Tag Archives: facebook

Altimeter Group + Facebook Report: Why Mobile is Essential for Brand Marketing

Digital Media, Mobile Time SpentCompanies that treat mobile as the “first screen” today will be better prepared for tomorrow’s consumers. Mobile is no longer a luxury; it’s table stakes for connecting with your digital customer. It enables right-time, real-time relevancy in brand messaging and promotion, opening up a world of possibilities to the savvy marketer who invests in understanding the mobile, and digital, customer journey.

Facebook commissioned Altimeter Group’s Rebecca Lieb, analyst, and I to explore the growth and evolution of mobile branding and advertising as viable means to reach customers in new ways, on their terms. You can read the report below, and check out Facebook’s interview with Rebecca on its news blog.

[1] comScore Major Mobile Milestones in May: Apps Now Drive Half of All Time Spent on Digital https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Major-Mobile-Milestones-in-May-Apps-Now-Drive-Half-of-All-Time-Spent-on-Digital June 25, 2014. United States.

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The battle for “first screen”: TV struggles to maintain priority

In the wake of Super Bowl XLVIII, it’s no secret that social TV has the potential to bring the “watercooler conversation” into the living room. Despite the fact that Super Bowl ratings fell to a four-year low, Facebook reported that 50 million unique global users communicated about the big game via Facebook or its apps during the broadcast. According to MarketingLand, This amounted to 185 million “interactions,” roughly 3.7 interactions per person on average. Along the same vein, advertisers hoped that the actions taken on our mobile devices kept us focused on the commercials in tandem, popularly by suggesting hashtags during ad breaks. 13.7 million people tweeted about the Super Bowl, with hashtags mentioned in a record-breaking 57% of ads.

ESPN Sync brings dedicated real-time sports coverage to the second screen (via Engadget).

ESPN Sync brings dedicated real-time sports coverage to the second screen (via Engadget).

Such social TV tactics seem to be paying off during live broadcasts, but what about the battle for consumer attention during cable premieres or syndicated programming? And, what about on-demand difficulties (as referenced in my last post)?

Many brands attempt to keep consumer attention on the TV during programming itself by airing live tweets or Facebook posts at the bottom of the screen (if you’ve ever watched Bravo reality TV, you understand. It’s a part of my past I’m not proud of either). Other popular tactics include using mobile apps that feature exclusive content or gaming components related to programming, the use of content synchronization through TVTag (formerly GetGlue), and live Q&A with the show’s creators, producers, or character actors. HBO has seen success using these, and additional tactics, to engage viewers pre-, during, and post-airing of popular series like True Blood and Game of Thrones – a formidable feat to tackle behind a premium paywall and popular on-demand viewing via HBOGo.

It’s starting to work for brands and networks alike: according to BI Intelligence, 53% of consumers with tablets or smartphones have engaged in mobile-based activity related to what they’re watching on TV. But, are these tactics strong enough to hold attention and ultimately, to drive action? That’s the question brands must consider when planning and budgeting for the future of social TV.

Strategizing for the inevitable attention shift: Mobile devices will overtake TVs as the primary focal point

As consumers collect devices, attention is divided more than ever. It’s short-sighted to believe that the television will always remain the first screen for consumers. As of November 2013, Mediabistro reported that 39% of viewers already use their smartphone or tablet while watching TV once per day (check out more stats in their nifty infographic). Brands must plan on the fact that our televisions are becoming the true second, or even third, screen, while our smartphones and tablets enjoy priority.

Know your consumers (and viewers).

Although this may sound biased with my career field in mind, you can never know enough about your customers. Research should be the foundation for every media, advertising, and marketing decision – regardless of platform or medium. Although the data supporting social TV’s growth is promising, it’s only relevant if your customer base is apt to concentrate its energy on mobile platforms in conjunction with (or in replacement of) more traditional television entertainment. Remember: it’s a battle for attention, so engagement must guide your decisions. Measure where (platform or medium) and when (both time of day and also in conjunction with other activities) your customers are most focused on your content, as well as general mobile and tablet behaviors. An attention shift away from television is happening, it’s just a matter of when it’s most cost-effective to shift your media mix.

Make the case for budget re-allocation.

Once the research is sound, it’s important to use data to your advantage when making the case to leadership for a budget shift. Social TV is still very new, and its merits are likely not known among key decision-makers when it comes to budgeting for media (especially against traditional cohorts). Use a combination of general industry and social TV data with your customer research. If you’re part of a more traditional company culture that hasn’t yet recognized the potential of social, mobile, and new digital media in general, it may be more fruitful to state your case by suggesting including social TV as part of your brand’s digital or social media budget at first. Once initial results are recognized, larger budget allocation from television funds will be an easier sell.

Plan TV creative with attention division in mind.

When planning the strategy and implementation of television creative, it’s important to consider how your viewers are consuming its content in relation to other screens. The very concept of social TV indicates a close relationship between television and social or digital channels. Add in the fact that the TV may not be the primary screen of focus, and campaign creative is dramatically affected. Consider how the use of visuals and graphics in creative weighs against other sensory measures – such as sound and touch. Will it be more effective to treat a television commercial as an engaging radio spot, when eyes are so easily averted to alternate, tactile screens? Should you invest more in maintaining and biding community conversation around your brand or program, vs. budgeting big for TV viewership? This is the very idea behind “design thinking” – solving problems based on customers’ needs rather than what you’re comfortable with based on past experiences.  

Rewind a few years, and anyone in or adjacent to the social space can remember the advice, “the conversation is already happening online, whether you’re there or not. Either you plan for social media now, or your competitors will beat you to it.” Social TV may be in its relative infancy now, but its potential is worth planning for and investing in. Customer attention is already divided, and the division will only continue to grow as we become more comfortable with taking in content via our mobile devices. I predict that next year’s Super Bowl spending will be a more complicated feat than pouring billions into television. Solving for consumer engagement – on their terms – will be more important than ever to driving engagement into the end zone.

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Social TV: Solving for Synchronicity in an On-Demand Future

This post originally appeared on Altimeter Group’s blog.

Real-time content synchronization between offline and online media has become the darling of social TV, frequently serving as its very definition for companies looking to marry traditional and digital marketing experiences. Take Target, for example. Prior to the 2013 release of Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” Target promoted the album synchronously on social, mobile, and TV. Its Facebook video post offered an exclusive pre-order of the album, and appeared simultaneously in fans’ news feeds while the commercial was broadcast.

Source: TheVerge.com

Source: TheVerge.com

As my colleague Rebecca Lieb notes, TV pairs well with Twitter synching, too. In
one indicative case study, GMA News used Twitter to increase viewer engagement with the Philippines’ 2013 election. By broadcasting tweets about the election on-screen during their programming, GMA News sparked more than 800,000 posts about the candidates and, as a result, topped all competitor TV ratings during the election. And, with Comcast and Twitter’s recent expansion of the
See It platform, brands can go one step further by effectively turning Twitter into a TV remote, allowing users to click through directly from tweet to broadcast on their mobile phones, tablets, and smart TVs.

On-Demand programming pressures brands to rethink social TV strategies

Social and broadcast synchronization offer tremendous opportunity for brands to reach engaged audiences on multiple screens. But what happens when brands can’t create shared experiences as easily?

Those focused on social synchronization as it stands are playing a short game that doesn’t account for TV’s future. According to BTIG media analyst Richard Greenfield, as of October 2013, each Netflix subscriber watches an average of 93 minutes per day, making it “larger than any single cable network.” Combined with releasing entire seasons of original programming at once (think House of Cards and Orange is the New Black), this puts a wrench in viewers’ ability to share experiences on social networks in real time, as well as advertisers’ ability to deepen cross-channel marketing messaging and avoid media fragmentation. Add a premium paywall, and the social experience becomes further disjointed.

This is where technology applications have an opportunity to shine. TV “check-in” apps like
i.TV’s GetGlue allow for viewers to form micro-communities once they tune in to programming. However, such apps have to prove that they scale before they can provide value to brands. On stage at 2013’s Dreamforce conference, Twitter’s Marc Heedt, brand strategist and social TV specialist, shared that the utility of such apps isn’t high enough yet. “We want to create the whole package for advertisers, including all apps, Nielsen data, a Twitter ad buy, etc. On their own, these apps don’t scale in the same way [social networks do].” Also on the panel was Facebook’s Daniel Slotwiner, head of its Measurement Solutions Group. Slotwiner added, “These apps can’t be disregarded. However, their gamification component isn’t enough of an offering to make them catch on at scale and prove useful in synching experiences.”

Facebook "is watching" status functionalityBut, what about the similar TV check-in (“is watching”) functionality available to Facebook users? This offers potential for on-demand synching, but in a community setting where viewers are already comfortable sharing. In 2014, I believe we’ll see the big social players put more stake in social TV, solving the problem of synchronization on their home turf rather than simply enabling apps to do so on their APIs. Until then, brands looking to target on-demand viewers should focus efforts on smaller audiences using dedicated check-in apps.

It’s also worth considering that time-shifted programming doesn’t always equal paltry social results. Many season and series finales (think AMC’s Breaking Bad) are able to attract enough viewers to create social trending on Twitter and Facebook even in the face of time-shifted premieres across time zones. “Real-time” equates more to “same night” in these cases, leaving breathing room for brands pushing for content synchronization amongst screens.

As social TV matures, its future looks increasingly promising. When considering the possibilities that lie ahead, Twitter’s Heedt extrapolated, “Consumers will be so integrated into programs that they decide what they want to watch and vote upcoming content up or down. Imagine changing the ending of a telecast based on consumer voting.”

An interesting thought, but a somewhat displaced desired outcome. This has been the rallying cry of “interactive TV” for the past decade, but it has never come to fruition. It’s doubtful the advent of social TV will be the catalyst for a “choose your own adventure” style of programming. I’m not comfortable leaving the series finale of Mad Men in the hands of the viewers. Don Draper can’t be controlled like an American Idol pop star.

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Fresh Research from Altimeter: A Guide to Digital Influence

Altimeter Group continues publishing Open Research this month with the latest from Principal Analyst Brian Solis – The Rise of Digital Influence: A “how-to” guide for businesses to spark desirable effects and outcomes through social media influence.

Digital Influence is one of the hottest trends in social media. I mean, most of us have a good idea of our Klout score, right? But, it goes far beyond such metrics as Klout, Kred, TwitterGrade and the like. The Rise of Digital Influence was written as a “how-to” guide for businesses in getting results through cultivating their online influence, as well as a guide for consumers and academics in understanding how influence is scored and how these scores affect online reputations.
Report highlights include:
  • Influence is largely misunderstood.
  • None of the vendor services evaluated in the report measure true influence. Today’s software algorithms track social capital and topical authority based on online activity.
  • The report helps companies understand how influence spreads, and includes case studies in which brands partnered with vendors to recruit connected consumers for digital influence campaigns.
  • The report evaluates 14 Influence vendors, organizing them by Reach, Resonance, and Relevance: the Three Pillars that make up the foundation for “digital influence” as defined in the report (see image below) – not every service is designed to provide a total solution for every business need.
  • The report includes an Influence Framework and an Influence Action Plan to help brands identify connected consumers and to define and measure strategic digital influence initiatives.

Figure 1. Framework: Pillars of Influence
You can read and download the report from SlideShare here.

And, check out other upcoming Altimeter Group Open Research on our website.

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Pinterest Potential: User Collaboration

If you would have asked me, even a week ago, what I thought of Pinterest, I would’ve likely given this tongue-in-cheek answer:

“I’m not getting married anytime soon, so it’s not really for me.”

To some extent, I still think that, and I’m not alone. A recent stat released by Ignite Social Media confirms that 80 percent of Pinterest’s users are female. Does that mean they’re all wedding planners? No, of course not. But it’s still fun to joke about, considering I’ll likely marry my cat.

But, as I’ve further assessed the social network’s potential, I believe it goes beyond that of roses vs. gerberas, DJ vs. live band, veil vs. tiara. If this is where Pinterest currently stands – a visually oriented social network, aimed toward the stylings of Gen Y- to middle-aged women, where will it head? How can it grow? And, most importantly – how can it transition itself to be more widely accepted as a network of utility, rather than expression?

I believe Pinterest’s future lies in collaboration. Currently, users can “pin” items of interest to various-themed boards within their user profile. They can also “re-pin” someone else’s pinned content on their own board, further sharing it within the Pinterest community. But, users can not yet collaborate with each other on the same board. I think this is a huge element of missed potential for Pinterest – not only for its current user base, but in attracting a more B2B crowd that may use the site as a data collection system.

[Update: Multiple contributors are now allowed on the same board, but privacy settings do not exist that control who can view the board, limiting the success of its use in an internal capacity of an organization. Ideally, contributor and viewer settings (as well as over-arching private vs. public) would make for the most valuable tool in a B2B sense.]

This idea came to me during a conversation with an Altimeter Group colleague, Charlene Li. She explained that she uses Pinterest to keep track of infographics that she thinks could be useful to future research, or that she simply finds interesting. So, in effect, it is a new (or, supplementary) bookmarking system for her. That got me thinking — imagine how useful the site could be if multiple people could collaborate on the same board, using it as a ad-hoc bookmarking “database” of sorts, housing all images in a collaborative environment that could be accessed by specific individuals, based on privacy settings.

I picture it going down like this: I get assigned to work on a project with two co-workers. It’s a large research endeavor that will go on for a couple months. We’re all working on researching different facets of the topic, but all are interrelated. Rather than each of us store the information we read, the graphics we see, within our own heads or laptops, we “pin” items of relevance to a shared board on Pinterest. This not only mitigates duplication of work, but also gives a much more effective over-arching picture (pun completely intended) of where the research is headed, what common themes are emerging and what direction may be fruitful next.

Hopefully Pinterest will head this way in the future. Although it would require a more complex user interface and privacy controls, it definitely has the means to do so — especially with its built-in differentiation that it doesn’t rely on a timeline like Facebook and Tumblr do. In the end, it’d definitely be worth it … especially if the network wishes to grow its users beyond that of food spotters and brides-to-be*.

*Simba and I will be registered at Petco and Barneys.

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