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The RAAKonteur #60 – Clash of the Titans and why you don't need marketeers in the fight

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22 October 2011

The Fog of War

In a wide ranging article Fast Company takes a look at the intricate tactical dance the four big companies vying to conquer the world - Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google –  are so very busy with. The variables in this giant game of chess and the number of the fronts are so complex that we get dizzy at the possible permutations of it all. Never-mind figuring out their strategies. But two points struck us in particular: Payment systems is one of the big new territories these companies would love to colonise and that telecoms companies are a big pain in the ass for all of them.


A sobering thought: Of these four only Apple competes (and only recently) with the worlds largest telcos in revenue levels (100 billion dollar + ). Yes, the industry that gets people to fork out cash for connecting, talking is several times the size of the advertising industry. Says Fast Company:

"Facebook is reported to have made $1.6 billion during the first half of 2011 (about double what it made in the first half of 2010), but Apple makes that much in nine days."

It's not about the dosh

The Fast Company article does point out that for these four companies its not all about money. It's about reshaping the world in their image. But money talks and Apple announced its results this week. What's remarkable about it is what Apple says will happen next:

"They’re actually forecasting a $37 billion quarter, which would be the company’s biggest quarter by almost $10 billion."

In case you wondered, Google is set to make about that same amount this year. Their best yet. Amazon might get close to topping 50 billion for the year for the first time.

Do my Watts look big in this?

In the wake of criticism against Facebook for using Coal and Nuclear power to power their data centres, Facebook has kicked off an initiative to improve their reputation on the energy front. The latest step in this initiative is a partnership with the National Resources Defence Council and Opower, to build an app that runs on the Facebook, and compare users' home energy usage to that of their friends and the national average.

Over and above the green initiative behind this planned app, it has the added benefit of saving users money by making them aware of their energy consumption.

Policy wonks, you lover's of Nudges and Big Society, eat your heart out.


For publishers, it's a jungle out there

Talking of war. Amazon is not only providing a platform for authors to self publish. It's actively courting prominent authors with publisher type deals. A 122 of them to be exact. In the words of the New York Times Amazon is "gnawing away" at the services publishers, agents and critics used to provide.

Come over to the DARC side

The Guided agency we often work with was founded by a non marketing person. None of us RAAKonteurs come from a marketing background. So we might be biased but we concur with an article in the Wall blog. With social media becoming so influential and spreading throughout all the different business functions and applications, companies will require more and more people with deep social media understanding. And what are those people like? They want DARC (Digital Analytical Reach Content Creator) people. No traditional marketing skills and background are required, instead “hire people who speak digital without an accent. Hire people that blog, have twitter followers and are on G+.”

Twitter's got no need for speed?

While the big four are slugging it out, the people in the streets are concerned about Twitter. #OccuppyWallStreet Tweets have been building for weeks, yet have failed to feature in Twitter trending topics. Thats because Twitter favours acceleration over volume (speed) in its trending topics. Social Flow has a great post on how this works. A slow rising tide, although much bigger, might not trend like a sudden wave of Tweets will. An important lesson we learned as well. A day before our campaign for Alan Sugar's book #TheWayIseeIt we got it trending with 350,000 Tweets. But on the day of the event, when we got about the same number, we failed to get into trends. So hold your fire, or use another gun.


Talking of acceleration – iOS5 is a Twitter booster rocket

Last week we wrote about Apple's iOS5 tightly integrating Twitter. The results are in (already!!), and they're simply very good indeed. Since iOS5 launched, Twitter's signups have tripled.

Away from iOS5 the numbers are not half bad either. If you analyse Twitter's active users, the ones that log in more than once a month, it gets even more interesting. At the beginning of the year, 30% of these users logged in every day. That number has now surged to more than 50%. This is a much more interesting number than the amount of signups, because it reflects actual usage, and a product that's becoming a core part of people's communication lives.

Another interesting number, daily average tweet volume, now sits at just under 3000 tweets per second. Back in May, when we did a comparison between Twitter and typical mobile operators, this number was 1794 tweets per second. It means they have almost double in volume, in five months! Which means Twitter now deals with about 20 times the number of Tweets per second compared to the average telco with its SMS. That's major.

Creative of the Week – Rihanna

Once again the music industry is using Facebook to promote their wares in a creative way. Rather than purely relying on the traditional promotional channels, Rihanna is using her own Facebook Page to create a buzz around her new album. The more people engage with the Unlocked app and the more tasks they complete, the more exclusive preview content is made available.

Simple, but efficient. So far it's resulted in more than 700,000 new Facebook fans, and, perhaps more surprising, more than a million new Twitter followers.


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