Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

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.

Twitter_search_trends_New_York

Continue reading Eight Insightful Twitter Search Queries

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2010 Influencers Predictions

March 26th, 2010 by

influencers_2010_predictions

TrendsSpotting Market Research has completed the release of the “2010 Influencers Series: Trend predictions in 140 characters”. We have followed major trends in six of the most promising categories to dominate the web this year: Social media | Consumer Trends | Tech and IT | Online Marketing | Video | Mobile.

In this series we featured the predictions of digital and marketing experts on the big changes awaiting us.
By adopting the “tweet style” format (limited to 140 characters), we were able to provide our readers with a more focused image of the predicted trends. Many of those trends were actually re-tweeted individually.

Cross Dominating Trends for 2010:

Reviewing the trends across the different categories, 2010 will be a year in which data will be placed in clouds. Increase use of smartphones will lead to new users habits dominated by local information, providing a new exciting (and at the same time – terrifying) bridge between the “real” and the “virtual”. Apps will continue to be hot as consumer goods. Netbooks will be replaced by cheaper notebooks and smartphones. Video (together with 3D and games) will take bigger steps in replacing traditional Television as the main entertainment platform.

There are smart advertising solutions in all the above channels, ready for brands to experiment, measure and retain better ROI. Expect those who dare to put aside ROI – to enjoy an innovative brand image that can last and overcome competition.

Consumers at large, have adopted new expectations from brands and from themselves as shoppers. They are much more aware (price, health, value) and skeptical. At the same time – they aren’t sacrificing any technological advancement.

Presented here are the full six presentation reports:

Final words:

Hats off to the experts who participated and submitted their insightful prediction tweets. We also wish to thank all of you that helped us create the buzz for the reports.

By now, the reports have received over 70,000 views on Slideshare.net alone, not including the news mention at the New York Times / Read Write Web, Mashable, eXaminer, and the many of the blogs’ reviews, tweets and Facebook’s notes.

Personal remarks:

I find it a challenging experiment, to influence by spreading the trends.
As a Social Psychologist with an advertising background, I realize that the very act of predicting trends, can influence how trends actually catch on. In any case, it will be an exciting year if all the expectations we’ve covered will come true.

Enjoy,
Dr. Taly Weiss and The TrendsSpotting Team.

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Digital Early Adopters: What has changed?

March 25th, 2010 by

diigital_early_adopters_adage

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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Summary: TrendsSpotting 2010 Influencers Series: Trend Predictions in 140 Characters

January 20th, 2010 by

influencers_2010_predictions

TrendsSpotting Market Research has completed the release of the “2010 Influencers Series: Trend predictions in 140 characters”. We have followed major trends in six of the most promising categories to dominate the web this year: Social media | Consumer Trends | Tech and IT | Online Marketing | Video | Mobile.

In this series we featured the predictions of digital and marketing experts on the big changes awaiting us.
By adopting the “tweet style” format (limited to 140 characters), we were able to provide our readers with a more focused image of the predicted trends. Many of those trends were actually re-tweeted individually.

Cross Dominating Trends for 2010:

Reviewing the trends across the different categories, 2010 will be a year in which data will be placed in clouds. Increase use of smartphones will lead to new users habits dominated by local information, providing a new exciting (and at the same time – terrifying) bridge between the “real” and the “virtual”. Apps will continue to be hot as consumer goods. Netbooks will be replaced by cheaper notebooks and smartphones. Video (together with 3D and games) will take bigger steps in replacing traditional Television as the main entertainment platform.

There are smart advertising solutions in all the above channels, ready for brands to experiment, measure and retain better ROI. Expect those who dare to put aside ROI – to enjoy an innovative brand image that can last and overcome competition.

Consumers at large, have adopted new expectations from brands and from themselves as shoppers. They are much more aware (price, health, value) and skeptical. At the same time – they aren’t sacrificing any technological advancement.

Final words:

Hats off to the experts who participated and submitted their insightful prediction tweets. We also wish to thank all of you that helped us create the buzz for the reports.

By now, we have enjoyed over 40,000 views on Slideshare.net alone, not including the news mention at the New York Times / RWW, Mashable, eXaminer, and the many of the blogs’ reviews, tweets and Facebook’s notes.

@2010 Social Media

@2010 Consumer Trends.

@2010 Tech and IT.

@2010 Online Marketing.

@2010 Online Video.

@2010 Mobile

Personal remarks:

I find it a challenging experiment, to influence by spreading the trends.
As a Social Psychologist with an advertising background, I realize that the very act of predicting trends, can influence how trends actually catch on. In any case, it will be an exciting year if all the expectations we’ve covered will come true.
Taly Weiss and The TrendsSpotting Team.

Continue following us here and @trendsspotting.

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The “unfriend” Social Cycle: Social Networks Behavior Patterns

November 18th, 2009 by and

unfriend_social_cycle

The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen ‘unfriend’ as its word of the year. To ‘unfriend’ means to remove someone from your friend list on a social network like Facebook or MySpace (and we extend that to a similar pattern of “unfollow”  in Twitter). “Defriend” came in as a  close rival, but unfriend takes it one step further by employing a more active and abnormal “verb sense” of the word ‘friend.’

Earlier we had stated some of the facts on Social networks:

  • An average Facebook user has 120 friend. In general he/she general trades emails or responds to the postings of only 7 closets friends. The actual number of individuals that represents his social “core network” with whom individuals “can discuss important matters”, numbers only 3 for Americans (more here).
  • Unfriending is not uncool. Success of Burger Kings Whooper application brought some evidences to the fact that its not a cardinal sin to exchange your 10 Facebook friends for a free Burger-King whooper. Within a week after its launch 82,000 people bartered over 230,000 friendships on Facebook for a whopper, till Facebook banned the app on its platform.

Read Write Web debated on that choice:

Richard MacManus thinks it’s an odd choice:

“I think that’s an odd choice for word of the year, as all the trends indicate there has been more social networking activity this past year – not less, as ‘unfriend’ implies. Facebook and Twitter have both rocketed in popularity in 2009. I’d suggest that more people have left MySpace and migrated to Facebook, than unfriended people on Facebook”.

Marshall Kirkpatrick claims:

” “unfriend” is a very appropriate word for the year as it fits with the way people are becoming more sophisticated in their social networking. People are deciding to do some editing of the friends lists they rushed naively into”.

Marshall also points to the fact that seven out of the top ten searches performed on the Facebook Help Center page are about getting rid of your own social network profiles or deleting your friends.

Our take :

Unfriend (as well as Defriend) as WOTY simply shows just how deeply social networks have infiltrated our lives. As we continue to embrace living in a highly connected digital world, we also learn to how to manage and take control of it.

In the current social – digital cycle –  people still extend the number of people they are in contact with. The average number of friends users have in Facebook is still growing (120 reported  March 2009 < 130 reported today). While the tendency to accept friendship is still a social norm in social networks – people became overwhelmed by the number of interactions they are exposed to. This brought to the unfriend behavior. We believe that as social networks will be more mature – the number of friends will finally stabilize. The stabilization process involves more control and thus much less friendship acceptance to begin with.  The growing usage and cultural importance of ‘unfriend’ possibly indicates how social networks in the coming years will be more closed and meaningful.

And for the brands in Social media the time remains ever more challenging. With 40% of the users ‘friended’ a brand on Facebook and 25% on Twitter ,’unfriending’ implies a loss of equity.

Check out the other finalist by category.

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Twitter’s shopping list: most common “must buy” tweets

August 15th, 2009 by

Many of us perceive Twitter as a tool to monitor consumer behavior. As Twitter reflects the live streaming thoughts and needs of consumers – what can be more insightful for marketers than following the “must buy” products Twitter users tweet about.
We have generated a tag cloud for 24 hours cycle of tweets containing the actionable words “must have”. We have worked hard to clean irrelevant words and came up with the following shopping list:

must_buy_twitter_shopping_list

You can see Twitter users tweet about their urge to buy tickets, books and games.  On the brands list we see:  iPhone, Ikea, Dell, Wii and iTunes. Most common products discussed are black and pink color.

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Apple is Risking its Brand Image

July 29th, 2009 by

apple_google_voice

Just as Apple succeeded to light consumers’ enthusiasm once again with Apple’s tablet (Twitter tweets:  trend volume, mostly positive sentiments), Apple seems to be risking its well known reputation.

Since the launch of the iPhone, the Apple brand was influenced by negative attitudes towards AT&T, mostly for issues of connectivity and costs. Only thanks to its brands strength (high involvement among Apple’s fans, high emotional engagement, design and innovation credits) Apple’s brand image was protected.

It seems today this status quo might change as Google Voice service is getting pulled from Apple’s App Store. Reading the extremely negative posts and tweets (see some of the sentiments analysis here) I wonder if Apple is not risking too much.

Will social pressure work on Apple as it did for Facebook? or Digg?

Blocking Google seems a risky game even for Apple’s fans. Don’t you think?

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Digital Consumers are Brand Minded Targets

June 29th, 2009 by

Millward Brown research was conducted on WPP’s BrandZ brand equity global database. Findings show that, on average, digital* consumers have a 15 percent stronger relationship with brands than non-digital consumers.

Strongest brand relationship was found for the airline brands where digital consumers’ brand relationships were nearly twice as strong as those of their offline counterparts.

Other key categories where digital consumers had stronger relationships than non-digital consumers included IT hardware and software (48 percent stronger), credit cards (33 percent stronger) and fragrances (29 percent stronger).

digital_consumers_industry

The digital advantage was found throughout the world, with correlations to internet penetration (Japan and Taiwan (+ 36%) scored the highest average digital relationship differences).

digital_consumers_countries

* Digital consumers were defined as those who have bought from or searched for information about an individual category online.

** Millward Brown report was compiled using 2008 BrandZ data – a total of over 100,000 consumer interviews and over 8,000 brand measurements. These interviews covered 24 countries and an average of 15 categories per country.

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QR Codes and Real Time Marketing – Trends Review

June 20th, 2009 by

Q_R_Marketing

Introduction:

QR codes used as mobile tagging has started in Japan (2003) and since are  implemented in several fields of mobile marketing world wide. As marketing applications their uniqueness stems from their Quick Response orientation which allows customers to access real time information.

The QR code process:

Mobile users, taking a picture of the code or reading it with their cameras,  trigger an action leading to content download, a message or link.

mobile_tagging

QR Codes – Trends Review:

QR codes are offering endless marketing opportunities. Today – with the remarkable growth of mobile and smart phones – this potential can be easily implemented.

Follow the trend as it grow: see the rise in interest through Google search – world wide (since 2007) and in the US (since mid 2008).

Taking advantage of local targeting, mobile users (provided with a good motivation) can be directed to your brand ads and messages. You can bring your targets to a remarkable real time action, engaging with the brand and leading them to purchase. Moreover, QR codes embedded on packaged goods can provide information previously limited by space (ingredients, features,  recommendations etc.) As such it is an excellent real time marketing tool for retail.

qr_codesBrands utilize QR codes in their marketing campaigns:

December 2005: Northwest Airlines advertising campaign (Tokyo’s streets and subways)

June 2008:  Adidas

November 2008:  Pepsi Max

May 2009: Coca-Cola Japan QR Code promotion (at vending machines)

June 2009: Speed Stick

qr_codesGames:

Many games are using the QR codes to achieve a connection between location and information (location based games). In this direction, many urban games are being developed (for example: QR-Kill)

qr_codesTelevision and movies:

qr_codesMusic:

qr_codesFashion:

qr_codesTourism:

The local information demand holds a promise for tourist initiatives. Have a look at Japan’s & Paris tourist maps, American Airlines boarding passes, playing cards as an aid for tourists in planning their tour (Japan).

qr_codesQR codes and Education:

QR codes technology was already adopted for education purposes as teaching the periodic table of chemical elements, acquaintance with materials etc.

qr_codes_futureThe Future of QR Codes:

TrendsSpotting believes that QR codes, as any other technology to trigger  information solutions for real time demand, will become popular and mainstream as the traditional bar code. Brands investigating this potential will learn the importance of location based needs and real time information. Here, sky is the limit.

————————————–

To follow QR code news – we recommend 2d-code.co.uk. Also – have a look at Set (Japanese design agency specializing in QR codes branding).

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Are cell phones the 2009 “lipstick”?

May 7th, 2009 by

Continuing our earlier recession coverage, a new survey from Pew Research Center indicates that the recession has forced Americans to reevaluate many items that used to be seen as necessities. Comparing the outcome with 2006 survey of luxuries & necessities, Pew found the following :

pew-survey-on-necessity-trendsspotting
  • Car is a must have: A vast majority of Americans (88%) see car as an essential, edging 3% down from 2006.
  • Home appliances are more discretionary: Appliances such as a dishwasher or clothes dryer declines in importance & are now considered more discretionary. Just 21% (down from 35%) say a dishwasher is a necessity, & 66% say the same for a dryer (down from 83%). 47% say a microwave is a necessity (down from 68%) & 54% say the same for an AC (down from 70%).
  • Going online + high speed internet are necessity: Half of Americans believe PC is a necessity, roughly the same as in 2006. However high-speed Internet grows in importance (31% in 2009, up from 29% in 2006).
    Broadband users’ monthly bills have dropped nearly 16% from 2006, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Broadband service cost an average $34.50 per month last year & monthly DSL charges dropped from $32 to $31.50, according to Pew.
  • Fewer consider TV a necessity: 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. Trend is undoubtedly digital wherein by canceling your cable subscription you save around $60-a-month bill at the same time with high speed internet at home you can watch full episodes of more than 300 shows from NBC Universal & Fox stations at Hulu.
  • Cellphones, iPods are necessity: Americans’ opinions about cellular phones remains unchanged. 49% see cell phones as necessary, roughly the same as in 2006. However 22% have changed to less expensive plan or canceled services. iPod ranks last in list with 4% claiming it a necessity, roughly the same as in 2006.

Additional findings from the survey :

  • 57% bought less expensive brands or shopped more at discount stores.
  • 28% have cut cut back spending on alcohol & cigarettes.
  • 21% have made plan to plant vegetable garden.
  • 20% started doing home repairs on their own.

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