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Why go incognito?

why go incognito?Online content is increasingly generated by everyone – you, me and the millions of other people who use the internet everyday.  Comments, reviews and social media have become as important as the content produced by “official” media companies.

Since the dawn of User Generated Content (UGC), people have “hidden” behind aliases or false names to mask their true identity.  Rather than attach an actual name, many prefer to use another name when they post online. How widespread is the use of aliases? Why do we use them?  How do they impact the tone/content of what we post?

Research by Disqus and NetPop sheds some light on this topic:

– 7 in 10 online commenters use aliases instead of their real names when posting online

– Men and younger users are more likely to use aliases

– Aliases protect privacy, making comments more bold, open and honest

– Aliases are more likely to be used for “touchy” topics like politics and finance

– Readers find reviews with aliases just as trustworthy as those with real names

Why go Incognito- Infographic

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The NetPop Quidget™ Platform facilitates conversations between brands and consumers

The NetPop Quidget creates quick and compelling engagements between brands and people. Our platform and Quidget services deliver custom-crafted, branded engagements which are distributed across the Web through IAB-compliant ad units. Quidgets open the dialogue between you and the people you want to reach via custom designed surveys, to reinforce certain attributes of your brand or products, gain instant feedback for strategic decision-making and make tactical comparisons across target groups and communities.

What can a Quidget do for my brand?

Check out the specific ways Quidgets can help your brand:

Advertising Effectiveness

Running a campaign on TV, in print or elsewhere? A NetPop Quidget can measure the impact of your campaign. NetPop services will create a custom-designed survey that can be deployed across the web to gain feedback on ad awareness, recall and impact. Run a “pre-flight” Quidget for benchmark data to accurately measure brand lift. Extend your campaign further by inviting Quidget-takers to view your ad at the end.

Brand Development

Customer feedback is a tricky thing – gather too much and you feel overwhelmed, gather too little and you quickly lose touch. What if you could to test a new slogan or focus your next marketing campaign? A NetPop Quidget can do this for you, and even keep you in touch with the fans of your brands that care the most.

Brand Messaging

Can asking questions engage people more deeply in your brand? Yes, it can. The NetPop Quidget services offer a powerful way for you to impart the attributes of your brand. Through carefully-crafted questions and answers, the qualities of your brands come to life more vividly in the people’s minds. Special offers and promotions can be tailored to individual Quidget-takers, based on the answers they provide in these surveys.

Interest-Based Marketing

Is your company committed to supporting a particular interest or humanitarian issue? A Quidget can connect your brand with the interests that you and your consumers care about. (This one is especially important to us, since the NetPopulation is about making change for the better.) By asking important questions about the cause your company supports, you can join people in their efforts, and they can join you in yours.

Digital Advertising Enhancement

Running a campaign online? A NetPop Quidget can go even further in measuring ad effectiveness and furthering the goals of a digital campaign. Serve a Quidget before an ad to tailor the message that follows. Serve a Quidget after an ad for immediate feedback on your campaign. For a more accurate measure of digital ad effectiveness, you can also compare those who have seen your digital ad to those who haven’t. This works great with Ad Effectiveness or a Market Insights Quidget, by the way.

Feature Feedback

Curious to know what your target market wants? A NetPop Quidget can give you valuable feedback on the styles or features consumers are looking for. Whether you make computers, appliances or cosmetics, bank accounts or travel services, NetPop Quidget services can be designed to find out what people want.

Lead Generation

Looking for a creative and innovative way to target in-market consumers? A NetPop Quidget can help. A few pointed questions can put you face-to-face with the people you want to reach, putting you a step closer than your competitors to closing the sale. Custom offers or promotions can be offered then and there, or we’ll collect the email addresses and get in touch with them later.

Market Insights

In fast-moving markets, it’s critical to stay ahead of the trends. A NetPop Quidget can be deployed across the web with relative ease and efficiency. If you don’t have time to field a formal survey, or organize a focus group road-show, Quidgets are a great alternative. Of course, if you have time for formal research, we can help with that too.

 

For more information, contact partners@netpop.com or fill out this short form
and we will promptly contact you.

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It’s the same Big Data place, same Big Data time

BlogArticle_Netpop_BigData3For this installment, we examine data visualization, one of the most versatile tools for making the most of your mountain of business intelligence. Often analytics and statistics are perceived as dry numbers — which can only be presented as dense, head-ache inducing graphs, or stale Powerpoint slides. Yet as technology allows for the integration of information on an unprecedented scale, at near real-time speeds, data visualization becomes a very fluid concept with some really exciting potential.

Imagine a database which logs product delivery to customers throughout the day, while visualizing that process across a city/country map, including all current driver locations, drops made, stock left on board, as well as upcoming stops. Impressive. Now consider the implications if this map also displayed arriving customer orders, requests for returns/replacements, current traffic patterns, estimated travel times, gas levels and the like. Suddenly, business flexibility and response windows reach an entirely new level.

For another example, consider a graphical visualization of a continuous webcrawler search through social network posts, blogs, news sites etc. containing a given phrase or product name. Probably pretty fascinating to see all those connections and patterns. But consider the benefits if they were presented as a chronologic video displaying fluctuations in readers/viewers, with a corresponding overlay of the product’s sales or customer rating over that same time period. Now we are cooking! Such a visualization would be capable of illuminating the channels customers are most traversing to discover products, allowing a company to highlight key advertising venues and groups to get the best return on their advertising investment.

Obviously there is an astonishing wealth of potential opportunities, insights, and bottom-line savings offered in such integrated visualizations. Many companies immersed in Big Data are already relying on such systems. Our own research with experienced corporate data users show more than 80% expect reliance on such tools to increase in the next two years. They see this growth being driven primarily by the ease and speed in generating insights, as well as the ability to effectively communicate them. Having even a general idea of which way the wind is about to blow is worth big bucks in the business world. What’s more, our big data users specifically cite the potential for enhanced collaboration among employees as a main driver of the overall value-add.

Our “blue sky moments” at NetPop come when we start to imagine how boundless the “borders” are as technologies, types of data, and processing speeds develop. The truly novel and creative data visualizations have yet to surface. If you have any insights on that future potential of Big Data visuals, we’d sure love to hear about them.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the fourth and final post in this series. Cheers!

 

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Publisher Roundtable – Explores Reader Engagement – Collective Intelligence for Online Publishers

Primary Logo_Icon OnlyNow in its second year, NetPop is excited to be rolling-out another interview for Publisher Roundtable, our collective-insights platform. This time, the topic is engagement: How online publishers get visitors to spend more time, engage more deeply, and share their content with others. The goal is to provide online publishers of all sizes the insights they need to increase audience engagement on their sites. This topic builds on our previous two interviews covering Traffic Acquisition and Monetization. Scroll down for highlights of the learnings from those interviews.

Along with industry partners VigLink, Sovrn, and TapInfluence, NetPop and Publisher Roundtable combine the experiences and opinions of hundreds of online publishers from the US and around the world. Together, through their contribution, participants obtain objective data and insights that helps them make more informed business and marketing decisions.

Traditionally, market research has been paid for and owned by the few who can afford it – often to their distinct advantage. The Publisher Roundtable platform brings market research squarely into the hands of everyone who contributes. To that end, Publisher Roundtable was founded on the idea that market insights should be:

 Collaborative: Knowing where you stand means comparing your data and opinions with those of your peers. Data — aggregated, analyzed, and benchmarked — yields meaningful and actionable knowledge for all.

 

 Simple: You’re busy. Your job isn’t easy. You probably wear many hats. Our system is designed to require a minimal amount of time, while yielding an immense amount in return.

 

 Free: What you offer with your time and transparency you gain back as strategic market insights (worth tens-of-thousands-of-dollars), without spending a dime.

 

Highlights from Part 1: Traffic Acquisition

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Highlights from Part 2: Monetization

 

Are you an online publisher? Let’s Go!  

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Big Data Musings: Part 2

BlogArticle_Netpop_BigData2In our last post, we posit that the investment required to leverage Big Data is larger than many anticipate — on par with the hype surrounding the topic. So for our second post in this series, we thought it would be useful to highlight a few areas where companies can expect to find success.

What kinds of Big Data “wins” are companies seeing? One area of success has been in a company’s ability to optimize features and content to their customer needs. Others include being able to better align the whole company around common goals, streamlining processes, cutting costs and breaking down communication “silos” across departments.

Interestingly, C-Level execs see improvements in different areas than operational managers. “Higher-ups” are more likely to see improvements in their market communication strategies. The data, they say, offer a lens on the customer, helping them optimize messaging, targeting, etc. Managers, on the other hand, are more likely cite improvements in their ability to more rapidly and accurately identify potential problems/issues before they arise.  In other words, the data are a lens on the future, providing warning signs that help them troubleshoot and course-correct more effectively.

We also asked our Big Data “wranglers” to describe their chief goals and areas of concern. Here they pointed to a need for employees to analyze the data and generate actionable insights more quickly. Many also want to depend less heavily on IT and Analytics Support and hire people who are more adept/comfortable with numbers, data, and analytics. It seems that many employees tasked with making sense of large datasets are not adequately trained for heavy statistical work. A fair amount of training and experience is required to properly analyze such massive quantities of information.

It’s a brave new world, for sure. Celebrate the successes. Calibrate the expectations. And press on!

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Big Data Musings: Part 1

BlogArticle_Netpop_BigDataDuring the last year, NetPop interviewed hundreds of business professionals who utilize large, complex datasets as a significant function of their job. We chose our “analytic insiders” (respondents) from a broad range of functional roles and industry roots across the corporate landscape.

The goal? To help expose the ever-expanding elephant in the boardroom: Big Data. With this post (the first in a short series), we hope to share useful insights around current Big Data successes and challenges, giving readers a better grasp on how to take advantage of a much-discussed and potentially vital resource.

As you probably know, the “promise” of Big Data lies in its size and exponential growth. Almost 90% of the current data available digitally worldwide has been produced in just the last two years[i], and output is only expected to climb[ii]. The foothills of these data Alps – where the corporate world is gamely trying to plant its flag – has been growing as well. In that same two-year span, our insiders estimate the data they are handling regularly has increased by an average of close to 40%.

Yet, interestingly, we found that the collection and storage of data (without breaking the bank, of course) are no longer primary issues. The main challenges have now become ensuring data accuracy, integration, and effective (and timely) generation of insights.

This is an important lesson to keep in mind when confronted with the potential of Big Data. There are far more logistical considerations involved in the successful analysis and bottom-line application of data than many realize. That big informational mountain requires training to scale across the organization. And even when you reach the summit, your view of the future may still be cloudy. On the other hand, you’ll likely be better able to spot the next storm rolling-in, and that alone is certainly worth an investment.

Our recommendation: Take a pinch of salt with your helping of Big Data-hype and call us in the morning. You should also consider how much pointed primary research can complement Big Data findings, putting them in the proper context and illuminating underlying motivations. Understanding the why behind the data can make it infinitely more actionable.

[i] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522085217.htm
[ii] http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/1731916

 

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Burningman Employs Random Sampling

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Burningman, the popular annual festival in the Nevada desert, takes its research seriously! Each year, festival organizers gather demographic information about the citizens of Black Rock City. NetPop chatted with the “Census Volunteers” at Burningman this year. Three years ago, they explained, Burningman began using systemized random sampling. Every 10th car at every gate entry point is asked to fill out the short survey. In addition, for the first time this year, they surveyed riders entering through Burner Express Buses (BxB). “Census” is, admittedly, a misnomer since they are not interviewing everyone, but we give the organization credit for working to improve their method!  For more information, click here.
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The Right Stuff (Asking Consumers the Right Questions)

BlogArticle_2_The-Right-StuffSurvey research informs major business decisions, so how can we maximize the quality of the data we collect? A common concern is whether attitudes and behaviors can be accurately captured through consumer answers. It’s tough to get to the heart of why people buy a product, especially when they sometimes don’t know themselves what drives them to choose one brand over another.

To get a more complete picture of consumer buying habits, it’s crucial to dig into multiple aspects of the customer experience. It’s not just enough to analyze spend, satisfaction or NPS (net promoter score) in a vacuum. These may offer excellent benchmarks, but they don’t tell us why people buy a particular brand or product in the first place or why they defect from a previous one. Benchmarks alone fail to paint a whole picture.

Whether a study aims to measure satisfaction or unmet needs — brand image or product attributes — a collection of variables are needed to explain the “why” (as well as the “what”). By tying multiple data points together into one cohesive picture, we as researchers can create a narrative around the purchase journey.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Better Incentives for Better Data

In a world where the value of “social currency” is growing, marketers need to consider how they incent customers to give thoughtful and honest feedback. Consumer feedback works best when people are made to feel valued and respected. But this is admittedly a challenge when samples are large and interviews are long. Will the company actually listen? BlogArticle_1_RespectWill results actually impact product design or business practices? Will the company even show their appreciation for my time and contribution?

Ways to get thoughtful participation include compensation, asking open-ended questions, and encouraging respondents to give honest answers, even if negative. It’s also important to ask questions that will make a difference for consumers, such as ideas for improvements or thoughts on future products. Taken to the next level, companies need to consider how a survey can be a dialog, rather than a one-way exchange. We’ve entered an era rife with communication devices and channels. To ask for feedback demands a response back in-kind. In some ways, how a company responds to consumer input is as important as the initial questions themselves.

The rules for surveys shouldn’t be different than those for other forms of communication, and again, respect and value-add will help respondents provide more thoughtful, honest and thorough answers.

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Pie for All: Capitalizing on the Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy is beginning to make major waves. Companies like Uber, Taskrabbit, and AirBnB give “the everyman” (or woman) a chance to become the entrepreneur. New sharing sites are popping up everyday, allowing consumers to rent almost any product or service without going through traditional business middlemen.
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Some say the sharing economy arose from a sluggish economy; people needed to find new ways to make money from their time and assets. The benefits are undeniable for consumers — cost, flexibility, and reducing waste are just a few. People are also relearning to rely on their neighbors, to trust each other without the protection of contracts, insurance policies, and legal mitigation.

But what’s great for consumers and enterprising entrepreneurs, isn’t always good for the traditional middlemen. Many are rightly worried about the impact on revenues. If people can “rent” products cheaply through sharing networks, especially big-ticket items, they may decide not to buy. And if peers can provide a similar service for less, such as a living room couch instead of a hotel room, businesses will see a hit to their bottom line.

The sharing economy has certainly created a lot of disruption, but businesses can benefit if they make the necessary changes to compete. A lot of creativity will be unleashed as businesses reposition themselves to adapt to the 21st century consumer’s needs and behaviors. At the same time, successful businesses will learn to deflect the threat by reinforcing the qualities of their brand that consumers can’t get elsewhere. As with any new challenge, those who embrace it will show the most growth.

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The Transactional “We”

In his recent Op-Ed for the Sunday Review, New York Times contributor Frank Bruni takes aim at the rhetoric used by many political figureheads in today’s day and age. In particular, Bruni pays special attention to the use of three simple English pronouns — “I”, “You”, and “We” — arguing that much can be inferred about about a politician’s sense of self (and others) according to his or her use of these terms. Politicians that focus too much on the “I” unwittingly reveal an “abundance of self-fascination, a surfeit of ‘me’”.

While Bruni’s perspective is certainly valuable when examining the political sphere, so too can his hypothesis be applied to brands, marketing, and even market research in our hyper-connected world.

In goes without saying that any great brand (or politician) cannot succeed without a strong and steady dose of “I”. It’s this “lust for attention” and “yearning to be celebrated for their accomplishments”, as the author points out, that allows them to thrive in the public spotlight.  But, as Bruni goes on to add, the “You” matters just as much (if not more) in this increasingly transactional age. A successful brand must “promise measurable improvement” to each and every consumer’s life (just as a politician must do with their constituency), if it truly wants to stand out in market.

Which brings us to the “We”. The “We” is essential, according to Bruni. A politician that can cast his or her mission as our mission “not only finds the cloak in which self-regard is most fetchingly wrapped but also creates the sense of collective purpose that is vital to progress”. Brands and companies, too, are finding this to be true.

Cause-related marketing and corporate social responsibility are two primary examples of the way many big brands are tapping the collective power of the  “Transactional We”. A textbook illustration would be the push for better fuel efficiency among auto manufacturers. A more fuel efficient brand = lower ownership costs for YOU + a safer and more hospitable environment for all of US.  Millennials are particularly attuned to the importance of “We”, perhaps in reaction to the Boomers who thoroughly exhausted the “I”. All the thorny issues surrounding the privacy of personal data magnifies the need for brands to consider the “You” and “We” in their corporate cultures and marketing strategies.

So what does all this mean for market research? Ah! This is where things get interesting for NetPop. We at NetPop are tapping the spirit and potential of the “You” and “We” as it relates to the future of market research. Market Research has historically been a one-way dialog in terms of how the process is structured and conducted. That’s about to change. And NetPop plans to be on the forefront of that industry shift. Stay tuned!

Sign up for our NetPop SMB email list or follow NetPopSMB on Twitter for more information.

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Sharing + Engagement = Action

An interesting article in the Business section of the NYTimes yesterday talks about the notion of “Nudge”:

“At the core of nudging is the belief that people do not always act in their own self-interest. We can be undone by anxiety and swayed by our desire to fit in. We have biases and habits, and we can be lazy: Faced with a choice, we are more likely than not to go with a default option, be that a mobile ringtone or a pension plan.”

But with the right “nudges” that combine messages and action, people can be motivated to do the difficult things that we would otherwise avoid. NetPop is building out a new platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses with their marketing strategies and programs. We’ll be rolling it out in 2014 … so stay tuned!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/business/international/britains-ministry-of-nudges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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Is it time to draw a line between “big data” and social science research?

There seems to be growing confusion and misinformation around research methods. Might it be that the people who are skilled in one are not skilled in the other? We know full-well that analytics is a hugely important arm of intelligence for businesses. Big data is here! But does it supplant the need for talking to your customers? Asking your customers WHY they feel a certain way? Or act/do certain things? Or buy one item over another? Or click on one ad instead of another? There is still value in understanding perceptions and attitudes as well as behaviors. When will talking to your customers ever be “outmoded”? Not for a long time, I think/hope!

The same goes for performance vs. brand advertising. Something is lost when there isn’t a good balance of both. the Dove campaigns around beauty in recent years are a great example of brand advertising at it’s best. they are brilliant. why can’t brands do more of those? maybe because performance (measurable ROI) supersedes bigger brand messages these days.The Internet gave rise to the glut of transactional data (over social science research) and performance based advertising (at the expensive of brand advertising). I’d like to think that the pendulum will be swing back to the middle, and that agencies, research firms, clients and brands will understand (and utilize) them equally and effectively.

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What is the biggest gap in market research for innovation?

I’m starting to wonder whether companies are relying too heavily on crowd-sourcing methods, like Hackathons and brainstorming sessions (with lots of yellow sticky notes). These seem to be all-the-rage these days. But using these for market research raises a few risks:

(1) They are often conducted with friends-of-friends (techies/developers) rather than the actual target market. You could argue that techies are closer to the technology and thus know how different apps/functions could be added for synergistic excellence (while lay users have trouble seeing beyond what’s in front of them). Okay, but I question whether the needs of the actual users are being lost in the shuffle, or even considered in the first place. The other reason

(2) is that hackathons and brainstorming sessions are often positioned as great team-building exercises (fun!) and/or marketing events (more fun!). Everyone feels great afterwards but did the ideas actually lead to anything? Hmm….

At the TED Women conference this week, social entrepreneur Jane Chen gave a great talk about her work to develop an infant warmer to help lower infant mortality in India. the initial idea was first born of statistical research … along with a deep desire to help poor, often illiterate women. One woman had lost three children because her rural clinic was not sufficiently equipped. Her team examined the problem, created a prototype of the warmer, and carefully tested with doctors in the clinics. Then repeated refinements were made based on extensive research with the poor women/mothers as they actually used it to care for their newborns. Many babies are now being saved.

Innovation starts with awareness of a problem or need: “Necessity is the mother of innovation”. But being social/techno-savvy does not obviate the need to involve the end user as early as possible to make sure you’re taking your ideas in the right direction.

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Privacy Matters

Storm clouds are forming around Facebook’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated IPO. Of course, Facebook is a stupendous success, blowing away all expectations (thus far) and literally transforming how we spend our time online, as NetPop covered in our last Market Minute “Social Media Madness”. But alas, all is not well in Facebook-land: pageviews are down 54 percent; average stay is down 35 percent; visits per person is down 34 percent; and pages per visit is down 60 percent. No single factor can fully explain these declines, but one factor should not be overlooked: concerns about online privacy.

This is one trend line that happens to be going UP rather than down. But that’s NOT good news for Facebook. More users (29% percent more) are having second thoughts about the privacy of the personal information they share on social media sites. This equates to a whopping 101% increase in the total number of social networkers who fit a category that can best be described as:

“Uh. Wait a Minute. What’s Really Going on Here?”

Basically, while more users have joined the social networking bandwagon (thanks, in large part, to Facebook), these newer users are more squeamish about privacy, and would presumably be much less forgiving of any perceived breaches in this area.

NetPop’s latest Market Minute, “Privacy Matters”, touches on this topic. It’s a quick walk-through of data that illuminate one factor making Facebook’s future less sunny.. unless it does more to quell users’ concerns. Watch it below, and feel free to share and embed:

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Updated: The Long View on User Relationships

In a transactional world where companies sold stand-alone products, it was possible to wrap an ugly duckling in a stylish ad campaign and slick packaging to sucker a consumer into an impulse purchase. RONCO, for example, made a killing off of this strategy. Today, with social media and other digital word-of-mouth channels, it’s much more difficult to pull-off that strategy successfully.

When you’re in the business of social media, exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge and technical abilities is bad business. Facebook has been in the business of “pushing the limits” of its users’ comfort around sharing. How many times has Facebook ‘apologized’ to us? Privacy controls are placed just out of consciousness for the majority of consumers. Worst of all is a corporate culture that advocates the position that copyright is dead – that people ostensibly “don’t care” about copyright.

Yes, it’s true, most people don’t understand copyright. In fact, only about 25% of the US Internet population does in a meaningful way (see our research study with Creative Commons). But, that doesn’t give a company the right to exploit that ignorance for its own gain.

Today’s consumer market is no longer built on transactions; it is built on relationships instead – or at least relationships matter a whole lot more than they used to. In a relational world, it’s not about how much you can sucker the consumer into buying, but how well you express your value, support the consumer, protect them from harsh realities and educate them. It matters more now because if you do that job right your consumer will understand why your product is better and tell their friends.

It’s great to see Google+ take a stand around privacy and offer an alternative to a monopoly that exploited its position as ‘the social network’. Whether G+ is a me-too product, or offers better features is less important right now than offering consumers a choice about where they can go to communicate and share with others. Google+ clearly has a long way to go to break out of the me-too ‘stream’ design. The company faces other hurdles as well, like the painful multiple account management issues that plague their services (Fix Now Please).

But just being on G+ and having a different way to manage friends, family, business friends, and other meaningful social circles gives me hope. The market needs an alternative that, based on what I’ve seen so far, benefits the user in significant ways. Maybe Facebook will start to work with and listen to its users rather than exploit them to build their market cap. There’s a lot of pent up anger being expressed by many right now at being taken advantage of by Facebook. Google+ shows Facebook users that they have a choice and choice is freedom.

Update: Facebook, and Facebook employees, react quickly and enhance Friends Lists and Circlehack. Goes to show that competition improves the playing field in general.

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NetPop in China

NetPop’s business and travels through China continue at a steady pace. Josh Crandall and Cate Riegner had great meetings in Shanghai with clients and friends from Google, Tencent and Silicon Valley Bank. The room was full for NetPop’s breakfast presentation at the American Chamber of Commerce, with favorable comments and photos posted on Sina Weibo later that day.

Escaping the commotion and (inescapable) pollution of Shanghai, we spent 4 days amid Daoist temples and philosophy in the beautiful Wudangshan Mountains of Hubei province. Cate fulfilled a long time dream of studying tai chi.

Xian came and went too quickly, but we had some memorable moments in the Muslim Quarter and visiting the legendary Terracotta Warriers. A night train to Beijing (soft sleeper) at the end of the week was surprisingly comfortable and fun.

Now in Bejing for two final weeks of our month-long visit. More spacious and historic than Shanghai, we could easily stay another month. We have had some great meetings with more clients and friends from Google Beijing, Funlon.com, Guokr.com and more, plus a wonderful dinner with Donna Li and the Renren marketing team.

Joshua Ramo’s “Beijing Consensus” has been a good read, helping us understand the geo-political background on China. Throughout our trip, many thoughtful conversations on privacy and government control have provided greater insight into the complexity and challenges for policy makers and marketers alike. The perspectives of Kaiser Kuo on the Red Guards and Red Necks captures the history and social, cultural and political complexities well.

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Some Online Fun … Just In Time For Summer

Are people using the web more for fun? You bet! In fact, more than 165 million people consume entertainment online every week.

Since 2006, the percent of Americans who go online for entertainment has grown 106 percent. Today, 86 percent of the U.S. online population enjoy some form of online entertainment on a weekly basis – i.e., watching videos, listening to music, playing games, etc. Reading the news is still the most popular activity, but videos and music are catching-up fast. Since 2006, the number people who listen to online music weekly has grown 58 percent and the number who watch online videos has grown a whopping 162 percent!

So is online entertainment displacing traditional media?

Not entirely. If we take, for example, people who watch online videos on a daily basis, over half (56 percent) also watch regular TV on a daily basis. Consider them uber-TV/video junkies. Similarly, if we take people who read eBooks on a daily basis, 60 percent also read print books regularly. They are uber-bookworms. Same for music: Among daily online music listeners, 48 percent also listen offline. They are music junkies.

Traditional or digital doesn’t matter. Digital media junkies – particularly those of newer forms of media – tend to consume both.

So how do traditional media junkies feel about digital media? Not so good, apparently. Only 9 percent of people who watch TV daily watch online videos daily. And only 12 percent of people who read print books daily read eBooks daily. In other words, while many digital media lovers are happy to migrate to traditional media, traditional media lovers tend to stay rooted in their “old ways”.

But eBooks and videos are newer (less mature) forms of online entertainment. If we look at music, for example, the difference is less pronounced: 30 percent of those who listen to offline music daily also listen to online music daily. And if we look at magazines and newspapers, well, the balance flips entirely! Yes, magazines and newspapers (let’s call it “news” for short) violate the rule: Daily readers of print news are more likely to also be daily readers of online news.

What does this mean?

Well, let’s just say that the news (PTP) isn’t good for traditional media.

Magazines and newspapers illustrate what happens as online media takes over: For awhile, diehard consumers enjoy both – that is, they enjoy the new digital channels as well as their older tried-and-true channels. We see this currently with online video + TV and eBooks + print books. In other words, there’s considerable “overlap” between the two modes of consumption.

But eventually, based on what happened with magazines and newspapers – as well as music (the next media form to get “hit” by the online juggernaut) – digital media consumers largely abandon traditional media, while traditional media consumers also slowly, grudgingly, come online. It is a “slow death” for offline media, but a death nonetheless.

So if we fast-forward five years from now, fewer of our online video junkies will also be watching TV, and fewer eBook readers will also be reading print books.

What can we say? It’s just the way it goes … especially, we might add, in the era of smartphones and tablets.

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Social Media Madness

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Smart Mobility: Trends in Chinas Mobile Internet Market

Josh Crandall and Cate Riegner, co-founders of NetPop Research, will share their insights into China’s burgeoning mobile Internet market and how China’s consumers are using these new technologies at AmCham Shanghai’s Marketing & Media Committee event, on June 2 from 8:00-9:30a.m (Shanghai Time). Click for more info about the event.

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