Growth in Social Media Marketing interest 2009

I have just been researching social media marketing for a client presentation, and wanted to share some figures gleaned from Google Insights for Search which really highlight the growth in interest in social media marketing over the last few years.

Since 2007 searches for “social media marketing” have increased by 900%. Even from early 2008, searches have tripled.

Searches for "social media marketing" 2007 - 2009

These are huge increases, and really show the level of interest there is out there in and around social media marketing strategy.

Looking at the growth drivers from a geographical perspective shows the key early adopters were the US and UK alongside a cluster of other developed economies.

Worldwide searches for "social media marketing" 2007

Significantly, India is the only BRIC country represented back in early 2007.

Moving to 2009, we can see the remainder of BRIC coming on board alongside other core developed economies in Japan and Sweden amongst others.

Worldwide searches for "social media marketing" 2009

There is also a marked increase in interest around social media marketing from India, which demands further investigation.

Digging deeper, the majority of growth is driven by Delhi and India’s richest state Maharashtra, specifically Mumbai.

Searches in India for "social media marketing"

The social media marketing scene in India is clearly heating up, with digital advertising agencies, PR practitioners, and prominent bloggers offering a range of social media services. According to reports there are up to 25-30 serious social media players operating in the Indian market, and working across popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It would be interesting to hear your views on why it is that India is adopting social media, and social media marketing, so quickly.

My thoughts are that in a world in which the internet is primarily a mobile medium, the services that matter are social ones. Mobile internet access is primarily about social networking, something true both in India and elsewhere. So in India, in effect, the marketing is going where the people are.

Would recommend following Watblog or Blogworks India for more insight on social media marketing in India.


UK Launch of Google Maps sparks huge interest

Following the launch of Google Street View in the UK on 19 March 2009, UK internet visits to Google Maps increased by 41%. This was the busiest ever day for Google Maps in the UK, and as a result the site received its highest ever ranking, becoming the 20th most visited site overall.

As the chart below illustrates, Google Maps UK received 1 in every 250 UK internet visits, while the US Google Maps site also received an 84% increase in visits.

The amount of traffic that Google Maps UK received from News and Media sites also quadrupled, as it became one of the biggest news stories of the week. The site received 7.9% of its traffic from news sites, with BBC News the second largest source of traffic overall. As the table below illustrates, the Telegraph and Guardian Business also sent a significant amount of traffic to the Street View site.

Figures also revealed a jump in the average time spent on the site, from five minutes 28 seconds the day before Street View was introduced to seven minutes six seconds, showing that people visiting the site stayed to play on the new application.


The Future of Media with Martin Sorrell

I caught a very interesting discussion about advertising and the future of media last night on BBC Radio 4’s “The Bottom Line”.

Sir Martin Sorrell shared his views about some key issues in marketing and media from an agency perspective, including the future of advertising, the benefits of scale, and how long the present financial crisis may last.

Also present were the CEOs of Vodafone and Eurostar respectively, both talking about the huge impact of digital marketing and media on their business.

The key take aways were:

1. Agency revenues are increasingly tied to consulting fees, and moving away from commissions.

“What we’re seeing is clients looking for us to harness the talent that we have in more effective and efficient ways. We’re seeing clients asking us to put teams together – for example we have a team Vodafone, a team Unilever, a team Ford or whatever it happens to be – to put together the best talent to deal with the issues in the marketplace.”

2. The rise of online and the decline of traditional media vehicles.

“The average client worldwide is spending 10 or 12% of his or her budget on internet. You and I spend, according to the statistics, 20% of our time online, so the weighting should at least be 20%. By the time we get to 20%, you and I will probably be spending a third of our time online.”

The balance has shifted. So TV, instead of being a third in a normal market or worldwide, probably will go to about 15 to 20%. Newspaper and press will go to 20 to 25% with internet, mobile, video content making up the balance.

3. Customer insight is increasingly becoming a viable revenue stream

“For us, there have been three engines. One is the new markets which are now 27% of our business; second is new media or digital, which is now 25% of our business; and third is consumer insight, which we think is becoming more and more important.”

All parties were fairly bullish about digital, and the structural changes occurring in media, feeling that even as existing revenue models collapse from both an agency and publisher perspective, new ones are forming to take their place.

In many cases this has meant a greater engagement with online, although the impact of new media is being felt as much by website owners and digital agencies as by owners of traditional media vehicles.

Link to listen again and transcript.

The problem with Google (and how to sue Google and win)

Interesting story over on the Huffington Post about Aaron Greenspan, who sued Google when his site, Think Computer, got kicked off Google’s AdSense while owed $721.

After failing to get any answers as to why this had happened, or how to go about claiming the outstanding monies from Google, Think’s CEO filed a small claims lawsuit and won.

Aaron states:

Effectively, Google’s position was that it was above the law, and if not any law in particular, then at least the spirit of the law.

Not a good look. And also a shame. Because despite some of the bad press it has been getting recently, Google is still a genuinely innovative company that is pushing the boundaries of what the internet can do, and what we can do on the internet.

However, until Google buys into the fact that being good (or not being evil) doesn’t mean not being accountable, it will continue to follow the same disappointing path as Microsoft in the late 90s.

Rather than there being any sort of Google killer, will Google just end up killing itself?

Could Wolfram Alpha be as important as Google?

Another week, another Google killer. Last week Twitter, this week Wolfram Alpha.

You’ve probably seen the hype about Wolfram Alpha over on Twitter, in fact just about everywhere. But what exactly is it?

Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine for the Web. Ask Wolfram Alpha a question, and it works out the answer for you. So far so Google.

However, it doesn’t simply return web pages that might contain the answers, like Google does, and it isn’t just a giant database of knowledge, like Wikipedia.

Instead, Wolfram Alpha actually computes the answers to a wide range of questions. Questions that have factual answers such as “What country is Timbuktu in?” or “How many protons are in a hydrogen atom?” or “What is the average rainfall in London this month?”

Think about that for a minute. It computes the answers. “What was the price of oil on February 3, 2007″ yields over 19 million answers on Google. In theory, Wolfram Alpha should give you one hit: the answer to your question.

Of course, there are some questions it will be good at answering, and other questions for which we will still use Google and Twitter. Nick Spivack of Twine has put together a great analysis from a more technical perspective here.

But what are the wider implications of  Wolfram Alpha exactly? A new paradigm for using computers and the web? Probably. Emerging artificial intelligence and a step towards a self-organising internet? Possibly.

For now, we’ll have to wait until launch in May to see the reality. However, I think this could be big.

Measuring social media success

A core concept in social media marketing, and something many brands currently omit to do, is taking a snapshot of online brand equity before starting social media efforts.

There is a great post over at the econsultancy site on 3 steps to effectively measuring social media marketing success:

  1. Make a note of the obvious numbers. Number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Digg links, Delicious bookmarks, and referrals from social media sites, plus existing website traffic.
  2. Make a note of the less obvious benchmarks. SEO rankings and referrals, customer satisfaction scores and other business data.
  3. Make a note of ROI benchmarks. How much are you paying to acquire customers via other marketing channels? How vast is that advertising budget, and how is it being split up? And what proportion is being directed into channels that you cannot accurately measure?

Benchmarking online brand equity is a crucial part of any social media campaign and is core to measurability going forwards.

Social media marketing is often accused of a lack of transparency, something that stems partly from a failure to measure, but also from a lack of understanding as to exactly what it is.

Marketing using online social media is perhaps best understood as akin to brand marketing. It is not necessarily going to do the selling in terms of directly driving converting traffic to a site, but it will create an atmosphere in which sales can occur.

There’s so much talk about social media marketing at the moment that it is easy for people to become cynical, losing track of the fact that a well run campaign can have a hugely positive impact. By following the steps outlined in the post and accurately benchmarking before starting social media activity, it should become far easier to determine outcomes – both positive and negative – from a social media campaign.

Dynamic weather based targeted ads

Weather site Weather Underground has partnered with Dapper to create WeatherMatch, a real-time system that delivers ads that match local weather conditions, paired with relevant items from a catalogue or other electronic inventory database.

Essentially this means the system will create ads for umbrellas targeted to rainy areas, on the fly. And then later in the day, when the sun comes out, it will create and start serving beachball creative.

This is the first dynamically targeted weather advertising solution, and one with interesting potential. Anyone with better ideas for ads than my meagre efforts above?