Hey everybody! We hope you enjoyed the weekend. This week's Monday Social Mashup reviews Dana White's announcement he will pay UFC fighters to tweet, Google's new music service, Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, and Groupon's launch of their new product 'Groupon Now.'
We hope that you had an excellent weekend and managed to get off your couch for at least a little while in light of the excellent NBA and NHL playoff games taking place. This week's edition of the Social Mashup features two intriguing Twitter stories, a new advertising plan from Pepsi and MLB, and finally Google Offers going into Beta testing. Hopefully if you were fortunate enough to win any trophies this weekend, you didn't run them over in your celebration.
UberMedia Developing a Twitter Competitor?
Twitter has been recently encouraging developers to move away from creating third party clients so that Twitter can have more traffic on their actual site which would lead to more monetizing options. But that may backfire on Twitter. Some of those developers may be looking to build their own competitor to Twitter.
According to CNN, UberMedia, which is the company responsible for UberSocial, Echofonand Twidroyd, has been looking into creating it's own micro blogging site as a direct competitor to Twitter. The site would allegedly attempt to solve the most common complaints about Twitter like restrictions on message length. UberMedia has been raising money, $17.5 million alone in February, and acquiring several third party Twitter clients. Like Twitter (as we discuss below), it is also looking to acquire TweetDeck.
UberMedia got in trouble with Twitter in February over some policy violations when some of their third party apps got suspended like Twidroyd. The question is whether or not UberMedia's plan is being put into place as we write or whether it is simply backup plan should they get in trouble again by pushing the envelope on Twitter's policies. Many have tried - and failed - to compete with Twitter but UberMedia definitely has more going for them than any of the previous options that have come along.
The issue is whether or not anybody could actually compete with Twitter. The micro blogging site has so much power, so many users, and is so integrated into everything with things like the Twitter button that it seems unrealistic that somebody could step in and compete with them. It would be interesting if UberMedia could create not an alternative to Twitter, but something different that runs parallel to it and syncs up with it. They already have a significant number of users on sites like Twidroyd but it seems unreasonable to think people would switch simply due to a third party app they used. If you are a Twidroyd or Ubersocial user for Twitter, would you consider switching to an UberMedia competitor?
Twitter Looking to Buy TweetDeck
Twitter is looking to buy TweetDeckfor a reported price of $50 million, at least according to the Wall Street Journal. TweetDeck is probably the most popular third-party Twitter client and is available via desktop, iPad, iPhone and Android. It basically amalgamates all of your Twitter information including news feed, @mentions and direct messages, and updates them in real time. TweetDeck can also give you pdates from MySpace, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Tweetdeck refuses to give out information regarding their number of users but the power they have is generally attributed to the fact that the most obsessive Twitter users tend to use this particular third party app.
So what is the point of this for Twitter? The way we see it, there are two primary reasons. One is the fact that they are potentially in competition with UberMedia, which as you just read is looking to potentially create a Twitter competitor. This could potentially cut down on the number of powerful Tweeters UberMedia is looking to bring in. Not only that but whether they acquire TweetDeck or not, it would definitely show that Twitter is not going to lay down and die but is pushing back against UberMedia.
The other reason involves Twitter's constant search to monetize the micro blogging site. One of the issues with monetization of the site is that so many people don't use Twitter on the actual online site but rather use third party clients on their phones or even on their computers. If Twitter owned the rights to TweetDeck, they could begin to monetize beyond the actual site and get through to more Tweeters.
PepsiCo Partners with IntoNow to Engage Consumers with TV Commercials
In the age of DVR, brands are looking for new ways to make sure consumers are seeing their commercials. PepsiCo has partnered with IntoNow, an app for iOS devices that allows TV viewers to identify the show they are watching down to the episode and share it on their social networks. Through the partnership, viewers who "check in" to PepsiCo's new commercial, which will be airing during MLB games this season, will receive a coupon for a free 20oz Pepsi MAX. The groundbreaking campaign is an innovative way to connect a brand's TV commercial with the actual product.
CEO and Founder of IntoNow, Adam Cahan, is excited about what the partnership will bring,
At IntoNow we're focused on using the companion devices we have in our lives as a way to connect with your friends, content and now brands. This is the first time where consumers can close the funnel between a brand experience on a TV commercial right down to a real world drink you can consume. That’s a really exciting first that opens the doors for advertising partners. We’re thrilled to be creating a new consumer experience with a brand like Pepsi MAX.
The campaign started last Wednesday, April 20, and continues until December 31, 2011. The first 50,000 people to tag the commercial will receive a coupon that is redeemable at retail chains nationwide directly from their mobile device. Do you see this being successful and other brands jumping on board to promote their products through IntoNow?
Google Offers in Beta Testing
So is this the new saying, "If you can't buy them out, build your own and compete against them?" Apparently that's Google's thinking. After Groupon turned down Google's $6 billion offer, the minds behind Google decided to create their own daily deals service. "Google Offers" quietly launched beta testing Portland, San Francisco and New York.
What kind of deals will Google Offers feature? It sounds like it will run the gamut, from restaurants, spa treatments, clothing and outings much like other daily deal competitors in the space LivingSocial and Groupon. Watch this video to find out more - apparently, "the possibilities are mind-numbing."
We think that Google Offers may blow up fast given Google's trusted name and dominating search engine. What are your thoughts? Will you sign when Google Offers comes to your city?
This week's Social Mashup features Major League Baseball's digital campaign for the legendary Jackie Robinson, Living Social's $1 deals, Reebok's cool new mobile application, and Virgin America awesome new Foursquare marketing campaign. And no, we can't believe Rebecca Black's Friday has just topped the 100 million views on YouTube either. Watch out Biebs!
Baseball's Digital Campaign for Jackie Robinson
In 1947, Jackie Robinsonbroke the MLB's color barrier becoming the first African American to play in the Major League. Every year on the anniversary of his first big league game, April 15th, each MLB team celebrates Jackie Robinson Day by wearing 42—which is the only number in history retired by all 30 MLB teams. This year, to honor Jackie, MLB has released a new digital campaign called IAM42which is aimed at creating a personal connection between fans and the legend through personal videos and social media.
The sleekly designed microsite features personal video tributes from over 60 current and former players who honor Jackie including such legends as Lou Brock, Ernie Banks as well as current stars such as Mariano Rivera and David Price. IAM42 will continue to be updated with additional video tribute and content leading up to the 65th anniversary of Jackie's entrance into the big leagues.
Developed by MLBAM, the microsite itself is quite simple but effective using each player ambassador's face as a link inside a giant number 42 (as seen below). The site has all the updates from the Jackie Robinson Day Facebook Page, as well as all Twitter mentions of #MLBIAM42, which is the official hashtag. This marketing initiative demonstrates another huge social media integration by the league, coming off the heels of the MLB's new fan cave. It's an impressive effort thus far, and we look forward to seeing what else America's pastime has in store.
Living Social's $1 Deals
This weekLiving Social rolled out deals all across Washington, DC which allowed people to eat for just one dollar (in fact, we took advantage) with some deals offering as much as $20 worth of food and drink for just $1. Almost all of the deals sold out as it was unsurprisingly extremely popular. These special deals were a way to introduce the world to Living Social's new Instant Deals which use your GPS location to pull up a list of such deals within a half-mile radius of the user.
LivingSocial subscribers can then purchase the deals and use them instantaneously by showing the confirmed purchase on a mobile device. Living Social also covered the city in sidewalk drawings and banners. Living Social employees were also made available at all participating merchants to promote the service. The Instant Deals are currently only available in DC as the $1 deals were essentially a pilot for national release. We at Activ8social personally took part in this, enjoying a nice lunch in the Dupont Circle area for the $1 price tag.
Reebok App Makes You Accountable for Your Runs
Have you ever said you we're going to go for a run, but didn't because you lacked motivation or decided to watch some tv instead? Would you be more inclined to go for that run if everyone knew about it and was holding you accountable for it? Well, there's an app for that. Reebok released The Promise Keeper app for both the iPhone and Androidallowing people to schedule runs, keep a GPS record of the running route, and update the completion of the promised runs on Facebook and Twitter.
The app is meant to keep you in check and will notify your friends if you don't follow through on your promise. Nothing like a little peer pressure. Also, by sharing your successes and failures via Facebook and/or Twitter, Reebok is able to reach that many more consumers in an authentic and meaningful way. Take a look at this video to learn more about The Promise Keeper and how Reebok has intertwined the free app with its ZigTech running shoe. Pretty clever way to promote the running shoe if you asked me.
Virgin America Checks In
Virgin America, an airline known for providing top notch service and innovative experiences on its flights, has come out with a way to engage with consumers while they're waiting in the terminal. Virgin America's Terminal 2 (T2) Takeover allows users to check in via Foursquare or Facebook Places at 12 locations at San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) Terminal 2, the new state-of-the-art terminal which houses Virgin America.
Players can earn one of five Foursquare-style badges by checking-in at any of the 12 locations, which Virgin America created so customers would discover different areas of the terminal and airport. Some of the check-in points include the Tetris Lounge, the red chairs, hydration station, ticket counters, jet bridge to flight and Virgin America's mood-lit gate. Here's a look at the badges, which are earned based on the number of check-ins "Ground Crew" (1-4 check-ins), "Flight Crew" (5-10), "Navigator" (11-20), "Co-Pilot" (21-50) and "Captain" (50+).
What's even better than just getting a badge? The top 5 travelers with the most check-ins will be displayed on a check-in leaderboard in the terminal as well as on leaderboard app on Virgin America's Facebook page.
Can you believe that the Activ8Social company bracket predicted VCU, Butler, UConn, and Kentucky ... to all have lost by the end of the second round?! Apparently, we don't have the skills of Joe Pearlman who correctly picked the Final Four. This week we bring you Google's online magazine, a new mobile photo sharing application, AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, and LivingSocial's aggressive battle to overtake Groupon. And in case you are flying this week, we've provided you a little reminder on the FAA's safety guidelines from the always entertaining Richard Simmons.
What a game last night! Wow! Our sincere condolences go out to all you Steeltown fans but then again six Lombardi trophies isn't so bad either. As we do every week here at Activ8Social, we cover the top social media stories in sports and entertainment including the controversial Groupon vs. LivingSocial Super Bowl ad wars, Foursquare's Super Bowl check-in, free Facebook on Gogo flights in February, Kia's social media campaign for the Australian Open, and former social media king MySpace's for sale announcement. And of course, don't forget to vote on whether Barbie should take Ken back!
In our fourth installment of Monday's Social Mashup in 2011, we review how the NFL's players are turning to social media to oppose the impending lockout, what a new crowd sourcing website from France promises do for brands, what Google's answer to Groupon offers, and how the University of Texas athletics department has become the real "ESPN The Ocho". As much as we wanted to unlock the Golden Egg for you, we promise not to talk about the impending Angry Birds television show.
NFL Players Use Social Media to Fight Potential Lockout
While a select few players are enjoying the NFL playoffs right now, many more are contemplating the fate of their careers with a possible owner's lockout next season. Last Tuesday players took to social media in an effort to fight back and appeal to their fans. Primarily using Twitter, players inundated the micro-blogging service with tweets and trending topics such as "Today is #LETUSPLAY Day", "Help #NFL Players & Fans #BlocktheLockout, and "Visit NFLLockout.com and sign the Petition." Players who contributed included Beanie Wells, Matt Hasselbeck, Nick Mangold, and Patrick Willis among many others.
Social media is one vehicle that players have extreme leverage over the owners as they are much more connected with the fans than team owners. Of course, many official team Twitter handles have significant audiences. Only Jim Irsay, who owns the Colts, possesses major reach on Twitter. Judging by the fact that the NFLPA claimed the @NFLLockout Twitter handle way back in October 2010, the idea of players leveraging social media en masse appears to be a calculated strategy.
While many critics have argued that the NFLPA cannot stop the lockout over the collective bargaining agreement from occurring by taking to Twitter, we believe the players stand to gain more than less by rallying fans in support of the game. Anything that moves the needle even slightly in favor of the players side in terms of fan perception is good news for the NFLPA. There is going to be a lot of mud slinging between players and owners before any negotiation even takes place and hanging in the balance and yet to be determined is who the fans will blame for the lockout.
eYeKa Launches in the United States
French owned company eYeKa, which is hoping to do away with focus groups, has officially opened its first two American offices in San Francisco and New York City. Over the course of last year, eYeKa went international by first opening offices in Singapore and the United Kingdom. The company is essentially a consumer engagement community and is designed to help brands find their proper markets.
Big brands can use the site to crowd-source feedback from a community of over 130,000 creative consumers and growing. These companies can co-research, co-innovate, and co-communicate which builds a direct and authentic connection with participating consumers. eYeKa claims to receive between 100-200 responses from people in 76 counties in roughly 2 to 3 weeks. All consumers contributing to the site give their feedback for free, as eYeKa strives for all volunteer, unbiased information. Many American companies will probably be open to giving eYeKa a trial run given that they already have collaborated with Coca Cola, Kraft, and Microsoft.
Google Offers to Launch
If you can't buy 'em, beat 'em right? Because Google failed to acquire Groupon in 2010, they have announced the launch of their own group buying site called Google Offers. The internet search giant offered to buy Groupon for six billion dollars towards the end of 2010 but was publicly rejected by Groupon CEO Andrew Mason who claims the start-up is preparing for a 15 billion dollar IPO instead.
The Google Offers fact sheet states “Google Offers is a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email.” The site will be run through Google Checkout which is Google's online shopping network for consumers to shop more securely online. While the site is still in Beta testing, they have already begun reaching out to potential business partners and have put an internal group in place to write up the deals. Google Offers will operate in a similar fashion to Groupon and Living Social with their users receiving a daily email which features a geographic based deal. Once enough people have made the purchase, the deal is activated. When asked to comment, this is what Google responded with:
“Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted.”
It seems logical that with Google's knowledge of e-commerce and extensive resources available, they should immediately compete with Living Social as the second biggest player in the space. Whether or not Google is too late to challenge Groupon for group buying supremacy is a whole other story considering the rapid rate at which Groupon is buying up international competitors. If you read Activ8Social's predictions for 2011 published earlier in the month, you will see that we named 2011 as "The Year of the Deal." That prediction looks pretty good right now (cue pat on the back) with Google entering the mix. Facebook can't possibly be far behind...
Longhorn Network Announced
ESPN's eighth channel will be one devoted to the University of Texas. The University signed a twenty year, 300 million dollar deal with the sports and entertainment network owned by Disney to broadcast all things burnt orange. The network is the first of its kind for a university and virtually guarantees the Longhorns will not leave for the Big Ten, which boasts the Big Ten Network, or for the Pac 10. While Texas fans obviously love it, some college football analysts are concerned that other major states schools (namely the SEC) will feel pressure to acquire their own network and will therefore devalue conference affiliations and the amateur status of the game.
The specific programming will consist of live UT athletic events, shoulder programming and non-sports university content. UT will get fifteen million dollars a year from ESPN who will also put in an additional 400 million dollars towards production values. IMG College, the Longhorns multimedia rights holder, negotiated the deal for Texas. Some of the rights came directly from the University while others were owned by IMG College who already pay Texas 10 million a year in licensing fees. Of course right after this deal was announced, never to be outdone by their rivals, Oklahoma has already announced they want their own network up and running by the end of 2011. The Longhorn Network will launch this fall.
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.