Tag Archives: mobile

Twitter Flies

Last year, according to Hitwise, one of the fastest growing websites was Twitter.

Over 12 months, the site saw a massive increase of traffic, and the latest data ranks the microblogging site as the 291st most visited web site in the UK, up from a ranking of 2,953. UK traffic to the site increased by a whopping 974% over the period.

Hitwise also suggested that Twitter is likely to be even more popular than the figures suggest, if statistics for people accessing their accounts via mobile phones and third-party applications were included.

As most people who are familiar with Twitter will know, it has now become an important part of the internet network, helpfully driving traffic to other sites. According to Hitwise, around 10% of redirecting tweets send users to news and media sites and over 17% end up on entertainment sites, although I’m interested to see how they accurately measured this. Thoughts, anyone?

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More mobile, please

Nielsen Online’s first set of UK mobile data has just been released and it reports that the mobile internet is growing eight times faster than standard PC-based internet access.

These first Mobile Media findings were released today, which shows that mobile internet traffic increased by 25% to 7.3m during 3Q 2008. The survey found 25% of mobile internet users are aged 16-24 compared with just 12% who are older than 55.

I’m curious to see what effect the iPhone has had upon all of this, but I don’t think any UK data is available. Can anyone prove me wrong?

Twitter = Terrorism

In case anyone missed it, the US intelligence agencies – CIA, FBI, IBM – announced that Twitter means terror.

A rough report that somehow (as usual) found its way onto the internet gives a fun list of online and mobile apps – including MySpace, Facebook and Twitter – that apparently terrorists could be using. (As an aside, if I worked for a security agency, I’d be more worried about how a report like that got out onto the internet).

I won’t deny that social media has been – and still is – used by people to post extremist ideology, racism and the like, but when this happened, it’s totally unacceptable and is more often than not removed very quickly, with often nasty reprocussions for whoever posted it.

I think though, what they’re panicking about is that certain media is practically in realtime, therefore seemingly a great tool for the tech-savvy terrorist. Which, to be honest, is possibly pushing any boundary of common sense; I personally doubt such people would be operating openly on social platforms – and what about all the other technological advances since the carrier pidgeon? Email, SMS – even a phone call – seem more likely to be used by the social-conscious terrorist.

I suppose, for arguments sake, that social platforms could be used for grooming and recruiting into that kind of thing, but I’m fairly sure we’d all notice if al-Qaeda was on Bebo.

Now our wonderful Government seems to be calling for the likes of GCHQ and Mi5 to be able to monitor mobile and internet-based systems, storing details of ALL phone calls made and websites visited for up to two years in some kind of storage-super-computer. The wonderful Jacqui Smith seems to suggested this, but even top anti-terror experts are saying it’s nuts.

At least makes Google’s ideas on data storage look like a nice option, for once.

Viral Importance

Ok, lets talk viral videos.

To me, a great viral video is simplistic and direct – the content should be orginal, to the point of being infectious… I should want to tag it, email it, stick it on Twitter, tell everyone about it, whatever.
Equally, what I also love about viral videos, is the fact that amazing marketing campaigns can be runnning, but often, you won’t realise it. They sneak up on you like stealth bombers… a perfect example would be the following:

 

It looks brilliantly authentic; the real McCoy, so to speak. The fact that it’s also backed up by a second angle that’s been filmed on a mobile phone makes it look like this guy really has gone nuts:

 

It’s flawless, but fake. I admit now, it had me completely fooled, until I did a bit of digging around – it actually seems  that it was created by Timur Bekmambetov as a promotion for the film Wanted. I realise this might be old news to some people, but somehow this video completely bypassed me, (despite getting thousands of downloads), and I feel it perfectly illustrates my point.

There seems to be a fine line between reality and fantasy with viral videos; I’m under the impression that they’re a modern version of the Victorian sensation theatre, where a mixture of illusion, grandeur, entertainment and promotion captured the audience. Viral can easily captivate a user and often influence them strongly, leaving them shaking their heads in wonder at what they’ve just seen and going off to tell their friends about it; branding at it’s best.

Unruly Media are an agency specialising in this area and have helpfully set up the Viral Video Chart, where the most powerful videos doing the rounds on the internet are recorded and reported. It’s a great site for seeing what’s popular, what’s working and what’s not, but it doesn’t separate the wheat from the chaff for me, as it includes a mix of both marketing videos, shameless self-promotion, music and content submitted by the general public at large. This is both a curse and blessing; I’m of the opinion that decent marketing virals should not stand out obviously as marketing campaigns – they need to be subtle and select in order to reach the user and be spread around the net.

Great examples for me include GuitarMasterPro, where an amazing guitar player has recieved over 50m impressionson YouTube alone, accompanied by the message that he learnt to play through their website.

 

Quicksilver’s viral apparently did more for the brand than the rest of their advertising combined, with a supposed 10m impression in the first few months alone.

 

The infamous Cadbury’s Gorilla. Need I say more?

 

One of the most successful campaigns of 2008, the Awareness Test from TFL, got nearly 4m views just in the first few months alone.

 

Viral video marketing can be infectious amongst users if done properly. It can raise brand awareness and promote products whilst being relatively cheap and with an almost minimal amount of work once it’s online. My last example of this is from Nike, who usually pull off great advertisements anyway. They certainly didn’t disappoint a few years ago, with their amateurish-looking Touch of Gold, which to date has recieved over 25.5m impressions on YouTube, let alone the other sites it’s spread to. That said, however, viral videos can also go badly. Examples of poor campaigns include Malibu, where they celebrated the release of a new product with this:

 

Shocking. Unsurprisingly, it recieved only a few thousand hits.
 

My final example of a terrible viral video(s) come from the genuis marketing guys a Chevrolet a couple of years ago. The idea was good: A micro-site would allow users to create their own advertisement for the Chevy Tahoe, allowing them to take stock footage and insert their own captions. Guess what happened when environmentalists got hold of the concept?

 

What amuses me the most is that these ads went live without anyone reviewing them. Although they had massive amounts of views, it’s done some serious damage. Even funnier, is the fact that Chevy’s amazingly professional marketing team left the videos running on the website until the PR team told them to pull them down. Happily for the rest of us though, they were leaked into other areas of the internet and still remain there now.

Social Tuesdays

Brilliant.

This week, another research report was released which analysed the average user’s time spent on social networking sites. Whilst it strikes me that NewBay Software need to show an understanding of their products in the market, it nevertheless seems a slight waste of time and resources to conclude overall that Tuesday is the most popular day for updating profiles and status, “usually” between 10pm and 11pm. How could this possibly be any use to anyone? For argument’s sake, if you were to go down the path of targeted advertising, then, great – you have a time-frame to work with, but no real demographic. I’m still slightly confused as to which country this research was carried out in, let alone an understanding of the important data that could be drawn from this. (Read: Male/Female activity, Ages Groups, Location etc).

More usefully though, the report indicated that the average social networker spends an around fourteen minutes on their Myspace/Facebook/Bebo/etc. accounts whilst on the move, which is actually quite a decent insight into the rapidly growing relationship between mobile technology, the internet and users. I’m fairly sure that other information could have just as easily revealed this, but perhaps Newbay wanted a decent piece of PR; the kind of titbit-info you mention whilst in the pub. My cynisism slightly takes over here, as their research neatly ties in the release of the world’s first “Aggregated Mobile Social Networking Solution“. It sounds like an impressive product, (it probably is an impressive product), but the fact that it’s made by Newbay themselves hardly makes all this research impartial. They may know the market and want to prove themselves, but for all their efforts, perhaps we could have ended up with something a bit more informative.