What Keeps People Coming Back to Mobile Apps?

People download apps all the time, but the many are used once and never used again.

Google teamed up with market research firm Ipsos MediaCT to survey 8,470 consumers with smartphones. The goal: to find out what drives people to install apps, what keeps them coming back and why the abandon apps. The report also offers some insights for marketers hoping to ensure the longevity of their apps.

One key point from the report was the need for app re-engagement. People want apps that make their lives easier and serve a specific function. Indeed, two-thirds of those surveyed said an app that simplifies their life will get more frequent use. The challenge is to avoid falling into the trap of developing an app that serves a single purpose.

The report recommended the use of re-engagement ads with deep links. However, deep links don’t need to be reserved for ads, nor should they. According to Bitly chief product officer Matt Thomson, deep links enable brands to send consumers into apps from regular communication channels, instead of waiting for them to rediscover the app on their phones.

Thomson noted that an effective mobile app strategy means using the technology solutions in direct digital and social channels:

Companies spend a lot of time on email and social content only to send users to a place that’s not optimal.

Another way to use deep links effectively, according to Thomson is to include tags on web pages for alternative locations within the app:

Deep Link tags are essentially tags on web pages that suggest an alternate app location for a specific piece of web content. For example, a story about the Golden State Warriors on espn.com (or es.pn if you’re using a Bitlink) has an alternate location in its app on Android or iOS.

In the end, ensuring the longevity of your app is to prove its value by making it useful past the initial download. Implementing a deep links strategy into your regular marketing campaigns can be an important part of helping consumers realise the value of your app.

According to the report:

Ultimately, by engaging your audience at the right time with content that’s relevant to them, brands can keep their connection to app users alive.

Check out the full report for information on how people find apps and how to make your app more discoverable.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

91% of Retail Brands Use Two or More Social Media Channels

As social media has become more integrated into daily life, people are starting to use more than one network. According to Pew Research Center, more than one-half of adults use more than one social network. New data from email marketing software provider Yesmail indicates that marketers are also using multiple social media channels.

Yesmail tracked the social media habits of 50 top retail brands in five major categories–beauty, apparel, electronics, big box and home goods. The data was then compared to a 2014 Pew study of U.S. social media use to “see how well the brands were listening to consumers.”

According to the study, more than 90 percent of brands are using two or more social networks. 100 percent of the brands in the home goods category were using multiple channels. However, the apparel industry is the most connected, with 86 percent using four channels and more than 60 percent represented on all five of the social networks that were analyzed.

Yesmail_frequently_used

Facebook was unsurprisingly the most popular network across categories, with 100 percent saturation of home goods, apparel and big box brands. Twitter came in second with more than 90 percent saturation in four out of five categories, and YouTube came in third. While 82 percent of apparel brands have adopted Instagram, adoption was much slower in other categories.

Facebook is also where marketers seemed to have the largest average following. By contrast, on YouTube, the average follower count was lowest. Yesmail attributed this to the “more involved nature of this social channel.” While video is on the rise, according to the report:

[V]ideo viewing versus reading quick posts may not be as appealing to the broader base of social media users who are typically looking for quick content consumption.

Despite the high average follower count, Facebook follower growth was the slowest. This is where Instagram outshined other networks, especially in the apparel category, which saw an increase in followers of more than 400 percent.

Yesmail_average_follower_growth

Yesmail offered these key takaways for marketers:

  • Scale efforts with cross-promotion: Include social icons prominently in all content including emails, resource and event pages. Also consider developing campaigns specifically for driving subscriptions to social pages and profiles.
  • Know your target audience: Every social media channel has its own core demographic. Understanding the audience on your chosen social media channels can be a valuable tool for developing targeted campaigns.
  • Encourage interaction: Social media is not just about promoting your brand; it’s a medium for two-way communication with your customers. Encourage them to share their experiences, acknowledge both praise and negative feedback and share useful information with your followers.
  • Develop timely and relevant content: Take advantage of current events, holidays and social trends to grow your followers organically. This requires really understanding your audience and how to engage with individuals to develop brand advocacy or solve problems in real-time.
  • Understand the channel usage frequency: Some social channels require more interaction than others. This will help brands develop a schedule geared toward the specific audience. And don’t forget that Twitter’s users are mostly mobile and international.
  • Download the full report to see the rest of the data, case-study examples and more details on each takeaway.

    Microsoft, Google, and Harvard Business Review Among Top Brands on LinkedIn (Infographic)

    Content marketing is an increasingly important tactic, and many marketers it is the most important digital trend for 2015. LinkedIn recognizes this trend and has been working to better tools for marketers using the platform. One such tool is the Content Marketing Score, and an infographic from Linkedin shows which global brands have ranked highest since the score launched last year.

    The data was compiled by looking at six months of the activity of companies’ content marketing efforts on LinkedIn. The Content Marketing Score is based on a number of factors including company page updates, employee shares, Sponsored Updates, activities in Groups and Influence, and employee posts through the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.

    The top 10 were mostly technology companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Google. However business publications like Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and Inc. magazine placed high overall.

    When examining individual countries, local corporations tend to get better traction than international organizations. KLM Airlines in Netherlands, L’Oreal in France, Ericsson in Sweden, and BP in the U.K. all placed higher than worldwide leaders like Google.

    These top companies all exhibit similar traits that have brought them to the top, such as engaging employees in the content marketing process, and posting updates about their company. Other recent study data supports the notion that engaging employees can be powerful motivator for brand advocacy.

    To see top brands in other countries, or to see data on the habits of the most successful brands, view the infographic below.

    LNK LMS_2015TopGlobalBrand_Infographic_WF

    Social Media is Stuck in the Workplace Friend Zone (Infographic)

    Social media has reached critical mass in the U.S. and parts of western Europe. Still, adoption of enterprise social tools is slow and many people see social media as a distraction from their work day. Scredible PLC, creator of social-driven education technologies, surveyed 1,000 professionals in the U.S. and U.K. regarding their social media habits and uncovered some prevailing attitudes with regard to how social fits into the workplace.

    Despite the proliferation of social enterprise tools such as Jive, Yammer and even Slack, most people see social media as a way to keep up with friends and family. Still, 54 percent of Americans believe social will be increasingly important to their careers in the next five years.

    What’s worse is that 42 percent of those surveyed said there was too much useless content on social media, which keeps them from being more active.

    According to Scredible CEO Colin Lucas-Mudd, this data underscores fact that Americans are more socially savvy than their British counterparts. He noted:

    The same concerns come up across both the U.S. and U.K. markets when it comes to being more engaged online: how hard it is to find good content, the time required to sift through spam, and –especially in the U.S. – the worry that bosses will judge what’s posted on social media.

    Check out the infographic below to see the difference between U.S. and U.K. attitudes regarding social media and Scredible’s recommendation for addressing the challenge.

    Infographic social media survey

    Report: Adoption of Enterprise Social Technologies is Slow

    From Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses, most companies realize the value social media can generate. However, creating a cohesive brand image of means making brand advocates out all employees, from the top of the organization all the way down. A new report from the Chief Marketing Officer Council and Executive Networks Inc, examines the importance of employees in establishing the brand persona.

    According to the report, brand persona is an essential part of attracting new talent and building long lasting customer relationships. But there’s a challenge:

    Only 62 percent of respondents report having a formal brand platform that defines shared values, ethics and collective buy-in to a singular value proposition.

    Additionally, only 37 percent of the 230 senior marketing and HR leaders surveyed from around the world believed they had a well defined corporate culture that was universally embraced within their organization. However, 70 percent believed their management teams were committed to the company’s image, identity, culture and collective ethos.

    Brands seek to engage their employees, and use them to spread the brand persona through internal communication campaigns, employee meetings and gatherings, and through training and development programs. But the adoption of internal social media and communication tools is slow, according to the report.

    Half of survey respondents expressed a desire to utilize more social tools to effectively crowdsource branding and real time brand engagement with their employees. Most wanted to turn employees into active advocates and brand champions; why wouldn’t they when brand advocacy can be so powerful.

    Other reasons for the interest in enterprise social technologies included a desire to reinforce brand authenticity, to gain recognition and visibility for employee efforts, and to unify, engage and activate their whole organization.

    Download the full report for more information on how successful brands are working to engage sectors of their employees.

    Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Report: MSNBC, E! Among Top U.S. Television Networks on Facebook and Twitter

    The rise of streaming services in recent years has often opened the discussion about the future of television. However, as networks get more savvy about social media, and traditional industries adapt to the new digital medium, we begin to see a kind of symbiosis. A new report from technology and data company Engagement Labs examines the top 50 broadcast networks based on their eValue social score.

    According to an Engagement Labs statement:

    Social media has become an essential part of the broadcast television experience. Networks use social media to keep their audiences informed on programming and brands are increasingly looking to networks to offer social media integration as added-value with their TV buys.

    The top five networks, based on their eValue score, for Facebook were:

  • MSNBC
  • Fox News
  • CNN
  • Fox Business
  • HLN
  • It’s unsurprising that news networks would reach the top, given that Facebook is one of the primary sources of news for many demographics. News channels especially have learned that interacting with viewers on social during broadcasts is a great way to keep audiences engaged with broadcast content.

    According to Engagement Labs:

    Seven of the top ten networks all cater to news content and leverage on-air content through their Facebook channels where their audience can then interact with shares, likes and comments.

    Twitter’s top five were appropriately more focused on entertainment:

  • E!
  • NBC Sports
  • Oxygen
  • Logo
  • FOX Sports 1
  • It’s not surprising that Twitter users would favor sports programming, since its short0form nature seems well suited for the discussion of live sporting events. The 2014 World Cup is a great case in point. Serial programming, such as reality and scripted TV, also seem to fare very well on Twitter.

    Regardless of a viewer’s social network of choice, broadcasters have learned to leverage the power of social media to keep their audiences engaged — and their tactics have been working.

    Engagement Labs CEO Bryan Segal said:

    Networks – particularly those with content available On-Demand or via streaming services – are using social media to cultivate their relationship with current viewers, as well as grow their audience through social word-of-mouth […]For ad buyers, sometimes a smaller-but-loyal audience can be even more attractive than a show with the highest ratings and social can help identify these engaged audiences.

    Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

    How to Improve Organic Reach on Facebook (Infographic)

    Since Facebook made the transition to pay-to-play, reports have shown consistent declines in organic reach for brands. A new infographic from Kissmetrics examines the problems brands are having on Facebook, and offers some possible solutions.

    Organic reach is on the decline for two primary reasons. With more than 18 million businesses competing for space Facebook has taken to limiting the number of posts than make it to the News Feed. Secondly, Facebook is a business, and its revenue is largely generated by selling ads to brands for increased reach. This leaves Facebook double dipping and failing engagement.

    There are up to 100,000 factors influence whether your posts make it to the newsfeed. Photos and videos receive more interaction, but if your content is reported as spam, your post rating decreases. Similarly, user interaction with ads also plays into the algorithm.

    The best way to improve your organic reach, according to the infographic, is to find better metrics to focus on; this strategy is already working for savvy Fortune 500 companies. Posting at non-peak times, engaging in more open conversation with customers and fans, and engaging with fans in other ways such as Q and A sessions are all ways to increase your reach without relying on traditional algorithm gaming methods.

    For more information on how user behavior impacts algorithm ranking, and explanations of the three pillars of Facebook’s algorithm view the algorithm below.

    How-to-Improve-Your-Facebook’s-Organic-Reach

    Reddit Bans Hate Subreddits in Effort to Discourage Harassment

    Reddit is a social site where anonymity is a key benefit for its users. However, there are plenty of users who abuse their anonymity online, which makes it hard to discourage Reddit users away from the tendency to abuse the site. Last week Reddit staff banned five subreddits that were hotbeds of harassment; unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t look like it will be very effective.

    According to an official admin post from Reddit:

    We want to be open about our involvement: We will ban subreddits that allow their communities to use the subreddit as a platform to harass individuals when moderators don’t take action. We’re banning behavior, not ideas. Today we are removing five subreddits that break our reddit rules based on their harassment of individuals. If a subreddit has been banned for harassment, you will see that in the ban notice.

    These subreddits included fat-shaming subreddits like r/fatpeoplehate and r/hamplanethatred, and a racist subreddit r/shitniggerssay. The r/fatpeoplehate group was the largest of the banned subreddits, and had more than 150,000 subscribers. Other subreddits in this wave of administrative clean-up had less than 5,000 subscribers.

    Reddit has been trying earnestly trying to tackle the harassment problem on its site. A survey of users conducted in May showed that Reddit users were reluctant to use, or recommend the site to friends because of the harassment problem. As a result, Reddit updated its user agreement and terms of service to reflect its new definition of harassment.

    The purpose of the change was to make Reddit a friendlier place where more open communication could occur; banning the subreddits was likely a move to further that goal. However, it’s so easy to create subreddits that a new version of r/fatpeoplehate is already live, entitled r/fatcriticism. Currently the subreddit is much less popular than the original incarnation, but it’s possible the new iteration will grow.

    Interestingly, the new subreddit has ‘laws of the land’ that specifically prohibit users from harassing one another:

    HARASSMENT VIA P.M. OF SPECIFIC USERS IS NOT TOLERATED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. THIS IS WHAT GOT/r/fatpeoplehate BANNED. DON’T MESS IT UP AGAIN.

    For the most part, Reddit has left its users alone to self regulate, which has occasionally worked to reduce hate speech and harassment. But Reddit’s users have a fiercely independent streak, and if staff hope to eliminate harassment by deleting subreddits, then they are doomed to fail, since new replacement subreddits can and will pop up to fill the void.

    However, users realize that harassment leads to bans, so behaviors may be changing for the better. Trolling may be a result of anonymity, or a lack of punishment, or just a demographic issue we’re not considering. To manage it more effectively, sites need to be prepared to take unconventional approaches, and occasionally play the bad guy.

    Retail and Food Service Workers Take to Twitter Most Often to Vent (Infographic)

    There have been rumblings across in the leadership and human resources world about employee engagement being at an all-time low. With less than 20 percent of workers actively engaged, many in the business leadership community have been wondering what to do, yet the answer continues to elude the experts.

    Job search site Monster and social intelligence platform Brandwatch teamed up for a different perspective on employee happiness. They analyzed more than one million tweets over the course of a year too find out exactly when and why Americans take to Twitter to express how they feel about their jobs.

    According to the study, eight out of ten of the top states where people tweet about loving their jobs are in the western U.S. Unfortunately, those who tweet about hating their jobs live largely in the eastern parts of the country, with Florida, Ohio, the Virginias and Delaware workers seeming to hate their jobs the most.

    Location wasn’t the only determining factor in job satisfaction. Indeed, the study suggests that those in the Western U.S. who tweeted about loving their jobs worked largely in technology related fields. Oregon seemed to be a big outlier, in terms of job titles, which included barista and manufacturing.

    Among the states with the lowest ratio to love/hate for their work, tech and software related jobs seemed less prominent. In fact, retail and food and beverage industry professionals accounted for 56 percent of those who tweeted about hating their jobs.

    To see a breakdown of who loves their jobs the most based on jobs, skills and state, or to see how the love/hate cycle is impacted by the time of year, check out the infographic below.

    monster infographic new v13Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

     

    Twitter Offers More Sophisticated Tools Against Trolls

    Twitter has a troll problem, and it knows, so it’s been working recently to curb the trolling, as have third parties. Still, it seemed there weren’t enough tools available for users to protect themselves. Twitter is hoping the addition of “block lists” could help solve the problem.

    According to an official blog post from Twitter:

    You can now export and share your block lists with people in your community facing similar issues or import another user’s list into your own account and block multiple accounts all at once, instead of blocking them individually. We also hope these advanced blocking tools will prove useful to the developer community to further improve users’ experience.

    The issue with a lot of the harassment on Twitter is that very few users are outright banned from the service, and even when they are, it’s easy to get back on the service. That leads to continued harassment, regardless of blocking individual accounts. Furthermore, when a user is subject to persistent or group attacks, the block and report functions can quickly become useless.

    The creation of creating exportable lists essentially enables users to crowdsource their blocking. A list could easily be passed around among a sub group and the list can grow as it passes from person to person. This could be a great tool for groups that routinely face harassment from multiple sources and accounts.

    The issue with these lists, and most of Twitter’s solutions, is the ease of creating a new account. Until recently, all that was required to sign up was an email address and a unique username. However, Twitter has been toying with phone verification as a method of banning and tracking users. While this and IP based bans have their own challenges, when used in conjunction with growing ban lists, Twitter could be onto a solution it has needed for a long time.

    Image courtesy of Gil C / Shutterstock.com.

    Facebook is the Biggest Social Channel for U.S. Women During Women’s World Cup (Infographic)

    The 2014 FIFA World Cup was undoubtedly one of the largest events that social media has ever seen. Facebook alone saw 350 million users engage in more than three billion interactions throughout the tournament last year. The FIFA Women’s World Cup started this week, and women are driving the conversation on social.

    Influenster, a product discovery platform, surveyed 10,400 U.S. women primarily between the ages of 18 and 45. Of the survey participants, 99 percent were considered “heavy social media users” and were active on two or more social networks.

    Sixty-three percent of the women surveyed said they planned to watch the Women’s World Cup this year. While more than half said they would watch to support team U.S.A. or in support of female athletes, only 33 percent planned to watch because they are soccer fans. That said, American audiences seem to get more excited about soccer every year, and so we can expect that last number to grow.

    Much like the 2014 World Cup, we can expect the Women’s World Cup to result in lots of social media chatter. In fact, 61 percent of survey participants indicated they would use social media to stay updated on the competition, while 47 percent indicated they would get updates from television and even fewer planned to get updates from news sites or print publications.

    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular networks that women are using to keep track of the competition. Twitter users plan to tweet during the games, and 76 percent will do so to interact with other fans. 64 percent will tweet to support their team, and 49 percent will tweet to feel connected to the game.

    For more information on attitudes towards recent FIFA scandals, and the attitudes towards team USA, view the infographic below.

    womensworldcupinfographicTop image courtesy of FIFA Women’s World Cup on Facebook.

     

    Report: Social Media is the Slowest Way to Resolve Customer Service Issues

    Social media could be an excellent opportunity for companies to provide customer service. However, many companies fail to provide a positive, or even adequate experience. A whitepaper titled The State of Customer Service 2015 from The Northridge Group, examined current customer attitudes toward online customer service from more than 1,000 respondents.

    Customers have high expectations for customer service in all categories, and companies are falling short, especially on social media. 33 percent of survey respondents believe that customer service on social media doesn’t meet expectations, and only 14 percent believe it exceeds expectations. By contrast, 26 percent believe online chat exceeds expectations;  15 percent believe it doesn’t.

    Social media presents a fast, highly interactive way to solve a customer service problem, yet 63 percent of customers have to contact a brand at least twice before an inquiry is resolved. Ten percent of respondents said they needed make four or more times before resolution.

    The-State-of-Customer-Service-2015_response_time.pdf

    Additionally, social media has an issue resolution rate of 13 percent — the lowest of any channel — according to the report. 33 percent of those surveyed said they received no response at all to an inquiry on social, and only nine percent of inquiries received a follow up to their request.

    Timing is incredibly important in customer service as it is in real-time marketing, but both fields seem slower to react than customers expect. 17 percent of customers expect a response within minutes, but 32 percent had to wait a day, while 30 percent had to wait a week or longer.

    Resolution rates are even worse than response rates. According to the report, 17 percent of customers expect a resolution within minutes, and 25 percent expect one within an hour. Unfortunately, 39 percent of customers still didn’t have their issue resolved for a week or more.

    Despite the hype, social media customer service is near the bottom of preferred contact methods among customers. 50 percent prefer to use a phone, 27 percent prefer email, and 14 percent prefer online chat. Only two percent choose social media first. In fact, social media is a last ditch choice when a customer service issue is urgent, but customers don’t believe it’s a fast way to resolve an issue.

    The-State-of-Customer-Service-2015_cs_channels

    For more information on customer attitudes relating to positive and negative feedback, and to find tips for improving the social media customer experience download the whitepaper.

    Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

    How to Make the Most of Pinterest During Wedding Season

    Wedding season is upon us, and with it comes the season for the social media bride. These days social media is becoming part of the wedding planning process, with more 70 percent of would-be brides using Pinterest to make plans before getting engaged.

    According to Jared Del Prete, Director of Digital Strategy for EGC Group, a full service advertising agency, Pinterest is a unique platform for compiling and aggregating content from users and brands alike.

    It really is just a great way for eventual brides to load up their feed and start browsing. Assuming people are Pinning with best practices in mind, they can easily follow a brand or click a hashtag.

    He added that Pinterest is particularly useful because of the way it pulls images from major sites and people build boards and connect them all together. And despite much of the content being user-generated, since people are browsing websites and pinning images from those sites, it creates a “garden of great content.”

    Del Prete notes that as people pin content from sites they like — dresses, flowers or a great photography idea — other people are seeing that there’s a great viral effect. Instead of working like so many social networks do to strip attribution, Pinterest is designed to drive traffic back to the original source. Del Prete says this is precisely why Pinterest is so valuable to brands.Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 7.45.48 AM

    He offers a few tips for making the most of Pinterest during the wedding season:

  • Make images pinnable: In other words, brands need to take advantage of Pinterest integration so images can be shared directly from the site. Beyond technology, Del Prete says it’s also important to make images compelling and compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Be mindful of image size and quality: Every social site has a sweet spot for image sizing. According to Pinterest, the best aspect ratio is between 2:3 to 1:3.5 with a minimum width of 600 pixels. Anything falling outside these parameters will be adjusted to fit the feed.
  • Include useful descriptions: Pinterest isn’t just a digital scrapbook, it’s a visual search engine. Including relevant keywords and a clear description can help users find your images when conducting a search.
  • Boost images with ads: Pinterest is now available for self-service advertising, which Del Prete says can be used to great advantage. He notes that a promoted Pin in the fashion category could result in 138 million impressions per month.
  • Ultimately, Del Prete says Pinterest has a tremendous upside for ecommerce and brand positioning. While there’s still room to grow, he says Pinterest has made progress over the last year.

    Now brands can see top performing pins across all boards, which pins are driving the most clicks, and what is most shared or re-pinned.

    For wedding season, he recommends brands pay attention to which dress styles and flower arrangements are getting the most engagement and adjust website inventory accordingly.

    He adds:

    You might want to promote those things, but you could also adjust how it displays on your website so it impacts sales.

    Image courtesy of Shutterstock.