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Thoughtful Social Media Strategy and Why You Should Avoid Interrupting Your Customers

Thoughtful Social Media Strategy And Why You Should Avoid Interrupting Your Customers

According to a study done at Carnegie Mellon University, interruptive advertising can have a negative impact on a consumer’s impression of a brand as well as their willingness to pay for the brands products. This is an important factor to consider in social media marketing. With the growth in mobile and the expansion of social media networks, consumers have more and more outlets and opportunities to consume information.This is good and bad for brands and retailers. They need to focus on thoughtful social media strategy to continue to attract and engage consumers.


In one respect it gives brands and retailers more mediums through which to reach their customers. However, the flip side of it is customers have more ways to ignore advertising which is commonly known as “banner blindness”.

For many marketers, native advertising on social media appears to be a good solution to the issue of banner blindness. However, the study by Carnegie Mellon raises the question: can blanket native advertising backfire?

In the Carnegie Mellon study “Do Interruptions Pay Off? Effects of Interruptive Ads on Consumers’ Willingness to Pay,” one group of participants were shown ads while playing an online game, and then asked to give a price they would be willing to pay for a coffee mug with the branding of the ad they were shown. The control group was allowed to play the game uninterrupted and then asked the same question.

The results showed, the price participants were willing to pay for the mug dropped when they were interrupted during the game. The study went further, demonstrating interruption can also negatively impact overall brand image. Open ended questions showed participants had more overwhelmingly negative feelings towards the brand responsible for interrupting their game than the control brand that did not interrupt their game.

This study shows us the importance of thoughtful advertising. Social networks provide a great opportunity to reach your target market and tailor your ads to their needs. However, you have to make the ads seamless within the user experience in order to avoid interrupting your customers. The consumer’s use of a social media network should drive the kind of advertising your brand displays.

Consider the following: Facebook is used to connect and stay in touch with friends, Pinterest is used for inspiration, and Twitter is for staying up to date with news and events.

• Facebook provides a great opportunity to connect with loyal customers, people who willingly engage and see your brand as a “friend”.

• Pinterest is a great place for more traditional product advertising, use editorial images of your products to inspire your customer.

• Twitter is a great platform for announcements, including; sales, contests, and events.

Let each social media’s strength, content style and usage drive your advertising strategy to avoid interruption and potentially damaging your brand’s image.

Customer Satisfaction: Social Media Websites Rank Among The Worst

How satisfied are consumers with social media sites? Today, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released its yearly E-Business Report, which takes an in-depth look at user satisfaction with social media, as well as portals and search engines, and news and opinion websites. Overall, e-business websites have seen a 2.9% increase in customer satisfaction since 2013, reaching 73.4 on ACSI’s 100-point scale.

Social Media

The bad news: social media websites rank among the worst-performing companies researched by the ACSI.

However, there’s also good news: they have improved since 2013. Climbing 4.4% to 71, social media outlets are now the fourth lowest-scoring category in the ACSI; consumers are even less satisfied by airlines, subscription TV, and internet service providers.ACSI 1

Facebook and LinkedIn generated higher satisfaction this year, but according to their own users, these platforms are still worst in the industry. However, both platforms generated an 8% increase in user satisfaction, reaching an ACSI score of 67 – LinkedIn’s highest score to date. Twitter reached a record high as well, up 6% reaching a score of 69.

Pinterest has emerged as the new favorite social network for consumers, increasing 6% to an ACSI score of 76. Improved features and search capabilities have launched the site to the top of the social media category for the very first time.

After leading the category for four consecutive years, Wikipedia is the only major site to experience a decrease in user satisfaction, falling 5% for a score of 74 (and now ranking below Pinterest). Though struggling to maintain active contributors, Wikipedia remains as the world’s sixth most-visited website, and continues to overpower most of the industry.

YouTube has increased 3% to 73, matching the average of  the “all other” social media category, which includes Instagram, Reddit, and Tumblr. Google+ has remained the same at 71.

Privacy concerns and an abundance of advertisements are responsible for low user satisfaction in social media, according to ACSI.

Search Engines and Portals

Customer satisfaction with search engines and portals increased 5.3%, reaching a score of 80 – largely because of the world’s most popular search engine, Google, which generated an 8% increase and an ACSI score of 83.

ACIS2User satisfaction for other search engines and portals fall far below Google, however. Large competitors have seen their numbers fall – Bing has fallen 4% to 73, tying MSN (who fell 1%), while Yahoo! dropped 7% to 71 – its lowest score, and third consecutive year of decline. AOL remains in last place declining 1% to 70.

With Google as the leader, search engines have proven to give customers a better overall experience than any other e-business category. Because search engine freshness of content is much better than newspaper websites and social media networks, ads are more tolerated on search engines, according to ACIS.


News and Opinion Websites

User satisfaction with news and opinion websites has increased 1.4% to 74 – led by sources outside of mainstream media. Larger media organizations have registered declines in reader satisfaction, while the total score of smaller internet news sources (including BBC and NPR) has jumped 7% to 77.

For the first time in five years, FOXNews.com readers are not the most satisfied, as the site has fallen 7%, for a score of 76.

USATODAY.com has generated a 4% gain, reaching 76 – tying FOXNEWS.com for the very first time. ABCNEWS.com has fallen to 74, followed by NYTimes.com (73). CNN.com has fallen by 4%, tying TheHuffingtonpost.com at the bottom with 70.

Are you surprised by consumers’ lack of satisfaction with social media websites?

The ACSI E-Business Report (2014) is based off interviews with 6,259 customers of these three categories, chosen and contacted randomly between May 6 and May 29, 2014.

Will Pinterest Go Public?

This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.

Is there a Pinterest IPO in the cards?It’s no secret that Pinterest has been steadily gaining steam in the social sphere for the past year or so. Now the once-budding social “scrapbooking” site looks to be taking the next major step toward Internet superstardom.

That’s right; a hotly-anticipated IPO seems to be just around the corner. Pinterest appears to be following in the footsteps of giants such as Facebook and Twitter, rapidly raising cash in the process (and a $200 million raising round with a $5 billion valuation is nothing to scoff at).

Yet is such a valuation a fair one? Are we putting too much pressure on Pinterest? As we know with Facebook and Twitter, big IPOs come with big expectations. Those expectations don’t always pan out, now do they?

Although we’re naturally inclined to judge as spectators to this vast, social landscape, it may not be fair to compare Pinterest’s IPO to that of Facebook or Twitter quite yet. Yes, Pinterest’s recent success signals a new social giant throwing their hat into the ring when it comes to competing with the “big guns;” however, their IPO and its potential success should not be taken lightly.

Consider Pinterest’s truly unique audience and scope that truly sets it apart from its newfound competitors:

  • Pinterest itself is a social network based around the concept of “product” (albeit perhaps not intentionally)
  • Pinterest’s predominately female user-base opens up new possibilities in terms of marketability and loyalty
  • Pinterest’s potential for ads and revenue is less intrusive and more inviting due to the scope of the site itself

It’s hard to deny Pinterest’s potential in terms of the site’s audience and scope. The fact that Pinterest has worked so hard to find its own identity within the social network may be what sets the site itself and its IPO apart from the crowd.

No Interruptions

While ads are constantly seen as interruptions in the social sphere, Pinterest itself is based around the concept of products and inspirations. Often referred to as a “scrapbooking site,” Pinterest users are constantly looking for new ideas and products to support those ideas. Home décor, recipes, fashion, you name it. These ideas may not always look like dollars and cents to advertisers; however, the concept of being able to instantaneously purchase on the page is most certainly alluring.

What’s really important, though, is that ads (if done correctly) are not disruptive to Pinterest’s user experience. While Mark Zuckerberg was hesitant to ever put ads on Facebook, Pinterest lends itself to seemingly endless ad possibilities. Combined with its pristine search functionality, the site is definitely going in the right direction when it comes to knowing and targeting their users. However, Pinterest must be mindful of how ad-heavy they go as they risk losing the “social” aspect of the web, ultimately becoming a straight-up commerce site.

The Power of the Female Buyer

Pinterest has often been singled out for its female-dominated user base. Consider the buying patterns female shoppers and the fact that, when compared to men, women are

  • more likely to buy products online,
  • more likely to shop and search for deals online,
  • and more likely to share their shopping experience via the social network.

Not only has Pinterest locked onto an active, buying user base; they’ve also built a network of evangelists to continue to advertise the site and its products. It’s a win-win situation for the site as it looks to grow in the wake of its possible IPO.

Apples and Oranges

Comparing social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.) is often like comparing apples and oranges. For example, Facebook’s size and scope is completely different than that of Twitter. They both target a similar broad base of users, but they expect completely different behaviors and patterns from such users in terms of marketing.

Pinterest takes a completely different approach. Whereas Facebook and Twitter are about the “what’s happening,” Pinterest is about ideas and products. Pinterest is a hotbed for commerce and sits somewhere closer to Tumblr on the social spectrum due to its image-heavy sharing nature.

In short, naysayers are ready to judge Pinterest’s IPO based on the shortcomings of Facebook and Twitter; but is that really a fair comparison?

The Bottom Line

As Pinterest appears to be on the verge of going public, it’s easy to make predictions one way or the other. It’s no doubt that future is bright for Pinterest, regardless of how the IPO goes. It’s a rare thing to find such a massive, accessible site that’s carved out such a specific, marketable niche. Time will tell how much this social gem manages to shine.

About the Author

Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Social Media News Ticker: Facebook Acquires Pryte, Instagram 6.0, Vine Comes To Xbox One

Check out this week’s summary of all the latest social media news, including changes and new features for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine:

Facebook launches expanded video ad capabilities

Facebook launches expanded video ad capabilities for brands


  • Facebook acquires mobile data plan firm Pryte – Facebook’s newest acquisition plans involve Pryte, a Finnish company that makes it easier for mobile phone users without wireless data plans to use wireless internet apps; Facebook is acquiring Pryte’s team, while the actual service hadn’t even publicly launched yet (re/code)
  • Facebook video ad tools hold promise for targeted views – Facebook launches expanded video ad capabilities for brands: the ‘video views’ option shows ads to users most likely to watch them, brands can target consumers who’ve watched their content previously, and videos can now include a call-to-action (AdWeek)





Any social media updates that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Social Networking Stats: Active Usage Drops For Facebook and Twitter, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard: Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1.23 billion monthly active users via Facebook
YouTube over 1 billion monthly unique users via YouTube
Twitter: 255 million monthly active users via VentureBeat
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 500 million users via The Next Web
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 230 million registered accounts via VK
LinkedIn: 300 million members via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 343 million monthly active users via GlobalWebIndex
Tumblr: 186 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 200 million users via Instagram
Vine: 40 million registered users via Vine
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: 45 million users via TechCrunch
Pinterest: 70 million users via The Next Web
Reddit: 109 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit
WhatsApp: 500 million users via WhatsApp
Messenger: 200 million users via re/code
SnapChat:  ???? via TechCrunch

Please email marissa@modernmedia.co if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.  

Active Usage Drops For Facebook and Twitter

Which social networks do you think are seeing the most growth? New data from GlobalWebIndex looks at active usage for several platforms, showing a decline for some of the largest platforms, but also huge gains for Instagram and Tumblr.

Here’s the change in active usage for each platform over the last two quarters (six months):

  • both Facebook and YouTube saw active usage drop 6%
  • LinkedIn and Twitter’s active usage dropped 3%
  • Google+’s dropped 1%

However, it wasn’t all bad:

  • active use of Instagram rose 25%
  • Tumblr saw a 22% growth in active usage
  • Pinterest’s active usage grew 7%

Social Platform Active Users - GlobalWebIndex Study

#HashAtIt: Now You Can Search Hashtags Over Multiple Social Platforms

Are hashtags part of your brand’s marketing plan?  Hashtags work on multiple social networks — but until recently there was no easy way to search them on all of these platforms.  Enter #HashAtIt.com; the site bills itself as “the first social media search engine that gives users a way to gather information on any metadata tags (#hashtags) from popular social networks.”

#HashAtIt.com logo

Users can search a single hashtag and collect all the relevant posts and status updates, worldwide, from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram — in realtime. It’s a place for big or small brands to watch how their hashtag campaigns are playing out, and also a way to follow breaking news stories — social networking platforms like Twitter are known for breaking news before major media outlets.

Founder Laurie Paolone spoke about testing #HashAtIt when the story of Paul Walker’s death broke out; the site showed a video of the crash six hours before it aired on a large news media site. “We realized that our platform could give people the results they’re looking for as-it-happens, without any biased censorships,” said Paolone.

The site features customizable #hashtag boards, created and tailored by users. The free service gives users the ability to:

  • craft their own hashtag boards
  • mute the posts they find irrelevant
  • embed their boards on their personal social networks, blogs, or websites
  • see results for each hashtag on all platforms, or on a single platform
HashAtIt Hashtag Search #BringBackOurGirls

The results of a #HashAtIt.com search for #BringBackOurGirls on Instagram

Other hashtag monitoring sites include hashtags.org, which only tracks specific hashtags on Twitter, and #Tagboard, which is the closest competitor to #HashAtIt.com. In general, #Tagboard is focused on collecting posts around a specific hashtag on an ongoing basis, where users pay more to gather more information; #HashAtIt.com is more about hashtag search, with the added benefit of creating a board to keep or share mentions around a certain hashtag.

We’ve listed a few other differences between the two:

  • #HashAtIt.com users can share any of the results from a hashtag search to other social media platforms directly from the post; #Tagboard users can respond to or share a post only within the social platform that the post came from
  • #Tagboard is free for basic use, but then has a variety of pricing for ‘plus,’ ‘pro,’ and ‘enterprise’ levels; #HashAtIt is free for all users
  • #HashAtIt offers an embed code for the #hashtag search board so that users can put it on their own website, blog or article

Given that hashtags are now a mainstream source of conversation on social networks, keeping track of all hashtag mentions in one place is valuable for average users as well as for brands.  How does your brand search for hashtag mentions and follow hashtag campaigns?

Social Media News Ticker: Facebook Launches FB Newswire, Acquires Motion Tracking App Moves

Facebook acquires motion tracking app MovesCheck out this week’s summary of all the latest social media news, including changes and new features for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and Pinterest:





Any social media updates that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Which Social Networks Drive the Most Engaged Referrals?

YouTube drives the most engaged referral trafficYouTube is the “undisputed champion” among social networks in terms of driving referrals, delivering the most traffic and the highest levels of engagement, according to a new study from Shareaholic.  The analysis of average visit duration, pages per visit and bounce rate reveals which of the top eight social media platforms are driving the best referral traffic.

YouTube drives the most engaged referrals, with the lowest average bounce rate (43.19%), the highest pages per visit (2.99) and the longest visit duration (227.82 seconds). Viewers clearly engage longer with video, and are quite receptive to clicking on related content.

Linkedin drives high quality social referralsBoth Google+ and LinkedIn drive the fewest social referrals out of the eight platforms studies, but the visitors they bring in are high quality.  Google+ users spend more than 3 minutes on average examining content, visit 2.45 pages, and have a low bounce rate of 50.63%. LinkedIn users spend an average of 2 minutes and 13 seconds per click, view 2.23 pages and bounce 51.28% of the time. While traffic from these two social networks remains low, engagement is impressive.

Tied in fourth place are Twitter and Facebook, with similar results. Bounce rate is the same for both platforms (56.35%), and while Twitter referrals view 2.15 pages per visit, Facebook users view 2.03 pages. Facebook users stay on site for 127.44 seconds, Twitter users for slightly less (123.10).

As for the remaining three platforms:

  • Pinterest sees a similar bounce rate to Twitter and Facebook, but just 1.71 pages per visit, and about half the average visit duration (64.67 seconds)
  • Reddit users show a high bounce rate (70.16%)
  • StumbleUpon comes in last, with the least engaged referrals: 1.5 pages per visit and just 54.99 seconds on site

How much traffic does your site receive from social media referrals?  How engaged are those visitors with your content?

Social Media Referral Engagement | Shareaholic

The study examined 6 months of data (Sept 2013 – Feb 2014) across Shareaholic’s network of 200,000+ sites reaching more than 250 million unique monthly visitors. Download the report here: Shareaholic’s “Social Referrals That Matter” Report.

Facebook Ranks #1 for Social Commerce, But Only #4 for Average Order Value

Just how much does social media impact e-commerce?  And which social media platforms are driving the most sales? A new study by Shopify looks at top sources of social traffic and sales, as well as average order values and conversion rates. The (not so) big news: Facebook is on top, claiming an average of 85% of all orders on social media and nearly two-thirds of all visits to Shopify stores.

While that isn’t very surprising, here are some highlights from the study that are:

  • Polyvore is generating the highest average order value ($66.75), followed closely by Instagram ($65); they are both ahead of Pinterest ($58.95), Facebook ($55) and Twitter ($46.29)
  • orders from Reddit increased 152% in 2013; LinkedIn orders increased 122%
  • Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media e-commerce traffic – 1.85% 

The Shopify study analyed data from 37 million social media visits that led to 529,000 orders.

Here’s the full infographic from Spotify:

Top platforms in social commerce: Spotify infographic

Social Media News Ticker: Facebook Launches 15-Second Auto-Play Video Ads

Check out this week’s summary of all the latest social media news, including changes and new features for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and WhatsApp:


  • Facebook launches its 15-second, auto-playing video ads – Facebook started testing video ads last fall and now a ‘select group of advertisers’ will be placing the 15-second video ads on the platform; the ads will autoplay without sound, or, if tapped by a user, expand and add volume (TechCrunch)
  • Facebook updates design for Business Pages – last week, Facebook’s desktop version rolled out an updated design for brand pages; the updates are designed to make it easier for brands and businesses to manage their presence on the site (MediaPost)




Any social media updates that we missed?  Let us know in the comments below.