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  • 13 Jul 2018 11:43 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)
    by Kimberly Surico | Jul 13, 2018 | Sentiment Analysis

    Summer is in full gear and the folks over at NETBASE analyzed 36 million social posts to discover the flavors of ice cream the US likes best.  That's a lot of data!  

    The United States of Ice Cream – An Infographic by NetBase

  • 5 Jul 2018 4:43 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Great article from Debbie Farese on conducting research. 

    Debbie Farese


    Today's buyers hold all of the power when making a purchasing decision. You're also likely aware that they're doing some of their research online.

    But have you really adapted your marketing plan to match the way today's customers shop and buy?

    Consider three recent statistics about modern buyer behavior:

    • 80% of Instagram users currently follow a business account, according to 2017 data from Instagram.
    • 75% of smartphone owners turn to a search engine first to address immediate needs, according to 2018 data from Google.
    • 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from a brand's emails because the brand was sending too many, according to 2016 data from HubSpot.

    What's a marketer to do to make sure your buyers find you early and often? Go where they're going.

    That might sound obvious, but how deeply do you understand exactly where your buyers are doing their research and what is influencing their decisions? That is where market research comes into play.

    Whether you're a newbie or experienced with market research, this guide will give you a blueprint for conducting a thorough study of your product, target audience, and how you fare in your industry.

    1. Engage Your Target Audience
    2. Prepare Your Research Questions
    3. List Your Primary Competitors
    4. Summarize Your Findings

    There are two main types of market research that businesses conduct to collect the most actionable information on their products: primary research and secondary research.

    • Primary research is the pursuit of firsthand information on your market and its customers. You can use focus groups, online surveys, phone interviews, and more to gather fresh details on the challenges your buyers face and the brand awareness behind your company. Primary research is useful when segmenting your market and establishing your buyer personas.
    • Secondary research is all the data and public records you have at your disposal to draw conclusions from. This includes trend reports, market statistics, industry content, and sales data you already have on your business. Secondary research is particularly useful for analyzing your competitors.

    Primary Research

    1. Define Your Buyer Persona

    Before you dive into how customers in your industry make buying decisions, you must first understand who they are. This is where buyer personas come in handy.

    Buyer personas -- sometimes referred to as marketing personas -- are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you visualize your audience, streamline your communications, and inform your strategy. Some key characteristics you should be keen on including in your buyer persona are:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Job title(s)
    • Job titles
    • Family size
    • Income
    • Major challenges

    The idea is ultimately to use this persona as a guideline for when you reach and learn about actual customers in your industry (you'll do this in the steps below).

    To get started with creating your personas, check out these free templates, as well as this helpful tool. These resources are designed to help you organize your audience segments, collect the right information, select the right format, and so on.

    You may find that your business lends itself to more than one persona -- that's fine! You just need to be sure that you're being thoughtful about the specific persona you are optimizing for when planning content and campaigns.

    2. Engage Your Target Audience

    Now that you know who your buyer personas are, you'll need to find a representative sample of your target customers to understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.

    These should be folks who recently made a purchase (or purposefully decided not to make one), and you can meet with them in a number of ways:

    • In-person via a focus group
    • Administering an online survey
    • Individual phone interviews

    We've developed a few guidelines and tips that'll help you get the right participants for your research. Let's walk through them.

    Choosing Which Buyers to Survey

    Start with the characteristics that apply to your buyer persona. This will vary for every organization, but here are some additional guidelines that will apply to just about any scenario:

    • Shoot for 10 participants per buyer persona. We recommend focusing on one persona, but if you feel it's necessary to research multiple personas, be sure to recruit a separate sample group for each one.
    • Select people who have recently interacted with you. You may want to focus on folks that have completed an evaluation within the past six months -- or up to a year if you have a longer sales cycle or niche market. You'll be asking very detailed questions, so it's important that their experience is fresh.
    • Aim for a mix of participants. You want to recruit people who have purchased your product, folks who purchased a competitor's product, and a few who decided not to purchase anything at all. While your own customers will be the easiest to find and recruit, sourcing information from others will help you develop a balanced view.
    How to Engage These Buyers

    Market research firms have panels of people they can pull from when they want to conduct a study. The trouble is, most individual marketers don't have that luxury -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the time you'll spend recruiting exclusively for your study will often lead to better participants.

    Here's a simple recruiting process to guide your efforts:

    1. Pull a list of customers who made a recent purchase. As we mentioned before, this is usually the easiest set of buyers to recruit. If you're using a CRM system, you can run a report of deals that closed within the past six months and filter it for the characteristics you're looking for. Otherwise, you can work with your sales team to get a list of appropriate accounts from them.
    2. Pull a list of customers who were in an active evaluation, but didn't make a purchase. You should get a mix of buyers who either purchased from a competitor or decided not to make a purchase. Again, you can get this list from your CRM or from whatever system your Sales team uses to track deals.
    3. Call for participants on social media. Try reaching out to the folks that follow you on social media, but decided not to buy from you. There's a chance that some of them would be willing to talk to you and tell you why they ultimately decided not to buy your product.
    4. Leverage your own network. Get the word out to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections that you're conducting a study. Even if your direct connections don't qualify, some of them will likely have a coworker, friend, or family member who does.
    5. Choose an incentive. Time is precious, so you'll need to think about how you will motivate someone to spend 30-45 minutes on you and your study. On a tight budget? You can reward participants for free by giving them exclusive access to content. Another option? Send a simple handwritten 'thank you' note once the study is complete.

    3. Prepare Your Research Questions

    The best way to make sure you get the most out of your conversations is to be prepared. You should always create a discussion guide -- whether it's for a focus group, online survey, or a phone interview -- to make sure you cover all of the top-of-mind questions and use your time wisely.

    (Note: This is not intended to be a script. The discussions should be natural and conversational, so we encourage you to go out of order or probe into certain areas as you see fit.)

    Your discussion guide should be in an outline format, with a time allotment and open-ended questions allotted for each section.

    Wait, all open-ended questions?

    Yes -- this is a golden rule of market research. You never want to "lead the witness" by asking yes/no questions, as that puts you at risk of unintentionally swaying their thoughts by leading with your own hypothesis. Asking open-ended questions also helps you avoid those painful one-word answers.

    Here's a general outline for a 30-minute survey of one B2B buyer. You can use these as talking points for an in-person interview, or as questions posed on a digital form to administer as a survey to your target customers.

    Background Information (5 Minutes)

    Ask the buyer to give you a little background information (their title, how long they've been with the company, and so on). Then, ask a fun/easy question to warm things up (first concert attended, favorite restaurant in town, last vacation, etc.).

    Remember, you want to get to know your buyers in pretty specific ways. You might be able to capture basic information such as age, location, and job title from your contact list, there are some personal and professional challenges you can really only learn by asking. Here are some other key background questions to ask your target audience:

    • Describe to me how your work team is structured.
    • Tell me about your personal job responsibilities.
    • What are the team's goals and how do you measure them?
    • What has been your biggest challenge in the past year?

    Now, make a transition to acknowledge the specific purchase or interaction they made that led to you including them in the study. The next three stages of the buyer's journey will focus specifically on that purchase.

    Awareness (5 Minutes)

    Here, you want to understand how they first realized they had a problem that needed to be solved without getting into whether or not they knew about your brand yet.

    • Think back to when you first realized you needed a [name the product/service category, but not yours specifically]. What challenges were you facing at the time?
    • How did you know that something in this category could help you?
    • How familiar were you with different options on the market?
    Consideration (10 Minutes)

    Now you want to get very specific about how and where the buyer researched potential solutions. Plan to interject to ask for more details.

    • What was the first thing you did to research potential solutions? How helpful was this source?
    • Where did you go to find more information?

    If they don't come up organically, ask about search engines, websites visited, people consulted, and so on. Probe, as appropriate, with some of the following questions:

    • How did you find that source?
    • How did you use vendor websites?
    • What words specifically did you search on Google?
    • How helpful was it? How could it be better?
    • Who provided the most (and least) helpful information? What did that look like?
    • Tell me about your experiences with the sales people from each vendor.
    Decision (10 Minutes)
    • Which of the sources you described above was the most influential in driving your decision?
    • What, if any, criteria did you establish to compare the alternatives?
    • What vendors made it to the short list and what were the pros/cons of each?
    • Who else was involved in the final decision? What role did each of these people play?
    • What factors ultimately influenced your final purchasing decision?

    Here, you want to wrap up and understand what could have been better for the buyer.

    • Ask them what their ideal buying process would look like. How would it differ from what they experienced?
    • Allow time for further questions on their end.
    • Don't forget to thank them for their time and confirm their address to send a thank-you note or incentive.

    Secondary Research

    4. List Your Primary Competitors

    Understanding your competitors begins your secondary market research. But keep in mind competition isn't always as simple as Company X versus Company Y.

    Sometimes, a division of a company might compete with your main product or service, even though that company's brand might put more effort in another area. Apple is known for its laptops and mobile devices, for example, but Apple Music competes with Spotify -- which doesn't sell hardware (yet) -- over its music streaming service.

    From a content standpoint, you might compete with a blog, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors -- even though their products don't overlap with yours at all. A toothpaste developer, for example, might compete with magazines like or Prevention on certain blog topics related to nutrition, even though these magazines don't actually sell oral care products.

    Identifying Industry Competitors

    To identify competitors whose products or services overlap with yours, determine which industry or industries you're pursuing. Start high-level, using terms like education, construction, media & entertainment, food service, healthcare, retail, financial services, telecommunications, agriculture, etc.

    The list goes on, but find an industry term that you identify with, and use it to create a list of companies that also belong to this industry. You can build your list the following ways:

    • Review your industry quadrant on G2 Crowd. In certain industries, this is your best first step in secondary market research. G2 Crowd aggregates user ratings and social data to create "quadrants," where you can see companies plotted as contenders, leaders, niche, and high performers in their respective industries. G2 Crowd specializes in digital content, IT services, HR, ecommerce, and related business services.
    • Download a market report. Companies like Forrester and Gartner offer both free and gated market forecasts every year on the vendors who are leading their industry. On Forrester's website, for example, you can select "Latest Research" from the navigation bar and browse Forrester's latest material using a variety of criteria to narrow your search. These reports are good assets to have saved on your computer.
    • Search using social media. Believe it or not, social networks make great company directories if you use the search bar correctly. On LinkedIn, for example, select the search bar and enter the name of the industry you're pursuing. Then, under "More," select "Companies" to narrow your results to just the businesses that include this or a similar industry term on their LinkedIn profile.
    Identifying Content Competitors

    Search engines are your best friends in this area of secondary market research. To find the online publications with which you compete, take the overarching industry term you identified in the section above, and come up with a handful of more specific industry terms your company identifies with.

    A catering business, for example, might generally be a "food service" company, but also consider itself a vendor in "event catering," "cake catering," "baked goods," and more.

    Once you have this list, do the following:

    • Google it. Don't underestimate the value in seeing which websites come up when you run a search on Google for the industry terms that describe your company. You might find a mix of product developers, blogs, magazines, and more.
    • Compare your search results against your buyer persona.Remember the buyer persona you created during the primary research stage, earlier in this article? Use it to examine how likely a publication you found through Google could steal website traffic from you. If the content the website publishes seems like the stuff your buyer persona would want to see, it's a potential competitor, and should be added to your list of competitors.

    After a series of similar Google searches for the industry terms you identify with, look for repetition in the website domains that have come up. Examine the first two or three results pages for each search you conducted. These websites are clearly respected for the content they create in your industry, and should be watched carefully as you build your own library of videos, reports, web pages, and blog posts.

    5. Summarize Your Findings

    Feeling overwhelmed by the notes you took? We suggest looking for common themes that will help you tell a story and create a list of action items.

    To make the process easier, try using your favorite presentation software to make a report, as it will make it easy to add in quotes, diagrams, or call clips. Feel free to add your own flair, but the following outline should help you craft a clear summary:

    • Background. Your goals and why you conducted this study.
    • Participants. Who you talked to. A table works well so you can break groups down by persona and customer/prospect.
    • Executive Summary. What were the most interesting things you learned? What do you plan to do about it?
    • Awareness. Describe the common triggers that lead someone to enter into an evaluation. Note: Quotes can be very powerful.
    • Consideration. Provide the main themes you uncovered, as well as the detailed sources buyers use when conducting their evaluation.
    • Decision. Paint the picture of how a decision is really made by including the people at the center of influence and any product features or information that can make or break a deal.
    • Action Plan. Your analysis probably uncovered a few campaigns you can run to get your brand in front of buyers earlier and/or more effectively. Provide your list of priorities, a timeline, and the impact it will have on your business.

    Conducting market research can be a very eye-opening experience. Even if you think you know your buyers pretty well, completing the study will likely uncover new channels and messaging tips to help improve your interactions.

    Not to mention, you'll be able to add "market research" as a skill to your resume.

  • 28 Jun 2018 5:08 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Great Article from Forbes.Com On Emoji Research

    Linguists and data scientists see a new way to study language and communication in our little digital ideograms.


    TWO YEARS AGO, Sanjaya Wijeratne—a computer science PhD student at Wright State University—noticed something odd in his research. He was studying the communication of gang members on Twitter. Among the grandstanding about drugs and money, he found gang members repeatedly dropping the ⛽ emoji in their tweets.

    Wijeratne had been working on separate research relating to word-sense disambiguation, a field of computational linguistics that looks at how words take on multiple meanings. The use of ⛽ jumped out as a brand new problem. “They were using the gas pump emoji to refer to marijuana,” says Wijeratne. “As soon as I saw this new meaning associated with the emoji, I thought, what about emoji-sense disambiguation?”

    That moment caused Wijeratne to redirected his PhD research toward emoji. This week, he put together the first interdisciplinary academic conference on emoji in research.

    At Stanford University this week, a collection of linguists, data scientists, computer researchers, and emoji enthusiasts gathered for the International Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media, itself a smaller piece of the AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. They brought with them research on how emoji are changing the way we communicate online, how gender and political affiliation are reproduced online through emoji, and the challenges emoji pose for natural-language processing in computers. The assembled academics also debated basic questions about the nature of emoji: Like, if emoji is something akin to a language, why can’t anyone agree on what individual emoji mean?

    Emoji, which have grown from an original set of 176 characters to a collection of over 3,000 unique icons, present both opportunities and challenges to the academics who study them. Most agree that the icons are not quite a language—the emoji vocabulary is made up almost entirely of nouns, and there’s no real grammar or syntax to govern their use—but their influence on internet communication is massive. By 2015, half of all comments on Instagram included an emoji. On Messenger, Facebook’s messaging app, over 5 billion emoji are sent and received every day. From an academic point of view, that presents a wealth of data to understand communication, behavior, and language online.

    But the academic research on emoji has, until recently, been limited. Earlier gatherings like EmojiCon, which will have its second conference this summer, have brought emoji conversations to the mainstream. But that event—a “celebration of all things emoji”—courts a popular audience, and feels less like a formal conference and more like a party made for Instagram. This week's Workshop on Emoji Understanding, on the other hand, brought the focus squarely back into academia. The day-long event included a series of paper presentations that privileged data sets and citations over emoji-shaped balloons, and asked more questions than it could answer.

    Papers presented at the conference highlighted emoji as markers of solidarity during crisis (think: “Je suis Paris ”) or as ways to understand differences across gender or political ideologies (women use emoji more than men, but conservative men use way fewer emoji than liberal men). Others discussed the potential to decode emoji with machine learning, and the difficulties in teaching computers to recognize the multiple meanings of emoji in natural-language processing. A panel discussion raised questions about the way the emoji lexicon is developed, as well as the ways emoji can be misinterpreted across cultures. (The does not mean the same thing in English as it does in American Sign Language, nor does it mean the same thing to white supremacists.)

    Tyler Schnoebelen, who gave the keynote speech on Monday, says conversations about emoji have been too often painted with a broad brush. There’s the utopian vision: emoji as a "universal language," the great democratizer and harbinger of communication across class, culture, and geography. And then there’s the doomsday vision: emoji as the destruction of language, a political tool, a new way to send violent threats. The nuance often gets lost in between. We have hardly any research to tell us who uses emoji, when, why, and how that use has changed over time. We know even less about what emoji can reveal in disaster scenarios, campaigns, or educational settings; even linguists, who have looked at emoticons and other internet-born languages for decades, don't have a consensus on what emoji mean for the future of language.

    Now, researchers are beginning to turn more seriously toward those research questions. On Monday, linguist Gretchen Mcculloch presented a theory of emoji as beat gestures—the equivalent of gesticulating to add emphasis—rather than a language in themselves. "Letters let us write words, emoji let us write gestures," she says. Eric Goldman, a legal scholar at Santa Clara University's School of Law, discussed a forthcoming paper on emoji and the law, which highlights the potential for emoji to create misunderstanding in legal contexts—including high profile cases, like the Silk Road case.

    Other scholars are looking for ways to incorporate emoji into preexisting research. “We do a lot of social media research: depression on social media, harassment on social media, the opioid crisis on social media,” says Amit Sheth, a computer scientist at Wright State University and co-organizer of the conference. “In all of those problems, we also see significant use of emoji. If you were to only study the text, you’d be missing out on a lot of information.”

    As the conference wrapped up, researchers from institutions in the United States, Spain, India, and Germany shook hands and traded email addresses. That, Wijeratne says, is the point of the event: not to answer questions about the role of emoji in our world, but to connect researchers from around the world and spark ideas for future studies.

  • 20 Jun 2018 1:21 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Great article with some very interesting fresh stats! 

    social media listening

    By Cydney HatchMarketingNewsSocial Media

    Social media marketing is not a random whirlwind of people coming and going without a trace—remarking alone is a testament of that! Ha!

    Actually, social media marketing is a highly tracked place full of analytics, statistics, behaviors and trends! Everything on the internet is tracked from optimal times of engagement, likes and reactions, click through rates, demographics to even referral traffic!

    There are so many statistics to keep up on, many of which marketers are missing out on. Although social media is always evolving, social media stats can be useful in any marketing strategy!

    Why Social Media Statistics Matter

    For example, 2017 has been an interesting year as attention spans have decreased to 8 seconds for most social media users. Knowing the change in attention spans can help marketers tighten their videos and overall presentations.

    Each day the number of social media users are increasing so why miss out on information you need to reach them?

    Being able to create content that reaches those numbers in 2018 will matter to your business!

    2018: a new year, a new you, and a new opportunity to develop or improve your online marketing strategies using social media marketing stats! Make the most out of your social media marketing with the numbers below:

    2018: Social Media Trends to Consider

    Helpful numbers to keep in consideration: The world population is 7.6 billion and the internet has 4.1 billion users.

    General Social Media

    • Close to half the world’s population (3.03 billion people) are on some type of social media.
    • 64% of online shoppers say that a video on social media helped them decide on a product to buy.
    • Only 43% of online stores receive significant traffic from their social media pages.
    • Acknowledgment is key: 77% of Twitter users appreciate a brand more when their tweet is responded to. It takes about 10 hours on average for businesses to respond to a tweet, even though customers want a response within four hours.
    • Content marketing is a top priority of B2B businesses after brand building and social media engagement.
    • 59% of adults between 18 and 29 are using Instagram.
    • The average person spends about 20 minutes on Facebook or one in every six minutes a person will spend online.
    • 1.57 billion YouTube users watch about 5 billion videos on average every single day. Of the 2.1 billion total accounts on Facebook, 270 million profiles are fake.
    • 86% of women will look at social media before deciding to make a purchase.
    • People are accessing 69% of their media on their smartphones.
    • 89% of people on smartphones are using apps, while only 11% are using standard websites. Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the most popular app at 19% (measured by time spent).
    • Pinterest is number one for mobile social media, with 64% of referral traffic being driven by smartphones and tablets.
    • 57% of all mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive.
    • 40% of all mobile users are searching for a local business or interest.
    • Mobile websites that load in 5 seconds or less will end in a viewing session that’s 70% longer than their slower counterparts.
    • 92% of American teens accessed the internet on a daily basis, where 56% claim to connect several times a day, and 24% are connected almost constantly to the internet.


    • Total Number of Monthly Active Instagram Users: 800 million
    • Total Number of Daily Active Instagram Users: 500 million
    • Instagram Stories Daily Active Users: 300 million
    • Number of Photos Shared to Date: 40 billion
    • Number of Businesses on Instagram: 25 million
    • Number of Instagram Likes per day: 4.2 billion
    • Number of Photos uploaded per day: 95 million, up from 70 million last year
    • 68% of Instagram users are Females.
    • 80% of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S.
    • 77.6 million Instagram users are from US.
    • Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of men.
    • 32% of all Internet users are on Instagram.
    • 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use Instagram
    • 38% of female internet users use Instagram and 26% of male internet users use Instagram
    • 17% of teens say Instagram is the most important social media site (up from 12% in 2012)
    • Instagram is expected to generate about $1.5 billion in mobile advertising sales this year and $5 billion in 2018.
    • More than 40 Billion photos have been uploaded to Instagram so far.
    • 200 million Instagrammers actively visit the profile of a business every day
    • Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement.
    • Brazil ranked second in female user share, the country is home to the largest total Instagram user base in Latin America and second worldwide.
    • When Instagram introduced videos, 5 million videos were uploaded in the first 24 hours.
    • Instagram videos get 2 times the engagement of photos that any other social media platform.
    • The most popular hashtags on Instagram are #Love, #Instagood, #Me, #Cute, and #Follow.
    • Pizza is the most Instagrammed food globally, followed by Sushi.


    • Total Number of Monthly Active Users: 2.072 billion
    • Total Number of Mobile Monthly Active Users: 1.66 billion
    • Total Number of Desktop Daily Active Users: 1.368 billion
    • Total number of Mobile Daily Active Users: 1.57 billion
    • Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male.
    • Average Facebook user has 155 “friends”.
    • 56% of online Seniors aged 65+ are on Facebook and 63% are between age 50-64.
    • 87% of online users of age 18-29 are on Facebook.
    • 74% college graduates are on Facebook.
    • 72% of online users of income more than $75K are on Facebook.
    • 82 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds online in the U.S. use Facebook.
    • 79 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds online in the U.S. use Facebook.
    • 56 percent of U.S. online users ages 65 and up use Facebook.
    • More than 40 million small businesses have active pages
    • More than 83% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada the number has grown from 75% in previous year which goes on to show the increased growth in rest of the world.
    • Percent of 18-34 year old who check Facebook when they wake up is 48%.


    • Total Number of Monthly Active Twitter Users: 330 million
    • Total Number of Tweets sent per Day:500 million
    • Percentage of Twitter users on Mobile: 80%
    • Number of Twitter Daily Active Users: 100 million
    • 24% of all internet male users use Twitter, whereas 21% of all internet female users use Twitter.
    • 79% of Twitter accounts are based outside the United States
    • There are over 67 million Twitter users in US
    • 37% of Twitter users are between ages of 18 and 29, 25% users are 30-49 years old.
    • 56% of Twitter users $50,000 and more in year.
    • The top three countries by user count outside the U.S. are Brazil (27.7 million users), Japan (25.9 million), and Mexico (23.5 million).
    • Total ad engagements were up 91% year-over-year.
    • Twitter can handle 18 quintillion user accounts.
    • More than 100 million tweets contained GIFs in 2015.
    • Saudi Arabia has the highest percent of internet users who are active on Twitter.
    • Number of Twitter timeline views in 2014 is 200 billion.
    • 83% of 193 UN member countries have Twitter presence.
    • Twitter’s revenue per employee is $488,913.


    • Total Number of Monthly Active Pinterest Users: 175 million (source)
    • Number of Pinterest Users from the US: 75 million
    • Number of Pinterest Users from Outside US: 100 million
    • Total Number of Pinterest Pins: 50 billion+
    • Total Number of Pinterest Boards: 1 billion+
    • Total Number of Pinterest Users who save Shopping Pins on Boards Daily: 2 million
    • 81% of Pinterest users are actually Females.
    • 40% of New Signups are Men; 60% New Signups are Women.
    • Men account for only 7% of total pins on Pinterest.
    • Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
    • Median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however majority of active pinners are below 40.
    • Half of Pinterest users is $50K or greater per year, with 10 percent of Pinteresting households making greater than $125K.
    • 30% of all US social media users are Pinterest users.
    • 60% of Pinterest users are from US.
    • 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.
    • 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline.
    • Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest.
    • Pinterest said 80% of its users access Pinterest through a mobile device.
    • 93% of active pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases and 87% said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest.
    • Two-thirds of pins represent brands and products.
    • Food & Drink & Technology are the most popular categories for men.


    • Total Number of LinkedIn Users: 500 million
    • Total Number of Monthly Active LinkedIn Users: 250 million
    • Total Number of LinkedIn Users from US: 133 million
    • Percentage of users that use LinkedIn Daily: 40%
    • Number of New LinkedIn New Members per Second: 2
    • 70% of LinkedIn users are from Outside of US.
    • 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn.
    • There are 57% of male users and 44% female users on LinkedIn.
    • After US, India, Brazil, Great Britain and Canada has the highest number of LinkedIn users.
    • 13% of Millennials (15-34 Years old) use LinkedIn.
    • 28% of all internet male users use LinkedIn, whereas 27% of All Internet Female users use LinkedIn.
    • 44% of LinkedIn users earn more than $75,000 in a year.
    • There are over 39 million students and recent grads on LinkedIn.


    • Total Number of Monthly Active Users: 300 million+
    • Total Number of Daily Active Snapchat Users: 187 million
    • Percentage of US Social Media users that Use Snapchat: 18%
    • Number of Snaps Created Everyday (Photos & Videos): 1 million
    • Average Time Spent per User on Daily Basis:30+ minutes
    • Percentage of Daily Reach (18-34 Years old)  in the US: 41%
    • Number of Snapchat users who upload photos: 65%
    • Number of Snapchat Daily Video Views: More than 10 billion
    • 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old.
    • Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female.
    • 30% of US Millennial Internet Users use Snapchat regularly.
    • People under the age of 25 use Snapchat for 40 minutes on average every day, more than instagram’s latest stat for same demographic.
    • 50% of Male College students share selfies on Snapchat, the number is higher in Female college students. 77% to be precise.
    • 45% of Snapchat users are aged between 18-24.
    • Snapchat reaches 11% of Total US Digital population.
    • More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%.
    • Active Snapchatters open the app 18+ time every day.
    • YouTube
    • Total Number of Daily Active YouTube Users: 30+ million.
    • YouTube TV Paying Subscribers: 300,000.
    • Number of Videos Shared to Date: 5+ billion.
    • Number of Users Creating Content Shared to Date: 50 million.
    • Average Viewing Session: 40 minutes, up 50% year-over-year
    • Number of Videos Watched Per Day: 5 billion.
    • Number of mobile YouTube views per day: 500 million.
    • 62% of YouTube users are Males.
    • 80% of YouTube users come from outside of the U.S.
    • 9% of small businesses are on YouTube.
    • 35+ and 55+ age groups are the fastest growing YouTube demographics.
    • 75% of adults turn to YouTube for nostalgia rather than tutorials or current events.
    • Millennials prefer YouTube two to one over traditional television.
    • 37% of the coveted 18 – 34 demographic are binge-watching.
    • YouTube services 88 countries in 76 languages (or 95% of all internet users).
    • Males are primarily watching soccer or strategy games.
    • Females are primarily watching beauty videos.

    Now You Know!

    Statistics can give us important insights and course of actions that can help formulate an effective marketing plan. We have the numbers to track everything we wish to manipulate and highlight in our marketing actions! Utilize them, and you can change any business plan around for better success!

    But may we not lose sight of the true reason behind business. Stanley Marcus once said, “consumers are statistics, customers are people” and that is how we should use these numbers: to better serve and help our potential customers through our business and services.


  • 17 Jun 2018 3:05 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Image recognition is a great addition to any social media listening program. Read what Kalev has to say about using it to determine Fake News! 

    Kalev Leetaru CONTRIBUTORI write about the broad intersection of data and society. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


    Last month an image purporting to show children in cages as a result of current immigration policies went viral on social media, accelerated by a number of high profile journalists, activists and former government officials who shared it widely – their visibility and stature leading many to trust the image at face value without the level of suspicion and verification that users might apply to other viral images. The image was real, but taken out of context and spread virally before users began to realize it actually dated from a 2014 news article. Yet, when I first saw the image I simply right-clicked on it and ran a reverse Google Images search that immediately turned up the original 2014 source. Could social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook automate such image searches to help combat fake news at scale?

    Social media today is an ocean of false and misleading information spread for nefarious purposes, but far more often by well-meaning individuals who share first and ask questions later. The ease and rapidness with which a 2014 news image went viral, made famous by the very individuals ordinarily tasked with helping to combat false information stands testament to just how easy it is for false information to spread in today’s speed-over-accuracy information ecosystem. In contrast to unverifiable citizen imagery that lacks provenance, professional news photography is particularly easy to verify, yet such ease of verification did little to slow the spread of this image.

    The problem is that social media norms encourage sharing over understanding, creating an informational ecosystem in which users act more as transmission nodes, receiving and passing onwards information, than as true consumers that digest and reason about the information they receive. According to one study, 59% of links shared on social media were never actually viewed, while an increasing body of research emphasizes that in our click-happy world of social media, our social capital is dependent on being the quickest to share new information with our connections, with little incentive to take the time to actually read and digest that information to vet it first.

    The mobile interfaces that dominate social media consumption today worsen this effect, entrenching the walled garden in which we consume social content and making it difficult to perform extensive research to verify a post. After all, juggling multiple browser tabs and wading through multiple websites to verify the provenance and context of an image seen on social media takes time even on a desktop, but is especially hard in the resource and screen-constrained environment of mobile devices.

    On a desktop using the Google Chrome browser it is relatively trivial to right click on a questionable image, click “Search Google for image” and instantly see all of the places on the web that Google’s search engine has seen that image before. Google’s commercial Cloud Vision API goes a step further and can even OCR the image to recognize all text seen in it in 55 languages, making it possible even to fact check visual memes that contain textual quotes or statements. Even more usefully, the Cloud Vision API scans all previous appearances of the image on the web for the captions associated with the image in each case across all of the languages it supports, assigning it topical labels that summarize the most common descriptions of the image online.

    Imagine if the major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook adopted a similar reverse images search and OCR for all images shared on their platform. Every single image shared on their platforms would be compared against a database of unique images and for each new image seen for the first time, the system would perform an open web image comparison to find all previous appearances of that image online. The date the image was first seen on the web and a links to a few high-profile appearances of it would be displayed prominently under each instance of the image being shared online.

    In the case of the immigration image, the photograph was shared with a link to the article it came from, which was clearly dated 2014, but when shared on Twitter and Facebook, the presentation display formats used by those platforms do not clearly and prominently emphasize the publication date of a link, meaning that all most users saw was the photograph and a citation to Displaying the publication date of shared links more prominently might have slowed the spread of the image if users could immediately see that the article dated to 2014.

    However, most such images are shared out of their original context and thus a reverse images search that could return a list of high prominence previous appearances would likely dramatically decrease inadvertent sharing of incorrect information. Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to misleading image sharing on social media is the fact that images are shared without any inherent native context. On social media anyone can take an image, write a new caption or description for it and share it at will.

    Imagine if instead of contextless sharing, social media platforms performed a reverse image search and created a basic machine generated caption for each image based on the most common captions used for the image across the web in the past. In other words, coupling the topical label approach of Google’s Cloud Vision API with an automatic summarization algorithm. The result would be an immutable caption displayed prominently underneath every shared image that contains the date the image was first seen online, a few links to the most prominent previous uses of the image, favoring those from major news websites and a machine generated summary of how the image was captioned in those past uses. This would ensure that users are aware of the actual context and original sourcing of any image they see or share online.

    Instead of an anonymous image blindly ricocheting through social space under a myriad different descriptions, photographs shared on social media would now be reconnected to their origins and maintain provenance throughout their sharing life, reconnecting the walled gardens of the social world with the real world outside their borders from which the content was sourced.

    Putting this all together, improving the social sharing experience by reconnecting shared content to its origins, especially grounding it with a machine generated caption that summarizes its consensus description across the web, the date it was first seen and a set of high profile sites that have displayed it in the past, would go a long ways towards cutting down on inadvertent sharing of information in misleading ways and accustom users to incorporating better information literacy into their consumption of social media content, all for comparatively little cost.


    According to one study, 59% of links shared on social media were never actually viewed, while an increasing body of research emphasizes that in our click-happy world of social media, our social capital is dependent on being the quickest to share new information with our connections, with little incentive to take the time to actually read and digest that information to vet it first.
  • 11 Jun 2018 3:08 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Will Text Messaging Surveys Replace Traditional Surveys?
    Probably not in the near future, but they can be a beneficial supplement to your current survey strategy.

    Admit it, you are one of the 72% of smartphone owners who report checking their phone at least once an hour. With 9 in 10 adults owning a cellphone,  text messaging (SMS) has become the communication norm for most of the U.S. population. Text messaging appears to be a useful way to contact survey respondents, particularly those who tend to have lower response rates with traditional survey methods, such as young adults.

    But according to Gallup's research, text messaging is not yet ready to replace traditional surveys. This mode of contact has legal limitations, yields lower response rates than telephone surveys and restricts question length. So don’t use it as your only means of contacting your audience, but do use it as a supplements.

    How Text Message Surveys Work

    Text message surveys can be administered in two different ways:

    The first option is to text questions and answers back and forth, which works well because anyone with a cellphone can respond. But there are significant limitations. Questions are limited to 160 characters, including the question wording and response options. Messages that are longer than 160 characters are broken into segments. While some devices rebuild the messages so that they appear as one cohesive message, messages may not be received in the correct order.

    The number of questions must also be kept to a minimum. Questions and responses are sent one at a time, and research finds that respondents tend to lose interest more quickly than with other modes of data collection.

    The second option is to text respondents a link to a web survey they can complete from the browser on their phone. Although this option gives researchers greater flexibility with question wording, about 25% of the population does not own a smartphone and will be unable to launch a web survey, and those who do have a smartphone may have to use or pay for data to complete the survey.

    Experiments Reveal the Pros and Cons of Text Message Surveys

    Gallup conducted two experiments to test the effectiveness of text message surveys.

    In the first experiment, they wanted to see how an SMS survey compares with a telephone survey in terms of response rates and substantive responses. There were 3 treatment groups: a traditional telephone survey administered by a live interviewer, a text message survey or a text message with a link to a web survey. Two questionnaire lengths were also tested: 5 questions and 12 questions.

    Results - Response rates for the SMS-to-web surveys (12% for 5 questions and 11% for 12) and SMS-only surveys (12% for 5 questions and 13% for 12) were significantly lower than response rates for phone surveys (38% and 41%).

    In the second experiment, Gallup tested sending survey invites and reminders to Gallup Panel members via email and text message. Respondents were randomly assigned to 1of 3 treatment groups: email and text invites and reminders, email invites and reminders only, and text invites and reminders only. All emails and text messages directed respondents to a web survey.

    Results - Response rates were highest when using a combination of email and text reminders. This finding is consistent with other research, which has found that employing a variety of contact methods can increase the likelihood of participation.

    It appears that surveys deployed over email are among the best and easiest to supplement with text messaging. At the most basic level, texts can be used as a reminder/delivery system for web surveys. A study by Mavletova & Couper (Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (2014) 2, 498-518) indicates that surveys sent via email got a much higher response rate when they were accompanied by a text reminder. Even more effective is to use text to deliver the web survey directly. Because 53% of emails are opened on phones, making sure your survey is mobile compatible. By serving the link directly through text, you can remove the need for them to take any intermediary action between receiving the reminder text and beginning the survey.


    Currently, the major obstacle for conducting a survey via text message is obtaining the consent to send a message. This legal barrier greatly limits the scope for conducting text surveys.

    It is important to note that FCC regulations make it illegal for companies to send text messages without expressed consent. This means Gallup or its clients must have explicit consent from respondents before sending them a text message survey. Simply having permission to contact the respondent via cellphone is not enough. Individuals must give consent to be contacted via text message, which is a major obstacle for most survey projects.

  • 4 Jun 2018 5:51 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Approximately 2.62 billion people use social media daily, posting everything from videos, images, and selfies, to news updates and everything in-between. And importantly for brands, some of these posts are likely to be about your business. If you’re not engaged in social media listening, you’re ignoring your clients – and that’s just bad business.

    But first, what exactly is social media listening?

    Social media listening is the act of using a tool to monitor - or 'listen to' - what's being said about a brand (or any other keyword or set of keywords) across the social web. The first step in effective social listening is identifying the right keywords and terms you need to stay on top of. When you select which keywords to track, don’t just focus on your brand name. Here’s a sample list of the elements you might want to monitor:

    • Your competitors’ brand names and product names
    • Industry buzzwords
    • Your slogans and your competitors’ slogans
    • Public people in your company and competitors’ companies
    • Your hashtags and your competitors’ hashtags
    • Hashtags related to your industry
    • Common misspellings and abbreviations for all of these 

    Staying on top of these keywords will ensure you remain aware of how people perceive your brand, what your competitor's are doing and the current trends in your field.

    Now let’s dig a little deeper. Use the following tips to help you get the most out of your social media listening and how you can use social media listening to grow your business.

    1. Improve Customer Service

    Social media has become the go-to for many consumers who have a question, suggestion, or even a complaint. In 2013, a study conducted by J.D. Power Ratings found out that 67% of consumers use social media for customer care and that figure increases each year. Another survey reported that 36% of people who had a negative experience with a brand will post about it. Monitoring social media allows you to respond quickly online to customers who are talking about you.

    It may not be a contact to the brand itself, sometimes it’s just a rant or a side note in a post dedicated to something else, but through social media listening, you have the capability to discover these comments, and respond to them, improving your customer experience.

    To see if your customers are having troubles, set up the keywords mentioning your product or brand name and choose a filter to show you negative mentions first. That way you’ll be able to find unhappy customers and solve problems right away.

    2. Better Understand your Audience

    To satisfy your customers you need to know them first. The traditional way to get customers’ feedback is to ask them through a survey or a questionnaire, which can prove unreliable since few people like spending their time answering questions that are not directly related to them. But through social listening, you can get unbiased opinions of your customers without any effort from their side, and minimal effort from yours.

    You can analyze large volumes of data and see specific opinions using your social media listening tools. Look for trends in preferences and dislikes. You might be able to detect some not-so-obvious tendencies that your audience has, and use them to your advantage.

    3. Find new clients

    As a general rule, the more active you are on social, the more people you reach – but you’re still limited to your followers and their friends. However, there is a way to contact people who might be curious about your product - yep, through social media listening.

    For example, Hilton Hotels regularly finds potential clients by monitoring queries like “Where should I go on vacation?”. The company then offers advice where Hilton employees reach out to people to recommend places of interest in their area.

    You have to get into the heads of your prospects and think of the keywords they may use when they ask for recommendations. Based on this, you can then use specific keywords and combinations to improve your results. And use this opportunity to create meaningful interactions by responding to people’s questions and being helpful – that way you can create a positive image of your brand, which will help you stand out.

    4. Utilize Industry Influencers

    Logically, people are far more likely to accept the advice of someone they trust - be that a friend, a family member, or these days, even a blogger whose content they like. So use these customers to promote your product! 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads, which makes influencer marketing one of the most efficient ways to sell.

    So how do you find influencers?

    Search the name of your brand to see who's already interested in it and offer them an early trial or a free product. You can also track buzzwords relevant to your industry and find people in your field who create relevant content and engage with others.

    Once you establish a relationship, reach out to them and offer a collaboration - guest material for their platform, a review of your product, a paid promotion or anything else that your marketing team can think of. But don’t just leave it at that - ensure you thank them for the attention and the consideration they've given to your product, and seek their feedback where possible.

    5. Keep an eye on your competition

    You can learn a lot from your competition - their success will tell you what works and their failures will help you to avoid making the same mistakes.

    Learn what people are saying about your rivals and their products. Set alerts for all your competitors’ brands, their campaign names, slogans and hashtags. And use this information to create engaging opportunities for your brand.

    So now you see how social media listening can help you - from product development to customer service to marketing. I encourage you to dive into the world of social media listening and discover more ways to use it on your own.

    Need help creating a social media listening strategy?

    Click here:

  • 31 May 2018 4:54 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Posted on May 31, 2018 by eChatter

    Open Source Investigations

    Corporate responsibility and risk management for any corporation goes well beyond what happens within the walls of everyday business. A very overlooked practice for companies of all sizes is digital research on their unique business and industry. With the rise of user generated content and social media, reputation management takes on an entirely new level in 2018.  In comes OSINT, or, Open Source Intelligence (the collection and analysis of publicly available data in an intelligence context).

    Frank Figliuzzi, Chief Operating Officer of ETS Risk Management, Inc., which consults with global clients on intelligence analysis, insider threat, and investigations puts it this way:


    “Increasingly, security leaders systematically incorporate OSINT analysis from proven experts not only to get results, but because it is has become the new professional standard in the industry.”


    Of course with the EU Privacy law in effect, hiring an expert in this area is key to be sure your firm is in compliance.  With the digital universe doubling in size every two years, the time is now to be sure your business has a plan in place. Archiving and preserving  your own online data may be beneficial down the road as well. Lawsuits pop up all the time, and having this data collection secured may help your case. In fact, many corporate attorneys are now insisting on this type of data capture for their clients.


    Pew Research updated the stats on the U.S. consumption of social media sites online or on their cellphone. 


    Pew Research and OSINT


  • 25 May 2018 9:52 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    CBC News Reported: By Ian Sherr 

    How do you solve a problem like Russian propagandists? How do you keep them from meddling in elections?

    Well, at Facebook, the answer is to be more transparent about political ads.

    Starting Thursday, the company said, it's following through on its promise from late last year to add verification, disclosures and additional information to all political ads.

    The way it'll work is that when you see a political ad on Facebook, there will be a "Paid for by" disclosure at its top. If you click on the label, you'll be taken to a page where you can learn much money was spent, how many people saw it, and a breakdown of their age, gender and location.

    Facebook will also make this data publicly accessible at for seven years from the day they run.

    "This is a tool that makes it easier for you to find problems and is something that we want to invite you to report as well so we get better faster," said Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook, in a conference call with journalists Thursday.

    To many, the new policy couldn't have come quickly enough. The social networking giant has been under increasing scrutiny following two scandals over Russian propagandists and a data leak that exposed up to 87 million user's profile information to a UK-based political consultancy called Cambridge Analytica. Together, they've pushed Facebook, and its 34-year old wunderkind co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, to go before lawmakersinvestorsadvertisersdevelopers and even us users to apologize for failing to properly manage one of the world's largest websites.

    Now Facebook is playing catch up. It's set new privacy policies and data protection rules and instituted audits to prevent app developers from improperly leaking user information again. And now it's making good on its promise to begin tackling the specter of more disinformation campaigns during the upcoming midterm elections in the US.

    But, as Facebook is quick to point out, these moves are just the latest in a series of efforts to strengthen its service from further abuse. It's not a guarantee this all won't happen again.

    "As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job it is to interfere with elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict," Zuckerberg said when speaking to Congress last month. "This is an ongoing arms race."

    Doing something, at least

    It didn't take much for the Russian propagandists to make a splash on Facebook. Last year, the company said it found $100,000 worth of ads purchased from Russian-linked accounts. That bought 3,000 ads seen by 10 million Facebook users. When Zuckerberg disclosed the ads, he vowed to work for more "election integrity."

    Facebook has since partnered with researchers to establish an "independent election research commission" that Zuckerberg said "will solicit research on the effects of social media on elections and democracy." The group is also helping to analyze political advertising on Facebook and help others access it more easily for their own research.

    Facebook isn't along tackling the issue of political ads. Twitter and Google both are instituting new rules around political ads, too. Facebook and Twitter have also expressed support for the Honest Ads Act, a bill moving through Congress that would require political ads on the internet to have similar transparency as those on radio and television by, for example, identifying who paid for them.

    To help make sure no one tries to run political ads outside Facebook's rules, the company is turning to its artificial intelligence technology to help. These AI programs are trained to help identify which ads might be trying to circumvent Facebook's rules. 

    Users themselves can also flag questionable ads, which will then be reviewed by the company. Facebook says that by adding a second reviewing step for reported ads, and offering copies of them in the ads archive, that will protect from when people might report an ad in bad faith.

    "Part of how we're going to be held accountable and how we're going to involve folks is by providing the archive, which will show you all the different ads we have," Leathern said. "We believe we have very good coverage in place."

  • 23 May 2018 12:28 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    • Published on May 23, 2018

    Kathy Doering

     I have used this saying a few times in my life and have recently begun reading the book, "Know What You Don't Know, How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen." This book promotes information sharing among employees, and that in and of itself, is critical in today's customer centric environment. How many times have you, as a customer, realized that an answer to your problem depends solely on who you speak to in the customer service department? Try making the same call twice purposely and you may end up with two very different answers to the same question. It happened to me just this week.

    At a recent software conference, one CEO shared that he has clients who come right out and tell him that they don't want their superiors to know how to use the software. Why not? Usually, there are a variety of reasons. In my opinion, the big picture issue is that it is a company culture problem. When people just want to do what they know and don't want to expand into the unknown, it can stifle growth and is many times harmful for the company and its reputation. Creating an everyone "in" for the good of the company is many times very hard to achieve.

    The best place to start is to have a set strategy around your company's KPI's. In the above mentioned book, author Michael A Roberto discusses the importance of how to listen to learn, and even goes as far as to suggest it be taught within the company. He suggests management needs to become an Ethnographer.

    You Can learn a lot just by watching. Yogi Berra

    Watching or listening to your customers while they are in the moment of experience will tell you a lot about their needs. General Mills, for example actually has their own grocery store right within their headquarters. The General Market, as it is called, is not open to the public. Instead consumers are invited in to shop while researchers watch their shopping behaviors.

    With so many conversations shifting online over the last 10 years, listening to social media and the web can identify misconceptions of your product or service, identify trends, consumer buying habits and so much more. Most companies are "listening" to conversations around their social media marketing. This is very important, however it can be expanded on to gain even more research. Technology has made it so much easier for researchers to do this very thing.

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