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Social login and sharing

Recent research from Janrain explored trends in the use of social login (where users can register and log in to websites using their social network identity) and showed that Facebook is the most popular choice with 46% of the total share.

Gigya has now added to this research, analysing data from its clients for Q2 2013 to review how the landscape of social login and sharing is evolving.  Key findings from Gigya:

Social login preferences

  • Facebook leads the way with 52% of total preferred social logins
  • Google+ is in a clear second place with 24%
  • Yahoo is in third place with 17%
  • Twitter has 4%; LinkedIn = 1%

For online retail sites, Facebook is a clear leader with 79% followed by Google+ with 12% (Gigya expects Google’s percentage to increase with the growth of Google Wallet.

Social sharing preferences

For Gigya’s clients, Facebook leads the way when it comes to social content sharing with 50%.  However, both Twitter (24%) and Pinterest (16%) are significant players here.  Indeed, when it comes to social sharing in ecommerce, Pinterest (41%) has taken top spot away from Facebook (27%).  Google+ is way down the table – behind LinkedIn – with only 2% of social sharing activity.


In a separate study (by Power Formula) the growth and impact of LinkedIn as a networking tool is considered.  Key findings:

  • 15% of users pay for the enhanced LinkedIn service; 85% use the free service
  • Group membership – 35% of LinkedIn users are members of 1-9 groups – but an astonishing 2% had no idea that LinkedIn offered groups
  • 52% of people used LinkedIn for between 0 and 2 hours every week

How are people using LinkedIn?

  • Researching people and companies (76%)
  • Reconnecting with business associates/colleagues (70%)
  • Build new networking relationships (45%)
  • Increase face to face networking effectiveness (41%)

Most helpful LinkedIn features

  • Who’s viewed your profile? (71%)
  • People you may know (65%)
  • Groups (61%)
  • Direct messaging (49%)
  • Advanced people search (47%)
  • Searching for companies (46%)

[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]

Mobile search: creating moments that matter

The majority of people who use mobile search to find information on consumer items and services have every intention of making a purchase.  In a study (by Nielsen and Google) researchers found that three out of every four searches trigger some sort of follow up action, including further research or a purchasing decision.

Over 400 participants logged their mobile searches over a two week period in Q4 of 2012 and were asked follow up questions by the researchers.

Key findings

  • 73% of mobile searches trigger additional actions
  • 17% of mobile searches occur ‘on the move’; 2% occur in-store
  • 81% of mobile searches are driven by speed and convenience, even when people are at home with access to other devices

Next steps after mobile search

On average each mobile search triggers 1.89 additional actions.  Of the 73% of mobile searchers who carry out follow up activities:

  • 36% went on to perform additional research
  • 25% visited a retailers website
  • 18% shared the information
  • 17% made a purchase

The research also discovered that when people use mobile search they are:

  • 57% more likely to visit a store
  • 51% more likely to make a purchase
  • 39% more likely to call a business
  • 30% more likely to visit a website

Mobile search triggers rapid activity

One of the most striking findings in the research is the speed of follow up activity.

  • 55% of conversions occur within one hour of the original mobile search
  • 85% of all follow up actions occur within five hours of the original search

The report can be accessed here: Mobile search: creating moments that matter.

[Follow Val Skelton on Google+]

Mobile trends 2012-2013

comScore has released its latest Mobile Future in Focus report for the US (a separate report for the UK is also available).  The report analyses the mobile landscape in 2012 and sets about making predictions for 2013.

Mobile trends 2012

Social networking

  • Facebook accounts for 83% of US social media usage
  • Tumblr is in second place – with 5.7%
  • Driven by the visual web e.g. the emergence and popularity of Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram
  • Shifting towards ‘content monetisation’


  • Google’s share of the search market in the US increased by less than 1% to 66.7%
  • Microsoft Bing was up 1.2% to 16.3%
  • Yahoo was in third place with 12.2% – down 2.3%
  • Shift to searching on mobile devices
  • ‘Core search’ declined for the first time in 2012
    • Searchers are shifting to vertical search – e.g. searching directly on eBay or Facebook

Digital video

  • 75 million online video viewers per day in the US
  • Increasing numbers viewing favourite shows digitally
  • In 2012 there were 450 billion U.S. content video views
  • Google sites (YouTube) were the top US video content properties with 42% of the market
    • Hulu was in second place; Netflix seventh


  • Mobile transactions accounted for 11% of e-commerce spending in 2012
  • Consumers using smartphones to help them shop in-stores


  • Smartphones surpassed the 50% penetration point in 2012
  • 80% of time spent on smartphones is spent using apps
  • Facebook is the leading mobile app
    • Google maps is second; YouTube is sixth
    • Smartphones and tablets account for 37% of all time spent online

Mobile trends 2013

com.Score’s predictions include:

  • consumer platform shifts mean businesses must work hard to stay ahead of consumers’ anytime anywhere demands
  • organisations will develop more integrated, cross platform social media strategies
  • social search increasingly important, with 2013 likely focusing on ‘local social search’
  • increasingly sophisticated consumers, using devices to compare deals and make transactions
  • Big data will require organisations who can deliver big insights.

You can download the report here.

Using social media tools to disseminate academic research

There are many reasons for taking the measurement of academic impact seriously, particularly in the current economic climate. Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK and speaking at The Future of Academic Impact conference, reminded the audience that the public perception of academia tends to focus on the most visible aspect – namely undergraduate teaching and fees.  How can we increase the public perception of the value of academic research and its contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation and beyond?

One aspect of improving the visibility of academic research was covered in a breakout session exploring the value of the ‘top five’ social media tools in supporting academic communication.

Know your audience

Each tool can bring your tool to different audiences.  It is therefore important to understand both the demographic of your chosen tools and the potential audiences of your work.


With a global audience of over 100 million, Twitter is a realtime information network which encourages sharing of links and posts and facilitates conversation and feedback.  By using metric tools or the statistics of URL shortening services (e.g. Bitly), it is easy to measure the increased traffic to your blog generated by tweeting.

By mentioning your collaborators and using retweets and hashtags appropriately you can significantly increase your own visibility.  You can also use the ‘favourite’ button as a simple bookmarking tool.


By far the most popular social network, Facebook offers an alternative tool to help drive traffic to your blog and other outputs.  It also has the potential to ‘go viral’.  50% of all Europeans use Facebook regularly.  The drive to monetisation by Facebook does mean that to appear in the newsfeeds of all of your ‘likers’ you may have to pay a small fee.


An image driven tool, Pinterest enables content creation and social sharing.  Although not particularly well-used by academics at the moment, use is increasing e.g. as a ‘visual ideas board’ for research interests.  It’s also a great way to disseminate visual outputs of your research.


Although not particularly well-used, a particularly valuable feature of Google+ for academics is the Google Hangouts option, which enables group collaboration and chats and the ability to record these sessions.


LinkedIn is evolving into a business focused social media site that enables sharing and discussion as well as another platform to showcase achievements.

Social media tools can help open us research and reach new, interested audiences.  “It’s not about where you publish, but who you reach.”

The breakout session was led by Amy Mollett  (@amymollett) and Joel Suss (@joelsuss).

The kindness of strangers – marketing through recommendations

When it comes to social media, personal recommendations are a valuable commodity.   The power of ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘retweet’ and +one is that these recommendations mean more when they come from others.  People outside the organisation can become our most powerful and influential advocates.

The challenge for information professionals is that there are so many social media tools around.  Which ones should we focus on?  Do we really need a presence on Facebook, in Google+, on Twitter, in the blogosphere, on LinkedIn etc.  The answer is that we must be active on any tool where relevant conversations are happening.

Sometimes relevant conversations can happen face to face.  Having heard about Pinterest first through a Facebook friend, and second at the recent NetIKX social media event, it was a real world conversation with Phil Bradley that alerted me to the value of this new social tool.   Pinterest provides social bookmarking with images.  Although still in beta form, information professionals should be alert to its potential – Pinterest is already driving more traffic to retail sites than Google+.

On Pinterest, users create folders for images, describing their contents using freetext tagging.  This is something which information professionals are very good at.   You can use Pinterest to search images and to find experts and interested people.  It is also an excellent marketing tool, and can draw people onto your website.  It has enormous potential to market what it is that we do to a wide audience.

So if someone invites you to join Pinterest, you should accept the invitation and explore its potential  as a potentially powerful marketing tool for library and information services.

Google’s New Search Engine Results Page Examined

Google has rolled out a major set of changes to its search engine results pages. Left-hand navigational search facets are now turned on by default. Greg Notess examines the changes in detail in today’s Infotoday NewsBreak.

New York Times Introduces New Reading App

The New York Times has launched a new online tool that aims to make the experience of reading news on the web feel more like browsing through the print edition. Times Skimmer (www.nytimes.com/timesskimmer) attempts to retain the look and feel of a printed paper.

Skimmer sorts articles into sections such as ‘World’ or ‘Business’ and within each category presents  an array of headlines and summaries in a grid layout which utilises the full screen width. Users can choose from 7 different customised layouts.

Playing around with presentation of news online in this way calls to mind Google’s recently launched Fast Flip (http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/) which allows users to quickly ‘flick’ through content from a number of partner publishers. In contrast, Michael Wolff and Patrick Spain’s  Newser (www.newser.com),  which has been around since 2007, attempts to present online news in a way that deliberately moves away from the print idiom to a native web approach which allows users to customise their preference for ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ news.

It’s refreshing to see another major newspaper publisher trying a new format. It’s worth noting though that Skimmer’s prototype was launched in February 2009 – that is, before the current hubbub around the issue of paywalls and subscription models for online news kicked off. Would the NYT do the same thing if it were starting from scratch in the current climate?

Google’s UK MD gives evidence to MPs: “Google is not a parasite”.

Matt Brittin, Google’s UK MD, gave evidence this week to the UK government inquiry into the future of local media and denied accusations that Google is a “parasite” on traditional newspapers.  The Department of Culture, Media and Sport inquiry is examining the impact of digital convergence, new media technology and changing consumer behaviour on the UK regional newspaper industry.

Brittin described Google as a “virtual newsagent”, and noted that publishers can choose not to have their content indexed if they wish. At the same time he acknowledged that the economics of newspaper publishing are now very different from the time when the only place to advertise was the local paper.  “Online everybody needs to experiment”, he commented, praising regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press’s recent decision to test paywalls on some of its local papers.

He also spent some time explaining the new restrictions which allow publishers to limit clickthroughs from Google News to their subscriber-only content.  

Brittin maintained a careful distinction between the revenue models of Google News compared to Google web search, the nuances of which might have been lost on the MPs who were grilling him. It’s a fine line, and it’s easy to paint Google as being responsible for the current woes of the newspaper industry. As Brittin point out, though, Google delivers 100,000 clicks per minute ­­— that’s 4 billion clicks per month — to news websites worldwide. Not quite the stuff of pantomime villains.

Video of the entire session is here.

Google Books revised settlement – French, German and other non-English books excluded

Searcher’s Barbara Quint gives the lowdown on the revised Google Books Settlement, which once finalised will enable Google to make available millions of out-of-print books in the US.

The international scope of the agreement has been reduced, although books published in Canada, the UK or Australia – countries which share legal frameworks and book industry practices  – are still covered. Dan Clancy, engineering director for Google Book Search, confirms that foreign works will continue to be added to the Google Books collection, and although “users will not have access to the full text or to the extended Preview mode for the bulk of foreign in-copyright works, they will still be able to search them, identify relevant items, and read the snippets.”