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:









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.

Reflections from the Social Media World Forum


On Monday (15th March), I attended the first day of the Social Media World Forum at London’s Olympia. The next series of posts, will be my reflections of the talks presented. I hope you find them insightful.

Keynote – Kevin Eyres of LinkedIn Europe.


Kevin Eyres, Managing Director of LinkedIn Europe, started his talk with a paraphrased quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of being Earnest, where Social Media and business come together as a marriage.

He stated that in his opinion, “…anyone who desires to understand Social Media should know everything or nothing”.


Kevin went on to discuss, that businesses need “Lenses”. Lenses can help to make better social media decisions. Businesses need to think about how Social Media can be adapted to their local businesses. Lenses also help us to examine “Universal Truths and Human Needs” (both social and knowledge). Humans are social beings, that are inherently designed to be part of a tribe where they connect with other members.

He went on to discuss how the “levelling of the playing field” has a created a Global economy with a new set of problems:

  • Hard to identify? [Global Economy]
  • Who do I trust?
  • How to collaborate?

Kevin’s talk them focussed on the following areas:

1. Innovation – will be driven by knowledge and information. (Incidentally, Linkedin had over 1 billion people searches in the last year).

2. Overloaded – (Information & Command). How many people go beyond page 2 on a search engine?

3. Social Media Facts – We are in “Infancy”. As a business, are you innovating or following someone else?

4. Voice, Identity & Filter – everyone has a voice today. A two-way dialogue is creating a lot of noise. What tools can we use to filter out the useful information?

5. Sharing Knowledge is powerful – It’s no longer what you know, but who you know. “Knowledge is Power” is dead.

6. Socially Aware Apps are the “game changers”. They bring efficiency for users, they help us format, filter and socialise knowledge.


The Global economy brings new opportunities and the birth of “The Accidental Entrepreneur”. Kevin talks about the case of Henk van Ess, who asked on a LinkedIn group, if there were any ways to extend the life of his iPhone battery? A representative from a Chinese manufacturer replied to his post and after some discussions, Henk has created a new online business that now sells long life iPhone batteries to consumers.

Empowered employees at the US electronics retailer BestBuy, solved surplus inventory problems. Shop floor staff created a forecast model, which was more accurate than the company system and was based on customer feedback. Empowered employees also use Twitter, @Twelpforce successfully as a customer support channel.

Before embarking on such initiatives, businesses need to ask themselves, what problems are they trying to solve? Don’t use social media because others are using it, use it to solve a business problem.

Beware of Twankernomics!

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

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How Do I Choose The Right Social Media Channel?

The growing list of online social media sites makes choosing the right channel complicated. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and beyond, which social media outposts will net the most bang for the buck in terms of customer communication, brand exposure, traffic, and SEO?

The CMO’s Guide To The Social Media Landscape is a great guide to print and pin up! It helps to identify the right channels to use. Great work!

A CMO’s Guide To The Social Media Landscape

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