Posts tagged with "Social media"

Mutt shots: Snapchat offers lenses for dogs

December 27, 2018

The Internet already is a dog-eat-dog world, with pooches worldwide vying for “top dog” (and top money) on such sites as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Now, Snapchat has introduced special lenses that will help proud owners to digitally dress up their hounds for the holidays in reindeer ears, eyeglasses, pepperoni pizzas, and even butterflies.

To try them out, PC Magazine advises, simply open the Snapchat camera and press on the screen to open the lens carousel, as usual. Scroll through the carousel until you find a lens with a little blue pawprint icon on it, aim your camera at your dog, and prepare to say “aww.”

Dog lovers have been “barking mad” since October, when Snapchat brought cat-friendly lenses to its platform, but left out filters for Fido. With both available as of this week, we can expect more varieties (and maybe a few filters for our iguanas and parrots?).

Appealing to dog and cat owners might just help Snapchat offset declining user engagement on the platform, PC Magazine reports. The company also recently introduced Snap Originals, five-minute exclusive shows that feature new episodes everyday. Originals can be found in the “Discover” section of the app or via Snapchat search.

Research contact: @Snapchat

Who are ‘influencers’ and how do they get paid?

December 17, 2018

If you enter the hashtag #influencer on Instagram, you’ll quickly navigate to a page with nearly 10 million posts. But that’s only the tip of the influencer iceberg, so to speak. According to Mediakix, there will be 21.7 million brand-sponsored influencer posts on Instagram by the end of the year—and 32.3 million by the end of 2019.

From micro-influencers making $50 per post to Instagram superstars like singer Ariana Grande , who command half a million dollars per post, the Instagram influencer market runs the gamut in terms of following, audience, and engagement; and it has even the biggest brands buying in. AdidasSamsungAmerican ExpressMicrosoft, and many more are finding ways to partner with Instagram influencers to reach their audiences and create new ones.

But how do you get started? In the case of Amber Venz (#venzedits), who spoke to CNN for a December 12 report, by the time she was in high school, she was designing and selling jewelry. And by the time she was 23, Venz was running a website that showcased her work as a personal shopper

 “I posted three times a day, and it was like trend stories and sale alerts,” Venz told the network news outlet.

Within a few months, the site was generating so much buzz around her hometown of Dallas that The Dallas Morning News ran a full-page story about her site. “It said ‘Meet the Blogger… She is now doing all these services online for free.’ My blog actually became quite famous,” she says.

But the “for free” part irked her. According to the CNN rags-to-riches tale, Baxter Box (who was her boyfriend at the time and is now her husband) got her thinking about how she could make money from the “free” fashion and style tips she was offering on her site. That’s when they came up with RewardStyle, an invitation-only platform that allows fashion and lifestyle bloggers and influencers to make money from the content they post.

Created in 2010, the company website says, “RewardStyle influencers have exclusive access to an innovative ecosystem of monetization tools, a global network of 4,500+ retail partners, and tailored growth services-all designed to power the monetization of your content.”

Today, the website has formed a global community of more than 250 team members, 30,000 top-tier influencers, and 1 million brand partners across more than 100 countries.

“With a proprietary ecosystem of innovative technology, strategic growth consulting, global brand partnerships, and expansive consumer distribution, we’re doing more than just monetizing the industry—we’re defining it,” Venez claims.

Here’s how it works, CNN reports: Bloggers write a post or post a photo on social media and hyperlink to a particular brand or retailer’s web site. If a person clicks on the link and purchases the featured product, then the blogger gets a commission. Venz says the commissions vary depending on the brand, but are typically between 10% and 20%.

RewardStyle gets a cut as well, but Venz wouldn’t disclose how much the company makes each time an influencer helps make a sale. “Everyone only gets paid when a consumer actually makes a purchase and the retailer is paid. It is all commission-based,” she said.

“These are primarily women who love fashion or interiors or talking about their family or their fitness routines and they have attracted an audience that loves their point of view and comes to their content on a daily basis,” says Venz. “We’ve given them a way to monetize that.”

And 4,500 brands, including Walmart, CVS, Amazon and Gucci, also use the platform, which has racked up $3.8 billion in total sales since it was founded.

Despite the company’s success, Venz told the news outlet that wants to keep innovating. “We are not low on ideas. So the thinking that we’ve peaked early is honestly not something that’s crossed my mind,” she says.

In 2017, for example, the business introduced a consumer shopping app called LIKEtoKNOW.it. The app lets users take a screenshot of content anywhere on the internet created by an influencer. RewardStyle will then send them links to buy the products that appear in the screenshot. The app has 2 million users and has generated $210 million in sales for its retail partners so far.

“One of the things I love about RewardStyle is that it is empowering thousands of women to do the thing I always wanted to do, which was work in the fashion and media industry,” says Venz.

Research contact: @rewardStyle

JOMO: The joy of missing out

July 31, 2018

On Facebook and other social media channels, we find out that our “friends” are travelling to exotic places, seeing their children graduate from school, visiting with adorable grandchildren, going to rock concerts and museums, spending the day at the beach, taking selfies with the stars, or starting a new job. Many of us scroll down obsessively, in order to find out what the rest of the world is doing while we are sitting at our computers. Indeed, social media inevitably fosters fear of missing out (FOMO)—although (if we are honest with ourselves) we actually would avoid many of the activities in which these friends are engaging.

Another driver of FOMO is the social pressure to be at the right place with the right people (like that awesome party everyone else enjoyed last weekend). This pressure from society combined with the fear of missing out can wear us down and can decrease our happiness.

Indeed, based on the findings of a recent survey on LinkedIn, 70% of workers admit that when they take a vacation, they don’t disconnect from work. Our digital habits—constantly checking messages and social media—have become so entrenched, that it is nearly impossible to enjoy “getting away from it all,” because we may be missing something.

However, LinkedIn suggests, there is an antidote: Instead of living in perpetual fear of missing out, many are embracing a new approach to our always-on, tech-dependent lives. They are taking the time to tune out. Call it JOMO, or the joy of missing out.

“JOMO is the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO and is essentially about being present and being content with where you are at in life,” says Kristin Fuller, M.D. in a recent issue of Psychology Today.

“You do not need to compare your life to others; but, instead, practice tuning out the background noise of the ‘shoulds’ and ‘wants’ and learn to let go of worrying [about] whether you are doing something wrong,” she says. “JOMO allows us to live life in the slow lane, to appreciate human connections, to be intentional with our time, to practice saying  ‘no,’ to give ourselves tech-free breaks—and to give ourselves permission to acknowledge where we are and to feel emotions, whether they are positive or negative. Instead of constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses, JOMO allows us to be who we are in the present moment, which is the secret to finding happiness. When you free up that competitive and anxious space in your brain, you have so much more time, energy and emotion to conquer your true priorities.”

She advises us to:

  • Be intentional with your time: Schedule something that is important to you, whether it is working out, meeting a friend for coffee, writing that book or completing a work project. Make your time your priority instead of wasting time worrying about what other individuals are doing or thinking.
  • Give yourself permission to live in the present: If you are having a bad day, be easy on yourself and treat yourself to a relaxing evening. If you just received good news, then take a moment to embrace it and celebrate. If you feel that you are in constant competition with someone on social media, then re-assess why you are feeling this way.
  • Embrace tech-free time: Unsubscribe from social media accounts; and un-follow individuals who trigger your FOMO, or cause you any type of negativity. Set daily limits to how long you can spend on social media or delete certain social media apps from your phone so you can only status scroll when you are at home on your computer.
  • Practice saying “no”: You do not always have to go to that event or take that phone call. Sometimes saying “no” is the best kind of self-love. Even if you want to help someone, but feel it will have a negative impact on yourself, say “no,” in order to protect yourself.
  • Experience real life (not social media life): JOMO allows you to have more free time by eliminating wasted time spent scrolling social media feeds. Instead of spending your free moments suckered into the drama of social media, disconnect and do the things that you enjoy—such as cooking, spending time outdoors, and spending time with your family.
  • Slow down: Take time to think before you speak, embrace the quiet, use time driving in traffic or waiting in lines to sit with your thoughts or listen to a book. Slowing down can increase our creativity, which we can harvest into other productive avenues and projects in our life.

Fuller notes, “Instead of having FOMO over silly experiences on social media, we should be wary about having FOMO over missing moments with loved ones, watching sunsets, laughing at jokes, traveling, walking barefoot through the grass, hearing the sound of the ocean, and enjoying good food with family and friends.”

Research contact: @gldnminded

Beauty shoppers spend 80% of ‘purchase experience’ looking at ads, articles, social media

July 17, 2018

A relatively self-serving study sponsored by Condé Nast—publisher of such magazines as Allure, Glamour, Self, Vogue, and W—has found that, in the beauty category, consumers spend 80% of their time in the “pre-search” or “influence” phase of shopping, with a spate of publications, social media, advertising, and celebrities affecting their final purchases.

The study, fielded by the research firm Tapestry and posted on Retail Dive on July 16, found that, similarly, fashion consumers spend 69% of their time in the pre-search stage and are most motivated by advertising; as compared to tech consumers, 65% of whom are influenced by ads “outside of their buying needs.”

Interestingly enough, both beauty and fashion buyers say a couple of brands are “top of mind”—even before they start looking. Fully 79% of respondents admitted they had brands in mind before their search—and 69% pay more attention to ads from sources they know and trust. In fact, more than half of shoppers (52%) spend their full decision time deciding between just two brands.

The outliers? Fifty-three percent of fashion consumers and 64% of 13- to 17-year-old shoppers purchase the brand they first considered.

With influential beauty and fashion publications in its inventory, Condé Nast found that its brands have three times more influence on consumer decisions than Google and Facebook, with three in four respondents saying they trust Condé Nast brands to recommend products. More than 90% trusted Glamour, GQ and Vogue for fashion recommendations; as well Glamour and Allure for cosmetics. Indeed, Consumers were 50% more likely to list a Condé Nast brand in the pre-search phase and think more highly of brands that advertise with Condé Nast, compared to Google and Facebook. Specifically, Condé Nast is 26% more likely to drive purchase intent than tech giants Facebook and Google, based on the study findings.

Other research has revealed that social media plays a major role in driving purchases, especially among younger consumers. A Yes Lifecycle Marketing report released last year found that 57% of consumers across different generations say social media influences their shopping decisions; while 80% of Gen-Zers and 74% of Millennials said social channels influence their shopping. Instagram was a key driver of fashion, beauty and style-focused purchase for 72%, a 2017 Dana Rebecca Designs survey found.

Research contact: @CondeNast

Twitter to remove inactive accounts, rolling back users’ follower counts

July 13, 2018

Twitter Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead Vijaya Gadde announced on July 11 that the social media giant will start removing tens of millions of locked, inactive accounts this week—a global initiative that she said would reduce the number of followers displayed on many profiles.

The company has opted to do so, Gadde said, because “we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate.”

Why does an account get locked in the first place? Twitter detects changes in tweeting behavior—and shuts the account down in order to contact the owner to confirm that he or she still has control of it.

Among the suspicious changes in behavior:

  • Tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions;
  • Tweeting misleading links;
  • Blocking of the account by a large number of other members; or
  • Use of email and password combinations from other services that could jeopardize the security of an account.

Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop.

The frozen accounts being deleted represent “about 6% of follows on Twitter,” Ian Plunkett, a Twitter spokesperson, told Politico.

According to the political news outlet, “The move could stoke conservatives’ ire, particularly if President Donald Trump, with his roughly 53.4 million followers as of today, is among the users that lose a large number of followers. Twitter faced heaps of criticism from the right in February for silencing scores of accounts it said were spam or ill-intentioned bots. Conservatives, alleging censorship, branded the episode “#TwitterLockout.”

Will the initiative expand to include Tweets, Likes, and Retweets? Gadde says, “Our ongoing work to improve the health of conversations on Twitter encompasses all aspects of our service. This specific update is focused on followers, because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility. Once an account is locked, it cannot Tweet, Like, or Retweet—and it is not served ads.”

Research contact: @vijaya

Warner: Trump Tower meeting with Gulf envoys substantiates ‘larger pattern of concern’

May 22, 2018

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on May 20 that Donald Trump Jr.’s alleged meeting at Trump Tower on August 3, 2016, with a Gulf emissary who offered help to his father’s presidential campaign could be “evidence of a larger pattern of concern.”

The meeting—which The New York Times disclosed on May 19—was supposedly arranged by former Blackwater head and Trump financial backer Erik Prince; and attended by the president’s eldest son; as well as George Nadar, an emissary for two princes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; and Israeli social media specialist Joel Zamel.

The Times further reported that Zamel talked about how his company could help a political campaign gain an advantage. According to the Times, the company had by then put together “a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.”

Donald Trump Jr. has said that he did not react to those offers of help from the Middle East. However, according to the Times report, “Donald Trump Jr. responded approvingly … and … Nader was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers—meeting frequently with … [the elder Trump’s son-in-law] Jared Kushner … and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser.”

The August meeting followed a June 2016 confab with a group of Russians that Trump Jr. at first had characterized as a discussion about adoption—but that has been shown by emails, leaks, and media reports to be an attempt by the presidential campaign staff to get dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign.

When news of the secret meeting with the Russians emerged a year afterward, a majority of U.S. voters polled by Politico/Morning Consult said that it was inappropriate for Donald Trump Jr. to accept an offer to meet with an attorney linked to the Russian government.”

Specifically, more than half (52%) said the meeting with a Russian government attorney was inappropriate. Only 23% of respondents characterized the meeting with a Russian government attorney as appropriate. The remaining 25% had no opinion.

I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research, or even research into your opponent,” President Trump responded at that time—adding that it is “very standard in politics. Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard where they have information and you take the information.”

As information continues to come out about meetings with foreign intermediaries, Senator Warner said on Sunday, “”If the Times story is true, we now have at least a second and maybe a third nation that was trying to lean into this campaign,”

Warner said on CNN’s State of the Union. “I don’t understand what the president doesn’t get about the law that says if you have a foreign nation interfere in an American election, that’s illegal.”

Research contact: @maeganvaz

The Grammy effect: Sales and streaming soar after awards

January 9, 2018

Collectively, the performers at the music industry’s televised Grammy Awards experienced a 328% gain in song sales in the United States on January 28, the day of the show, according to initial reports from Nielsen Music, released on February 5.

Specifically, the songs performed and the original versions of the songs covered sold 74,000 downloads on Sunday, January 28—up from just 17,000 on the day before the show.

The following day, as music fans returned to their weekly routines, they streamed their favorite songs from the awards show over 9.3 million times—an increase of nearly 2.1 million streams over the day before the show.

On-demand audio streaming for the artists and songs featured during the awards show followed a trend first reported in Nielsen Music’s 2017 Year-End Report, with on-demand audio streaming consumption picking up on Monday, following a Sunday dip. In 2017, Nielsen found that Sundays, compared with every other day of the week, have the lowest average streaming engagement.

Fans celebrated the Bruno Mars hits, “24K Magic” (Record of the Year and Album of the Year) and “That’s What I Like” (Song of the Year),  by streaming them over 1.3 million times through on-demand music services on Monday—a 44% increase, which is 412,000 more audio streams than the day prior to the awards show. “

Finally, there were 41.5 million total interactions across social media—including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—about the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, as fans posted about the star-studded performances. The top hashtags on Twitter were: #grammys, #grammys2018, #grammy and #timesup.

Research contact:soundscan@nielsen.com

Half of Americans take pictures of their food

January 12, 2018

We are what we eat—or at least it seems that way, judging by all of the food photography on social media: Fully 50% of Americans take pictures of their food, based on findings of a poll released by YouGov on January 9.

After speaking to 2324 U.S. adults late in December, the researchers say that amateur food photographers are most likely to take a picture of food they prepare themselves (31%) than food that they eat at a special occasion such as a wedding (22%), meals they order at restaurants (20%), or food that someone they know has cooked (13%).

More than half of women (54%) take photos of their food, compared to only 46% of men. Maybe that’s because they take on more of the cooking and kitchen cleanup duties. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women do 70% of family food preparation and cleanup, while men do 43%.

Data from the same YouGov poll suggests that food photography habits vary geographically as well. Americans living in the South (37%) and Northeast (34%) tend to take more photos of food they’ve prepared themselves than those who live in other regions.

Looking at age, given that food photography’s popularity has been inextricably tied to better smartphone technology and the rise of documenting one’s life with apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, the practice naturally draws younger food photographers.

As a generation, nearly three-quarters of Millennials (71%) say they take photos of their food, with 49% of the same age group saying that they photograph food they make themselves. Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report that they are just as likely to take photos of food they order (39%) as they are of food at special occasions (38%).

While the practice isn’t as popular among older Americans – 68% of Americans 55 and over say they never take photos of their food – one-third of Americans (33%) between the ages of 45 and 54 say that they’ll take pictures of food they cook themselves.

Americans living in the West are the only ones to say they’re as likely to snap a photo of food they’ve ordered (27%) as something they’ve personally cooked (27%). And Americans in the Midwest are the likeliest to report that they never take pictures of their food (57%).

Finally, there are the people for whom food is not fascinating—and they represent the other 50% of the population.

Research contact: Hoang.Nguyen@YouGov.com

Americans reject ‘fake news’ on energy from all sources but federal agencies

January 3, 2018

Americans across the political spectrum believe that U.S. federal agencies are the most credible source for energy information—somewhat more so than the news media and significantly more so than the White House or Congress—based on the findings of a poll of 1,000 adults released on December 28 by integrated communications firm Makovsky.

The report, entitled Trust, Credibility and America’s Energy Future, offers a look into what U.S. consumers thought about energy issues at the end of a year that saw the Trump administration withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, the repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, and ongoing issues (including earthquakes) surrounding hydraulic fracking and the approval of the controversial Keystone pipeline.

On the credibility issue, respondents were given a variety of choices, and U.S. government agencies and TV news channels and/or their websites were seen as the most credible information sources (22% and 20%, respectively); while the White House came in at 13% and Congress at 8%.

Millennials gave the highest credibility scores to federal agencies and TV news channels (33% and 24%, respectively). In fact, Millennials appear to be more trusting of information sources in genera— giving notably higher credibility scores compared to other generations surveyed.

Despite social media ranking among the top information sources, it was considered the least credible of the sources listed (7%). High use combined with low credibility may be driven by the passive nature of social media—as opposed to consumers actively seeking it out.

“These new results illustrate that Americans want reliable sources of information about energy issues, and the uncertainty of the past year has led them to put the most faith in federal agency policy makers and the news media,” said Makovsky Executive Vice President of Energy, Manufacturing and Sustainability Andy Beck.

Americans also viewed energy company communications with skepticism and distrust. When asked to identify the most informative energy company communications method, the top response (36%) was “none of the above” followed by websites (29%), Facebook (15%) and advertisements (7%).

Research contact: abeck@makovsky.com

Subway ads reach Millennials

While Millennials make roughly 25% of all consumer purchases today, fully 33% of advertising spend is directed their way. But what is the best way to reach this audience? Many believe it is through social media.

And, indeed, social media is a good bet. According to a survey by Crowdtap featured in  Entrepreneur magazine in 2014, Millennials were spending an outrageous 18 hours online a day—reading Facebook, sending texts, looking at the news.

 But there is another way to reach these buyers, ages 25 to 36,  as a “captive audience,” according to new survey results released this month by Civic Science. The pollsters recommend trying mass transit ads.

Here’s the deal, Civic Science advises: As much time as Millennials spend on social media, they do other things, too. Social media won’t get you from Point A to Point B, and it doesn’t feed you. Social media has a strong influence on this young demographic, naturally, but in focusing only on social media, advertisers may forget about other opportunities.

Specifically, the study found that 12% of Millennial respondents use public transportation at least  three times a week. Another 2% of Millennials use public transportation at least once a month.

In total, 45% of Millennials use public transportation at least occasionally, while the same is true for only 33% of Gen Xers, for comparison.

This form of advertising often is overlooked, as somehow downscale and unattractive. However, it has a long list of benefits, according to Civic Science—among them:

  • You can’t delete it;
  • You can’t ignore it;
  • You cannot turn it off, like television;
  • It reaches passengers no matter what radio stations they’re listening to;
  • You have exclusivity in your space;
  • It delivers a varied audience; and
  • It offers flexibility of ad size and location.

The pollster’s advice: When you couple these insights with the previous data about Millennials, and the fact that 67% of Millennials use an ad blocker, public transit advertising seems like a surefire way to stand out and engage Millennial consumers.

Research contact: Amie@civicscience.com