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