Umass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Blog

Business Success on Instagram

We wanted to share with you the latest study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research on how successful businesses were using Instagram.

Instagram was launched in 2010 as a free mobile app for photo sharing and social networking. It enjoyed rapid growth, fueled by Millennials, and had a million active users just two months after its launch. It currently boasts over 300 million active users. Facebook purchased the platform in 2012 for approximately $1 billion. (https://business.instagram.com)

While this highly visual platform’s rapid growth can be attributed to young people, it has also attracted the attention of businesses. This report focuses on the adoption and use of Instagram among 2015’s most successful companies. The first group looks at the fastest growing businesses in the US, the Inc. 500 (named by Inc. Magazine) while the second group looks at the wealthiest businesses, the Fortune 500 (named by Fortune Magazine).

Here are the highlights of our study:
  • Rank influences the adoption of Instagram. Forty-four percent of the top 200 on the Inc. 500 list and 49% of the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list are active Instagram users.
  • Those in the consumer products and retail/consumer products industries hold the most active Instagram accounts.
  • Nike extends its dominance of social media sites with over 40 million Instagram followers. Lesser known Inc. 500 companies capture 1-2 million followers for the most active companies.
  • Approximately ¾ of all posts in both groups receive 1-30 comments from consumers. Half of the Fortune 500 group replies to comments while 33% of the Inc. group does.
  • For the Fortune 500, the objective of using Instagram is to disseminate information about their products/product lines, brands, specs etc. and for product promotion.  For the Inc. 500 companies, there is almost an equal emphasis on product promotion and sharing company happenings/events. They also engage in posting content that demonstrates thought leadership in their industry.
The Center is now taking clients for the January semester.  If you need high quality research done at extremely affordable prices, please give me a call at 508-999-8756.

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Google Analytics

Readers, the year is 2016 and the Internet has long been cemented as the one of, if not, the most important tool when it comes to operating a business. This is especially true for marketing purposes. A huge part of operating a business is monitoring, therefore internet analytics should now be included on the list of importance. For this service, Google Analytics has you covered! Don’t know what that is? The simplest way to describe it is like a gas meter on a house except it’s digital and monitors your website’s usage. Among the information provided is the sessions (click rate), session length, bounce rate, and conversion rate. It also displays which country (and general area of the country) the visitors to the site are from. The following is basic vocabulary. A notable fact, the service is available free of charge!!

  • Sessions—A session is the period of time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc., within a date range. All usage data (Screen views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session
  • Conversions—Conversions are the number of times goals have been completed on your website
  • Campaigns—Campaigns (also known as custom campaigns) allow you to add parameters to any URL from your website to collect more information about your referral traffic

Dimensions—A dimension is a descriptive attribute or characteristic of an object that can be given different values. Browser, Exit Page, Screens and Session Duration are all examples of dimensions that appear by default in Google Analytics

We want to hear from you! Tell us with you think! For more information, visit the link below.

How to Use Google Analytics: Getting Started

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Guess Who Now Owns LinkedIn!

Yep, you guess it…LinkedIn is now owned by Microsoft who forked over $2.6 Billion in an incredible bold move. Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella has been met with approval and criticism in making this purchase. Thanks to him, users will be thrilled that they can now embed LinkedIn with Skype, its email system and various other enterprise products. Think about it, Microsoft now (literally) controls “one of the world’s most influential, specialized, highly read, constantly-updated (and occasionally annoying) digital media companies.” Reportedly, much of LinkedIn’s value is generated via its content which is believed to be worth as much as 2.9 Billion. Also, the data collect by the site is said to be equally as valuable. The following are some facts on LinkedIn.

  • 433 million users, (1/4+ more than a quarter of whom are in the US
  • founded in California in 2003,
  • 4,500 members joined after its first month
  • 106 million monthly unique visitors to the site
  • 45 billion page views (first quarter of 2016)

We want to hear from you! Tell us with you think! For more information, visit the link below.
http://architizer.com/blog/international-olympic-committees-new-headquarters-revealed/

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Happy Summer!

Here at the Center for Marketing Research we hope you are all enjoying your summer of 2016. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions. As always we are looking forward to starting another successful school year in September, but until then be safe!

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Millennials and Social Commerce: Brands and Buy Buttons

Social Commerce is a term that describes the intersection of e-commerce and social networking sites and has changed the face of business as we know it. Social commerce refers to electronic commerce that uses social networks to assist  in the buying of selling of products. Social Commerce utilizes user ratings, referrals, online communities and social advertising to facilitate online shopping. Millennials, those that are between 15-35 years old, have been quick to adopt and utilize social commerce. According to Forbes there are 80 million Millennials in the United States and they spend more than $200 billion annually. This makes Millennials an attractive segment for marketers.

This influence that Millennials have on commerce is causing companies to focus their approach on the online buying habits of Millennials. According to a study done by Deloitte, younger adult consumers are heavier users of digital than older generations. Forty-seven percent of all Millennial consumers use social media during their shopping journey, compared to 19% of non-Millennials. Similarly, 37% of Millennial consumers spend more due to their use of digital, versus only 23% of non-Millennials. Nineteen percent of Millennial shoppers purchase their shopping basket items online prior to picking them up in-store, compared to 12% of non-Millennials.

In September 2014, ShareThis released one of the first studies focusing on Millennials and social commerce, gathering data by observing online browsing and social patterns of Millennials. They conclude that for these young consumers, interactivity and discussion are central to purchase decisions. The study did not report on behaviors for any specific platforms and reported findings only in relation to the non-Millennial population, for example saying Millennials are “3x more likely” to behave in a certain way.

This study, conducted by the Center for Marketing Research (CMR) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is an in-depth look at current purchasing habits of Millennials using three of the most widely used social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest). This is the third study conducted by CMR on the topic of Millennials and social commerce. The others were conducted in 2013 and 2014 and changes over time will be noted. In an effort to discern what turns a like, follow or pin into a sale, this study, like the previous studies, explores and analyzes lead conversion tactics as identified by Millennials themselves. Also included is a look at mobile technology and its changing role in online purchasing. The potential for “buy” buttons is explored along with specifics on what products Millennials are buying from popular platforms.

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Good News for Video Marketing

So it turns out that the small screen video is actually a very effective marketing tool. Videos draw their relatively newfound strength from the smart phone’s jump in usage. This information was realized through a recent study conducted by Howard Blumenstein and Celie O’Neil-Hart, both Product Marketing Managers from YouTube. According to them, 40% of users who visit a business’ website and were able to view useful audio-visual content. In addition to that, another 28% actually went further to make a purchase either online or in the brick and mortar store. Their findings say that on YouTube, 6 in 10 millennials view new content from their favorite producers within 24 hours and that 6 in 10 will follow their advise. Meet the 21st century’s version of the ever-iconic pitchman. Thanks to Google Preferred (service that allows for marketing through YouTube) the top creators on the site have enjoyed a 65% increase in watch time, 66% more likes, and a 65% jump in their number of subscribers. We at the Center for Marketing Research love the idea of this as we look forward to the future.

We want to hear from you! Tell us with you think! For more information, visit the link below.

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/infographics/online-video-youtube-influence.html

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Google Without Side Ads?

Yes it is true…much to the approval of users, Google has opted to end displaying ads on the right side of its Google Desktop searches. Like us at the Center for Marketing Research Google spent a great deal of time, 5 years since 2010 to be exact, to deliver the best product possible. The study was conducted within the United States and internationally as well. A fact the study produced was a common feedback from users was that they saw top-only ads most frequently. The ads will be moved from the right side down to the bottom of the page and increased from 3 to 4. This modification will be experienced by all Desktop users worldwide. An added fact is this change will streamline the service with Google’s Desktop Mobile service, although in mobile only 3 ads are typically shown. In true technology nature, these changes are still subject to change. Google maintains that further tweaks to the ads and other elements of the program will take place. Let’s all be on the lookout for further changes to Google Desktop!

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A Wikipedia Search Engine?

For about a year now there have been some rumors and speculations circulating the web development world. Now, it seems like they are actual fact, but there’s a bit of a twist. It appears Wikipedia will eventually launch a search engine, but it’s somewhat strange and not everyone is thrilled about it. TheNextWeb.com reports that Wikipedia received a grant of $250,000 from the Knight Foundation to go towards advancement of media. Maintaining the custom of transparency, the organization has released the following statement. “We are not building Google… The Wikimedia movement’s vision is to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available to everyone.” We at the Center for Marketing Research are very excited to see this new service launch!

Sources say that Wikipedia has settled that establishing better linkage between it’s existing asset is the project’s first priority. The addition of new data sources and expanded search to include contextual items has also been mentioned. “This could include a new ‘public curation of relevance,’ versus something like keywords and links, driven by Wikimedia’s Wikidata project. But is also believed to include new, scaleable machine-driven tools to ensure more search queries are answerable” says TheNextWeb.com Also in the works is a Wikipedia preload onto new handsets to expand it’s audience reach therefore adding new income. At this time, the organization has not released too much more information and we assume they’re still deciding what they would like to attempt. Stay informed on this topic, it might turn out to be amazing!

 

We want to hear from you! Tell us with you think! For more information, visit the link below.

Wikipedia is building an open-source search engine – but it’s a little confusing

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Social Media and Decision 2016

Much like the 2012 Presidential Election, social media has been heavily utilized and is a huge influence on prospective voters. But let’s be honest, four years is a long time in the social media world and there are some changes. 2012 say YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as the media workhorses. Now that we’re in 2016 the weapon of choice has added Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine to the mix. While the idea of using celebrity endorsements is not new, social media has completely revolutionized it. It’s all too simple for a star to provide a photo to be featured on the campaigner’s accounts, or simply repost something from that politician. One must never underestimate the value of publicity from the meme category. These days, the effectiveness of a campaign is often measured in the number of followers, likes, and reposts.

Hillary Clinton enlisted Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s Girls, to promote her social media and 43,500 likes and more than 1,800 comments on one of her pictures since then. Bernie Sanders scored a hit with rapper Killer Mike in the form of a six-part interview on YouTube. Said video garnered upwards of 1.8 million views with another 275,000 views on Facebook. Ted Cruz recruited Phil Robertson of A&E’s Duck Dynasty for a one-minute video depicting the two on a hunting trip which accredited him with 1.2 million view in just one week. Trump himself hasn’t appeared in YouTube videos quite like the others, however he has a very popular twitter account with 6.36 million followers to his name.

We want to hear from you! Tell us with you think! For more information, visit the link below.
http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/why-presidential-hopefuls-are-relying-endorsements-social-celebrities-169166

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Center of Digital Marketing: Email

Thanks to Retention Science the world now has some valuable new information about emailing. The company set out to determine the best criteria of a “perfect email”: which email enabled the best return on investment and which channel was repeatedly the most effective. The study found that with all the new technologies in audio-visual communication, email is still the core of every effective digital marketing method. The study found that, surprisingly, “47% of respondents chose email as the preferred channel, while only 6% selected social media.” The study also found that dollar-off savings and novelty items are effective, but only to a certain degree and under more specific situations instead of the broad spectrum.

Okay, okay, we know you want to hear about how and what to do to make your business’ email so big and bad…For starters, including any type of punctuation mark will get your email opened 9% more often. Using a question mark is engaging and will earn you an increase of 44% on your open rate. Keep your subjects lines bound to a range of 6 to 10 words. The summer time (August to be specific) is usually a slow sretch and is responsible for about 28% of the yearly unsubscriptions. Also, be mindful of the ever-lucrative holiday season. Surely you are familiar with the influx of demand for just about ever last item available. Click rates will hit about 30% in November then slightly decrease to 27%. Of course there will never been an email format that reaches100% conversion, but the tips stated above will get you as close to that as possible.

We want to hear from you! Tell us with you think! For more information, visit the link below.
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/262640/optimized-email-the-core-of-digital-marketing.html

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