• 9 Out of 10 Companies Don't Think They Use Social Media Effectively
    There's no question that social media is the hottest part of the Internet from an advertising and marketing perspective, with companies big and small pinning their hopes on its huge potential for engaging consumers and propagating messages through word-of-mouth. But that doesn't mean they're actually doing it right, as reflected by endemic self-doubt among marketing execs at 2,100 companies surveyed by the Harvard Business Review Analytics Services on behalf of SAS.
  • Social Gaming Revenues Will Top $1B in 2011, With More from Ads
    They may be casual, but social games are serious business, according to the latest report from eMarketer, which predicts total revenues for social gaming will increase 27.7% from $856 million in 2010 to $1.09 billion in 2011. In terms of players, the number of U.S. Internet users who play at least one game a month on a social network will increase from 53 million in 2010 to 62 million in 2011 -- roughly 27% of the total online audience.
  • Math of Khan: Facebook Is Coming for Google
    Although I have expressed skepticism about the threat posed by Facebook to Google in the past, J.P. Morgan analyst Imran Khan says the threat is quite real in a note to investors circulated on January 3rd. Khan bases this analysis on the proportion of traffic to large commercial sites coming from the two sources, Facebook and Google.
  • Facebook World? Well, Sort Of
    Previously I wrote about Facebook being the first truly global medium, a fact highlighted by its nearly 600 million members -- just about twice the size of the U.S. population. It's still growing, and it's quite conceivable it will pass one billion members sometime this year -- offering online advertisers reach on a scale never before offered by a single platform. But it's also becoming increasingly clear that Facebook's penetration varies significantly from country to country.
  • Social Media Customer Service: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?
    Writing about customer service is inherently paradoxical in today's totally connected online world: if you have any kind of platform to get your musings or complaints heard through social media, there's a good chance you'll be able to get someone from the company in question to help you, if only to avert bad publicity. But this is not really good customer service -- it's good public relations, a related but definitely separate discipline. After all, the point of customer service is that it should be good no matter what, whether or not anyone will notice, and regardless of whether someone …
  • Facebook Sees Millions of Broken Hearts (and Weddings)
    No one rhapsodizes about the romance of statistics, but the statistics of romance -- now that's a different story. With about 600 million members today, Facebook has seen plenty of relationship drama over the last year... and like every other important part of the human experience, it's all quantifiable, baby. Over the course of 2010 precisely 43,869,800 people changed their relationship status to single, presumably tapping out the sad news amid mounds of used tissues (or with a celebratory drink in hand). Meanwhile 28,460,516 changed their status to "in a relationship," to the great relief of mothers who were quietly …
  • Myspace Ax Looms Large
    Just a few months after revealing a mostly beside-the-point redesign and re-launch as "My___," MySpace is preparing to take another important step on its road to reinvention, according to a report from CNBC: firing half its workforce. No matter how you slice it, it's hard to put a happy face on mass layoffs. But the cuts were probably inevitable, following ominous statements in November from News Corp. executives warning that MySpace had to become profitable soon, or face more rigorous measures. These included cuts and a possible sale of the network -- steps which certainly aren't mutually exclusive (the layoffs …
  • Social Media Biz is Rich, Rich I Say
    Like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin, the social media business is rolling in dough following one of the most funding-est weeks in its history. Facebook just raised $500 million in a round of funding led by Goldman Sachs with help from Digital Sky Technologies -- not long after Groupon revealed it has already raised an equivalent sum as part of a planned $950 million round of funding announced just last week. These investments valued Facebook at $50 billion and Groupon at $6.4 billion. And it was just two weeks ago that Twitter raised $200 million in a funding round …
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