Moms Rule the web!

A recent article in the Atlantic outlines the power Mom's have in the blogoshpere.

You should read the whole post here, but here is a choice bit of information:

"Women are the major users of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, and every social media site except YouTube. They are engagers. They are sharers. It is natural to a women's personality to say why she buys something and why she like it. Women love to share news about the bargains that they got. They love deals and they love to talk about it."

WOMM is #1 source of local business recommendations

Search Engine land published the third installment of their Local Consumer Review study. Its a great read and offers some interesting insights into WOMM. We highly recommend any marketer reads this study.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 77% of respondents said they had shared a recommendation through word-of-mouth in the past year
  • men use a greater number of channels for their local business recommendations than women (1.53 vs. 1.33)
  • Women are more likely than men to have shared a recommendation by word-of-mouth (78% vs. 74%)
  • Men are more likely to have shared via Facebook (34% vs. 32%) and Twitter (12% vs. 7%)
  • When citing reasons for recommending businesses, women are more likely than men to hone in on reliability and professionalism (68% vs. 62%), friendliness (50% vs. 39%), the existence of a special offer (46% vs. 27%), and a unique and original experience (44% vs. 25%)
  • Consumers seem to be increasingly influenced by offers. This year, 2 in 3 said they would be more likely to recommend a local business to people they know if the business has a good value offer or discount.
  • Also check out the chart below to see how the genders responded to incentives for receommendations.

Cage Match: Pinterest v. Facebook

As always, Giga Om is on the money with a nice comparison of the two hottest social platforms. The highlights:

  • Pinterest users spend WAY more but dont hang around much after they buy.
  • Facebook users spend much more time on the site

The infographics do all the work:

 

Influence illustrated

The folks over at social media today and Awareness pulled together an infographic from their recent whitepaper.

The whitepaper a great read and worth the time (if you have it). If you don't, the image can serve as your cliff's notes. Happy Reading!:

Small businesses love social media!

A quick snippet from emarketer's recent article: Social Marketing’s Benefits Rival Email for Small Businesses

The quote we like the most is this one:

Social media has quickly moved up the ranks of top marketing tactics among small and medium-sized business (SMBs). April 2011 research from Pitney Bowes indicates that by some measures of desirability, it’s in close competition with email.

In pictures:

What do we think this means in the broader perspective?

  • SMB Marketers realize the power of connecting with customers directly via social channels
  • SMB Marketers like the control of the channel and freedom it represents to realize their creativity
  • SMB Marketers are more likely to experiment with the channel to light small marketing fires to see what takes off
  • SMB marketers will look for simple uses of social channels to create buzz and awareness via online word-of-mouth marketing

What does this mean for RevenueNation Advocates?

  • There should be more interest from SMBs for services like RevenueNation 
  • There will likely be more cool new products promoted via social channels, and thus higher earning potential for Brand Advocates!

As always, feel free to chime in on the comments below!

Why Moms refer brands to others

Can't start this one without once again tipping the hat to eMarketer. They have their fingers on the pulse of WOMM and cover the trends brilliantly.

In an article posted today on why Moms recommend products they drill into the incentives that drive Mom'suse of word-of-mouth marketing. A very enlightening quote:

..moms love to trade information and engage in online conversations about themselves and their families. But moms say they would be significantly more inclined to refer a brand or product to friends when offered an incentive. Marketers can boost engagement and motivate moms to spread word-of-mouth about products by providing coupons, discounts, deals and other tangible financial rewards. 

Also, some other highlights:

  • if offered an incentive, nearly 66% of moms said they would be more likely to refer a brand or website to others.
  • The mom segment is made up of vocal, tech-savvy, price-conscious consumers who are an important purchase influencer for families and more apt to use incentives than the average consumer.
  • Moms are highly engaged in brand conversations and are keen on finding bargains and additional ways to save. Incentives, including coupons, local deals, discounts and product samples, serve as a powerful marketing tool to drive moms to discuss and pass information about products on to their network of friends.
  • With wide social circles and a high tendency to communicate and share ideas via word-of-mouth marketing, moms are extremely receptive to brand referrals and product recommendations from their peers.

Moms, like any other savvy internet citizen, will reward the brands that reward them. Just as with offline social networking, the network effect of having an influencer make a word-of-mouth recommendation to their networks of friends can have an exponential impact on who sees and buys a product.

Pretty soon we will have some tailor-made updates to the service that focus on this powerful group of Mommy WOMMers, and we look forward to making them successful!

How Consumers Share Content Online

Another good one from emarketer. They outline some recent research about what channels consumers use to share information online. The main highlights are below:

  • For the April 2011 “Content is the Fuel of the Social Web” report, AOLand Nielsen Online analyzed more than 10,000 social media messages to see how consumers share content online. The study found that 93% of internet users turn to email to share content, while 89% use social networks and 82% use blogs.
  • Social networks are the top method for sharing content with friends, as 92% of users do so, while email is the most popular way to share with family (86%) and colleagues (26%). In sharing online content with the general public, consumers prefer to use message boards (51%) or blogs (41%).
  • Paul Adams, global brand experience manager at Facebook, said that the average person has four different friend or influence groups. Each has an average of 10 people and they are based around life stages, experiences or hobbies.
  • the study found that 60% of shares were links to published content, such as a news or media site. Meanwhile, 36% of shares consisted of embedded content, such as branded experiences on a social network, enabling users to share content without leaving the platform or social network.

So what does it all mean for those of you who use word-of-mouth to give and receive recommendations?

  • People choose the word-of-mouth channel that is most contextually relevant to the folks they are sharing with. Mom and Dad probably get and send emails. Younger, more tech savvy folks are more likely using Twitter or Facebook because thats where their friends are.
  • The high level take-away for RevenueNation Advocates is that you should be capable of communicating in many channels, and you should choose which based on the comfort level of the recipient. 
  • You need to be thinking: Where is your recipient most likely to see and take action on your recommendation? What medium do they prefer to receive content? 
  • While you consider the relevance of the actual recommendation, you also need to think about which channels are appropriate to who and what you are passing on via word-of-mouth marketing.

Some Data on Connected Moms

We love smartphone-toting Moms here at RevenueNation.  They are very influential and are very well respected by their peers when it comes to recommendations of products...

The folks at eMarketer have some data about connected Moms from Baby Center that we think the RevenueNation would be interested in seeing:

  • Nearly six in 10 moms have a smartphone, vs. 50% of all internet users. Overall, 62% of mom respondents told BabyCenter they use the mobile internet regularly, up from 22% just two years ago.
  • Mothers were significantly more likely to access games, social media and health information, and somewhat more likely to check the weather, listen to music or shop via mobile.
  • Moms were below average on accessing content like maps, productivity tools, and financial and business information, suggesting they’re sticking to activities to help—or help occupy—their families.
  • Activities like these lead smartphone-owning moms to spend an average of 6.1 hours a day with their phone, compared to 2.5 hours among moms with only a feature phone.
  • smartphone-owning moms considered ads with coupons (55%) or that featured nearby deals (34%) most appealing 

Here is a synopsis of what Moms are up to on their phones:

What brand marketers expect from their social followers

Another good one from the folks at eMarketer. They pulled together some data from a research shop regarding the expectations brand marketers have regarding their social followers:

According to a July 2010 survey of social media marketers by Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, the most valuable aspects of social media brand fans go beyond anything with an immediate monetary value. Increased short-term and long-term spend on the brand were the bottom two results.

At the top of the list were the fan’s value as a source of insight and increased loyalty overall. Advocacy and engagement were also important to at least three-quarters of respondents.

Whats most intriguing is the third line of the following graphic. "An increased chance of advocacy/recommendation". To us at RevenueNation, this is the sweetspot. We think that every brand -- large or small -- will eventually create strategies and tactics to build and monitor their own online Word of Mouth marketing just like they do for search and display.

Obviously, we don't feel that just having a facebook or twitter page is a strategy in and of itself. We think brands should engage in consciously designed and architected word of mouth campaigns leveraging dedicated tools set up expressly for this purpose (ahem: RevenueNation).

As we roll our product out of our test phase, we look forward to engaging directly with brands and advertisers looking to their online Word-of Mouth programs just like they run SEM or display campaigns: simply, accurately and with tools to monitor their efficacy.

If you are an advertiser interested in participating in our beta, click here. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Why marketing "the cloud" is good for word-of-mouth marketers

The current mainstream trend of using "the cloud" (in this case used as consumer web-services) in marketing messages to let folks know they can get their stuff backed up and accessed out on the interwebs (Microsoft and others) is helping generate awareness for the power of the web to make anyone's life more easy and relevant.

By getting folks in the mindset of using the cloud more as a part of their everyday workflow, people see that the real value of the cloud (the internet) is more than the utilities of cloud storage, backup, etc. The mainstream is seeing the social benefit from the mindset shift towards leveraging the wisdom of the crowd in the cloud to share, network, and get recommendations from folks they interact with in "the cloud".

By making cloud services socially efficient, more and more are seeing recommendations and associated links become their primary driver of purchase decisions. For marketers, this change in behavior from machine recommended (search engines) to human recommended (social) creates a marvelous opportunity and a large responsibility.

Brands that wish to leverage this change will need to be more transparent, less 'markety' and will have to learn to harness the wisdom of the crowd in the cloud by properly incentivizing and empowering the crowd with tools to share their thoughts and recommendations with friends. The benefits will be huge for those that adopt and accommodate this trend.

As a business that was founded on the principal that online word-of-mouth recommendations will power more purchase decisions than traditional marketing, we look forward to the coming future where brands and customers alike can benefit mutually from transparent and "liquid" product recommendations in the cloud.

The power of New Moms!

There is a nice piece out on eMarketer today that breaks down how new Moms connect and use word-of-mouth marketing. A couple key highlights:

 

  • The most important sources for learning about products boiled down to parenting websites and word-of-mouth from other moms.
  • According to research from TRU and Oxygen/NBC Universal, women who are “in transition”—which includes new and expectant moms—are more likely to have a social network profile, have about 43% more social network friends on average, and are more likely to recommend brands and pass on coupons, making them the ideal influencers for marketers to target.

If you are a new Mom, keep in mind that if you make your recommendations using RevenueNation, you'll have some extra cash for formula, diapers, and wipes! Just look on the Offer Catalog and search for MOM category for some of the products that we think fit the bill. As always, be sure to suggest other advertisers you would like to recommend on RevenueNation!

 

 

Well looky here...teen girls look to friends for trends and buying advice.

A direct quote from today's eMarketer research snippet: How to influence teen girls online:

Friends and peers are an important part of teen girls’ experience, and Ketchum found they were the first place respondents turned for advice about buying apparel. Friends were the top source of new trend information and also the most influential when it came to making purchase decisions, making the social aspect of shopping key for this demographic.

No big surprises there, we suppose, but what does that really mean? What it means is brands should be seizing the opportunity to harness the recommendation power of these young ladies.

Enter RevenueNation. 

By using RevenueNation to set up a brand advocacy campaign, brands empower young ladies (and young men!) to benefit by the word-of-mouth recommendations they make to friends while building stronger brand loyalty with these folks via product discounts offered through RevenueNation. 

If you are looking to get your brand in the hands of motivated teens, click here.

Cash is King...(big surprise!)

As a follow on to last week's post regarding the use of compensated recommendations, eMarketer also drives home the point that folks want cash the most when they recommend products and services using social media and word-of-mouth.

Given the economy and all the pressures on students and parents alike, the desire for cash is no surprise at all. Check out the data:

Given how valuable extra income is, we'll keep offering cash for all your efforts so you can pay the bills, buy books, or eventually that new flat screen or laptop!

Content Contributors Seek Value in Return for their Recommendations

One of our favorite sources of numbers and analysis about social media and word-of-mouth marketing is eMarketer (you see that from how often we cite them as a source on our posts!). The team over there recently published a piece called: "Twitter Users and Bloggers Open to More Than Earned Media"  

In the article they cite the fact that may bloggers, social media mavens, and tweeters enjoy the opportunity to promote brands, assuming there is some form of remuneration for the mention:

The authenticity of word-of-mouth has been scaled up by social media and other online tools, but it appears many social content publishers are willing to form relationships with marketers that would move their endorsements from the “earned” to the “paid” column.

In fact, most are already monetizing their recommendations:

As most of you already know, your recommendations of brands, products, and services is a very valuable source of purchasing data to your friends. So keep doing it! Soon this highly effective word-of-mouth marketing will dominate online, thanks to you and all of your efforts!

Also, please bear in mind (as our lessons state!), to be safe, all such paid recommendations/advocations should be preceded with some wording that says that the tweet, post, or comment is in fact an endorsement. This way it is very clear that your recommendation is a paid endorsement that you will be compensated for if your friends buy.

Happy Advocating!

 

Liking a Brand Versus Being a Brand Advocate

While brands should be thrilled when individuals "like" them on Facebook, they need to be aware that the act of liking by an individual is not an act on the brand's behalf. It's an act by the user to illustrate more about themself and the brands they associate with and enjoy.

Consider the following quote from a recent eMarketer article about the "The Thin Line Between Liking a Brand and Liking Its Social Marketing":

Consumers who “like” a brand as a means to their own self-expression are by definition brand advocates, and the earned media potential for marketers among these enthusiasts is high. But marketers must remember that a desire for marketing messages—even those that include a good coupon or exclusive offer—is not why everyone is connecting.

Users aren't signing up for brand spam or a series of unsolicited messages and brands shouldn't get too cocky with a "like" action. The real gold in social media and word-of-mouth is a proactive recommendation of a product or brand from one friend to another. These recommendations are expressions of belief and require energy exerted on behalf of one individual based on their passion or interest in the brand. Such passion results in word of mouth marketing accounting for 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.

In essence, the "like" is an expression of who the liker is and the profile they want to project, no more. What marketers seek (to contribute to the bottom line) is that individual's proactive recommendation of the brand or product. RevenueNation facilitates these recommendations with our simple system so that brands can benefit from the millions of word-of-mout interactions each day.

 

 

The Power of word-of-mouth keeps Molokai Green

 

This is very cool. Blue Planet Foundation ran a word-of-mouth campaign that saved Molokai $6.5 Million! This is a great example of how word-of mouth marketing can make the world a better (and greener) place. Check out these stats:

The residents save $200 per swap, based on the life of the bulb. Do that calculation during this three-month engagement with the community and this translates to a savings of 17 gigawatt-hours of electricity. What's more, it prevents more than 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide from ever being emitted.

Even more compelling:

Based on a survey from 300 homes, 60% of participants exchanged bulbs and reported a decrease in their energy bill (about $10 a month). Each participant swapped an average of 15 bulbs. Nearly 90% of the participants felt that the program was effective.

As we all know the power of word-of-mouth is undeniable. The simple sharing of a compelling idea with those in our networks can get folks to act. With RevenueNation, you have the power to easily use online word-of-mouth to let folks know about your products or other brands you really love. And because these recommendations come from someone they trust (you!) , your friends will take action and you can reap the rewards!

Please feel free to submit your own success stories as they happen, the rest of us will want to hear what you did and how you got folks to take action!

Data on Trustworthiness in Social Media

So what makes social media trustworthy? There are some great insights in this emarketer piece about what does and doesn't get people to trust the recommendations and conversations they observe online.

As you all know, the folks here at RevenueNation are big believers in the social networks and broader online channel for online word-of-mouth marketing. What's interesting here is the way the research portrays the different channels. While this picture is interesting, most of you have shown us that there is no silver bullet for what works on twitter, facebook, or other social channels.

Most of the success we are seeing comes from good old fashioned personal relevance. People take action when they trust the recommendation, regardless of channel or network. What happens after the initial click is up to the individual, the efficacy of the marketer, and the relevance of the message that accompanies the link.

Thoughts on The Value of Brand Advocacy

 

A recent series of articles have come out to define a cash value of a brand's fans. The numbers are interesting to look at:

 

  • Digital consulting firm Syncapse and research company Hotspex have come up with an empirical formula that puts an average value of $136.38 on the Facebook fans of the site’s 20 biggest corporate brands. (emarketer)
  • Social media management company Vitrue also attempted to put a dollar figure on Facebook followings. That study examined impressions in the Facebook newsfeed and their earned-media value to arrive at a figure of $3.60.
  • Syncapse and Hotspex calculated the earned-media component of a fan’s value nearly twice as highly, at $6.79.
  • More than one-half of Facebook fans said they are more likely to make a purchase for at least a few brands, and 67% of Twitter followers reported the same. (emarketer/Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate)
  • The power of earned media gives a further boost to brands: 60% of respondents claimed their Facebook fandom increased the chance they would recommend a brand to a friend. Among Twitter followers, that proportion rose to nearly eight in 10. (emarketer/Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate)

The interesting points here stem from the power of social media to engage a brand with its fans and provide measurable value. We maintain that the RevenueNation methodology amplifies these activities further, as RevenueNation allows our Brand Advocates to leverage social media to use word-of-mouth to recommend brands and products to friends and followers--thus leveraging social media's power for the highly coveted coveted word-of-mouth marketing channel that brands seek.

Eventually, we will put together research to show how effective our RevenueNation Brand Advocates recommendations are for our advertisers!

 

Everyone is a publisher...

 

The world is changing and all of us that use the web and participate in the online conversation are in the position to profit from our online activities.

The idea is not new...for decades publishers have been profiting from their content by selling ad space along side it. Dead tree media like newspapers have made a killing on this model, yet the winds of change are forcing them to evaluate how they get paid for content that used to be free.

Now that content creation has ben democratized, there is a huge opportunity for those of us that contribute user generated content (UGC) to blogs, sites and social networks. We should be compensated like professional publishers and "semi-pro" publishers like affiliate marketers.

To quote Steve Poland writing an article in TechCrunch called "Twitter and Facebook Turn Everyone into an Affiliate Marketer":

Most recently, it’s not just websites/blogs that are referring sales, but rather individuals themselves, who are using realtime sites like Twitter and Facebook to influence their friends and followers by recommending products to buy, music to listen to, and movies to watch. These realtime discussions are becoming important sources of referral sales and leads for websites—if someone is asking on Twitter what digital camera they should buy, you bet your ass that Amazon.com wants anyone on the Internet responding to that user’s question to be linking to a camera for sale on Amazon.com (and not Walmart.com or BestBuy.com)...

Everyone with access to the Internet today is a Publisher. They are a voice. This has always been the case, but not the way it is now with Microblogging. Individuals were Publishers on a smaller scale via email forwards, email replies, IM, or most recently blog posts. Blogging broadened individual’s view points (influence) up to a global scale—no longer would they only influence just a few friends in a closed-circuit email, but they could influence the masses online. But blogging wasn’t realtime discussions. Instant messaging and chat rooms were always realtime discussions—but primarily on a one-on-one or small-group basis. Twitter and Facebook status updates, aka microblogging, has mashed the realtime nature of instant messaging with the global scale and voice of blogging.

RevenueNation seeks to simplify the way in which amateur publishers like you and me can post relevant revenue-generating links to topical articles and conversations on the web. We help this new breed of amateur publishers become brand advocates to promote products and services they feel are relevant to their networks, followers, friends or conversations about our areas of interest.

By providing amateur publishers to access to a simple set of lessons and a catalog of brands to promote, we empower the modern amateur publisher to become a very powerful brand advocate and promoter that seeks to place relevant promotions so that their links get clicked.

Our team of advocates only get compensated when an action is taken by the reader, thus insuring that links posted are within relevant areas where interested audiences are present. Our advocates also gain access to discounts on the products they promote, so that they are both familiar with and loyal to the brands they promote. 

The benefit to our advertisers is simple: our team of amateur publishers filter and find areas on the web where their products and services are relevant...effectively crowd-sourcing the identification of the relevant placements across the web. Further, with our model, advertisers only pay RevenueNation Advocates when an action (like a purchase) is completed...thus removing the budget risk to advertisers seeking to get their products and service placed in the right conversations.

We look forward to empowering our RevenueNation Advocates and RevenueNation brands with the ability to use the "wisdom of the crowd" to find and place relevant messages that lead to results.

Stay tuned as we get closer to launch. We look forward to the conversation!