Archive | March, 2013

Social Network Users by Age

What is the age distribution in the social media sphere?

A full 25% of the users on these sites are aged 35 to 44, which in other words is the age group that dominates the social media sphere. Only 3% are aged 65 or older.

That was the age distribution when looking at these 19 social media sites together. When looking at individual social network sites, the differences are significant.

Here is the age distribution for each of the 19 social network sites. The list has been sorted by the average user age per site (see further down for that), with the “youngest” site showing at the top and the “oldest” at the bottom.

Some observations on age distribution:

  • Bebo appeals to a much younger audience than the other sites with 44% of its users being aged 17 or less. For MySpace, this number is also large; 33%.
  • Classmates.com has the largest share of users being aged 65 or more, 8%, and 78% are 35 or older.
  • 64% of Twitter’s users are aged 35 or older.
  • 61% of Facebooks’s users are aged 35 or older.

Most of the social networks we included are dominated by the age group 35-44, which was apparent in the first chart in this article. This group has become the most “social” age group out there. This is the generation of people who were in their 20s as the Web took off in the mid ‘90s.

If we look at which age groups are the largest for each site, we will have this distribution:

  • 0 – 17: Tops 4 out of 19 sites (21%)
  • 18 – 24: Tops no site
  • 25 – 34: Tops 1 out of 19 sites (5%)
  • 35 – 44: Tops 11 out of 19 sites (58%)
  • 45 – 54: Tops 3 out of 19 sites (16%)
  • 55 – 64: Tops no site
  • 65 or older: Tops no site

It’s a bit surprising that not one single site had the age group 18 – 24 as its largest, but that can be explained by this interval being a bit smaller than the other ones (it spans seven years, not 10 as most of the others). That the two oldest age groups don’t top any of the sites probably doesn’t surprise anyone, though.

Here is an estimate of the average age for each of the social network sites included in this article:

Facts:

  • The average social network user is 37 years old.
  • LinkedIn, with its business focus, has a predictably high average user age; 44.
  • The average Twitter user is 39 years old.
  • The average Facebook user is 38 years old.
  • The average MySpace user is 31 years old.
  • Bebo has by far the youngest users, as witnessed earlier, with an average age of 28.

Although we can’t assure how this will change over time, at the moment the older generations are for one reason or another (tech savvy, interest, etc.) not using social networking sites to a large extent. This probably reflects general internet usage, but we suspect the difference is enhanced when it comes to the social media sphere where site usage tends to be more frequent and time-consuming than usual.

It is also noteworthy that social media isn’t dominated by the youngest, often most tech-savvy generations, but rather by what has to be referred to as middle-aged people (although at the younger end of that spectrum).

Creative App From Esquire Magazine: Talk to Esquire

Q&A session has never been this interactive before. With this app, we can have a virtual conversation with some of the Esquire’s key contributors/directors in Fashion, Mixology, Grooming .etc to bring more in-depth discussion about certain contents. This is a good example on how digital technology brings the old format to the different new level.

Twitter Marketing Optimisation (Infographic)

Using Twitter is a must for every businessmen who want to expand their business on a higher level. Twitter is compact and reliable to spread your messages and promotions. However, we believe that Twitter’s usage can be maximised through some ways, so it will be more effective.

Creative Promotional Strategy: A Billboard that Produces Fresh Water

Being good is definitely good for business. Take a look at Google, for instance. They have an unofficial slogan called “Don’t be evil”. By giving a lot of benefits to others, Google becomes bigger. People will like you more if you think more about your surroundings rather than becomes such a self-centered businessman.

In Lima, Peru, UTEC teamed up with DraftFCB and created the world’s first water-producing billboard for a city that sits in the middle of a desert. This place receives almost no rainfall per year, an area where fresh, clean water is not guaranteed for everyone. The billboard itself is made to attract new students for the 2013 school year. It works by extracting water from the air that passes through the billboard, condensing it, cooling it and then storing it so that people can come to the billboard to collect safe drinking water.

The Role of Hashtag in Social Media (Infographic)

On our previous post, we talked about Facebook which will bring the hashtag feature on its service. Today, we will take a deeper look on what hashtag is and its functionality.

Hashtag Feature for Facebook: Good or Bad Move?

Facebook is rumoured to be currently working on a hashtag (#) feature.

Although hashtags become the dominant feature on Twitter, they are becoming a part of the Facebook culture with users tagging images and updates (in order to connect with other social networking sites such as Instagram, for instance). Ironically, hashtags have no functionality on Facebook (yet).

The feature may be used to assist users to reach relevant searches and topics easily. However as the use of hashtags in search engine optimization (SEO) is a prominent source of advertising for Twitter, this is a sign of the heightening battle between Facebook and Twitter, as both compete for mobile users and fight for advertising dollars.

Some might agree this is a progressive step in the world of social media. However, some Facebook users claim this is the very reason the two networking sites are different. Users might get overloaded with information. If they wanted to be on Twitter, they would be on Twitter and vice versa. They are less likely to use Facebook the way they use Twitter.

The Death of SEO: An Infographic

Many people disapprove SEO practice and abandon it. They claim that SEO brings them nothing but loss. They also say that doing SEO needs a lot of time with not-so-permanent result. Before making any further judgment about SEO, please take a look at this infographic:

infographic about SEO in zombie style cartoon

Top 20 Australian Online Retailers

The top 20 online retailers of 2013 (alphabetically):

1. Appliances Online

It was only a few years ago the retail industry felt confident in saying people would never buy large, bulky goods over the internet. Today, John Winning’s Appliances Online is enjoying the fallout. At $20 million a year, Appliances Online is on the smaller side but not less important. The company’s success shows that Australians are willing to buy anything over the internet, as long as they’re given enough detail and enough confidence in the seller. While it might be a while before the practice becomes mainstream, Appliances Online has achieved what many thought would be impossible – and have made money at the same time.

2. Big W

While the company doesn’t divulge how much of its revenue is made online, the popularity of Big W’s site indicates it could be making quite a lot of cash. In any case, Woolworths is giving DealsDirect a run for its money with the Big W online store, which doesn’t have many frills but is focused on simplicity of use and cheaper prices.

3. Booktopia

Given books are one of the cheapest things to buy from offshore retailers, it’s surprising any local online store has managed to create a thriving business. But Tony Nash at Booktopia has been able to do just that, on track to turn over $28 million in 2012-13. There isn’t much complicated strategy here. A focus on clean design, good customer service management and an ever-present need to reduce shipping times has kept Booktopia at the top.

4. BrandsExclusive

BrandsExclusive has been at the forefront of the private shopping club scene in Australia. The business, which has mostly focused on fashion, quickly found a loyal user base and has been growing ever since. Perhaps the company’s biggest success has been its ability to leverage demand for private shopping networks into cash. Even last year APN News & Media announced a massive $36 million stake. The business was aiming to turn over $70 million last year.

5. Catch of the Day

Perhaps the largest online retail success story in Australia, Catch of the Day continues to grow from strength to strength. After starting as an eBay business, Gabby and Hezi Leibovich have managed to transform the company into a $350 million powerhouse, complete with funding from one James Packer. Part of the success of the Catch Group can be attributed to its savvy expansion plans. Rather than start a business for every category, the team has been able to pick up start-ups and nurture success from there. After expanding into grocery and wine, it seems natural the business could continue to thrive – and all signs are pointing to an eventual float.

6. DealsDirect

The largest online department store, DealsDirect started as an eBay business. (Curiously, so did the other major retailer on the list – Catch of the Day). The business has been expanding in recent years, buying a series of smaller retail-based businesses. Founder Paul Greenberg has a keen eye for businesses, and the people who run them. Although DealsDirect has been a success due its size, he’s been careful not to pack the operation with too much fat. Greenberg is cagey on revenue, but the business is doing well over $100 million.

7. Dick Smith

Placing Dick Smith on a list of the country’s top retailers may be a controversial move given what’s happened to the company. But despite Dick Smith’s downfall, it still maintains an extremely popular online presence. Why? Because it has the basics down pat. The ability to reserve products, and check individual stores for stock levels is a must. It’s simply a well-designed website, the importance of which can never be overstated.

8. EB Games

Although plenty of consumers are heading offshore to source cheaper video games, EB Games has managed to maintain a strong foothold in the local sector. A solid website, a savvy social media team, and a thinning market thanks to the collapse of GAME, have all ensured the online division of EB Games is doing just fine.

9. Get Wines Direct

The internet has triggered a boom for liquor sales, with plenty of retailers such as Woolworths, with its Dan Murphy’s brand. Get Wines Direct is topping the competition, making a name for itself as the country’s biggest online wine dealer. Founder and chief executive Tony Sells has been busily promoting the company lately with partnerships and other deals. And it’s working – the company is turning over more than $50 million.

10. Groupon

While the group buying market has certainly fallen from its height, Groupon has kept a stronghold on the local industry. It’s the biggest player, (although Catch of the Day’s Scoopon follows closely behind), and has managed to maintain a foothold in an otherwise tumultuous market. There’s no denying the pressure facing its parent company, but for now, at least, Groupon has shown group buying is truly well and alive in Australia.

11. JB Hi-Fi

One of the larger businesses in Australia to actually understand how online retailing works; JB Hi-Fi is making a good name for itself online. With more than $37 million in digital revenue in the first half of the year alone, at 2% of total sales, the company is proving itself as a good example for dedicated bricks-and-mortar stores heading online. In fact, JB Hi-Fi perhaps encapsulates what retailers need to be doing online. With the ability to check stock, “click and collect” and some pretty fast customer service, chief executive Terry Smart seems to be doing a good job in transforming the iconic business into a powerhouse online.

12. Kogan

If not the most popular, Kogan is one of the best-known homegrown online retailers in Australia. Mostly thanks to founder and CEO Ruslan Kogan’s insistence on putting himself and his business in the news through quirky – and sometimes weird – comments and campaigns.` It’s difficult not to be impressed by Kogan’s reach. After shipping a single container of televisions five years ago, Kogan has transformed into a $250 million business with more on the way. Spars with Gerry Harvey aside, Kogan has maintained a solid footing with Ruslan saying he’s “happy to be everybody’s first choice for a second television”. With a view to growing into a billion-dollar business, and expansion into services like mobile, Kogan will be around for a while yet.

13. Milan Direct

The other half of Ruslan Kogan’s online empire, Milan Direct was initially an odd proposition. Selling furniture online back in 2007 wasn’t done very much in Australia, if at all. But Dean Ramler and Kogan have managed to turn the business into a $12 million powerhouse. The company’s success has spawned some eager competitors. But with growth of 100% last year, and international expansion ahead, Milan Direct  seems set to hold on to its strong market position for a while.

14. Officeworks

Office supplies are a boring topic, but Officeworks has at least managed to make the buying process as easy as it can. After all, office

supplies are something you should be able to buy online instead of heading to a store.

The company won’t confirm how much revenue the business makes online, although reports indicate it could be anywhere up to $150 million, equivalent to 13-14% of revenue. That’s an astonishing figure for an office supplies store, but it does make sense – the company understands how people shop online.

Just like JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks shows it understands how to not only get people browsing on a site, but makes sure it knows how to capture their money.

15. Ozsale

The other half of Australia’s private shopping scene, Ozsale has been just as successful in establishing a dominant presence in the local retail sector.

Founded by Jamie Jackson, the company has succeeded in building a solid reputation. It’s been a busy year for the company, too, as it snapped up competitor BuyInvite back in June 2012.

The company isn’t slowing down plans, announcing earlier this year it’s gearing up for an IPO.

16. Shoes of Prey

The customisable shoe retailer has made quite a name for itself. With plenty of attention from television shows, and some inadvertent celebrity endorsements, Shoes of Prey has ended up as one of the hottest brands in Australian retail.

Some funding hasn’t hurt, either. The company has taken money not only from Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, but TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington. A partnership with David Jones is sure to increase the company’s reputation among the bricks-and-mortar elite.

Although revenue isn’t the highest in the online space, the company has definitely made an impression. It won’t be going away soon.

17. Specialty Fashion Group

While the retail and fashion industries obviously haven’t been having the best time, Speciality Fashion has been working on its digital presence – and it’s doing very well.

The company, which operates the Millers, Katies and Crossroads brands, recorded $11.3 million in online revenue during the first half of the year, representing 3.6% of total value.

While it isn’t the biggest online retailer around, the fact the company has been so successful with its digital push – and is willing to disclose just how much money it makes online – is a good step in the right direction.

18. StyleTread

Another online shoe business, StyleTread is all about shipping. When the company first launched, SmartCompany spoke to the founders – who said shipping was their number one priority. The business raised $4 million back in 2011 from Nine Entertainment, and then won $12 million from more investors last year.

It’s a good strategy, given how frustrated Australian shoppers have been for some decent delivery times. As a result, StyleTread has continued to grow.

19. The Iconic

Although The Iconic isn’t one of the most established businesses around, and while it certainly isn’t divulging much with regard to revenue, it seems outrageous to leave the company off a list detailing the most important online retailers in Australia.

The business has made a huge splash in Australia with its bright marketing tactics, but it’s also gained a reputation for securing not only one $25 million funding round, but a second earlier this year.

The Iconic certainly has enough money to make a dent on the online retail market. It remains to be seen whether that success will continue.

20. Westfield

It’s been a couple of years now since the shopping giant announced it would create its own online hub for shopping digitally. Now, it’s one of the most popular online retail destinations in the country.

It was a smart idea. The site combines deals from various stores located in Westfield shopping centres. A savvy website, along with the ability for free delivery and returns in-store or online, has kept Westfield in a strong position online.

Violating Google’s Rules: Several Examples of Black Hat SEO to Avoid

Google’s algorithms is a mystery for most people nowadays. However, Google gives us clues on how to be a “good person” through its Webmaster Guidelines. Unfortunately, these guides are meant to leave little room for speculation, yet some gray area remains. While they are written in easy-to-use language and outline some of the practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise impacted by an algorithmic or manual spam action, there are no real-world examples, especially for good reason.

Here are some reasons of why Google banned your website in no time:

1. Participating in Link Schemes

Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered a link scheme, as was the case in 2011, when the New York Times uncovered a link-building scheme by J.C. Penney. The retailer ranked number one for bedding, dresses, area rugs, and other vague and specific keywords, with “uncanny regularity” for several months. After consulting with an industry expert, the New York Times found 2,015 pages with phrases like “casual dresses,” “evening dresses,” “little black dress” or “cocktail dress,” which all bounced directly to the main page for dresses on JCPenney.com.

J.C. Penney said they did not authorize and were not involved or aware of the posting of links that the New York Times sent to them. J.C. Penney immediately fired their SEO agency, but not before Google took manual action against the brand for violating its guidelines. Overnight, J.C. Penney was vanished from search results for anything other than branded keywords (a.k.a. direct searches for J.C. Penney). It took about three months for J.C. Penney to move up the rankings and regain lost rankings.

2.  Creating Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are those practices that are large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. Google always dislikes upon manipulating search engines and deceiving users. In 2006, BMW suffered for setting up doorway pages to attract search engines and redirect traffic to its German website, BMW.de. BMW’s page rank was reduced to zero. While BMW stated it did not intend to deceive users, the company added, “However, if Google says all doorway pages are illegal we have to take this into consideration.”

3. Selling Links that Pass PageRank

Selling links that pass PageRank violates Google’s quality guidelines; this includes advertorial pages with embedded links that pass PageRank. Google recently penalized Interflora, even removing it from branded search results, for using advertorials to solely influence search rankings. An example of this, is that Interflora reportedly sent bloggers floral arrangements in exchange for links. This was once considered a gray area, but is clearly black hat now.

4. Using a “Bad” Blog Network

If your site belongs to a blog network whose purpose is to create backlinks, Google will de-index them and penalize you. In 2012, this happened to Build My Rank, which ultimately closed down and relaunched as HP Backlinks. The relaunch, however, has many people wondering if (and when) Google will go after the network again.

5. Cloaking

Giving different content or URLs to human users and search engines will hurt your rankings. Google bans this practice, because it provides users with different results than they expected. Unfortunately, some sites unknowingly use cloaking. For example, if your site is compromised, hackers may use cloaking to make the hack harder for the site owner to detect.

LinkedIn Identity: An Infographic