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Social media’s steady slink into the shadows of the bottom line

It’s been such a shame to see the slow but steady demise of enthusiasm around social media in business these last few years. It seems the value of community has just not been able to be measured on the financial bottom line, and the results are unsurprising. Facebook went through an IPO and therefore charges for anything and everything that might be of value, corporate social networks have slowly diminished to nothing, and the all conquering advertising dollar appears to have won the day yet again.

After quite a few years getting just as enthusiastic about it as everyone else, I even joined a startup venture a few years ago to have a crack at turning the power of online community into a real way to connect people, communities and business. You would know of such ventures as the ‘social commerce’ phenomenon which has long since petered away.

Within the corporate environment, such great concepts as Yammer helped spur the creativity and sense of community within a big business – 80,000 companies joined Yammer in just 2 years, before being acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion and then, without enough emphasis or bottom line return from digital communities, Yammer was eventually closed off and merged into the Office suite of products. Talk about writing off the value of community!

At the global organisation I work with, where we have the Tibbr internal network (similar to yammer), and although I glance at that occasionally – it is rarely populated by anyone but senior execs with social media mandates and communications / marketing staff.

And for the business community at large – particularly small businesses – the real story is that social media no longer presents half the opportunity it once promised. The low cost, high potential of sharing your stories with an engaged community has gone. Led by Facebook and others intent on headed for IPO, social sharing seems to reach less and less people – unless the business or community group they’re talking about pays for it of course. For a while there, I even had to pay to promote my own status updates on Facebook to my personal friends if I wanted them to read it. A sign of things to come?

 Deliriant Isti Romani.






Social TV using Twitter – a snapshot

I haven’t posted here in ages but am trying to get back into it. Here’s a net little infographic from my Nielsen colleagues in the US, taking a snapshot of Social TV engagement using Twitter in the US.


Twitter TV Ratings

Nielsen infographic showing the state of Social TV using Twitter in the United States.

Australian digital media forecasts by PWC

Great infographic by PWC Australia, with some great snippets of mobile device consumption  in Australia:

  • 19.6 million connected mobile subscribers
  • 93% smartphone penetration by 2018
  • 80% tablet penetration by 2018
  • Investment in public cloud services to grow 63% to $5.2 billion by 2016

digital trends driving mobile consumers

Google vs Facebook revenues: infographic

Google revenue



Probably not the fairest comparison given that Facebook only started monetising quite recently, but a stark reminder that Facebook is still securing its future (not that $6.4B a year isn’t enough to keep the business afloat), while Google remains a highly cashed up entity and still has strong market share (of course). Not sure where their numbers came from to say that Google has 53% of mobile advertising revenue so I’ll take the number with a grain of salt, but I think the comparative point is made all the same!




Google deploys NFC campaign in Aussie airports

Google Play OOH! Media NFC campaign

Great to see NFC campaigns alive and well here in Australia. As I haven’t travelled for work much recently, I actually came across this campaign via the NFC world site and not in real life. What a shame! I’ve shamelessly borrowed their links here but all credit to NFC World for picking up the story.

Google’s Play store partnered with OOH! Media to enable visitors to a number of Australian airports to control a digital panel screen by tapping their NFC enabled phone or by scanning a QR Code for those devices not so proximity inclined. The screen was essentially a way to browse through apps the user might like to download before their flight, to entertain themselves.

I like the concept of the Red Crystal software, which enabled users to do this seamlessly without having to download any software onto their phone.

As usual with NFC, a great video demonstration of the installation really brings it to life.


Yahoo: sacrificing $170 billion annual revenue for Tumblr’s $100 million. What?

Yahoo to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Yahoo to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Yahoo’s recent $1.1B bid for Tumblr has polarised opinions for and against, amongst people I’ve spoken to.

On the one hand, the acquisition can be seen as a shrewd move by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to increase engaged audience amongst younger demographics. Bigger audiences across a wider spread of people can not only mean more advertising dollars to cater for those diverse audiences, but also a more effective management of the risk associated with being perceived as the fuddy-duddy network (I just made that up, but I think it’ll stick).

On the other hand, what’s the real value of having younger audiences on your network? I’m slightly more familiar with the Channel 10 TV network in Australia which has recently publicly stated its intentions to move as far away from the younger demographics as possible and to recast itself as a network catering to older audiences. Why? Advertisers know that while it’s cool to have young people watching or engaging with your content, it’s the older, more established markets that have money to spend on your products and services. They’re less fickle (most of the time), and they know what they want. They’re more established in life, and have higher incomes, less mortgages (or at least can handle them better). To showcase how younger generations respond to such things – the first thing that happened when loyal Tumblr users heard Yahoo might buy the network – was threaten to leave and find somewhere else that wasn’t run by fuddy-duddys.

Is it worth pursuing the younger demographics in the name of audience share?

Is it worth pursuing the younger demographics in the name of audience share? Graph via Comscore Datagems

So there’s certainly a big risk in going after the younger demographics.

Personally, now seeing what Yahoo intends to do with the $7.6 Billion it made from its 2012 sale of AliBaba, I’m wondering how the numbers stack up:

Tumblr, with $26M in revenue with accumulated venture capital debts of $125M. It was forecasting a $100M revenue year for 2013, all via advertising. Although the press release stated Tumblr has 300 million registered users, some educated guesses put it as low as 30 to 50 million people once you use the same measure that Twitter and Facebook do to measure their user numbers.

Alibaba, on the other hand was unwanted by Yahoo despite making $170 billion in revenue last year. It has less users – the company claims 79 million registered users – but in a transactional marketplace, it’s only the revenue and revenue per user that counts. Needless to say, with much of Alibaba’s audience starting in and around China – the prospects for scalable growth remain high, even to the pessimist.

So I’m worried that multi-billion dollar companies are selling off businesses that are making money, to buy ones that might. I’m always an advocate of pursuing new ideas, chasing the growth and changing things for the better, but I’m yet to be convinced that Yahoo is headed the right way. I’m happy to be proved wrong.

Deliriant Isti Romani – These Romans are Crazy!

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