Millennials are more likely to pass on pay TV services, but most aren’t cutting the cord

Re-posted from eMarketer

Adult millennials came of age in a world replete with media options. It is second nature for them to exercise personal choice and program their own media day—even to see themselves as “co-creators” of their media environment, according to a new eMarketer report, “Millennials’ Media Usage: What’s Distinctive, What’s Not and What Matters Most.” 

The proliferation of digital video has raised the specter of large-scale “cord-cutting” by millennials. The plausible premise is that millennials get so much video online that they see little incentive to pay for cable or satellite service or for premium channels. However, buzz about this topic has gotten ahead of changes that may someday manifest in actual behavior.

Millennials are indeed more likely than their elders to forgo pay TV services, as one would expect of people who have tight budgets and the technological savvy to access tons of free online video. But they have yet to cut those cords en masse. November 2013 polling from Verizon Digital Media Services found 13% of millennials making do without any pay TV service—a higher number than for nonmillennials (9%), but not high in absolute terms.

Still, there is some basis for the perception that millennials want to spend less for TV service. An Altman Vilandrie & Company survey in July 2013 found that 47% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 40% of 25- to 34-year-olds spent less on cable due to the availability of digital video. (One caveat: People sometimes profess a greater frugality than they really practice.)

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Mobile-Exclusive Use Surges Among Young Adults

Re-posted from NAA

The audience engaging with digital content offered by newspaper media reached a new all-time high, totaling 161 million adult unique visitors in March 2014. The count represents a 19% increase from the 135 million unique visitors measured by comScore in April 2013.

Overall, newspaper digital media reached nearly eight in ten (78%) online adults in the U.S. last month.

Young adults, those age 18-24, who use only mobile devices to access newspaper digital content showed the largest increase, rising by 146% in March 2014 from April last year (see table).

The data show that the increased use of mobile devices among all age groups is expanding the newspaper digital audience in a significant way. While the use of desktop or laptops as the only device for newspaper digital content declined for all age groups except for those 55 or older, all ages using mobile in some form grew substantially.

Audience growth has pushed up the net reach of newspaper digital content. In April 2013, 70% of the online adult audience engaged with newspaper digital content. Following a seasonal drop in May and June, the net reach grew to the new peak of 78% in March 2014.

By age, the net reach was highest among those 25-34, at 84%. Both the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups show the identical net reach of 79%, while the reach those age 55 or older was 77%. Among the youngest group, age 18-24, net reach was 71%.

Compared with April, 2013, net reach rose for all age groups, including the youngest adults (see chart). The reach percentage grew by 12 points for the 25-34 group, to 84% from 72%. It increased 10 point to 79% from 69% for the 35-44 group, and 8 points for the 45-54 group, to 79% from 71%. For those 55 and older, reach climbed 7 points to 77% from 70%. The 18-24 age group showed a 5 point gain in net reach, to 71% from 66%.

comScore’s multiplatform measurements — which show combined mobile and desktop, and mobile-exclusive users — launched early last year. These measurements offer an unduplicated count of the total audience, meaning that a visitor is counted once, even when they access content on multiple computers or devices. 

Note: The term mobile-only or mobile-exclusive refers to using only a smartphone or tablet, and not a desktop or laptop computer to access newspaper digital content during the month. Usage of the traditional printed newspaper is not captured in the comScore dataset.

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Consumers Favor Small Businesses Because of Their Customer Focus

Re-posted from e-marketer

US consumers are choosing small businesses because of the personalized experiences they provide compared with larger businesses. According to April 2014 data from AYTM Market Research, personal service was the No. 2 reason US internet users preferred small businesses vs. large companies, cited by 52.7%. This trailed supporting the local economy (56.2%), but it led all other options by at least 23 percentage points. Lower prices did not play a huge role in choosing small businesses. In fact, 61.2% of respondents said they would pay higher prices to support small businesses. 

An August 2013 study by and Toluna found similar results. The factor that US consumers considered the most important when choosing small businesses over other types of businesses was customer service (86% of respondents). Personalized and intimate experiences as well as small businesses’ understanding of customers’ needs were also popular, each cited by 84%. 

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Move Over Facebook and Twitter, It’s Time for Instagram

Re-posted from the International Business Times

The advent of posting updates and tweeting slowly move to the sideline as they give way for instant pictures to take the lead in social networking activities among teens. According to the recent semi-annual survey of Piper Jaffray entitled Taking Stock with Teens, thirty percent (30%) of the respondents now prefer Instagram as their most important social networking site. The site climbed seven notches higher from just twenty-three percent (23%) during the Fall 2013 survey surpassing the previous posts of Facebook andTwitter. In a CNET report, Gene Munster the senior analyst and managing director of Piper Jaffray stated, “We saw Instagram take the mantle for the most preferred social teen site.”

This new lead status of Instagram  with 200 million active users per month comes after Facebook‘s popularity plunged down from forty two percent (42%) in the Fall 2012 report down to just twenty-three percent (23%). In a short span of less than two years, the site now lands on the third spot.

Meanwhile, Twitter which overtook Facebook during the Spring 2013 survey is now a bit down to just twenty-seven (27%) percent is now in the second spot. The survey which covered 7,500 teens from 48 states in the United States just shows that young people easily changed alliance for their social network sites so companies have to strategize in order to keep up with the changing trends. Good thing, Facebook had the foresight and bought Instagram way back in 2012 so even if it’s under a new name, the company still have the technologically-adept generation to their loop. From far behind, Google+ was up by one notch and has now four percent (4%) share from the previous three percent (3%).

Tumblr also increased a bit from four percent (4%) in the previous survey to five percent (5%) in the latest results. Pinterest which plummeted down to one percent (1%) is now back to its plateau at two percent (2%) just like its standing in the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 surveys.

Other social networking sites not anymore specifically mentioned in the survey also rose from two percent (2%) in the previous survey to four percent (4%) just like its fare in the Spring 2013 results.

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The Complete Social Media Spring Cleaning Checklist

When being a consultant for your clients, it’s good to check and see where they are social media wise. Have they posted anything lately? When was the last time they updated their business services and achievementsd? The article below offers a good guide for businesses to keep their social media marketing plan fresh and to keep drawing attention to their business through social media!

Re-posted form Search Engine Watch

It’s that time of year again. The snow and ice are thawing in most places, and the greenery is returning. It’s a time of new beginnings. A fresh start.

Use this seasonal motivation to get organized and bring some order to your brands’ social media.

Social media is quickly evolving ecosystem, and throughout the year, most community managers are just looking to keep pace with a steady flow of posts, tweets, pins, pics, and videos. But, too often, we focus on the message and not necessarily the routine maintenance – it’s like filling a car up with gas but never getting the oil changed or the tires rotated.

Armed with this social spring cleaning checklist, marketers can give their social profiles a deep cleaning and enter this new season with a tuned-up presence and strategy.

1. Revisit Goals and Assess Performance

An entire social media evaluation can seem like a daunting task. It’s best to start at the basics with your goals. Think about social media in the big picture and determine what your organization is trying to accomplish.

Have the goals changed since the previous year? Does the social strategy reflect the current business plans?

Take a look at your analytics and be able to summarize growth, performance, engagement, and audience demographics by channel. In the end, your social plan should support the overall brand and objectives of the organization.

After assessing the full scope, dive into individual channels and understand the role of each through a comprehensive review of content and performance.

2. Audit Current Accounts

If you don’t have a master list of all your social media profiles, now’s the time to start one. Go through the list and log your last activity.

Are there any channels that have gone dormant? If so, it’s time to trim the fat and focus on the accounts where you plan to dedicate time and energy.

Often times, as new channels appear, brands will land-grab to ensure they stake their claim on their name and not put much thought into the actual purpose of that profile. Make the decision to either shut down inactive accounts or develop a plan to revive your presence.

With your accounts all accounted for, it’s time to review and optimize several key profile components:

Profile Descriptions

Social media profiles are an extension of a company’s brand, so ensure consistent messaging across profiles.

The “About Me” section of a profile often gets neglected, so remember to update it with the most recent company information.

Use your company’s boilerplate as a guide to filling out profile descriptions and work in keywords to drive an aligned message.

Know the fields and character limits you have to work with and adapt the message to fit the platform as needed.

Spend the time filling out the complete profile: link your website, add stores locations and contact information, and list links to your other profiles.

Images and Graphics 

Social channels are constantly making updates to their platforms, and photos and images have been a big area for change. Social networks are getting onboard with bigger images dimensions to drive more visual appeal and consumer engagement.

When you’re checking your brand’s profile picture/avatar, cover photos, and background images, you’ll want to make sure you’re not just using the most current logo but that your eye-popping images fit the optimal dimensions.

Here are just a few examples of sizes recommended by social networks:

851 x 315 pixels (px) for Facebook cover photos,

1,252 x 626 px upload for Twitter header photos,

2,560 x 1,440 px for YouTube Channel art.

Do your homework and know your pixel parameters.

Fans and Followers

Businesses accumulate many social connections throughout the year. Go through your lists on outlets like Twitter and Google+ and connect with engaged users. Research thought leaders and influencers in your industry and follow them. Clean out the clutter too and remove any inactive profiles – check out some toolsthat can help you automate and manage Twitter followers, for example.

Not all networks allow brands to “follow” fans. On Facebook, consider liking other relevant pages (ie, other companies/divisions that might fall under your parent company, partners you work with, or influential spokespeople) and adding “Pages to Watch” – a way to track competitors and compare performance.

3.) Explore New Options

Once you’ve updated your current profiles, its time to evaluate whether you want to invest in new channels. Take your visuals to the next level with Pinterest, Vine, or Instagram, and consider contributing to conversation on Quora.

Paty attention to up and comers, like Whisper and Secret, which made a lot of noise at SXSW. While no formal opportunities are available to marketeres on these apps just yet, keep an eye out. Marketers don’t need to jump on every social opportunity available in the market, but they should be aware and select to explore the outlets that make sense for their brand.

Beyond the new, check in and see if you’re missing out on any current network features or updates. Did you know that LinkedIn is sunsetting its “Products and Services Page” for Company Pages on April 14 and that Showcase Pages are a good alternative option?

Finally, take some steps to ensure your audience is connecting with you (and you’re connecting with them!):

Implement social sharing buttons on your website and blog; if you already have them, see how they are performing and optimize them if necessary.

Test messages across platforms and understand what content people are responding to.

Boost your credibility with a verified account.

4. Make Maintenance Part of the Regular Routine

Instead of a once-a-year effort, try spending a few hours every couple of months to some do some social housekeeping. Taking the time to check-in on social will pay off in the long run by creating an engaging environment for current fans and followers and making a strong impression on new, potential customers.

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Older Adults and Technology Use

Re-posted from Pew Research

America’s seniors have historically been late adopters to the world of technology compared to their younger compatriots, but their movement into digital life continues to deepen, according to newly released data from the Pew Research Center. In this report, we take advantage of a particularly large survey to conduct a unique exploration not only of technology use between Americans ages 65 or older and the rest of the population, but within the senior population as well.

Two different groups of older Americans emerge. The first group (which leans toward younger, more highly educated, or more affluent seniors) has relatively substantial technology assets, and also has a positive view toward the benefits of online platforms. The other (which tends to be older and less affluent, often with significant challenges with health or disability) is largely disconnected from the world of digital tools and services, both physically and psychologically.

As the internet plays an increasingly central role in connecting Americans of all ages to news and information, government services, health resources, and opportunities for social support, these divisions are noteworthy—particularly for the many organizations and individual caregivers who serve the older adult population. Six in ten seniors now go online, and just under half are broadband adopters. 

Among the key findings of this research: Six in ten seniors now go online, and just under half are broadband adopters.

In April 2012 the Pew Research Center found for the first time that more than half of older adults (defined as those ages 65 or older) were internet users. Today, 59% of seniors report they go online—a six-percentage point increase in the course of a year—and 47% say they have a high-speed broadband connection at home. In addition, 77% of older adults have a cell phone, up from 69% in April 2012.

But despite these gains, seniors continue to lag behind younger Americans when it comes to tech adoption. And many seniors remain largely unattached from online and mobile life—41% do not use the internet at all, 53% do not have broadband access at home, and 23% do not use cell phones.

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Older Adults and Technology Use