One of the fascinating, and challenging, things about consumer-focused digital planning for clients in different parts of the world is understanding how adoption of different aspects of digital communications technology – from social networks to smartphones – differs from country to country. To help with this, over time I’ve built-up a diverse toolkit of research and data sources and just last month a great new tool was added to this in the shape of the Discover Digital Life study from global research company TNS.
Described as “The largest and most comprehensive study of the global digital consumer, ever.” the study is based on research with almost 50,000 regular online users in 46 markets - and the nice folks at TNS have made a whole chunk of it available free of charge through a great interactive online tool.
I spotted a report in Third Sector, the UK nonprofit sector news weekly, that reminded me of discussions I’ve had recently with several organisations about the challenge of brand reputation management in our ever more online-informed consumer world. The report was about charities asking to be removed from a new online fundraising site called aliveandgiving.com, which launched last month.
Central to this new site’s proposition is that the profile provided for each charity listed also details the % of donated funds spent on the cause – based on data sourced from The Charity Commission for England & Wales. On this basis the site aims to deliver its users the promised comparative data through which they can find charities they can trust.
Straight-away, the potential for mis-representation on the site seems likely to give experienced fundraisers cause for concern...
I’m just catching-up on a bit of an email backlog after spending a few days over in Holland at last week’s 30th Annual International Fundraising Congress, and a headline in one email news bulletin happened to catch my eye… “FACEBOOK IS NOT FOR FUNDRAISING, SAYS FACEBOOK EXEC”
That’s pretty eyecatching – so, naturally, I read on.
In short the article was a summary of the Convention session given by Elmer Sotto, Facebook Canada’s ‘Head of Growth’ – which happens to be one of the sessions I attended. However, I certainly didn’t come away from Elmer's presentation with the message that “Facebook is not for fundraising”.
So why did the author think this was the key take-out? I suspect it has to do with a lack of understanding as to the power of Facebook as a Consideration Building Mechanism as well as the need for fundraisers to think afresh about the actual Giving Mechanisms that we offer Facebookers who come across our cause on the site...
Applications using the ability of smartphones and other mobile devices to pinpoint your precise location at any time have been a key topic for discussion amongst digital marketers over the last year or so, and were also something I covered in my Digital Fundraising Hot Topics Session at this summer’s Institute of Fundraising National Convention here in London last month.
Up to now, a lot of the location-based application chatter has focused on the new breed of specifically designed location-based social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla. However, it was only a matter of time before the global market leader in social networking responded. Hence, last week we saw the launch of Facebook Places – an extension to existing Facebook functionality that will enable smartphone wielding Facebookers to share their location with their Friends, be alerted when Friends are close by, check-in to specific locations, and share details of good places with others in their social network. Click here to read more on givinginadigitalworld.org
A couple of months back I heard about the trials of a great smartphone-based service called Square that allows anyone with an iPhone or Android smartphone to take credit card payments – or donations – simply by registering, downloading an application, and plugging a little square card reader into their phone’s headphone jack.
The great news is that the trials seem to have gone really well, and Square is now available for anyone who wants to take credit card payments – and has an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android Phone. The bad news is that it’s only available in the US, with no current plans to bring the service to Europe. Although the question is being asked quite a bit on the @Square Twitter feed – so here’s hoping they do expand it sometime soon.
Last Thursday I was out at the launch event for the DMA's Digital Tracker Study, a research initiative (backed by online research company FastMAP and email marketing company SilverPop) that aims to provide regular insights into some of the key questions online marketers are asking in relation to email and social media use.
As is always the case with such research, some of the observations just confirm what most good online marketers and fundraisers know already - like the fact that traditional sales promotion techniques (money off or free delivery) work well in email. But I did find some of the insights related to people's use of Spam flags and also the difference between use of mobile devices to access emails and social media sites of real interest. Plus, there are also some great headline stats - like almost two thirds of recipients finding less than one in ten promotional emails of interest (which might explain some of the dismal click through rates many email marketers see).
Each time we see a significant evolution in the way consumers communicate there is always a temptation to jump to the conclusion that the latest method will surely kill-off the previous methods.
As such, following the incredibly rapid adoption of Social Media over the last few years it’s not surprising that people are having the same discussions again – ’surely if everyone is tweeting or facebooking then they’ll no longer be using email?’.
However, it turns-out based on a growing body of research evidence that the rumours of Email’s imminent demise at the hands of Social Networkers are incorrect...
If you’re planning or evaluating any form of social media activity, then it’s worth taking a look at eMarketer’s summary of a recently released research report examining which marketing uses of Facebook and Twitter are working best.
Top of the effectiveness list for consumer-focused marketers using Facebook is ‘Creation of a Facebook application around a brand’. While down at the bottom lies ‘Targeted cost per click ads’.
If Twitter’s more your thing, then there is also a summary of the effectiveness of Twitter tactics…
In response to the growing trend of savvy donors wanting more reassurance that their donations really will make a difference, an interesting new online initiative was launched last month called Philanthropedia.
Philanthropedia is essentially an online charity crowdfunding site – but one with a difference, in that it uses a team of 261 experts specialising in different social causes to evaluate the effectiveness of US non-profits. Their recommendations are then used to define ‘Expert Mutual Funds’ representing those they deem to be the best organisations to support doing work within specific cause areas.