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Monday, April 30, 2007

The 0.16% rule?

The figures for active participation in Web 2.0 sites seem to keep on getting lower (Hitwise via Guardian - sorry no web link so paraphrased below)
The 1% rule (1% make content, 10% add, 89% just view) overstates it. Of US internet visits to YouTube, only 0.16% were to upload videos; 0.2% of Flickr visits were to upload photos.
So most visits to Web 2.0 sites are to view and not to share. This comes as no big surprise - our research into blogging has always suggested that most people are just not really interested at the moment in taking the time and effort to create and share online content. However, the tiny percentages here might shock, even given previous reports of low participation… Look closely at these figures though and it’s clear that they actually tell us something different to the 1% ruleanother example of the need to keep your wits about you in the interpretation of quant data. The 1% rule deals in terms of users. These figures are in terms of visits. In the reporting the two have been conflated so that 1% appears to have been a massive over-estimation. In fact, these figures don’t give us any idea what proportion of say YouTube users are actually uploading videos. They just tell us what proportion of visits to the site are to upload content. These visits could be spread across 0.5% or 10% of users, that we don't know. What they do tell us is that, proportionally speaking, consuming content is still massively more popular than creating it across all users, even though what we’re consuming and where we’re consuming it may be changing. Despite the current buzz around CGM and customer collaboration, brands should keep in mind that these remain niche activities. Until consumers start to change their behaviour en masse any online conversations will be with an exceptional audience, not the mass-market who are likely to make up their customer-base. Who might be listening in is another question...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Mobile Habits

Spotted this report on mobile phone usership in Germany - entitled 'Mobiles just for phoning and texting'. That old chestnut. Actually, once you look at the figures a bit more closely, it's not quite true - whilst phoning and texting are indeed the most commonly used functions, the numbers aren't that low for additional features. Considering that still not every phone has a camera, 46% usership ain't that bad. Plus there's considerable use of older functions - 48% calendar and 55% alarm clock. I wouldn't go along with the article's conclusion that many extra functions are 'superfluous' - in fact all our experience in the sector indicates that consumers are quite happy to see mobiles as multi-functional personal techno-hubs. However, there seems to be a continued preference for handset-centric features vs for services that generate revenue for operators. The adoption of camera compares with much lower figures for MMS use as does the emerging use of mp3 on the phone but pitifull uptake of mobile downloads. German Internet use as reported in the above survey remains low at 10%. Having spent years talking to consumers about moibles and mobile services I'm convinced that the biggest barrier to mobile service use remains price - though user experience may also play a part. In sending MMS, downloading, using mp3s etc, consumers must acquire new habits and it is just a general human truth that we tend only to do so if it is made easy for us and/or there is a clear benefit. Where there are old ingrained habits to overcome, or althernatives on offer (eg downloading or Internet use from a PC) people are either likely to remain conservative and/or will vote with their pockets. Calendar, alarm clock and camera use have taken off not only because these functions seem intuitively 'logically' to fit into your personal hub device (and I'd expect that the same will be true for mp3s) but because there is no financial barrier to using them and you don't need a PHD to work out how to. If mobile operators and handset manufacturers really want people to get into using the Net more and get into the wave of newer services, they will need to make them easier to use but possibly most importantly they're like to have to lower prices. I saw an ad for an operator in the UK this week promising mobile TV for 10p. Good luck to them. I have no doubt it's the way to go if they want to get people into a new habit. Talking of new mobile habits - this is from last year, sorry if people have seen it...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Share, don't own your brand

Sorry to be grumpy just before the bunny arrives but here's another one of those blog entries dressing up the blindingly obvious as exciting insight which, depressingly, people feel compelled to comment on with breathless excitement. Wow, brands are 'completed' by people and don't exist as fully fledged entities 'created' by marketing departments. Never thought of that one before! But then the entry is on a site called 'own your brand' which I'd argue starts from the wrong premise entirely…you can't, you won't and you shouldn't try.

As far as I'm concerned, brands are and always have been created in conjunction with the consumer and if anyone owns them, they do. The concept of brand ownership is based on what I think is a fallacy of conceiving of brands as 'things' people buy rather than a set of ideas or myths they buy into, or - I'm working on this one - a relationship they build with a particular company's products. Maybe some marketing challenges would have fallen into place quite some time ago (and the 2.0 changes wouldn't have seemed quite so baffling) if we'd stopped objectifying brands and had seen them more relationally…

Anyway, will stop being grumpy on such a sunny day - so happy Easter everyone!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

No Impact Man...

A little bit off the subject of research today but given our previous posts on green issues, I thought I would share this wonderful blog with you... No Impact Man is a year long project being run by a New York based writer in which he is basically trying to reduce his ecological impact to as near as possible to zero. Not only is it thoroughly interesting but it also has links to lots of practical advice for anybody who wants to live the 'good life' themselves but isn't sure where to start. The best thing about it for me though is how well written it is. Given the recent news regarding Kathy Sierra's bad experiences with malicious bloggers and the calls for a blogging code of conduct, I think Colin gives a great example of how to write humanely and personally, particularly in his replies to sometimes quite vociferous critics. It's a lesson in how to speak to people who disagree with you and it's this that makes the writing so engaging and keeps me coming back for more