Monday, 24 November 2014

Google allows users to pay to not see ads with Google Contributor

In a you-couldn’t-make-this-up-if-you-tried move, Google is enabling users to pay $3 a month to NOT see Google ads on websites. The experiment, called Google Contributor, gives people the power to pay a small monthly fee to support the website rather than seeing ads. The space where the Google ads would normally appear is replaced with small message saying ‘thanks for being a contributor’. Google is launching with a handful of high profile invite only sites including Mashable, Imgur and WikiHow.

An article by The Guardian explains it much better than me.

My rather cynical take on it is that it feels like a PR stunt so Google can try out an ad free service and then when people don’t pay the $3 and it doesn’t work they can say ‘Well, we gave you the choice of not seeing ads and you didn’t use it, so we’re back to serving you ads’.  I just hope to all the gods that Facebook doesn’t try this as we might get a completely different response from Facebook users. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Ads coming to comments sections

Disqus – the software company behind most commenting functions on sites – is introducing a way to serve ads against people’s comments, according to Ad Week
Looks like the oddly spelt software company is working with WPP’s Xaxis [another stupid name] automated ad platform to put sponsored content / ads in the commentary thread. 
For example, say I’m in a Man Utd forum commenting about how rubbish Rooney is since he started dining on pies every day, then I might see sponsored content from say, Weight Watchers, Bail Lawyers for Family Members or something else relevant to the comment. 

TBH, not sure how I feel about this.  It could be really useful and relevant to people. Or it could go down like a turd in a swimming pool. We’ll see.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Social media stats for New Zealand

I love a good stat as much as the next man, so I've compiled the top social media stats for New Zealand from a variety of sources including Neilsen, Facebook, CAANZ and a few others. Enjoy:)

  • 89% of NZ is online
  • 2.4 M use Facebook. 55-65 yr old females is the fatest growing segment
  • 76% of online kiwis read blogs
  • 85% of kiwis watch TV and surf net at same time
  • 500K on instagram
  • 300K on Pinterest
  • 800K on Tumblr
  • 1M on LinkedIn
  • 400K on Twitter
  • NZ spends 15 hours a week on social media 
  • 3 in 5 kiwis interact with companies via social media
  • 2.5M kiwis stream videos online

Monday, 6 October 2014

Marriot launches content studio

Interesting move by Marriot Hotels with its launch of an in house content studio - another organisation following the movement of brands becoming publishers. The hotel chain has recruited talent from the travel and entertainment sectors for the in house team including travel writers, comedians and a stunt team.

The team has started producing its own branded content with indie music series navigator live and action comedy Bellmen.

I think one advantage Marriot has in becoming a publisher that many others don't including Red Bull and Go Pro and even publishing companies starting up, is that it has an existing audience, or subscriber base, in it loyal card programme. It doesn't need to build an audience the way a new magazine, or even a new social network does, it already has a base to which it can service tailored useful, entertaining or educational content.

The main challenge it will have is competing with all the other travel content out there. But if it can tailored bespoke content to the varying tastes of its subscribing audience, I believe it can be hugely successful.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The IndieWeb v Social Media?

Some of my more geeky colleagues have been talking about theIndieWeb movement and how it goes against the big social networks like Facebook etc.

As far as I can work out, the IndieWeb is a movement to go back to the roots of the web in a way Sir Tim would like. It is about decentralizing your content so you own it, not a corporation like Facebook or Twitter.  It’s about not being reliant on the centralized corporate web i.e organisations like Facebook, who can change their platform on a whim and change how your content that sits on that platform is seen. It follows the principles of POSSE [Publish on your Own Site and Syndicate Everywhere] and SelfDogFood [which I don’t quite get].


Known is a new open publishing platform under the IndieWeb movement that allows you to own your content AND publish it everywhere. I think this is worth checking out. 

It sounds great in principle, but I think I’ll see how it develops before I throw in the towel on social media marketing. Brands use social channels for many reasons – to being where their audience hangs out, to making a brand statement by being on, say, Snapchat. Plus, often corporate policies means it’s sometimes just an easier to run a Facebook Profile than make a website social.


Still, with most social platforms moving to pay-to-play, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The rise of Dark Social

No its not a Dr Who or Blake’s 7 episode, but the latest phenomena in social media - all the sharing actions that are done outside of social platforms. This is where people are cutting and pasting content from social platforms to hard to track platforms like email, IM, etc. It’s getting a lot of attention with research saying its responsible for more sharing than that on social platforms. 

The Atlantic reckons 69% of social media referrals come from dark social, whereas RadiumOne reckon 72% of sharing comes from dark social. 

The Guardian gives a good overview here

It talks about some tools you can use to get a sense of how much sharing is happening on the dark side of social like using Google+ Ripples, Tynt to see the words people copy and paste etc.

Something to think about….

Monday, 11 August 2014

social media for customer service

I came across this interesting report about customer expectations from social media.
In essence,  the study reveals that:
  • 80% of companies think they are doing a great job at customer service but only 8% of their customers agree. Which is a bit disturbing. 
  • Customers expect a response within an hour on social channels. 
  • 20% of customers are not responding at all to customer queries on social channels and less that 20% are responding within an hour
  • 38% of people will feel more negative towards a brand and 6/10 will share that dissatisfaction. 
IMHO customer service should be integrated into social marketing. If social media marketing is all about engagement, we need to talk to people about the things they want to talk about i.e. customer service issues - not just the stuff we want to talk to them about e.g our latest product, mildly amusing GIFs or witty vine videos.