On Social, Brands Use Rewards, Customer Service to Foster Loyalty – eMarketer

Most marketers think a Facebook “like” is an endorsement of content, while users more often view it as a show of loyalty

While loyalty programs have been popular in the US for years—with the average American consumer belonging to 18 loyalty programs according to loyalty marketing publisher COLLOQUY—whether these members are active is another story. “Points, coupons and freebies are great for grabbing initial attention,” said Krista Garcia, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “Social Loyalty: From Rewards to a Rewarding Customer Experience.” “But in the long run these promotions can’t make up for a lackluster customer experience.”

Through the use of social media, though, retailers and brands can identify and interact with their most profitable internet users. “Loyalty can be won through encouraging word-of-mouth and creating advocates, by raising a user’s social status, by surprising and entertaining shoppers in unexpected ways, and also by listening to customers’ needs and suggestions and responding in a mutually beneficial fashion,” said Garcia.

Best Ways Companies Can Build Consumer Loyalty According to US Internet Users, March 2012 (% of respondents)

The link between social media and loyalty seems to be on the minds of many, but user behavior on social networks is still misunderstood. Marketers in a Q4 2011 CMO Council survey weren’t just being overly literal when they interpreted a “like” as an indicator of agreeableness to content, they were missing by a long shot how customers truly viewed social relationships with brands. In actuality, consumers most often clicked the “like” button to show their loyalty. The next most popular reason users clicked “like” was because they were looking for incentives or rewards.

Reasons that Facebook Users Worldwide "Like" Brands on Facebook vs. What Marketers Think the "Likes" Mean, Q4 2011 (% of respondents)

“The ability to combine traditional loyalty programs with a social layer holds great promise for retailers and brands trying to strengthen retention,” said Garcia. “Starting with a compelling customer experience lays the foundation, then responding in real time, anticipating and meeting needs, and influencing a wider audience by creating sharable perks are part of the next generation of rewards.”

via On Social, Brands Use Rewards, Customer Service to Foster Loyalty – eMarketer.

U.S. Hispanics Connected & Online: Getting Around the Digital Divide

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s appropriate to discuss the latest trends online among the Hispanic community. From closing the digital divide among Hispanics 50+ to the newer and younger general market with a Latino flair (now being classified as: Gen N), US Hispanics are leading the future of technology and marketing.

Recently, the 2010 Census data revealed that one in six Americans is Hispanic. With 50.5 million people nationwide, Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in America. It’s no surprise that companies are changing their marketing strategies in order to reach Latinos. But, what is surprising is how we go about reaching and engaging this powerful community.

Several studies have confirmed the importance of online marketing among Hispanic consumers. Google recently released a report titled “Four Truths about US Hispanic Consumers” that is an eye opener for anyone interested in reaching the nation’s largest minority group.

If Google isn’t convincing enough, here are five more reasons why reaching Hispanics via digital media is a must:

1. Hispanics are the highest users of text messaging and mobile devices.

Research shows that the Hispanic community is among the highest users of text messaging and spends more time interacting on their mobile phones overall.

In May 2010, the Pew Internet & American Life Foundation reported:

  • 87% of Hispanic households have multiple mobile phones and use them more than any other form of personal or handheld technologies on the market today
  • More than half regularly use text messaging
  • Text messaging has increased 59% YOY among Hispanics
  • Responding to mobile marketing text messages is up 74% vs. last year

When creating content to reach Hispanics, they’ll be the first to tell you they prefer to receive information in Spanish. This doesn’t mean simply translating English messages into Spanish, but truly understanding the culture and demographic of this diverse community that you’re trying to reach. There are several translation services available when considering a SMS campaign, online ads or websites to effectively reach Hispanics.

2. Hispanics are active on social media.

Hispanics are also actively using their mobile devices to access social media channels. Facebook and YouTube are the 2nd and 4th most popular social channels among Hispanics. However, these are just two of the many social channels available to reach Hispanics.

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Scarborough Research also reveals that 12% of US Hispanic mobile users use social networks on their mobile vs. 10% of the general market.

3. Hispanics are technology savvy.

Research also shows that Hispanics are younger and more technologically savvy. AOL’s Hispanic Cyberstudy, reports 46% of Hispanics who are actively online are under the age of 35. Another astonishing fact is that 32% of Hispanics access the Internet through their smartphones, compared to 20% of the general market. This tech savvy trend is not only prevalent inmobile adoption, but the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication also found that Hispanics are early adopters of tablets and e-readers as well. It’s no wonder that Hispanics have an estimated $1.3 trillion in buying power this year.

4. Hispanic mobile websites are simple and just smart.

If we know younger Hispanics are accessing the Internet on their smartphones, a mobile website is a must. A mobile optimized website has multiple benefits:

  • They will work on virtually any smartphone.
  • Content is simplified and design is less intensive, often being a cost effective option.
  • Mobile websites can be easily translated into multiple languages.

Check out Univision’s mobile site and Major League Baseball’s LasMayores.com Spanish mobile version for examples.

5. Hispanics are more responsive to online advertising

Hispanics online are not only younger, tech savvy and connected – they’re also more receptive to online advertising.ComScore recently reported on how responsive Internet users are to online advertising. When looking at advertisement, 31% of U.S. Hispanics reported they enjoy watching advertisements compared to 19% for non-Hispanics. The study also shows that 48% of Hispanics expect advertising to be entertaining compared to 39% of non-Hispanics.

Still not convinced, Google can give you 200 million reasons why they are investing in Latinos online. That’s how much Google reported brands are spending online this year to reach the Hispanics market. We will have to watch how Google+ and Facebook capitalize on the Hispanic market – and if they do it well. It’s no doubt that Latinos will begin to tune out advertisers unless they are culturally relevant and engaging – even when speaking to Gen N.

via U.S. Hispanics Connected & Online: Getting Around the Digital Divide.

Age, Gender Affect Whether Consumers Will ‘Like’ an Ad – eMarketer

Older consumers are more likely to click on a Facebook ad, while younger consumers, who are more comfortable with interacting with brands on Facebook, are more likely to click “like.”

This information can help marketers target specific audiences with their Facebook ads, a tactic that can be leveraged by using Facebook’s self-serve ad platform.

Over the 10 months leading up to August 2011, Facebook agency SocialCode analyzed Facebook ads for 50 clients and focused on those that included an image, text and a “like” button. The study analyzed how many consumers clicked on the ads, and from there, how many went on to “like” the company’s page.

Women are more likely to click on an ad on Facebook, though both men and women are about equally likely to then click “like” once they’ve done so, the study found. The average clickthrough rate for women of all ages was 0.029%, compared to 0.026% for men of all ages. The “like” rate among those who clicked an ad was 39% for women and 38% for men.

Older consumers are more likely to click on a Facebook ad, as clickthrough rates increased from 0.026% for the 18-to-29 age range, up to 0.033% for the over-50 group.

However, consumers under the age of 50 were more likely to then “like” a brand, with 18- to 29-year-olds and 40- to 49-year-olds doing so 40% of the time. Those ages 30 to 39 had a 38% “like” rate, while only 36% of those over 50 hit the “like” button.

This data supports the fact that younger consumers, having been on Facebook longer, are more familiar with showing support for a brand through a “like” and do so more often. Meanwhile, older consumers click through on an ad to learn more and investigate a brand.

Marketers can leverage this data to create Facebook ad campaigns that resonate with their target audience, and thereby increase “likes” and clickthrough rates. For example, in order to reach an older audience, brands should optimize their landing pages so these consumers can learn more about brands without necessarily clicking “like” right away. If brands are targeting a younger, more male audience, in particular, they would be well-served to focus on the “like” button within the ad.

via Age, Gender Affect Whether Consumers Will ‘Like’ an Ad – eMarketer.

Facebook Likely to Add “Translate” Button to Its Pages – International Business Times

Always kept wondering what your friends from other countries are gossiping about on their walls in a language you do not understand? Well, this could be the end of the problem. Rumor has it that Facebook may be testing a translation feature to add in its social networking domain.

This move could overcome the language barrier faced by many users on the network.

The translation tool reportedly is for comments. A new Translate button at the bottom of comments (only on Pages) and next to the Like button will be seen, according to Inside Facebook.

Clicking on the Translate button will translate the comment to the language that your account page is set to see. Once the translation is done, an Original button would appear, by clicking which, you can get the text back in the language it originally was.

As of now, it is unclear as to how many languages the translator supports. Although so far, English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, and Chinese appear to be on the list.

The system is not perfect and it does not always translate all the words. At times it shows error that reads, “There is no translation available for this story at the moment,” zdnet.com reports.

The feature may particularly be useful for Page owners who have to rely on a third-party translation service in order to understand what their fans are commenting and posting. Also, it could benefit game and app users who want to interact with other gamers who do not speak the same language. And of course, this will be an excellent tool for people who want to interact with people from other countries speaking other languages, but cannot because of the language barrier, the report says.

This feature could bring about a considerable change in the way people interact in the world’s largest and most popular networking site. More details are expected to be out soon in this regard.

via Facebook Likely to Add “Translate” Button to Its Pages – International Business Times.

5 Reasons Marketers Should Pay Attention To Google+ 08/11/2011

As the fastest-growing site in history, Google’s month-old social networking platform Google+ is something Hispanic marketers should follow closely. Although not open to businesses yet, Google+ will soon be rolling out an offering for brands that will represent a real opportunity for Hispanic marketers for the following reasons:

1. Hispanics are active social media users

There is ample evidence that Hispanics are avid users of social media. Hispanics have been at the center of the social media phenomenon since it began, using social media to connect, share and express their unique culture. Today, social media sites Facebook and YouTube are the second and fourth most popular websites among Hispanics, I would not be surprised if Google+ also become popular among Hispanics who have taken to social media.

2. Hispanics are early adopters

When it comes to technology, Hispanics are eager and open to try new things. As I pointed out in February, Hispanics, regardless of language preference, are leading the way when it comes to mobile adoption. What’s more, research from the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University signals that Hispanics are early adopters of tablets and e-readers, therefore it is likely that Hispanics will try out Google+.

3. Unprecedented launch and adoption of Google+

At only a month old, Google+ has become the fastest-growing website in history, attracting 25 million global unique visitors. Early adopters of Google+ tend to be male, 18-34 and from high-tech cities such as Austin, Texas, and San Francisco’s Bay Area. Although Hispanic adoption data of Google+ is not yet available, my hunch is that Hispanics are well represented among the early adopters.

4. Facebook has become a viable platform for engaging Hispanics

Countless brands, organizations and government agencies are successfully engaging with Hispanics via Facebook Pages and Facebook Advertising. Facebook has created an effective platform for marketing to Hispanics via social media and at the same time carved out a share of Hispanic online marketing budgets. Google is certainly aware of this and if Google+ is successful, Hispanic marketing dollars are sure to follow.

5. It’s Google

True, Google’s previous foray into social media with Google Buzz was a failure. But Google’s massive reach among Hispanics is impressive and puts them in an enviable position to launch a new social network. In July 2011, Google.com was the most popular website among Hispanics reaching 25.7 million Hispanics or near 80% of the market. Hispanic marketers have been successfully using Google Adwords for years and the combination of Google+ and Google Adwords is certainly alluring. In addition, 7.2 million Hispanics visited Gmail in July representing a solid “built in” audience for Google+.

via MediaPost Publications 5 Reasons Marketers Should Pay Attention To Google+ 08/11/2011.

Facebook For Latinos Quepasa Buys myYearbook For $100 Million In Cash And Stock | TechCrunch

Quepasa, the Facebook for Latinos has merged with social networking company myYearbook for $100 million, approximately $82 million of hin Quepasa common stock and approximately $18 million in cash.

MyYearbook, which has raised $17 million in funding, is a profitable social network that focuses on younger teenage users. While still smaller than Facebook, myYearbook is seeing over 1 billion page views on mobile platforms and 1.2 billion page views on the web each month. In fact, it is the top web site in the comScore Teens category with more visits, minutes, and pageviews. In 2010, myYearbook generated $23.7 million in revenue, up 53% year-over-year, and EBITDA of $4.9 million, up 315% year-over-year. Quepasa says more than 27 million registered users.

The combined properties will have 70 million registered users, 2.2 million mobile app installs, 11.5 million mobile game installs, and 2.1 million social same installs.

Quepasa CEO, John Abbott says that the acquisition and merger doubles the size of Quepasa’s existing user base, and also could represent a new growth area for Quepasa’s mobile and social games, advertising, and virtual currency. MyYearbook also recently launched a gaming portal.

Following the merger, myYearbook CEO Geoff Cook will serve as Chief Operating Officer of Quepasa Corporation and President of its Consumer Internet Division, and will also join the company’s Board of Directors.

Here’s the note Cook sent to myYearbook employees this morning:

Get the rest via Facebook For Latinos Quepasa Buys myYearbook For $100 Million In Cash And Stock | TechCrunch.

Convenience, Customization, Ease Of Sharing are what matters for Millenials

The recent buzz around Google+ is just the sort of thing that can send marketers and media planners into a tailspin, lamenting yet again, “You mean there’s another thing Millennials are doing en masse, and we have to reach them there, too?”

Relax. It’s not as difficult as it seems to prioritize your marketing efforts to reach the schizophrenic-like attention Millennials seem to direct everywhere and nowhere all at once.

Through recent Magid Generational Strategies research on Millennial media behaviors, and the illumination that comes with tracking that data back five years, it’s apparent that three things shape relevancy for Millennials: convenience, customization and ease of sharing.

Convenience Media and technology are important to Millennials, but they want it to fit around their lives. They have little interest and patience in the reverse — making their life fit around the media that interests them. For example, Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers to watch TV shows online. While this strikes fear into the hearts of cable operators everywhere and brings to mind the dreaded word “cord-cutting,” last year’s Magid Media Futures study suggests otherwise. A typical Millennial’s motivation to watch a TV show online has less to do with the fact that it is free, but more with the convenience of watching exactly when he/she wants, whereas Boomers and Xers are more driven by cost savings.

Other media behaviors Millennials do more than older generations, like watching TV and video on their phones, watching movies online and listening to podcasts, are also all about convenience. It’s not that Millennials aren’t watching TV on a TV or want to watch movies at home or in a theatre, they are attracted to options that let them do those things whenever they want.

Customization Gen Yers have become accustomed to being lumped all together in generational stereotypes, but they know differently. They know they are each unique and, in fact, celebrate and encourage individuality. They were the first generation of kids to enjoy entire television stations devoted to them (Nickelodeon launched in 1979 and Disney Channel in 1983). Later they didn’t have to choose one of six pre-created players for their video games, they got to make their own avatars. Millennials are used to customization.

The way Millennials listen to music reflects that expectation for customization. Millennials listen to the most music not on the radio (e.g., personal MP3 players and streaming services). Obviously, they choose music on their own iPod, but they like creating custom stations on Pandora or listening to exactly the song they want when they want on services like GrooveShark or the newly released Spotify.

Ease of Sharing When it comes down to it, the wild popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter among Millennials boils down to one thing — they make it easy to share with your personal network. Personal networks, a/k/a friends and family, are incredibly important to Millennials. Their parents instilled the importance of friends through formal play dates and sessions at Gymboree. It’s what Millennials have always known. They carried that cohort perspective into adulthood and now actively look for ways to share ideas and tips, as well as the details of their lives, with the people they care about. Products and services that enable easy sharing will bode well with Millennials.

via MediaPost Publications Convenience, Customization, Ease Of Sharing 07/22/2011.