Info-Currents… May is the month of mobile

Emerging Trend #1: The latest Nielsen report on Hispanics’ use of mobile and social media shows that this population segment is significantly more likely than the rest of the population to use mobile devices and social media to connect and communicate. 

Implication: Digitally savvy Hispanic consumers serve as a proxy for proactive consumers who are open to brand communications and who will pay for content. eMarketer projects Hispanics to spend $500 million on mobile apps in 2012.

Action: To augment multi-cultural campaigns, invest in social media and hyper target through mobile. Hispanic users are 25% more likely to follow a brand than the rest of the population.  

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Facebook Ad Credits Will Not Solve Small Business’s Social Media Problem

Facebook is giving small businesses advertising credit in hopes of getting this substantial audience to use the platform for customer acquisition. The mammoth social network is up against a tough challenge: Grand majority of small business owners do not see social media as a priority in their digital marketing list. IIn fact according to a Hiscox survey published by eMarketer, only 4 percent list it as a must-have. Many small business owners say they could live without it (43 percent). Some add that they don’t get to it everyday (24 percent). There are still those who don’t even know where to start (14 percent). Facebook may need to think of a more comprehensive plan than an ad push to secure time on small business owners’ schedules. 

I know the challenges of small business social media  first hand. I am West Side Art Studios‘ self-appointed social media consultant. Greg Kessler, the artist behind the studio, is busy creating and teaching art day in, day out. He uses Facebook to stay connected with friends, but he rarely has time to devise a social media calendar, identify and engage his influencers. He does a good job of announcing milestone events and the rest of his time has to go to creating the product. 

    Social media outreach requires time — you need time to build a following and to engage in genuine conversations with them (vs. pushing messages at them). That’s not a problem Facebook ad promotions will solve. 

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What’s Next? Five Digital Trends To Watch

Social media is competitive. Brands need to break through the clutter achieving a delicate balance of creativity and innovation. To get ahead in the game, we are always wondering about the next big thing.

New York Times (online) broke the news about Google’s hands-off car, specifically engineered to reduce human error in driving and increasing drivers’ time for ad exposure and search. The news come on the heels of a recent Forrester report on iPad users, in which the analyst is encouraging readers to think of additional surfaces and dashboards besides portable devices where online marketing could play a role.

Will brands be communicating from dashboards in the next three months? We may need a bit more time for that. However, it would be smart to start putting the following pieces together when devising digital strategies:

Social media advertising will compete with authentic influencer chatter:  The new Twitter ads are a testament to increased targeting and customization in online advertising. They also point to the competition between sponsored vs. real recommendations in social media. Will your audience click through your sponsored tweet or an influencer’s retweet? In either case, the results will be better than 0.02% click-through rates.

Semantic search caters more closely to consumers’ needs: Google’s instant search suggestions improve brand impressions and make it easy for consumers to articulate and find what they are searching.  However, there is room for improvement in search result precision. The semantic search engine Hunch asks users 20+ questions about their likes/dislikes upfront. Based on these responses, Hunch offers recommendations on what to read, visit and taste, among other choices.

Location-based marketing will spark loyalty programs:  There is more to the simple genius behind FourSquare than check-ins and special offers. We will see a convergence between loyalty marketing and geo-location. Imagine being offered a coupon that converts you from a shopper to a buyer, the fifth time you visit the same store.  

The sandwich generation will turn to e-commerce:  Time and resource strapped boomers who feel sandwiched between the demands from their children and parents will increasingly revert to search engines and e-commerce sites to do their shopping, to find services and to place orders.

Digital will play a bigger role in teens’ relationship with TV: According to eMarketer, teens (12-19) have a personal purchasing power of $176 billion. The number of hours they spend watching TV exceeds the minutes they spend watching online videos. Meanwhile, they also defer to the Web and to their friends before making purchasing decisions. (See Daisy Whitney’s article for Cynopsis Media for more details.) In this landscape, digital media properties (e.g., Web sites for TV shows) will compete with established social networks, hosting and harnessing teens’ peer-to-peer conversations. They will have to bring rich experiences to their tech-savvy audiences, offering content teens cannot readily find on the big screen.


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