Social media referrals are living on the edge – or at least they are somewhere near according to a Monetate’s data for the first quarter. The analysis shows that search optimization and email continues to bring in most referrals, while social media is the ‘last-click channel of attribution’.
Some businesses say otherwise. Wixon Jewelers Online Marketing Director Jayme Pretzloff thinks that social media is going to be more important for sales than any other metric in 2013, as the platform continues to receive user acceptance and integrates into the overall marketing strategy.
70% consumers suggested that social media didn’t have any impact on their purchase decision in 2011, a percentage that was cut in half in 2012. Such statistics provide helpful insights to marketers as they look to make the most out of their time and investment.
Policies of social media companies also had a significant impact on referrals. There was a time when a post on Facebook fan page was seen by every follower/fan of the brand, but after policy changes, any post shared by a brand today is only seen by 10% of the total number of people following the page. Unfortunately, and fortunately for Facebook, you now need to pay for greater outreach.
This also shows that just because a particular social network has a huge user base doesn’t mean it’s an ideal place to get referrals. For example, tech sites usually concentrate a lot on Facebook, but they would be better off with Google+.
Likewise, a DIY jewelry brand may not get any retweets, but drive loads of traffic from Pinterest. Trying and testing the engagement ratio (the percentage of fans responding/number of fans present on the page) on different sites can help your brand to create a better online experience.
It is also important to note at this point that though referrals through social media are crucial for brand awareness, you shouldn’t give a wide berth to other referral resources. Doing so would be a BIG mistake. This is because social media doesn’t have the same level of intimacy as other sources of referrals like face-to-face networking, phone call, live chat etc.
The right approach
Some brands are smart enough to use all sources. For example, Blinds.com, told us “We encourage customers to refer Blinds.com on social media, and we also invite customers to contact us via phone or live video chat if they have any questions about our products. Referrals are important to us, as is customer retention; over 60% of our business comes from referral or repeat customers.” Food for thought.
However, other forms of referral networking can turn out to be inefficient, which is the main reason why social media referrals have a future in business marketing. It’s not a surprise to see businesses, especially new ones, struggle at networking events. The end result can be hours spent at a networking, only to walk away with a couple of business cards (Zoinks).
Social media, when being used as a major referral tool, should be supported by creative and relevant content. Businesses that establish themselves as credible and trustworthy providers of fun, inspiring and highly engaging content will be able to reach thousands of prospects through social channels. It requires a significant amount of time and investment, so it’s time that you take a closer look at your customer preferences and content sharing strategy.
Photo Credit: Social Media Referrals/shutterstock
Your beautifully filtered photos will soon have companions within your Instagram feed.
Instagram announced on Thursday that the company will bring advertisements to the photo-sharing app in the near future, and frankly, it’s surprising it took this long. Unlike Facebook’s famous mantra, “Move fast and break things,” its subsidiary Instagram seems to be taking a slightly more subtle approach.
“Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow,” the company wrote on its blog. “We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”
Facebook has capitalized on mobile ads over the past nine months — the company’s mobile ads brought in $655 million last quarter alone — and now Instagram will look to do the same. Instagram says it will do its best to make the ads blend in with the content users already see, and it will be in the best interest of advertisers to ensure their ads feel natural within the platform. Facebook’s mobile ads have done well for the company’s pocketbook, but some users have complained to Mashable that they can be overbearing or irrelevant.
No matter how well Instagram’s upcoming ads look, though, they are still ads, and the impact on user experience is hard to predict. So what do you think? Will Instagram ads be a dud, or will they offer valuable content to your Instagram feed?
Ever since Twitter revealed last month that it had filed confidential paperwork to go public, the company has been compared to what is arguably its biggest competitor, Facebook. However, the S-1 form that the company filed Thursday shows that the two companies are in fact miles apart — for better or worse.
In comparison to Facebook’s numbers leading up to its IPO last year, Twitter has far fewer active users, far less ad revenue and far greater losses. On the other hand, Twitter is planning a much smaller IPO, which may insulate it against some of the sell off Facebook experienced, and it has at least one key asset that Facebook didn’t have at this point in the process: significant mobile ad revenue.
Here are a few key stats comparing the two companies:
Twitter plans to raise $1 billion from its public offering. Facebook initially planned to raise $5 billion in its IPO, but increased that to $16 billion by the time it went public.
Twitter reported having 218 million monthly active users and more than 100 million daily active users in its S-1. Facebook’s initial S-1 revealed the social network had 845 million monthly active users and 483 million daily active users. By the time Facebook went public, those numbers had increased to 901 million monthly active users and 526 million daily active users and it now has 1.15 billion and 699 million, respectively.
Twitter reported generating $317 million in revenue in 2012. Facebook generated $3.7 billion in revenue — more than ten times as much — in 2011, the year before its IPO.
In an unorthodox move, Twitter did not disclose revenue per user. Instead, Twitter said its ad revenue “per 1,000 timeline views” was $2.17 in the second quarter in the U.S. and $0.30 in the rest of the world. Facebook generated $3.67 in ad revenue per U.S. and Canada user in the second quarter of this year and $1.41 per user worldwide.
Just as importantly, Twitter is still not profitable. Twitter lost nearly $80 million in 2012 and reported a net loss of $69 million in the first six months of this year. Facebook reported a profit of $1 billion in the full year before its IPO.
Twitter’s S-1 proved that it is already a mobile-first company: 65% of Twitter’s ad revenue comes from mobile products. Facebook, by comparison, had only just started to advertise on mobile by the time it went public and reported that mobile accounted for 41% of its total ad revenue in the most recent quarter.
If the IPO paperwork is any indication, Twitter also appears to be more mindful of Facebook than Facebook was of Twitter at this point. Twitter mentioned the word “Facebook” 9 times in its S-1. Facebook only mentioned “Twitter” twice.
Image: Steve Jennings/Getty
Pinterest is expanding its set of “rich pins” to include more details about pinned articles, the company announced Tuesday. Now, when users pin a story or article to a board, the pin will also contain other relevant information such as the author’s name, the article title, a brief description and a larger link.
Previously, articles pinned on Pinterest only contained photos from the article with a link at the bottom. (Users who wanted to include the article title or description had to add it manually.)
“We’re always looking for ways to make pins more useful so that when you discover and pin something great, it’s easy to act on it, whether that’s cooking a dish, watching a movie, buying a new gadget or reading an article,” Jon Parise, a software engineer at Pinterest, wrote on the company’s blog.
Pinterest is hoping that the change will encourage more users to pin and share articles they find interesting. The new updates could also encourage more media outlets to utilize Pinterest as a tool to promote content with
readers like they do with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Pinterest says that users are pinning five million articles to the site per day and many use reading boards to save articles to consume at a later time. As of Tuesday, the new feature will only work with articles from a small number of publications, including Mashable, Rolling Stone and The New Yorker. Pinterest plans to expand the feature to all article pins “shortly after that,” according to a company spokesperson.
The new update will also roll out on mobile “soon,” per Pinterest’s blog post.
What do you use Pinterest for most? Tell us in the comments below.
Images: mkhmarketing; Pinterest
Norway is home to digital advertisers that spend the most money per Internet user — $209 each, according to data from market-research company eMarketer.
However, the U.S. doesn’t fall far behind, with advertisers spending an estimated $201 per Internet user.
Online-statistics portal Statista created the chart, below, which shows the estimated digital-advertising costs per Internet user in the 10 countries with the highest spending.
What do you think of the results? Tell us in the comments, below.
Image: iStockphoto, Pashalgnatov
The perfect soundtrack can really make a video come together and perfect soundtrack is also a key to get real YouTube views, so YouTube is making it much easier to pick an audio backdrop for your footage.
YouTube launched an audio library on Wednesday, featuring more than 150 royalty-free instrumental tracks to choose from. The video manager feature allows you to peruse options based on mood, genre (from rock to classical), instrument and duration. Users can download the tracks as 320 kbps MP3 files and add them to videos.
“We searched far and wide for musicians to create tracks for us and ended up finding co-conspirators in multiple places: an acquaintance down in L.A., music houses across the country and a well-known music producer in Brooklyn,” YouTube wrote on its official blog. “And it turns out the latter produced albums for Phish and Sean Lennon.”
For a full look at the audio library, click here.
What tools do you use when making YouTube videos? Let us know in the comments.
Image: Flickr, jm3
As if reporting an IPO wasn’t enough news for one day, Twitter followed up their major announcement with a new feature Thursday to help its verified users better manage their Twitter conversations.
The update will allow verified users (those with the blue check marks) to filter their Twitter mentions within the “Connect” tab above their feed.
Verified users can now view their mentions in three separate categories: all, filtered, and verified. The idea is to help those users identify the conversations that may be most important to them by sifting out the spam.
Viewing connections in the “Verified” category will only show mentions by other verified users. Users who view mentions under the “Filtered” category will see posts “based on an algorithm we use to filter out spam,” wrote Product Manager Ed Gutman in the company’s blog post.
The new perk is another way to encourage Twitter’s most popular users to stay active on the platform. Last month, Facebook confirmed that it was also working on a VIP-only app to encourage celebs to engage more regularly with fans.
On Twitter any user can, in theory, get a message in front of any other user on the platform. Making it easier to sift through those messages may encourage the verified users to interact more readily with others through tweets — or it may mean that VIPs will be more likely to stick to themselves.
For now, the new feature will only be available on the site’s web version, although Twitter plans to bring it to mobile at some point in the future, wrote Gutman.
Do you believe this will increase engagement on Twitter? Tell us in the comments below.
Images: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images, Twitter
Pinterest is hiring abroad for the first time, adding country managers in France and the UK to help grow the site’s user base in Europe, according to a company spokesperson.
The new managers will build out the local Pinterest communities overseas and connect with brands and partners. Pinterest is also looking to hire marketing managers in London and Paris, and may open international offices after building a larger workforce outside the United States.
“The Pinterest communities in France and the United Kingdom have been growing as people find inspiration for the things they love — such as food, fashion, cars, and art — and go do those things in the real world,” said Matt Crystal, Pinterest’s head of international, in a statement to Mashable.
“We’re continually refining our recommendations to deliver the most relevant and high-quality experience for pinners in these locations, and look forward to making Pinterest more personalized and relevant for people wherever they are.”
The international hires come just months after Pinterest launched a French version of the site in June. Pinterest says its engagement in the UK is also increasing, with more than one million pins per day.
The company’s San Francisco-based headquarters is approaching 150 employees.
For top brands, one presence on Twitter isn’t enough.
In 2013, 63% of brands have multiple Twitter accounts, according to a report by Brandwatch. This trend represents an 800% increase from two years ago, when just 7% of brands had multiple Twitter accounts.
Statista’s chart, below, breaks down the number of brands with multiple, single and zero Twitter accounts, measured over the past three years.
Do you think multiple Twitter accounts are a must for brands? Let us know in the comments.
Facebook announced on Thursday that the site’s two-step app permission process has been fully integrated with users worldwide. The feature, which was first announced in April, allows users to have more control over the content they share to Facebook through third-party applications.
When users sign in to an app like Lyft or Words With Friends using their Facebook login credentials, they can now specify exactly what they would like to share with Facebook in a two-step process. The first step asks for “read permissions,” which dictate the information from the app accessible to Facebook. The second step presents “write permissions,” which if accepted, allow the user to post directly back to his news feed through the app.
Previously, the two permissions were a package deal, meaning you couldn’t agree to one without also green-lighting the other. The update in April granted users more control and enabled them to accept just one or the other if they weren’t comfortable accepting both, according to Chris Daniels, director of business development at Facebook. The update is now fully available to all users, and a recent study of certain “high quality” apps by the social network found that 80% of users accepted the permissions when prompted.
Facebook benefits from users logging in to third-party apps using their Facebook profile. Those who log in with Facebook count as “active” users for the platform — more logins mean more content shared back to the site. Facebook has more than 850 million login events per month, and 81 of the 100 top-grossing iOS apps support Facebook login features, according to the company’s blog post. On Android, 62 of the 100 top-grossing apps support Facebook logins.
The new permission option was based on feedback from users and developers who felt they needed more control, Daniels said. Often, users timid about sharing back to Facebook saw the permissions page and simply elected to bypass logging in altogether.
“We understand people’s concerns about apps posting on their Timeline or to their friends,” Facebook posted on its blog. “The recent changes to Login are just the beginning of more improvements you’ll see as we continue working to provide useful services for developers that are easy for users to understand.”
Have you ever skipped logging into an app because of Facebook permissions? Tell us in the comments below.
Image: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images