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Everything Brands Need to Know About the New, New Twitter

by on December 9, 2011

Twitter’s latest redesign, deemed the #newnewTwitter, recently rolled out to a select group of people with plans for mass release in approximately three weeks. The new, new Twitter offers additional simplicity and access to new content discovery, but for brands the biggest change has to do with Twitter’s brand pages.

Twitter started testing their new brand pages with a couple dozen brands and nonprofits. For now the feature is only available for those who have access to the #newnewTwitter, but as the release goes live en masse, here’s what brands should know.

The new interface in general is beneficial because it removes outside advertisements from brand pages and allows a new Connect element that improves the @reply functionality. In addition to allowing brands the inherent ability to better track the spread and impact of tweets, this new functionality feels like an incremental step forward for those that want to use the platform as a customer support portal.

Beyond the general interface, brand pages themselves introduce two key elements into the Twitter ecosystem, including a large header image and the ability to prioritize tweets. The large header images are long, almost browser width banners that, unlike Twitter backgrounds, maintain a prominent, legible place on the Twitter brand page.

Promoted tweets also help marketers prioritize visibility with a single free promoted tweet. This tweet rises to the top of the tweet stream and stays there in an auto-expanded view that shows embedded media and social spread statistics like favorites and retweets. Of the brands that already have the new, new Twitter, use cases for this Promoted Tweet functionality are varied.

Disney is using the top tweets to promote new and upcoming releases while Pepsi prioritized particular products. General Electric, on the other hand, linked to a piece of video marketing that helps consumers understand the human element of GE.

Although many brands still have to wait for the new, new Twitter, there’s no doubt the debut of this redesign will add an overall sense of clarity to how brands interact and engage with consumers on Twitter.

December 9, 2011 , ,

Halogen’s Weekend Reads

by on November 18, 2011

Although consumer confidence reports are down, traffic to online retailers has increased 10 percent year over year for the last week of October. One big contributor? Affluent shoppers.

The Harvard Business Review reminds us “people rarely rally around technology.” Instead they rally around purpose. That purpose is what drives successful social media.

Tomorrow’s CMO: The acceleration of consumer adoption and behavior makes him/her more reliant on innovation than ever before.

Information design master Mike McCandless and Eric Fischer brought their talents together to create a stunning Twitter languages map. Amazing how these bright lights illuminate so much about not only the rise of Twitter, but also our culture overall.

November 18, 2011 , , , , ,

Brand Followers Follow Through With Their Wallets

by on November 12, 2011

As time spent online shifts increasingly to social media, consumers are embracing brands more and more each day. The number of people who liked ten or more brands increased twofold from 2010 to 2011, but researchers are finding fans and followers don’t stop with a single click of affection.

According to an infographic we posted on the Halogen Blog this summer, 63.59 percent of Facebook users said they always or usually consider the brands they like when in the market for a purchase in the product category. The same goes for 71.67 percent of Twitter users following a brand on the platform.

The research points to likes and follows as a signal of brand affinity, but a new infographic (posted below) is showing consumers are following through with their wallets. 25 percent of Twitter’s 106 million users follow a brand on the platform and a full 67 percent of those consumers purchased from that particular brand. If social media isn’t part of your customer acquisition strategy, it’s about time to start thinking in that direction.

twitter infographic stats facts 2010 2011 Brand Followers Follow Through With Their Wallets

Hat tip: Brad McCormick & Jonathan Cohen

November 12, 2011 , , , , , ,

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Want to Reach Influencers? Target Twitter Users.

by on September 1, 2011

Screen shot 2011 08 31 at 3.17.25 PM Want to Reach Influencers? Target Twitter Users.

Facebook dominates the social networking ecosystem with volume and numbers, but when it comes time to amplify brand voice through influencers, Twitter packs more punch per user.

According to research by Exact Target, Twitter users are three times more likely than other social networkers to amplify their influence across the web. Of the people who use Twitter daily, 73 percent say they care about relating to the right people and cultivating a larger audience.

Overall only 5 percent of Internet users follow a brand and Twitter hasn’t proliferated the social media space in the same way Facebook has, but the graph above (click image for full size) shows how Twitter users can give new life to tweets on other channels. This could be one of the contributing factors for why marketers say the value of a tweet is more significant than that of a Facebook update.

September 1, 2011 , , , ,

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The Golden Age of Social Advertising is Now

by on August 16, 2011

Screen shot 2011 08 16 at 7.09.24 PM The Golden Age of Social Advertising is Now

When banner ads debuted 17 years ago click-through rates hit 78 percent. Now those numbers feel unattainable, but marketers are finding new hope in social advertising.

According to a study by Pivot, 85 percent of advertisers are either involved, or plan to get involved in social advertising within the next twelve months.

This mass adoption may feel like an extension of the move to social media in general, but the equation for success in social advertising feels more clear cut than that of social engagement. While only 12 percent of brands believe they have figured out how to engage effectively via Facebook brand pages organically, 54 percent report that they are “satified or very satisfied” with their social advertising results. Still another 60 percent believe that social advertising will be “very valuable” to their brand over the course of the next two years.

Brian Solis calls this move toward social advertising a shift to the new attention dashboard. As users have learned to develop banner blindness where display ads are normally placed (e.g. the right rail), social networks like Facebook and Twitter are figuring out how to create branded placement opportunities that are more integrated into the user experience.

By mid 2011 Twitter’s promoted products are expected to become part of the stream while opportunities like sponsored stories and granular targeting allow brands to zero in on Facebook.

These new platform offerings rely not only on integrating ads into the user experience, but they also allow advertisers to target the specific consumers at a precise point of attention and intention. Facebook’s sponsored stories, for example, are two times more effective than standard ads.

Results like these coupled with the strengths of social advertising (pictured above), paint a bright picture for the future of the industry. Brands who jump on this opportunity while this form of advertising is still an effective and attractive novelty, stand to benefit significantly. Add to that the 45 percent year over year increase in Facebook CPMs and the truth is clear. The time to start social advertising is now.

August 16, 2011 , , ,

What the New York Times Twitter Experiment Means for Publisher Influence

by on July 7, 2011

At the end of May the New York Times replaced its automated Twitter cyborg with the tweets of in house social media editors. The move was a test to determine whether the paper should invest in personalized tweets over a deluge of automatic headlines, but the final decision (if we ever see one) will mark something more significant than just another hire at the paper.

The Experiment

Until a little more than a month ago the New York Times leaned on its brand image and reputation to earn influence in the social world. Journalists wrote and Twitter followers retweeted, but what happened when the New York Times put two of their social media editors to the task of Twitter engagement?

For starters, the New York Times got quite a bit of press. Writers picked out personalized tweets and added them to their blogs, people on Twitter shared their stories, and everything seemed promising for the world of social media. Then I started following the New York Time’s Klout score.

In the week that social media editors @LHeron & @LexiNYT tweeted for @NYTimes the publication’s influence score never budged. It felt like people were engaging, but the score stayed constant at 86 for the duration of their experiment. Of course when it comes to a Twitter handle with 670,759 retweets it’s going to take a lot more than a week long experiment to make a dent in their score, but I hope the paper doesn’t take the “we’re already doing well enough” stance on Twitter.

After all, when compared with the ability of individuals like Justin Bieber, or Nicki Minaj to spread information socially (with klout scores at 100 and 97 respectively), it’s hard to justify feeling satisfied with a cyborg for much longer.

The New Age of Publisher Influence

Any reaction from the New York Times on the Twitter experiment has been hushed, but the days of publications resting on their paper laurels may be over. The New York Times could slide by a little longer with a vaguely cyborg social presence, but when it comes to automation they are one of the few remaining dinosaurs.

Fact of the matter is, conversations and connections are becoming the way of the web. Today real social investment is an option but some publishers are already showing that a hand crafted social presence can help them jump ahead. More than ever consumers are looking beyond search algorithms into hand crafted curation to find what’s important. The best we can do is hope that the New York Times sees that before advertisers realize that Justin Beiber and their very own Facebook fans can drive more conversation than reputable ad supported newspapers.

July 7, 2011 , , , , , ,

Google Correlate Shows the Rising Importance of Being Influential

by on June 2, 2011

Screen shot 2011 06 02 at 11.37.46 AM Google Correlate Shows the Rising Importance of Being Influential

Last week Google released Google Correlate to an anxious group of search engine evangelists and web statistics geeks, but could this data correlation tool serve marketers and publishers as well? If used correctly, there’s no doubt.

Formed initially by Google Labs in an attempt to capture the correlation between flu symptom searches and actual outbreaks, the tool provides search term correlation data both over time and by geographic location.

At first this all sounds a bit like spending an afternoon in statistics class, but drop a term like Twitter into the mix and you’ll find not only an amazing increase in popularity, but also a similar trend curve emphasizing the importance of acquiring followers (see below).

Screen shot 2011 06 02 at 2.07.10 PM Google Correlate Shows the Rising Importance of Being Influential

The word “influencer” also shows apparent growth as a rising trend, but where the tool really shines is in its ability to reflect (and in essence allow marketers to predict) reliable surges in search traffic and interest.

If you’re targeting affluents for example, knowing that the search term “luxury” occurs most often on the coasts and peaks concurrently with searches for “condo” could be valuable. Knowing that the both terms peak in February and August of every year though, could serve as an indicator for effectively timing influencer campaigns.

Screen shot 2011 06 02 at 2.44.04 PM Google Correlate Shows the Rising Importance of Being Influential

That said, as a marketer it’s important to remember the almost cliched rule that correlation is not causation. For example, “fashion” searches rise concurrently with “writing a good thesis” (see below). Both surge twice per year about the same time semesters end and fashion week takes the world, but neither are related from a marketer’s perspective.

Screen shot 2011 06 02 at 2.34.46 PM Google Correlate Shows the Rising Importance of Being Influential

In essence this makes Google Correlate a powerful and imperfect tool. Sign in to enter your own data for the most meaningful results but take it with a grain of salt. Like most datasets, the results require analysis before they inform an influencer marketing strategy.

June 2, 2011 , , , , , ,