2012 has been quite the momentous year from a social media perspective. To whet your appetite for social media stats, here are some of the biggest in this year:
- Facebook hit a billion active monthly users.
- ‘Tweeters’ accounted for half a billion tweets in one day.
- People spent an astounding 1.25 billion minutes on Pinterest.
- YouTube registered over 800 million unique visits each month with over 4 billion hours of video being watched on the site.
- Instagram, Facebook’s ‘big’ acquisition, sees 5 million new images uploaded on it per day.
- Every second, two people sign up on LinkedIn.
- The Google+ “+1” button was clicked 5 billion times in a day.
- 3 million new blogs were published each month.
Shocking stats aren’t they? But, marketers, these are just the tip of the 2012 social ice berg!
There’ve been so many changes in the last 11 months that you really need to be nitpicky with the changes you want to feature in a 2012 recap. And that’s what we’ve done in this blog post.
Let us now take a trip down memory lane and relive the most important social media changes that you marketers had to tackle:
Facebook Global Brand Pages
Facebook being the global phenomenon it is, had people from all over the world login to the site everyday. With this being the scenario, a void existed where marketers felt that they couldn’t localize their campaigns and customers missed experiencing a brand in their local flavor. Facebook then came up the idea of Global Brand Pages which was launched in October. With this update, brands on Facebook could make available localized brand experiences. It meant that brands no longer needed to maintain one brand page with generalized content or painstakingly maintain multiple brand pages.
With this new page structure, Facebook users were directed to the best version of a page based on the country they’re located in. Users were then able to view localized photos, apps, milestones, “About” information and news feed stories from pages while being a part of the global community. Here’s a screenshot of Facebook’s own page showing the global and a local page:
This update not only eased the burden of marketers it also made their work more effective and efficient. Earlier, marketers with multiple pages maintained them in different languages to cater to different local audiences. Or, they had to settle for using just one language thereby alienating others who didn’t understand that language. Facebook’s Global Brand Pages now makes it possible to have just one page with localized content and one central measurement dashboard.
Facebook Ads exclusively on mobile
June was a noteworthy month for marketers using Facebook sponsored ads. That was the first time that Facebook allowed marketers to pay for ads only on the Facebook mobile app. This was in contrast to earlier times when marketers had to pay for both mobile and desktop ads:
You knew that your target audience predominantly used mobile or preferred one over the other sometimes (preferring mobile when they were out and about). But you still had to pay for both mobile and desktop ads to have the chance to reach mobile users. By separating the two options, Facebook gave marketers a chance to target mobile and desktop users differently. Marketers could also measure as to which platform gained them more ROI and plan their ad spend accordingly.
Facebook also launched a new mobile ad format in November where it displayed just one mobile ad instead of piling up ads like before. The new mobile ad format also showed the friends of a user who liked that ad (thus providing social proof) and boasted of a cover pic instead of a tiny profile picture like before. This was definitely a step further down the path Facebook is concentrating on the most now, monetizing mobile.
Increased targeting options
Facebook helped marketers target better with their ads in August with 9 more targeting options which includes age, gender, the gender the user’s interested in, user’s relationship status, their education, college graduation (college name, major), users in college (college name, major, years), in high school and users’ workplace. All these new targeting options were in addition to the options already available: Language and Location: Country, State, City.
Before Facebook released this update, everything that was updated on a Facebook page would appear in users’ news feeds only because of their language and location even if wasn’t related to them. With more detailed targeting options, marketers can target users better with more relevant and personalized content.
Facebook launches Open Graph
The social giant launched Open Graph applications. These apps allowed third-party developers to share news of user engagement once a user gave them permission to do it. For example, if you have signed a petition on Change.org and have given the Open Graph application permission to do so, it will automatically post about your engagement with that app (the petition that you signed) on your Timeline.
Open Graph applications have expanded marketers’ reach since Open Graph stories appear in friends’ news feeds and tickers and on the user’s Timeline. Your user’s friends can find out about a new app or they can also re-discover an app they were using through Open Graph stories. For example, if a user has, say, 800 friends, a sizeable portion of those friends would see the post about the user’s engagement with your app and find out about it. Plus, they would even have the social proof of their friend using the app.
Twitter’s Tailored Trends
June saw the launch of ‘Tailored Trends’ by Twitter which let users know about popular Twitter trends based on what the site knew about their interests, followers and location. Twitter could now tell users about trends that were relevant to each person as per their specific interests instead of blanket trends that every user may not care about.
When trends relevant to a marketers’ industry started happening, marketers could find out more about it and if possible, even do some newsjacking. Tailored Trends can also give you lessons on the kind of content your audience wants to see from you.
Twitter’s Cover Photos
Twitter launched an update to its page layout with the option that allowed users and companies to upload a cover image to their profiles:
Now Twitter also has a cover photo like Facebook and this gave marketers a great chance to better acquaint their audience on what their company does. Since it’s the biggest image on a profile, page visitors immediately look at the cover photo that also promotes the company’s username, location and bio, all of which was much less visible in the old page layout.
Targeting audience by their interest or username
Twitter expanded its paid advertising features in September by including the ability to target audiences by their interests or usernames. Marketers could earlier target users with search terms and with this update, Twitter gave marketers more specific targeting options:
When targeting users with their interests, Twitter sees who the user is talking about, who he/she is following and what keywords he/she is using. In username targeting, Twitter looks at people who’re similar to another username and is not just following them. Marketers could now segment more effectively during their paid Twitter advertising campaigns and reach more people with interests similar to their company.
For more insights into the changes in 2012 keep an eye out for the second part of this feature…