Archive for September, 2009

Email Losing Out to Social Networking

Friday, September 18th, 2009

According to the OPA, internet users continue to spend a majority of their time on content sites, up from 34 percent in 2003 to 42 percent in 2009.

The six-year analysis gauged monthly time spent with Commerce, Communications, Community, Content and Search. And, while consumers may be spending significant time with Community sites, it’s coming at the expense of their time with Communication sites whose core capabilities are email and Instant Messaging (IM).

“In the six years that the IAI has reported on how consumers are spending their time online, we have seen some significant shifts, most notably the emergence of Community,” said Pam Horan, president of the OPA. “While Community has grown, data from the IAI proves that Content is still king; these sites continue to be a place where consumers spend the majority of their online time and provide an environment for brand marketers to reach and engage with consumers.”

The latest IAI report provides insights into how consumers are spending their time online, and how that has changed over the past six years. Based on the analysis, the OPA found that the percentage of time spent online with Web sites providing news, information and entertainment, like, and (Content sites), has grown even in the wake of Community sites like Facebook. Moreover, Communication sites offering email and IM have decreased in share of online time spent due to the ability to conduct these activities elsewhere.

“In 2008, we introduced the Community category based on the emergence and popularity of sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn,” continued Horan. “These new sites have had significant impact on the Communications category, which saw a 41 percent decline, due to the fact consumers are using Community sites where they can conduct these same activities more efficiently.”

When comparing how people used the Internet in 2003 with how they use the Internet today, the OPA found a number of factors behind the changes, including monthly average time per person:

Category 2003 Avg Time*
(hours: minutes)

2009 Avg Time (hours: minutes)

Change in Time
*Note: 2003 average is May through December 2003, and 2009 average is January through May 2009.

When we shift from IAI’s time spent to the share of online time each category attracts over six years, we see significant changes as to how consumers spend their online time:


2003 Avg Share*

2009 YTD Share

Change in Share












Community N/A




Search 3%




*Note: 2003 average is May through December 2003, and 2009 average is January through May 2009.

IAI’s share of time helps to provide further context. For example, Content consumption, as a share of online time, surpasses Communications as the leading way online audiences spend their time. Furthermore, although time spent with Search doubled, its share of time is very small and has only increased by two percentage points. Monthly time spent with Communications decreased by less than half an hour, but declined by 41 percent as a share of a consumer’s online time.

Related posts:

  1. Social Networking Surpasses Email Popularity
  2. Social Networking and Blogs Surpass Email in Popularity
  3. New Nielsen Report Shows Social Networking Impact on Email …
  4. 93 Percent Growth In Social Networking In U.S.
  5. IE Losing Market Share to Other Browsers

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Cablevision to launch interactive commercials for couch potatoes

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

It’s a time-honored television tradition: the direct-response ad, urging viewers to act now to order some gadget over the phone or online. Now, Cablevision (CVC) is aiming to make things even easier for couch potatoes with the introduction of interactive ads. Using pop-up or banner displays, the spots will prompt viewers to click on their remotes during commercials, with the promised reward of a coupon or product sample.

The service will be introduced to Cablevision’s 3 million iO TV digital cable subscribers in October, and the cable giant has signed up paint company Benjamin Moore as one of its first customers, according to Cablevision spokeswoman Charlstie Laytin. People who click on the Benjamin Moore ad will be sent a coupon for a free two-ounce color sample.

And who can resist the lure of free stuff? Connecting television ads with interactivity has long been the holy grail of marketers, but getting consumers to click on the ads have proved tough. With this hook, perhaps Cablevision will actually motivate viewers to click on interactive ads. DailyFinance parent AOL was one of the early entrants into interactive advertising field, as was Microsoft with WebTV. And in June, Canoe Ventures said it was halting plans for its Community Addressable Messaging product, a service which would have allowed cable operators to simultaneously air one ad for most subscribers but a different ad in high-income cable service areas. At the time, Canoe also said it would shift its focus to interactive television.

Consumers may now be ready for interactive ads because they’ve become more used to clicking on their remotes to navigate digital video recorders or DVDs, said Colin Dixon, a senior partner at research firm The Diffusion Group who focuses on digital media and broadband media.

The U.S. consumer “had been a very passive, sit-back-and-watch” type of TV viewer, which hurt interactive television’s chances of success in the past, Dixon noted. But because the way consumers interact with their TVs has changed during the last few years, Dixon said Cablevision has picked a good time to start an interactive-ad service. “They’ll probably get a good response rate,” he predicted.

Interactive TV ads tend to have higher click rates of 2 to 3 percent, higher than the 0.27 percent click rate of traditional internet ads, said Rob Aksman, head of experience design at the interactive advertising firm BrightLine iTV. “There is less clutter in the TV space,” Aksman said. And, he added, web surfers are more likely to be searching for specific information and aren’t as easily distracted by ad messages.

To get viewers interested in its new interactive ads, Cablevision is airing a television spot to introduce consumers to the concept of the service, called Optimum Select. It’s probably no accident that the spot shows a woman navigating what many might consider extremely annoying marketing experiences: getting bombarded by a car salesman and a perfume spritzer in a department store. The spot suggests Optimum Select will allow you to order a perfume sample rather than getting drenched with eau de toilette, or get information about a new sedan without sucked into a car salesman’s spiel.

20% of Tweets are Brand-Oriented

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

A study by a research team at Penn State has found that 20% of Tweets tend to be brand-related, for better or for worse.

“People are using tweets to express their reaction, both positive and negative, as they engage with these products and services,” said Jim Jansen, associate professor of information science and technology. “Tweets are about as close as one can get to the customer point of purchase for products and services.”

Alongside IST doctoral student Mimi Zhang, undergrad Kate Sobel and Twitter CSO Abdur Chowdhury, examined the phenomenon of micro-communicating, particularly its value as a word-of-mouth medium. Over a half-million tweets were reviewed over the course of their observation.

Specifically, the team sought out tweets that mention brands to find out why the brand was mentioned — to review a product, inform others, or otherwise — and discovered that brand-tweeters do so in order to connect with products.

“Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship,” Janson said. “Personal use is all over the board.” He added, “It may be right up there with e-mail in terms of its communication impact.”

20% of the tweets contained product information in the form of asking or providing, lending companies — which increasingly use Twitter for brand-building, brand awareness and CRM — a “rich source” of information regarding their wares.

“A lot of the brand comments were positive,” he admitted. “There are some good products out there, or at least products that people are happy with.”

This is among the first academic studies in the arena of micro-communication in business. Jansen is using it to lay groundwork for other oeuvres, including a study that queries how companies manage and use their Twitter accounts.