5 Things You Should NEVER Do on Social Media

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Let’s try to be creative during this summer!

Here’s an handy infographic I made for you, take a look while you relax on a sunny beach, sit on a train in your road trip or wherever you’re enjoying your vacation.

If you find yourself doing one of those things… let’s try to change before your next selfie! ;-)

Here’s 5 things you should really never do on Social Media:

  1. Like your own status
  2. Use hashtaghs as spaces
  3. Sign your own comment
  4. “Certificate” your name
  5. Forget private messaging

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Twitter Hashtag Analysis: Do People Really Use Them?

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The first thing which comes in to your mind if you hear somebody talking about Twitter is hashtags. Hashtags are used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet and are a central feature in the social network. The hashtags on Twitter were born on August 23, 2007 and invented by Chris Messina. His first tweet using hashtags reads as follows:

A lot of studies tried to identify the best hashtags and what the best number of hashtags are you should use. Hashtags can start conversations and make a tweet findable by a much bigger audience than your own followers and increase interactions. Twitter creates lists with trending hashtags and hashtags can be used to find relevant news or even predict global events. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently published a study with the result that especially data from Twitter could predict the 2013 coup in Egypt and the social unrest associated with it.

Twitter itself recommended the use of hashtags and found out that using hashtags

“can increase engagement almost 100% (2x) for individuals and 50% (1.5x) for brands.”

So hashtags are very important if you want to reach a lot of people or make people start conversations about your tweet or your brand.

Our newest research shows that there are a lot of Twitter users which are not aware of the power that hashtags can give a tweet and don’t use hashtags at all.

Twitter Hashtag Analysis: More Than 50% Of The Tweets Did Not Use Hashtags

I used our massive amount of stored tweets and processed a sample set of more than 40,000 tweets over a time period of 19 months (2013-01 to 2014-07). Then I analyzed how many hashtags each of these tweets used.

Let’s take a look at the actual results.

Twitter Hashtag Analysis  Do People Really Use Them

The result shows that 58% or 25,532 tweets did not use any hashtag at all. This is a very unexpected number because hashtags are a central part in the communication and the functioning of Twitter. We should expect that the most tweets use at least one hashtag per tweet.

Furthermore the distribution of tweets containing 1 to 5 hashtags is the same and does not change fundamentally over the time period of 19 months. The high amount of tweets which do not contain any hashtag is not a phenomenon limited to a certain time period.

There can be several reasons for this trend. It could for example be an indication that more and more people use Twitter to communicate with people directly with the use of @-mentions in their tweets. In this case they just want to reach certain Twitter users and therefore have no ambition to create a bigger reach.

This can be a problem to find global trends, which is a main part of Twitter’s business and it is also one of the most important targeting possibilities for ads. Twitter seems to be fully aware of this problem. And this is why they started calculating trends and interests of a user not only based on hashtags used in the tweets but also on all words a tweet contains.

They also announced that they bought the deep learning startup Madbits, which focuses on computer vision and image recognition. This can help Twitter analyze pictures and identify their content even when they are not described by hashtags.

 

#Hashtags #Tweets Percentage
0 23532 58.78 %
1 10436 26.07 %
2 4497 11.23 %
3 1154 2.88 %
4 304 0.76 %
5 108 0.27 %

[Source: Quintly]

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation

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Today, I’m proud to announce the release of Altimeter Group’s second report on Digital Transformation. This new report is aimed at executives and digital strategists to help them (you) further understand the state of digital transformation as you plan your next steps and investments.

In our initial report, “Digital Transformation: Why and How Companies are Investing in New Business Models to Lead Digital Customer Experiences (DCX),” we learned that digital transformation was as much about technology as it was about people. It was a much more human story, one that shared insights, advice and cautionary tales from those on the front lines.

Our new report is based on a survey we cast over the last year. Its goals were twofold: 1) to unearth where companies and supporting teams are in their metamorphic digital transformation efforts; and 2) also to capture a current snapshot for future comparison.

The State of Digital Transformation” also features expert voices as part of Altimeter Group’s previous qualitative research, including Sephora, Starbucks, Westfield, Ford, GM, LEGO, Discover, Intuit, Nestlé, Univision, a multinational financial services business, a multinational CPG company, and an American pharmaceutical company, among others.

Defining Digital Transformation

To focus our initial research, Altimeter defined digital transformation as a movement through a customer-centric lens:

The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.

From the onset, we learned that digital transformation means different things to different people, and that’s okay; we’re all learning. What’s important to realize however is that investing in new digital technologies, such as social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc., doesn’t in of itself equate to “digital transformation.” It’s about uniting individual technology efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure to effectively compete as a unified business in connected markets.

You’ve heard it before…people, process, technology. But without vision to see how markets are shifting and leadership to identify, organize and drive new opportunities, digital transformation can become yet another victim of technology-first efforts that miss the human mark. This is why we focused our research on the digital customer experience initially. It’s a tremendous effort.

Strategists often equate digital transformation with a shift in technology investment. Its true implications though span far beyond technology and into the realms of infrastructure, organization, and leadership. More so, it leads to and is inspired by a renewed focus on the entire customer experience. As you can imagine over the years ahead, digital transformation will leave in its wake modernization, improvements and innovation across everything from HR to collaboration to sales to supply chain and beyond.

Figure 1

We learned that 88% of executives and digital strategists stated that their company is undergoing a formal digital transformation effort in 2014. Yet, only 25% had mapped out the digital customer journey. This is  especially interesting in that participants were given Altimeter’s definition of digital transformation at the beginning of the survey.

Figure 2

Not surprising, a majority of strategists, 42%, reported that while they have not yet researched the customer journey, but were investing in new digital channels any way. At the same time, 17% of digital leaders are now in the process of studying the digital customer journey.

Digital transformation doesn’t just mean increasing digital investments. It means thinking and acting “digital first.”

Figure 3

We asked strategists to help rank the most important digital transformation initiatives they were pursuing. Here are the results…

1) Improving processes that expedite changes to digital properties, ie. website updates new mobile or social platforms, etc. (80%)

2) Updating website and ecommerce programs for a mobile world (71%)

3) Integrating social, mobile, web, ecommerce, service efforts and investments to deliver an integrated and frictionless customer experience (70%)

4) Updating customer-facing technology systems (66%)

5) Further research into customer digital touch points (63%)

6) Overhaul customer service to meet the expectations of digital customers. (46%)

Figure 5

In our previous report, we learned that it is a rare occurrence when digital transformation is led by the CEO. This time around, we also learned who the players are in championing or sponsoring change. Here, digital transformation is often driven by the CMO, CEO, and CIO (54%, 42%, and 29% respectively.)

Figure 6

Change of course is not without its challenges. And it is most interesting, yet not surprising, that the greatest antagonist to change is company culture (63%). That’s just the beginning however. Digital transformation is as much about introducing new technologies as it is seeing new opportunities and working toward them differently than in the past.

Additional challenges facing digital transformation specific to DCX include…

- Thinking beyond a campaign mentality (59%)

- Cross-functional collaboration (56%)

- Resources (56%)

- Understanding digital customer behavior (53%)

- Securing executive support (42%)

Figure 7

Digital transformation wouldn’t push forward if it didn’t bear fruit worthy of the effort. There are other fantastic reports, like this one by CapGemini and MIT, that cover different aspects of digital transformation. They all agree that in the end, those organizations that invest in new technologies, people, and processes to compete in digital markets realize business-level returns including market share, greater margins and profits, talent, among others.

Digital transformation impacts the bottom line. It leads to boosts in collaboration and productivity. Additionally, digital transformation helps companies assess and aspire to enhance the real customer experience.

Since our work focused on DCX, we were also introduced to more performance-oriented benefits…

1) Lift in customer engagement (75%)

2) Improved customer satisfaction (63%)

3) Higher digital traffic (53%)

4) Increased lead gen/sales (49%)

Conclusion

It’s clear. We still have a lot to learn about digital transformation: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it offers businesses that explore its permutations. But what’s clearer is that change has to start somewhere.

Remember, in the end, the key to digital transformation is to adopt technology as enabler for something bigger. Behavior, whether it’s related to customers, employees, values, or expectations, is as important (or more so) as becoming increasingly digital through new investments in strategy and technology.  Thus, digital transformation becomes a catalyst for re-imagining the overall customer (or employee) experience.

Businesses undergoing digital transformation are each, in their own way, creating new processes, forming new business models and teams, and investing in new technologies and systems to work in ways that are more relevant to the state and evolution of today’s markets. In doing so, they’re leveraging digital transformation to become more customer-centric, more human, and renewing their culture for a new generation of customers and employees.

There’s so much more to the report. Please take a moment to download it here and also share your story with us.

[Source: Brian Solis]

Why do we SHARE what we DO NOT READ? Meet the (dis)Attention Web

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Earlier this month, there was yet another lengthy public debate about Upworthy, the two-year-old publisher that has become one of the most popular sites on Facebook due to its knack for overselling its bite-size content with “curiosity gap” headlines like, “Why Is Bill Nye Acting Like A Lunatic? Because He Doesn’t Want To Get Blown Up, That’s Why.”

“We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.”

In the midst of the Twitter argument, Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, which measures real-time traffic for sites like Upworthy, dropped a bomb: “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading,” he wrote.

If you work in media, or have a blog, or are the sort of person who pays any attention to things like how many tweets an article has, this statement probably comes as a surprise. There is an implied relationship between the number of people who choose to blast a link to a piece of content and the interestingness of that content. The media industry has fully digested the idea that likes and retweets are marks of merit and that the viral effect of social media is the ultimate affirmation of relevance, which is why every major news organization now has at least one social media editor. To suddenly say that a story is just as likely to have been read by a million people and tweeted by none of them, as it is to have been tweeted a million times and yet never read, seems impossible. And yet, that’s what Chartbeat has found.

Chartbeat’s lead data scientist Josh Schwartz later clarified to The Verge that Haile was talking specifically about tweets, although the expectation is that Facebook shares would reflect the same pattern. While greater social media shares clearly increase the amount of traffic to an article, that doesn’t necessarily mean that more people will actually read it.

“There is obviously a correlation between number of tweets and total volume of traffic that goes to an article,” he says. “But just not a relationship between stories that are most heavily consumed and stories that are most heavily tweeted.”

There are a number of possible explanations. Clicks from social media are more likely to come from mobile devices, where readers typically spend less time on the page. It also likely reflects readers’€™ preferences about what types of links they click ‘€” studies show people are more likely to share stories that are happy or nostalgic than they are to tweet about crime, for example. It’s also possible that some highly retweeted stories contain all the information necessary in the headline without the need to click on the article, as with some breaking news. Or it could just be that we’re in the age of the skim, as Slate’s Farhad Manjoo wrote last year, and people just don’t read things deeply on the internet.

Are we sharing stories without reading them?

But the most obvious explanation, the one that has probably already occurred to you because you’re just as guilty as everyone else, is that people are tweeting stories without reading them. “I skim hundreds of stories on a daily basis for my job, and yes a portion of those I definitely tweet without actually reading,” says Taylor Lorenz, who runs social media for The Daily Mail. “I think anyone who says they fully read and ponder every article before tweeting is lying through their teeth.”

Like Chartbeat, Upworthy measures things like scroll depth, clicks, video playback, and other metrics in order to determine whether people are actually reading. Upworthy’s data supports the false-retweet theory: users who consume about 25 percent of an article are more likely to share than users who immediately bounced away or even users who spent more time with it.

upworthyFF

Let’s say that a longer and more accurate version of what Chartbeat found might be stated as: “Just because an article is shared a lot doesn’t mean that people are reading the whole thing.”

But there’s more to the story. While Upworthy sees a burst of tweets from people who have consumed just a quarter of the article, it sees an ever greater boost once people have consumed the whole thing. BuzzFeed’s data-science team had similar findings: the majority of social media shares happen after people have been on a page for over three and a half minutes on desktop, or over two minutes on a mobile device.

So if you see someone tweet an article, it likely means they either didn’t really read it, or they read every word. That makes it tough to judge a story by how many tweets it has. But new insights into how many people tweet and click versus how many actually read are actually prompting a change in the way publishers market themselves to advertisers. Upworthy, YouTube, and other platforms have started paying less attention to page views and more attention to how engaged people actually are.

Upworthy has started tracking a new metric called “attention minutes,” which measures the total amount of time that people spend actively paying attention to the site, along with the amount of attention paid to each piece.

How does it work? Attention minutes is a fine-grained, conservative measure of how long people are engaging with the content on web pages.

  • Total Attention on Site (per hour, day, week, month, whatever) — that tells us (like total uniques or total pageviews) how good of a job Upworthy is doing overall at drawing attention to important topics.
  • And Total Attention per Piece, which is a combination of how many people watch something on Upworthy and how much of it they actually watch. Pieces with higher Total Attention should be promoted more.

Its implementation is far more precise than “Time on Page” as it’s usually measured. Time on Page generally relies on a very sparse set of signals to figure out whether viewers are still paying attention. And especially on the last page of a visit, it can be hugely misleading (Here’s a handy explainer about why that is).

Attention minutes are built to look at a wide range of signals — everything from video player signals about whether a video is currently playing, to a user’s mouse movements, to which browser tab is currently open — to determine whether the user is still engaged. The result is a fine-grained and unforgiving metric that tells us whether people are really engaged with content or whether they’ve moved on to the next thing.

Publishers Are Turning Away From Page Views and Social Shares, Looking At Attention Time

As pageviews have begun to fail, brands and publishers have embraced social shares such as Facebook likes or Twitter retweets as a new currency. Social sharing is public and suggests that someone has not only read the content but is actively recommending it to other people. There’s a whole industry dedicated to promoting the social share as the sine qua non of analytics.

Caring about social sharing makes sense. You’re likely to get more traffic if you share something socially than if you did nothing at all: the more Facebook “likes” a story gets, the more people it reaches within Facebook and the greater the overall traffic. The same is true of Twitter, though Twitter drives less traffic to most sites.

But the people who share content are a small fraction of the people who visit that content.

“I think there’€™s a group of publishers who say, ‘€˜Look, we’re web native, we can do a lot more to get a realistic picture of what’s going on on the web than we ever could in the analog world,’ €™” Upworthy’s director of business intelligence Daniel Mintz tells The Verge.

“That’s harder to dupe than page views and uniques. You can turn an article into a 20-page slideshow and voila, you have 20 times the views. Advertisers, and in particular advertisers interested in attention, don’€™t just want empty clicks.”

Upworthy’€™s critics say it maximizes for social media shares, “sending a (false) message to Facebook that those headlines are the stories its users really want to read,” as Reuters columnist Felix Salmon put it. But the company’s new emphasis on the time spent on a story contradicts that claim, suggesting that Upworthy is playing a longer game. While the number of times a story is shared may not be a perfect signal of quality, it’€™s reassuring to know that stories that hold a reader’€™s attention all the way to the end are also rewarded by the Twittersphere.

Bottom line, measuring page views, and social sharing is great for understanding volume, but if you’re using that to understand which content is capturing more of someone’s attention, you’re going beyond the data. Social is not the silver bullet of the Attention Web.

[August 2014 Update]

Looks like Facebook is taking a step towards the “Attention Social” too, as they announced yesterday that they are updating the social feed algorithm to reduce click-baiting headlines.

“Click-baiting” is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed.

News Feed FYI Click-baiting

However, when we asked people in an initial survey what type of content they preferred to see in their News Feeds, 80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.

Over time, stories with “click-bait” headlines can drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.

So how do we determine what looks like click-bait?

One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.

Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.

Also, this is the truth about Native Advertising and Banner Advertising

Media companies, desperate for new revenue streams are turning to Native Advertising in droves. Brands create or commission their own content and place it on a site like the New York Times or Forbes to access their audience and capture their attention. Brands want their message relayed to customers in a way that does not interrupt but adds to the experience.

native_ads

However, the truth is that while the emperor that is native advertising might not be naked, he’s almost certainly only wearing a thong. On a typical article two-thirds of people exhibit more than 15 seconds of engagement, on native ad content that plummets to around one-third. You see the same story when looking at page-scrolling behavior. On the native ad content analyzed by Chartbeat, only 24% of visitors scrolled down the page at all, compared with 71% for normal content. If they do stick around and scroll down the page, fewer than one-third of those people will read beyond the first one-third of the article.

What this suggests is that brands are paying for — and publishers are driving traffic to — content that does not capture the attention of its visitors or achieve the goals of its creators. Simply put, native advertising has an attention deficit disorder. The story isn’t all bad. Some sites like Gizmodo and Refinery29 optimize for attention and have worked hard to ensure that their native advertising experience is consistent with what visitors come to their site for. They have seen their native advertising perform as well as their normal content as a result.

The lesson here is not that we should give up on native advertising. Done right, it can be a powerful way to communicate with a larger audience than will ever visit a brand’s homepage. However, driving traffic to content that no one is reading is a waste of time and money. As more and more brands start to care about what happens after the click, there’s hope that native advertising can reach a level of quality that doesn’t require tricks or dissimulation; in fact, to survive it will have to.

For the last few years there have been weekly laments complaining that the Banner Advertising is dead. Click-through rates are now averaging less than 0.1% and you’ll hear the words banner blindness thrown about with abandon. If you’re a direct response marketer trying to drive clicks back to your site then yes, the banner ad is giving you less of what you want with each passing year.

However, for brand advertisers rumors of the banner ad’s demise may be greatly exaggerated. It turns out that if your goals are the traditional brand advertising goals of communicating your message to your audience then yes, most banner ads are bad…. but…. some banner ads are great! The challenge of the click web is that we haven’t been able to tell them apart.

Research has consistently shown the importance of great ad creative in getting a visitor to see and remember a brand. What’s less well known is the scientific consensus based on studies by Microsoft [pdf], Google, Yahoo and Chartbeat that a second key factor is the amount of time a visitor spend actively looking at the page when the ad is in view. Someone looking at the page for 20 seconds while an ad is there is 20-30% more likely to recall that ad afterwards.

So, for banner ads to be effective the answer is simple. You have to create great creative and then get it in front of a person’s face for a long enough period for them to truly see it. The challenge for banner ads is that traditional advertising heuristics about what works have been placing ads on the parts of the page that capture the least attention, not the most.

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Here’s the skinny, 66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold. That leaderboard at the top of the page? People scroll right past that and spend their time where the content not the cruft is. Yet most agency media planners will still demand that their ads run in the places where people aren’t and will ignore the places where they are.

For quality publishers, valuing ads not simply on clicks but on the time and attention they accrue might just be the lifeline they’ve been looking for. Time is a rare scarce resource on the web and we spend more of our time with good content than with bad. Valuing advertising on time and attention means that publishers of great content can charge more for their ads than those who create link bait. If the amount of money you can charge is directly correlated with the quality of content on the page, then media sites are financially incentivized to create better quality content. In the seeds of the Attention Web we might finally have found a sustainable business model for quality on the web.

This move to the Attention Web may sound like a collection of small signals and changes, but it has the potential to transform the web. It’s not just the publishers of quality content who win in the Attention Web, it’s all of us. When sites are built to capture attention, any friction, any bad design or eye-roll-inducing advertorials that might cause a visitor to spend a second less on the site is bad for business. That means better design and a better experience for everyone. A web where quality makes money and great design is rewarded? That’s something worth paying attention to.

[Sources: The Verge, Time, Upworthy, thanks to @StefanoMaggi for the inspirational article on WeAreSocial Italy]

LinkedIn Statistics: number of Users and Penetration [July 2014]

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On Socialbakers.com you can find LinkedIn Statistics from all their 292,359,048 users.

You can track and monitor the daily LinkedIn user growth and see the daily reports of this social network’s demographics.

Let’s take a look at the distribution of LinkedIn user across the world:

LinkedIn_Users

US clearly dominates the scene, followed by densely-populated country such as India and Brazil. In fact, something more interesting shows up looking at the penetration data:

LinkedIn_Penetration

I’ve been surprised to see Netherlands at 30% of penetration, and Australia around 25%, not to mention Chile that is leading on developed European countries such as Spain, France and Italy.

[Source: Socialbakers]

How ‘sticky’ is Facebook?

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For most Facebook users, the social network has become a fully integrated part of our life. Our personalities now mesh with the online world in the form of Facebook making us all one step closer to eventually that in the not too distant future we will all in some small way become cyborgs. So the question becomes, how ingrained is Facebook into our lives?

With hundreds of cable channels, on-demand videos, HD video game consoles, and massive libraries of e-books all calling for our attention, Facebook continues to stand out as a major player for our time and attention making it one of the stickiest websites in the world.

Engagement Rates

FBsticky1

The engagement figures for Facebook are quite astounding, SimilarWeb PRO shows that visitors to Facebook spend an average of just over 23 minutes on the site which is roughly the time it takes to watch an episode of The Simpsons. Compare this to the data for Google Plus, where visitors spend less than 4 minutes, barely enough time to make a decent cup of coffee.

Bounce rates for Facebook are very low with less than 2 in 10 visitors leaving it immediately after entering as opposed to Google Plus where nearly 5 out of 10 visitors bounce. One key feature, which has kept visitors engaged, is the revamped news feed with its content rich images and ads.

After Facebook?

FBsticky2

Such huge numbers of traffic are a boon for advertisers, so understanding where this traffic heads after Facebook is very useful. SimilarWeb PRO illustrates that 1 in 5 visitors head straight to YouTube. We love to share videos and our platform of choice is YouTube. This is probably why Facebook is making such a hard push to get into video advertising.

From this, it’s clear to see there’s a real desire for online videos. Advertisers want to chase this traffic, so it makes sense to organize Facebook campaigns to be mirrored on YouTube and maximize the chances of conversion.

Opportunities on Facebook

Over the past year, according to SimilarWeb data, average time on site for Facebook has never dipped below 22 minutes per visit. This data looks at desktop visits only, so it is fairly safe to assume that combined with mobile usage, Facebook is a dominant part of our lives. Gone are the days when advertisers fight over Superbowl Ads to reach a billion people, because today Facebook enables any advertiser anywhere to reach a bigger and more engaged audience.

[Source: Inside Facebook]