11 Surprising Social Media Statistics

You think social media is reaching maturity, and the whipsaw behavioral shifts that change like a Dwight Howard trade request are things of the past? Uhhh, no.

Released Tuesday at Blogworld New York, findings from social media behavioral researcher Tom Webster and the team at Edison Research show some shocking changes in how Americans use and consume social media.

You can access the entire presentation at The Social Habit microsite, but 11 social media statistics in particular stood out for me.

Two quick notes: This is not data dredging. This is real, random-sample, tightly controlled research from the exclusive provider of presidential exit polling in the United States. Also, this is the last time the entire research from Edison will be released for free. It’s too valuable to be given away wholesale—considering it costs tens of thousands of dollars to produce. But you can get exclusive access to the Social Habit research when it’s refreshed and expanded in early fall. Sign up now for a sneak peek.

I’m partnering with Edison Research, Jason Falls, and Mark Schaefer on the next round of these findings, so you’ll be hearing more throughout the summer. For now, here are some statistics. Read more…

YouTube Is Exploring Paid Subscriptions

Eager to define itself as a major entertainment player, YouTube is exploring charging subscriptions for cable content, the company’s chief said on Thursday.

Google, which has already pledged $100 million to create a slew of premium video channels on YouTube is exploring the idea of charging subsciptions for cable network providers that are looking for syndication outside of traditional cable service operators.

Salar Kamangar, Google svp of YouTube and video, told Reuters that YouTube could be a venue for cable networks with small audiences that want to offer their content on an a la carte basis. “We don’t have anything to announce now. It is something that’s really important to a lot of our top existing content creators as well as ones that aren’t on YouTube today, so we’re taking very seriously and we’re thinking about it very carefully,” said Kamangar.

Kamagar’s comments, delivered during a Reuters event on Thursday, coincided with a new Department of Justice probe into cable firms’ policy of imposing Internet data limits on consumers, according to a report in The Washington Post. The DOJ is trying to determine whether the cable firms are hampering competition for online-based video

YouTube’s exploration of redistributing cable content also follows an ambitious $100 million program launched last fall to create its own star-studded premium channels. In May, Google pledged it would spend another $200 million to market those channels, which do not require a subscription.

Todd Wasserman, Mashable’s business editor, has been writing professionally for close to 20 years.

Your Social Influence and Why Marketers Care About It

Tom is flying economy class from Hong Kong to San Francisco. After landing, he sees a text message from Cathay Pacific inviting him into their exclusive international lounge. He flashes his iPhone at the desk and proceeds to enjoy a hot shower and cold beer.

Not more than a year ago, Tom started a popular Tumblr site to track and share ridiculous pictures of dogs wearing raincoats. The site — and Tom’s related twitter feed — exploded in popularity after being featured on popular websites like Reddit. A Klout algorithm rapidly identified Tom as influential based on the high level of activity around his Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.

Tom’s not real, but his story could be. That’s because today a Klout score over 40 will open the doors to that same Cathay Lounge at SFO even if you didn’t pay for a premium ticket.

From shopping rewards to Facebook “likes,” we all generate treasure troves of data for businesses and anyone else interested in our time or money. Klout is just one company that mines this data with the aim of helping a user – along with businesses and organizations — understand how “influential” he or she is. The point: to reward a user for their influence and to provide personal relevant information to marketers.

And this is just the beginning. It will only become harder to ignore the growing power of influence data. Here are three reasons marketers and campaigners should jump on the bandwagon. Read more…

Are QR Codes Dead?

In today’s ever-changing digital world, there comes a time when we have to evaluate what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and if it’s time to adapt a process to better suit our needs — or pack up and move on.

Although it’s been 18 years since QR codes were introduced, it wasn’t until more recently the Quick Response codes shifted from being used primarily for tracking vehicles in manufacturing to being present in our everyday lives, from magazines and billboards, to subway stations, and even condom packaging.

In June 2011, 14 million U.S. smartphone users scanned a QR code. Impressive, right? Not so much when you look at the fact that, at the end of July, 82.2 million Americans owned smartphones. That’s only 17 percent of smartphone users scanning a QR code. But how many actually used QR codes on a regular basis? How many have actually scanned more than once? How many still have the app on their phone that lets them scan the code?

Out of those that still scan repeatedly, only half “sometimes” feel they have received something of value for their efforts. So at the end of the day, what’s the point?

So the big question is: what’s wrong with QR codes? I think it breaks down simply into two main issues. Read more…

6 warning signs that you’re doing social media wrong

Few people have the same definition of “social media.” To some, it is a waste of time or a black hole. Others hear the term and immediately think of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and a host of other platforms.

That needs to change immediately.

The people who “get” social media don’t think about the platform; instead, they think of people and the relationships that can develop there. Social media is not a destination or place to go; it is a way of getting there.

The social aspect of social media is the most important vehicle to drive a return on the time invested. If the social aspect of social media is the car, then community management is the steering wheel.

Here are six simple things to look at—three each on Twitter and on Facebook—to determine whether you are on the right track. Read more…