Tag Archives: Business Extension Bureau

Facebook, Snapchat & Instagram Users Visit Daily

Seven-in-ten Facebook users say they visit site daily. Despite the ever-changing relationship with its consumers, Facebook users remain loyal and active to the platform. 70% of Facebook users say they visit the site daily, including 49% who say they visit several times a day. (These figures are statistically unchanged from those reported in the Center’s 2019 survey about social media use.)

Smaller shares – though still a majority – of Snapchat or Instagram users report visiting these respective platforms daily (59% for both). And being active on these sites is especially common for younger users. For instance, 71% of Snapchat users ages 18 to 29 say they use the app daily, including six-in-ten who say they do this multiple times a day. The pattern is similar for Instagram: 73% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users say they visit the site every day, with roughly half (53%) reporting they do so several times per day.

YouTube is used daily by 54% if its users, with 36% saying they visit the site several times a day. By comparison, Twitter is used less frequently, with fewer than half of its users (46%) saying they visit the site daily.

Below is a chart showing income demographics by platform to help plan your 4th quarter marketing campagins.

Social Media Marketing – Don’t Leave Out 50+

In a pattern consistent with past studies on social media use, there are some stark age differences. Some 84% of adults ages 18 to 29 say they use social media sites, which is similar to the share of those ages 30 to 49 who say this (81%). By comparison, a somewhat smaller share of those ages 50 to 64 (73%) say they use social sites, while fewer than half of those 65 and older (45%) report doing this.

These age differences generally extend to use of specific platforms, with younger users being more likely than their older counterparts to use these sites – though the gaps between younger and older Americans vary across platforms.

Majorities of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use Instagram or Snapchat and about half say they use TikTok, with those on the younger end of this cohort – ages 18 to 24 – being especially likely to report using Instagram (76%), Snapchat (75%) or TikTok (55%). These shares stand in stark contrast to those in older age groups. For instance, while 65% of adults ages 18 to 29 say they use Snapchat, just 2% of those 65 and older report using the app – a difference of 63 percentage points.

Additionally, a vast majority of adults under the age of 65 say they use YouTube. Fully 95% of those 18 to 29 say they use the platform, along with 91% of those 30 to 49 and 83% of adults 50 to 64. However, this share drops substantially – to 49% – among those 65 and older.

By comparison, age gaps between the youngest and oldest Americans are narrower for Facebook. Fully 70% of those ages 18 to 29 say they use the platform, and those shares are statistically the same for those ages 30 to 49 (77%) or ages 50 to 64 (73%). Half of those 65 and older say they use the site – making Facebook and YouTube the two most used platforms among this older population.

YouTube Use up 11% for 65+

The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,502 US adults between January 25 and February 28 and found that 81% use the social media platform, YouTube. YouTube and Reddit were the only 2 social sites that measured statistically significant growth since 2019, (Up 10% in just 2 years).

YouTube saw increases across the board on all age levels, but the 50+ crowd grew double digits.

50-64 year olds were up 13% and 65+ rose by 11%.

Digital Ads – Amazon, Facebook & Google What’s Happening?

Amazon has gone into the digital advertising business and now represents one of their fastest-growing and most profitable sectors.

Initially, the mighty merchant frowned on this type of advertising fearing it may clutter their site and alienate shoppers. However, they own 10.7% of the $191 billion US digital ad market today.

More and more people are bypassing Google and using Amazon as a search engine to find products. Today Google owns 28.8% of the market, down from 73.1% in 2019.

Amazon is taking ad business from Facebook too. In June, Apple introduced privacy changes on iPhones that have rendered Facebook & Instagram ads significantly less effective. The Apple feature known as App Tracking Transparency (ATT) forces developers to ask for consent before their apps can track users. Facebook launched an aggressive campaign against Apple claiming ATT will hurt the open internet and small businesses. Facebook is warning that customers who opt out of tracking will be excluded from specific targetable audiences, which will result in a decrease in audience sizes.

Many companies are reluctant to market on Amazon because they can lose the direct connection with their consumers. However, marketers are reporting significant declines in the performance of their Facebook ads which is sending big brands on the hunt for alternative options. As Amazon has an estimated 153 million Prime subscribers, it’s a platform that may be worth the risk.

Big brands are redirecting their digital ad budgets to other means of marketing that include incorporating social-media influencers and returning to more traditional channels like direct mail.

Direct mail has its own woes right now as postage and shipping rates are increasing at record levels, and paper shortages are causing the cost to implement direct mail campaigns to rise.

The USPS Holiday Heist

U.S. Postal Service Announces Proposed Temporary Rate Adjustments for 2021 Peak Holiday Season

WASHINGTON – The United States Postal Service filed notice the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding a temporary price adjustment for key package products for the 2021 peak holiday season. This temporary rate adjustment , which was approved by the Board of  Governors Aug. 5, will affect prices on commercial and retail domestic competitive parcels – Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Return Service. International products would be unaffected. Pending final approval by the PRC, the temporary rates will go into effect on Oct. 3, 2021, and remain in place until Dec. 26, 2021.

The planned price changes include:

Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground:
• $0.75 increase for PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes.
• $0.25 increase for Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.
• $0.75 increase for Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs.
• $1.50 increase for Zones 1-4, 11-20 lbs.
• $3.00 increase for Zones 5-9, 11-20lbs.
• $2.50 increase for Zones 1-4, 21-70 lbs.
• $5.00 increase for Zones 5-9, 21-70 lbs.

A full list of commercial and retail pricing can be found on the Postal Service’s Postal Explorer website https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/Notice123.htm

Paper Shortage – Paper Prices. What’s Going On With Paper?

The paper market is getting tight. Coated paper producers are already over-sold into September. Price increases from the mills have continued across the board on all grades of paper, and some mills are refusing additional paper orders for the balance of the year.  Coated paper is particularly hard to come by and mills are becoming less and less flexible.

Pulp costs are up 40%. Corn starch is up 80%. (Corn starch is used when making paper to increase dry paper strength and improve surface conditions, as well as acting as a binder in paper coatings). Freight is up 45% and fuel is up 40%. Add those all together and you get a market with soaring prices.

There is also a transportation shortage. Today there are 8 loads to every one truck (based on National Load-to-Truck Ratio data from DAT Freight & Analytics). In the past, the common ratio is between 2 to 3 loads per available truck.

Record low inventories of sheet-fed and digital grade paper remains. The mills are not able to replenish due to increased new orders which means lead times have significantly increased. Orders need to be placed at least 12 weeks in advance.  This is important to bear in mind as Autumn is only 5-weeks away which means holiday printing begins shortly after.

Paper prices already increased in April/May and July of this year. Unfortunately, when it comes to paper, we need to be prepared to pay more and wait longer this holiday season.

First-Class Postcards Just Got Bigger

On July 28, 2021, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved increasing the size limit for a Presorted First-Class Mail (FCM) Postcard. The new 9″ by 6″ maximum size card has a slightly different minimum thickness of .009″ compared to the previous  maximum size dimensions of 6″ by 4.25″ with a minimum thickness of .007″. (The minimum .007″ thickness still applies to cards less than 6″X9″).

Previous dimension restrictions made it easy for First-Class Postcards to “get lost” in the mailbox as larger pieces pulled away attention, and marketers didn’t have the needed space to sell products or services. The Postal Service argued that the proposed change would make the First-Class Postcards more valuable by creating new opportunities for marketers and nonprofits to take advantage of technologies such as QR codes and variable personalization making them even more effective.

Being able to send larger cards using First-Class Postcards rates will also give mailers faster delivery service circumventing the recent reduction of delivery standards recently implemented.

See the size comparison below:

 

Lifting the Mask. It is Time to Engage Again

As our personal and business lives slowly begin to ease up on the unprecedented restrictions we have been living with for over a year now, it is time to “lift the mask” and engage again.  Your existing customers need to hear from you, and it is time to start the search for new clients too.

We are all in uncharted territory, trying to find footing on something that, at least resembles, solid ground. The best way to do that is to reach out and reconnect with your clients.

Marketing your business is essential, and it is not expensive. There are so many channels in which to converse with existing and potential clients today, make sure your business is using them and reaping the rewards.

We are BEB (Business Extension Bureau). Take a tour of website and see the many marketing services we offer. We hope that you will consider using us to “lift the mask and engage” through marketing in the coming year.

 

 

 

A Letter from the President May 2021

It has been over one-year since we last connected, and what a year it was. As a business owner, that time was filled with stressful learning curves that required us to make (previously unthinkable) changes to our daily operations.
Social distancing, placing sanitizing stations throughout our facility, and wearing face masks to work are things that I never thought would be necessary. Everyday life, for all of us, had changed.
We had to figure out ways to keep our staff safe and protected while fighting to stay open for business and manage capacity…all at the same time. We remained open throughout the pandemic, and we have been fortunate to retain 100% of our staff.
Our employees have been amazing. We have always been a tight-knit group that come together during difficult times. Their willingness to “jump in” whenever or wherever needed are core reasons that we are extremely nimble and flexible for our clients. Truly, I am inspired and grateful for the bravery our staff has shown over the past year, and their commitment to our organization, clients, and each other.
The current economic climate makes it difficult to project and prepare for the future. Mail delivery has been significantly impacted for a multitude of reasons. Be sure to check out the postal articles within this issue that detail the short and long-term challenges facing the USPS today.
Even with all of the challenges, direct mail has gained some momentum during the pandemic as the number of people working and staying at home has substantially increased. Marketing through the mail is a perfect way to reach out and touch people safely. Mail is tangible, interactive, and a perfect complement to your digital advertising.
As restrictions continue to ease, now, more than ever before, your business should be focused on marketing, regaining and retaining connections, and actively searching for new customers.
With that in mind, we made some improvements throughout the past year too. We installed a new digital press and purchased new  bindery equipment.  We also upgraded software, computers, and security measures allowing us to expand our capabilities to serve our clients better.
It is during tough times, such as these, that we reflect on how grateful we are to you, our clients, partners, and staff. Without you, we would not be here. We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe and hope that your businesses thrive as we weather through this    unprecedented storm.
As always, I thank you for your business and partnership.
Ron Royall
President

USPS Delivery Standard Changes? What EXACTLY is Dejoy Proposing?

USPMG, Louis DeJoy, outlined his vision and 10-year plan for the USPS in March. He calls it, “Delivering for America.” His plan has caused a lot of controversy surrounding delayed delivery standards. What exactly did he propose? Read on.

The Postal Service sets standards for mail delivery so that customers and mailers can expect consistent and predictable delivery. However, the USPS has not met current targets for First-Class Mail service standards (3-5 days) in the past eight years. DeJoy says that the current standards don’t reflect the declining letter volumes and require the USPS to use complex and expensive transportation networks. He claims that today’s delivery standards are unsuitable for setting realistic expectations for timely and reliable mail delivery.

It was pointed out that the cost to maintain the current,  and unattained service standards, will continue to increase if mail volume continues to decrease as projected. The need to ensure reliable service, while improving operational efficiency and precision, requires that old standards get updated.

His plan is to modify existing service standards for First-Class Mail Letters and Flats from a 3-day service standard within the continental United States to a 1-5 day service standard.

The proposal would enable 43% of that portion of First-Class Mail which is currently transported via air to shift to getting transported via ground. It would also require adjustments to the service standards for full network Periodicals which travel with First-Class Mail.

The Postal Service will seek public comment through the formal rulemaking process and will request an advisory opinion from the PRC concerning this proposed change before it is implemented.

Below is a summary of the impacts of the new service standards:

  • Service standards for Commercial First-Class Mail entered at a local facility will not change.
  • First-Class Mail traveling within a local area (up to a three-hour drive time) will not experience a service standard change and would still be delivered within two days
  • 61% of current First-Class Mail volume and 93% of current Periodicals volume will stay at its current standard.
  • 81% of current First-Class 2-day volume will retain its two-day standard.
  • Overall, 70% of First-Class Mail volume would receive a standard of one to three days.
  • Current First-Class 3-day volume will be subject to a 3, 4, or 5 day service standard, depending on the distance between origin processing facility and destination processing facility.
  • Of the current First-Class 3 day volume:
    • 47% will remain three-day
    • 37%will move to 4 day
    • 17% percent will move to 5-day.

In addition,  DeJoy proposes to adjust the service standards for First-Class Packages to enable a greater percentage of that volume to be moved by surface transportation. The Postal Service will also request an advisory opinion from the PRC concerning this proposed change before
it is implemented.