Monday, January 31, 2011

They're calling the Superbowl the "Social-bowl"

From Ad Age this morning, with the dominance of social media, they have dubbed the big game the "social-bowl". Here's more details.

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- When Audi's ad debuts Feb. 6 during Super Bowl XLV in the first break in the game, it will contain a hashtag so viewers can follow conversations about the ad on Twitter. Will a majority of viewers have a clue what the symbol means? Probably not. But its mere presence is a sign that Super Bowl advertisers are tapping social media to extend their buy like never before.

In Audi's case, the TV spot is the starting point and Twitter is the vehicle for extending the experience beyond the first pod of the game. "You need television spots that are obviously humorous and creative, that cause a conversation, that have some kind of cause or meaning behind it," said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer. But "truth be told, the cause can only be sustained by social media."

Mr. Keogh is not alone. More than ever, marketers who enter the Super Bowl are taking part in a multi-week buzz contest rather than a onetime showing of their ad during a football game. "There's no doubt that the social component provides a buzz," said Chuck Tomkovick, a professor of marketing at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, who has studied Super Bowl ads for years.

And there's then the not-so-insignificant fact that linking digital and social initiatives to a TV effort can boost results and amortize costs -- especially when you're paying up to $3 million for prime Super Bowl inventory. "There's significantly less expense" when it comes to harnessing these emerging venues, said Donnie Williams, chief digital officer at Horizon Media. "You pay a fraction of what you pay for the Super Bowl ad and you get dramatic value on top of your overall investment."

Or, as Nick Utton, chief marketing officer of E-Trade, which is bringing its baby back to the Bowl, said: "The CFO is looking over your shoulder: 'Did we make a return on our investment?'"

The King of Beers is trying to drum up pre-game interest around a Clydesdales-themed Super Bowl ad for Budweiser, starting with two 15-second "to-be-continued" commercials that ran during the AFC and NFC championship games, amping up the tease with still shots of its three Bud Light Super Bowl ads on its Facebook page. If users can "work together" to guess the plotlines, Bud Light promises not cash or free beer, but another commercial. (Gee, thanks.) If no one guesses, you'll sadly have to wait to see the 90-second, internet-only spot that will be released sometime after the game.

This seems to be the year social networking charges onto the field. Consider that E-Trade was the only advertiser among the 2009 and 2010 Super Bowl rosters to even add a tease to its Facebook or Twitter presence at the close of the ad, according to research done by students of Mr. Tomkovick.

Teleflora, back again for its third round as a Super Bowl advertiser, has in the past used Facebook to spark conversations about its commercial. But this year, it's placing even more emphasis on the social-media aspect of the campaign. "This year is definitely more of an intense marketing effort, because the channel is becoming more developed," said Laurie McCartney, Teleflora's chief marketing officer.

Weeks before the game, E-Trade was stoking interest by seeding its wisecracking baby character into the playoffs, having him interact with sports commentators on both Fox and CBS as what Mr. Utton called "a prognosticator" of the eventual victors going to the Super Bowl. The baby will also banter with on-air anchors during the Super Bowl pregame. In addition, E-Trade will show outtakes from its popular commercials on YouTube and advertise on YouTube during the days before the Bowl. "For $100,000 a second, you'd better leverage" the Super Bowl commercial for all it's worth, he said.

Meanwhile, Teleflora is hoping its Super Bowl spot featuring country crooner Faith Hill will turn heads. But why leave things to chance? Look for the commercial to draw attention to a Teleflora "Flower Coach" app for iPhone and iPad app that will let consumers tell friends via email or Twitter that they are sending them flowers.

Volkswagen returns to the Super Bowl armed with research that bears out social media's value, said Tim Ellis, VP-marketing, Volkswagen of America. The car maker bought time in the Super Bowl in 2010 after a nine-year absence and found 1 million people saw its ad online after the game; of those, 850,000 viewed the commercial on YouTube, so the automaker is doing a YouTube "takeover" the day after the game. The company also found a wide swath of TV viewers going online to check out sports-news sites during the Super Bowl broadcast, so VW responded by doing a takeover of ESPN's mobile site during the game, featuring the ads.

The social-media maneuvers simply signal advertisers are following consumer behavior. A recent survey from Lightspeed Research estimated that nearly two-thirds of viewers aged 18 to 34 who plan to watch the Super Bowl also plan to make use of a smartphone. Of those with a smartphone, 59% will be sending emails or text messages about the game, 18% will be checking out ads online from their phones, and 18% will visit advertiser websites. Almost a third, or 32%, will be posting comments about the game on a social network, according to the survey.

And, Audi hopes, using its hashtag.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - AdAge agency of the year Wieden&Kennedy

This column is all about excellence, and I can't think of an agency more befitting a spotlight then Wieden and Kennedy. They were recently awarded agency of the year honours by AdAge. Fresh off the press it was announced this week they have also been awarded the Levi creative account worth about 150 million annually.

Money aside, the agency's success has been built around solid creative, and their biggest client, Nike. Not bad for a little shop based out of Portland, Oregon. Wieden & Kennedy have garnered a number of awards and is also the shop behind the much talked about Old Spice commercials. With annual billings in excess of 209 million they are well poised to go on to even bigger heights.

Let's look at some of the pieces that have established this hot shop.

Their series for Sportsnet is one of the more more popular virals.



Out of their London office this brilliantly animated piece celebrates a love of film and the kick off of their film season with the London Guardian. How many film references can you name?










This final spot is quite remarkable for it's ingenuity. But more notably, it's shot entirely on the new Nokia N8. The ‘Dot’ film showcases the smartphone’s 12-megapixel photography capabilities and also celebrates the CellScope, an invention created by Professor Daniel Fletcher. The CellScope is a microscopic device attached to a Nokia handset, which the Professor used to produce life-saving technology: with his invention he has helped diagnose fatal diseases in remote areas of third world countries. As part of the campaign to bring these types of amazing, authentic uses of technology to life, Wieden+Kennedy and Aardman, created a microscopic animation.




If you want to see the "making of the dot", it's right here.



That's it for this week. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How powerful is social media? Ask the Egyptian government

The unrest in Egypt right now is being fueled by instant messaging, social media postings and heavy use of mobile communication. The results are quite harrowing as hundreds are being brutally put down by Hosni Mubarak's 30 year old government.

Here are the facts from Britains Guardian newspaper

Egypt blocks social media websites in attempted clampdown on unrest

Facebook, Google, Hotmail and Twitter among services blocked by government, report users

  • guardian.co.uk,
  • Article history
  • Riot police blocking press photographers during attempts to stage a second day of protests in Cairo
    Mobile phone users film riot police blocking press photographers during a second day of protests in Cairo. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

    Internet sites such as Twitter and Facebook were cut off within Egypt today as the government of President Hosni Mubarak tried to prevent social media from being used to foment unrest.

    Many sites registered in Egypt could not be reached from outside, according to Herdict.org, a website where users report access problems.

    Twitter, YouTube, Hotmail, Google, Chinese search engine Baidu and a "proxy service" – which would allow users to evade obvious restrictions – appeared to be blocked from inside the country, according to reports on the site.

    Twitter said blocking was intermittent and some users were able to tweet while Bambuser, a Swedish site for streaming video from mobile phones, said it had been blocked after being used by some protesters this week.

    About 24%, or 19.2 million, of Egypt's 80 million population have internet access, usually through internet cafes, mobile internet or "public information technology clubs". About 1m have home access via computer.

    Far more people – about 26 million – have mobile phones, so protests could be organised via text message. Vodafone, one of the two largest mobile phone operators there, said it was not responsible for blocking Twitter. "It's a problem all over Egypt and we are waiting for a solution."


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taco bell needs new PR

Taco Bell is one of the top memes right now because of their alleged failure to comply with government regulations. According to a class action suite, they have "very little actual meat" in their tacos and are calling it "seasoned beef". Meanwhile the USDA mandates it should be called "taco meat filling".

You may have seen some of the threads already around Twitter. In addition to the class action suit, many are threatening an all out boycott because they thought there were eating beef. According to some, "isolated oat product" is not part of the beef family.

Note - on the flipside, Taco Bell is counter suing the class action lawsuit claiming,
"We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture. We are proud of the quality of our beef and identify all the seasoning and spice ingredients on our website. Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later -- and got their 'facts' absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food."

Hey, one could argue, oats are much better for your cholesterol than beef. Perhaps I should fire off a note to Taco Bells PR firm? On second thought, their inbox is probably pretty full right now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The condensed history of social media

I remember my first experience with "the internet". Mark Mullaly, a cousin of good friends of mine, hooked up a state of the art computer and modem in my office in 1988. I could upload BBS feeds from a bulletin board at the lighting fast speed of 2400 baud. I was uploading information digitally. How cool. What took an hour then now takes about 8 seconds. Then I got my first email address with a long departed provider called Onramp. And my first online experience was with another corporate ghost, Compuserve.
In the mid 90's things started to pick up at a furious pace leading up to the dot com crash of 2000. That's my super condensed version. Courtesy of Flickr and Mashable, here is an graph chart that goes from A to Z, a lot faster than my 1987 modem.

Lead image courtesy of Flickr, rishibando.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wieden and Kennedy -Ad age Agency of the year

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Call it a two-fer, a double-double, snake eyes. For the first time, Ad Age and Creativity are honoring the same top shop. And for good reason. When it came to bold idea-making and strong execution, nobody did it like this Portland, Ore.-based stalwart. Couple that with its newfound mettle in building strong client bonds and it won the business case, too.

Weiden and Kennedy

Friday, January 21, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Heineken "gets it."

Welcome to our weekly celebration of creativity in broadcast, web and anywhere else people feel like kicking up their heels, pulling out their brush (whatever that may be) and casting creative brushstrokes across whatever canvass you worship regularly.

As we draw closer to the temple of commercial idolatry, the Superbowl, we stop to pay homage to the 2nd in the series of outstanding Heineken commercials.

You recall the first one that everyone talks about at dinner parties; the commercial about people at a dinner party.

This works in any language.



Heineken has dozens of commercials floating about but you can see the latest series in their Youtube channel.

And for the man about town who knows his way around the jungle.




And finally, listen carefully to the voiceover on this one. Sean Connery is obviously not completely retired.



That's it for this week. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For sale -- one slightly used Superbowl spot

Scanning the trades yesterday I came across an article about someone "reselling" Superbowl ad time. The Superbowl is sold out this year. The individual or group reselling the ad time is being very entrepreneurial about it. I can understand someone buying a sought after domain name and reselling it. But finding a company with an extra 4 million dollars lying around is not quite so easy. I want to see how this comes out.

General Ad news for Thursday January 20, 2011 - FastCompany held a conference in New York recently and asked the president of Nike to expand on last year's Tiger Woods fiasco.

Tiger

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Facebook giving Google ads a run for their money

Facebook continues their slow crawl up the back of Google with the latest news from AdAge. Facebook ad revenues are up substantially from this time last year and eating away at digital ad budgets previously sent to Google ads. Or in some cases traditional media like print and Yellow pages are the losers.
Online digital media platforms are becoming more dominant. Facebook appears to be poised for an online ad battle; and it's unlikely Google ads will be backing down anytime soon.

A sidebar note; industry analysts will be watching Apple stock prices carefully today with word that Steve Jobs is taking an indefinite leave for health reasons.
More here CNN

Monday, January 17, 2011

When is too much.. too much..Ricky Gervais

I watched the Golden Globes last night. And I have to say, I think Ricky Gervais committed career hari kari. In an age in which standup comics use the n word like they're ordering lunch.
Gervais managed to fine territory last night, that shocked, caused gasps, and a lot of people squirming very uncomfortably in their chairs.
It appeared as though he had decided he was disgusted with the Hollywood status quo, wanted nothing to do with it, and, through this hosting stint he would eradicate himself from the Hollywood communicate.

I have always had tremendous respect for Gervais ability to poke fun at himself (Extras, The Office). But last night I felt the humour was mean spirited and not particularly clever. It was disappointing to say the least.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Fuel with a minor GPS adjustment

I read about the appointment of Jon Bond joining New York social agency Big Fuel. Immediately I hopped on their site to breathe in the vibe. I was greeted with an extremely professional site; but I couldn't get around how much the voice just didn't seem to work with the feel of the overall site. The woman sounded too young, and the drama of the script...well I wasn't buying it.

When a company as successful as this, puts all the effort into the brand , it only makes sense that the last mile is greeted with the same urgency. The last mile being the all important voice that is the first impression of a new company.

I get it that I'm not 20. But a hip, "youngish" voice, can still possess the qualities necessary to rivet me, or a 20 year old to the brand.

Make your own call BigFuel.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tablet-mania - the cart is catching up to the horse

You've probably seen or read about the ongoing war between the Ipad, and the generic tablets. And soon Rim will join the fray with the Playbook.
Has the tablet time arrived?

If this link is any indication, one would have to say yes. Comics you can upload and watch for pennies an issue.
Comics on your table

And statistics don't lie. According to some analysts over at Forrester Research, they estimate that by the time 2015 rolls around 82.1 million US adults will carry a tablet. If you extrapolate that into Canada, add an additional 8 million users. Furthermore, they expect the current 10.2 million US users to increase to 26 million by 2011 and 50.7 million by 2012. Of course, leading the pack is none other than Apple’s iPad which Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps believes will lead the hype throughout 2012.

But comics on a digital screen? Don't be surprised. Purists can dilute their passion for print when they're able to see comics they otherwise wouldn't see at all.

The real reading on a tablet market however will be people who slowly migrate from the daily newspaper, or magazine, to the online version. And when an online magazine also includes video clips, it makes a pretty convincing case for tablets.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Groupon steps up to the Superbowl

Source - San Francisco Chronicle

Groupon wanted to follow in Google's footsteps and run an ad during the Super Bowl, but the big game was all sold out, Ad Age reports.

So, instead it's going to settle for a pre-game ad.

This will just be the start of an ad push in "traditional" venues for Groupon.

Ad Age says Groupon is working with Crispin Porter & Bogusky, so we can expect some funny and weird ads.

Considering Groupon is built on off kilter humour, we're excited to see what sort of ads it cooks up for TV.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/01/10/businessinsider-groupon-super-bowl-ad-2011-1.DTL#ixzz1AdusDO2f

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jeep Liberty commercial - humour built around the sell point

An associate and talented videographer, James Graham, passed this on to me. I love this commercial. Not just because it's funny but that's a good place to start. I love it because it adheres to our core principle; don't let the main sell message get lost in the humour. Build the humour around the focus selling proposition.

I can see the agency meeting on this one.

Team lead: "We need to get across the fact that the Jeep Liberty has some luxury bells and whistles. What's the one feature people probably don't know this vehicle has?"

Team member: "Heated seats?"

Team lead: "Beautiful. Build a commercial around that."

Team member: "Ummm okay cool."

And this was the result. Brilliant.



My lead animator and I spent about ten minutes watching this and debating over how much was green screened, how much was live and how much was modeled.

The portion with the bears tongue pressed against the vehicle has got to be green screened. If for now other reason than the SPCA would take issue. I think the tongue is modeled. Or there was peanut butter or honey placed on a green mat.

I know, we should get a hobby or a life. Thankfully my job is also my hobby and vice versa so it all works out just fine.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Creative Excellence Fridays - Tee up to Superbowl

Every year North Americans gather round the television to watch grown men throwing a piece of leather across a field, followed by rock stars whose better days are behind them, followed by more grown men throwing leather around.
In between all the leather and sweat are the commercials, doing their best to grab attention away from all the spectacle.

As we draw closer to this years event, here's a recap of the bright spots from last years Superbowl.



Have a great weekend. And make 2011 the year of sharing. Share your thoughts, and inspiration so we can all make it a great year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starbucks logo change - is there more to it?

You may recall just before Christmas, the Gap changed their iconic logo. It caused so much outrage among Gap loyalists they recanted and changed it back.

The same is not likely to happen with Starbucks and here's why.

This is not the first time the logo has had a minor facelift. They have had three variations since 1971. The speculation is now that the removal of the words coffee from the logo was due to a desire to want to attach the Starbucks name to non-coffee products.

Jim Edwards of Bnet has some excellent insight on this:

If corporate logos reflect the priorities — or anxieties — of management, then the new Starbucks (SBUX) logo exhibits all those and more. It appears to be a mere evolution of the chain’s existing identity but is actually a representative of Starbucks’ abandonment of its core equity.

On its face, the new logo is yet another tweaking, or simplification, of the original. (The images, top to bottom, represent Starbucks’ logos since 1971. The company merged with Il Giornale in 1986.)

This time the circle has been removed and the words “Starbucks Coffee” are gone. The new marque appears in only one color: green. (And yes, the “siren” mermaid still has no nipples. Go figure.)

The Gap, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Tropicana all recently learned to their cost that giving your brand icon a whole-scale makeover invites backlash from loyal consumers. A mere haircut is the correct way to go.

That’s what Starbucks has done here, but the stakes are still high as the company — a daily ritual that’s close to an addiction to many — inspires a unique level of loyalty (and hostility) from its audience. Do you know anyone who does not have something to say about Starbucks?

The change was needless. Starbucks enjoyed record revenues last year. It has bounced back as if the recession never happened. So why screw with a winning recipe? Because CEO Howard Schulz is no longer interested in the whole coffee thing, as such. He told the Wall Street Journal:

“Even though we have been and always will be a coffee company and retailer, it’s possible we’ll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it,” Chief Executive Howard Schultz said.* He added that any noncoffee products Starbucks sells will adhere to the same standards the company applies to its coffee. “We’re not going to put our name on things that dilute the quality of Starbucks,” he said.

Bear in mind this is the same man who wrote this barnstorming memo on “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience.” And the AP:

Starbucks leaders say the changes to the logo are in some ways a metaphor for the company dropping the boundaries of its own business and growing into new areas.

There’s another marketing industry term for diversification into “new areas”: brand worsification. It’s what happens when a perfectly good brand with a solid record in selling, say, coffee, suddenly decides it can sell anything “with our name on it and no coffee in it.” Such a transition requires that defining — even dominant — attributes such as “coffee” are removed from the brand, thus by definition diluting the brand’s equity.

I’m not saying sales will decline as a result, but consumer loyalties may. The company is already so big, and its stores so crowded, that it is fast becoming a byword for “public restroom,” in much the same way McDonald’s was in the 1990s. Sure, there’s more money to be made in non-coffee products, but the price will be becoming just another high street brand that no longer charms or commands. That’s not a trade I would make if I didn’t have Wall Street to answer to.

And finally: Let’s at least pat Starbucks on the back for not abandoning its pre-Christian pagan symbolism. More timid companies have fled from such connections …

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tablets or cell phones? Which will win? Perhaps both.

Tablets

Experts are trying to determine the future of the digital delivery service. In the portable market, it's a tough call as to whether Ipads or cell phones will win out on the Starbucks delivery choice. Some say both will be part of your regular digital tool kit.

Let's face it; watching a movie on a 3 inch screen is not exactly the digital experience of a lifetime. Similarly, you need quick, portable access to friends; and chatting with them through a clunky digital tablet is not the preferred means of communication when you're on the move.

Here are some notes on digital tablets courtesy of Matthew Szymczyk of AdAge.

The iPad has been a runaway hit for Apple and helped create a new electronics segment sitting squarely in between laptops and netbooks. With Samsung also jumping into the tablet market with the Galaxy Tab, anticipation is high for other Windows 7-, Android- and Linux-based tablets from the likes of Dell, HP and others. So though we can expect tablets to soon be their own category, what does this mean for marketers? For one, it will continue to provide a fragmented market when it comes to campaign development. Apple refuses to support Flash, while Google (with their Android operation system) has been a huge supporter -- even going so far as to integrate Flash into the Chrome browser. Then you also have the app vs. mobile web issue to take into account, which leads to greater fragmentation and cost to a marketer.

In addition, though the tablet market is technically more akin to the smartphone than the laptop, there will be mobile marketing-based opportunities for marketers targeting the "always on the grid" mobile consumer. Augmented Reality is one area that can benefit from the larger display screen and processing power of a tablet. LBS will also likely mature to provide more beneficial services for consumers outside of becoming a mayor of a restaurant.

And finally, Skype has already stole some pre-CES thunder by releasing its mobile video chat application for the iOS -- iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the iPad. Though Apple made an initial splash with its FaceTime mobile video chat app, it's hard to see Apple, or anybody for that matter, denting the Skype armor considering the market share Skype has already amassed. And this market share is interoperable and across mobile, web and even the digital living room via connected TV sets. Skype, like it or not, will become synonymous with video chat just as Google was synonymous with search.

Connected TVs
The battle for the digital living room has been ongoing for a while and it's now finally made it to the mainstream. This year it appears that connected sets and peripherals (i.e. set-top boxes) will be the big bet this year from OEM's. With more than 200 apps in their store and 1 million app downloads, Samsung has both taken a leadership position in this space and helped validate the market. Though Google has also thrown its hat into the ring with its own Logitech-based set top box and Sony-based TV, they also have had a few problems to date. ReelSEO has a good rundown here. With Apple also selling 1 million units of their Apple TV in 2010 alone, it does appear that the consumer is finally ready for internet connectivity in the living room.

What again does this mean for the marketer? For starters, there is a shift happening from the desktop PC to the connected TV for consumers. The connected-TV environment will not only increase the expectation for interactivity with content but usher out the "passive" viewing experience. If you ever watch ESPN "SportsCenter" and notice the interactivity both on the left and bottom of the screen, this will likely be the future of how we view content in this connected format. Apps will allow for even more interactivity and contextual integration fundamentally changing how marketers will need to interact with viewers.

Though there are likely to be other cool gadgets on display, there's one other technology that I hope will make an appearance -- Kinect. Microsoft's motion gaming device has been a blockbuster so far with 5 million units sold over the last few months. Though this has created an evolution in gaming, it's providing a revolution in how people interact with digital information via the Natural User Interface (NUI). Just as consumers were getting used to touchscreen displays, we now have another shift to motion-based interaction and gestural control. If you have the time, it's worth checking out the Kinect Hacks site to see how "hackers" are using the Kinect technology to create mind-blowing examples of everything from Predator type "cloaking" to the Minority Report navigation system.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Leveraging Social media for your brand

Harris Interactive conducted some very interesting research towards the end of 2010.
I wanted to share this with you on the blog.The most interesting point being, North Americans are feeling connected, even with less face to face. It shows the power of a well executed social media campaign with meaningful posts and online customer interaction.

Thanks To Social Networks, Americans Feel More Connected to People

But a majority also say they have had less face-to-face contact recently as well

NEW YORK, N.Y. - October 21, 2010 - Relationships mean different things to different people. For some, connecting with a friend, even if it is just on a social network, means they are keeping in touch. For others, keeping in touch means actually seeing and interacting with a friend, not just chatting online. But regardless of how Americans do it, are they more connected today than in the past? Almost three in five online adults (57%) say they feel more connected to people now than they did previously and 56% say they find they keep in touch more with friends now than in the past.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,258 adults surveyed online between September 1 and 3, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Although Americans who are online may feel more connected, they are not actually seeing people more. Almost three in five online adults (58%) say they know what's going on with their friends and acquaintances, but don't interact with them personally or individually, and a majority (54%) say that recently, they have had less face-to-face contact with friends.

As might be expected, there are some age differences. Younger Americans (those 18-34) are more likely than those 55 and older to find they keep in touch with more friends now than in the past (63% vs. 52%) and to feel more connected to people now (63% vs. 53%). But the flip side is also true, as those 18-34 are more likely than those 55 and older to say they have had less face-to-face contact with friends (56% vs. 49%), and, while they know what's going on with friends, they don't interact with them personally or individually (60% vs. 54%).

Being connected

Almost nine in ten online Americans (87%) use social media and, of these, there are different levels of connection they feel with various groups. Over half say they feel very connected or connected to close friends (58%) and immediate family (52%), while 42% say they feel this way about extended family through their social media use. Around one-third of social media users feel connected or very connected through social media to friends of friends and/or acquaintances (36%) and old classmates (32%). For business, the same feeling of connection is not quite there yet, as only one in five social media users (19%) say they feel very connected or connected through social media use to business associates.

Social media users also have preferences for how they want to connect with people. More than two in five social media users (44%) say that, in general, they prefer to interact with acquaintances using social media rather than face-to-face, but 23% say the same about interacting with friends and 19% say so about interacting with family. But, this is very age driven, as well. Three in five 18-34 year olds (59%) say they prefer to interact with acquaintances using social media rather than face-to-face compared to 38% of those 45-54 years old and 25% of those 55 and older.

So what?

It's getting harder to remember a time when people didn't "friend" or "follow" someone and have that mean electronically, not in person. And, on the whole, social media users seem to be the better for it, connecting with friends and old classmates that they probably wouldn't have gotten in touch with before social networks. Then, there is the argument that connecting online could actually harm relationships and make people feel more isolated, though just 31% of Americans and 32% of social media users say they fee lonelier now than they did previously.

TABLE 1

LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS

"Thinking about your life and relationships in general, please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements."

Base: All online U.S. adults


Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Not applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Recently, I have had less face-to-face contact with friends.

54

21

33

42

26

16

4

I find I keep in touch with more friends now than in the past.

56

21

35

40

29

11

4

I know what's going on with many of my friends and acquaintances, but I don't interact with them personally or individually.

58

15

43

39

27

12

4

I feel more connected to people now than I did previously.

57

18

39

39

29

10

4

I feel lonelier now than I did previously.

31

11

20

63

29

35

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 2

LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS

"Thinking about your life and relationships in general, please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements."

Summary of those saying "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree"

Base: All online U.S. adults


Total

Total Uses Social Media

Total Does Not Use Social Media

Age

Gender

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Recently, I have had less face-to-face contact with friends.

54

55

49

56

55

57

49

55

53

I find I keep in touch with more friends now than in the past.

56

58

43

63

56

51

52

53

60

I know what's going on with many of my friends and acquaintances, but I don't interact with them personally or individually.

58

60

44

60

60

55

54

57

58

I feel more connected to people now than I did previously.

57

59

43

63

54

54

53

53

61

I feel lonelier now than I did previously.

31

32

25

36

27

33

26

33

29

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 3

SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS

"Thinking of your social media usage, how connected, if at all, do you feel towards each of the following groups through social media?"

Base: All U.S. adults who use social media


Very connected

Connected

Somewhat connected

Not at all connected

Not applicable

%

%

%

%

%

Business associates

4

14

22

29

31

Immediate family

22

30

22

12

14

Extended family

12

30

28

15

14

Close friends

23

35

21

8

13

Old classmates

8

24

31

22

15

Friends-of-friends and/or acquaintances

9

27

34

15

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 4

SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS

"Thinking of your social media usage, how connected, if at all, do you feel towards each of the following groups through social media?"

Summary of those saying "very connected" or "connected"

Base: All U.S. adults who use social media


Total

Age

Education

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

H.S. or less

Some college

College grad +

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Business associates

19

23

21

18

9

14

16

27

Immediate family

52

57

49

50

50

50

55

52

Extended family

42

45

43

41

38

39

42

45

Close friends

58

73

54

51

46

53

60

62

Old classmates

32

45

33

27

16

31

31

35

Friends-of-friends and/or acquaintances

36

40

39

36

27

36

36

37

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 5

OPINIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

"Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements."

Base: All U.S. adults who use social media


Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Not applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

In general, I prefer to interact with acquaintances using social media, rather than face-to-face.

44

10

34

44

21

23

12

In general, I prefer to interact with friends using social media, rather than face-to-face

23

5

18

67

31

36

11

In general, I prefer to interact with family using social media, rather than face-to-face.

19

5

15

69

25

44

11

When using social media, I prefer to listen to others share their opinions rather than give my own.

53

12

41

31

23

8

16

I value the opinions other people share on social media.

60

10

50

25

18

7

15

I feel important when I give my feedback about brands, products and services in the social media space.

41

9

32

34

21

13

25

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 6

OPINIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

"Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements."

Summary of those saying "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree"

Base: All U.S. adults who use social media


Total

Age

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

%

%

%

%

%

In general, I prefer to interact with acquaintances using social media, rather than face-to-face.

44

59

44

38

25

In general, I prefer to interact with friends using social media, rather than face-to-face

23

27

27

19

14

In general, I prefer to interact with family using social media, rather than face-to-face.

19

24

22

19

10

When using social media, I prefer to listen to others share their opinions rather than give my own.

53

55

52

53

50

I value the opinions other people share on social media.

60

68

61

58

50

I feel important when I give my feedback about brands, products and services in the social media space.

41

47

43

39

30

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 7

TIME SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

"On average, how many hours per week, if any, do you spend on social media sites or services (e.g., social networking sites such as Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, blogs, message boards, discussion forums, microblogging sites, and/or photo and video sharing services)?"

Base: All online U.S. adults


Total

Age

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

%

%

%

%

%

Uses social media sites or services (NET)

87

94

89

85

79

Less than 1 hour per week

22

12

20

25

34

1 hour per week

12

11

12

13

11

2 hours per week

12

16

11

9

10

3 hours per week

5

7

6

3

4

4 hours per week

4

4

5

3

3

5 hours per week

7

10

7

6

3

6-10 hours per week

13

17

13

13

8

11-20 hours per week

8

11

10

8

4

21 or more hours per week

5

6

4

4

3

Never spend time on social media sites or services

13

6

11

15

21

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 1 and 3, 2010 among 2,258 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll ® #124, October 21, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive