There is much that can be written about Facebook’s disastrous IPO last month. Prior to its May 18 launch on NASDAQ, there was excitement on both Wall Street and Main Street with almost everyone wanting a piece of the company thought to be valued at anywhere from $76- $95 billion just days before its IPO. Momentum clearly seemed to be building with newspaper headlines claiming just one day prior to the launch that the sale would create more millionaires and billionaires as well as regional spending booms.
So how did the sizzle turn into a fizzle? And should we have been surprised?
An ominous sign that the offering could be overvalued came on May 16 when The Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors planned to pull its paid advertisements from Facebook. But even before that there were signs that the company was struggling to convince advertisers that it is beneficial for them to advertise through Facebook. One story, which had largely gone underreported until too late, was the company’s failure to connect with the many Facebook users shifting their usage to mobile phones where the company had only just started to sell advertising. Although Facebook had taken efforts since March to advertise on its mobile website, the chart below (measuring the sentiment of all articles within Dow Jones Insight specifically regarding Facebook and mobile phone advertising) shows little unfavourable sentiment practically right up to the IPO even though Facebook itself realized the implications of reaching out to this market too late. Coverage was in fact occasionally positive during weeks in March and April with news articles showing Facebook competing well in mobile ads against Google.
Only ten days prior to the launch was there significant attention paid to Facebook’s struggle to make money from mobile devices. The number of unfavorable news articles rose steadily in the days prior, peaking the week after the IPO (as the value of the stock, which remained virtually the same on the opening day, began to decline) with the sentiment almost entirely negative as the second chart indicates.
So should we have been surprised by such a disappointing performance by Facebook on the day of its IPO? The charts above indicate last minute apprehension by investors regarding Facebook’s ability to generate advertising revenue among an increasing mobile telephone audience, so for users tracking this sentiment through Dow Jones Insight, there probably would have been less of a surprise.
For Facebook, the struggle will remain: the amount of time users spend on the mobile version has now surpassed the time spent on the browser version and advertisers are increasingly uncertain about the effectiveness in advertising through Facebook in any form. (A study indicated that four out of five Facebook users do not buy products or services through the site.) Convincing advertisers not to follow the route of General Motors will be Facebook’s greatest challenge in the months ahead.
For more background, watch the WSJ.com video Unfriended: The Facebook IPO Debacle
Tags: Facebook, General Motors, media analysis, media measurement, Social Media
Before today’s IPO, the biggest story around Facebook for co-founders not named Mark Zuckerberg was the 2010 film The Social Network. While Mark Zuckerberg continues to dominate coverage, I was curious about coverage of his Facebook co-founders, so I took a look at how the media profiles of Christopher Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin have fared lately.
Of course Mark Zuckerberg’s media presence is far and away beyond anything around this group, but a couple of numbers might serve as a baseline for comparison. Using Factiva’s intelligent search capabilities, I created a search of highly relevant mentions of Zuckerberg in relation to Facebook and to Facebook’s IPO. In the last 8 days (May 11-18) he’s received 9,209 media mentions regarding Facebook, including 2,114 in social media. In the two years previous, he received 42,287, including 7,442 in social media. When specific reference to the IPO are included, I found that over the last 8 days 73% of references were related to the IPO (55% of social media references), while over the previous two years 38% were IPO-related (38% of social media).
What about his co-founders? The least well known, Dustin Muskovitz and Christopher Hughes continue to stay out of the Facebook media spotlight, with Hughes totaling just 9 highly-relevant media mentions over the last two years and Muskovitz 3. Out of those 12 combined mentions, 11 came in the last eight days.
The story is a bit different for Eduardo Saverin. His media exposure has always been far ahead of that of Hughes and Muskovitz, and has skyrocketed thanks to recent events. In the two year period ending May 10, 2012, Saverin received 1,221 mentions (including 420 in social media) related to Facebook’s IPO. That’s a mere 8% of Zuckerberg’s total. But in the last week news broke that Saverin had renounced his American citizenship, leading to all manner of speculation due to the fortune – and taxes – expected for him from the impending IPO.
This twist in the Saverin storyline propelled greater media coverage. In the previous two years, Saverin registered 1,333 English-language media mentions related to Facebook, while in the last 8 days the total 1,958 such mentions. That’s 21% of Zuckerberg’s total and an increase of 47% in one week! And considering that Muskovitz and Hughes totaled 198 mentions in the last eight days and 1192 in the two years prior(when not restricting mentions to highly relevant IPO mentions), Saverin moved from 10% more mentions than the pair over two years to having almost ten times as many.
From WSJ’s Digits: Facebook Investors’ Worth on IPO Day
Tags: Facebook, measurement, media analysis, Social Media
What did people spend the most mobile phone time doing in the first three months of this year? Using mobile social networking apps. Average daily minutes on social networks increased by 60% versus the same time last year, tying with News and surpassing Games. A new study by Flurry, which provides mobile app developers with usage analytics, was examined by Thomas Loftus for WSJ.com’s CIO Journal, and he recommends that executives developing a social media strategy, “don’t forget to take mobile social into account”.
WSJ.com: New Study Shows Boom in Mobile Social Networking Usage
Tags: Facebook, Flurry, LinkedIn, media strategy, Social Media
Quite often clients tell me they find social media of great interest and relevant; however, they still do not quite know how to manage the vast amount of information published on the internet, including the direction in which information is flowing. The lack of control over what is going to be published and by whom has made more than one client nervous, especially since blogs and social media sites have mushroomed swiftly.
PR and Corporate Comms professionals operating in the renewable energy sector are no exception. Plenty of blog posts are being posted every day on renewable energies, not least by NGOs and lobby groups. How many of them are relevant and how to establish what is relevant? While media monitoring is relevant to scan through the media coverage on a daily basis and to perform regular fire fighting, part of a measurement programme’s aim is to develop a tactical communication strategy and to assess the way certain news stories unfold over time. The Dow Jones Insight Discovery chart tracks what conversations are rising and falling over time, including those mentioned in the social media space. As an example, I recently took a look at coverage of EDF.
In early March, EDF halted the concreting of its reactor at nuclear power plant Flamanville 3 after security controls revealed flaws in its consoles. Hundreds of people recommended the news on Facebook and hundreds added a comment on several blog posts. As expected, several posts questioned the safety of nuclear power plants, giving the Fukushima disaster as an example.
In February, EDF CEO Henri Proglio responded to a shortfall of electricity, saying that the company would not cut the supply of electricity to disadvantaged households. As thousands of households had been left without electricity, several angry bloggers and subsequent comments complained that EDF had not kept its promise. Yet this topic of discussion, as the chart shows, has fallen since it started.
Click to enlarge:
(Date Range: 22 December 2011 – 22 March 2012)
Tags: EDF, Facebook, Fukushima, Insight, Nuclear Energy, Social Media
“Show Your Gold!” is one of the chants used by my alma-mater (#5 seed Vanderbilt – Go Vandy!), and it fits as a battle cry for numerous major companies who crave March Madness’s massive TV and online audience. And while major brands such as AT&T, Capital One, and Coca-Cola are locked in as major sponsors, one sector that has been committed to travelling the “Road to the Final Four” is the auto industry. According to Ad Week, it delivered 21% of ad sales for the 2011 tournament and 17% in 2010. But what sort of social media growth will returning sponsors Buick and Infiniti get for their bids? We’ll track their social media growth during the tourney here and let you know!
Clearly, Infiniti has done a tremendous job so far, especially considering how much bigger brands Coca-Cola and AT&T are.
Additionally, we see that Infiniti’s page, which references their Coaches vs. Cancer and Coaches’ Charity Challenge partnerships, has a clear advantage over Buick’s page, in spite of its inclusion of a “Human Highlight Reel” video page. The story was much the same on Twitter:
Now, get out there and watch all the excitement and come back at the end of the tourney to see if Infiniti’s lead held up!
Tags: advertising, Buick, Facebook, Infiniti, March Madness, marketing campaigns, Social Media, sponsorship, Twitter