Browsing articles tagged with " facebook"

Study: Facebook changing the way people communicate, hear about news

Jan 14, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  2 Comments

Facebook in a computer lab. - Photo by Sarah Houghton-Jan

By Chris Hogg

As media, marketers and PR professionals work to understand more about how content consumption habits are changing in digital media, Facebook has continued to emerge as a dominant player.

The social network says it boasts a membership of more than 500 million active members, 50 percent of whom log-in each day. The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month, and the average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events.

As Facebook grows, its footprint as a platform for content discovery grows with it and according to a study (PDF) published by Abacus Data, widespread Facebook usage in Canada is changing how citizens consume content and learn about news around them.

The Ottawa-based market research firm says nearly 75 percent of Canadians now maintain a Facebook account, and while more than 90 percent of millennials (those aged 18-29) have a Facebook account, well over half of adults 60 and up do as well.

According to the study, about 60 percent of people older than 60 identify themselves as Facebook users; nearly 70 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 59 say their on Facebook; almost 80 percent of those aged 33 to 44 are on the social network; and 91 percent of millennials have a Facebook account.

“It’s very common to hear of a generational gap in social media use, but these results show that that gap is more of a gradient – the real gap is in how the different generations use social media,” Alex Monk, a strategist at Abacus Data and author of the report, said in a news release. “Membership is one thing, but the critical data is how people use their Facebook accounts.”

The study says the younger the person, the more likely they are to use Facebook often. To investigate how different generations use Facebook, researchers conducted an online survey with 1,362 Canadians in December 2010 and asked them how they were most likely to hear about a newsworthy or important event within their circle of friends. Results showed Facebook is a primary source of news discovery.

“Nearly half of millennials first hear about noteworthy events within their social circles via Facebook, while only 13 percent hear by phone and 8 percent by email,” said Monk. “That’s what makes the millennial generation so different from the others.”

In contrast, more than 50 percent of people ages 45 to 59 and those over 60 were most likely to hear about a noteworthy event within their circle of friends by phone. That said, older generations are not cut off from technology as a means of communication, as nearly 30 percent of respondents older than 60 said they were most likely to hear of noteworthy events via email.

How people hear about a newsworthy event. - Image courtesy Abacus Data

Brand advocates and marketers are flocking to Facebook because of its active user base, especially among younger generations. Businesses are creating content just to be shared via the social network, communication between brands and customers is more transparent and studies show millennials prefer to interact with brands in a digital space.

Citing forecasts from eMarketer, RICG says, “Businesses are expected to spend $1.7 billion on Facebook marketing in 2011, an increase of $500 million over 2010.”

To understand more about who uses Facebook, Abacus researchers also looked into background information such as level of education, geography and age. “One may hypothesize that Facebook is used nearly exclusively by young people and students, as its origins can be traced to university and college campuses,” the study notes. “However, the idea of student-exclusive use quickly evaporates when membership is broken down by level of education.”

The survey showed 70 percent of people with post-graduate or higher education use Facebook; 78 percent of those with a Bachelor’s degree are on the social network; and 76 percent of those with “some” university or college are on Facebook:

In Canada, Facebook use by geography breaks down fairly evenly across the country. Atlantic Canada sees the highest level of Facebook users at 80 percent of the population. Other provinces break down as follows: Quebec (75%), Ontario (72%), Central Canada (69%), Alberta (74%) and British Columbia (75%).

Abacus Data says the key difference between older generations and millennials with Facebook is usage patterns. ”It’s one thing to have a Facebook account, but another to use it,” the study notes.

Researchers say millennials are much more involved in Facebook, with 50 percent checking their account multiple times per day and more than 80 percent checking at least once daily. Among 30- to 44-year-olds, 67 percent check daily, while 58 percent of those aged 45-59 and 50 percent of people older than 60 checking daily.

How often people check Facebook. - Image courtesy Abacus Data

Looking further into usage patterns, researchers asked respondents four statements about sharing information online to see how their usage and behaviour differs. The statements were: “Sharing any kind of personal information online is too much of a risk for me”; “I share selected personal information with my family and friends via Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or a personal website”; “I readily share information. I am not concerned with privacy risks, as only my friends want to see what I share online”; and “I don’t use the internet for personal networking or social reasons.”

The trend with milliennials continued, as they were most likely to share information and most likely to be using social media. Older generations said they were not as likely to use social media and more likely to believe sharing information online is too risky. Researchers say this could be indicative of a fundamental, generational attitude difference.

“Among other things, sharing information online can be a sign of comfort with the Internet as a social medium, or as an acceptance of social networking as a means of keeping in touch with friends on a regular basis,” the study says.

Out of those surveyed, 75 percent of millennials share some info online, as they’re more comfortable with technology and Facebook is widely seen as just another natural means of communication.

The study concludes by saying: “A gap does exist between millennials and other generations, but not in the simple use of the Internet or other modern technologies. The use of Facebook as a natural extension for social communication is where a generational gap becomes evident. The prevalence of email use and Facebook membership among older generations suggests that they are active on the Internet; they communicate and share information via email. Real penetration of Facebook as a means of relaying meaningful information within a social circle, however, still seems to rest with millennials.”

The Independent incorporates Facebook ‘Like’ button to let readers subscribe to journalists, topics

Jan 12, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  1 Comment

Screen shot of

By Chris Hogg

As news sites become more social and adapt to new content discovery platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, innovation is flourishing. With readers suffering from content overload and media outlets being pressured to drive more pageviews, news organizations are turning to targeting capabilities to develop a solution to both problems.

Enter: The Facebook Like button. We’ve covered this in the past, when ESPN used the Like button to create custom news feeds for people based on their interests around specific teams.

Now, The Independent is following suit and allowing readers to subscribe to specific reporters.

“Starting with a few key areas of the site, we’ve been developing the tools to let people get their news from The Independent through social networks in tighter categories, designed to better reflect the parts of our editorial output you particularly enjoy,” Jack Riley wrote in a blog post. “To that end, you can now ‘like’ all of our commentators on Facebook, and if you do then when they publish a story it’ll appear in your news feed.”

A Like-button subscription option is a great way for media outlets to bring in new readers. And because content is so specific to their interest, those readers are more likely to be happy with the content they consume.

In today’s media-saturated landscape, people don’t always go to a site to check daily news. Furthermore, just because a reader was interested in one article from a sports or business section doesn’t mean they’re going to read everything from that section.

Today, when readers visit a news site, they may follow a specific journalist, or perhaps a particular topic. But getting someone spend hours on a site to find information they care about just isn’t going to happen across the board.

Categories once worked as ways to organize content by interest, but they can be too broad in today’s age where there is a plentiful supply of content.

The Independent‘s use of the Facebook Like button is innovative because it’s targeted and users opt-in. Riley gives examples using key writers such as Robert Fisk and Johann Hari, saying readers can “Like” them on The Independent‘s website and when they publish readers are notified via Facebook. The news organization has built similar functionality around football clubs so readers can get targeted news about their favourite teams.

Welcome to the era of personalized news where publishers build-in features outside of their own websites.

Liveblog: The future of Facebook in Canada

Nov 30, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Jordan Banks, Managing Director of Facebook Canada. - Photo by

At nextMEDIA in Toronto, Facebook Canada managing director Jordan Banks talks about Facebook’s role in Canada and how businesses can leverage social media to boost their brand. This is a liveblog running from 2 p.m. to 2: 45 p.m. is once again a media sponsor of digital media conference nextMEDIA. Taking place on Nov. 29 and 30 in Toronto, nextMEDIA features speakers from leading companies such as Facebook and Torstar Digital.

In this one-on-one conversation, Achilles Media CEO Robert Montgomery sits down with Jordan Banks, managing director of Facebook Canada. Banks is discussing where he sees the future of Facebook in Canada and how businesses can take advantage of Facebook to help their company reach more people and increase their revenue.

Banks manages all commercial operations at the Facebook Canada office based in Toronto, Ontario. Previously, Banks was CEO of Jump TV, a leading broadcaster of sports and international television over the Internet. He was also the head eBay Canada. He is a member of the Young President’s Organization and was previously named one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40″ honorees.

For more on Facebook’s role in Canada, follow Bank’s discussion via our liveblog below. You can also see a sit-down TV interview Digital Journal did with Jordan Banks.

Banks is scheduled to speak from 2 – 2:45 p.m. (Eastern). Anyone can view and comment on the liveblog:

Facebook launches Groupon competitor with ‘Deals’ platform

Nov 3, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a press conference from Facebook headquarters

By Chris Hogg

At a press conference at its head office today, Facebook announced a new Deals platform that allows local merchants to target and offer deals to Facebook users. The new platform could prove to be big competition for social-buying giant Groupon.

The Deals platform is built around Facebook’s Places feature. It allows users to find specials around them, and it allows merchants to offer specials to drive more business, without paying Facebook a dime.

The Deals platform allows users to launch Facebook on their mobile and search for deals available around them, see what deals their friends have purchased, and see what deals are being offered by businesses they “like.”

Deals can range from everything to discounts at restaurants, to clothing stores, to coffee shops and more. Once a user finds a deal they want, they can go into the store and claim the discount.

Facebook says its Deals product is designed to solve an age-old problem of getting local businesses online. The company says local businesses have been told for years they should be online, but local business owners don’t always see the value. Facebook says its platform provides a reason to be online, as it allows merchants to turn fans and visitors into “real people, real dollars and real experiences.”

On the merchant side, Facebook says the deal set-up process is simple: Merchants visit a single page where they can specify two lines of text to describe a deal, when it expires and how many deals are offered.

Four types of deals are available: Individual deals, loyalty deals, friend deals and charity deals. Individual deals target an individual user; loyalty deals offer incentive to get users to come back often (for example, offering a free coffee if the user buys two at previous visits); friend deals to offer incentive to get users to bring in large groups (for example, offering a group of four people a discount at a restaurant); and charity deals.

Self-serve deals are coming to all companies on Facebook in the near future. For today’s launch announcement, Facebook is partnersing with The Gap, which will give away 10,000 pairs of bluejeans to people who check-in at a Gap store.

Facebook’s Deals feature is available in the United States and will be rolled out in other regions later.

By adding a social business layer to its Places product, Facebook is likely to attract businesses who currently use social buying tools such as Groupon. The big difference, however, is that deals from Facebook could be more inexpensive for retailers.

“To be clear, we don’t get paid for the deals,” said Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, at the press conference. “They’re user value and value to the businesses. If a business wants, they can also advertise on the ad system we’ve had for years. For now, the whole premise is this is something great for people who are using this system. Check in, tag three of your friends and everyone gets a free ice-cream. That’s good. That hasn’t been done before.”

Facebook offering deals without taking a cut of the margins could put a huge dent in sales from competing deal-maker Groupon.

Groupon is currently the leading deal-of-the-day site that offers group discounts on everything from spa services to restaurant deals to discounts at major retailers. Deals are offered to members by email and through social media.

Groupon, a two-year-old startup out of Chicago, is the fastest-growing company in Web history, generating more than $500 million in revenue this year, according to Forbes. Valued at $1.35 billion, Groupon has seen competitors and copy-cat sites crop up in markets all over the world in an effort to cash-in on the group-buying craze.

Unlike Facebook’s new Deals feature, however, Groupon takes a cut of all revenue generated from daily deals. So if a user buys a coupon for something via Groupon, the retailer gets a percentage and Groupon takes a percentage.

With Facebook’s Deals feature, the retailer could offer the same service without having to lose any of its margin to a partner. The merchant could also benefit by being visible to a user’s entire friend feed on Facebook, and by being able to target people who are physically close to them.

A Facebook blog post lists other potential Deals coming to the U.S. in the near future.

[ Via Chris HoggDigital Journal]

Liveblog: Facebook, AOL and Rogers debate marketing in modern age

Nov 2, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  1 Comment

Digital Day Conference 2010

Toronto – How should marketers adapt to new technologies and demographics online? How should they view content creation? This liveblog follows a panel discussion between Facebook, AOL and Rogers as part of Digital Day in Toronto.

The 13th Annual Digital Day Conference is presented by the Canadian Marketing Association and Marketing Magazine, and is there covering it live.

This panel discussion takes place between Afredo Tan, Senior Director of Sales, Facebook Canada; Graham Moysey, General Manager, AOL Canada; and Claude Galipeau, Executive Vice-President, Digital, Rogers.

The discussion aims to explores and debate content creation, content distribution, and audience engagement as they relate to how marketers and agencies should be thinking about the marketing mix.

Moderated by Veronica Holmes, President of Zenith Digital, the discussion is scheduled to take place between 10:35 – 11:35 Eastern.

We’re at Digital Day and covering the panel talk in a liveblog below: