Category Archives: Marketing

People with fewer friends on Facebook raise more money for charity than those with lots of connections

With the Christmas-spirit surrounding me, an interesting study about charity and social media. Professor Kimberley Scharf analysed data from and found a negative correlation between the size of a group and the amount of money given by each donor — with the average contribution by each person dropping by two pence for every extra connection someone had on Facebook. Of course this is – again – a correlation rather than a causal relation, but it’s a bizarre correlation. My first thought was ‘moral credits‘ but the researchers does have some other good explanations.

From the press release:

This research builds on and supports earlier analytical findings, published in the November issue of the International Economic Review by Professor Scharf, a Research Director at the University’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), that finds large social groups are less likely to share information about charitable causes when compared to those who are part of smaller circles — and that this results in less fundraising success.

In that paper, the phenomenon of ‘free-riding’ on information sharing is the main driver behind the findings — when people are part of a larger social group, they feel less of a need to share information about well performing charities because they’re expecting other friends to share the information; but this concept of free-riding also extends to giving in social groups — friends expect other friends to stump up most of the cash and so they don’t bother themselves.

“The problem is that everyone thinks the same thing and therefore the actual amount of money that’s donated is less than it would have been had fewer friends been asked in the first place,” she said.

But Prof Scharf also discovered that the amount a person can raise doesn’t only depend on the number of friends they have online — those who complete tougher fundraising activities generate more cash.

“Whilst running is by far the most popular event on JustGiving, it is in fact individuals who complete triathlons that typically attract the largest number of donations and raise the most money in total,” she added. “So doing something physically demanding and asking a small group of friends for their support is much more effective than relying on donations from lots of people for what would be perceived as a relatively less exerting activity.”

Although there could be many reasons for these outcomes, the research supports the idea that motives for giving in online platforms, such as, could be driven by “relational warm-glow,” that is, People are motivated by the idea of helping their friends achieve their fundraising goals — it makes the fundraiser feel good and this in turn impacts on the people who’ve made the donations.

And it is possible that donors have a more intense warm glow experience when the fundraiser exerts more effort, such as could happen when s/he fundraises by taking part in a triathlon instead of by taking a leisurely stroll, and this could then transpire into larger donations. Exploring further the underlying mechanisms behind this behaviour is part of Professor Scharf’s other on-going research into charitable giving in social groups.

“Giving behaviour is largely affected by existing personal relationships, whether its friends, family or work colleagues — these factors are extremely important according to the responses we had from donors.”

Abstract of the research:

I describe a dynamic model of costly information sharing where private information affecting collective-value actions is transmitted by social proximity. Individuals make voluntary contributions toward the provision of a pure public good, and information transmission about quality of provision is a necessary condition for collective provision to take place in a stationary equilibrium. I show that unlike in the case of private goods, better informed individuals face positive incentives to incur a cost to share information with their neighbors and that these incentives are stronger and provision of the pure public good greater the smaller are individuals’ social neighborhoods.


1 Comment

Filed under Marketing, Research, Social Media

Suggesting a possible scale for Big Data: pleasing – creeping – freaking

2 weeks ago I gave a public speech for a group of marketeers. At first I was a bit surprised, as I’m an educational scientist by default, but they wanted to hear my opinion on the use of big data and youth. Fair enough. When preparing my speech and in the aftermath, I made up a little scale that maybe fun.

To be clear, this scale isn’t the result of any research (yet)!

Big data can be very useful, but can also go dreadful wrong, from a point of view of the user this can go from pleasing to freaking.

  • Pleasing is when as a user you don’t even seem to notice the use of big data, but the technology makes your life more pleasant and easy. I have a sat nav that tells me where there are issues on my road and helps me planning the best option. Little do most people know that this is the result of big data, even using cell phone signals to know where people are moving slow instead of at the expected speed.
  • Creeping is a second stage, with people being watched, but they don’t notice it really. If they find out, they feel a bit awkward, but then admit that the information was public. Creeping actually already has this meaning, if you check the urban dictionary.
    Following what is going on in someone’s life by watching their status messages on Instant Messengers such as MSN, and their updates to their social networking profiles on websites like Facebook or MySpace. Akin to stalking in the real world, but usually done to people who are your friends that would normally share this information with you, however you’re just too busy to keep up conversation with them.”
    My wife is still stalked by a dress she looked at on a website, with the dress popping up at many websites. Annoying, slightly creepy, but not too invasive.
  • Freaking also has already a lemma in the urban dictionary, but to me it is what happens when you feel betrayed and spied on by someone you really don’t know and who knows too much about you. Well, you freak out.
    Take this famous add:

    Or this story about how target knew that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father found out. Freaking is when big data and data mining goes wrong in the eye of the person being mined.

Well, what do you think? Open to suggestions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Trends

How does technology affects mums? VIMN examined it in Australia

A recent joint project by Nickelodeon Kids & Family GPS, MultiChannel Network and BabyCenter sought to understand how technology and content have affected modern moms. This study, “Paranoid or Prepared?,” combines both qualitative and quantitative analysis of more than 1,500 respondents across Australia (source).

Here are some key insights and takeaways from this project:

Though moms were defined en masse in the past, today they define themselves.

  • Their roles and challenges change with time
  • While being a mom is their #1 defining role and proudest achievement, it’s not all they are
  • Takeaways: have empathy, acknowledge they’re not all the same, use relatable moms, provide a forum for sharing achievements

In a sea of information and conflicting advice, trust is key.

  • Moms are looking for brands and advice they can trust (heritage/established, expert or peer endorsements)
  • Takeaways: give honest advice, make it simple, partner with experts

Moms are generally happy, but stressed.

  • They wish they had more time for themselves and for family
  • Technology and information overload is an issue
  • Takeaways: use simple and actionable communication, help them slow down and de-stress

Smartphones are moms’ backup brains.

  • They’re using smartphones for everything
  • However, they have a love/hate relationship with them—valuing useful features but wishing they could switch off
  • Takeaways: understand who you’re targeting, empathize with their needs/challenges, deliver simple solutions

Moms are connecting across more devices and in more locations.

  • They’ll embrace brands that appear to add value
  • Gen X moms use different devices for different tasks
  • Takeaways: Help Gen X moms embrace all that technology offers, make sure offerings are PC-friendly for Gen X, provide inspiration and ideas, make the mundane fun

Millennial moms are especially big mobile users.
•    They’re using mobile technology to get inspiration, research products, and shorten the path to purchase
•    Millennials are more likely to research on the go
•    Takeaways: safety first (reassure moms), make it easy/visual/immediate, make sure it works

Moms want to be their kids’ best friends.

  • Moms want to spend more quality time together and put kids first in everything
  • They’re increasingly going on social media and gaming to connect with kids
  • Takeaways: provide opportunities to have fun together (in person or digitally), offer the chance to be a “cool mom”

Moms love to be part of a reassuring network.

  • All moms love to share (some a bit too much!)
  • They’re increasingly looking for trusted and trusting communities
  • Millennial moms more likely to head online
  • Takeaways: empower influencers (who can become your best marketers), provide a platform to share experiences, align with an established community, give them something to discuss

They’re nostalgic about life before they had kids.

  • Moms miss the freedom, the activities they used to do, and their looks
  • Many also miss their careers
  • Takeaways: help them celebrate new roles and manage change in their lives, provide a judgment-free community to connect with peers

Technology leaves moms feeling paranoid and prepared.

  • Technology can be a source of anxiety, especially among Gen X moms
  • Millennial moms have embraced technology as a parenting tool, but feel overwhelmed by conflicting advice
  • All moms feel overwhelmed by their kids’ technology use
  • Their kids’ safety, both online and in real life, are huge concerns
  • Takeaways: offer reassurance, centralize and validate information, help them understand what their kids are doing

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Research, Technology, Youngsters

How do young people around the world think about the World Cup? (MTV research)

I admit, I really, really don’t like football (or soccer for the people who think I’m talking about another sport). So I’m really looking forward to the post-world cup era. Still some of you maybe are interested in this survey MTV commissioned of young people across eight of its key regions, including Australia, UK, France, Latin America (Argentina, Colombia and Mexico), Germany, Italy, Southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore) and Spain.

Here are the key findings:

(a) Football Fervor

6 in 10 global Millennials believe the World Cup will be more exciting than the Olympics. On average, 61% think the World Cup will be more exciting than the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Those in Spain (75%) and Germany (73%) are most likely to agree with this statement. UK Millennials are least likely to share their enthusiasm—possibly because the most recent Summer Olympics were on their home turf.

Young people in Germany and Spain are most optimistic about their country’s chances of winning. Among Millennials, 76% of Germans and 69% of Spaniards think their nation will take home the 2014 trophy. (Oddschecker, an online betting site that’s part of the UK’s BSkyB, predicts rankings of fourth and third, respectively, for these countries.*) About 6 in 10 young people in Italy and Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico) anticipate a win—and again according to Oddschecker, Argentina is second most likely to win. The UK and France are less confident in their teams, with half expecting their country will lose.

Brazil is the nation the most Millennials hope will win if their home countries don’t. Brazil is by far the most favored country if their own countries should lose (29% would root for Brazil, 10% Spain, 8% Italy). Brazil is also the country expected to win, according to Oddschecker.

(b) National Pride Symbols**

Food and alcoholic beverages are the most popular symbols of national pride among Millennials.

•    UK: Fish and chips (#1)
•    France: Croissants (#2), Champagne (#3)
•    Germany: Beer (#1), Bratwurst (#3)
•    Italy: Pizza (#1), Wine (#5)
•    Spain: Paella (#1), Wine (#5)
•    Latin America: Corn (#3)
•    Australia: Barbecues (#2), Beer (#3)
•    Southeast Asia: Dim Sum (#3)

Current personalities and historical figures also have important symbolic value. 

•    UK: The Queen (#2), David Beckham (#4)
•    France: Napoleon (#4)
•    Germany: Beethoven (#5)
•    Italy: Leonardo da Vinci (#3)
•    Spain: Cervantes (#2), Rafa Nada (#4)
•    Latin America: Simon de Bolivar (#1), Shakira (#4), Lionel Messi (#5)
•    Australia: Ned Kelly (#4)
•    Southeast Asia: Jackie Chan (#2)

Landmarks ranked highly as national pride symbols in a few countries.

•    UK: Big Ben (#3)
•    France: Eiffel Tower (#1)
•    Italy: Colosseum (#2)
•    Spain: La Alhambra de Granada (#3)
•    Australia: Sydney Opera House (#1)

In a few areas, Millennials identified brands as symbols of their national pride.

•    Southeast Asia: Milo (#1), Uniqlo (#4)
•    Australia: Billabong (#5)
•    Germany: BMW (#4)
•    Italy: Ferrari (#4)

*Oddschecker, Wednesday June 11th 2014

** 10 options of national symbols offered for each country (e.g. food & alcohol, historical figures, landmarks, brands, sports stars, music artists, actors and animated characters)

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Research, Youngsters

MTV Knowing Youth: What Millennials think life will be like for them in the year 2020

It sounds great, this report by MTV, still one might ask if they rather describe an age group rather than a generation:

They’re optimistic about the future. Instead of a sense that things are already improving, Millennials have an attitude that things can only get better than they are now. Tomorrow has to be better than today.

They’re taking responsibility for shaping their futures. Millennials are motivated to work and recognize the level of competition out there. They know they’ll need to fight for what they want in order to succeed. This sense of responsibility differentiates Millennials from other generations. They’re making the most of what they’ve got in hopes of attaining their ultimate goal of happiness—and they’re eager to rise to what feels like a daunting and exciting challenge.

When thinking about what specifically they’ll be doing in the future, they’re still unclear. Most Millennials do not have a clear idea of what their future will look like, how they’ll get there, or what role they can or will play as individuals in the improved world that they envision. However, they have a firm belief that they need to seek out the opportunities they want in life. They also have an underlying sense that if everyone plays their part in this way, the world can’t help but improve.

They have a desire to inspire others. While clear-cut notions of the future are rare among Millennials, the drive to make a difference cuts across age, background, and market. Most recognize the potential and the need for their generation to make the world a better place – but determining their roles as individuals can be overwhelming. However, there is a sense that by putting their energy into helping others on a micro level, they’re contributing to the bigger picture. If everyone does this, there is potential to make a real difference.

They aspire to work that fulfills them. Millennials’ “desire to inspire” largely manifests in dreams of finding meaningful work. They want jobs that make a difference. That could mean helping others directly through employment in a helping profession — or it could mean touching people in a broader sense, like by inspiring them as an entertainer. As long as everyone is doing something that fits into the bigger picture for that better world, they are doing their part.


Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Research

2 research presentations on food marketing for kids by Tim Smits

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Research

Don’t rain on my… restaurant? A rainy day can ruin online restaurant review

Ok, this is a bit off topic, but I thought it a funny insight from a new study: After looking at 1.1 million online reviews for 840,000 restaurants in more than 32,000 cities across the country, researchers have found that the weather outside can be just as significant a factor for reviews as what happens inside a restaurant. The study shows evaluations written on rainy or snowy days, or very cold or hot days, are more negative than those written on nice days. The study also found a nationwide spike in the number of reviews written during the summer, but July and August were the worst months of the year for ratings. November was the best.

Abstract of the research:

Online recommendation sites are valuable information sources that people contribute to, and often use to choose restaurants. However, little is known about the dynamics behind participation in these online communities and how the recommendations in these communities are formed. In this work, we take a first look at online restaurant recommendation communities to study what endogenous (i.e., related to entities being reviewed) and exogenous factors influence people’s participation in the communities, and to what extent. We analyze an online community corpus of 840K restaurants and their 1.1M associated reviews from 2002 to 2011, spread across every U.S. state. We construct models for number of reviews and ratings by community members, based on several dimensions of endogenous and exogenous factors. We find that while endogenous factors such as restaurant attributes (e.g., meal, price, service) affect recommendations, surprisingly, exogenous factors such as demographics (e.g., neighborhood diversity, education) and weather (e.g., temperature, rain, snow, season) also exert a significant effect on reviews. We find that many of the effects in online communities can be explained using offline theories from experimental psychology. Our study is the first to look at exogenous factors and how it related to online restaurant reviews. It has implications for designing online recommendation sites, and in general, social media and online communities.


Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Research, Social Media

VIMN-study: What do Millennials think the world will be like in 2020?

We’re closer to 2020 than we are to 2000, so it’s not that bad idea to look forward. What do Millennials think the world will be like in 2020? This was the driving question of a new study by Viacom International Media Networks, “MTV Knowing Youth: 2020 Vision.” This report was based on an online survey of over 6,800 people ages 15 to 24 across 32 countries, as well as qualitative work in 17 markets. The qualitative work had a sample of 72 participants and included in-person interviews in respondents’ hometowns, as well as user-generated, ethnographic videos. 

I found this summary online:

Taken from that analysis, here are some key insights on what global Millennials think – or at least hope – life will be like in the year 2020:

In general, the world is a better place to be. Millennials are optimistic about the future. They do have concerns — about the economy, their ability to find work, and technology getting out of hand — but they generally believe the only possible future is one that is better than today. They see changes to society as having great potential to improve the economic and political issues that they observe.

Society is fairer and more equal.This more egalitarian world that Millennials hope for emerges from the injustices that they see in world politics. Social issues play a large role in their view of politics, and the world to which they aspire is free of poverty and corruption, embraces gay rights, is more democratic, and is liberated from class systems (particular issues tend to be applied to specific countries). However, while in general they are interested in global issues, they’re mainly motivated to change problems that are closer to home.

The economy is stronger and more stable. While most Millennials don’t fully understand the complexities of the economic crisis, they have a great desire for economic stability. Most were not personally touched by the global recession until they started to look for work and this is now their main concern. With so many Millennials unable to afford to move out of their parents’ homes, there is a feeling of frustration that while there is a world of opportunity open to them, they’re unable to take advantage. They’re neither angry nor pessimistic about the economic climate; they simply accept the situation and expect that it will improve as long as citizens play their part.

There is more renewable energy and less waste. While environmental issues aren’t necessarily a frequent topic of conversation with friends, Millennials are an eco-minded generation because they were brought up with the realities of a planet running out of natural resources. They hope for a world that makes the most of what’s available. Technology can aid in this journey, as long as it doesn’t produce too much waste.

Technology will make life easier – but it’s a double-edged sword. While Millennials enjoy the benefits of advancing technology, they also have a very real fear of its potential to compromise relationships. And when it comes to work, their views are similarly conflicted. Technology promises future opportunity in the form of jobs that don’t yet exist, but it also has the potential to cause unemployment by automating jobs that people do today. Rather than seeing it as the answer to all things in the future, Millennials are acutely aware of the responsibilities that come with technological advancements.

The world is more peaceful and tolerant of diversity. While the desire for peace does not make Millennials unique from other generations, this is nonetheless a strong theme for them. They don’t want conflict in the world, and their first-hand experience in mixing with other cultures causes them to struggle with the concepts of intolerance and war. They see it possible to communicate, share, and identify with people who are different from them.

1 Comment

Filed under Marketing, Research, Youngsters

VIMN-research on kids worldwide and their technology

VIMN is releasing quite a lot of research. This new post they’ve published focuses on the role of technology in the lives on children around the world. What devices do they have access to, how do they use them, and what is their relationship to TV content across a variety of screens?

Nickelodeon answered these questions in a report that combined numerous international qualitative and quantitative studies to deep-dive into the world of kids and technology.

Here are key findings:

Kids around the globe are more similar than ever before – but their technological maturity varies by country.

•  Technological maturity differs even among countries with similar economic situations, educational levels, and social values
•  As an example, the UK and Germany have differences in spite of higher technology penetration
o Parents in the UK are more supportive of technology than     German parents
o The UK educational system encourages technology use, while German kids are directed more toward outdoor play and activity

As parent-child relationships become increasingly close, technology is connecting them in ever more meaningful ways.

•  Globally, 8 in 10 kids who use social media include their parent(s) in their networks – and most feel it has a positive influence on their relationship
•  Parents and kids are using devices together (i.e. to play games)

Though its ability to connect people is important, entertainment and education are the primary benefits of technology for kids.

•  71% of 9-11s believe the internet is mostly about fun, while 76% believe it’s about learning
•  Among kids 12-14, 73% think it’s mostly about fun and 74% say it’s about learning – a slight difference that suggests that fun increases and learning decreases a little as kids get older

Digital device ownership is high among kids.

•  46% of kids 9-11 own a mobile phone ( 18% have a smartphone)
•  37% of 9-11s and 50% of 12-14s have their own computer/laptop
•  12% of 9-11s and 15% of 12-14s have their own tablet
•  Recent U.S. research showed that 24% of kids 3 to 5 regularly use an  iPad

In addition to gaming, kids are using digital devices to listen to music, read, view/take pictures, play with apps, and engage with educational content.

•  No matter how busy kids are, they find ways to incorporate internet activity into every waking moment
•  70% of 9-14s around the world use technology/social media to stay up to date and connected wherever they are
•  63% of global 9-14s say being connected to the internet is as much a part of everyday life as eating and sleeping
•  63% check for messages at least once a day – and 23% check at least once an hour

TV ownership is fairly high among kids – and their interest in TV content remains strong.

•  42% of kids 9-14 around the globe have their own TV set – ownership is highest in Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, U.S., and Poland; lowest in Morocco, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore
•  On average, kids own their first TV set around age 6
•  3 in 10 kids have a TV in their bedroom – slightly higher among boys (33%) than girls (28%)
•  There has been a slight drop in ownership since 2007 – however TV content is as popular as ever, and more and more accessible
•  78% of kids globally say they love TV and couldn’t live without it

Kids are increasingly looking for ways to watch their favorite content online, using a variety of devices.
•  38% of 9-14s globally watch TV on a variety of devices
•  Watching video continues to be one of the most loved i-device activities – second only to gaming
•  Boys and girls alike enjoy watching video content
•  In the U.S., YouTube remains the stand-out site for finding videos, followed by Netflix and TV channels’ websites (boys prefer YouTube; girls prefer TV episodes/clips online)

TV content defines kids’ early relationship with the internet. A little later in childhood, multi-screen activity can further enhance their enjoyment of TV programming.

•  TV networks’ websites tend to be the very first places young kids visit online
•  At a slightly older age (9-14), multi-screen activity becomes a part of their TV viewing experience:

o  52% look up things featured in a show
o  39% check the social media pages of favorite shows
o  35% share links related to a show while watching

•  As kids’ ownership of handheld devices increases, this type of activity is set to take hold in a bigger way going forward – generating greater opportunity for the internet to drive engagement with TV


Filed under Marketing, Research, Technology, Trends, Youngsters

VIMN-insights: Audiences (still!) love TV and TV content (but the evolution continues!)

Key Findings of this new research by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), provide a deep understanding of how and why TV viewing is changing around the world, and what advancements in distribution mean for how viewers engage with and consume content. The study also identifies the emotional and functional benefits that viewers gain through different screens and access points.

And of course, there is a video:

Audiences (still!) love TV and TV content.

Consumption of traditional, measured TV continues to increase: it’s up by 1 minute globally in 2012, 7 minutes in Europe.

  • People across the globe told us that TV was a very important part of their day. It’s their me time, their distraction from real life, and what fills any and every moment they feel bored.

Consumers are also discovering new ways of accessing content on their TV sets.

  • Connected TVs and operator-enabled services let viewers control, target and more fully enjoy the content that they love.

And while consumers do love time-shifting methods, we found that live TV remains by far the dominant way to access video content.

  • And as a matter of fact, having access to time-shifting technology actually increases the time spent watching content overall.

Consumers choose their devices according to a “Hierarchy of Screens.”

  • Next to the TV set, audiences around the world use a number of additional devices to watch, ranging from PCs and laptops to tablets and mobiles as well as games consoles. Some of those devices are connected to the TV set; others are used as screens on their own.
  • We found that more opportunities to watch content on multiple devices also increases the amount of time spent viewing, and have identified a new “Hierarchy of Screens” – an order of preference by which consumers are choosing which screen to use.
  • With increasingly busy lives, they want TV to fit into their timetable, not the other way around. Whether this means missing the first 15 minutes of a show on Live TV and being able to start it late, pausing it to chat with a spouse, or series binging on episodes on Saturday to catch up, it’s all about seeing video content in moments when you can be fully focused and engaged.

That means TV today needs to be S.M.A.R.T.: All of this research leads to the introduction of the TV S.M.A.R.T. concept – a lens for thinking about TV, a rubric that works to align our partners, networks and programs to the young audiences of today and tomorrow. Across VIMN, we use the TV S.M.A.R.T. filter to think about the experiences we create for our audiences.

  • TV continues to be a SOCIAL experience around the world.
  • TV content is consumed traditionally, but it is also more MOBILE
  • Content is ACCESSIBLE through the television but also on laptops and other mobile devices.
  • It is all about RELEVANT content – it must be delivered around consumers’ lives, whether they are 9, 19 or 29, providing variations on content appropriate to viewing behavior.
  • Together all of these characteristics help us to create a TAILORED TV experience.

1 Comment

Filed under Marketing, Research, Technology, Trends