The Data Digest: Photo Uploads: Awareness, Excitement, Engagement

Anjali Lai

Walt Disney once said, “of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Perhaps he was more prescient than anyone realized at that time: Decades later, the onslaught of social media and the emergence of mobile phones have made his assertion seem truer than ever, as consumers have gained the tools to share a picture with the global population in a matter of seconds. Today, the fascination with pictures has come to define communication that spans both the offline and online worlds.

According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, sharing visual content is indeed a universal phenomenon — but it is most prevalent in countries like China, India, and Brazil:


Some believe that our obsession with taking and sharing photographs speaks to a modern narcissistic culture. Indeed, Pew Research reports that the majority of Millennial consumers post “selfies” on social networking sites. However, when Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar “selfie” became the most retweeted tweet ever this week, narcissism was hardly part of the conversation. Instead, Ellen’s post exemplified what can happen when the power of the picture meets the power of social media: large-scale awareness, excitement, and engagement.

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Forrester Releases The Annual State of Consumers And Technology 2013, US Report

Gina Fleming

We just published our annual report on The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2013, US. This data-rich report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for consumers’ level of technology adoption, usage and attitudes. Our annual benchmark report is based on Forrester's Technographics® online benchmark survey that we've been fielding since 1998. The report covers a wide range of topics, such as online activities, social media activities, retail behaviors and preferences, and device usage—for  ‘traditional’ technologies like TVs and laptops—as well as more emerging technologies like smartphones, tablets and wearables.

We analyze our findings through a generational lens, including Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, Younger Boomers, Older Boomers, and the Golden Generation. While most Americans are already online, we are seeing major strides in mobile Internet access. In 2013, all generations are connected—81% of the US adult population goes online. But there are still generational differences in smartphone usage: Seven of ten Gen Zers and Gen Yers use a smartphone, but only 18% of the Golden Generation do.

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Your Company Won An Award! Congrats. So What? Now What?

Lori Wizdo

My eighty-six-year-old mother called me last night to tell me that she’s been “boiling eggs wrong all my life.” It seems she’d watched a cooking show and received some “best practice” advice. My mom is an excellent cook, so this made me realize that no matter how seasoned a veteran you are, there’s no harm (and often some good) in a review of the basics. In that spirit, I am going to share some advice for a question that comes to me quite frequently:

“What are the best practices for leveraging an industry or business award?”

First, deal with the basics: the press release.

  • Issue a press release.  Be sure to include a quote from the awarding body about their judgment process and criteria. If the award is based upon a customer story, work really hard to include a quote from the customer in the press release. It’s OK to use the template that the award giver has probably given you, but make sure the press release is search-engine-optimized for your keywords.
  • Get aggressive on press outreach. Focus on reporters or social influencers (bloggers, analysts) who have been diffident or unresponsive in the past. If you can offer up an interview with the co-award-winning client, you have a very good chance of getting some coverage.
  • Post the news on all your social media sites.
  • If a customer was involved, try to convert to a “customer case study” press release. The barrier to this might be lower now that the customer’s use of your product/service is already public knowledge.
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The “Facebook Factor”—What You Need to Know About Youth Social Media Marketing

Gina Fleming

It's been more than a year since Forrester published its original Facebook factor report, which quantified the impact of a Facebook fan on brand interactions for US online adults, and social media has only become a bigger part of consumers’ online experience. Social media is engrained in the lives of US consumers, and we found this to also be true for US youth. Our latest report, “The Facebook Factor: US Online Youth” answers the question, “How much more likely are youth Facebook fans to purchase, consider, and recommend brands than non-fans?” We also analyzed youth engagement with brands on other social networking sites like Twitter and Google+. As in the original report, we used logistic regression modeling to uncover the effect of Facebook fans or Twitter followers on brands for the youth market.

In the report, we analyzed the “Facebook factor” for four brands that are popular with youth: Converse, Disney, iTunes, and Starbucks. We found that US online youth who engage with these brands on social media are much more likely to have made a purchase from, consider, and recommend each of these brands than non-engagers.

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Personal Communication Services and Social Collaboration Are Entering The Workplace

Dan Bieler

By Dan Bieler and Enza Iannopollo

Personal communications services, which we define as communication and collaboration services that merge private, social and business communication in one personal view, are becoming part of the work environment. Services like Skype or Google Apps allow users to speak and send messages across multiple communications services to communicate and collaborate just as they would as consumers within a corporate context. Empowered employees expect to use these collaboration channels not just for personal use but also for work.

Although Skype has been around for more than decade, the market for personal communications services in a business context is still very much evolving. The personal communication experience is complex and challenging, as individuals wrestle with multiple communications services to manage an increasingly diverse set of communication and collaboration technologies.

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One Week Left To Win A Forrester Groundswell Award

Nate Elliott

[UPDATE, Sepember 2013: Entries for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards are now closed. More than 100 companies entered more than 130 social programs this year, and we're looking forward to reviewing them and recognizing the best at our 2013 eBusiness Forum on November 5.]

The entry deadline for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards is just one week away - August 30, 2013. These awards recognize programs that showcase the effective use of social media to advance an organizational goal. We've got new categories this year - check out our video for details - and over the past week, my colleagues have given their advice on how to win an award for 'social reach' and for 'social depth.' Today, I want to give some tips on how to win an award in our 'social relationship' category.

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It's Time To End Social Exceptionalism

Nate Elliott

Today, social media is part of nearly every marketer's strategy: More than 90% of the marketers we survey are already using social tactics.

But the sobering reality is that nearly a decade into the era of social media, more social marketers are failing than succeeding. Why? Because of a problem we call “social exceptionalism.” Rather than regarding social media as just another marketing channel, marketers act as if social is somehow unique:

  • Some treat social media as an island. Too many marketers never connect social to the rest of their marketing programs. But social messages that don't match the rest of your marketing program are unlikely to contribute much value.
  • Others ask social to carry the weight of the world. No matter how social your audience, no one channel can shoulder the load of an entire marketing program on its own — as many marketers ask social to do. Successful marketing always relies on finding the right mix of platforms and tactics.
  • Most use unproven metrics to track performance. Marketers have moved past tracking only fans and followers — but few have gotten much further. Too many measure recently invented metrics like "engagement," and too few track the brand impact or conversion rate of social programs.
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Five Common Legal & Regulatory Challenges With Social Media

Nick Hayes

It should come as no surprise that regulators and organizations alike struggle to set and enforce guidelines for social media activity. It’s not just that the rise of social media is rapidly transforming the way we interact with people, customers, and brands; but also how many ways this transformation is happening.

The core issue is that social media alters the way we as individuals share who we are, merging our roles as people, professionals, and consumers.  As we share more of ourselves on a growing number of social networks, questions quickly surface:

  • How frequently and on what social networks should we post?
  • When should we present ourselves in our professional role versus sharing our personal opinions?
  • Is it okay to be social media friends with co-workers, clients, or your boss?

These are complicated matters for individuals, and absolute conundrums for organizations concerned with how employees behave and interact with others in, and outside of, the workplace. Their questions are even more complicated:

  • Can organizations dictate how their employees use social media?
  • Can they monitor social media conversations or use it to learn more about prospective job applicants?
  • When does the personal connection allowed by social media tools cross the line from business to personal?
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Guest Post: Sarah Takvorian’s Favorite Forrester Groundswell Award Winner

Nate Elliott

[UPDATE, Sepember 2013: Entries for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards are now closed. More than 100 companies entered more than 130 social programs this year, and we're looking forward to reviewing them and recognizing the best at our 2013 eBusiness Forum on November 5.]

We recently announced that we are accepting applications for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards! This program recognizes companies that have best used social media to advance an organizational or business goal. As we gear up for this year’s awards, we can’t help but reminisce about those past winners that blew us away. Sarah Takvorian, the super Research Associate who helps out with our social marketing coverage, shares one of her favorites from the 2012 awards:

We received more than 100 award entries in 2012, but the B2C Talking category winner was my favorite.  Glidden’s “My Colortopia” social hub engaged the paint brand’s target audience and guided them toward the right colors and styles by providing expert advice and personalized inspiration.

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Now Accepting Entries: The 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards

Nate Elliott

[UPDATE, Sepember 2013: Entries for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards are now closed. More than 100 companies entered more than 130 social programs this year, and we're looking forward to reviewing them and recognizing the best at our 2013 eBusiness Forum on November 5.]

Every year since 2007, Forrester has recognized the very best social media programs from around the world — and I’m thrilled to announce we’re now accepting entries for the seventh annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.

The rules are simple: Entries should represent the effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational goal. The more data you can offer to prove this, the better your chances of winning. You can enter using our online form. If you win, you get a nice shiny trophy, a winner’s badge for your website, and lots of recognition from Forrester. And this year’s deadline is August 30, 2013.

There’s just one big change for 2013: We’re introducing new categories for the awards based on Forrester’s marketing RaDaR research. So this year, both our business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) awards will offer four categories:

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