Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Indian Online Women and Moms: Research Review by TrendsSpotting

July 19th, 2010 by

Indian Online Women and Moms: Research Review by TrendsSpotting from Trendsspotting

In this presentation we review online Indian women as they  become a major player in the Indian Online arena.

Recent research indicate that a third of young online women in India are active users. Moreover, Indian mothers can be considered a worthy target online:
1- Indian Online moms see the internet as a vital communication and information tool.
2- They spend more time on the web compared to all other media
3- They are highly engaged in all internet related behaviors (search, read newspapers, listen to music, watch TV)
4- Many of them share experiences on brands and purchases online.

Previous report on Online India: TrendsSpotting’s Handbook of Online India.

Previous presentation on Digital Women:”What it takes to be a digital women


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What Goes Viral? Digital Storytelling

July 19th, 2010 by

digital storytelling

I happened to be involved in an interesting case study on “Digital Storytelling”.

Guy Kawasaki is preparing the last draft on his new exciting book “Enchantment : The Art of Getting People to Do What You Want”. Last week, I was discussing storytelling with Guy for one of the chapters in his book. I suggested him to read a good article I’ve found on the subject, written by Rick Braddy. Guy has tweeted the article in Alltop and renamed it “How to use storytelling for a product intro”. Unsurprisingly, the article went viral in no time.

Rick Braddy has dedicated a post on that. He says that “after several years of investing in my blog, it’s great to see I’ve finally struck a chord and people are excited about incorporating storytelling into their marketing”.

We can learn much on Digital Storytelling from this case study.

Storytelling needs not only a well written memorable tale, but also a catchy title which is instructive “How to use” and is directly connected to needs (“a product intro”), an effective distribution channel (Alltop is one good example) and of course, a well respected teller (or ambassador in this case, which can bridge between different cultures- business, marketing and digital).

That’s all on “How you do storytelling on storytelling…”

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Eight Insightful Twitter Search Queries

June 29th, 2010 by

Social media conversations can reflect peoples’ attitudes, needs, desires and intentions. The challenge is to listen wisely and use market research skills to “ask” the right questions.

When you wish to follow perceptions and intents keep in mind that you will need to follow day to day jargon, and that the conversations traced are typical to the specific social network you are searching at.

Currently, I find that there is no tool as Twitter to extract such knowledge and map real time reflection of peoples minds.

While conducting many social media research projects, I have collected some insightful search queries, useful for marketers and to those who wish to keep track on perceptions and shared interests.

I have divided eight social media queries to the following three categories:

1. Needs and desires

2. Attitudes toward brands

3. Buying intentions

Most of the examples presented here are global, but as you can now search Twitter conversations within specific locations (you can simply choose distance from a desired location and trace locations by coordinates), some of the conversations were generated in the New York area and by that reflect a specific demographic community.


Continue reading Eight Insightful Twitter Search Queries

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Boomers Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online: Research Indications

June 15th, 2010 by

AARP has published its recent survey on Boomers (conducted by GFK). According to this survey only 40% of adults age 50 and over consider themselves extremely (17%) or very (23%) comfortable using the Internet. That implies that about 60% of them feel uncomfortable for some degree and that they are still trying to figure out the web.

Is that really so?

According to Pew Internet 7o percent of those aged 50 to 64 use the Internet.  The drop in internet use is found for the 65+ group (38%). Therefore, the skewed internet perception was probably made by the merging of the two age groups.

{AARP, GFK: If you wish to track technological trends among the older generation – you must be aware of the differences between its inner groups. I believe that the two age groups (46-64 age group commonly defined as Boomers and the 65-75 defined as Matured) are largely distinctive by their online behavior}

What can be learned on Boomers?

Recent Pew Internet surveys reveal that about two-thirds (66%) of those 50-65 positively perceive the internet as a change “for the better” (only 18% say it has been a change for the worse). Moreover, Among adults 50-65: 56% have home broadband connection, 46% have accessed the internet wirelessly, and 9% are already using Twitter or another status update system.

eMarketer (January 2010) has dedicated a report on Online Boomers.   According to the findings they present – Boomers feel very comfortable online:

  • Deloitte 2009 survey brings evidence to the large increase in Social Networking among Boomers and Matures:

46 percent of Boomers (up from 31% in year 2008), and 14 percent of Matures (up from 36% in year 2008) maintain a profile on a social networking site like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn (compared to 77 percent of Millennials, 61 percent of Gen Xers)

  • Boomers are testing other social media as well, including Twitter, blogs and review sites, but have yet to adopt them (Only 10% of online boomers were Twittering in September 2009)
  • eMarketer also points to the fact that 49% of Boomers claim that their purchase decision was influenced by an online review or recommendation on a retailer’s site.

When you search for a potential market growth – I would definitely check out the Boomers. They are feeling more and more comfortable online!

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For Google TV to Succeed – social features must be included. Social TV Research Indications

May 27th, 2010 by


Image based on “Living Room and TV Digital Art” by Carlos Cunha.

Google has teamed with Intel, Sony and Logitech to bring Google TV to televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. As the company is opening up Google TV to developers, and considering  the dominance Google and its partners have on both web and traditional TV  – it has a good potential to be a success, in the same place many other players failed with web TV (AppleTV, Vudu, Roku, TiVo, Sony Bravia Internet Link, Logitech, Jadoo, Microsoft).

But, while competing on our living room, Google in its recent release left out the social aspect of the promised integration between web and TV.

Trendsspotting has previously discussed the social nature of television versus the internet, based on users perceptions. Today, more than ever – it seems that these two media channels are not to be separated. There are many indications  for the social need to combine TV watching with the ability to exchange opinions with friends about the content they are watching.

In this review we will examine the current role of TV, learn on preferences concerning the use of TV online, and examine the needs surrounding TV social sharing.

1. The importance of TV:

According to a 2009 survey conducted by Pew Research Center- 52% of Americans (down from 64%) think of their TV as a necessity. Cable or satellite TV loses importance (23% in 2009, down from 33% in 2006). 24% of respondents indicating that they have reduced or cancelled cable or satellite TV subscription. A recent national survey from Arbitron and Edison Research (April 2010) shows a similar trend: more Americans said the Internet was “most essential” to their lives when given a choice along with television, radio, and newspapers. A full 42% chose the Internet as “most essential,” followed by 37% who selected television, 14% who chose radio, and 5% who cited newspapers.

In contrast – Deloitte’s 2009 “State of the Media Democracy survey reveals a 26 percent increase in the number of Americans choosing the TV as their favorite type of media as compared to the previous year. Nielsen reports that almost 99% of video content watched in America is still done on traditional television.

2. Watching TV online:

Deloitte’s 2009: When watching their favorite TV programming, 86 percent of survey respondents prefer watching on their television set, enjoying the programming either live, via their DVR/TiVo, or using an “On Demand” feature. While less than 10 percent of Americans say they prefer watching the same content online, a growing number of consumers are using online platforms to watch their favorite TV shows.

Nielsen 2010 study suggests that online video is a replacement of DVR use, or used by those who do not have immediate access to TV. Nielsen claims that  TV network content online is used to catch up with programming, and not typically as a replacement for TV viewing.

3. The needs for Social TV:

A 2009 Parks and Associates survey indicates that over one-fourth of users ages 18-24 are interested in having more social media features integrated into their TV.

ABI research (February 2009) shows that among Social Media users 36%
report they`d like to access their networks on the TV screen. Younger consumers were more interested in engaging with their friends through chat and messaging, while middle-aged respondents were more likely to be interested in more passive social networking behavior such as checking status updates. The most popular potential application for those over 50 who expressed interest in TV social networking was being able to see what their friends were watching on TV.

Sharing video content with friends: Media experiments

Social viewing is certainly a trend spotted by many players. Although Youtube’s RealTime and Hulu’s social sharing features were not much of a success, companies are still trying to find the right formula. Only recently BBC annonunced its ’s social video on demand service –  iPlayer, and U.S. cable company Comcast is bringing a new site Tunerfish, that will enable users to share their favorite shows, letting people know what they are watching on internet and TV.


1. People seek to bring the web into their TV: more content (free, on demand) together with the social experience.

2. TV online viewing is growing, but that reflects people’s best current option.

3. People prefer the convenience of their TV for television watching.

4. For Google TV to succeed – it must include social features.

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Mobile Trends and Augmented Reality: RWW Unconference

May 8th, 2010 by


I was honored to participate in the RWW Mobile Summit which took place today in Mountain View, California. The event was structured in a unique unconference style, great for encouraging brainstorming and insights sharing.
Richard MacManus, Marshall Kirkpatrick and others from the incredible RWW team gathered a mixed group of start-ups, entrepreneurs, developers, journalists, marketers and researchers, who are not only experimenting with mobile innovations, but are taking an active part in this revolution.

While the topics of interest were freely suggested, it came by no surprise that Augmented Reality enjoyed most of the attention.
Personally, I see the excitement around AR somewhat similar to the experience of getting satisfying search results (can you imagine that?). Add to that a great UI experience and you get Augmented Reality!
Augmented Reality from my perspective is all about users’ interaction with new and relevant information embedded in a unique UI display. That can hold for any QR codes (or other markers), location based solutions (take Foursquare and add into it one more display layer) and of course more advanced sensory system which can also monitor and provide feedback.

When we praise AR today – we actually enjoy the visualization aspect of it, as the information we currently receive is still in its infancy. All the rest is our imagination, what we believe can be applied soon, very soon.

I would like to share some of the discussions I’ve enjoyed participating in:

Marshall  Kirkpatrick managed the “Augmented Reality and Beyond” discussion.
The discussion group suggested that AR is most likely to be developed in the following directions:
–  more interfaces: extended screens, accessories and moving objects, human body interface.
–  more tools to gather information (EveryBlock)
– more utilities and practical implementations
– standardization.

In another group managed by Gigi Wang (VLAB) we’ve discussed the monetization of Augmented Reality.
While the common model will go towards relevancy (context and location) consumer ads sponsored by advertisers, the more exciting models will be those which users will find valuable enough to pay directly:
– Traveling (museums, historical monuments) and entertainment (games) can offer users unique experiences (Layar is experimenting already in this direction with its new apps store).
– Real-estate can provide users with unique content that can be cost effective.
– Health monitoring systems can be valuable for its life saving potential.

Lastly, I’ve enjoyed meeting with Jeffrey Pierce – from IBM Research who is researching mobile experiences. We have discussed mobile unique behavioral patterns. Pierce had introduced me with an IBM study which suggested that mobile search in compare with web search (in the enterprise environment) is done mostly during morning time and late night (next to the TV) and is known to be oriented at very specific needs. I’ve suggested that we might learn from other human dynamics with communication devices (landline calls versus mobile call behavior). People are likely to use different system to interact with friends / colleges at different times. They will SMS friends when they have a specific need, call from their mobile when their need is more obscure, or choose to call from a landline when they have a more general interest in learning whats new. Can that have anything to do with our search behavior patterns (web versus mobile?)

Hats off to Read Write Web for one of the most inspiring conferences!

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What it takes to be a digital woman

April 18th, 2010 by

What it takes to be a digital woman: Review by TrendsSpotting 
View more presentations from TrendsSpotting.

I was honored to be invited to speak about digital women at Microsoft’s Women Think Next conference. About two hundred women engineers and tech developers from top leading companies were invited to participate in an event which was dedicated to those rare ones.
Dina Dublon, one of two women members in the Microsoft’s Board of Directors gave an inspiring speak on her personal struggle to reach the top. She shared very important insights and tips. Yoelle Maarek, one of the world’s leading search expert, now working for Yahoo Research presented her women role models, and Orit Zuckerman presented few of her amazing interactive media projects .

I named my talk “What it takes to be a digital woman”. In the presentation I reviewed the current state of women in the business world, and focused on digital women. I used research done by Harvard Business Review to show the age breakdown where women leave technology professions and simply break out from the industry.
I have included some personal experiences, out of my entrepreneur journey in technology, developing TrendsoScope, the trends discovery platform. I felt comfortable among the women audiences to share my struggle through masculine venture capital companies while trying to get their attention to a woman presenting financial predictions and technology development (it turns out that they have a real hard time confronting women..). My presentation ends with practical tips: how women working in IT companies can use the Social Media to professionally lead and influence.
I have described that as a “work around” option. Companies’ success in Social Media relies on professional team members sharing their insights and works. I believe that women can find that stage as a source for learning, improving and leading.

Think Next Women event was part of Microsoft bigger initiative – Think Next.

Twenty promising tech inventions were presented there together with exciting projects created by Microsoft’s innovation labs. Craig Mundie (chief research and strategy of Microsoft) gave an overview of Microsoft’s involvement in all things to come. Project Natal was also presented with its motion control system (which now includes gender-facial recognition and ability to track and differentiate between two players within one frame). As we already have covered here – women are getting to be dominant game players. Moshe Lichtman – Corporate VP Microsoft who was responsible for the two meetups,  has cleverly suggested that women are needed in the games industry. He said that women must take part in the development of games and contribute in identifying new environments different than the masculine ones of fighting and killing.

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Digital Early Adopters: What has changed?

March 25th, 2010 by


I was recently interviewed by Laura Rich, a digital media reporter, for an Advertising Age paper: Shiny New Things: What Digital Adopters Want, How to Reach Them and Why Every Marketer Should Pay Attention.

I recommend that you read the article as it presents many new angles and insights provided by professional researchers, marketers and early adopters (as Bill Tancer from Hitwise, Steve Rubel from Edelman, Robert Scoble, and many more).

I wish to further develop some of the points I suggested in the article:

Digital Adopters: what has changed?

Following the adoption of technologies in many consumer domains, a shift can be observed in the last few years in the segmentation and characteristics of early adopters. I tend to attribute this change to the wide and global adoption of the internet.
Technology is no longer the domain of a small minority of young male experimenters (previously known as “geeks”). It is now one of the main communication and business channels available. Consumers are no longer passive to new technology, but are fast learning – active producers.

Here are some evidences to the shift in the concept of early adopters:

  • Gender differences are weaker than ever: Women are embracing new technologies.
  • Adoption rates have shortened: from decades to years, from years to months (Facebook, iPhone).
  • Social behavior and technology advancementare well combined: The first smartphone users are first to adopt social networks (Facebook, Twitter), to experiment with apps, to view TV via internet / mobile. (see PEW survey: 39% of internet users with 4+  internet-connected devices use Twitter) and next to use location based solutions.

The power of early adopters:

In the last five years, early adopters have received a stage to influence others. Social Media gave them the screen power.
Early social media users have grown to be the main influencers, and their influence is far beyond technology. They have become the new celebrities. As part of their positioning, they are expected to act as early adopters, much the same as celebrities are needed to keep updated with fashion.

What should marketers consider when marketing to early adopters?

Early adopters are physically easier to reach but now much harder to “buy”. Most of the brands (and Apple is one big exception) have lost their attractiveness. Brands that can provide early adopters a good reason why – will have a chance to influence. It’s all about proven value.

If early users will find your product handy – they will be willing to spread it. Otherwise – they will not hesitate to share their real thoughts.
I suggest you will follow one of the first Coca Cola initiatives in the social media domain. They choose Brazil as their beta site and sent bloggers a free gift. We named it “Rent a blog strategy” which obviously failed…

Marketers definitely need to learn and understand the new social norms shared by early adopters.

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The “Next” Generation: What Chatroulette Can Teach The Social Media

March 19th, 2010 by

I believe you have already heard of Chatroluette, the new video chat platform that has attracted the attention of millions (in February – there were 30 million unique visitors to the site, that’s one million new users each day). The site made quite a buzz on the news media, blogs , and Twitter. Comscore reports one million US visitors in February with a dominance of 18-24 year old males.

The platform looks premature (it might be part of its charm) as it comes with one feature only -the “next” (by clicking next you are skipping from one user to another).  The next feature is vital as it gives the user a sense of control. I would even consider naming the hype around its users – the “next generation”.
What a powerful (yet dangerous) tool that can be for people who seek to experience the control they lack in their personal life. The “Next Effect” is well embedded in the whole Chatroulette random experiment.

What social needs such a platform serves?

Psychologically speaking, these random experiences can teach us on few important needs from social interactions:

1. the crave for peeking,

2. (online) face to face,

3. control (and at the same time – lack of control)

4. The no commitment effect.

Combine the four together and you get to understand the power and the addiction potential of Chatroulette.

We are all well familiar with the above needs:

  • Peeking into strangers’ lives- is what brought popularity to the reality TV shows. We humans receive instant gratification from the arousing feeling that we are allowed inside private personal places.
  • Face to face interactions are certainly not new experiences on the web. But they are getting into extreme when you personally encounter strangers in their natural surroundings.
  • As to control, Chatroulette can well imitate an act of meeting strangers on the street. You can choose between two acts: you can play active or passive. They are both highly addictive. You can actively approach, and they might not get interested in you. You keep on trying… At the same time, you can choose to be the one who turns down interactions. That can be satisfying don’t you think?
  • The no commitment part is achieved by users anonymity. Chatroulette doesn’t require any identification or user subscription. You don’t have to work hard and fake your identity.

Finally –  there is something new in these sets of random acquaintances that leaves you unprepared. This surprise element can never be achieved offline. While Twitter and Facebook let you follow strangers you choose to, Chatroulette adds more dimensions to theses interaction. It is no longer about your friends whereabouts or images, nor on reporting “whats going on now”. Its live and you get a chance to play with an imaginary sense of control. While in real life you hardly talk to strangers, here you get it as a social norm.

The future of random interactions:

I can think of several ways making these interactions more intriguing – mobile interactions on the move (following people wherever they go) would definitely be hot, as well as the option to filter the people you meet by their location, age or gender.
But forget that for now, if succeeded to control immoral and pornographic activity, what a great human experiment that opens!

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The New Entrepreneur: Research Slides Report

March 9th, 2010 by

The New Entrepreneur: has provided a research review on entrepreneurs for our client –, who designs virtual phone systems dedicated to the needs of entrepreneurs.

In this report we provide facts about entrepreneurs: profiles, inspirations, home based workers statistics, incomes and revenues.

We explore the influence of the recession on new jobs, profits, and the establishment of new businesses.

We look at the future and suggest a lookout on the main trends influencing entrepreneurs’ activity in 2010 and beyond.


The New Entrepreneur: Research Review from Taly Weiss
View more presentations from TrendsSpotting.

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