Thursday, May 28, 2009

Social Media For Commercial Decisions

A new report by Knowledge Networks reports that 83% of the Internet population (ages 13 to 54) participates in social media, with 47% on a weekly basis. However, less than 5% of social media users regularly turn to these sites for guidance on purchase decisions in any of nine product/service categories. In addition, only 16% of social media users say they are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.
"Social media use" was defined as having visited any one of 27 social sites or having used social features on other sites. Participation in social media is widespread among those 13 to 54, but when asked whether they regularly turn to these sites when trying to make a purchase decision, the highest percentages among nine categories were 4%, for travel and banks/financial services.
63% of social media users agree that ads are a "fair price to pay" for use of these sites and features, but only 16% say they are more likely to buy from advertising brands. 54% "most like" staying connected to friends and family, and meeting new people, about participating in social media.

The study also shows that:

  • 34% of social media users report using these sites or features more often now compared to a year ago, while 18% said they use them less
  • just 1% of the total online population, and the same proportion of social media participants, uses Twitter once a week or more
  • 60% of social media participants say they only access these sites and features at home

David Tice, Vice President and Group Account Director, Knowledge Networks, says "... social media users do not have a strong association between these sites and purchase decisions... they see them as being more about personal connection... (though) the fact that they are using social media more now than a year ago is a strong indicator (of) the influence of these sites... "
For the purposes of this study, social media users were defined as those who ever use any of 27 pre-specified websites commonly categorized as social media sites, or those who have used social media features on other websites that are not primarily social media sites.

And, MarketingProfs announced the results of a small, informal survey that shows Twitter is rapidly gaining acceptance among users as an important social media business tool. According to the survey of mostly small businesses, 84% of respondents said they expect their company's use of Twitter to increase over the next six months, 46% saying "by a significant" margin.
Currently, 66% consider Twitter either "somewhat important" or "extremely important" to their company's business/marketing operations, compared to 29% who consider it "not very important."
On a five-point scale, 41% of respondents said Twitter delivers "great value" to their company, ranking ahead of LinkedIn, which garnered 25% of that category, and Facebook, which had 17%. Corporate blogs ranked at the top of the list with 52% saying it delivered great value, according the survey of more than 200 Twitter users.
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs, concludes that "This data shows that Twitter users, typically early adopters, no longer think of Twitter as just a personal networking tool... "
MarketingProfs' survey results are part of a new case study collection Twitter Success Stories: "How 11 companies are achieving their marketing objectives, 140 characters at a time," conducted between April 11-14, 2009. It included a total of 213 completed responses, 66% of which were filled out by people with fewer than 50 people in their company. The rest of the breakdown:

  • 101-1000 employees... 14.6%
  • 1000+ employees... 11.3%
  • 51-100 employees... 8%

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

6 Eco Myths Debunked

Congratulations,, on your well-deserved Webby. Here's a look at six recent environmental and energy myths that the fact-checking site has debunked. has won a 2009 Webby "People's Voice" award, and The Daily Green thinks it is well deserved.
Designed to check the facts spouted by politicians and those seeking to influence politics and policy debates, the nonprofit is an indispensable nonpartisan resource. (The Daily Green republishes the fact-checks related to energy and the environment, and nominated the site for one of its 2009 Heart of Green Awards.)
In celebration of the site's Webby, here's a look at six of its greatest recent hits:

6 Environmental Myths Debunked

1. There's enough wind power in the Atlantic to offset all the electricity we now get from coal.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made waves when he said the U.S. East Coast was so rich in wind that offshore wind farms could produce as much electricity as every U.S. coal-fired power plant. It sounds great. Coal, which produces roughly half our electricity, is a major source of pollution that causes smog, acid rain, mercury contamination and global warming; wind power causes none of these. Unfortunately, it's just not true, according to "We calculate that converting wind to enough electricity to replace all U.S. coal-fired plants would require building 3,540 offshore wind farms as big as the world's largest, which is off the coast of Denmark," reported. "So far the U.S. has built exactly zero offshore wind farms."

2. Congress is outlawing your backyard organic garden.
A vast campaign, spread via e-mail, Facebook and elsewhere, has tried to convince people that a food safety bill being considered in Congress will wipe out organic farming as we know it, and even possibly make it illegal to have a garden in your backyard. According to, though, there's hardly anything to worry about. "We suppose in the grand realm of all that's possible, or more likely a futuristic B movie, federal bureaucrats could decide that public safety calls for inspections of every backyard garden in the nation, leading everyday citizens to surreptitiously cultivate tomato plants in a closet with a sunlamp, lest they get busted by the cops," concluded. "But we kinda doubt it."

3. "Clean coal" is a reality, or at least a possibility.
During the presidential campaign and beyond, as the coal industry and the Waterkeeper Alliance (yay Gloria Reuben!) and other environmental groups have engaged in an epic advertising battle, has been tamping down enthusiasm for clean coal, which is an expensive concept for removing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants, not a reality. "There are no commercial 'clean coal' plants operating currently in the U.S.," reported. "The larger question posed by these dueling ad campaigns is implied rather than stated outright. Can coal can be 'clean' in the future? Is 'clean coal' a laudable, achievable goal as Obama and the coal miners and electric utilities would have us believe? Or is it a ridiculous oxymoron on par with 'controlled chaos,' as Gore and other environmental groups suggest?"

4. Congress outlawed second-hand clothing.
In the wake of toy safety scares (remember all those lead toy recalls? There are more nearly every week) Congress moved to get the lead (and the phthalates) out of toys, including those sold at second-hand shops. While the law doesn't explicitly ban the sale of second-hand clothing, selling children's clothing that contains lead or phthalates (think about colorful embossed designs) could result in a hefty fine, making this myth partially true. "A recently passed law won't ban resale, but it will hold resellers responsible for selling items with lead content that exceeds new limits," reported. "Some resellers are fearful this will force them out of business."

5. The EPA wants to tax cows.
As the Environmental Protection Agency addresses global warming, it will crack down on agriculture, which -- through land use and the belching of cattle -- contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. (The EPA's recent finding that global warming endangers public health and the environment is most likely to affect power plants and vehicles first.) Not possible, according to "EPA issued a statement saying it isn't proposing a tax and doesn't have legal authority to impose one anyway."

6. The U.S. is ignoring the world's largest oil reserve in the Western U.S.
According to an e-mail chain that vastly exaggerates its size, the Bakken formation in the Western U.S. is a ripe and ready oil source that the U.S. won't tap because of those darn tree huggers. (Sounds like the penultimate moment, before the laugh-line, in a Scooby Doo cartoon: "And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!") Well, not quite. Not by a long shot, according to "Unfortunately, it is false. It combines and twists several different news stories and studies into a longer tale of sound and fury that ultimately signifies nothing (factually anyway)."
found on the

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Online Ad Spending To Follow Video and Social Networking

According to a new report on the Global Online Media Landscape by The Nielsen Company Online, engagement by Internet users is deepening, in part a result of a shift toward video content and social networking as popular online subcategories.
Highlights of the report include:
The number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339% since 2003
Time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000% over the same period
In the last year, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27% and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%
There are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites.
In the last year, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%
In February, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time.
Charles Buchwalter, SVP, Research and Analytics, Nielsen Online, says "The Internet remains a place of continuing innovation, with users finding new ways to integrate online usage into their daily lives... "
Since 2003, interests of the average online user have shifted significantly from portal-oriented browsing sites such as Shopping Directories and Guides and Internet Tools/Web Services, to video and social networking sites that have moved to the forefront, becoming the two fastest growing categories in 2009.

With the global recession in full swing, says the report, online display advertising has plateaued at 20% of total online ad spend in the U.S.. Spending on online display advertising by financial services, automobile and retail companies has declined steeply. On the other hand, several key, heavy ad-spending industries such as healthcare, consumer products and telecommunications appear to be moving even more spending online.

The longer-term prospects for global online advertising continue to be brighter. Projecting, Nielsen reported:
Led by social media, search and video, the Internet's share of total ad spend will continue its steady upward trend as global economies emerge from the current recession
Given the increased focus on digital marketing by leading packaged goods companies, the Internet's share of commerce will continue to rise
In the age of Twitter, feedback barriers have all but disappeared, creating a near friction-free environment for playing back brand experience, campaign reactions or brand events. Recent public cases show that marketers must be quick to react to these channels of instant feedback
30% of U.S. mobile subscribers recalled seeing some form of advertising while using their mobile phones, up from 18% one year prior
To download Nielsen's full report on the global online landscape found on The Nielsen Wire, please visit here.

Found on

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Persuasive Power Of Face To Face

Think of the most persuasive person you know. The salesperson you can't say no to, your mother (guilt always works), your spouse or your six-year-old child. Now, imagine if you had never met the person in person and they were trying to persuade you over the phone, or by email. Would they be as persuasive? No. Persuasion just don't work as well if you're not face to face

Hardwired for Face to Face

Robert Cialdini wrote an entire book on the " Psychology of Persuasion." He explains the hot buttons that get pushed, moving us toward doing something we might not otherwise have done. But if you look through all the persuasion buttons, one thing is true: they all work much better when you're face to face.

Let's take just one: reciprocity. Reciprocity, you scratching my back and me scratching yours, is a gut instinct for us. In fact, many of our treasured social institutions, including economic markets and the justice system, are based on our emotional connection to the concepts of reciprocity and fairness. Every single major faith has its own variation of the Golden Rule, which is reciprocity enshrined. But reciprocity is far more potent if the social conditions are set up in person. Political scientist Robert Putnam calls this "thick trust" as opposed to the "thin trust" represented by anonymous rules, law and mores. Study after study shows that even a simple act of giving makes the recipient feel indebted. Something as basic as asking how someone's day is going makes one feel indebted and more likely to give something back. It's one of the most powerful persuasion buttons you can push.

Another inherent human trait is empathy. We have an amazing ability to pick up on the emotions of others. We have a special type of neuron, called mirror neurons, that seem to be the seat of empathy. Mirror neurons explain why emotions can be contagious, why monkeys that see tend to be monkeys that do -- and why, when you're talking with someone, you find yourself subconsciously mimicking their actions or even their accent. Mirror neurons aren't found in every animal. So far, they've been discovered in just a few primates, including us humans. Mirror neurons may be why the more you like someone, the more empathetic you are, leaving you more open to persuasion

What This Means for Selling Online

Somewhere along the line, face-to-face contact seemed to be considered superfluous in our new online world. We moved to virtual sales, commerce transacted at a distance, electronically, with nary a handshake, a wink, a smile or an eye roll to be seen. In theory, it should work, but in practice, it leaves a lot to be desired. We were not designed to communicate electronically. We can and do adapt to it, but like any instrument designed for a specific purpose, things just work better when we do what we were made to do. And we were made to connect with others in person.

We're in the middle of an extensive research project exploring B2B buying and decision-making, and this lack of human contact in online sales strategies proved to be a huge obstacle to success. B2B buying is all about building trust and eliminating risk. It's pretty difficult to build trust with someone you've never met. That's not to say that electronic communication isn't effective, but the social foundations have to be built in person. Research has shown that on Facebook, the vast majority of close "friends" that people keep are all people they know and have met face to face. You can find ideological common ground with someone over the Net, but the bonding happens when you can look in their eye and read their body language.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Consumers Want Proof It's Green

According to the new BBMG Conscious Consumer Report: Redefining Value in a New Economy, 23% of U.S. consumers say they have "no way of knowing" if a product is green or actually does what it claims. But, 77% agree that they "can make a positive difference by purchasing products from socially or environmentally responsible companies," and they are actively seeking information to verify green claims.

To find the necessary information, consumers are:

  • most likely to turn to consumer reports .....29%
  • most likely to look at certification seals or labels on products .....28%
  • most likely to consider the list of ingredients on products .....27%
  • least likely to look to statements on product packaging .....11%
  • least likely to believe company advertising .....5%

Raphael Bemporad, co-founder of BBMG, says "... consumers are redefining what truly matters and evaluating purchases based on both value and values... by delivering... price, performance and purpose... brands will be able to close the green trust gap... "

Key findings from the Conscious Consumer Report (2009):

  • 67% Americans agree that "even in tough economic times, it is important to purchase products with social and environmental benefits"
  • 51% say they are "willing to pay more" for them
  • 66% say price very important in purchase decision
  • 64% look for quality
  • 55% want "good for your health"
  • 49% look for "made in the USA"

Green benefits have increased in importance since last year, says the report:

  • Energy efficiency (47% very important in 2008, 41% in 2007)
  • Locally grown or made nearby (32% in 2008, 26% in 2007)
  • All natural (31% in 2008, 24% in 2007)
  • Made from recycled materials (29% in 2008, 22% in 2007)
  • USDA organic (22% in 2008, 17% in 2007)

When asked unaided which companies come to mind as the most socially or environmentally responsible companies:

  • 7% of Americans named Wal-Mart
  • 6% said Johnson & Johnson
  • 4% Procter & Gamble
  • 4% GE
  • 3% Whole Foods

Asked to name the least responsible companies:

  • 9% named Wal-Mart
  • 9% said Exxon Mobile
  • 3% GM
  • 3% Ford
  • 2% Shell
  • 2% McDonald's

41% of Americans could not name a single company that they consider the most socially and environmentally responsible. And:

  • 71% of consumers agree that they "avoid purchasing from companies whose practices they disagree with"
  • 55% tell others to shop products based on a company's social and environmental practices
  • 48% tell others to drop products based on a company's social and environmental practices

Mitch Baranowski, co-founder of BBMG, concludes that "At a time of... growing demand for accountability, ... consumers are rewarding brands that align with their values... punishing those that don't... and spreading the word with their family, friends and peers... "

For more information, and access to purchase report from BBMG, please visit here. article found on

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trending Up: Nielsen Says Online Video Usage Soars

Online video continues to expand -- now up 40% versus the same levels a year ago.

Nielsen Online says March's 9.6 billion streams and 130 million Web users are a 38.8% hike over March 2008. Total streams for viewers during March were at an average 74.4 with the total time per viewer, in terms of minutes, at over three hours per month -- 190.7 minutes.

Nielsen says the total time per viewer in March -- which includes progressive downloads but excludes video advertising -- was up a big 12.6% versus February. This seems to suggest -- as other research has found -- that users are watching longer-length videos.

YouTube, the big Internet video site, continues to dwarf the competition in two big key areas -- 5.5 billion streams and 89.4 million unique viewers.

Among streams, the next-biggest site after YouTube is at 348.5 million. Yahoo comes after that at 231.8 million; Fox Interaction Media (which includes MySpace)is 207.5 million; Nickelodeon, 196.1 million;, 176.9 million; MSN/Windows Live, 168.9 million; Turner Sports/Entertainment, 137.6 million; MTV, 123.8 million; and CNN, 103.5 million.

Among the unique viewers, Yahoo came in second at 24.8 million, followed by Fox Interactive Media (which includes MySpace) at 14.7 million, and MSN/Windows Live at 12 million. CNN was next at 9.0 million;, 8.9 million;, 6.9 million; Nickelodeon, 6.4 million; MTV Networks, 6.3 million; and Turner Sports/Entertainment at 5.8 million.

written by:
by Wayne Friedman, Monday, April 13, 2009, 4:07 PM
found here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Newspapers Online Bigger Than Local TV... In Video Ad Revenue?

It's bad enough both newspapers and local TV stations are getting kicked around in this economy (and, in the case of newspapers, even when the economy was good.)

But now comes word old-media newspapers actually beat newer-media local televisions in overall revenue when it comes to -- are you ready for this? -- video advertising revenues!


Borrell Research will release a report soon that says newspapers made about $165 million last year from streaming video advertising, while TV stations made $105 million -- more than a 50% gap.

Not only that, but another traditional print vehicle -- yellow pages -- did almost as well as TV stations, pulling $85 million to $100 million in online streaming video.

One note here: Streaming video ads are still a tiny piece of the pie for older media. For example, for newspapers it comes to just 5% of Web site revenues. It's a bit more for TV stations -- 10% of their overall revenue take.

Newspaper sites have opened up Web areas for small and mid-size businesses' video advertising, which is also being used as video content.

This is not something TV stations are used to. They are more familiar with selling mainstream local 15- and 30-second commercials for network-supplied programs, syndicated programs, or local newscasts.

TV stations still have the big brand names that -- in theory -- can turn this equation around. But they need to work fast. For years, marketing executives have touted the next big online thing as the growth of local portals and local Web destinations.

Perhaps TV station executives are distracted; many have wide eyes when talking about mobile technology. But just repurposing news, weather updates and local TV shows may not be enough for local market mobile phone users -- nor for demanding local video advertisers.

Newspapers beating TV stations in their own backyard makes them the unlikely video kings -- for the moment.