Twitter Traffic Explodes!

Remember my Twitter is the new “Facebook” post from last March where I posited Twitter was going to be the next darling in terms of social tools? It seems my gut feeling was right on that front as shown by Compete’s report on Twitter’s traffic and online attention growth in the last 3 months.

Highlights:

  • “In terms of U.S. visitors, Compete has seen Twitter traffic nearly double from February to April, currently attracting nearly 1.2 million people per month.
  • In terms of time spent on site as a share of all time spent online, Twitter has grown dramatically – more than quadrupling over the period.
  • Twitter is a weekday event – (…) On any typical weekday, Twitter is receiving more than twice the attention as a weekend day.
  • Nearly one quarter of all twitter visitors to the site are heavy users (6+ visits/month)
  • Splitting age demographics based on usage intensity shows that heavy users tend to skew older than visitors who only hit the site once a month. This could indicate that while the younger segments are more exploratory, the 25-44 year old segments have found more value in Twitter and started to ramp up usage.”

Twitter traffic growth 2008 compete

What it means: based on Rogers’ innovation adoption curve, I think we’ve seen the arrival of early adopters on Twitter. The first wave, innovators, had joined the service at SXSW 2007. The weekday usage and the older demographics make me think there’s a lot of work-based usage and that most people in the Weberati have discovered Twitter’s value.

Update: Praized is on Twitter. If you want to follow us, we are http://twitter.com/Praized

Is Word of Mouth the Great Local Search Disruptor?

Was reading this morning a great analysis by Mathew Ingram about a New York Times article describing the way “young people” get/read their political news. It’s clearly more and more about word of mouth and your social graph.

As Mathew says: “It’s not that there is anything earth-shatteringly new in the piece, mind you. But I think it does a great job of describing how digital “word of mouth” — in other words, social networking of all kinds including Twitter, IM, Facebook and so on — has become a dominant means of news delivery for young people in a way that I’m not sure old geezers like myself quite grasp, no matter how often people describe it”

The Times sums it up: “In essence, they are replacing the professional filter — reading The Washington Post, clicking on CNN.com — with a social one. (…) In one sense, this social filter is simply a technological version of the oldest tool in politics: word of mouth.”

What it means: I remember when I joined Yellow Pages Group in 1999 (called Bell ActiMedia at the time), old-timers used to tell me that the biggest “competitor” to directory publishers wasn’t other directory publishers (or Google or other online directories), it was word of mouth. People have always asked their friends for recommendations and it has always represented a large volume of local search “queries”.

Admittedly, news and local search are not totally the same. Local search information is usually more of a pull (i.e. someone looking for a product/service) than a push (i.e. someone broadcasting information about a new merchant they found). It’s also more “evergreen” than news, i.e. unless you’re a total local merchant junkie, you don’t need to learn in a timely fashion about a new restaurant opening in your neighborhood. But there’s the seed out there of future consumer behavior which could create a great disruption effect on local search. Who knows? It might become valuable to broadcast information about your favorite local merchants. As I estimated in this blog post, there’s potentially 7 more times online local conversations than online directories searches currently. Anyone who successfully harness these conversations will create very valuable local search inventory.

Baby-Boomers and Social Media

The latest issue of The McKinsey Quarterly discusses the opportunities around “Serving aging baby boomers” and talks about the future social needs of that large demographic group.

Creating community. The need for social connections is nothing new, but loneliness will be more acute for boomers than for any past generation because they will be less able to rely on traditional sources of community. Forty-six percent of the boomers will be unmarried by 2015, compared with 40 percent of the members of the silent generation at the same age; barely half of the boomers believe they can count on their families for a safety net, as compared with 60 percent of the younger members of the silent generation; and just 30 percent attend church weekly, as opposed to nearly 40 percent of the latter. These findings imply that loneliness will afflict more than one in five boomers, who will turn to several new sources of community.

Affinity groups. Given the diminished importance of traditional sources of community, boomers’ interests are likely to play a larger role in creating social outlets. Affinity groups have always sprung up around individual pursuits, such as cooking, reading, photography, or home improvement. As tech-savvy boomers age, these groups will increasingly meet both online (regularly) and in person (periodically). Already, boomer-specific groups—such as Boomj.com, which offers a social-networking service for boomers, and Eons.com, which combines on- and offline communities—are emerging.

baby boomer

Flickr picture by Bandita

What it means: I often talk about teens and tweens’ online behaviors in this blog as a way to forecast the future but it’s important, especially for traditional media companies, not to forget this very powerful consumer demographics. According to McKinsey, “by 2015, boomers will control nearly 60% of US net wealth and account for 40% of US consumption and income.” There’s clearly an opportunity in various social vertical sites but local will play a big part in there as well.

Baby-Boomers and Social Media

The latest issue of The McKinsey Quarterly discusses the opportunities around “Serving aging baby boomers” and talks about the future social needs of that large demographic group.

Creating community. The need for social connections is nothing new, but loneliness will be more acute for boomers than for any past generation because they will be less able to rely on traditional sources of community. Forty-six percent of the boomers will be unmarried by 2015, compared with 40 percent of the members of the silent generation at the same age; barely half of the boomers believe they can count on their families for a safety net, as compared with 60 percent of the younger members of the silent generation; and just 30 percent attend church weekly, as opposed to nearly 40 percent of the latter. These findings imply that loneliness will afflict more than one in five boomers, who will turn to several new sources of community.

Affinity groups. Given the diminished importance of traditional sources of community, boomers’ interests are likely to play a larger role in creating social outlets. Affinity groups have always sprung up around individual pursuits, such as cooking, reading, photography, or home improvement. As tech-savvy boomers age, these groups will increasingly meet both online (regularly) and in person (periodically). Already, boomer-specific groups—such as Boomj.com, which offers a social-networking service for boomers, and Eons.com, which combines on- and offline communities—are emerging.

baby boomer

Flickr picture by Bandita

What it means: I often talk about teens and tweens’ online behaviors in this blog as a way to forecast the future but it’s important, especially for traditional media companies, not to forget this very powerful consumer demographics. According to McKinsey, “by 2015, boomers will control nearly 60% of US net wealth and account for 40% of US consumption and income.” There’s clearly an opportunity in various social vertical sites but local will play a big part in there as well.

Pew Internet: Social Media Central to Teenagers’ Lives

Pew/Internet logo

Pew Internet just released a fascinating study called “Teens and Social Media”. Teens are clearly embracing the conversational aspect of the web and are precursors to the way we will use the Internet in the future.

Highlights & data points:

  • 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet.
  • 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos.
  • 33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments.
  • 28% have created their own online journal or blog.
  • 27% maintain their own personal webpage.
  • 26% remix content they find online into their own creations.
  • 55% of online teens ages 12-17 have created a profile on a social networking site.
  • 47% of online teens have uploaded photos where others can see them.
  • 14% of online teens have posted videos online.

Additional insights:

  • In the midst of the digital media mix, the landline is still a lifeline for teen social life. Multi-channel teens layer each new communications opportunity on top of pre-existing channels.
  • Email continues to lose its luster among teens as texting, instant messaging, and social networking sites facilitate more frequent contact with friends.
  • Posting images and video often starts a virtual conversation. Most teens receive some feedback on the content they post online.

For more information, here’s the full report (.pdf).

What it means: more crystal-ball gazing. This net-native generation will completely change the web. Embrace these trends to be ahead of the curve.

35% of Tweens Own a Mobile Phone

Last week, Nielsen released the preliminary results of a study on tweens (ages 8-12) and mobile media.

Highlights:

  • 35% of tweens own a mobile phone.
  • 20% have used text messaging.
  • 21% have used ring & answer tones.
  • 5% access the Internet over their phone each month (56% from their home).

In addition, “while 41% of tween mobile Internet users say they do so while commuting or traveling (to school, for example), mobile content such as the Internet is also a social medium for this audience: 26% of tween mobile Internet users say they access the web while at a friend’s house and 17% say they do so at social events.”

“Tweens use their mobile phones, and media in general, in very unique and important ways,” said Jeff Herrmann, VP of Mobile Media for Nielsen Mobile. “Marketers and media executives need to understand these ‘digital natives’ as they mature and reshape the way we all think about new and traditional media.”

(found via eMarketer)

What it means: I’m always interested in tween and teen technology usage as it helps me forecast future habits. Untethered online access will be a must for that generation.

Highlights from the Kelsey Group/comScore Survey on User Reviews

Are user reviews important in local search? Data from the latest Kelsey Group/comScore survey presented today by Brian Jurutka from comScore seems to indicate it is critical from a user point of view as 24% of online consumers have used an online review site prior to buying an offline service in the last 3 months.  In addition, more than 75% of those review-informed purchasers cited online reviews as influential in their purchase decision process.

Kelsey ILM 07 Brian Jurutka 

Why are consumer reviews influential?

  • They are seen as unbiased 3rd party feedback
  • They are efficient
  • They provide an opportunity for feedback

Who writes reviews?

  • Broadband users, young professionals, 25-49. 46% of review users have contributed a review as well.

Why do consumers write reviews?

  • Helps other consumers (62%)
  • Gives me “consumer power” (44%)
  • It’s a fun activity (33%)
  • It helps me “get back” at a provider after experiencing poor service (24%)
  • I was compensated to do it. (19%)

Other highlights:

  • Better reviews drive higher revenues. Consumers were willing to pay 20% more for services that were rated 5 stars vs. 4 stars.
  • In addition, a significant portion of people were not willing to purchase from a 1-star place.
  • 97% believed the review was accurate post-sale.

Update: the official press release.