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Apr 15, 2008

STATS: Anecdotal Evidence for Social Conversations

How Green Is My Marketing

Nielsen Online recently released findings which finds that protecting the environment has become increasingly important to consumers, with online buzz around sustainability growing 50 percent in 2007. While early in the year discussion was dominated by the topic of global warming, bloggers progressively addressed a wider variety of green-related issues, with a particular emphasis on personal action such as recycling, avoiding excess packaging, and carpooling.

Jessica Hogue, research director, Nielsen Online, said "…consumers are becoming increasingly vocal online about the  issue of sustainability… Blogger attention to… issues like pollution, toxins and sustainable agriculture reveal an important intersection between personal health and environmental wellness."

Top 10 Sustainability Topics for 2007


Buzz Trend:
Increasing or Declining

Global Warming/Climate Change


Renewable Energy/Alternative Fuels


Resource Conservation




Carbon Emissions










Transportation (hybrids, carpooling)


Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

Note: Topics are ranked by number of messages among sustainability bloggers from 1/1/07 to 12/31/07, with the Buzz trend reflecting change from 1/1/07 to 12/31/07.

Discovery Channel's TreeHugger led the top sustainability blogs for 2007

Top 5 Sustainability Blogs for 2007


Sustainability Messages







The Oil Drum


The Alternative Consumer


Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics


Not only are consumers looking for practical steps they can take to reduce personal  environmental impact, but they are also holding corporations accountable for  action and results, says the report. Bloggers are quick to condemn "greenwashing" - when they  suspect companies misrepresent their environmental impact with aggressive PR  campaigns - as spurious attempts to be "green."  Consumers expect consistency  in action and authentic and transparent messaging. 

Top 5 Greenwashing Topics

Greenwashing Topic

Percent of Discussion

Contradictory Actions


Incongruous with Company/Industry


False/Misleading Comments


Seek Regulated Oversight


General Suspicion


Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

The Nielsen Online analysis showed that similar environmental initiatives can provoke  different consumer responses depending on a company's reputation and history. In the retail sector, says the study, while Wal-Mart and Target both introduced  reusable shopping bags, some consumers voiced skepticism towards Wal-Mart because  of its association with environmental, labor, and health care issues.

American Airlines Cancelled Flights and Social Networks

Last week, American Airlines was forced to cancel thousands of flights for maintenance to comply with FAA safety inspections. As a result, visits to www.aa.com reached their highest peak of the past twelve months, up 9% week on week and up 25% compared with a year earlier.

AA.com visits.png

Yesterday, I looked at Hitwise clickstream data to see where people were going after visiting AA.com. My hunch was that people would visit other airline websites to look for alternate flights. My hunch proved wrong. We actually saw a decrease in traffic from AA.com to Commercial Airlines, Travel Agencies and Destinations & Accommodation websites. Instead, consumers were going from AA.com to websites for Email Services, Social Networks and News and Media.

While we saw a 12% decrease in downstream visits from AA.com to Travel websites, we saw a 19% increase in visits to News and Media websites, 13% increase to Email Services and a 74% in visits to Social Networking and Forums.

The American Airlines website asked customers who were inconvenienced by the canceled flights to send an email to request compensation. This likely accounts for the increase in visits to Email Services.

The increase to social networks is most interesting. MySpace was the #15 website visited after AA.com last week, up from #30 the week before. Last week 1 in 30 visits to AA.com left to go to a social network. This serves as a good reminder that customers broadcast their experience to friends. How American handled the cancellations and how they continue to handle claims is sure to be broadcast online - and affect their brand.

Ed: Shifting landscape of keywords.

Google Local Business Center Allows Free Form Categories Now

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