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Posts Tagged ‘trends’

Twitter seems to be going mainstream

Posted by guesto on January 23, 2009

I’ve seen lots of evidence in the last couple of weeks that “Micro blogging” site Twitter may have reached it’s tipping point and is now breaking into mainstream use by “normal” consumers (EG, not just by early adopter internet nerds or kids). It’s been a site of interest for a while of course, but quite easy for a blue-chip client to ignore, or dismiss as not being used by a mainstream audience.

Here is a round-up of some of the key indicators that I’ve noticed recently.

Channel 4 News report on Hudson River plane crash

Writing in the daily “snowmail” email for Channel 4 News on 16th Jan, Alex Thompson writes “Incidentally you may have noticed in recent weeks and months Channel 4 News tweeting away on Twitter and it’s worth noting that one of the first images of the crash appeared on Twitter within minutes of it happening. After similar “news reports” from big stories such as the Mumbai attacks. There’s clearly something going on here that we’ll have to keep our eyes on.”

Take out: The immediacy of being able to “tweet” an event (even faster than blogging) combined with the accessibility with which anyone can do it (as easy as texting) means that citizen journalism on an event can be instantaneous. A news channel like ITN (who provide Channel 4 News) always need reporters “on the ground” so Twitter provides an opportunity not just to find out immediately what is going on where (like an early warning system) but also leverage the content and opinions of those that are tweeting.

The celebs get on board
I’d seen loads of reports on my feeds about mainstream celerities using twitter to connect with their audiences. Jonathan Ross being the one to get the most media buzz about the event. Last week my colleague at AKQA Rick Williams wrote on his own blog a list of just some celebs that are tweeting:

Oh my god – Philip Schofield is on Twitter!

Is it the beginning of the end for Twitter…or is Twitter more than a fad?

Philip Schofield – (2,366 followers in a week after that little piece to camera on This Morning)
Jonathan Ross – (13,933 followers)
Stephen Fry – (51,000 followers)
Alan Carr – (4,018 followers)
And Dancing On Ice (wtf?!?!?) –

Rick’s Takeouts: “Twitter’s got some real legs when it comes to TV in general. or Dr. Who…What if you could follow the Doctor and get his thoughts whenever he’s not in a scene – The thoughts & emotions of the Doctor when he’s not in the scene; after a big argument for example or by adding a quick retort out of ear shot?? You could get the Doctor to ask for advice and get the audience to reference material online that could help him…Good for spin-offs or integrated two-way ARGs. Some fool out there is calling this Transmedia, but essentially it’s just a different way of telling a story….”

Then, there was the mildly significant event that was Obama finally taking over the White House.
Obama already had a Twitter account @barackobama but for the inauguration day his team also set one up at @obamainaugural for people to specifically follow the day.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the inauguration led to an unprecedented spike in people “tweeting” as shown here by a “tweetscan” report for “Obama”.

Mentions of "Obama" on Twitter, Jan 09

Take outs: Twitter is a useful barometer for events of significance, or just for guaging how significant an event is.

Hitwise report a 974% increase in UK traffic to
Hitwise UK research director Robin Goad reports on his blog that traffic to Twitter in the UK has increased almost ten fold in the last year.

“UK Internet traffic to the site has increased 10-fold over past last 12 months. For the week ending 17/01/09 ranked as the 291st most visited website in the UK, up from a ranking of 2,953 for the week ending 19/01/08. UK Internet traffic to the website has increased by 974% over this period.”

It is also worth noting his point that this ONLY measures traffic to the website, so does not include all of the interaction from mobile devices, widgets etc where much of the interaction will actually occur.

Blue-chip brands get involved too
Mashable has published a great article showcasing 40 good examples of brands engaging wih consumers in twitter.

One of the simplest examples in the list is Home Depot, who are using it to quickly respond to customers who mention them in their tweets:

And there are plenty more newbies
Even my step brother popped up on the site the other day which I didnt expect. His first tweet?

“Trying Twitter, not too impressed so far so going to cycle home in the cold. “



Posted in Digital, Insights & Opinions | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Sites that are benefiting from the Credit Crunch

Posted by guesto on October 13, 2008

I’ve been very interested to watch how the economic turmoil of recent weeks is affecting trends of visitors to websites and how this might change the media opportunity for my client. New stats, trends and analysis are being published every day, but here is a quick roundup of a few articles that I have seen recently…

1. Online newspapers
NMA reports that: “Online newspapers enjoyed a month of positive growth throughout August, with many showing jumps in traffic in the latest ABCE figures. Guardian maintained top position with over 23m users up over 12% on July, it was followed by closest competitor The Telegraph, which saw a spike in user numbers of over 17% to over 22m. News International’s Times Online went up over 20% up to 19.6m, while The Sun continued to hover around the 15.9m mark.”

This growth is credited not only to the credit-crunch, but also to the Beijing Olympics and the US presidential race. Post Olympics figures for September will be more representative when released.

It is natural that online newspaper traffic should increase during the credit crisis, as so much happens during the day, that morning or afternoon printed publications become old news before they are even read. Online is not only a faster, more timely medium, but it is also mostly free – allowing consumers to increase consumption while cutting the cost of buying a newspaper.

As I’m not a media buyer myself, I don’t know if news sites like these quickly raise their advertising prices in line with these trends, or if their price reviews take a short while to catch up – but I have a cool idea, which I’ll post about later.

2. Job sites
Hitwise reports an unseasonal boom to their category of “UK Employment and training” in the last month. This is likely to be fuelled by the numbers of unfortunate people being made redundant, or fearing it and preparing it.

Although this sector is booming, it is potentially less accessible a media opportunity for some, because of the cost involved. As the IAB reports, “Recruitment is still the biggest sector category spending online with a 32.9% share of online revenues for the first half of 2008”. This means that the CPM of ad space is likely to be high here, with a visitor intent that is quite specific to one goal only – therefore less receptive to additional messages, perhaps?

3. LinkedIn
Also connected to actual and potential redundancies, the professional social networking and CV/Resume site LinkedIn is experiencing a boom, as people visit to tart-up their profiles in prep for looking for a new job. As The Guardian reports: “The number of users from the investment banking industry have doubled in the past 7 weeks, as have the number of users who listed themselves in the financial sector.”

There are a few ad spaces such as MPUs on LinkedIn, but as it is not their primary revenue source (that’ll be paid subscriptions) they don’t offer advertisers that much to choose from. An advertiser would also again need to consider the cost of competing with recruiters for inventory and the sensitivity of the subject too. “Half price sofas at DFS” might not resonate too well with someone that is worried about losing their job!

4. Google docs
As part of the afore-mentioned article from HitWise, they describe how they discovered that Google Docs is the site receiving the most traffic from the search term “CV”. This reveals Google’s innovative strategy to promote their product by ensuring they are found under terms that people could use their product for. EG: Writing a “CV” or drafting a “Letter”. They can then also promote that their alternative to Microsoft Office is “Free” – which will also appeal to cash-strapped business and individuals.

5. Voucher sites
And of course, sites offering vouchers, discounts, deals or just money saving advice continue to boom. So too seem to be the numbers of emails circulating for Pizza Express, GBK, Strada and more offering 2-for-1 vouchers you can print and take to the restaurant. I think that by now everyone knows that these are very deliberate and not leaked at all. But who cares? Consumer gets a bargain and restaurant gets a customer. I consider that a win-win, and a very cost effective one too!

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