Archive for the ‘saturation point’ tag
In another sign that something fundamental is changing on the iOS and Android platforms, mobile analytics provider Flurry has found that consumers are spending as much time in social networking apps as they are in mobile games.
Games have historically led usage on mobile. The last time that Flurry took a look back in January, it found that half of app sessions were spent in games while 30 percent was spent in social networking apps.
“We take the rise in Social Networking apps as a signal of maturation for the platform,” wrote Flurry’s vice president of marketing Peter Farago. “As game demand may be hitting its saturation point, consumers are also discovering other apps, namely Social Networking.”
You can actually visually see the changes on the charts compared to a year ago. Today apps like Viddy, Socialcam and Instagram are in the Top 5 free in the U.S. on iOS. These are all apps for sharing content like videos and friends. A year ago, these would have probably been mostly games.
There are probably several forces at work in addition to the ones that Flurry describes. 1) The platforms are mature and other app categories are starting to develop. 2) Apple has cracked down on more unscrupulous forms of user acquisition, which benefited developers who had the cash to spend on marketing. Pre-revenue apps like Instagram can’t really justify spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in marketing dollars. 3) Twitter and Facebook are starting to emerge as effective ways of distributing mobile apps. If you search Twitter for “Viddy” or OMGPOP’s “#drawsomething,” you’ll see that there are several tweets per minute about both apps.
Flurry also found that the time spent is affecting the revenue that apps in both categories earn. For the first time, advertising revenue for social networking apps in Flurry’s ad network AppCircle, surpassed that of ad revenue for games. The thing you have to consider, though, is that gaming apps are more dependent on in-app purchases of virtual currency. If you look on iOS’ top grossing charts, it’s still virtually all games in the Top 25.
Flurry results are a little worrying for the mobile gaming industry. Perhaps the audience is reaching scale and doesn’t have much more room to grow.
Farago writes, “The games category could start behaving more like a “zero sum game” from here on out, meaning that game companies would have to fight over a finite group of consumers in order to grow their businesses.”
by Jennifer Cario
As we roll into 2012 companies are looking at ways to either boost their social media campaigns, or in some cases, launch them for the first time. One of the big questions they have is whether or not they’re too late to the game. While I’m not going to lie and say it’s the easiest it’s ever been to get in the game, I can say more companies will find it easier to get involved today than they ever have before. I see six key reasons for this.
Reason #1 – Social Media has Reached a Saturation Point
While I work with all shapes and sizes of business, small business is where my heart lies. Limited staffing and limited budgets leaves little room for “let’s just try this” in the small business marketing budget and forces you to really focus in on what you want to accomplish and how to get there in the most efficient manner. That means I spend a lot of time watching social media outlets and making judgement calls on when they’ve reached a saturation point. I rarely suggest a company begin utilizing a social media outlet until it’s crystal clear that outlet has enough members of their target audience to be worth the time and effort.
Social media as a whole has reached a saturation point. Forrester research now reports that 86% of the online U.S. population engages in social media these days. Its no longer a growing medium, it’s simply an accepted form of communication. Facebook claims one out of every thirteen people on EARTH have an account. 86% usage rates means your customers ARE on social media, end of story. You’ll still have to do some research to find out where they are, but they ARE there. You can stop wondering if it’s worthwhile to be there and start worrying about what you’ll do to reach them.
Reasons #2 – Social Sharing Continues to Rise
If you get involved with social media for no other reason, it should be to take advantage of the sheer volume of sharing that happens online on a daily basis. Add This shows astronominal growth rates for sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, among others. Interestingly, copy and paste from the URL bar into emails, intant messages and other social channels still makes up an ever larger portion of sharing than simple “click to share” options. That means a ton of people are sharing, without even realizing they’re taking part in “social media.”
Very few businesses can’t benefit from word of mouth. Unless you are one of them, you need to have a plan in place to leverage it online. Social media is what helps you do that.
Reason #3 – Social Media is Diversifying
For some reason, a large portion of companies still think social media equals Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. It’s a short sighted way of looking at things and for specialty, niche and most B2B businesses, it’s a mistake. Whether you’re a small online clothing boutique hawking your wares through Polyvore, a donut shop in Youngstown, Ohio pulling new customers from UrbanSpoon, an extreme fitness studio attracting new students from LivingSocial or a Etsy shop driving sales from Pinterest, the options online are almost limitless. Sure, it’s great to build at least a baseline presence with the major players, but more and more companies are finding success by building strong and loyal following on some of the specialty social media sites.
If you are only looking at the biggest players, the game is going to seem a little overwhelming. If you start digging deeper to find those pockets of conversation your audience is having online, there’s wonderful opportunity to build a grassroots social media campaign.
Reason #4 – Staffing is Easier to Come By
Sure, there’s still a distinct lack of people in the marketing world who really understand social media from the perspective of how it can impact your business…but it’s way better than it was even just a few years ago. College students and recent grads understand the new environment and are constantly exploring new outlets. Find one with grea communication skills and provide them with a little direction from someone with actual marketing experience and an understanding of your business and you can go a long way in a short time. Whether you choose to hire a team in-house, hire out a consultant to help keep your team focused, or turn the entire thing over to an agency…there are enough workers out there now to actually give you a choice in whom you hire.
Reason #5 – Social Media Analytics Have Come a Long Way
Remember when people cheered because they gained a Facebook fan, or got X number of retweets? Those things still count, but we’ve finally matured social media to the point where we dig deeper. Social media isn’t just about presence and engagement anymore. The tools are rising to the challenge issued by marketers and our ability to track actions across networks gives us more data than ever. We’re understanding the need to create social media specific metrics like amplification and applause and we’re finally getting companies to look at business goals and figure out how social media can be used to address them.
This makes it easier than ever for companies to carve out dollars for social media. It was one thing to say “we need to try this.” It’s an entirely different thing to say “we need to accomplish X and we have Y dollars to do it. Can you make this work?” Companies that embrace social media from the latter perspective will see far more success.
Reason #6 – Offline and Online Experiences are Converging
A girl walks into a bar and sees a cowboy, a clown and a priest having dinner. It may be a joke, or it may be a social media post. With the proliferation of smart phones and social media apps, our every day lives now intersect so tightly with our online lives that they’re barely distinguishable. Congregations check in on Facebook on Sunday mornings to share their choice of church with their friends. People take pictures of the things they want for Christmas and post them to their Tumblr accounts for all to see. Live tweeting happens during everything from conferences to earthquakes. Brick and mortar stores are finding new ways to encourage foot traffic to broadcast their activity online by offing coupons, discounts or special experiences. Every experience is sharable and every share is trackable, giving businesses more insight into their customers than they’ve ever had before.
Do It, But Do It With a Goal
Here’s the one down side to all this. The more options you have, the more likely you are to get caught up in the rush and get lost. Take the time to think about the goals you have for your business in 2012. Write them down. Then look at them and ask yourself if you can think of any way social media might be able to help you reach those goals. If you aren’t certain, ask a trusted voice in the business. A good social media marketer will tell you if you just aren’t ready, or if your goals aren’t realistic. Once you find a fit though, it’s time to map out a strategy to meet those goals and to get yourself to work.
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The new year is upon us and if Mayan deity Quetzalcoatl has his way, we’ll be goners by December. In the meantime, Sparksheet presents a curated sampling of pre-apocalypse predictions.
This summer sports fans, brands, and anglophiles will be flocking to London for the Summer Olympics.
According to JWT, social media will be playing a bigger role than ever, with an IOC sanctioned social media policy already in place for athletes and affiliates. #Olympics is expected to trend for months.
As the event approaches, expect to see lots of ads from traditional sponsors, like this…
…and a few unexpected ones, too:
Netflix will be turning heads with its first offering of original programming. Lilyhammer, starring The Sopranos’ Steven Van Zandt and set in Norway (you might remember it as the location of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games) is scheduled to air early February. It’s a bold move for the streaming powerhouse. We’ll see whether critics give it a gold.
In other TV news, Apple plans to enter the television market this year with a TV/computer hybrid that has a chance to do for the crowded TV market what iPod did for mp3 players.
The first installment of Peter Jackson’s two-part epic, The Hobbit will be hitting the big screen this year in time for the 75th anniversary of J.R. Tolkien’s much loved classic. Will it be the blockbuster of the year?
While Facebook’s early adopter markets reach the saturation point (and it plans for its early summer IPO, currently speculated at $100 billion), Google + has been growing fast, with one analyst predicting it will reach 400 million users by the year’s end.
If Zynga’s recent IPO is any indication, free and social gaming, and more generally, social design, will emerge as ‘the next big thing’ across digital industries, says Facebook VP of partnerships and platforms, Dan Rose.
Apple’s recent announcement that its iPhone 4S will launch this month in 22 countries – including key-market China – means big business for the company. But speculation abounds as to how Apple will transition into the post-Jobsian era.
Android, on the other hand, has surged in popularity, taking nearly 50% of the U.S. smartphone market in 2011. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be hitting the 60% mark by the end of 2012.
Mobile payment services like Google Wallet were introduced to the U.S. last year, and will launch in the U.K. in 2012. But according to ABI research group, we shouldn’t expect to see too much growth until at least 2013 thanks to difficulties developing effective business models.
Cloud computing is also getting its fair share of buzz. While it’s been around for half a decade (is there anyone left who doesn’t have a Gmail account?), end-users will begin to see more applications emerge in areas ranging from security and databases to games and music.
And while the cloud bubble continues expanding, Berkeley scholar Vivek Wadhwa predicts that a cloudburst may rain on the market’s parade if big companies experience security breaches, which is far and away cloud computing’s biggest concern.
Social Media usage is getting more complex. While social platforms continue to expand in markets like India, Brazil and Russia, certain parts of the social Web may be cresting in the US. If you take a look at Global Web Index data (GWI) for October 2011 in the US there are two important insights that immediately pop out:
Saturation and the Importance of Content
Twitter and blog publishing seems to be staying flat and niche. The complexion of Twitter users, while niche, do represent influencers from journalists to marketers. Expecting to significantly expand consumer conversations (beyond customer service triage) may not be realistic. Brands will get more by providing content worth sharing via Twitter. GWI puts it, “Future engagement on micro-blogging will be less about conversations and more about content”
As for Facebook, membership in the US seems to be reaching saturation point, and people are dropping some of their more involved behaviors like creating content in favor of sharing existing content
“Social Networking is saturated in the US and behaviour is shifting into a more passive usage. Visitation remains high, but users are doing less”
The big exceptions seem to be an increase in posting images and even video to profiles. Historically creating and publishing video even in the era of Flip Video camera (sadly, the era continues without that particular camera) has been a niche activity with a high barrier to entry. Is that changing?
Even a year ago, 30 billion pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) were shared on Facebook per month. With people less likely to create all of that, they are on the lookout for great stuff to pass along.
“One consequence of real-time social is a move from creating content to sharing other peoples content. We call this the rise of the “transmitter ecosystem””
The opportunity for brands as creators of remarkable and relevant content will grow. How many brands will embrace a content marketing strategy as their way to engage customers and stakeholders?
Creating a Segmented Strategy
Age, income, region, interests and more are showing up as differentiators in terms of how people are using social media. US social network users lag behind the globe in terms of using Facebook to express themselves or networking for work. My Space continues to serve a predominantly less educated audience with less income. And Twitter grew the greatest amongst a younger user base – 16-24 year olds during this last period while still catering to a smaller influencer crowd.
Combine these distinctions with what people seem to be doing on platforms and differences per country and it is more important than ever to create a social strategy that is segmented and informed by this research. Looking to use Facebook globally and with a single approach across 30 or 50 markets as a new, “one-strategy,” channel may not be realistic. Marketers will have to pay close attention as they roll out acquisition and engagement programs in diverse markets like the US, South Africa, Indonesia or Mexico.
This article made me think. (Technology professionals say email's popularity will decline) Canada.com.
I believe we lost the power and effectiveness of email – the (one time) Killer App on da Net, when the PDA hit a certain saturation point. We are tethered to our iPhones and Blackberries, we can't even go on a golf course without checking our mail! In fact, at the last three meetings I went to I thought half the participants were sitting very quiet, eyes down, silently in meditation.
And what happens when we do check mail when we are ooot and abooot? Nothing. Nope, nothing, not really. Maybe you get a short burst of "OK!" or a really, really long reply … "Yeah, OK!" I swear most emails do not get responded to. Hell, email from a Smart Phone makes Twitter seem like the length of a chapter out of War & Peace.
I officially pronounce email dead.
So, to celebrate, here is what I did this weekend …
I unsubscribed form 30+ email newsletters I receive and I also stopped forwarding 4 of my five email addresses on my iPhone. I also cancelled three email addresses completely. I just get my business email on my iPhone now. I may just use that little iDumpling as a phone now. Novel idea! Well, there are always Angry Birds!
My personal email and the One Degree addy are still active on my desktop. Also, there have been "zero" (Read: None, Zip, Nada, McNyet!) emails, in the last year or so, that I could not answer efficiently in a timely fashion after I get back in front of my computer. Ahhh … Management of Time and Territory! I am definitely not that vital to the world around me. I am neither on call as a Surgeon at Sick Kids, nor the most popular girl in Grade 11.
I do not text on a regular basis – I sort of use it as a "homing beacon" if I am meeting someone … "I am by the damn ferris wheel, where the hell are you!" Or, more importantly "Hey, Biff – Tee Off at 1:40 tomorrow … you in?"
Like it says in the article "Texting is intrusive." Well, if texting is intrusive, email is irrelevant.
Can't wait for the mobilization of the text marketing world by the marcom brainiacs. Rogers, my carrier, occasionally blasts something to me. Everytime they do that I lose a wee bit of respect for them. I think of it like customer service tourettes. Really tarnishes the brand. But they really can't help themselves. Can't wait till this is done in the same frequency and volume as my inbox was experiencing with e-mails boasting some new thing-a-ma-jig – hundreds of times a day!
The millions of e-marketing attempts by the "Herb Tarlek Sales & Marketing" hoard attempting to bond, relate, engage in conversations and "SHOW ME DA LUV", mostly failed. They were just not sincere.
I know you thought you were being sincere, but you weren't. I know you weren't sincere cause you never listened to me.
The companies that have, or at one time, had me as a customer never went the next step. That next step being, choice & preference. My choice. My preference.
"When do you want to hear from us?"
"What products would you want more info on?"
"We know you bought this or that widget, here is some important special widget news!"
"How can we better help you, Mr Long-time Loyal Customer?"
These are simple questions … but I cannot think of a single company that I have given scads of money to or currenly give scads of money to, on a regular basis, that personalize their messages to me other than sometimes using my name to address me.
And it is easy. You have all my damn data. I happily give it all to you. In fact, I happily put my hand up and want to be served. In case I am being subtle – "Hey Marketing Ejit! I want to buy MORE stuff from you!" But you just don't want to sell it to me .. do ya.
Be curious to hear your thoughts.
-Recent news reports and negativity around Facebook losing audience are not reflected by the figures below. Usage numbers may be reaching saturation point in some markets, but the global picture is still one of extraordinary growth.
The table below shows the top 30 countries by number of active Facebook users according to the data available from Facebook (leave a comment if you want to know statistics for other countries.)
Top 30 countries with highest number of Facebook users (July 2011 – data from Facebook):
|Rank||Country||Number of Facebook users July 2008||Number of Facebook users July 2009||Number of Facebook users July 2010||Number of Facebook users July 2011||12 month growth %|
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