BlogPageWelcome to my blog -- Grace's Rantings

I have made a study of human communication -- interpersonal as well as mass media.  I am intrigued by tremendous changes in human interaction in recent years.  The computer, Internet, smart phones and social media have dramatically changed the way we interact with each other.  Human discourse hasn't changed, but the mediums by which we communicate have..."and that has made all the difference".


Please share your thoughts and join in the discussion. I welcome your input and comments!


Television Viewership Trends

Nielsen’s has recently released their First Quarter 2013 analysis of television viewing, and they report that traditional television viewing young adults, aged 18-24 continues to decline.


The rate of decline is still slight – about 11 minutes less in Q1 2013 than in Q1 2012.  These 11 minutes represents about 5% of their total viewing time.  But, if we compare Q1 2013 with Q1 2011, the young adult viewership has declined 3 hours per week (approximately 26 minutes per day) over 2 years.  This is an 11% decline.  And the trend shows no sign of stopping.

Viewership is also down by approximately 5% over 2 years in the 25-34 and 35-49 year demographics although these groups are still watching more television than younger viewers.  I thought this chart which shows the same data in a more visual format is really strong:


So where are all the television viewers going?  Not surprisingly, the study also highlights that the heaviest streaming video users are the lightest television viewers.  However, on average these heavy streamers stream 27 minutes per day and continue to view just over 4 hours (243 minutes) of traditional television per day.

Another trend to watch is the steady decline in cable television subscriptions.  This decline is growing faster than anticipated, and was 1.08 million subscribers last year.

However, all is not doom and gloom for television.  Among young adults, the average television viewership is still slightly over 23 hours per week, compared with 2 ½ hours of viewing for internet and or mobile phone video.

So while television is still king in that it still commands the most hours of media consumption, its dominance is slowly eroding.

And as these 18-24 year olds move into the older demographics, will they continue to watch less television, or will their habits change to be more like those of the current older adults?

Give us Free Shipping!

Personally I love on-line shopping.  Of course I love shopping in stores too, but I don’t always have time to go from store to store looking for a particular item.  I find on-line shopping sooo easy as I can order exactly what I want in the colors and or sizes I need.

However I really resent paying for shipping!  Why?  Well the way I see it is that I am saving the retailer a whole lot of money.  They don’t need a store front or sales people as a bricks and mortar retailer does.  Or if they are a bricks and mortar retailer, they don’t need as large a retail space or as many sales people.  I believe they should be passing these savings onto me in the form of free shipping, or shipping at greatly reduced prices as L.L. Bean does.

It turns out that I am not alone in my attitude.  According to a study done by UPS and comScore, UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, 68% of survey respondents said that free shipping the number one factor in recommending an on line retailer.  Conversely, 59% said that shipping costs being too high compared to the item’s purchase price led them to giving negative recommendations.  Shipping costs also play a large role in shopping cart abandonment – I know this is true for me!  88% of online shoppers said they have abandoned a cart due to high shipping costs, (up from 81% last year).  76% of respondents overall stated that free shipping options were the most important factor in the check-out process.

Big Changes Ahead for Radio

With summer approaching, my thoughts turn to the beach and to remembering how we used to bring our transistor radios with us and listen to top 40 music on AM radio.

Then along came the 80’s and kids began to lug around huge boom boxes to play the radio and cassette tapes.

Well today’s youth have their own music preferences which will bring some radical changes to radio as we know it.  Today’s younger listeners are opting for Internet radio like Pandora and iHeartRadio on their smart phones.

Billboard reports that these Internet radio services account for 23% of radio listening time for consumers aged 13-35.  (This is up from 17% last year.  This is an increase of 35% in just one year!)  Digital mp3 files comprised 15%, and Spotify and other on-demand services accounted for 14%.  With satellite radio listening at 5%, and CDs at less than 10%, AM/FM radio listening was actually less than 25% of all listening in this age group.

In contrast, and not surprisingly, of listeners over age 35, AM/FM radio made up 40 of their listening, and internet radio just 13%.

As the 13-35 year olds age, will they switch back to AM/FM radio?  Doubtful

Internet Radio is Going Strong!

Fairly recently I started listening to music on Pandora.  I like it because Pandora presents me with a variety of music and allows me to hear new songs that I actually like!  I feel that it has opened me up to new artists who I wouldn't have otherwise heard.

When listening to the radio (terrestrial and/or satellite radio), I tend to stick to the stations and formats I like, thereby limiting myself to music I am comfortable with (generally classic rock with some softer alternative thrown in).  Pandora really mixes up my playlists and exposes me to far more than I would ever discover on my own.

Well it turns out that I am merely 1 out of 200 million who have discovered Pandora!

I'm Official, I have a QR code!

Taking the advise of Geekalicious, I have made a QR code for this blog using Kaywa QR Code generator.  I'm feeling quite up to date (for the moment!)

I also have another blog, dedicated to staying healthy.  It too has a QR code in case you want to check it out:

Is Coke It?

Have you seen the new 2 minute ad by Coca-Cola?  The premise is that they are not contributing to the obesity epidemic, but rather helping to fight obesity by offering low calorie diet sodas and smaller cans (at a higher price)!

Never mind that research has shown that diet soda is dangerous, linking it to heart disease, bone losskidney disease, and stroke, not to mention weight gain and obesity! (Even more references here,  here and here).

But, you have to give Coca-Cola credit for getting out ahead of the issue and trying to protect their business.  (It reminds me of when the cigarette manufactures came out with low tar cigarettes.)  Coke's major premise is that if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight, regardless of whether those calories come from chocolate cake, sugary drinks or even mom's home cooking.  They even encourage us to get more exercise to burn off those excess calories.  All good advise.

As sugar, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are legal products, I am not in favor of the government dictating what we can and can't eat (ha, they do it all the time through the FDA, but that's a topic for another day)!  But as we move toward the government paying for our health care, and our health is directly related to what we consume, will the government take it upon themselves to control what we eat and drink?  Sugared sodas, high fat desserts, alcohol, caffeine???

Have You Gone Native?

A new marketing buzz word to close out the year and ring in the new ... Native Advertising.

Everyone is talking about it.  Marketers are calling themselves "native advertising pros", but just exactly what are they talking about???

I saw this great post on Mashable (that's redundant isn't it? All posts on Mashable are pretty great) that references Solve Media's definition of Native Advertising:

 "Native advertising refers to a specific mode of monetization that aims to augment user experience by providing value through relevant content delivered in-stream."

Well that clears it up!  Solve Media even developed a cool infographic which I am reposting below.  But first, my definition of "native advertising".  I admit it is a bit more crass.

"Native Advertising describes how marketers (advertisers) access their market (potential customers) through social media and encourage these potential customers to interact with them with the goal of getting their customers to spend more of their money on the advertisers' products and services."

Here is Solve Media's infographic for your enjoyment!  I'd love to hear your thoughts


Social vs. Paid Media

As I've often stated, I really enjoy social media.  I use Facebook,  twitter (I have 2 different accounts), LinkedIn  Four Square, and Pinterest on a regular basis, and even some others occasionally.   There is no doubt that social media is here to stay and it is growing, but it still cannot replace paid media for brand building and advertising.  No amount of Facebook posts can reach the masses as broadcast media can.

A friend and colleague wrote a post that really sums up this point.  The following has been re-posted from her blog.  The author is a  friend and long time colleague.  She is a marketing and advertising professional with a big heart!  Check out her blog for some other great insights --

Social’s Limited Marketing Might

Social may have established itself as a brand-building requirement, but — as some marketers have learned the hard way — it can’t replace other channels yet.

“Brand-building strategy and social strategy are inextricably intertwined,” according to Forrester analyst Tracy Stokes. Yet, “social efforts do not represent a stand-alone solution and need the scale and consistency of paid and owned media.”

According to Forrester, a Facebook page does not define “social engagement.” Rather, it is a way to communicate directly with consumers on their terms, whether that involves reading a blog, sharing a YouTube video, or posting to a social networking site.

As Stokes lays out in a new report, social can help brands build consumer trust, differentiate themselves through emotional connections with consumers, and exploit the loyalty of dedicated fans.

Yet communicating through social networks is not scalable, Stokes finds. “Marketers and social marketing agencies told us that social media cannot reach critical mass in the same way that paid broadcast media can, and it would defeat the uniqueness of the channel.”

Indeed, Facebook recently warned advertisers that just 16% of fans see organic content posted by brands.

“JetBlue, a leading proponent of social media, understands this,” Stokes notes. “When it comes to a big launch like a new service to Dallas, the airline still turns to TV broadcast for broad impact and awareness.”

What’s more, messaging through social media is too fragmented, Forrester finds. Social media’s many voices fragment a brand’s message like an old-fashioned game of telephone, so paid and owned media are still essential to define a brand message.

Meanwhile, Forrester found that too many marketers say that they are working on their social strategy, but it is disconnected from their overall branding efforts, apart from logos and collateral.

“Forrester believes that to be successful, 21st century brands must point their brand compass in the direction that helps them build a brand that is trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential,” said Stokes.

While its specific applicability is still debatable, marketers appear to be sold on social. As a recent Forrester survey found, one out of five chief marketing officers said they are personally accountable for social efforts. In fact, among digital channels, they view social media as second only to the Web in affecting branding, and second only to search in affecting brand-building efforts.

Overall, of the marketing leaders that Forrester surveyed, 92% believe that social media has fundamentally changed how consumers engage with brands, while three out of four marketing leaders surveyed said they were changing their marketing strategy as a result of social media.

That said, while two-thirds of marketers claimed to have a clearly defined social strategy, only half viewed their social efforts as strategically integrated into their 2012 brand-building plans.

(Source: Online Media Daily, 05/07/12)

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