Social and Connected Devices Are Influencing Purchases


New research findings from a Nielsen online survey of respondents from 56 countries around the world provide insight into digital influences on grocery shopping behaviour. In the graphic above, trends show that consumers are using social media to help purchase decisions often through recommendations from friends or online reviews..

Nielson reports that one-third of the world’s population is online, an increase of 528 percent over the past 10 years. While Internet penetration rates vary by geographic region; North America (79%), Australia/Oceania (68%), Europe (61%), Latin America (40%), Middle East (36%), Asia (26%) and Africa (14%), they continue to climb steadily—especially in the developing countries of the world.

Connected devices, such as computers, mobile phones and tablets have become a way of life for many, but shoppers are digitally engaged to varying degrees depending on the products they buy. Nielsen examines how shoppers use connected devices (computers, mobile phones and tablets) to aid in their household grocery shopping.

Digital’s influence on grocery shopping is on the rise

  • Online shopping intentions for food and beverage categories
    increased 44% in two years
  • 6-in-10 global respondents used the Internet for grocery shopping research
  • Nearly half (49%)of respondents purchased a product online
  • Globally, 46% used social media to help make purchase decisions
  • 37% purchased from online-only stores most frequently

The influence of social media on purchase decisions is growing across all regions, albeit at varying levels. Globally, 46 percent of respondents said they used social media outlets to help make purchase decisions, a rise of three percentage points from 2010. North Americans were the least reliant on social media at 21 percent, but have increased their dependency by seven points. Asia-Pacific respondents were the most active social media users to aid purchase decisions at 63 percent, an increase from 60 percent two years ago.

Middle Eastern/African respondents increased their dependency on social media the most, rising 10 percentage points to 50 percent in 2011. Forty-four percent of Latin American respondents and 32 percent of European online users relied on social media to help make purchase decisions, an increase of five and two points, respectively.

Social media is levelling the playing field among the competition, allowing smaller brands to compete.  Marketers and brands need to focus and drive  satisfied customers to use online ratings and reviews to share positive experiences, but it is a two-way communication conversation and marketers must engage in active dialogue in keep customers engaged.

Shopper marketing tactics are changing and there are several ways to grow positive engagement levels. Whether customizing the message for the shopper, more narrowly segmenting shoppers, or delivering more ‘authentic’ messages in brand communications, savvy digital strategies must help personalize and integrate value-added content to improve the user experience. First, focus on the right shopper. Not everyone is going to use digital. Nielsen research finds that one-of-four shoppers are considered ‘Trendsetters’.

These are generally shoppers that love to keep ahead, try new things and tell others about them. They are typically younger compared to other segments, have children in the household and are a bit more affluent compared to the general population. Second, engage shoppers with the right message. ‘Trendsetters’ tend to be more digitally engaged, but that is still dependent on what they are buying.

Determine what activities are important to core shoppers and customize the offering. If shoppers are more dealcentric, provide coupon promotions. Third, connect with shoppers via the right medium. An increasingly complex landscape provides consumers with a wide array of choices. Marketers need to focus on the medium that provides the best return on investment. Think about product usage and devise strategies that speak to the needs of consumers.

Pair mobility with need and create apps that, for example, make it easier to create a shopping list, refill prescriptions or navigate a store. Whether the platform is online, mobile, social or in-store, prioritise the medium based on the impact it drives and the feasibility of deploying it.


Read and download Nielson’s full report below:

How To Clean Unwanted Apps in Social Media


Avi Charkham has created a wonderful site called which helps users to manage the ever growing list of apps, that we are associate our social accounts too.  It is good to practice to prune services and apps that you no longer use for good security best practice. To make life easier, I’ve posted the direct links below:









Social Media is Broken and HBRs Report Proves It

2,100 firms participated in a recent survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, said they are either currently using social media channels or have a future social media deployment occurring. However, many still say social media is an experiment, as they try to understand how to best use the different channels, gauge their effectiveness, and integrate social media into their strategy.

Despite the vast potential social media brings, many firms seem focused on social media
activity primarily as a one-way broadcast channel, and have yet to engage, listen or analyse customer conversations and turn feedback into insights that impact the bottom line.

Clearly, most companies are still searching for the best practices and metrics so they can understand
where to invest and target their social media activities and build their own competitive

Google’s Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik, says “Too many companies have not evolved from what I call ‘shout marketing’ — think TV, newspapers, magazine ads — to influence by initiating and participating in conversations with consumers,” he said. “There needs to be a generational shift”.

The highlights of the report follow below:


Graphic: Business Insider

Although 79% of the 2,100 companies surveyed are either using or planning to use social media channels, only 12% of surveyed firms feel that they are using them effectively. These were the companies most likely to deploy multiple channels, use metrics, have a strategy for social media use, and integrate their social media into their overall marketing operations. The “smart firms” are using social more often to promote their brand, monitor trends among customers, and even research new product ideas.  They don’t broadcast and spam, they engage!



Graphic: Business Insider

Two-thirds of surveyed firms have no formal social media strategy, and just 7% have social media into their overall marketing strategy. This is scary, and does show that some firms are still not serious about social. Even though 69% stated that their use of social media will grow, 61% admitted that they need to overcome a “learning curve” before adopting any kind of social media strategy. Sadly, 32% view it as a VP level priority – and nearly one in ten of the executives surveyed dismissed the business use of social media as a passing fad.



Graphic: Business Insider

Linking social media efforts to ROI, and understanding how it can bring competitive advantages still seem to be a challenge for many firms.



Graphic: Business Insider

Just 12% of the companies surveyed have hired dedicated employees to social media activities. Instead, social is mostly delegated to external agencies. “At the C-Suite level, they don’t want to talk about social media because they don’t understand it,” one executive admitted.



Graphic: Business Insider

Social is still seen as an experimentation.

As one executive put it, “Social media is a big ocean and we are pulling in a little bay where we are most protected.” The majority of these efforts (50%) are geared towards increasing awareness of the organisation or brand.



Graphic: Business Insider

The best firms understand that social is a conversation, not a broadcast monologue . Successful social media deployments examples include firms creating online customer groups and monitoring trends. They are twice as likely to use social media to poll their community and research new products.

Read Harvard’s complete report below.

Why Do Some Social Media Projects Fail?

View more presentations from BSI.

The Brand Science Institute (BSI) conducted a study lasting seven months and was conducted
in twelve European countries to understand what “What goes wrong?” when launching a social media initiative. 563 marketers representing 52 brands participated and this is what they found:

  • 81% of all companies don’t have a clear social media strategy!
  • Corporates tend to take twice as long as start-ups for social media projects
  • Only 7% understand the real value of customer interactions
  • Only 27% have a clear understanding of their customers
  • Social media projects are there times more under control
  • 73% had to show money after 12 months
  • 76% feel that legal departments hinder social media projects
  • 87% had to correct their social media expectations
  • 72% thought social media must be viral
  • 68% never heard of the 1-9-90 rule
  • 84% compare social media performance with standard media measures
  • 76% don’t moderate social media projects accurately (if at all)
  • Only 7% understand the CRM value of social media
  • 91% allocate budgets the wrong way!
  • 37% think that social media is a media buy
  • 53% were stepping into the geek-trap
  • 92% are not aware of their FB dependency
  • 71% take expensive upfront investments to secure technical functionality
  • Only 11% have social media guidelines
  • 86% don’t have a clue how to handle a social media backlash
  • Only 4% share their social media experience throughout the company

Personally, I am not too surprised with these results. It does go to show however, that a clear lack of planning and goal setting can result in poor results. If you had to benchmark your company with these results, how would it stand?

Time and attention are the next big fight in social

Steve Rubel presented an excellent talk at The Next Web recently and I highly recommend that you watch and absorb it. Rubel’s argument is that as most brands now post their content on Facebook and Twitter, the way that content is seen may not always reach its intended audience. Brands are “fighting” each other and individuals for attention.

Social marketers needs to understand that that the decay, or half life of a tweet, a Facebook update or posted video is incredibly short. Having compelling content is one thing, but making sure that content is timely for its intended audience is also a crucial factor. Here are some of the key points from the talk:

Economic Value is linked to attention

As content proliferates, it is all increasingly filtered through hyper-personalised social streams. Therefore, captivating attention is even more critical today for effecting a behaviour change.

The Digital space is infinite, yet time is finite

According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, the web fills with a deluge of new content equal to all the existed in either digital or analogue form prior to 2003. Yet, our time remains relatively finite, Attention doesn’t scale as noise escalates, content rapidly decays.

Twitter is recording 110 million tweets per day. However, like “wet snow,” they evaporate as almost soon as they hit the ground. This means your messages many never reach your intended audience. When your content is snowing, content has a shelf life shorter than milk.

Personalised Social Algorithms Curate

Every month than 30 billion pieces of content are shared globally on Facebook. Their EdgeRank algorithm curates art from junk in your feed based on personal affinities, content formats and timeliness.
Trust in the age of streams requires frequency

People need to hear things three to five times for it to effect a behaviour change. Therefore, you must craft a strong narrative and have it reverberate across both traditional and social news streams. 


How Twitter content decays

  • 71% of tweets get no reaction
  • 23% get an @ reply
  • 92% retweets are within the first hour
  • 85% of tweets with @ replies get just one

How video content decays (Online video Attention Span)
>5 Minutes 9.42%
>3 Minutes 16.62%
>2 Minutes 23.71%
>60 Seconds 46.44%
>30 Seconds 66.16%
>20 Seconds 80.41%
>10 Seconds 89.61%

Step One: Hand-Craft Your Content For Each Embassy

Networks aren’t homogeneous. Identify the micro communities driving the conversation, vary your content formats for each., deploy natives as ambassadors and maintain a robust content calendar.

Step Two: Activate Expert Employees as Thought Leaders

Experts and those in the know are among the most trusted. Digital thought leadership can break the space-time challenge. Make digital engagement 1% of 100 people’s role, not just 100% of one person’s job

Step Three: Tightly Integrate Owned and Social Assets

Social isn’t a channel. It’s a behaviour. People expect it everywhere. You can increase your social surface area by building such hooks into your site – and vice versa. Give stakeholders options.

Step One: Mindfulness Through Bifocal Awareness

Build an understanding of the world around you and the best times to engage by practicing mindfulness on two levels with situational and ambient awareness. These simple processes complement monitoring

Step Two: Optimize For The Best Times to Engage

Mining builds off mindfulness. Using an array of low-cost tools, businesses can determine
the idea times to engage. This includes engaging both at a macro level in a given network, like Twitter or Facebook, as well as within micro communities that are deep inside.

Social Media Revolution – Redux


Wonderful to see that Erik Qualman has refreshed his Social Media Revolution video. I only wish he had used a difference accompanying soundtrack this time. Fat Boy Slim, so 2008?

Key stats from the video follow below:

Stats from Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)

  1. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old
  2. 96% of them have joined a social network
  3. Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
  4. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
  5. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
  6. Years to Reach 50 millions Users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…
  7. Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year
  8. iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
  9. We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”
  10. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United States and only behind China and India
  11. Yet, QQ and Renren dominate China
  12. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  13. 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95%
  14. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  15. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the  populations of Ireland, Norway, or Panama.  Note I have adjusted the language here after someone pointed out the way it is phrased in the video was difficult to determine if it was combined.
  16. 50% of the mobile Internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
  17. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé – some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts
  18. Instead they are distributing: eReaders + iPads + Tablets
  19. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
  20. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  21. While you watch this 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube
  22. Wikipedia has over 15 million articles…studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
  23. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
  24. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
  25. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour
  26. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  27. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
  28. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
  29. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services  than how Google ranks them
  30. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
  31. Only 14% trust advertisements
  32. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  33. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
  34. Kindle eBooks Outsold Paper Books on Christmas
  35. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation
  36. 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily
  37. We no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
  38. We will non longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media
  39. Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate
  40. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like Mad Men Listening first, selling second
  41. The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years
  42. Bonus: comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – is the #1 social network

Freddie Laker of Sapient Nitro at #SMWF


In the last of my posts from the Social Media World Forum, comes a stand out talk from Freddie Laker, Director of Digital Strategy at Sapient Nitro. He kicked off his presentation stating that he was going to talk about “everything else that is social media”. Social Media is everywhere and is being used to:

  • Understand Influence
  • Create “The Digital Outdoor” billboard
  • Develop Product Design
  • Encourage Social Commerce
  • Design Augmented Reality


Today we live in a world of “Social Media Everything”, even TV is going online and becoming social. Brands need to recognise that consumers interact regardless, they don’t care if it is social media, they just interact.

The digital ecosystem is complex. We are now seeing the “digital outdoors”, with billboards being powered by Twitter.

Sites such as, are great sites to discover existing communities for your brand, you don’t always have to create one.

Freddie, discussed that the following brands are the ones to watch for social media:

  • Disney
  • Zappos
  • CocaCola
  • Unilever
  • Pepsi
  • Virgin

He noted, that we are building a massive, “Global Social Brain”. The share of voice is becoming more important than anything else.


P&G has taken a bold move, by allowing its audience to rate their products on the Olay website. Freddie says, “people are always rating you, don’t be afraid, embrace it!”.


Location based apps such as Foursquare and Gowalla have the potential to become huge. Some brands in the US, are already giving people incentives to “check-in”, into frequently visited places. For example, if you check-in regularly, Foursquare will make you a “Mayor” of that place. If the place is a coffee shop, the retailer can offer to give the Mayor a free mug of coffee (loyalty reward).

Getting your legal department on board is crucial before any deployment. Otherwise, they will act as a big barrier to effective social media engagement. Freddie advises that Brands should become “early adopters to reap the benefits”. Geo location is going mainstream. Facebook recently announced that they would be adding geo locations to status updates soon.

What’s the next big thing? It may very well be, “The Semantic Web” and should be something that businesses keep their eyes on for the future – “Beyond Nowness”, as Freddie puts it.


Trevor Johnson of Facebook at #SMWF


Next up was Trevor Johnson, Head of Strategy and Planning at Facebook Europe. His talk was entitled, “Social Changes Everything”. He discussed how a burglar stopped to update his Facebook status during a robbery! He was subsequently caught. “Social” is indeed everywhere and Facebook is a big touch point for so many of us.

Facebook is used by more than 400 million active users. Users spend on average 16 minutes on the homepage, and spend 28 minutes updating their profile during the day. Facebook has now also overtaken Google as the Web’s number one web property. Here are some others stats that Trevor shared:

· #1 property on the internet (time spent)

· 5 billion+ pieces of content uploaded every week

· 6 billion+ minutes spent online every day

· 2 million+ photos per second

· 250+ platform apps with over 1m active users

· 800,000+ websites use Facebook Connect

· 2 billion+ chat messages

· 60 million+ status updates each day

At the heart of Facebook is “Identity”. “Social” is built on 3 pillars (Identity, Sharing and the Facebook Platform). Identity is core, with real people sharing and connecting with their social graphs. Facebook is particularly focussed on the growing importance of identity & authenticity. And, opportunities that are driven by [Facebook] platform and technology. [Jas Note] Interesting, if Facebook wants to become the Identity on the web what comes next, the wallet?


Social gaming has growing significantly, games such as Farmville now have over 80 million users. Companies such as Evian, even have branded “virtual goods” now. Of note, the virtual economy is anticipated to be worth 10 billion this year, Trevor said.

Finally, Trevor showed a great example on how MySpace is using Facebook Connect to connect fans with music artists, using a viral video campaign called “Fan Video”. Take a look at the one I created here. Viral videos are now becoming personalised!

Key Summary Points (Simple steps for Marketers)

1. Make it social, leverage the platform and social graph

2. Keep it simple, get started and iterate

3. Don’t think in campaigns and silos, develop a conversational calendar

4. Think differently – harness new opportunities and experiment

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Katy Howell of Immediate Future at #SMWF


Next up was Katy Howell from Immediate Future (IF) – A Social Media agency. Disclosure: My employer retains the services of Immediate Future.

Katy’s talk did not focus on Social Media strategy, but from actual “real life” experiences from the field, as Katy put it, “Nuggets from Pioneers”.

Katy asked the audience to “think beyond the tools”. A particular IF client lost their Flickr page mid-campaign! She warned that there are hidden costs and content risks when using social tools. (Who actually owns the data?) Popular social media sites may implement a charge model in the future. She urged the audience to “think about the influencer”. Influence is not uniform. The influencer is not a replacement for the word “audience”. Katy stated that there are different types of influencers – Authoritative, Popular and Collaborative.

Her note to Brands, “STOP SHOUTING!” Influencers hate to be shouted at. Real time conversations (Tweets) now appear in Google searches, (Bing too :-). These may be the first touch point to your brand, and if you annoy your influencers their comments will be seen by all.


Katy went on to discuss, that we are reaching to a point of “viral and app fatigue”. She presented the following stats:

Your video on YouTube…

· 3.1% chance of getting over 1,000 views

· 0.3% chance of getting over 10,000 views

· 0.001% of getting over 100,000 views

Your App on Facebook…

· Joins half a million of others

· Is one of 140 loaded daily

Finally, Katy stated that 74% of businesses feel that proving Return Of Investment (ROI) is the greatest challenge for social media today. Transparency is key, laying out KPIs and “showing out your working” is vital for senior management buy-in. Be very clear about your objectives and what you are trying to achieve. Education for senior managers is also important. She gave an example, where a company found a negative comment on a 3rd party Facebook page. The management team’s response was to shut the fan page down and call in the lawyers. This doesn’t work, as it only aggregates the original poster, and moves the conversation to another site.

Beware of Twankernomics!

A very tongue and cheek response to last year’s Socialnomics video. Very amusing!

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