29 April, 2009
Focus on affluent donors who use the web
Charities will be encouraged to tap into the 'wired wealthy' during an online fundraising conference in May.
As part of the International Fundraising Conference Online, Vinay Bhagat, founder and chief strategy officer of US-based organisation Convio, which provides marketing services for charities, will deliver a presentation on how to connect with affluent donors who use the web.
Bhagat said: "Compared with traditional marketing and engagement channels, online marketing is a cost-effective and efficient way for charities to recruit a solid database of supporters.
"Organisations are then better placed to weather the economic storm and build lasting relationships with their donors."
The International Fundraising Conference Online will take place from 12 to 14 May. Workshops and discussions will run twice a day to allow for time differences.
More than 60 per cent of Twitter users stop using the microblogging service after the first month, according to new figures from Nielsen Online.
The study shows that Twitter continues to grow at an astonishing rate, with usage growing by more than 100 per cent since March. However, the microblogging service appears to be having trouble convincing users to stick around.
According to Nielsen, Twitter currently has a retention rate of just 40 per cent, indicating that consumers are yet to properly get to grips with 'tweeting'.
'People are signing up in their droves,' writes David Martin, vice president of primary research at Nielson Online in a blog post. '
But despite the hockey stick growth chart, Twitter faces an uphill battle in making sure these flocks of new users are enticed to return to the nest.'
The figures show that Twitter's retention rate is about half that of rival social networks Facebook and MySpace during their first three years of existence.
Despite its low retention rate Twitter continues to see its user base expand rapidly, accounting for more UK internet traffic than MSN UK Search in April, according to Hitwise.
28 April, 2009
Online donations are a simple form of e-commerce - what supporters are buying is the feel-good factor of donating. The principles of online transactions are exactly the same for charities as for commercial retailers, but the experience of donating is too often unsatisfactory for the donor. Charities need to offer simple 'shopping cart' usability, especially if they want people to come back and give again. So what are the basics?
Always use clear headings and navigation to show donors where they are. This gives users a clear guide to where they are in the process. Importantly, it also helps search engines to place your pages.
Make your contact information clear and visible. Some donors don't want to give online, or their payment may fail - so give them the chance to call or write to you.
Allow people to select their donation type and amount before they have to give personal details. You have to ask for these details when they make a payment - don't ask for them twice. The further along they get before you ask for details, the more committed they will be.
Make sure the 'proceed' and 'donate' buttons are clear and obvious. They should always be 'above the fold' in the early stages of the process so people don't have to work too hard to find them. Use large fonts and bold colours, and test different words to find out which are the most likely to encourage people to keep going.
Make sure the process is clear and simple. Keep the pages clutter-free, with no navigation other than options to proceed or go back to the main site.
Most importantly, think about the payment pages you like to use and do your best to imitate their layout, design and processes.
27 April, 2009
Operation of Hope and Twitter powerhouse Charity: Water will each receive A$50,000 from the Australian actor. Jackman provoked intense activity on Twitter after announcing on 14 April that he would give away A$100,000 to the one charity which presented the most compelling case for support in the Twitter format – 140 characters or less - on his page on the website. It was the first time a philanthropist had offered money to charity in this way.
After announcing the winning charities on American radio last Friday, 24 April, Jackman took to his Twitter page telling his more than 140,000 followers to “keep their generous spirit flowing”.
Development organisation Charity: Water was also the recipient of the US$250,000 raised in Twestival this February, which saw Twitterers around the world meet up in real life to raise money for the organisation. Charity: Water has more than 140,000 followers itself, and rallied its supporters to lobby Jackman to give the money to their cause.
Operation of Hope is an organisation of volunteer doctors who perform facial reconstructive surgery on children in developing countries. Both organisations are US-based.
24 April, 2009
Women are half as likely as men to read the email newsletters they receive and are more prone to cancel their subscriptions, according to a new survey.
Research email marketing specialist Emailvision found that only one in 10 women open and read their digital newsletters compared to one in five men.
The findings also showed that in the past 12 months more women (17%) than men (7%) had cancelled subscriptions to digital newsletters.
Women cited cluttered inboxes as the main reason for opting out, while men found that content simply wasn't relevant enough.
However, nine out of 10 said they wanted to receive more personalised newsletters from their favourite brands incorporating individually tailored information. The more popular ones were tailored with at least a name and contained relevant discounts or offers.
Nick Gold, UK managing director of Emailvision, said: "Consumers are spending much more cautiously in light of the recession and so brands must be smarter in the way they manage customer relations.
"Personalised content is the key to more targeted interaction, and will not only help build trust between customer and brand, but also improve the opportunities to cross-sell products or services."
As a result of the findings Emailvision has outlined some basic steps to getting it right with gender targeting in email marketing. These include: knowing the gender of your database; creating female and male versions of emails with relevant product lines for each gender; and creating an option to swap to a different version if the gender of the recipient is not known.
23 April, 2009
In the wake of the Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget, Directgov has launched a free application called Moneyspeak, which can be shared via social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
The Moneyspeak application is designed to make sense of the often confusing and alarming economic terms the public hears every day.
The application has two main functions. Firstly, a search bar can be used to enter a financial word or phrase, such as quantitative easing or fiscal stimulus, which then picks up on relevant references from across the web.
Secondly, it identifies information relating to the chosen search term by linking to the relevant Directgov pages.
Jayne Nickalls, Directgov chief executive, said: "Directgov receives more than 18m visits per month.
"By creating flexible tools that work outside of our site, such as Moneyspeak, we can make Directgov even more accessible."Directgov is the UK's official website containing everything the public need to know about essential government information covering everything from renewing your car tax, finding a job or getting help with mortgage payments.
22 April, 2009
Campaigners can avoid advertising restrictions, say experts
Charities lobbying for political change should use text and web campaigns to avoid legal restrictions on political advertising, experts on communications have advised.
The Communications Act 2003 bans broadcast adverts that are "directed towards a political end". But it does not cover text messages or adverts that appear online, according to Brian Lamb, executive director of advocacy and policy at the RNID.
Lamb said the broad definition of political means in the act meant charities could use broadcast adverts only for fundraising purposes.
"Broadcast advertising would be an effective way for charities to promote a social advocacy message," he said. "But Ofcom would see this as political, so they can't. More charities should be using text and web campaigns to get around this."
Jonathan Bass, managing director of mobile marketing company Incentivated, said many charities had used text messages for donations, but "few have latched on to its utility as a tool for lobbying the Government to change the law or for promoting a social message".
In January, Save the Children generated more than 183,000 text responses and 7,800 online sign-ups for a Gaza ceasefire campaign.
Sarah Fitzgerald O'Connor, supporter acquisition manager at the charity, said: "We took the response to Downing Street, putting pressure on Gordon Brown. We will consider bringing elements of this campaign into our future activity."
21 April, 2009
Less than one third of social network users would be willing to join a brand’s group even with the offer of exclusive or free content, according to new research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).
A survey of over 1,900 UK adults found while social network users didn’t mind having ads on the sites they had little interest in them.
When asked about ad preferences on social networks just 11% of respondents said they preferred free music downloads while 9% said sponsored gifts and 8% said banners with video clips or exclusive news.
Take up of branded sites and pages was also low, just 7% said they signed up to branded sites, and just 5% said they joined branded groups and communities.
The research called on marketers to work harder at gaining the interest of social network users.
Sponsored widgets and applications were highlighted as an area worth investing in, with 17% of users admitting to having them on their social network page and 15% keeping them on their desktops.
Opinion Matters conducted the research through the Tickbox.net panel.
This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk
The BBC has appointed its first online access champion in a bid to get more people to use its online services.
BBC Online controller Seetha Kumar has been tasked with encouraging more people to use the broadcaster's online services.
The role will sit alongside her existing position.
The position was announced at today's (April 17) Digital Britain summit by the BBC's COO Caroline Thomson along with the launch of a new BBC online access forum.
The forum is designed to bring together BBC resources to help to convert the estimated 17m UK adults who currently don't go online.
Thomson said, "We're determined to do more to attract hard-to-reach groups online. There's also more we can do to encourage access to content beyond the BBC: from enabling higher traffic from our website to others; to opening up the iPlayer to other broadcasters; to sharing and syndicating BBC content more widely."
Earlier at the summit, Gordon Brown said that Britian take the lead in the global digital revolution in order to stay competitive.
17 April, 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to support the media industry's efforts to invest in high-quality content in the coming years and to protect it from piracy.
Speaking at today's Digital Britain Summit in London, Brown said: "We need to support the creation and availability of high-quality content. We will support the legal framework that enables the private sector to create content."
The PM added that universal broadband access was one of the cornerstones of the Government's future plans, noting that in the same way a universally available post service was crucial in the last century, "so too in the future must we deliver reliable high- speed access... that will be a crucial first stepping stone"
The Summit is being held to inform Communications Minister Lord Carter's Digital Britain report, which, among other things, is formulating future policy for public service broadcasting and digital radio.
Brown went on to say that "only by embracing" digital Britain and taking a lead in the global digital economy "can we keep our place as a leading economy in the years to come".
The Prime Minister added that a key infrastructure for the economy's future is broadband internet, labelling it the "backbone in the future".
He said: "Investing in digital is not an optional extra, but is essential to our future," adding that the Government will look to legally enforceable commitment to providing universal broadband access.
People across the UK will be able to access information on local and European politicians via one location following the launch of website MiCandidate.co.uk.
The site, which goes live today, has been developed by entrepreneurs Patrick Cosgrave and Oisin Hanrahan.
It has been designed to it make it easier for politicians to have a web presence and for voters to source information on them.
The service is being supported by a number of citizen organisations, including the British Youth Council, all political parties and media partners Sky, The Telegraph and The Independent.
The site currently lists over 500 candidates and carries more detailed information (such as policy and biographical details), which candidates must pay for, on over 300.
Marcus Warren, Telegraph.co.uk's editor, said: "The Telegraph is very excited to be part of the MiCandidate project and to be helping our audience across the UK and the rest of the European Union make informed decisions about who to vote for in this summer's elections."
The founders, who have already launched the service in their native Ireland, will expand the site across the rest of Europe over the coming weeks via the domain name MiCandidate.eu.
The company has partnered with European media brands including Le Monde, Le Soir and Euronews.
Hanrahan said: "There are already hundreds of candidates profiled on MiCandidate.co.uk and every week we will be adding more.
"MiCandidate.co.uk puts real power back into the hands of ordinary people because for the first time people can knock on the door of all and any of their candidates online.
Julian March, executive producer of Sky News online, said: "MiCandidate will help us to fulfil the important role of informing voters.
"Thanks to MiCandidate, millions of Sky News's viewers and web users will be able to learn more about their candidates."
16 April, 2009
Macmillan Cancer Support and Bullying UK join the race
Australian actor Hugh Jackman has pledged $100,000 to the favourite charity of one of his followers on Twitter, provoking thousands of responses from charities and individuals worldwide.
On Wednesday morning, Jackman wrote on his Twitter page: "I will donate $100k to one individual's favourite non-profit organisation. Of course, you must convince me why by using 140 characters or less."
Several British charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support and Bullying UK, sent appeals for donations. However, Hugh Jackman, who has more than 40,000 followers on Twitter, has not given details of his criteria for judging the competition.
When one follower asked if the number of people who want the charity to win will matter, Hugh Jackman responded: "The more passion shown for your charity, the better."
He hinted that he might announce the winning charity on 24 April, and has since been posting a selection of appeals on his Twitter page.
Hugh Jackman was also in the news last week after getting the name of the Sydney Opera House wrong in one of his Twitter updates, calling it the Sydney Opera Centre.
15 April, 2009
Brands seeking to run charity auctions on eBay can now outsource the process to a specialist agency, which has launched following the completion of five pilot projects.
Good Cause Auctions claims to be the only UK auction management company serving marketing clients to be officially recognised by eBay, which has 15m regular UK users.
It can handle auction design, security, set-up, eBay and PayPal interface and provide round the clock customer service, fulfilment and evaluation.
During its pilot phase it delivered auction campaigns including 'Handbag Amnesty' for Cancer Research and Handbag.com and 'Quantum of Solace Experience' for Sony Ericsson and The Honeypot Charity.
It is offering other related services such as gathering data on bidders and extending campaigns into social networks, video and viral games.
The founder of Good Cause Auctions is Julie Dawson, who worked as a marketing consultant for eBay for 18 months from the end of 2006.
Earlier in her career she led the IT and business processing division at Barclays Bank and was chief operating officer at European wireless software company Civista.
Cathy Palmer, director of the company, set up marketing agency The Bottom Line Communications Company in 1998.
The agency has served clients including Nestle, Teleflorist and Rank Hovis.
Palmer said: "Working with agencies, celebrities, brands and charities, we take care of the elements needed to harness the auction opportunity to the benefit of all parties."
14 April, 2009
Yell.com is beefing up its website to allow advertisers to promote their services with sponsored listings detailing their own relevant sale and product information, as well as maps and links to their business websites.
The new site, supported with a direct mail campaign by Rapier sent to advertisers, lets consumers search for a business by type, company name and location.
Advertisers' listings now also include where the business is located on a map, directions, blogs, and details about the company such as photos and retail sales information.
Sponsored listings have the most prominence and are targeted by classification and areas.
Yell is also attempting to drive business for its advertisers through search engine optimisation, so that a search for plumbers or florists would lead consumers to Yell's business listings.
The move follows the recent push for Yell's directory service 118 24 7, which is being advertised on TV and online with the ‘Directory Heaven' campaign.
The Global Faces and Networked Places report shows that social networks and blogs are now the fourth most popular online category, putting them ahead of personal emails. The report, which presents data on total internet traffic in 2008, says time spent on social networking and blogging sites is now growing at more than three times the rate of overall internet growth.
Facebook had the highest average time per visitor of the 75 most popular brands worldwide. The total amount of time spent on these sites rose by 63 per cent compared with 2007 to 45 billion minutes, and time spent on Facebook rose by a massive 566 per cent - from 3.1 billion minutes to 20.5 billion.
Facebook started out as a service for students, but now almost a third of its global audience is aged between 35 and 49, and a quarter of its users are over 50. In 2008, Facebook had almost 13.6 million more visitors aged 50 to 64 than in 2007 - almost twice as many as its 7.3 million additional visitors of 18 years old and under.
The corporate world is struggling to respond to these dramatic changes in online behaviour. The most recent changes to the Facebook layout also diminish the emphasis on groups and causes, making it harder for charities to attract new members.
Nielsen says advertising on social networking sites needs to be about participation and conversation, about adding value and making friends. If the Facebook format stays, we are going to need to work harder to get attention.
The Nielsen report is available at http://tinyurl.com/cegotj
09 April, 2009
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed yesterday that the social networking site has attracted 200m global users, growing by 50m in 2009 alone and doubling the number of unique monthly visitors achieved by its main rival MySpace.
In a blog post titled '200 Million Strong', Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook continues to attract a large number of users, despite recent qualms over the website redesign and user privacy.
In January, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had amassed 150m users, which grew to 175m in February. The figures show that in 2009 more than 500,000 people have signed up for Facebook everyday.
Data showed that more than one in four people with internet access visited Facebook in February.
However despite Facebook's successes, questions remain over its ability to tap into a sustainable revenue stream - as the number of users continue to grow, so do operational costs.
In a recent financial report, Facebook expected revenues to grow by 70% in 2009 and said it would be profitable in 2010.
Facebook generally attracts revenue through targeted display advertising and has also welcomed market researchers using its database as a source for collecting demographical statistics.
Facebook recently parted with its chief financial officer Gideon Yu, which analysts indicated was a sign the social network was preparing to float on the stock market.
A recent website redesign, which raised the ire of millions of Facebook users, could play a key role in attracting more advertising revenue.
Last month Facebook rejigged its homepage to resemble rival website Twitter, with a "stream" of regularly updated friend information, which caused a furore among users.
Despite the uproar, the redesign remains and, according to a blog written by Facebook chief operational officer Sheryl Sandberg yesterday, the facelift provides an good opportunity for advertisers.
Sandberg said on average Facebook users have 120 friends, which can be split up into three different groups: reciprocal, direct and active.
Reciprocal friends engage in two-way conversation and only account for about five of the average user's 120 friends.
Direct communications is generally one way and doesn't always get a response, but accounts for more friends, on average about nine.
The last group of active communicators represent a potential advertising opportunity. Active communication, which is achieved by the "streaming" Facebook redesign, where information is shared with a larger number of friends, allows targeted ads to be screened to users.
With MySpace eclipsed, Facebook's main competition may now come from Twitter. The network has fewer users, last confirmed at around 7m, but has been attracting more attention in the media and among online opinion formers.
Furthermore Twitter, which has also been criticised for its lack of business model, has been attracting the attention advertisers. It was revealed yesterday that a number of major media brands, include Virgin and Universal, were planning to launch Twitter-
08 April, 2009
Warner Music and Virgin Media are among several brands working with a start-up agency called Twitter Partners, which plans to offer services from consultancy to customer insight, CRM and reputation management.
Twitter Partners is led by former Nielsen president and angel investor Peter Read and is a privately held, London-based firm.
Read has assembled a line-up of well-known digital figures to advise the company. They include former Yahoo! vice-president Toby Coppel, Last.fm founder Stefan Glaenzer, LoveFilm co-founder Saul Klein and Lastminute.com founders Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman.
According to reports Twitter is investing an equity stake in the company.
One of Twitter Partners' first tasks is a campaign promoting the release the animated band Gorillaz' upcoming documentary titled 'Bananaz'.
Other clients include Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, Knitting Factory, Paramount and Comedy.com.
Twitter Partners will offer the brands a number of services, including customer insight, profiling and segmentation, CRM, buzz monitoring, virtual focus groups and corporate reputation management.
It will initially work on a consultancy basis but plans to expand into products and automation in the future.
According to twitter Partners' website, it has already lined up 11 agency partners, including Razorfish and Unanimis, and is "building a suite of apps, tools and services to help brands, media companies, and celebrities harness the power of the Twitter ecosystem".
The Twitter 'ecosystem' is now inhabited by more than 7m users but Twitter itself has yet to find a secure revenue model. The company houses approximately 30 staff, mostly engineers, and has been more focused on technical than commercial development.
Twitter is currently being courted by many firms, including Google, which was reported to be in "late-stage" acquisition talks with Twitter last week, though it now appears negotiations are at a much earlier stage.
A number of brands and celebrities are already well-established on Twitter, including Stephen Fry, Starbucks and Comparethemarket.com, which recently ran a campaign asking Twitter users if they would like to appear on a testimonial page on its mascot's website.
Earlier today it was revealed that public relations advisor Carri Bugbee plans to launch a Twitter-based ad agency for media and entertainment companies on the back of the success of a Twitter account based on the fictional agency from the television series 'Mad Men'.
07 April, 2009
Jacquie Bowser, Brand Republic
MySpace has launched a video contest inviting users to submit their own version of 'The Simpsons' opening couch gag to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cartoon series.
To enter the competition, fans need to create live-action videos of their own original couch gags, that are no more than 45 seconds in length, and upload them to 'The Simpsons' MySpace page.
Entrants, who must be 18 years and over, are allowed to use the audio files of 'The Simpsons' theme song, which can be found on the contest page.
The live-action videos must be submitted by May 18 and a winner will be selected by a judging panel, including 'The Simpsons' producers, on June 22.
The winner and a guest will receive a trip to Los Angeles to attend 'The Simpsons' 21st season premiere party, a home entertainment system and a custom drawing of 'The Simpsons'.
Additionally, a fan favourite winner will be chosen by users. That winner will be awarded a 'The Simpsons' prize pack.
'The Simpsons', which is the longest-running US sitcom, animated series and primetime series, moved into high definition in February. The first HD episode, called 'Take my wife, please', aired in the UK on Sky1 and Sky1 HD on February 22.
06 April, 2009
Twitter has been inundated by approaches from other interested companies following a report last week that it was in late-stage acquisition talks with Google, a deal which now appears some way off.
Technology blog TechCrunch sparked a frenzy of speculation with its claim that Google was in advanced talks with Twitter about acquiring the micro blogging service.
However, an update from TechCrunch, indicating that the two sides are far apart on Twitter's valuation, paints a less certain picture than its initial report.
It puts Google's own valuation of Twitter at "a token premium" above $250m, the valuation achieved by Twitter's last round of financing in February.
But it claims Twitter chief executive Evan Williams would not sell even for $1bn.
TechCrunch's claim that the two companies were in late-stage talks was questioned by influential blog All Things Digital, citing its own sources.
All Things Digital yesterday claimed that Twitter is not ready to sell and Williams especially is not interested as yet.
It cited sources close to the company as saying that after the TechCrunch report Twitter executives "were pinged relentlessly by a plethora of big companies, all wanting to make sure Twitter called them, in the event the company was up for grabs".
Both blogs say the two sides are talking about a deal giving Google access to a real-time feed from Twitter's search facility.
Twitter attempted to dampen the speculation over acquisition talks on Friday with co-founder and chief creative officer Biz Stone posting the following:
"My inbox is flooded this morning with requests for a response to the latest internet speculation about where Twitter is headed. It should come as no surprise that Twitter engages in discussions with other companies regularly and on a variety of subjects.
"Our goal is to build a profitable, independent company and we're just getting started. We've got just over 30 employees now and we're working out of a loft in San Francisco's SoMA neighborhood. By the way, we're hiring talented people
03 April, 2009
Google is in "late stage" talks to acquire microblogging service Twitter, according to a report Thursday on TechCrunch citing two unnamed sources.
Twitter lets people post short 140-character messages; people often subscribe to follow the stream of these tweets from acquaintances and, increasingly, companies and celebrities. After an unpleasant rocky period when the company's servers frequently were crushed under the strain of the service, the Twitter has experienced tremendous growth.
Google's origins, core technology, and profits come from search, but Twitter would fit in neatly with the company's somewhat lackluster attempt to become more of a social hub, too. Facebook, which attempted to acquire Twitter in 2008, is the exemplar of just how rich a medium the Internet can become for social interactions. Social sites, though, have had a hard time showing they can mean revenue and profits as well.
Twitter isn't just about sharing with friends, though. It's increasingly about search as well.
Twitter has been working to elevate the prominence of search, which can give a near-real-time window into what's on the mind of innumerable users.
And Google knows well how to treat new sources of information as signals that weigh into search results. The company has been gradually blending into its search results data sources such as blogs and news stories that reflect new information arriving on the Web.
Plenty of people search for relatively timeless information, but plane crashes, earthquakes, election results, and other events are popular search subjects, too, and Google constantly strives to better match its results with what people are actually seeking.
Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
02 April, 2009
This will be the first big competition in the travel industry based around Twitter; between Monday 6 and Thursday 9 April a HostelBookers Easter egg will backpack around four European cities, alluding to its whereabouts by offering budget travel tips for the destinations it will visit.
From Twitter, the egg’s journey will be fed across all HostelBookers’ social media channels, including Facebook, Bebo, Flickr and HostelBloggers.com, enabling users of all networking sites to participate in the competition.
Followers of the tips and images which will be added to the HostelBookers Twitter page each day can guess which four cities the egg has visited each day, entering their answer on the HostelBookers’ competition page by 12pm (midday) on Friday 10 April. A winner will be picked at random from the correct entries to receive the excellent prize – a week’s accommodation for two in a top Amsterdam hostel, St. Christopher’s Inn - The Winston.
David Smith, Chief Operating Officer at HostelBookers, said: “HostelBookers has been working with Twitter and social networking for over a year – we feel it is important to communicate with our customers in ways that they genuinely use for their everyday communication.
“It is fun and exciting for HostelBookers to be the first organisation to run a competition focused on Twitter, especially as its fast becoming a very relevant tool for travellers and backpackers across the world.”
Although followers will need to enter the competition at the end of the egg’s travels, there’s an added bonus for Twitter enthusiasts keeping track of the hunt each day; HostelBookers will buy a drink for the first person to join the egg in the bar where it’s finishing off its day of travelling…
01 April, 2009
LONDON - Twitter has changed its profile pages to list personal conversation replies as 'mentions'.
In the Twitter sidebar, users will now find their own personalised @username tab.
When they click that tab, users see a list of all tweets referencing their account with the @username anywhere in the tweet, instead of only at the beginning which is how it used to work.
The change has been made as people often include username mentions in the middle of tweets as a way to reference another account.