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Simon Beardow - Deputy Director, British Council, Vietnam

Friday, 29 April 2011

Time is On Your Side - Part Two

Social Media

A recent 'The Science of Timing' seminar for Hubspot's Dan Zarella suggested the following optimum times (US times - Central and Eastern Standard Time Zones) to be engaged:

    Retweets by the Hour - Dan Zarella
  • Retweets of your content from Twitter
2-5 PM provides the greatest number of  ReTweets and you get more during the day than during the night.

Later in the day (5 PM) and later in the week are the dominant times for retweeting,

You need to pick the optimum time for the time zones of your target market and this may vary from the above.

Use this free tool to determine the best timing for retweets of your content - you could well be surprised.

Interestingly the study also shows that those who Tweet about 22 times daily have the most followers so I suggest that if you are using an automated service such as Twitterfeed you should adjust the settings to this posting amount.

Using Google Analytics timing reporting mentioned above you will also be able to see the number of referrals from Twitter to your web site.
  • Facebook
Facebook sharing happens most during the weekends.

Less is more with Facebook postings and once a day, or once every second day, yields the best results

11 AM is the time when most people read content on Facebook. 2 AM, 5 AM, and 7 PM are the next best times which could mean some adjustment of corporate sleep patterns!).
  • Email
Most bounces are recorded at 6am. and 5 and 7 in the morning have the best opening rates.

97% read their email in the morning, and 95% read it in the afternoon.

Weekend email has an open rate of around 42%  but note that abuse reports are also highest on Saturday and Sunday, 6 AM being the peak for this.

As with Twitter automation, you can set you email programme to deliver it into inboxes at the best time to capture the attention of your target audience.

  • Blogs
Mornings are best for people who view blogs; 80% do so during this time.  The percentage drops to 60% during the afternoon, half (50%) read them in the evening and only 40% do so at night.

More men (60%) than women (50%)read blog posts in the evening, so demographic targeting is important.

Viewing rate is highest on a Monday (130 average) but tapers of a little on Tuesday. From Wednesday to Friday the average levels out at an average of 120 views. Saturday and Sunday's average views are lowest (80). Comments i.e. feedback, is higher in the weekend.

10 to 11 am has the most blog views, averaging 190 and the lowest blog viewing rate is at 5 am(65)

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On The Tiles

TheDigitalConsultant Tile
Here's a clever use of social media and engagement  by the Dutch Airline KLM. By logging on to the airline's Facebook site visitors are invited to create their own Delft Tile.

One of these with its accompanying slogan will be chosen as the competition winner and this person will see their tile appear on a real KLM plane, flying on journeys of inspiration around the globe.

The combination of a traditional Dutch ceramic art form with the digital interaction using Facebook profile pictures is an inspired piece of advertising.

Watch and click on the promo clip below and then try it for yourself

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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Time is On Your Side - Part One

Social and online media is all about engagement; more often than not in realtime.  If you are posting on social media sites at times when your target audience are away doing something else then you have a problem.

More of a challenge are enterprises who persist in following their business hours for online activity instead of adopting those of their audience.

While it is true that you need to be where where your market is, it is equally true that you need to be there when that market is digitally engaged.  Logistical challenge aside, consideration of time zones is a must if your business is not locally focussed.

While you can schedule your blog postings to publish at specified hours and use third party platforms to spawn your company RSS to your twitter account on a sequential basis, but do you really know that this scattergun approach is reaching your audience?

This is the first of two articles on timing and what it could mean for you.

Let's Start With Web Sites

Google Analytics should be now be a 'given' for all web sites.  To accurately gauge the times when people visit your site you need to enhance the Analytics reports and fortunately (if you are using Firefox as your browser) there is a free way of doing so. Here's how:
  1. Download the Greasemonkey addon for Firefox 
  2. Now add the Google Analytics Report Enhancer script (you will be prompted to accept this)
  3. Open your Google Analytics window and in the left hand column click on 'Search Engines'
Click on Search Engines
Click on Source
Click on Time

You can do the same for 'day of the week' . As a result you now have a good idea as to which days andwhat times people are making greatest use of your site.  Check out not only 'visits' but also 'new visits'. Adjust the period to get monthly and annual rates.
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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Flock Off

Another browser bites the dust and in this case perhaps it is a case of hype over substance. When launched five years ago Flock broke new ground as a social browser, aimed at the socially active.  Facebook's functionality and subsequent growth has left them stranded.

Flock's demise is also perhaps not so surprising considering that their staff were bought up by Zynga in January of this year and are now "working to assist Zynga in achieving their goal of building the most fun, social games available to anyone, any time - on any platform".

Zynga is best known as the brains trust behind social gaming sites such as Farmville.

Flock positioned itself as the 'social browser' when it first appeared on the scene and was based on  the Mozilla platform before switching over to Chromium last year.

Flock grew to more than 10 million users and became the #1 most popular desktop application on Facebook before the talent acquisition by Zynga (the acquisition did not include the technology, service or then CEO so Zynga never owned and had nothing to do with today’s shutdown).

Jennifer Van Grove of Mashable, writing in USA Today, says:
Flock is a casualty of the social nature of the Web and Facebook's Open Graph initiative. Web denizens now carry their social graph with them via Facebook and not through the browser. Its shutdown also calls to mind the rise and fall of the once great Flip video camera, which is also being discontinued.
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