth
Facebook reported yesterday that its overall revenue grew 61 percent for a total of $2.91 billion during the second quarter of 2014. Of that, $2.68 billion came from advertising, a 67 percent jump from the same period a year ago.

Growth in mobile use on Facebook continues to outpace general use, with mobile daily active user increasing 39 percent for a total of 654 million while mobile monthly active users grew 31 percent for a total of 1.07 billion.

In comparison, overall daily active users grew 19 percent for a total of 829 million and monthly active users increased 14 percent for a total of 1.32 billion.

The company also posted a 138 percent increase in net income for a total of $791 million.

App install ads
Facebook launched mobile app install ads in late 2012 and the offering quickly took off because it meet an untapped need to help developers drive app downloads. In less than two years, Facebook has driven 350 million app installs, per Fiksu.

However, Twitter recently released its mobile app promotion product suite. Fiksu is a partner, helping clients such as Groupon, Dunkin Donuts and Barnes & Noble drive app downloads from Twitter.

“Over the past 12 months, Facebook has enjoyed a leadership position with respect to performance in the app marketing space,” Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at Fiksu.

“While costs of media were often up to ten times greater on Facebook than other channels, they could command this premium because their cost per purchasing user was 28 percent better than other traffic sources, based on the strength of their segmentation tools,” he said.

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Apple gets patent for 3-year-old smartwatch design labeled ‘iTime’

IDG News Service

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office served up further evidence on Tuesday that Apple is designing a smartwatch when it awarded the company a patent for a wrist-worn gadget with a touchscreen and ability to communicate with a smartphone.

“The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch,” wrote Apple in the filing for U.S. Patent 8,787,006, which was submitted in July 2011 but made public on Tuesday.

The patent doesn’t give much away about any commercial product that might be planned by Apple, but it does provide an insight into the way the company was thinking in 2011.

It describes “an electronic wristband to be worn on a wrist of a user” that has a receptacle for a “mobile electronic device.” That mobile device is a small display module that can be clipped into the wristband when needed.

The display portion is a mobile device in its own right and functions while not clipped into the wristband. Once connected together, the wristband and mobile device form a smartwatch that can communicate with a second device such as a phone, tablet PC or desktop computer. the patent said.

The wristband might include haptic sensors that allow for control with gestures “with one’s arm or wrist.”

“For example, the gesture might be a horizontal movement for one user input option (e.g., decline incoming call), and might be a vertical movement for another user input option (e.g., accept incoming call). For example, the gesture might be a single shake (or bounce, tap, etc.) of the user’s wrist for one user input option (e.g., accept incoming call), and might be a pair of shakes (or bounces, taps, etc.) for another user input option (e.g., decline incoming call),” the filing reads

In some of the drawings that make up the patent, the watch device is labeled “iTime,” although that name isn’t claimed as a trademark with the USPTO.

“Portable electronic devices are commonplace today,” Apple wrote in the document. “In some cases these portable electronic devices can be carried by a user with relative ease, placed in a pocket of user’s clothing, or clipped onto the user or the user’s clothing. Some portable electronic devices are small enough to be worn by a user.”

“Additionally, accessories have been utilized to provide additional functionality to portable electronic devices,” it said. “There are, however, continuing needs to make portable electronic devices smaller and more portable. There is also a continuing need to enhance functionalities of portable electronic devices.”

While Apple hasn’t publically acknowledged it is working on a smartwatch, a number of leaks from the company have suggested one is under development.

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