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MySpace Dominates in the US

Datamonitor predicts that social networking sites will level off around the world in the year 2012. They also predict that the plateau will hit even sooner in the US. In the meantime, global active memberships in social networking sites are growing. They’re expected to reach 230 million at the end of 2007 (this includes multiple memberships by one person).The money is good and growing.

For example, my friend’s Facebook App that took two weeks to build recently sold for $25k. And marketers who are savvy are getting a lot of press for their social networking presence. There is a lot of money and creativity being exchanged. “Revenues from social-networking services should reach $965 million, growing to $2.4 billion by 2012, writes MarketingCharts.”

Searchers Are Tired–70% Experience Search Fatigue

A Kelton Research study, commissioned by Autobytel, reports that 72.3% of US adult searchers “experience ‘search engine fatigue’ (either ‘always,’ ‘usually,’ or ‘sometimes’) when researching a topic on the Internet.”

What should this statistic tell us?

  • 72.3% of Americans should definitely put down the mouse and step away from the keyboard. Permanently.
  • 72.3% of Americans are searching for the wrong things “always,” “usually,” or “sometimes.”
  • 72.3% of Americans have no idea how to operate a search engine properly.
  • 72.3% of Americans are frustrated with their search engine experience, and this probably reflects on the search engines and not the vast majority of American adults.

While I was leaning toward D, Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land highlighted some of the other findings from the study:

Ten Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

People buying online are an impatient bunch. No waiting in lines and the checkout lane is always open. But customers do abandon their carts, and it’s something online marketers want to prevent. e-Consultancy has some tips to help you get customers to finish the sale. Research from MarketingSherpa put abandonment rates at almost 60% (read MarketingSherpa’s tips).

abandoned-shopping-cart.jpg10 Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

1. Security – You’ve got to build trust with customers. One way is to put third party logos on your site and (of course) use a secure server address (https).

2. Keep the process short. Keep it to as few steps as necessary. Any longer and customers could change their minds.

Why Small Businesses Don’t Invest in Online Marketing

I just wrote about the story of Costco who continually expands online so it even eclipses their sales offline. Since the cost of doing business is so much less online, this is an opportunity for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.

A new study by Opus Research shows why small businesses don’t invest in online marketing – even though it could have a large impact increasing sales. Many said (25%) the reason they don’t invest is because they think it will cost too much. Then another 20% think are intimdated by the technology or don’t have the staff to handle it.

What is the solution? Something I’m a big advocate of – education. Opus Senior Analyst Greg Sterling, wrote the report “Small Business Attitudes toward Online Marketing and Web 2.0.” The survey included responses from 1,200 businesses with 653 from North America.

Google Challenges Baidu for China Market Share

image It’s interesting to watch Google’s growth in China. When you look at Baidu, you think they’re too well entrenched and will always be #1.

The scenario reminds me of the US search market. You look at Google’s dominance and doubt whether another search engine will ever be able to challenge–Google’s just too well entrenched.

Well, Google’s proving that the #1 spot can be challenged–at least in China. Reuters is reporting Google grew its market share by 4% (to 22.8%) while Baidu grew just 1% (to 58.1%).

Maybe this will give Yahoo, Microsoft, and Ask.com hope that they too can challenge Google’s #1 US dominance. Then again, they might be thinking “crap, Google’s going to dominate the entire world!” ;-)

Netizens Trust Each Other for Product Recommendations

Nielsen has released a survey of 26,486 web users from around the world and discovered that we all prefer the recommendations of others over advertising. Shocker! ;-)

  • 78% of survey respondents trust recommendations from other consumers.
  • Newspapers came second with 63%, and online opinions third with 61%.
  • Search engine ads (34%), banner ads (26%), and mobile text ads (18%) made up the least trusted.
  • American’s trusted blogs more than any other country, with 66% of us trusting blogs for product and service recommendations.
  • The countries most likely to trust advertising? The Philippines (67%), Brazil (67%) and Mexico (66%).
  • Meanwhile the Danes don’t trust any advertising (28%).

Read the full report for more juicy stats.

Hat-tip E-consultancy.

Online Sales Up this Holiday Season

It might not be an especially cheery holiday for retailers this year – at least offline retailers. TNS Retail Forward, a company that conducts research on the retail market, says growth in holiday sales will be the slowest it has been in five years. The forecast? Fourth-quarter growth in 2007 will slow to 3.3% – it was at 4.6% in 2006. But it is still growth. However, their projection for online sales is rosier. They expect online sales to bring in nearly $42 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. That’s up 7 billion from last year when it sales were at $35 billion in the fourth quarter.