What’s hot in social media: March 2012

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From SXSW to new apps on the scene, this month has seen another big month for social media. Let’s take a look at our what’s hot in social media round-up for March 2012…

Charity and social media

The beginning of March saw a host of charities using International Women’s Day on 8th as an opportunity to do something interesting in social. One of the most striking examples was Bollock’s to Poverty’s Facebook app which turns your timeline into that of an oppressed 1950’s housewife to highlight gender inequality issues.

Another charitable issue which came to light in March was the hotly debated Kony 2012 video from Invisible Children. If you’re one of the last people on earth not to watch it (over 86 million people have watched it on Youtube) the video is about raising public awareness of Joseph Kony, who is head of guerrilla group, the LRA in Uganda. Despite being a complex issue, this campaign has simply mushroomed in a way which other marketers could only dream of for their brands.

Social entertainment

On a lighter note, March saw the explosion of ‘Draw Something’, the app ‘du jour’. With a staggering 35 million downloads and a billion drawings a week, this Pictionary-style app has been making hundreds of thousands of pounds from in-app adverts per day. No surprise then, that social gaming powerhouse Zynga has just bought OMGPOP, the creators behind ‘Draw Something’ for a cool £113 million.

Meanwhile, social TV has been gaining traction in the UK with Social TV app Zeebox seeing a strong increase in user numbers following a TV advertising campaign, supported by BSkyB’s recent investment in the company.


This month the buzz around Pinterest has continued. British airline BMI has launched what could be Pinterest’s first lottery by encouraging fans to re-pin images from popular holiday destinations for the chance to win free flights. Pinterest itself has been suffering the common annoyances that come with popularity – clones and spammers. Take a look at this site for example – look familiar at all?

Finally, this month sees the launch of Facebook’s full screen photo viewer and the changeover for brands from pages to timeline is anticipated tomorrow. Are you ready?

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Social TV gaining traction in the UK

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Social TV

Social media and television often makes the headlines for stateside “event television” (such as the Oscars or Superbowl) - but what about social TV in the UK? So far, March has seen quite a few developments:

Channel 4seven announced

Channel 4 announced the launch of a new TV channel that will re-broadcast the most popular programmes of the last seven days. The schedule will be determined according to the “buzz” generated from social media, bloggers, commentators and direct contact.

It will be interesting to see how viewers react to this dynaimc version of “catch-up” TV, rather than using other on-demand services such as 4oD .

Social TV Trends Report

A survey of 2,025 British adults by Diffusion PR and YouGov has highlighted that 17% of the public use social media as a way to discover new programmes.

In terms of influences for people to enter online discussions about a TV programme, the most significant cause is peer to peer recommendation rather than advertising - suggesting that brands need to be creative in initiating conversations with viewers.

Social tv report viewing recommendation

Social TV app Zeebox in rapid user growth

Social TV app Zeebox has been generating strong user numbers following a TV advertising campaign, which has been supported by BSkyB’s recent investment in the company. Celebrity endorsement during ITV’s Dancing On Ice drew another 22,000 users to the app.

Zeebox allows users to share what they are currently watching, interact with other viewers and see what their friends are watching at the same time. The app can also add contextual information to a particular moment in a programme, such as Wikipedia links, but brands will be more interested in the ability for the app to direct users to relevant purchases or downloads.

Survey into dual screen viewing - “chatterboxing”

An infographic released by TV Licensing suggests that there is very little difference in usage between 18-24 and 25-34 year-olds in online discussion of the programmes they are viewing.

Chatterboxing dual screen tv stats

I find the concept of avoiding “spoilers” of personal interest - I’d rather watch the Australian Grand Prix at 6am than avoid any online media until the highlights, for example - as social media can make avoiding such information challenging.

Could this fear of spoilers create an opportunity for television advertisers? The need to be participating with a live broadcast, and the potential for apps like Zeebox to display a “click to buy” link in synch with the current advert  becomes a powerful proposition.

Taking ownership of hashtags

This excellent piece in The Wall examines the power of hashtags for broadcasters. Recently Channel 4 frequently displayed a hashtag during a broadcast of Dispatches to encourage discussion. Directing viewers to use a particular hashtag meant that the conversation was contained in one place and not fragmented, and suggests that broadcasters should try to direct hashtag use rather than leaving it up to the random chatter of viewers.

It also highlights that, while hashtags are ideal for live event TV and allow people to find others with similar interests, the life of a hashtag can extend well beyond the original broadcast, and last for weeks.

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