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The Rise of Smartphones

VCOMP Support - Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Smartphones are helping to drive users to Facebook. Through the marriage of social and mobiletechnology, those who take advantage have instant, everywhere access to all their profiles. Smartphone users between ages 18 to 44 take full advantage of their smartphones and use them from the early morning right to the end of the day. 62% of all respondents said they reach for their device immediately after waking up, whereas 79% of users did the same within 15 minutes of waking up. This statistic is even higher for the younger demographic. Most of smartphone users' time on mobile Facebook is spent checking their newsfeed, messaging, posting photos, and even playing games. This worked out to just above an average of 30 minutes being spent on mobile Facebook every single day. This goes without being said that investing time on social mobile media is going to be a wise decision. 

Contact Us for more information on Mobile Website Design or any other Internet Marketing services. The full article can be read here: "Smartphones Help Drive Users to Facebook"

Consumers Spend More Time with Mobile as Online Growth Slows

VCOMP Support - Monday, October 29, 2012

Over the last few years, the average daily time spent on mobile devices (excluding talk time) by US adults has increased dramatically.  In 2012, the average will grow to 82 minutes per day, an increase of 51.9% from 2011, and an increase of 141% from 2010.  Time spent online on other major media platforms is also increasing, but at a significantly slower rate, as seen by the table to the right.  Almost 3 hours of time spent with media on a daily average is online, and it is highly unlikely that the growth rate of this number will reach double digits even as consumers continue to spend more time on their computers.  On the other hand, smartphones and tablets have only penetrated a minority of all consumers when compared to laptops and desktops.  As more acquire smartphones and tablets, and current owners shift more of their online activities to these devices, mobile is taking an ever-increasing share of time with all media.

While time spent on mobile is increasing at a rapid rate, advertising spending has been slow to follow suit.  As can be seen by the graph to the left, mobile time share has increased from 3.5% in 2009 to 11.7% in 2012, but ad spending share has only increased from 0.3% in 2009 to 1.6% in 2012.  Advertising for mobile is expected to increase rapidly over the next few years (reaching an estimated $12 billion in 2016) as the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to grow.

Contact Us for more information on Mobile Website Design or any other Internet Marketing services.  Alternatively, read the full article: "Consumers Spend More Time with Mobile as Online Growth Slows".

Can Facebook Go Beyond Earned Media Success?

VCOMP Support - Thursday, June 21, 2012
Facebook has been an important platform for marketers for quite some time now, but how effective is advertising on Facebook?  A June 5th study by Reuters and Ipsos (shown right) found that only 20% of Facebook users in the US have bought products because of advertisements or comments they've seen on Facebook.  This sparked heavy disputes over the value and ROI of Facebook ads.

A week after the Reuters and Ipsos study was released, Facebook collaborated with comScore to release their own study on the purchase behaviour of US Facebook users.  Facebook used the retailer Target for this experiment (see below).  A group of US Facebook users were exposed to brand messaging from target and were compared to a control group.  4% of fans in the exposed group made purchases during the following month, compared to 3.3% of fans in the control group.




Facebook must also prove that their paid media advertising programs, such as Premium ads, are effective.  Facebook examined one retailer's Premium ad campaign over a four week period.  This study found an increase of 16% in in-store purchases and 56% in online purchases.  While this study may be biased towards Facebook, it is undeniable that earned media greatly affects consumer's purchasing behaviour.  Companies and marketers cannot overlook this powerful advertising platform if they wish to run successful marketing campaigns.

Contact Us for more information on Social Media Marketing or any other Internet Marketing services. Alternatively, read the full article: "Can Facebook Go Beyond Earned Media Success?

Digital Coupons Garnering the Most Customer Engagement

VCOMP Support - Wednesday, April 18, 2012
When offering coupons and deals to potential customers, it is important to take certain factors into consideration.  The channel of distribution is one of the main determinants. While many people still prefer print copies of promotions, the convenience of digital coupons is making online discounts a smarter option for businesses and consumers alike.  Over 80% of internet users who are subscribed to a deal/shopping e-mail newsletter check these deals at least once a week.  A large percentage of those who receive these offers will take some sort of action afterwards (see the chart to the right).

It is much more efficient to do research on a certain deal online rather than offline.  Potential customers can review products, educate themselves on these products, and share deals with friends and family with relative ease over the internet.  With the use of tablets and smart phones increasing, web-based marketing is becoming a more viable choice for attracting customers.

It is essential for companies to take advantage of this growing trend in online marketing in order to expand their business.  Consumers are becoming more aware and educated before making a purchase, thus making it more important than ever to provide them with detailed information and enticing offers.

Contact Us for more information on E-mail Marketing or any other Internet Marketing services. Alternatively, read the full article: "Digital Coupons Rival Print Counterparts in Effectiveness".

Social Media Marketing: Fall 2011 Trends and Statistics

VCOMP Support - Wednesday, October 19, 2011
An eMarketer estimate claims that global ad revenues generated on social networks will reach $10 billion in 2013, while this year's projected number is $5.54 billion. It is expected that nearly half that amount, $2.74 billion, will come from the United States. Despite optimistic speculation, there remains a sentiment within the Internet Marketing community that a business’ social media presence is still more important than advertising on social media networks.

2011 Social Network Ad Revenue EstimatesSocial Media Marketing
  • Facebook - $3.8 Billion
  • LinkedIn - $140.8 million
  • Twitter - $139.5 million

A survey conducted in July 2011, by Microsoft Advertising and Advertiser Perceptions, which questioned social media marketers from six countries, found that 74% of respondents considered it ‘very important’ to have a presence on Facebook, while only 57% believed it was equally important to advertise there. The disparity between the two figures was less significant when applied to Twitter, where 47% thought a twitter presence was very important, while only 42% believed it was very important to advertise there.

Some common social media marketer complaints included: difficulty measuring the effectiveness of Social Media Marketing (largely due to a lack of adequate analytics tools) and difficulty in reaching appropriate audiences, as social media fans often do not represent an ideal marketing audience. It is also reported that on average nearly ½ of social media marketer’s budgets are going towards attracting new visitors, while about ⅕ is spent on trying to keep social media users engaged, in an effort to reduce the substantial turnover that exists on social networks.

Contact Us to Develop a Social Media Marketing strategy now! Or for more information on the topic of social media marketing trends, read the full articles, Social Media Presence More Important Than Social Media Ads and Social Network Ad Revenues to Reach $10 Billion Worldwide in 2013.

Local Search Optimization

VCOMP Support - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Search engine results pages (SERP) everywhere are now being increasingly populated by Local Search results, which are likely to become even more prevalent in the future. Thus, largely due to the inherently competitive nature of local search results, it is important that your business is not only listed, but also well optimized, as to be prominently featured in the rapidly expanding world that is local search.

Local search is capable of offering more relevant results to searchers, and has been proven particularly useful for mobile users, as a significant number (one estimate at 40%) of mobile searches have some form of local relevance. Also playing into the local search hype is how prominently featured they are on most SERPs, in some cases overshadowing even the highest ranked Organic Search results.

So, how does one go about capitalizing on all that local search has to offer? Well, the first step is of course to ensure that you are listed with the 'heavyweights' of the field, which consists of the usual suspects Yahoo, Google, and Bing. It is free to list your business on Google Places, Yahoo's Local Listings, and Bing Business Portal (beta). Remember when listing your business, to answer all questions thoroughly and provide as much relevant and detailed information as possible, which will enable search engines to better understand the needs of your business and will help guide you towards more qualified audience exposure. Secondly, it is useful to be listed in several local online directories, for example Yelp, SuperPages, and Yellow Pages.

After those preliminary steps are taken, the optimization process can truly begin. For starters, photos, logos, and images, constitute an outstanding way to promote your brand and optimize your listing. There is also the option of incorporating Coupons or Deals, which can serve to engage potential customers and prompt users towards an action, rather than simply providing them with generic information. There is also the social aspect to consider, Google in particular strongly promotes user submitted reviews of products/services. Of course as with SEO it is always a good idea to incorporate relevant keywords and keyword phrases whenever possible as well.

If it is your desire to go beyond the basic listing options, Google offers a premium service, called Local Enhanced Listings, which besides costing $25 per month, allows businesses to make use of a wider range of features in order to more comprehensively depict their business and distinguish themselves from competitors. Simultaneously Google Adwords offers locally targeted advertising, which is more or less akin to the PPC equivalent of Local Search. Much like Google, Yahoo Search Marketing offers a premium version of their basic service, which they call Enhanced Local Listings. It also entails the activation of additional features, for the cost of $9.95 per month. Yahoo too has their own version of paid local ads.

For more information on local search optimization read: How to optimize your business for local search. Alternatively, Contact Us at WSI for all your Internet Marketing needs. 

Google Versus Facebook

VCOMP Support - Wednesday, August 17, 2011
After its release on June 28, 2011, Google+, Google's new social media platform, hit the 10 million user plateau in just 16 days, 836 days quicker than rival Facebook. Plus then became the fastest social website ever to reach 25 million users, hitting the mark in just 4 weeks.

Although Google+ obviously wouldn't mind stealing into Facebook's market, they are not yet positing themselves as a head-on challenge to the social media kings. Google Plus is not simply an alternative to, or improvement upon, Facebook. Though Google has introduced some innovations with the platform, particularly in the area of privacy, one of Facebook's more notable issues, the real significance of Plus' introduction to the social media conversation goes beyond a brand war; it could end up impacting the entire course of social media's future: "what's really at stake is which standard will eventually dominate the social layer of the Internet: the open web or the walled garden."

Google+ appears to be intended as a step in the direction of breaking down what has been called Facebook's "walled garden," a reference to the way in which activities on Facebook occur more or less within their own realm, cut off from the wider entity of the Internet. Google's plan could be to bring social networking back into the open web, where content can be, among other things: indexed for search purposes and made more available to advertising and marketing opportunities.

Its capacity to better accommodate internet marketing and advertising is likely where Google+ is the most attractive. As Dre Labre puts it: "Google knows what sites you're on, ads you're clicking on and what you're searching for, but the minute you go to Facebook, they lose you. With Plus as a social channel, you now have a seamless, ubiquitous social ecosystem," which will no doubt only further enhance the effectiveness of Google Analytics.

The million dollar question is: what type of impact will Google+ make if it turns out to be a success? Well, there is the possibility that Google may break down Facebook's "walled garden," only to more or less institute one of their own, if they actually do manage to gain dominance over social media platforms. Alternatively, Plus could instill itself as the 'social backbone' of the internet, ushering in a new era of inclusive social media, more available to the open web, ideally putting an end to platform fragmentation.

Instead of having multiple stand alone platforms, social media would become layered throughout the entire web, via interoperable platforms, that will allow for more sharing and synergy. There are indicators of this occurring, as users already have the option to use their Google and Facebook accounts to sign into some external websites and games. Email can be taken as a precedent for the potential realization of a 'socially layered' internet. Before electronic mail was standardized, most e-mail systems were closed and not interoperable, only when it became ubiquitous did e-mail truly reach its full potential.

There is genuine cause for optimism about Plus, but one only needs to consider such enterprises as Orkut, Buzz, and Wave, for evidence of Google's lackluster track record in social media. There are still many hurdles to overcome, and for now Google is taking it slow with Plus, introducing it incrementally. So though it is too early to crown Google Plus the champion of open social web standards, there are at least some signs that social media platforms, and perhaps the internet as a whole, is primed to head in an entirely new direction.

For more information, read Canadian Business' full article on 'Google Versus Facebook,' or for more details on the social backbone concept, 'Google+ is the Social Backbone.'

Social Media: The Future of E-Commerce

VCOMP Support - Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Being in their early stages, Social Media Commerce and Facebook Commerce, or "F-Commerce," for abbreviation lovers, can be difficult terms to clearly define, as they continue to evolve as concepts, becoming more versatile and widely adopted. At a basic level though, social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce, which makes use of social media platforms, like Facebook, to assist in the buying and selling of products and services online. Due to rapid growth and a promising future, now is definitely the time for businesses to get on board with the social media revolution as it relates to e-commerce.

The benefits of social media

Social media allows for easy 2-way, back-and-forth communication between companies and their customers. Communication that acts more like a personal conversation than a public address; the difference between talking to people and talking at people. "According to eMarketer, 73 percent of U.S. companies in 2010 reported that they see social media as a powerful marketing tool for creating a dialogue between them and their customers." Clearly, social media has a knack for generating social currency, as research estimates that almost 100 million Facebook users actively share and discuss products or brands with friends through their profile page, which is significant because: "according to The New York Times, 90 percent of online shoppers trust recommendations from people they know, and 87 percent spend more dollars online after seeing recommendations."

As it stands today, people do not often use social media with an intent to shop, though this shows some signs of possibly changing. For now, engaging potential customers and offering special deals and promotions, are just two ways in which companies can get the most out of their social media presence and possibly prompt consumers to make impulse purchases. At the end of the day, Facebook is currently more of a tool than a destination. Accordingly, emphasis should be placed on attracting visitors from Facebook to online stores, more than bringing stores into Facebook. After all the ultimate goal is more customers, not fans and friends.

The question of monetization

Still, social media has some scratching their heads regarding potential investment returns. 'The Social Shopper,' an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report from June 2011 reports: "39% of respondents as saying they are doing a poor job of measuring social media effectively, while 45% say they are just average at it." In addition: "only 6% of respondents reported that they were able to monetize their investment in social media. However 32% believed monetization had occurred though they could not prove it, and 38% said they had no evidence that monetization had occurred."

Obviously this means there is room for clarity and improvement, but also and perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates that companies who do already have a strong understanding of their social media situation are the clear minority, and thus have an advantage over those still lagging behind.

Looking ahead

When embarking on a social commerce, or any type of social media marketing, initiative it is important to actively embrace the medium. Successful social media campaigns require a simple approach and a clear and consistent commitment. Simple dabbling, in order to get in on the trend or superficially capitalize on the latest buzzword will most likely not amount to the desired results. That being said, social commerce is not some short lived fad, and is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

For more information, read the full articles on the latest trends in social commerce and monetization of social media or visit our Social Media Marketing page.

Will Social Media reach maturity in 2010 ?

Vio Ivanescu - Thursday, December 31, 2009
As it was already predicted throughout the entire 2009, recent research shows that the most talked about topic in Internet Marketing for 2010 is Social Media. Although we are all fully aware of the strong trend to use the Social Networks these days, we also know that the vast majority of businesses out there are not yet ready to embark on the Social Media train.

There are multiple aspects of an Internet presence that need to function properly before Social Media can be effective. Not trying to provide an exhaustive list, I can outline:
  • Properly designed Website, that is targeting potential business generating visitors
  • Adequate conversion architecture, that can manage all the possible "sales funnels"
  • Corresponding Inbound Marketing strategies, lead by but not limited to Search Engines
  • Strong Outbound Marketing activity, built around E-mail and Newsletters Marketing strategies
  • Appropriate tracking and web analytics, to allow for constant monitoring and adjusting of the online strategy
  • ...

A recent study conducted by eMarketer is showing that the Social Media spend within the B2B community will increase by 60% in 2010.

Along with that, B2B companies will still spend a significant amount of money preparing and maintaining the performance of their websites towards Search Engines and Conversion Architecture.

Although Social Media could function and bring some advantages to any type of business and website, it is almost imperative that the proper foundation exists prior to launching an online presence into Social Media. That includes an adequate internet presence but also the proper internal infrastructure, prepared and ready to address any topic raised on the Social Networks.

In conclusion, the most obvious prediction for 2010 is that it will indeed bring businesses closer to being ready for Social Media. Will 60% of the US B2B businesses launch campaigns on the Social Networks in 2010 ? We will see. One thing is for sure though, much more companies will become ready for Social Media in 2010 than in 2009 and that trend will continue for a few more years.

Social Media Trends Report

Vio Ivanescu - Thursday, December 17, 2009

"According to findings from the recent eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, 42% of marketers worldwide plan to increase their marketing spend via social media, while 35.5% plan to maintain their current budgets. Interestingly, video advertising spending will see the largest increase in 2009 (61.5%)."

Read our Social Media Trends Report and let us know your feedback about how Social Media impacts the activities in your line of business.

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