Five on Friday: Customer Service, Streaming Music, Digital Advertising
Featuring Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music and IAB
We made it; the week is almost over! In this week’s Five on Friday, the Facebook Journalism Project reveals publisher results, we offer best practices on using Twitter as a customer service tool, Barron’s explains why investors are no longer interested in movie theater stock, Apple Insider explores the streaming music wars, and the IAB shares digital advertising results for 2018. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, grandmothers and mother figures out there!
Facebook Journalism Project Update: Publisher Results
After a 12-week program of Facebook’s Local News Subscriptions Accelerator, publishers shared some of their results. Here are some interesting highlights:
The Seattle Times:
- A one-day “flash” sale in April produced the most successful single-day acquisition results ever, beating their previous record by 63%
- A Memorial Day sale was shortened by two days, producing a 50% increase over 2017
The Denver Post:
- 60% increase in digital subscription sales over a 12-week period
- Adopted subscription benchmarks and tested different email campaigns and offers
Miami Herald (McClatchy):
- Three times growth in readership who hit the free-article limit between March and June
- Paywall now accounts for 65% of new digital subscription starts, up from 26% in March
- Created a dynamic paywall
- Company has plans for increased A/B testing and uniting customer, content and product resources
Read more results from the 12-week intensive on FacebookJournalismProject.com.
5 Ways to Use Twitter for Customer Service
Social media is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, our customers can reach us 24/7. On the other, we have new opportunities to provide them with quality customer service. Because of its immediate nature, Twitter is often the platform of choice for brands to reach their customers. Customers can send you a direct message or “mention” you in a tweet to get your attention.
Here are five ways you can use Twitter to better serve your customers:
- Let’s say a customer is unhappy with your subscription service. Maybe they couldn’t figure out how to cancel their automatic renewal, or they want to change their payment method but can’t figure out how to do it online or in your app, so they take to Twitter to complain. This is an opportunity to easily reach that customer to apologize and make it right. Reach out to them on Twitter and then take the conversation offline (e.g., phone, chat, email, DM) to get the appropriate details to service their request.
- Maybe your system is down or you are experiencing connectivity issues. Let your customers know RIGHT AWAY. Say something like, “We’re sorry but our system is currently experiencing delays in some areas. Our team is hard at work to get it back up as soon as possible. We’ll report any updates here. Stay tuned!”
- As we mentioned in #1 above, some conversations aren’t meant to be had before the rest of the world. When you are sharing personal information, request or provide the needed data privately.
- SproutSocial reports that 60% of users expect a response to a tweet within an hour. That may not always be possible, but do prioritize responses. Not convinced? Think of airline complaints on Twitter. When you are stuck at your gate or your flight is canceled, getting a tweet 12 hours later about what to do will not help you.
- Establish your voice for the platform. SproutSocial recommends “being human,” and we couldn’t agree more. Twitter isn’t as formal or professional as LinkedIn, or even Facebook. Emojis, GIFs and humor are allowed – even encouraged – to help you deal with customers, whether it is an apology, a thank you or some other type of response.
Investors Are Interested in Streaming Services, Not Movie Theaters
In a streaming video world, movie theater stocks are no longer winning with investors, not even when a blockbuster film like Avengers premiers. Why? According to Barron’s, movie theater success is not consistent or reliable, especially as more streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime grab our dollars and attention. Those services bring in consistent, reliable revenue, where movie theaters are only as good as their last film. Who knows when the next Avengers will come along? It could be next week, but it might not, and investors follow the money.
Streaming services also have a built-in fan base. We know that Netflix has 148.9 million global paid members and, in the first quarter, generated $4.5 billion. Even if Netflix doesn’t deliver a stellar quarter in terms of content, it won’t lose a significant number of customers. A movie theater chain like Cinemark or AMC, on the other hand, will only attract customers if they are playing movies their customers want to see. That is somewhat out of their control and harder to predict with regularity. It is also one reason why investors are more likely to bank on a streaming service than a movie theater chain. As Alex Eule for Barron’s says, “we’re living in a streaming world.”
Who’s Succeeding in the Streaming Music Wars?
With so many streaming music services – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, etc. – who is winning the streaming wars? Bloomberg reports that Google’s paid music services (YouTube Music and Google Play Music) have reached 15 million paying subscribers.
Apple Music reportedly has more than 56 million paying subscribers worldwide, and Spotify has more than 100 million premium customers, and 217 million listeners altogether, including free listeners. CNBC reports that, in the U.S., Apple has surpassed Spotify where Apple Music has 28 million paid subscribers and Spotify reportedly has 26 million. A year ago, The Verge said Tidal had reached 3 million subscribers. Amazon Music Unlimited has not confirmed subscriber numbers.
So who’s winning? It depends on who you ask. Each offers a slightly different mix of content and pricing options. Some use a freemium model, others use a premium model and still others try a tiered model. We anticipate that Spotify and Apple Music will remain at the top of the food chain, while YouTube and Google are likely to merge at some point.
Digital Advertising Revenue Exceeds $100B for First Time in 2018
The IAB has just released its annual advertising revenue report. This is IAB’s 23rd such report, and it includes some fascinating data about the state of digital advertising. Here are highlights from the report:
- Digital revenues for 2018 were $107.5 billion, exceeding the $100 billion mark for the first time.
- Revenues grew 21.8% between 2018 and 2017.
- Advertising revenue on mobile devices totaled $69.9 billion, a 39.7% increase year-over-year.
- Advertising on mobile makes up 65.1% of all digital advertising revenue.
- The top 10 leading ad-selling companies command 75% of the market.
- Digital video shows the largest growth among all advertising formats.
- $29 billion of digital advertising revenue is attributed to social media advertising.
- Total digital audio ad revenue was $2.3 billion.
Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO for IAB, commented on exceeding the $100 billion mark.
“Surpassing $100 billion in annual revenue is a watershed moment for the digital advertising ecosystem – one built on its power to build direct relationships between brands and today’s consumers. Innovative platforms like over-the-top television, podcasts, virtual reality and augmented reality all have the potential to help marketers forge even stronger ties with audiences, as brands navigate the new ‘consumer first’ playing field,” said Rothenberg.