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Using Social Media To Reach New Car Buyers

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, have a greater reach among new-vehicle prospects than search engines or portals, according to a new report from J.D. Power and Associates.

Automotive marketers that establish a presence on social networking sites can be effective at finding and targeting new- vehicle buyers. Using tactics such as creating profiles or fan pages on these sites may increase chances for interaction with prospective customers. It is important for marketers to know that obvious advertising on social networking sites tends to be received negatively by the target audience.

Highlights of the report include:

· One-third of buyers visit an automotive brand site or third-party site six months or more prior to making a vehicle purchase, while two-thirds of buyers have visited at least one of those types of sites three months prior to purchase.
· Nearly one in five buyers (19 percent) who shop online first turn to dealer sites, with 41 percent first visiting manufacturer Web sites and 40 percent visiting third-party automotive sites first.
· New-vehicle buyers who shop online consider 2.9 vehicles, on average.

“Social media is now shaping customer expectations in any and every way,” said Chance Parker, vice president and general manager of the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power and Associates.

“Listening to social media is increasingly on people’s radar screens and people are scrambling to understand it. It’s not enough simply to count the buzz, it is important to understand what that buzz really means to your brand.”

Google Launches Website Translator Gadget

Google has introduced a new tool aimed at helping webmasters expand their global audience.

The company has introduced a new website translator gadget powered by Google Translate that allows webmasters to make their site’s content available in 51 languages.

When Internet users visit a website and if their language is different than the language on the page, they will be prompted to automatically translate the page into their own language. If the language of the visitor is the same as the language on the page no translation banner will be displayed.

After clicking the Translate button, the automatic translations are shown directly on the page. It’s fairly simple to install by cutting and pasting a short snippet into the webpage.

Bing Now The Fastest Growing Search Engine

While Google continues to dominate the U.S. search market, Microsoft’s Bing has become the fastest growing search engine among the top ten providers, according to a recent report from Nielsen.

August 2009 data found total searches on MSNWindows Live/Bing Search increased 22.1 percent month-over-month making it the fastest growing search engine. Share of searches for Bing increased from 9 percent in July to 10.7 percent in August.

Google continued as the top search engine, with 7 billion searches and 64.6 percent search share. Google’s search share grew 2.6 percent month-over-month.

Yahoo landed in the second spot with 16 percent of all searches in August, but its month-over-month dipped 4.2 percent.

AOL captured 3.1 percent of the search market with month-over-month growth of 1.8 percent.

Ask rounded out the top five with 1.7 percent of the search share and month-over-month growth of 2.9 percent.

Yahoo Rolls Out New Search, Mail Features

Yahoo has announced it is improving three of its most popular global products, including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger and is testing a new Yahoo Search results page.

The test of the search results page is available randomly to users worldwide. The new features include a results filtering option that offers new tools for refining search results, such as exploring related concepts and narrowing results by different types of content such as people, videos and discussion forums.

Other features include intelligent search results that offer a more relevant experience based on prior searches. It is powered by search session science that detects intent by looking at search behavior over time.

Some of the highlights of Yahoo Mail include:

Streamlined Design – A new Application Box that people can personalize to fit their needs combines Calendar, Notepad and third-party apps, providing a cleaner, more streamlined inbox and making it easier to manage e-mail folders.

Enhanced Photo Sharing – New multi-select and drag-and-drop functionality makes it dramatically easier to attach more photos to e-mail, view thumbnail previews and rotate pictures.

Improvements to Yahoo Messenger include:

Video Calls – New high-quality video calling enables full-screen, face-to-face chats at no cost, using the familiar and easy-to-use Yahoo! Messenger environment.

Updates Tab – A new tab helps people easily discover Updates from friends and family, including status updates, recent Flickr uploads, Yahoo! Buzz stories, Twitter updates and more.

New Yahoo! Insider – Now customizable by zip code, this re-designed welcome window provides Messenger users with easy access to localized news and weather, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Buzz and Yahoo! Search.

Bing Making Slight Progress

Bing again slightly increased the Microsoft share of the US search market in July to 9.41 percent from 8.23 percent in June according web analytics firm StatCounter.

Sure Bing still has a long way to go to even come close to being a treat to Google, but an increase is better than going in the other direction.

Microsoft and Yahoo combined took 20.36 percent of the search market, up slightly from 19.27 percent in June.

Google unsurprisingly still has the lead of the US market with 77.54 percent in July. (78.48% in June).

“Bing continues to make slow but steady progress but the combined Yahoo! figures suggests that the deal announced last week will have to demonstrate major future synergies if it is to make any dent in Google’s dominance,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO and founder, StatCounter.

The challenge for Microsoft and Yahoo is even tougher in the global market. Microsoft and Yahoo combined took 8.77 percent of the global search market in July. Google still rules the search market globally with 89.23 percent in July.

Social Networkers In Russia Globe’s Most Engaged

People in Russia are big fans of social networking, in fact they are the most engaged users in the world, according to a new study from comScore.

The study found social networking users in Russia spend 6.6 hours and view 1,307 pages per visitor per month.

Of the 1.1 billion people age 15 and older worldwide who accessed the Internet from a home or work location in May 2009, 734.2 million visited at least one social networking site during the month, representing 65 percent of the global Internet audience.

The Russian social networking audience had the highest engagement among the 40 individual countries reported by comScore. Brazil ranked close behind at 6.3 hours, followed by Canada (5.6 hours), Puerto Rico (5.3 hours) and Spain (5.3 hours).

“Social networking has become a popular online pastime not only in mature Internet markets like North America, but also in developing, high-growth Internet markets such as Russia,” said Mike Read, SVP & managing director, comScore Europe.

“In a country as geographically large as Russia, social networking represents a way of connecting people from one corner of the country to the other. The highly engaged behavior of social networkers in Russia offers significant opportunity for marketers and advertisers seeking to reach these audiences.”

Of the 31.9 million people who accessed the Internet in Russia in April, 18.9 million visited at least one social networking site, representing a reach of 59 percent of the total online population.

The most popular of these sites was Russian-based Vkontakte.ru with 14.3 million visitors, followed by Odnoklassniki.ru (7.8 million visitors), Mail.ru – My World (6.3 million visitors) and Fotostrana.ru (1.6 million visitors). Facebook.com attracted 616,000 Russian visitors, up 277 percent versus year ago.