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.

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.

Content Producers: We Live in an Atomized World

(seen in Mediapost’s OnlineMediaDaily this morning)

In order to succeed in the long run, content producers must acknowledge the importance of blogs, portals, and aggregators in connecting with their audiences, according to a new JupiterResearch report, “Networked Media: Thriving In An Intermediated World.” The report points out, for example, that 57% of 18- to-24-year-old Internet users get their news from portals versus 21% from cable news sites–and online users now trust portals nearly as much as traditional news media.

“To thrive on the Web, news sites must become more network-focused and aggregate content from other sources while distributing their own content through intermediaries,” said David Schatsky, president of JupiterResearch. “By paying closer attention to the tendencies of the end user, these sites will be able to evolve and meet the needs of a wider online audience.” “Not only must content producers embrace intermediaries to serve their own audiences and reach out to new ones” explained JupiterResearch analyst Barry Parr, but “they should exploit opportunities to become intermediaries for their core audiences.”

What it means: I think the recommendation above applies to most (if not all) content producers. First, they need to become curators of content (aggregation within editorial guidelines) in addition to creators of content (dixit Ted Shelton). Second, as the web is much more fragmented than the offline world, it is critical to atomize the content to distribute it to other web sites to increase the total reach.

State of Media Democracy Study: User-Generated Content Here to Stay, Traditional Media is Not Dead

AdWeek reports on a study called “State of the Media Democracy” that was released by Deloitte & Touche’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice.

Highlights from the study:

1) User-generated content

• 51% of all consumers are watching/reading personal content created by others; the number jumps to 71% for Millennials.

• 55% of Millennials and 42% of Xers read blogs, while 62% of Millennials and 41% of Xers watch YouTube or other video streaming sites.

• 40% of all consumers are creating their own entertainment, such as editing movies, music and photos. Millennials may be the majority of the creators at 56%, but Matures are also participating – 25% of them report creating their own entertainment.

2) Traditional Media

• 79% of all consumers discuss their favorite TV shows with friends, family and colleagues, compared with 38% that discuss favorite websites.

• 72% of all consumers enjoy reading print magazines, a proportion that’s consistent across the generations.

• 23% of all consumers expect to spend more time reading books this year. A slightly larger percentage expects to spend more time hanging out with family and friends.

3) Cell Phones

• 46% of Millennials embrace their cell phones as an entertainment device.

• 57% of all consumers text message on their cell phones compared with 84% of Millennials.

• 56% of all consumers take photos with their phones, including 37% of Matures.

4) Advertising Insights

• 76% of all consumers find Internet ads more intrusive than print ads, and 64% pay more attention to print ads than those online.

• 28% of all consumers would pay for online content to avoid seeing ads.

• While offline advertising is effective in driving web traffic, 84% of all consumers visit a website after finding it through a search engine and 82% do so because of a personal recommendation.

What it means: a couple of interesting insights for the Praized blog readers. First, younger generations love user-generated content and mobile access, which means a local/social mobile application could be a killer app. In addition, traditional media is far from dead. It’s just competing in a much more fragmented world.

How to Build a Great Facebook App (Highlights from FacebookCamp Toronto)

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended FacebookCamp in Toronto on Tuesday night. It was well attended (over 400 people) and the room was about 50% tech-oriented and 50% business-oriented. Roy Pereira, one of the organizers seen below on the right (the other host is Andrew Cherwenka), told the crowd the objective was to encourage more Toronto-based developers and companies to use the Facebook application platform and further Toronto’s global presence in technology.

roy and andrew at FacebookCamp in Toronto

We then jumped straight into action with a very informative presentation by Meagan Marks from Facebook. Called “Best Practices around Product Design and Viral Marketing”, it offered multiple data points about the size of Facebook in Canada and some tips & tricks on how to leverage the site. The Facebook team asked that we do not videotape the presentation which made me thing their live presentations are walled gardens as well… 🙂

Meagan Marks at FacebookCamp in Toronto

Data highlights:

  • Worldwide: 33M active users (people coming to the site at least once a month), 150,000 new users are added each day.
  • 90,000 application developers, 1700 applications with more 100 users.
  • #6 network in Canada with 11.3M unique visitors in June 2007 according to Comscore (close to 50% reach). Facebook claims they also have 8.5 billion page views per month.
  • They have 3.3M active users. 68% are daily users and 61% are out of college,
  • 75% of active users have an application installed.
  • 10% of all application developers are based in Canada and Toronto is one of the top 10 largest developer communities

Marketing highlights:

  • Facebook is all about identity, information and social context. It’s about connections between people, it’s powered by valuable social connections, and enhanced by network effects.
  • How do you get high growth, high users applications? By having deep integration in all channels: the newsfeed, the product directory, the profile page but there are other places where you can hook your app.
  • Profile integration: there are many places where you can embed your app including in the left navigation, under the user picture, in the upper right or in the middle of the page.
  • The best way to leverage the profile box is to show recent interactions, recently added content, social relevancy (who), the temporal aspect (what happened today and yesterday). The content is all about expression, not consumption.
  • News feed optimization (NFO): increase the relevancy of what’s pushed through the newsfeed ( for example, what the user did and the relationship with their friends) and utilize call-to-action buttons.
  • Additional integration points: the message, the profile actions, the wall, and the share button
  • An interesting marketing idea was to find other developers who have built complimentary apps to cross-promote your own app.

She also mentioned that Facebook was already seeing new business opportunities emerging from developers. Among them, she mentioned virtual currencies (ex: munny in Fluff friends), Ad networks, APIs on top API (for example, the Super Wall API).

She suggested app developers use the following metrics to measure success:

  1. Vitality metrics: installed base, outgoing impressions, conversion rate
  2. Engagement metrics: repeat sessions, canvas page views. She showed the following formula: installed users x impressions/installed users x acquisitions/impressions = new users acquired (see the following picture here from the Global Nerdy site)

Joey deVilla has an amazing summary of that session as well on GlobalNerdy.com, with even more details.

How to Build a Great Facebook App (Highlights from FacebookCamp Toronto)

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended FacebookCamp in Toronto on Tuesday night. It was well attended (over 400 people) and the room was about 50% tech-oriented and 50% business-oriented. Roy Pereira, one of the organizers seen below on the right (the other host is Andrew Cherwenka), told the crowd the objective was to encourage more Toronto-based developers and companies to use the Facebook application platform and further Toronto’s global presence in technology.

roy and andrew at FacebookCamp in Toronto

We then jumped straight into action with a very informative presentation by Meagan Marks from Facebook. Called “Best Practices around Product Design and Viral Marketing”, it offered multiple data points about the size of Facebook in Canada and some tips & tricks on how to leverage the site. The Facebook team asked that we do not videotape the presentation which made me thing their live presentations are walled gardens as well… 🙂

Meagan Marks at FacebookCamp in Toronto

Data highlights:

  • Worldwide: 33M active users (people coming to the site at least once a month), 150,000 new users are added each day.
  • 90,000 application developers, 1700 applications with more 100 users.
  • #6 network in Canada with 11.3M unique visitors in June 2007 according to Comscore (close to 50% reach). Facebook claims they also have 8.5 billion page views per month.
  • They have 3.3M active users. 68% are daily users and 61% are out of college,
  • 75% of active users have an application installed.
  • 10% of all application developers are based in Canada and Toronto is one of the top 10 largest developer communities

Marketing highlights:

  • Facebook is all about identity, information and social context. It’s about connections between people, it’s powered by valuable social connections, and enhanced by network effects.
  • How do you get high growth, high users applications? By having deep integration in all channels: the newsfeed, the product directory, the profile page but there are other places where you can hook your app.
  • Profile integration: there are many places where you can embed your app including in the left navigation, under the user picture, in the upper right or in the middle of the page.
  • The best way to leverage the profile box is to show recent interactions, recently added content, social relevancy (who), the temporal aspect (what happened today and yesterday). The content is all about expression, not consumption.
  • News feed optimization (NFO): increase the relevancy of what’s pushed through the newsfeed ( for example, what the user did and the relationship with their friends) and utilize call-to-action buttons.
  • Additional integration points: the message, the profile actions, the wall, and the share button
  • An interesting marketing idea was to find other developers who have built complimentary apps to cross-promote your own app.

She also mentioned that Facebook was already seeing new business opportunities emerging from developers. Among them, she mentioned virtual currencies (ex: munny in Fluff friends), Ad networks, APIs on top API (for example, the Super Wall API).

She suggested app developers use the following metrics to measure success:

  1. Vitality metrics: installed base, outgoing impressions, conversion rate
  2. Engagement metrics: repeat sessions, canvas page views. She showed the following formula: installed users x impressions/installed users x acquisitions/impressions = new users acquired (see the following picture here from the Global Nerdy site)

Joey deVilla has an amazing summary of that session as well on GlobalNerdy.com, with even more details.

Reports from WidgetCon 2007

Yes, there is such a thing as a widget conference! I’m not there but some bloggers and one article from Online Media Daily have some insights about it:

As opt-in distribution networks popular among young consumers, widgets are on the rise, according to the analysts and agency types who gathered Wednesday in New York for the first WidgetCon. “This space is just showing some incredible month-over-month growth,” said Linda Boland Abraham, executive vice president, comScore. “If I were a widget maker, I’d be touting the young demographic that widgets are reaching.” In North America, more than 81 million consumers–or a full 40.3% of all online consumers–were exposed to Web widgets in April, according to a widget tracking service recently launched by comScore. For now, its Widget Metrix service only tracks widgets–mainly photo and video-streaming players–that can be embedded on Web pages like blogs and social networking pages, rather than desktop widgets. (Notably, it is not tracking YouTube’s video players.)

Joanna Pena-Bickley adds: “The widget is facilitating the evolution through giving us a mechanism for portable content, commerce, community and transactions in consumers lives.”

Daniela Capistrano says: “I do not believe that widgets will completely replace websites as some might believe, but I do believe they will change the way that all content is published, promoted, and shared.”

Jeremy Pepper thought that “NYC is about monetization. San Francisco is about community. Or, NY is about style and SF is about substance – either would work. And, at this conference, no one seems to care about the community. I came to this on my vacation, so just stayed for the two key panels – and walked away with the realization that while advertising and marketing (the majority of the people at the conference) are in deep in widgets, they are the last people that should be touching this space. Why? They don’t communicate – they push content, and don’t seem to care about community. ”

What it means: Widget(s) have enormous potential as a content/brand/business model distribution vehicle. When working on their design, make sure you think about the user value you’re offering. Think feature, not advertising, and let it go. If you build a large network of widget users but you’re not monetizing in the short term, don’t worry about it. It’s a great problem to have!