Hope you all had a great weekend! We're not going to lie to you ... the A8S team is disappointed that OSU won't face LSU in the BCS national championship game. The Monday #SoMash is back with a small but powerful lineup that includes Manchester City's display of fan tweets, the Tampa Bay Lightning's microchipped jerseys, and Facebook's acquisition of Gowalla.
We've all checked in somewhere or at least seen a friend hop on Foursquare so they can earn a badge for checking in to a restaurant, sports event, concert, or flight but have you ever wondered what demographic accounts for the majority of that activity. Well, we're here to shed some light on the question of who is powering the social media check in and who exactly is auto tagging their GPS location. Visible's research in the infographic below was taken from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.
10 million? 10,000,000? 7 zeroes? We’re impressed.
Social media has always had strength in numbers, and 10 million users or consumers of any product or service is a big deal as far as we’re concerned. Foursquare recently announced they have officially reached 10 million users, and when you step back to think about this feat, it becomes even more impressive when you consider the obstacles the NY start-up has faced to date.
Starting with the idea of a mobile check-in, team Foursquare had to 1) convince people there is more utility to the service than simply having fun and 2) fight the big dogs (we'll come back to this later). As advanced a platform as competitor SCVNGRhas built to date (as the name indicates it was never simply a check-in service), CEO Seth Priebatsch has referred to his mobile platform as the "gaming layer" of the web but arguably to a detriment. While the average mobile user might think of Foursquare as a game too (because it is a game at its core), many digital marketers turn to Foursquare in lieu of SCVNGR because of it's simplicity and concentration on the art of the "check-in".
The other major obstacle to Foursquare's major success to date is the omnipresent competition of giant web platforms like Facebook and Google which offer similar services—Facebook Places and Google Latitude. The good news for the NYC start-up is that founder Dennis Crowley has gone down literally the same path before and was prepared for Google's reaction in the marketplace. Crowley founded dodgeball.com, one of the first mobile social services in the United States. It was acquired by Google in 2005 and then left out to the pasture to die.
Despite it all, Foursquare continues to grow and outpace competitors Whrrl (recently acquired by Groupon), Gowalla, and SCVNGR while working toward "fulfill[ing] their larger vision for the future." In the meantime, Foursquare has released an infographic on their company blog to illustrate the growth of the young technology company.
A few things that caught our eye:
Hitting 1,000,000 users in late 2010, they've grown 10x in size in less than half a year
358 million check-ins outside the U.S.
6,230 Snake Bar checkins in Japan
6,350 checkins at Weddings in City Halls, Churches, and Parks
6 to 1 “Yay” to “Ugh” ratio, (Foursquare users are happy!)
2010 was a major year for social media marketing. Companies spent some serious cash in the space last year. According to eMarketer, 2011 looks to be an even bigger year as 8 out of 10 companies plan to increase their spending in social media. Hubspot's "Social Media Marketing by the Numbers" infographic below shows some interesting numbers from 2010.
In honor of the new year, our final Social Mashup of 2010 takes a brief look back at five of the most important social media trends of the last 12 months. Here at Activ8Social, we believe that you should pay special attention to hyper-localization, social retail, deals, check-ins, and mobile ... you are going to be hearing a lot more about innovation in these spaces from both fresh startups to establish players like Facebook and Google. Happy New Year everybody!
A Look Back at Social Media in 2010
1. The Rise of Groupon This year we saw a little company called Groupon explode with success and do almost everything right. As 2010 comes to a close, Groupon is projected to make $1 billion in sales faster than any other business, ever. Their estimated revenue in 2010 was $350 million. If you've been hiding under a rock, Groupon is a "deal of the day" website that services major markets in North America, South America and Europe. Basically, if a certain number of people sign up for the day's offer then it becomes available to everybody. Everybody from Google to Yahoo tried to buy Groupon in 2010, but they rightfully chose not to sell as they have been deemed a candidate for an IPO by 2013.
2. The Year of the Check-In
In 2009 the major question was, 'what are you doing?' This year it became, 'where are you?' By the end of this year, there were few major retail locations remaining that were not linked to a geolocation service that updated friends on your public location. Several geolocation services gained mainstream recognition in 2010, including Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, and Facebook Places. Each offers a little twist whether it be discounts, mayors, badges, pins, or game-mechanics based off checkin activity. The result? An all-out geolocation war that we've been watching closely as each company tries to one-up the others with a new offering. This is definitely something we will continue to follow in 2011 as geolocation integrates deeper and more effectively into your daily digital activity.
3. Mobile Apps Move Beyond iPhone
You may not realize it yet, but it was just this year that we saw the iPad hit the market, and with it a new model of technology. This is also the year we saw the release of the iPhone 4 and the rise of the Android. It seems like nobody is walking around anymore without a smart phone these days. Naturally, with the ubiquity of these mobile devices came a sea of mobile apps. There is literally a mobile app for everything you could possibly want from GPS and games to a vuvuzela app created during the World Cup for the notorious instrument that created the sound of 10,000 bees. Yeah, there's 'an app for that.'
4. Not Just for College Students
When Facebook first launched way back in 2004, it was exclusive to a handful of the elite universities and colleges in the country. By the end of 2010, it seems that everybody(almost 600 million) is on Facebook, with Twitter (almost 200 million) steadily growing at a healthy pace. In fact, in a recent study it turns out that that 79 percent of moms with children under 18 are now active in social media. This just goes to show that now it isn't just the tech savvy that are involved but that almost everybody uses social media in one form or another. This was definitely the coming of age year for social media.
5. Zuckerberg and Facebook
How could we not end with this? It wasn't just the year of Facebook in social media but it was the year of Facebook in general. Facebook recently passed Yahoo to become the third largest website on the net in terms of unique views. But it was about far more than that. Zuckerberg was of course recently named Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" and we saw the release of the critically-acclaimed movie The Social Network, which portrayed the Hollywood version of the rise of Zuckerberg and Facebook. The social media behemoth also grew their product significantly introducing countless new innovations for the site. It is projected that Facebook will draw in 2010 revenues of $2 billion dollars which is nothing to blink an eye at. Facebook will no doubt continue to be one of if not the biggest forces in social media and it's clear that Facebook won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
This week's Monday Social Mashup updates the geo-location wars, peeks at new Twitter analytics tool Research.ly, and provides more depth into Qatar's surprising World Cup 2022 host selection.
Gowalla Integrates Foursquare into their New Application
When Gowalla released the new 3.0 version of their iPhone application this week they added several new features but also decided to integrate their application with Foursquare. Now, not only can you broadcast your Gowalla check ins on their own application but you can do so on sites like Foursquare, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook Places. You can even earn Foursquare badges or Facebook Places deals through Gowalla now. But that is only a smaller component of the new application. The truly impressive part of what Gowalla has done is create a new "Universal Activity Feed" that means your friends don't need to log onto three or four different geo-location sites to see what you have been up to but rather allows you to go to Gowalla's new design and see it all in one place. This move by Gowalla puts them squarely in the driver's seat as the richest geo-location site but there are still complications. Foursquare was not involved in the release of Gowalla's new interface and could decide to try to block Gowalla's Application Program Interface (API) because they never gave Gowalla permission. They just might do it in the spirit of competition. Who would have guessed when geo-location sites were initially launched that this sort of war would develop? Gowalla has definitely fired the next shot, now we wait and see how Foursquare retaliates. Either way it is certain to cause controversy and continue to be exciting.
Research.ly Launched as New Twitter Search Tool
The company PeopleBrowsrwhich was formerly designing a consumer facing social application for managing Twitter and Facebook has launched what is essentially a Twitter search engine. Research.ly is a new tool for brands and users to view the Twitter information that matters most to them. The program allows you to search Tweets and keywords and view the information broken down by demographics. It also shows a global overview of the keywords searched which gives information like the most common words used with the searched keyword, keyword volume fluctuation over time and media related to the tweets like Twitpicand Youtube. Twitter is obviously an incredibly powerful site and thus far there have been few attempts to view the analytics behind it; but as brands have been using Facebook to view and gather data on consumers, it's clear that something similar can be done with Twitter. Research.ly is a quality move in that direction and while certainly not perfect, will provide some data for marketers. The $99 price tag may also have to be moved as it certainly seems high compared to the amount the product does.
Qatar to Host the World Cup in 2022
This is not a sports & entertainment social media story, however, we simply could not resist sharing a few words about the losing United States bid---The Game Is In Us---to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. At this point, we all know that Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern nation to host the World Cup 12 years from now. We are also aware of the potential issues in Qatar such as the ridiculously high temperatures (which range between 104 degrees F to 120 degrees F) and the host's resistance to selling in-venue alcohol it is a Muslim country. What you may not know though are the details behind Qatar's bid and the voting process of FIFA.
The five countries vying for the bid were Australia, Korea, Japan, United States, and of course Qatar. Qatar was the clear leader through each round of voting with Japan and Australia receiving basically no support while the USA and Korea saw little more fanfare. The final round tally by the 22 person voting committee was a 14-8 victory for Qatar over the USA. At this time last year, bookmakers put Qatar as a 200:1 underdog to capture the bid, but a thoroughly impressive presentation along with FIFA's desire to put the World Cup in different parts of the globe pushed the Middle East nation toward the victory.
Their presentation which featured three different languages was centered around the economic impact that the World Cup would have on the region. Reliability, unity, and opportunity were the buzz words featured throughout the presentation which tried to convey the message that Qatar had the necessary funding ($50 Billion US dollars) to build the infrastructure required to host the world's largest sporting event. The finishing touch was the fact that all stadiums would be modular and restructured into 22 new stadiums to be built around the region. It's clear Qatar's presentation was very impressive, now the world will wait and see if Qatar can deliver on its promises.
In case you were unaware, Russia edged out England, Holland and Belgium, and Portugal and Spain as the host of the 2018 World Cup.
Starting today and moving forward, Activ8Social will be publishing a Monday review of the latest news in social media, sports, and entertainment. Today is the first of many mashups to follow. For today's edition, we have focused on the Geo-location arms race that has taken place over the last few weeks with major corporations choosing sides among the major players in the space.
Foursquare Partnership with Safeway and Pepsi
Grocery retailer Safeway and PepsiCo have teamed with popular geo-location service Foursquareto offer location based rewards and check-ins. The idea behind this strategic partnership is basically that Safeway Club (VonsClub) members link their Foursquare accounts with their VonsClub account to receive Pepsi deals. The deals are based on where shoppers have previously checked in and purchases they have previously made. The coupons are shown at the check out and applied. The deal really works for both sides as it closely ties in customer loyalty for VonsClub members and for Foursquare users. It certainly seems like a win-win for Foursquare and Safeway as Safeway gets a new way to reward their customers, positive publicity and possibly new shoppers who want to take advantage of the deals offered. For Foursquare, this program represents a move towards a more targeted deal for the consumer—much like Facebook intends to offer with Places in the long run—by considering their users' wants and interests in order to boost consumer loyalty.
Coca-Cola Chooses SCVNGR for Geo-Location
After seeing the relationship between Pepsi and Foursquare, Coca-Cola elected to go with up and coming geo-location site SCVNGR. This site is based more on challenges and games than just 'checking in' like with Foursquare. The focus for Coke is using SCVNGR as a way for people to earn rewards by completing challenges in the real world. These challenges are referred to as "Secret Formula Challenges" and are things like taking pictures of a Coke can. These two companies teaming up is more than likely a direct result of the strategic partnership between Pepsi and Foursquare. For SCVNGR, the world's most recognizable brand lends major credibility to their already extremely advanced mobile platform. Previously SCVNGR had been involved in smaller deals with retailers and venues such as the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. For Coke, the partnership with SCVNGR is a risk in the short term considering Foursquare has greater mass appeal as of now, however, SCVGR equips Coke with a geo-location service that opens the door to extreme creativity when creating the consumer touch point, not to mention more overall features than Foursquare.
Disney Bets on Gowalla in Geo-Location Battle
Disney has formed a pact with Gowalla for their Geo-location service as a way to create a new experience at their theme parks. Gowalla users can earn Disney stamps and pins (Gowalla's version of the "badge") for doing different things at the Disney parks within a custom Disney passport on Gowalla. The deal is unbelievably thorough as there are hundreds of different stamps Gowalla users can receive through different rides and sites at the parks. This is a coup for Gowalla as Disney is one of the world's most recognizable brands and lends instant credibility and a huge boost to stay in the Geo-location battle. It appears Disney may have selected Gowalla based on the depth and overall level of customization that went into the promotion. Perhaps Disney feels Gowalla will invest more in their relationship than Foursquare or SCVNGR, but only time will tell if Gowalla's platform is mainstream enough for a world class brand like Disney.
Facebook Places Introduces Deals
Facebook has recently launched a new system for Facebook Places called Deals,in which the world's largest social network offers mobile discounts to its users across many locations. The deals infrastructure is much larger than just one brand and many believe it is the beginning of the end in the fight for geo-location supremacy. Brands already seem much more comfortable going with Facebook given the brand name alone. One of the biggest brands Facebook Places is working with is Gap, for instance, who may not have considered one of the smaller sites like Gowalla. The main concern with Facebook Places and these deals, and it is certainly a solvable one, is the Facebook privacy issues with people being concerned about who and how many people can see where they are going on the Facebook network. On the whole it seems as though this new system with so many large businesses seems to put Facebook Places a step ahead of everybody else.