Social Media – The Week That Was

by Shveta Singh3. July 2009 12:34       Bookmark and Share

What made news in the social media circles last week. Here’s a snapshot:

YouTube doubles upload limit to 2GB

YouTube announced this week that it would be increasing the maximum upload limit from 1GB to 2GB. This upgrade was revealed along with tips for sharing and embedding HD videos.  The upgrade is targeted at users focusing on HD video uploads.

Bing builds Twitter results into its search

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has now begun including the latest tweets of popular Twitter users in its search results. As of now, this new feature is available only for a few thousand Twitter accounts based on their number of followers and the volume of tweets they produce. Ashton Kutcher is one of them. 


Facebook gaining ground in Orkut dominated countries

Facebook of late is making inroads in Brazil and India -- countries where Google-owned Orkut is the leading social media property. The number of Facebook users in the two countries has doubled in the last two months, while Orkut has seen a relative slowdown in activity.

Countdown to the Facebook Vanity URLs — Will your brand page get one?

by Shveta Singh12. June 2009 12:07       Bookmark and Share

Almost 200 million people around the world will be busy boosting their vanity this Saturday, June 13th.

What are your plans for the day?

For those who haven’t yet guessed it, Facebook is offering Vanity URLs to all its members starting Saturday, 9.31 am India time. This would allow Facebook members to get customised URLs for their profiles and pages. Currently, the Facebook URLs appear as a string of numbers that are neither user friendly nor search friendly. 


With this switch, Facebook profiles will become easily searchable and Facebook brand fan pages will become more accessible. And, we think it is a fairly strategic move by Facebook, considering the fact that some other sites in the domain, like Twitter, already have this feature.

What it means for Facebook Users and Marketers?

• Come Saturday, millions will vie for their preferred URL. Some will get, some will be disappointed and will have to settle for other options.

• For brand marketers with Facebook fan pages, it is a golden opportunity. They would want to secure the relevant URLs before a squatter does that, under all circumstances.

But what’s written in fine print?

Facebook has put in some restrictions to ensure that this exercise does not become a happy ground for cyber squatters. According to the FAQs published, a Fan Page must “have a minimum 1,000 fans as of May 31, 2009”, to be able to lay claim for a customised URL.

This is good news for some of the big brands with very popular fan pages, but bad news for start ups and smaller brands with less than 1000 fans.

So, what are the options available to brands with lesser fan base?

• Brands can protect their URLs by preventing their trademarks from being registered as usernames. All one has to do is fill up this form on Facebook.
• Wait till June 28th. Since according to a
recent revelation, the 1,000 fan restriction will be lifted on this day. Details are still awaited though.

All in all, something to look forward to. Just keep your fingers crossed and wish that your URL is not taken by someone before you get hold of it.

Webby Awards 2009 announced. And the Webby goes to…Twitter

by Shveta Singh7. May 2009 18:59       Bookmark and Share

 

 

 

 

Twitter, the micro-blogging phenomenon, has won the prestigious Webby Breakout of the Year Award this year. This award, according to many, will help catapult Twitter into the big league, considering the fact that the previous winners of this award were the likes of YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr.  

Just 3 years old, Twitter has grown by 900% last year, and has managed to draw many a celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ashton Kutcher and President Obama to its list of evangelists. The official Webby website goes on to call Twitter “the ultimate embodiment of the democratic spirit of the Web”, because of the level playing field it offers to one and all. 

Very well deserved we must say! 

Some of the other notable winners from the social media space include the photo-sharing site Flickr for the online community award, YouTube LIVE for online event, Digg for social networking and Pasricha's blog 1000awesomethings.com for Personal/Cultural blog category. 

In news category, NYTimes.com won the Webby for best writing and practices, whereas The Guardian was awarded the title of Best Newspaper site. Further, BBC won the webby for best news site category. 

This year the Webby Awards received almost 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries, including India. However, India’s presence in the final list is hardly anything to talk about. The two Indian mentions we could find in the “Honoree List” are the Jaago Re website and the mobile site of Moneycontrol.com.  

Hope to see some awards coming India’s way next year.

TheIt’s Advani Vs Congress in India’s First Digital Elections

by Shveta Singh10. April 2009 12:30       Bookmark and Share

Mr. Advani is not the only one wooing voter online now. With Congress waking up to the reality of online media, Election 2009 has truly turned into a digital war. Though Congress had stepped in late, still it is interesting to see what activities they are doing online.

 

Here are a few observations:

  • Unlike BJP where the whole Campaign is built around the communication Advani as PM, Congress’s online campaign is more party centric than personality oriented. Congress party’s ads are driving clicks to the party website www.aicc.org.in, whereas the BJP ads are linked to Mr. Advani’s website http://www.lkadvani.in
  • Both parties are using Google Adwords for their campaign. This has resulted in a unique situation where, on a single page, there are multiple ads where both BJP and Congress are vying for space from each other.
  • Congress has gone for 720x80 positioning and text-ads compared to BJP’s wide range of ads. Also it looks like Congress is offering a higher bid price, because, most ads are now showing Congress in the 720x80 positioning.
  • Mr. Advani’s blog http://blog.lkadvani.in/ has shaped up very well. His posts are frequent and well written. On the other hand, Congress’s blog http://votecongress2009.blogspot.com/ looks like an initiative gone wrong – bad formatting, errors, uneven fonts and the list goes on…
  • On YouTube, Congress seems to have got it right. The channel http://www.youtube.com/user/congressindia has 31 videos. The party’s Jai Ho Film is very popular with views as many as 40000. The BJP uploader http://www.youtube.com/user/bjpuploader?gl=IN&hl=en-GB  on YouTube is also very popular and has 260 videos.
  • Congress’s presence on Facebook and Orkut also leaves much to desire, when compared with BJP.

From whatever we have observed, BJP comes out a clear winner so far as the digital marketing strategy and execution is concerned. Partly because BJP had started its online campaign long before Congress. Now what remains to be seen is who eventually wins the elections.

 

 

Social Media Marketing Spending Set to Increase — Recession; What’s That?

by Shveta Singh24. March 2009 04:42       Bookmark and Share

Here’s something to cheer about in a recession hit economy. 

A new report by Forrester called “Social Media Playtime Is Over", indicates that companies are optimistic about the role of social media marketing in the face of recession. Over half (53%) of the 145 interactive marketing professionals surveyed intend to increase their social media marketing budgets. Only 5% of the respondents plan to decrease the spending.

 

The report goes on to reveal that the fastest growing categories in the social media bouquet are social networking, blogging and user generated content. The general opinion is that these are relatively inexpensive and more effective tactics to communicate marketing messages.  

Another interesting, but not so heartening revelation is that three fourth of the marketers surveyed are spending a miniscule $100,000 or less per year on social media. And, social media is not an integrated part of their overall marketing strategies. They are just experimenting with social media tactics in isolation.  

This report strengthens our already firm belief that Social Media Marketing is the way to goHowever, what needs to be kept in mind is that social media can’t be looked at in isolation. It has to be in synergy with a company’s overall marketing strategy. Only a focussed, consistent social media approach can deliver measurable results in the long run.

 

Kosmix goes beyond Google ‘Search’; it lets you ‘Explore’

by Shveta Singh16. March 2009 07:23       Bookmark and Share

Here comes Kosmix.

 

That’s the news doing rounds everywhere on the World Wide Web and even outside the web.

 

So what is Kosmix?

 

Kosmix is a newest kid on the search block. However, it would be wrong to call it just another search engine. Founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, Kosmix is not a traditional search engine. In words of Chris Shipley, from the consulting firm Guidewire, “It is Wikipedia meets Google search meets Answers.com”. In short, it’s a well-crafted magazine on topics searched. 

 

Unlike Google, Kosmix is not about finding the most relevant single piece of information; it's about organizing the Web so that one can discover relevant pieces of information. Infact, Kosmix gathers content from across the Web to build a sort of multimedia encyclopaedia entry for any keyword.

 

We did our own bit of research to test Kosmix. Here are the takeaways:

  • Kosmix has a pleasant user interface. It shows text, images and videos in a magazine style layout.
  • The results are a mix of web search results, blogs, news, videos, images, audios, conversations, tweets, community results, reviews, how-tos, shopping results and other related topics.  
  • It might not be as effective for long tail keywords where one is looking for a specific document, as it is for topics where one would want to browse information.
  • The time Kosmix takes to throw back relevant results is much higher than Google. This is an area where improvement is required.

We did a simultaneous search on Kosmix and Google for the term Food Pyramid. Here’s a snapshot of how different the results looked.

 

All in all, pretty impressive. Let’s see how well it is accepted by the loyal Google users. 

Which digital marketing tactics will dominate 2009?

by Shveta Singh3. March 2009 07:13       Bookmark and Share

Economic slowdown, shrinking marketing budgets and shifting focus from traditional to digital marketing…much has already been said and written about this. However, what remains unaddressed is — which tactics and channels in digital media are drawing the maximum interest? Is the focus still on the tried and tested tactics such as SEO, PPC or is it shifting? 

 

 

TopRank Online Marketing, a leading global internet marketing company, recently conducted a poll to discover their blog readers’ preferences for digital marketing tactics in 2009. The question that was asked was, “What 3 digital marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2009?

Here are the results of the poll showing top ten tactics:

  • Blogging (34%)
  • Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)
  • Search engine optimization (28%)
  • Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
  • Email marketing (17%)
  • Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
  • Pay per click (14%)
  • Blogger relations (12%)
  • Video marketing (10%)
  • Social media advertising (7%)

Interestingly, out of the top 10 tactics, 6 fall into the category of Social Media Marketing. In addition to this, blogging and twitter have toppled the erstwhile ruler SEO.

 

The respondents primarily came from United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, still this poll looks like a good indicator of shifting preferences globally. Being the industry leaders in the Indian digital marketing space, we know that this trend holds good for India as well. From big corporate houses to start-ups, everyone wants to go the social media way.

All we can say is — Way to go…

Social Networking in India Sees a Phenomenal Growth

by Shveta Singh24. February 2009 03:21       Bookmark and Share

Indians love Orkut but Facebook is soon catching up. We all knew it…now it is official. 

A recently released report by comScore on top social networking sites in India, suggests that Orkut is the most visited social networking site in India, as of December 2008. The site has more than 12.8 million visitors, and has seen an increase of 81 percent vis-à-vis the previous year. Now if you think 81% is phenomenal, read further. Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, is at the number 2 spot with 4 million visitors from India. However, the growth Facebook has seen dwarfs even Orkut.  At 150% growth, Facebook is likely to catch up with Orkut very soon.  

One very interesting revelation made in the report is the visitor base of Bharatstudent.com. It is the 3rd most popular networking site with 3.3 million visitors (up by 88 percent). SurprisedOn the other hand the much advertised and publicized ibibo.com and BIGADDA.com are not fairing too well. Looks like the initial spurt of activity triggered by the massive scale media activity has now fizzled out.  

Some of the other figures given in the report indicate an overall increase of 51% in the number of unique visitors to the social networking sites in India. The number stands at 19 million visitors as of December 2008…an extraordinary 60% of the total Indian internet traffic!!

Take a look at the table below for details: 


Top Social Networking Sites in India by Unique Visitors December 2008 vs. December 2007

Total India – Age 15+, Home/Work Locations

*Source: comScore World Metrix

    Total Unique Visitors (000)
Dec-07 Dec-08 % Change
Total Internet : Total Audience 26,240 32,099 22
Social Networking 12,795 19,369 51
Orkut 7,123 12,869 81
Facebook.com 1,619 4,044 150
Bharatstudent.com 1,736 3,269 88
hi5.com 714 2,012 182
ibibo.Com 1,970 990 -50
MySpace Sites 352 741 110
LinkedIn.com 293 513 75
PerfSpot.com 2,106 433 -79
BIGADDA.com 515 385 -25
Fropper.com 256 248 -3

 *Excludes visits from public computers such as Internet cafes and access from mobile phones or PDAs.     

L. K. Advani goes the Obama way — Omnipresent Online

by Shveta Singh17. February 2009 11:10       Bookmark and Share


 

The online bug has finally bitten Indian politicians, all thanks to the resounding success of the Obama online campaign. Surprisingly, the first adopter is not from the young leader brigade led by Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot, but the 81 years old Prime Ministerial hopeful — Mr. L. K. Advani.

 

Mr. Advani’s campaign team has launched a 360 degree online campaign in order to reposition Brand Advani as ‘The Leader’ for the young generation. Having started with a Web 2.0 Website and Blog, his campaign is now leveraging YouTube, Facebook, Orkut and Google Adsense to reach out to the young voter.

 

Impressive!

Impressive in terms of the scope of activity and tactics being experimented with. However, what remains to be seen is whether he can pull it off the way Obama managed. Just to bring all on board…

· On Facebook, President Obama has more than 5.4 million supporters and 570,000 plus wall posts.
· Obama’s YouTube address garnered nearly a million views.
· On Twitter, Obama sent out more than 260 Tweets to 144,000 "followers”, updating supporters on his whereabouts.
· The “My Barack Obama” community beautifully used online tools to organise offline activities and generate donations.
· All in all, Obama managed to raise $600 million from 3 million people, mainly through small contributions made online.

Coming back to the Advani Campaign. It is definitely ambitious but has had mixed results: 

· His Google Adwords campaign targeting and image ads are bang on. 
· His website is buzzing with activity. Pretty interactive with blogs, online volunteer form and discussion forum having more than 5000 posts. It has achieved an   impressive Alexa ranking of 474 and page rank 4 in just 1 year of its existence. 
· His Blog has well written posts, albeit infrequent. The last post is dated February 1st.
· His Facebook page has only 140 supporters and not much activity happening.  Whereas on Orkut, this number is 531. 
· On YouTube his channel has 191 videos and 82 subscribers as of now.

Overall, the mix of tactics is good, but the execution could have been better. His blog could do a lot better with higher post frequency and daily updates. Similarly, he would have engaged far more number of people on Facebook and Orkut, with interesting applications that let youth participate. For example – My expectations from the next Prime Minister?

 

Nevertheless, a great beginning. Hope to see many more Indian politicians engaging with their voters in the near future.

  

 
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Welcome to the iStrat Digital Marketing Blog!

This blog is a platform for us to share news, views, reviews and analysis around digital media and communications. We have just started but our plans are big. With time, we intend to evolve this blog into “The Destination” for the Indian digital media industry. We invite you to be a part of our endeavour. We look forward to your active participation in discussions initiated on this forum and featuring your views, feedback and suggestions on a regular basis.

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