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Social Media: Using Instagram to find new customers

February 27/March 6, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 19

By Ayme Sinclair, Stanton Carpet

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.47.25 AMIf you look at the top 100 brands in the world, 90% of them have an Instagram account. More importantly, customer interactions with the brands that are on Instagram are 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times greater than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter. Statistics prove Instagram is by far the best platform for staying connected with your customers.

Using at least one hashtag (or keyword) increases the likelihood of these connections, making them an important feature to use on this platform. Users can tag their images with keywords to describe things about the photo to make them searchable. These keywords can be a variety of things such as the name of the park where the photo was taken or the type of animal being shown.

But how would this help a retailer? Dealers can use these keywords to find customers who are looking to make renovations. It’s a great tool to help you identify users who have visited a nearby furniture or big box store. The beauty of the hashtag is it also works in reverse. Users can search hashtags, and if you use them properly they will find you. Once you identify and start using the correct set of keywords, your customer will easily find your Instagram page and see the images you’re sharing.

However, utilizing social media isn’t just about sharing photos. It’s a platform that allows you to talk and interact with potential customers to help you build a relationship with them. Remember, hashtags will only increase these interactions. For example, Stanton Carpet recently helped one of its retailer partners develop an effective set of keywords. At the start, Cove Carpet One Floor & Home, based in Summit, N.J., was receiving about 10 “likes” each time it posted a photo on Instagram. Stanton was able to boost this number to 68 after using the hashtags in only a single post. That represents an increase of nearly 600%. But what’s more important than the sheer number was the quality of the audience. Reports show 30% were designers or contractors with another 30% comprising home improvement enthusiasts; 10% were real estate professionals.

“We connected with more people in this post than we’ve ever had before,” said Donna Dwyre, president, Cove Carpet One Floor & Home. “The results were not only fantastic, but they were instant. It helped us start conversations with customers who had not been in the store for months.”

Which leads me to my last point: The best part about using social media marketing is you can see the results immediately, and all the interactions are documented. These interactions, also known as engagement, are golden nugget leads that your sales associates can use to follow up and get new and returning customers back into the store. And the best part is it can all be done for free.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.53.12 AMAyme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home industry have provided explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric. For more information on how to use social media to grow your business, join the Stanton Retailer Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.

 

 

 

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Guest Column: Best practices in digital image management

February 27/March 6, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 19

By Phil Kenyon

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.14.09 AMThe use of the Internet and mobile devices as a means of researching products is increasing on a steep exponential curve. This is particularly true in the flooring industry—where there is a strong correlation to fashion and design and, hence, a heavy emphasis on visuals.

Now, more than ever, retailer/manufacturer websites represent a major portal for your customers to receive timely information about your products and services. For many consumers, color and appearance are a major part of the purchase decision, which presents both challenges and opportunities for retailers and manufacturers serving the industry. Among the main objectives: How to make your flooring look as good on the screen as it does in a showroom; how to present all of the possible choices in a fashion that makes product selection easy; and how to make sure you are ahead of your competition by keeping pace with advances in new technology.

Delivering on all of these directives requires an understanding of the art and science of color and appearance as well as traditional skill sets in programming, user interface and data management. A key element in this process entails generating the digital images to display your products online. Taking the time to do this right will allow you to maximize the usefulness of your assets. For instance, a photograph of your products in inspirational settings is great to attract and inspire, but this has limited use. Employing certain best practices when creating digital product images will allow you to use these assets in many useful ways and ensure the work you do today will also be useable as technology evolves.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure you use color management tools when photographing or generating your high-resolution product images. Make sure your image files have ICC standard profiles embedded that allow the color information in each image to be consistent and as accurate as possible.
  • Capture a large enough area so full repeats can be created. This allows the images to be used for rendering your flooring into photographic images for visualization software in your website or for professional rendering of promotional materials.
  • Don’t use “mood” lighting to capture the samples. The samples should be evenly lit across the full image. Shadowing will make it difficult to use in visualization or rendering. A process known as “flat field correction” can help resolve this.
  • Where possible, include metadata that identifies the color information in the image in colorimetric terms such as “LAB.” This is an industry standard that identifies color in absolute terms. Attaching these values to your data will increase the likelihood your products will be found in these searches.

Another major growth area in digital marketing is virtual reality. In particular, there is significant interest among builders for tools that allow customers to select a range of products while immersed in a virtual, three-dimensional visualization of a room or building. In this scenario, it is essential that robust, up-to-date CAD assets are available for all products. This will ensure products displayed in the real world also match renderings in the digital realm.

The way in which your products are represented online is essential to enjoying the many opportunities this medium presents.

 

Phil Kenyon is vice president, color solutions, at Chameleon Power, which specializes in visualization software for the home improvement industry. Since the early ’90s, he has worked with numerous multinational corporations on their online marketing initiatives.

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Social media: How to create a consistent Instagram feed

January 30/February 6, 2017: Volume 31, Number 17

By Ayme Sinclair, Stanton Carpet

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 4.26.57 PMWith over 50 million photos being uploaded daily, Instagram is the most powerful platform you can use to engage directly with your audience.

When someone comes to your profile he or she will not only see the bio we talked about how to create in my last column, but a collection of the last photos you’ve posted. If your photo gallery is a mash up of posts with no consistency, potential clients and customers may overlook you. Having a consistent feed is really important. Followers gravitate toward cohesive feeds.

Create a color palette and give yourself some guidelines for those images to follow to keep your posts consistent. This is key, but you definitely want to start with great photography. Most retailers don’t have the resources to shoot professional photos of their finished installs after the space is designed. Therefore, a lot of the images used in your advertising come from several flooring manufacturers. So one might ask how can you pull images with the same colors from various places without drastically reducing the options at your disposal? Easy. If you stick with tones rather than specific colors it gives you a lot more choices. Can’t think of a set of tones you’d like to use? Then choose tones that consistently sell well. This allows you to pick images from your manufacturers that fit your rules. If your color palette is more neutral with grays and blues, then stay on the cooler side and pick photos that consist of cooler blue tones along with grays as opposed to warmer, reddish browns.

Now that you have your colors worked out, next you want to focus on the type of posts you’ll feature. Stay on brand. Resist posting photos that are too personal. If this is your business account, don’t add in photos from that time you went on vacation at the lake. That is unless you took the whole staff along. The best posts are the ones that either encourage your audience to engage with you, solve a problem for them or create an emotional response. For more specifics on the type of posts that work well for retailers, visit our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.

Getting a great feed strategy takes time. Remember these are just guidelines so don’t allow not having a photo with the right color to stop you from posting. Trying new things allows you to figure out what your audience is more responsive to. Coming up with the right look is a process, so keep tweaking it until you find the right balance. Some of the big box stores can get away with posting content that comes off real salesy while a smaller retailer might see a huge drop in engagement. The key is to figure out what is right for you and then be consistent.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.53.12 AMAyme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home industry have provided explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric. For more information on how to use social media to grow your business, join the Stanton Retailer Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.

 

 

 

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Social Media: How to create an eye-catching Instagram profile

January 2/9, 2017: Volume 31, Number 15

By Ayme Sinclair, marketing director, Stanton Carpet

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.52.57 AMNow that you know Instagram and its 500 million-plus users is the best platform to use to build an audience at virtually no cost, the next step is to set up your account.

It all starts with a good profile. Remember, first impressions are everything, so if a user isn’t already familiar with you, then your profile is their first experience with your business. It’s tempting to just set this up quickly and enter in basic information, but if you do that you might miss a few golden opportunities.

Within the profile you can show how your business will solve their next home renovation problem. You can also use techniques to push them to your website. It’s great to have a lot of followers but it’s risky to keep them on one platform. Vine, for example, was a video social media platform with 200 millions users, but it recently shut down. All of the popular accounts completely lost their ability to communicate with millions of their followers. If Instagram goes away, so does the audience you just spent a great deal of time building. Having them on your website and email lists allows you to push them to the next big thing. In the land of social media, the only constant is change.

First, you need to select a username. It’s important to choose one that is consistent with your business name. You get 30 characters so use them. Because Instagram does not allow you to use spaces in the username it’s tempting to want to abbreviate. I strongly recommend you don’t do that; you don’t want to make it hard for your current customers to find you.

You get a second opportunity to expand on your username by entering in a name. Both your username and name are considered when someone types a keyword into Instagram’s search field. So in addition to listing your business name, add in words that will increase your chances to be found such as your specialty and your location. For example, if you specialize in selling carpet and rugs in Dallas, then your name should look something like this: “BUSINESS NAME” | Carpet & Rug Store | Dallas.

The next step is to create your bio. This is the area where you get to talk about who you are. Ideally, you should break up your bio into three separate lines.

Note: By default, Instagram won’t recognize hard returns if you type them into the bio on the app. There are ways around that; to learn more about how to do this visit our Facebook group, facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.

Line 1 should consist of what you do. Many simply write in their mission statement, but I recommend trying something more creative. For example, state how you can solve a particular homeowner’s problem.

Line 2: This should be your phone number. Instagram recognizes emoticons so include a phone icon in front of the number to give it some personality and pizzazz.

Line 3: This should be your “call to action.” You get one link and it shows up directly underneath your bio. Utilize the last line to encourage users to click on the link to act on a request. I recommend including a directional emoticon to further emphasize this is what you want the user to do.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.53.12 AMAyme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home industry have provided explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric. For more information on how to use social media to grow your business, join the Stanton Retailer Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.

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Social media: Leveraging Instagram to build your target audience

November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12

By Ayme Sinclair, marketing director, Stanton Carpet

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-3-01-36-pmWe’ve all heard that social media marketing is something today’s retailer can scarcely afford to ignore. But with so many options, where should one start? Usually Facebook is the No. 1 answer. After all, it has the most amount of users (1.31 billion) and is the one most retailers already understand. But building an audience of fans through targeted ads on Facebook will cost you and then, once you have them, you’ll have to keep paying to ensure they see your content.

In contrast, Instagram is a digital platform with 300 million users with virtually no advertising dollar spend required to build an audience or to reach them with your content. The only currency you’ll need to be effective on Instagram is time. It also happens to be a favorite among the architect and design community because it’s so visual. This is a platform users go on strictly to share and view photos of things they are interested in. In a relatively short time frame you can build a community of engaged followers without spending one dime in advertising.

Social media is a great way to stay in front of your customers with the bonus of it being a two-way communication tool. You get to engage with them, thereby reinforcing your relationship, which is one of the building blocks in creating a more loyal customer. But before you can do all of that you have to figure out who they are and how to find them. Warning: Don’t fall into the trap of buying followers. While it may look impressive to have a few thousand followers right away, Instagram will eventually delete those fake accounts and you will miss an opportunity to get in front of an audience that actually cares about your business. Having 1,000 followers who aren’t in the market for home improvements and barely use Instagram will not help increase your revenues. You want the “right” audience.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-3-01-49-pmThere are two types of audience groups you should focus building on social media. The first group is your “niche” audience; this group comprises people in the flooring industry. Why is this group so important? In the beginning you are looking to build so it’s important to go after the low-hanging fruit and attract people who are already interested in your content. The second group you should focus on is your “target” audience. These are the people who are looking to buy what you sell.

Now that you’ve defined who you are looking for the next step is to figure out how to find them on the platform. The key to this is to figure out how they are using Instagram. Determining their interests will not only help you figure out how to get in front of them, but it will also give you strong direction on how to create engaging content for them. Once you figure out how your audience is using Instagram you can use tools such as hashtags and locations to connect with them.

Want more helpful tips on how to do this? Stanton has partnered with FCNews to create a Facebook group specifically for our retailers and retail sales associates to help them with their business and learn the ropes of using social media to sell. Join the group at: facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.

 

Ayme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home improvement industry have proven to be successful with explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric.

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Digital Marketing: USFloors leverages the web

November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-3-39-09-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-14-at-3-39-42-pmDigital needs the real world. USFloors would not have become an innovative flooring industry leader without its dealer network, and we are extremely proud of these relationships. Our dealers are key to making our solution-based digital marketing successful.

USFloors thinks of its digital presence as a referral network. We listen to our dealers’ needs, analyze what works well and continuously strive to improve in all aspects of digital marketing and social media platforms. Our dealers provide us with testimonials, pictures and advice. This collaboration provides us the opportunity to monitor consumer and dealer satisfaction closely and to continuously improve our digital marketing strategy. It also enables us to provide a more personalized customer service experience.

Social media allows us to be there for our dealers quickly, often and with complete information. Our selection of social media is based on the communication preferences of our network, allowing us to be present on a variety of social media platforms. This makes it easy to get in touch with us, and it allows us to respond quickly to any questions.

USFloors’ online presence is not limited to social media. Online conversation equals constant conversation, and our website is a very important part of this equation. The USFloors website offers more than the standard company overview. We want our retailers and potential retail customers to be able to access our info 24/7. This is why our webpage offers visuals in the format of a picture gallery, technical specifications sheets and online editions of our marketing collateral. We also document articles online to keep everyone updated with the latest USFloors and industry-related news.

Communication and conversation are the key terms to describe USFloors’ digital marketing. Our digital presence is set up to create an online retail space that is in constant action.

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Digital Marketing: Shaw online tools = success

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-3-35-11-pmToday’s consumer has more access to information than ever before. They demand that the companies/brands they do business with provide a powerful and engaging experience. Through in-depth consumer research, Shaw Floors intimately understands the desires of the flooring consumer and utlitizes those insights to develop a portfolio of award-winning, industry-leading tools to help retailers ldeliver exactly what the consumer wants. Shaw makes it easy to leverage its investment and put these best-in-class tools to work, ultimately elevating the retailer’s ability to compete.

In today’s aggressive business climate, it’s critical for retail owners to be everywhere consumers spend their time. Shaw Floors makes that fast and easy by providing an extensive lineup of customizable digital solutions—all from one place—that allow dealers to tap into multiple assets that are not only easy to use and affordable, but also deliver a superior consumer experience. A few of these services include:

•ShawFloors.com—This multi-award-winning website generates remarkable visibility for retailers, allowing them to capitalize on Shaw’s consumer exposure.
•Shaw Web Studio— Turnkey, customized website creation and support service for a dealer’s unique business needs.
•Share It Forward—Lets dealers take control of the online conversation so they can easily manage their reputation in the digital space.
•FloorVana—Award-winning, color-matching app that gives floor covering consumers the ability to narrow down their focus based on their favorite design inspirations. Now available in Dealer Mode, making it even more personalized for the retailer’s unique product offerings.
•Promoboxx—No time for creating social media posts? Let Shaw’s Promoboxx service do the heavy lifting for you.

Never has it been more critical to engage the consumer through multiple touchpoints, on their time, with a message that interests and appeals to them. Put Shaw’s significant digital solutions investment and expertise to work for you today.

Call 1-888-shawweb, visit ShawAdvantage.com or contact your Shaw Floors sales representative to learn more.

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Guest column: Adapting to survive in today’s changing world

November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11

By Vinnie Virga

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-3-20-42-pmOnce upon a time it was easy to be successful at marketing to consumers. You ran a great ad in the Sunday paper, came up with a really creative radio or TV spot, opened your doors and voila, it rained business.

The key to succeeding in today’s media-saturated world is a little different. In the past, if you did a good job, the customer told a couple of their friends and you got referrals. Conversely, if there was a problem you had the ability to work one on one with that customer to rectify any issues. Nowadays, if customers are unhappy they tell the world. More than ever, retailers need to understand demographics, segmenting and targeting and how to market on the web. At the same time, you need to be politically, gender, faith and race sensitive. These weren’t even thoughts you had to consider in the past.

Currently, if you don’t understand the alphabet soup of SEO, PPC, along with GeoFencing, GeoTargeting, re-targeting, brand positioning, e-commerce, visualization, social media, Houzz, Angie’s List, Yelp, review aggregation and, of course, Google you’re not going to make it.

All these things need to be part of your brand’s strategy in some shape or form. You should know which to do vs. what you should avoid as well as how much to invest. If you don’t you’re already a dinosaur and your remaining time in the retail world may be limited.

Add to this mix the upside-down funnel of investment many retailers currently employ. This is where their first investment is in traditional media and their last investment entails money they free up or the leftovers toward the bottom of the funnel that they invest in digital. Even worse, as soon as things get a little tough some yank the digital investment altogether. Throw some competitors into the digital mix (i.e., Home Depot and Lowes) as well as Amazon, Wal-Mart and Wayfair.

If you run a small business, especially retail, you’ll find your world is changing at a faster rate each day. The only way to survive is by constantly adapting to keep pace with evolving consumers shopping habits. I know that you just want to sell products, but it’s just not that easy anymore.

So where do you start? It all starts with your web and social media presence. You need to begin by building—in layers—a well-devised digital strategy. Your website needs lots of hooks—basically bread crumbs that invite the customer to begin sharing data with you—in return for information that will help them. Throughout your site there should be easy ways for browsers to raise their hand and ask for service. Be sure to offer a digital product catalog with pictures of product that can be placed into a room scene so the customer can get an idea of what they will look like in their home.

Next you need to list your website so it shows up in online directories. Your phone number (which should be text enabled) and your business email on all the major directories. Ideally, you want a YEXT service, but if you are going to attempt to do this yourself you can get a free listing on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo Local, YP.com, Superpages, Merchant Circle, White pages and more.

Finally, be prepared to consistently monitor, adjust and tweak your online marketing strategy.

 

Vinnie Virga is managing partner and president of Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet and Floors & More buying group. His experience includes management of various CCA Global Partner retail groups, including Flooring America, and he is credited for developing a major flooring footprint in New England.

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Digital Marketing: Putting social media to work for your business

Expert advice on helping dealers take the virtual plunge

November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11

Achieving success at retail in today’s high-tech marketing, media-rich world requires a departure from traditional consumer-outreach thinking. Experts the world over agree that a solid social media strategy should be at the core of any marketing program.

That begs the question: What’s the best way to get started? It might sound elementary, but the first order of business is to get to know your audience. Experts say a retailer’s customer demographic will shed light on where they are spending time online. Facebook, for example, is the most popular social media platform for women ages 34 to 54.

Next, review the various social media platforms to see what might work best for your needs. The possibilities on social media are growing and evolving, with new platforms launching frequently (see graphic). Among the most popular are Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn. Before deciding on a platform that best suits their needs, objectives and, yes, capabilities, retail business owners and operators should consider how much time they can devote to social media. Many experts agree that about an hour a day should be spent on each social network (at least when first starting out). Next, retailers need to consider the audience and demographics. For instance, which social networks are used most by your customers?

Many online marketing proponents believe Facebook tends to deliver the greatest results given its widespread use across varied demographics. According to Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier and digital marketing specialist at Simple Marketing Now, it’s helpful to start with Facebook as most dealers are already familiar with this social network on a personal level. “I’m hopeful that someone has done some experimenting and is somewhat familiar with one of the networks,” she said. “It really helps to understand the network from a personal point of view before getting involved with business perspective.”

Starting off small with Facebook makes sense, experts say, as consumers often search that platform in much the same way that they look for a regular webpage. At the same time, marketing advisors and professionals only recommend posting something on Facebook that has a purpose. In the case of floor covering dealers that means attracting new customers and retaining customers that dealers have already sold.

On the flip side, many retailers remain hesitant to get involved with social media because of seemingly inevitable negativity, particularly with customer reviews. Most dealers know all it takes is one unhappy customer sounding off on a social network or review site to potentially affect other consumers. However, business owners should take these reviews as opportunities to turn negatives into positives.

“More frequently, consumers who are thinking of replacing a floor are looking online for answers: what to buy and where to buy it,” notes Paul Friedrichsen, owner of BrandBiz, a marketing and branding consultancy. “That means she’s probably paying close attention to online reviews. In fact, research says 70% of online customers rely on reviews before making a purchase. So, if you’re not listed on a review site then you’re not in the game. Even worse, if you are online but your reviews are lousy, you’re already losing.”

Ultimately, presence on the top social networks is key, particularly visually based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Posting original, engaging content on Facebook is paramount, along with short, attention-grabbing blurbs on Twitter. Business listings on Google+, Yelp and Angie’s List will help with search rankings and garnering customer reviews. Houzz—which allows users to express their creativity—is another network rising in popularity in recent years. It works like Pinterest in that it is based on inspirational photos, which falls right in line with the home furnishings/fashion industry. Once a dealer has selected a platform—or group of platforms—the next move is allotting a budget for online marketing initiatives. One of the best things about social media, experts say, is it offers an advertising vehicle for a very low price. You can actually choose to spend nothing, but experts suggest working with a budget—it can be as little as $35 a week—to get additional exposure. “It’s the cheapest media money you will ever spend,” Friederichsen said. “You could spend $10 on Facebook to boost a post or ad and get 1,000 people to look at it. The return on investment for this doesn’t compare to anything you’ll spend in mass media.”

Whittemore also encourages boosted posts. “You are basically paying Facebook for increased visibility. It’s a fabulous tool because you can target certain people in specific locations and you can do it for very small amounts of money.”

But don’t boost everything and anything, she noted. “Before you boost, see if the post gets some organic attention [with likes and comments]. If it’s a dud, don’t waste money on it. You want a mixture of updates—some about you and some about topics that are of interest to your customers. You have to test what works.” social-infographic2015

Creating a connection
At its core, social media is a helpful tool for building relationships with customers. It’s an opportunity to give them a behind-the-scenes view of your business or how “human” you are. It also enables dealers to highlight top-notch customer service and the quality of completed jobs. Experts recommend dealers share photos of their best installations.

“If you want to attract new customers or get the word out about your business, you may want to focus on what’s new in the store or talk about some events you are hosting,” Whittemore suggested. “Think ahead of time to decide what you are going to share and when. And if someone comments on your post, be sure to respond in a reasonable amount of time.”

Experts also suggests dealers get their customer service reps and sales teams involved with social media as well, as this helps with consistency. “It’s not a matter of showing up once; you have to be there all the time,” Whittemore stated. “It’s like joining local business organizations or attending chamber of commerce meetings—you have to go regularly to meet people and hand out business cards. Social networking serves the same purpose, except you’re doing it all online.”

 

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Social media: Mobile usage soars, Facebook maintains appeal

June 20/27, 2016; Volume 30, Number 26

By Jenna Lippin

People are spending more time immersed in Google, Facebook and iMessage, among other apps. That’s according to comScore’s Cross Platform Future in Focus 2016 study, which shows more than half the time spent on social media in 2015 was via smartphone apps. “The smartphone app is the dominant platform in the U.S., now accounting for 61% of all social media time spent, up [8%] from last year,” the study showed.

Those numbers make sense as U.S. smartphone penetration hit 79% at the end of last year, according to the study. This marks significant growth from just 2%, in 2005. In fact, in the past three years a quarter of the mobile phone market made the switch from feature phone to smartphone, the study said. What’s more, penetration has increased across every age demographic with millennials ages 18 to 24 topping off at 94%. Surprisingly, Android operating systems (used on Samsung phones) seized 53% of smartphone share last year with iOS (for Apple devices) coming in second place at 43%.

In terms of Internet usage overall, social networking accounts for one in every five minutes spent online. “The strength of this category, along with email and [instant messaging], highlights that one of digital’s primary functions is for communication—now more so than ever with the rise of mobile,” the study notes.

The report also finds millennials ages 18 to 24 regularly use several social networks, but Facebook still takes the lead in engagement and audience size. For users 35 and over, Facebook is also the No.1 social network in engagement and size, but users spend much less time on other networks, although there is a slightly higher engagement on LinkedIn.

So, just how much time does the average person spend on Facebook? According to comScore, Facebook accounts for one in every six minutes spent online, and more than one in five minutes spent on mobile. In Q4 2015, Facebook captured 13.8% of total digital media time. The social networking app accounted for 16.2% of time spent on smartphones. According to the study: “Facebook is the [No. 1] digital media property by time spent. While it maintains an impressive double-digit market share of desktop time spent, it really shines on mobile platforms where its four core apps each contribute a meaningful share of engagement.”

According to the Pew Research Center’s “Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015” report, Facebook remains the most popular social network with 72% of online adults being Facebook users. Furthemore, Facebook continues to have the most engaged users—70% log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day.

Over the past four years, almost all of the major social media platforms consistently tracked in Pew Research surveys (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest) have seen a significant increase in the proportion of U.S. adults who use them. But some have witnessed faster growth than others. The proportion of online adults who use Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since Pew first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012. Research shows 31% of online adults use Pinterest (up from 15% in 2012), while 28% use Instagram (up from 13%).

Although there haven’t been changes in overall usage on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter from the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2015, some social networks experienced increases in user engagement. Most notably, the proportion of daily users on the major social networks has increased significantly from 2014.

Today, 59% of Instagram users visit the platform daily while 35% check out the app several times a day. The former figure reflects a 10-point increase from September 2014 when 49% of Instagram users reported visiting the site on a daily basis. Similarly, the proportion of Pinterest users who visit the platform daily increased from 17% in September 2014 to 27% in April 2015. The proportion of daily users on LinkedIn increased from 13% to 22% over the same time period.

When it comes to digital marketing, many flooring retailers have followed the formula employed by successful manufacturers by expanding their online presence. Web-savvy marketers know that most online ads are connected to a page that allows users to buy product featured in the marketing campaign, and consumers are responding accordingly. In fact, by Q4 2015 total digital commerce had grown to account for 15% of discretionary dollars spent by consumers—an all-time record, according to comScore. “Digital’s commerce share appears to be accelerating in recent years due to the impact of mobile,” the study states. In Q4 2015 total digital commerce surpassed $90 billion, its highest total ever.

M-commerce saw significant activity in 2015 with an increase of 56%, gaining a larger share of retail dollars when compared with desktop e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar stores. E-commerce—digital commerce on desktop—was relegated to 8% growth in 2015 as users demonstate a preference for mobile.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 12.09.45 PM