You want to tweet this article. You know you do.
Go on, you’ve got a few minutes. Just enough time for a quick tweet before getting back to work. Plus, don’t you want to see if you got a new email in the past hour?
If this train of thought is familiar, you’re not alone. New research shows that our addiction to social media is stronger than the cravings smokers have for nicotine … and stronger than other urges, too.
That’s not the only thing marketers were, ahem, buzzing about this week. A faux controversy arose around Facebook as people suddenly wondered how many active users the social network actually has each day.
We cover this and more in this week’s news roundup.
1. Resistance to Social Media Is Futile
Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School found that, by giving a group of people age 18–85 Blackberries to record their desires — and when they had them — that media urges may be strongest. In particular, Twitter and email stood out. “Twitter may be harder to resist than alcohol, because giving into the desire seems ‘low cost,’” researchers explained.
Bottom Line: This study speaks deeply to the interweaving of our personal and professional lives when it comes to online domains. As we increasingly rely on Facebook, Twitter, and email, we become more dependent on them, whether we’re sharing vacation photos with friends or promoting a business.
2. A Lot of Activity about Facebook’s Active Users
A controversy erupted this week when the New York Times’ DealBook speculated that Facebook may be bending numbers when it says that 50% of its user base — 483 million people — are active on the social network every day. The problem, according to DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, is that the company defines anyone who uses the “Like” button on any site as an “active user.”
Bottom Line: We don’t see this being a problem. Anyone who’s using Facebook’s Like button is technically using a feature of the site, and is therefore an active user. FastCompany.com noted that overall reach also loses importance when it comes to social media marketing, because you’re not targeting all 483 million of Facebook’s active users, you’re targeting a specific and very focused demographic.
3. Pinterest’s Sneaky Source of Revenue
A lot has been made lately about Pinterest’s booming popularity as a social network. The site has over 11 million unique visitors each month — which makes it the fastest-growing independent site ever — and interest only seems to be growing. Yet some are raising an eyebrow about how Pinterest is monetizing its playful pin-ups by modifying user links through a service called skimlinks. Each time a user is referred to a site through a pin and purchases that item, Pinterest takes a cut.
Bottom Line: Social media networks trying to monetize their services isn’t anything new, but Pinterest’s method is notable because it is still very early to try and make the pins profitable. And, as Josh Davis of LLsocial.com points out, there’s no disclosure of the practice on Pinterest’s site, which seems dishonest, particularly because Pinterest users do all of the actual pinning and sharing.
4. What About Email Marketing?
Email marketing remains dear to our hearts, so we were thrilled to see that a new Econsultancy Email in Action survey shows that the marketing medium isn’t just alive and kicking, it’s alive and thriving. More than half of agencies surveyed said that clients are increasing email use for marketing. Yet the research showed what we already know: Things are changing.
Bottom Line: The most striking finding was that only 35% of companies had incentives for email subscribers to join a Facebook page. We know that combining email with social is still a pain point for most small businesses and organizations. If you’re looking for guidance, we recommend:
What news topics caught your eye this week? Share them with us in the comments section below!