Women Dominate Social Networks

According to a new study from comScore, social networking sites reach a higher percentage of women than men. “Women on the Web: How Women Are Shaping the Internet”, found that 76% of women visit a social networking site compared to 70% of men.

Globally, women demonstrate higher engagement levels with social networking sites than men. Using data from May 2010, comScore reported that although women comprise 48% of total unique visitors to the social networking category, they consume 57% of pages and account for nearly 57% of total minutes spent on these sites.

Women spend significantly more time on social networking sites than men, with women averaging 5.5 hours per month compared to 4 hours for men — this demonstrates women’s strong engagement with social sites.

On average, women spend more time online per month, 25 hours vs. 23 hours for men. But, when it comes to the social Web, there’s an even bigger divergence between the sexes. “Nearly 56 percent of adult women say they use the Internet to stay in touch with people, compared to 46% of adult men,” according to the report. comScore identifies higher activity levels in social categories such as social networking, instant messenger, and e-mail.

Those behaviors equate to women spending an average of 16.3% of their online time per month on social networks, a percentage that continues to rise month-to-month. Men spend just 11.7% of their time on the same activities.

Latin America and North America Display Strongest Social Networking Reach Among Women

Perhaps reflecting cultural differences, the relative importance of social networking varies across countries. However, no matter the location, women are consistently more social on the Web than their male counterparts. The social Web’s influence among women is highest in Latin America, where it reached 94% of females online, and in North America, where 91% engaged. 86% of Europe’s female online population visit a social networking site, while Asia Pacific, where parts of the region still have site restrictions and low broadband penetration, reported a 55% reach.

Social Networking Category Reach by Worldwide Region for Females and Males
May 2010
Total Audience, Age 15+ – Home & Work Locations*
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Social Networking % Reach by Region
Females Males
Worldwide 75.8% 69.7%
Latin America 94.1% 91.9%
North America 91.0% 87.5%
Europe 85.6% 80.6%
Asia Pacific 54.9% 50.7%

Other takeaways from the report:

  • Although men are in the majority across the global Internet, women spend about 8% more time online.
  • Globally, women spend 20% more time on retail sites overall than men. Among the various retail sub-categories, Comparison Shopping and Apparel sites reached the highest percentage of women at 24.8% and 18.7%, respectively, in May 2010.
  • In the U.S., women are more avid online buyers than men, with 12.5% of female Internet users making an online purchase in February 2010, compared to 9.3% of men.
  • Health sites show some of the largest overall differences in reach between female and male, with a nearly 6-point gap between global women and men.
  • In most countries women spend far less time watching online video than men, but women spend a much higher share of their time watching videos on YouTube than men.
  • In both the U.S. and Europe, smartphone usage is dominated by men with both markets experiencing close to a 60/40 split in smartphone adoption between the genders.

Download “Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet“.

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Social Media From A to Z: A Glossary

The social media landscape is changing quickly, and it’s filled with terms that are strange to those who aren’t familiar with it. But never fear! Here’s a quick guide to some of the terms you may encounter. This list will constantly evolve — please add other terms in the comments below and I’ll be happy to incorporate them.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Application Programing Interface (API): An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to to interact with another application. An example of this is the Twitter API.

Atom: Web feeds are used by the blogging community to share recent entries’ headlines, full text, and even attached multimedia files. These providers allow other Web sites to incorporate the blog’s “syndicated” headline or headline-and-short-summary feeds under various usage agreements. Atom and other Web syndication formats like RSS are now used for many purposes, including journalism, marketing, bug-reports, or any other activity involving periodic updates or publications. Atom also provides a standard way to export an entire blog, or parts of it, for backup or for importing into other blogging systems.

Avatar: An Avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks.


BackType: BackType is a social media analytics company that helps companies measure their social engagement. The service began as a blog comment search engine.

Bit.ly: Bit.ly is a popular free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Use it to condense long URLs and make them easier to share on social networks like Twitter.

Blip.TV: Blip.TV is a online video sharing site. It offers both a free and a paid platform for individuals and companies who want to host an online video show.

Blog: Blog is a word that was created from the two words “Web log”. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Blogger: Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog.

Blog Talk Radio: Blog Talk Radio is a free Web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.

BoardReader: BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords only in posts and titles of online forums.

Box.net: Box.net enables users to organize and view all of their content online in a familiar file and folder structure. Possibilities include sharing content with direct links to files and folders, turning any folder into a public Web page in one click, and creating widgets to share files on a company Web page or blog.

Boxee: Boxee is a social video application that enables users to watch online videos on their TVs and computers. Users can share and watch videos from a variety of online sources for free.


Chat: Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but traditionally describes one-to-one communication through a text-based chat client commonly called an instant messaging application.

Collecta: Collecta is a real-time search engine that includes results from from blogs, microblogs, news feeds, and photo sharing services as they are published.

Collective Intelligence: Collective Intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.

Comment: A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer of reaction to a blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of two-way communication on the social Web.

Compete: Compete is a Web-based application that offers users and businesses Web analytics and enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different Web sites over time.

Craigslist: Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users. The reduction of classified advertising in newspapers across the United States has been attributed to Craigslist.

Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, etc.

Crowdsourcing: A combination of the words crowd and outsourcing, it refers to asking a question via social media and collecting answers from your various communities and users. The term has become popular with businesses, authors, and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals


Delicious: Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save Web site addresses publicly and privately online so that they can be accessed from any device connected to the Internet and shared with friends.

Digg: Digg is a social news Web site that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership as well as other visitors.

Disqus Comments: Disqus Comments is a comment system and moderation tool for a Web site or blog. It enables  next-gen community management and social Web integrations to any site on any platform.

DocStoc: DocStoc is an online sharing service for documents. Users can view, upload, share and sell documents.


Eventbrite: Eventbrite provides online event management and ticketing services. EventBrite is integrated with Facebook, so users can also promote their events there to drive more visits to their event page and sell more tickets. The service is free to use if your event is free; if you sell tickets to your event, there is a small fee per ticket.


Facebook: Facebook is a social networking Web site. Users can add people as friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 500 million users.

Flash Mob: A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via social media, viral e-mails, or phone.

Flickr: Flickr is a social network centered around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, and other methods.

Forum: Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dial-up bulletin board system.

Foursquare: Foursquare is a location-based social networking Web site, software for mobile devices, and also a game. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile Web site, text messaging, or a device-specific application — they’re then awarded points and sometimes “badges.”

FriendFeed: FriendFeed is a real-time feed aggregator that consolidates the updates from social media and social networking Web sites, social bookmarking sites, blogs, and micro-blogging sites, as well as any other type of RSS/Atom feed. It’s possible to use this stream of information to create customized feeds to share, as well as originate new posts/discussions/comments with friends.


Google Buzz: Google Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool from Google, designed to integrate into the company’s Web-based e-mail program, Gmail. Users can share links, photos, videos, status messages, and comments organized in “conversations” and visible in the user’s inbox.

Google Documents: Google Documents is a group of Web-based office applications that includes tools for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheet analysis. All documents are stored and edited online, and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in real-time.

Google Wave: Google Wave is a collaboration tool developed by Google as a next-generation solution to e-mail communication. A “wave” is a live, shared space on the Web where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

Gowalla: Gowalla is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close proximity to each other.

Groundswell: Groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. The bestselling book of the same name is based on analysis by Forrester Research, and includes practical, data-based strategies for companies that want to harness the power of social technologies like blogs, social networks, and YouTube.


Hashtag: Because Twitter provided no easy way to group tweets or add extra data, the Twitter community came up with their own way: hashtags. A hashtag is similar to other Web tags — it helps add tweets to a category. Hashtags have the ‘hash’ or ‘pound’ symbol (#) preceding the tag, like so: #socialmedia, #marketing, #hashtag.

hi5: hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It’s a social entertainment destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience online to users around the world.

HootSuite: HootSuite is a Web-based Twitter client for individuals and organizations. With HootSuite, you can manage multiple Twitter profiles, pre-schedule tweets, and view metrics, and teams can collaboratively schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, and other social networks via Web, desktop, and mobile platforms. It helps organizations use the social Web to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience, and distribute targeted messages across multiple channels.


IntenseDebate Comments: IntenseDebate is a third-party commenting system for blogs. Custom integration with your blogging admin panel makes moderation easy. Comment threading, reply-by-email, user accounts and reputations, comment voting, along with Twitter and FriendFeed integrations enrich reader experience.

Instant Messaging: Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time direct text-based communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.


Joomla: Joomla is an open source content management system (CMS) which enables users to build Web sites and online applications. Many aspects, including its ease of use and extensibility, have made Joomla popular.


Kyte: Kyte is an online and mobile video application that provides video hosting and stream for both recorded and live video feeds.


Lifecasting: Lifecasting is a continual broadcast of events in a person’s life through digital media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the Internet and can involvethe use of wearable technology.

Like: A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the “Like” button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.

Link Building: Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) in which Web site owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other Web sites in hopes of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of link building.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users in more than 200 countries.

Lurker: A lurker is a person who reads online discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.


Mashable: Founded in 2005, Mashable is the top source for news in social and digital media, technology, and Web culture. With more than 25 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific news site reporting breaking web news, providing analysis of trends, reviewing new Web sites and services, and offering social media resources and guides.

Mashup: A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new content by combining multiple online content sources.

MySpace: MySpace is a social networking Web site owned by News Corporation. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006, but  it was overtaken by its primary competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.


News Reader: A news reader enables users to aggregate articles from multiple Web sites into one place using RSS or Atom feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information.

Newsvine: Newsvine is a social news site similar to Digg in which users submit and vote for stories to be shared and read by other members of the community.


Orkut: Orkut is a social networking Web site that is owned and operated by Google. It’s named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited Web sites in India and Brazil.


Pandora: Pandora is a social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.

Permalink: A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or Web site.

Podcast: A podcast, or non-streamed webcast, is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

Posterous: Posterous is a blogging and content syndication platform that allows users to post content from any computer or mobile device by sending an e-mail.

PostRank: PostRank monitors and collects social engagement data related to content around the Web. It helps publishers understand which type of content promotes sharing on the social Web.


Qik: Qik is an online video streaming service that lets users to stream video live from their mobile phones to the Web.

Quantcast: Quantcast provides Web site traffic data and demographics. It is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific audiences.


Real-Time Search: Real-time search is the concept of searching for and finding information online as it is produced. Advancements in search technology coupled with the growing use of social media enable online activities to be queried as they occur, whereas a traditional Web search crawls and indexes Web pages periodically and returns results based on relevance to the search query.

Reddit: Reddit is a social news site similar to Digg and Newsvine. It’s built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.

RSS: RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works — such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video — in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “Web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored Web sites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator“, which can be Web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based.


Scribd: Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a Web document for viewing and sharing online.

Second Life: Second Life is an online virtual world. Users are called “residents” and they interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the world.

Seesmic: Seesmic is a social software application site offering Seesmic Desktop, an Adobe Air application that integrates multiple Twitter accounts and your Facebook account and Facebook pages. Seesmic also offers a browser-based client for Twitter, a native Windows desktop client, and clients for mobile phones.

Sentiment: In the context of social media, sentiment refers to the attitude of user comments related to a brand online. There has been an explosion of free and paid social media monitoring tools that measure sentiment, including TweetMeme, HootSuite, and PostRank, to name a few.

SlideShare: SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations, as well as share them on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Skype: Skype is a free program that enables text, audio, and video chats between users. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files with other Skype users. Users can also purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.

Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis, or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.

Social Media Monitoring: Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to social media mentions related to a business or brand.

Social Mention: Social Mention is a free social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the Web into a single stream of information.

StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is a free Web browser extension which acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing Web sites.


Tag Cloud: A tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, typically used to describe the content of Web sites.

Technorati: Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and authority rankings for blogs.

TweetDeck: TweetDeck is an application that connects users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and more.

Tweetup: A Tweetup is an organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter.

Twitter: Twitter is a platform that allows users to share 140-character-long messages publicly. User can “follow” each other as a way of subscribing to each others’ messages. Additionally, users can use the @username command to direct a message towards another Twitter user.

Twitter Search: Twitter Search is a search engine operated by Twitter to search for Twitter messages and users in real time.

Tumblr: Tumblr lets users share content in the form of a blog. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.

TypePad: TypePad is a free and paid blogging platform similar to Blogger. It allows users to host and publish their own blogs.


Unconference: An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees and sponsored presentations.

Ustream: Ustream is the leading live interactive broadcast platform that enables anyone with an Internet connection and a camera to engage their audience in a meaningful, immediate way. Unlike previous webcasting technology, Ustream uses a one-to-many model, which means that the user can broadcast to an audience of unlimited size.


Video Blog: A video blog (or vlog) is a blog the produces regular video content often around the same theme on a daily or weekly basis. An example of a successful video blog is Wine Library TV.

Viddler: Viddler is a popular video sharing site similar to YouTube and Vimeo in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others.

Vimeo: Vimeo is a popular video sharing service in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic and the service does not allow commercial video content.

Viral Marketing: Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes.


Web 2.0: Web 2.0 is commonly associated with Web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the Web. A Web 2.0 site (e.g. Facebook) enables its users to interact with each other as contributors to the site’s content, in contrast to Web sites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information

Web Analytics: Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

Webcast: A webcast is a media file distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. Essentially, webcasting is “broadcasting” over the Internet.

Webinar: A webinar is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet. It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction, such as in a webcast. A webinar can be collaborative and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.

Widget: A widget is an element of a graphical user interface that displays an information arrangement changeable by the user, such as a window or text box. Widgets are used on both Web sites and blogs.

Wiki: A wiki is a Web site that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked Web pages via a Web browser, enabling collaboration between users.

Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a free, Web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 15 million articles (over 3.3 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.

WordPress: WordPress is a content management system and contains blog publishing tools that allow users to host and publish blogs. This blog runs on WordPress and uses the Thesis theme.



Yammer: Yammer is a business communication tool that operates as an internal Twitter-like messaging system for employees within an organization. It provides real-time communication and reduces the need for e-mail.

Yelp: Yelp is a social network and local search Web site that provides users with a platform to review, rate, and discuss local businesses. Over 31 million people access Yelp each month, putting it in the top 150 U.S. Internet websites.

YouTube: YouTube is a video-sharing Web site where users can upload, share, and view videos. It is the largest video sharing site in the world.


Zoho: Zoho is a suite of online Web applications geared towards business productivity and collaboration.

Zooomr: Zooomr is a online photo sharing service similar to Flickr.

Amazing Facebook Facts [Infographic]

Infographics are always great for conveying and interpreting data. Here’s a fantastic Facebook fact sheet from SiteImpulse’s Website Monitoring Blog. It traces the social network’s history and milestones and includes user activity and engagement statistics along with other facts and figures from the company. It incorporates a list the top 10 Facebook countries based on the number of users (the United States is tops with over 111 million, followed by the United Kingdom with 23.5 million), and the top 10 Facebook pages (Texas Hold’Em Poker, anyone?).

Some highlights:

  • 400 million active users
  • 50% check in daily
  • Average user spends 55 minutes per day
  • 35 million update status every day
  • 3 billion photos uploaded each month
  • 5 billion pieces of content shared every day
  • 70% of users are outside the United States

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Google Went “Code Red” to Save Google Buzz

Here’s the story of how panicking just enough may have saved Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter.

Last week, Google launched an add-on to Gmail called Google Buzz. Almost immediately, the world howled with complaints that the product exposed users’ privacy by publishing lists of followers made up of the people a user e-mailed and chatted with most.

This made Google Buzz a danger zone for reporters, cheating spouses, mental health professionals, and anyone else who didn’t want to tell the world who they e-mailed or chatted with most.

But since this early failing, Google employees — specifically VP of product Bradley Horowitz and Buzz product manager Todd Jackson — have done a rousing job answering criticism from users and the media with rapid-fire updates to the product.

It wasn’t easy.

Horowitz and Jackson’s first move was to set up a  “War Room” for Buzz, where engineers and product managers could plot and push immediate changes to the product. Then, on Friday, the team took questions at a company-wide meeting with Google employees. With that feedback, Jackson pushed Buzz into “Code Red” starting on Saturday so that all updates to Buzz code would push as soon as possible.

With the proverbial alarm bells ringing, Buzz team members decided to stay at Google until the product was fixed. A Google spokesperson said, “Some of them [were here] straight through Friday and Saturday nights and through late Sunday, making changes.” A bunch of Googlers actually slept two nights in a row at the Googleplex.

A week after the complaints, Google corrected all the privacy flaws. Back in 2007, it took Facebook a month to figure its way out of the Beacon privacy mess.

Here’s the Google Buzz timeline:

(via Silicon Alley Insider)

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Kids Don’t Hate Twitter Anymore! [Chart]

Remember last year’s obsession about kids hating Twitter?

The site saw growth across all demographics in 2009, but growth among people 24 and younger accelerated faster than older folks in 2009, according to comScore.

Unlike most social networks, Twitter started out being more popular with adults before it caught on with younger users. That changed last year as celebrity tweets caught on and mainstream media started talking about the service more.

At the end of 2009, more than 30% of Twitter’s visitors were under 25, this chart suggests, up from about 20% of its visitors at the end of 2008:

(Via Silicon Alley Insider)

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Advertisers Embrace Facebook, Other Social Networks

Social ad spending will become a higher priority in 2010, with the combination of mobile and social advertising generating more opportunities for advertisers to reach their target markets for branding and engagement. eMarketer forecasts that 2009 ad spending on social networks will surpass $1.2 billion when all expenditures are tallied, a year-over-year increase of almost 4%. And social-media ad spending is anticipated to grow more than 7% next year:


According to Debra Aho Williamson, author of the report Social Network Ad Spending: 2010 Outlook:

As more marketers incorporate social networks in their business, they will no longer look at them as siloed destinations. Instead, they will look to increase the impact of their social network presence by linking it to other marketing initiatives, both online and offline.

So social network advertising is set to intersect with other kinds of advertising. Geotargeting, earned media (the additional unpaid exposure a brand receives when consumers talk about it online), social search, and social ad networks will be pivotal themes next year.

Facebook has become the preferred social network for marketers

Facebook is poised to surpass MySpace in advertising revenue. At 350 million users, Facebook is the premier destination for marketers in the U.S. and in many other countries. In 2010, marketers are expected to spend more than $600 million on Facebook (vs. $385 million for MySpace), accounting for nearly one-fourth of worldwide social-network ad spending — up from 20% in 2009:


Facebook Pages are increasingly becoming an integral part of brand advertising.  They will become even more popular as Facebook introduces the Open Graph API, enabling branded social experiences to occur anywhere on the Web.

Williamson also says,

When companies budget for social media marketing in 2010 and beyond, a substantial portion of their expenses will go toward creating and maintaining a fan page, managing promotions or public relations outreach within a social network, and measuring the impact of a social network presence on brand health and sales.

The viability of social media advertising was reinforced during the holiday shopping season, as many retailers turned to social media destinations like Facebook and Twitter to bolster their efforts to reach potential shoppers. Kohl’s, Best Buy, and Target were among the companies that leveraged social networks for customer engagement. Online ad spending dropped overall in 2009, but the increase in buys on social networks has created opportunities for brands to increase their market share. Ad buys on these sites could account for up to 5.4% of all online advertising.

As advertisers search for new avenues to grab customers’ discretionary income, the shift away from traditional online advertising will continue to accelerate.

What’s your opinion? Do you think Facebook will surpass MySpace? How has MySpace been able to retain its revenue lead for so long? Please leave a comment!

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26 Free Tools for Monitoring Your Brand’s Reputation

Are you listening? Do you know what people are saying about your brand?

If you have customers, odds are they’re talking about you to their coworkers, to their friends, and to anyone else within earshot — including those on social networks. Isn’t it in your company’s best interests to be engaged and  take part in the conversation so you know what’s being said and can respond appropriately?

As brands get going with social media, they find that understanding who is talking about them online, what they are saying, to whom, and where is a great advantage. After auditing your current brand footprint, you’ll be armed with the data you need to start weighing what’s important to your audience about your brand and where you should have a presence.

Build a list of keywords and terms about your brand, customers, company, and market, then use some of these free tools to get a clearer view of what people are saying — with this knowledge in hand, you can begin to really develop a social-media strategy:

  1. Addict-o-matic: Allows you to create a custom-made page to display search results.
  2. Bloglines: A Web-based personal news aggregator that can be used in place of a desktop client.
  3. Blogpulse: A service of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, it analyzes and reports on daily trends in the blogosphere.
  4. BoardTracker: A useful tool for scanning and tracking forums conversations.
  5. FriendFeed Search: Scans all FriendFeed activity.
  6. Google Alerts: Target keywords that are important to your brand and receive streaming or batched reports­.
  7. HowSociable?: A simple way fto begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social Web.
  8. Icerocket: Searches a variety of online services, including Twitter, blogs, videos, and MySpace.
  9. Jodange: Tracking your brand or a product is one thing, but turning that tracking into a measure of consumer sentiment about your brand or product is something else entirely. Jodange’s TOM (Top of Mind) tracks consumer sentiment about your brand or product across the Web.
  10. Keotag: Keyword searches across the Internet landscape.
  11. Facebook Lexicon: What are people talking about on Facebook? Lexicon searches Facebook walls for keywords and provides a snapshot of the chatter volume around those terms. [3/27/13: This service has been discontinued.]
  12. Monitter: Everyone is talking about Twitter, but what are people talking about on Twitter? Beyond the integrated search of Twitter apps like Seesmic and TweetDeck, Monitter provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere.
  13. MonitorThis: Subscribes you to up to 20 different RSS feeds through one stream.
  14. Samepoint: A conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about.
  15. Seesmic: Monitors multiple Twitter accounts and enables keyword searches and tracking.
  16. Surchur: An interactive dashboard covering search engines and most social media sites.
  17. Technorati: Search engine and monitoring tool for user-generated media and blogs. Billing itself as “the leading blog search engine,” Technorati has been helping bloggers and those with their fingers on the blog pulse stay informed for years.
  18. Tinker: Real-time conversations from social media sources like Twitter and Facebook.
  19. Trendrr: Want to know how your brand or product is trending compared with others? Trendrr uses comparison graphing to show relationships and discover trends in real time. Use the free account, or move up to the Enterprise level for more functionality.
  20. Tweetburner: In the world of Twitter, URL shortening is the key to effectively connecting with the public. Tweetburner also lets you track the clicks on those magically shortened links, giving you some hard numbers.
  21. TweetDeck: Not only a great way to manage your Twitter account, but the keyword search means you can see what people are saying about you.
  22. Twendz: Public relations firm Waggener Edstrom’s Twitter-mining tool that monitors and highlights user sentiment in real time.
  23. Twitter Search: Twitter’s very own search tool is a great resource. Can be subscribed to as an RSS feed.
  24. UberVU: Track and engage with user sentiment across FriendFeed, Digg, Picasa, Twitter, and Flickr.
  25. wikiAlarm: Alerts you to when a Wikipedia entry has been changed.
  26. Yahoo! Sideline: A TweetDeck-esque tool from Yahoo. Monitor, search, and engage with the Twittersphere.

Listening and making sense of how your brand lives on the Web is only part of the calculus — the next step is how you leverage that information to engage with your audience.

Are you listening and monitoring your brand online? Have you tried any of these tools?