Study: Social Media Usage during New-Vehicle Shopping Process Increases

Study: Social Media Usage during New-Vehicle Shopping Process Increases

The just-published J.D. Power 2016 New Autoshopper StudySM finds that consumers who use the internet during their new-vehicle shopping process are increasingly turning to social media websites as a source of information. Among automotive internet shoppers, 22% use a social media site as a source while shopping for their new vehicle—up from 16% in 2015. The most popular social media sites used by auto internet shoppers during the shopping process are YouTube (13%), DealerRater (7%), and Facebook (5%).

The 2016 New Autoshopper Study analyzes how buyers of new vehicles use digital devices—i.e., tablets, smartphones, and computers—to gather information prior to purchase, as well as which websites and apps they use during the shopping process. The study also examines the various types of content new-vehicle buyers access during their shopping process and identifies the content they find most useful.

“Social media plays a large role in many consumers’ lives, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the tools they’re using during the vehicle-shopping process,” said Mike Battaglia, vice president, automotive retail at J.D. Power. “While we would not expect social media sites to compete head-on with designated auto shopping sites like Toyota.com and Kelley Blue Book, it’s easy to understand the role and relevance social plays in the automotive shopping process.”

Among automotive internet shoppers who use social media, only 13% indicate that the information posted on social media sites influenced their purchase decision, and only 2% say a social site was the “most useful site” they visited.

“Social media platforms aren’t as useful as automotive shopping websites for automotive information, but they do serve the needs of consumers for unbiased dealer reviews, affirmations from other vehicle owners, accessing automotive-related videos, and exchanging ideas and opinions with friends and family members,” said Battaglia.

However, according to the study, 34% of new-vehicle buyers who use social media for automotive information post a picture of their new vehicle on a social site. Facebook is by far the most popular site for posting vehicle photos—it gets 88% of the posts. Instagram runs a distant second, garnering 21% of vehicle photo posts. (Some consumers post to multiple sites.)

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Auto shopping websites still run well ahead of social media in terms of the traffic they get from vehicle shoppers. The study finds that more than 90% of automotive internet shoppers visit at least one automaker’s site during the shopping process, while 84% visit a dealer site and 79% visit a third-party site. On average, internet shoppers visit 10 automotive websites in their shopping process: four automotive manufacturer websites, three third-party websites, and three dealership websites.
  • On automotive shopping websites, the data most frequently viewed are model information (89%), vehicle pricing (88%), and photo galleries (81%). Automotive internet shoppers say that automotive brand websites are most useful for obtaining model information, vehicle configurators, and photo galleries, but they indicate that dealer websites are most useful for inventory searches and vehicle pricing. Third-party sites, according to the study, are most useful for vehicle ratings/reviews and vehicle comparisons.
  • More than half (53%) of automotive internet shoppers use a mobile device to seek automotive information. For 2016, smartphone usage surpasses tablet usage (37% vs. 33%, respectively). The use of desktop or laptop computers remains most common at 92%, but has been steadily decreasing from 99% in 2012. The proportion of time spent shopping on mobile devices continues to increase, with 33% of total shopping time now conducted on a mobile device.
  • The three most frequently visited third-party sites (in alphabetical order) are Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book. These three have ranked at the top consistently since 2012. Among the 37 third-party websites measured in the study, TrueCar, for the second consecutive year, shows the largest increase in site visitation.

Consumer Tips
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:

  • Use social media to collect anecdotes and advice about various vehicle types, but use automaker sites to get the most accurate data.
  • Third-party sites often provide unbiased comparisons of various models. However, many of their assessments are matters of opinion. Be sure to also reference verified owner ratings while conducting your research.
  • Personal experience is the only true test. Use websites and social media as part of your pre-shopping process, but visit several dealers, test the products yourselves, and keep an open mind.

About the Study
The 2016 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from 17,349 purchasers and lessees of new 2014 to 2016 model-year vehicles who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process. The study was fielded from February through June 2016.

The Selfie Effect: Are Your Vacation Pictures Putting You at Risk?

The Selfie Effect: Are Your Vacation Pictures Putting You at Risk?

Press Release:

MONTRÉAL, While Quebecers look forward to the summer months and vacations, many are unwittingly putting their homes at risk by posting their absences or whereabouts on the internet. A new Allstate Insurance survey found that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of polled Quebecers have in the past posted on their social media accounts that they were away from home. Poll findings also showed that over half (52 per cent) of the 18 to 24 age group have shared that they were travelling on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and 43 per cent in the 25 to 34 age group have done the same.

“Although it can be so much fun to share our travel experiences with others, oversharing is a trend that can potentially put the safety of your home at risk,” says Patrizia D’Ignazio, Allstate Agency Manager. “Allstate Insurance would like to remind Quebecers to think twice before announcing their travel plans online in advance, or during their trip.”

Travelers may know basic home safety procedures when away, like having the mail and newspaper deliveries temporarily stopped or picked up by someone they trust, or installing an automated lighting system. What they might not take into account is that all these efforts could potentially be wasted if they publish that they are away from their home on vacation on social media sites! This summer, 33 per cent of polled Quebecers said they plan to take at least a couple days’ vacation during the construction holiday period which runs from July 24 to August 6.

“When making travel plans, remembering to lock the front door and turn on the alarm system – if you have one – is one thing, but oversharing on your social media pages without the necessary precautions is to be avoided,” says Francisco Randez, TV and radio host, social media and travel expert.

You don’t have to stop sharing, just be mindful of when and how you share
With the increasing popularity of social networks, today’s cybercriminals are using information easily available to them online to plot break-ins on their potential victims’ homes. In the era of social networking, geolocation – the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object such as a mobile phone or computer terminal – can be blamed for break-ins and Google Street View is fast-becoming a sneaky tool used in planning burglaries. Most people provide a wealth of personal details such as their workplace location, people with whom they have relationships, their vacation timing and their address, and that can be putting them at risk.

According to the survey, sixty per cent of men and just over half of women (51 per cent) do not always deactivate their geolocation on their mobile device (smart phones or tablets) while travelling. ”Travelers may be excited to post a countdown leading up to a trip or getaway or that they are en route or have arrived at their destination, but they need to be mindful of what, when and how they share online,” adds Randez.

Make it a family affair
The younger generation with access to mobile devices should also be kept apprised of potential risks. They may be putting the family home in jeopardy by sharing private information on their whereabouts and travel plans. Almost half the survey respondents (43 per cent) have children with active social media accounts and one third of parents (33 per cent) are not in the habit of monitoring what their children post on their social media accounts. The poll also shows that 11 per cent of parents aged 35 to 44 do not regularly check their children’s social media activity. In teaching children further about the proper use of social channels, parents can help keep their homes safer from thieves who may be monitoring them online.

Top safety tips for homeowners on vacation
To help protect travelers from social media-savvy burglars, Allstate Insurance has partnered with Francisco Randez, TV and radio host, social media and travel expert, to offer some topline safety tips.

On social media

  • Be aware of your use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. Do not publish your vacation departure dates on your social media accounts and remind your children not to do so either. Even if you are careful and only a few friends can see what you post, it is possible that some of your contacts have much less rigid security settings.
  • Check the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts, and use them to determine who has access to your personal information. You can set the parameters according to the highest possible level of security to protect your personal information and know which “friends” can access detailed personal information rather than “everybody” or “friends of friends.”
  • Before posting pictures, ask yourself if they reveal too much information.
  • Avoid posting photos with geotagging. Most smart phones and many digital cameras automatically record the exact location where a photo was taken. If you view this photo online, geotagging can reveal the street address or that you are far away on vacation, making your home a target. Disable geotagging functions and remove geotags on your older pictures using photo editing software.
  • Set an example and teach your children and other family members to be careful online.
  • Consider saving your photos for posting once you return home instead of throughout the trip, making it clear you are back home.

The full list of Francisco Randez’s safety tips for homeowners on vacation can be viewed here.

About the Survey
The survey was conducted by Léger Marketing between June 13 and 16, 2016 via a provincial omnibus online survey among a representative sample of 1,007 Quebecers. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% or 19 times out of 20.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada:
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, including usage-based insurance, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and has been listed as a Best Employer in Canada for four years in a row. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as the Old Brewery Mission, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), United Way, and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For more safety tips and advice, visit goodhandsadvice.ca.

 

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

‘Text and drive’ billboards deliver grim message

By Aleksandra Sagan

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO — Drivers on one Toronto highway are seeing a counterintuitive message this week: “Text and Drive.”

Two billboards on the Gardiner Expressway purport to be an encouragement from a funeral home, but it’s really an advertising agency behind the provocative public-service announcement geared at curbing distracted driving.

At first glance, Wathan Funeral Home appears to be prompting drivers to text as a way to boost the number of car accidents and therefore its business, said Mylene Savoie, managing director of John St. advertising firm, which is behind the PSA.

“(It) is absolutely provocative and absolutely shocking when you first see it,” she said Thursday.

When drivers search for the funeral home online, incensed at its gall, she said, they discover it’s fake. The home’s website is filled with information about the impact of texting and driving.

While all the provinces as well as Yukon and the Northwest Territories ban people from using handheld devices while driving, distracted driving may be a bigger problem than drunk driving in the country, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Distracted driving doesn’t just include texting. It can also refer to people who fiddle with the settings on a GPS or focus on a handheld device for many other reasons.

People who take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds double their risk of getting in a collision, according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

In the United States, about eight people died and more than 1,100 others were injured on average daily in crashes that reportedly involved a distracted driver in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In Ontario, 69 people died last year in accidents where driver distraction played a role, the Ontario Provincial Police said, outnumbering all other categories for the third year in a row.

John St. said it decided to tackle this issue on its own. The ad agency teamed up with Cieslok Media, which provided the billboard space.

The agency opted for the provocative angle to grab public attention and not get lost among the many ads people see every day, said Savoie.

“If you speak to people in a way they’re used to being spoken to — which is, ‘Don’t text and drive,’ — they’ll just say, ‘OK. Yup. Duly noted. Let me check my phone,'” she said.

So far, the reaction to the ad has been positive, she said.

“The balance between the provocative nature of the message and the informative nature of the message is proving to be, you know, quite successful.”

It’s not the first time a PSA on the perils of texting while driving has been tackled creatively.

The Alberta government has run a “crotches kill” anti-texting-and-driving campaign for multiple years.

The text-and-drive billboards in Toronto went up earlier this week and will remain on display until Sunday.

canada-press

Smartphone health: Apple releases software for medical apps

By Brandon Bailey, The Associated Press

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple is edging its way a little further into health care with the release of new iPhone apps that patients can use to manage their own medical conditions — from diabetes to pregnancy and even depression.

While there are hundreds of health-related apps on the market, Apple wants to put its stamp on a new ecosystem of treatment programs. Rather than build the apps itself, the tech giant developed a set of software tools and templates, called “CareKit,” that health-care groups and health-tech startups can use to create their own programs.

Apple says it wanted to help developers build easy-to-use apps for patients to record symptoms, get useful information, track their progress and even send reports to a doctor. Experts say the CareKit program could help bring standards to a relatively new and unruly industry, while giving Apple a toehold in the growing health-tech market.

CareKit apps hitting the Apple online store this week include One Drop for diabetics; Start for people taking anti-depression drugs; and two apps from health startup Glow, aimed at women who are pregnant or caring for newborns. Apple says larger organizations, including the University of Rochester and hospitals at the Texas Medical Center, are working on CareKit apps for people with Parkinson’s disease and patients who’ve undergone heart or lung operations.

“These mobile tools can help people reach their health goals,” said Thomas Goetz of Iodine, a startup that used CareKit in the latest version of its Start app. Along with providing information about side-effects to depression medications, the app asks patients to record their symptoms and answer standardized questions to track how they’re doing. Start uses a CareKit feature that lets patients send reports to their doctors; eventually, Goetz said, doctors will be able to respond by adjusting their instructions for medication, diet or exercise.

Data stored on iPhones is encrypted, and Iodine’s app provides cautions to make sure patients understand they’re sending sensitive information to their doctors. Goetz said his company is also developing back-end software for medical offices that will comply with federal confidentiality rules.

But Goetz acknowledged that doctors and insurers “are still trying to make sense of the world of health care apps. They’re trying to understand which ones are valid tools and which aren’t necessarily useful.”

Apple’s software could help validate new apps, he said, by letting developers build on a standardized template from a well-known company whose products are used by large numbers of people.

Apple says it isn’t making money directly from CareKit, which grew from tools the company previously developed for researchers to create apps that collect iPhone users’ data for health studies. But Apple could benefit if the apps gain wide adoption, making the iPhone an even more useful tool for millions of people with medical conditions.

“Even if you can’t point to a revenue stream today, being the hub of an ecosystem related to health care could have great value in the future,” said analyst Jeff Cribbs, who studies health technology for the Gartner research firm.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has signalled he believes the iPhone and Apple smartwatch can play a bigger role in health care. But the industry is heavily regulated and Apple has not ventured into making specialized devices that would be subject to federal oversight. Instead, the company leaves it to the developers who use Apple’s software to determine if an individual app meets any health regulations.

canada-press

Defamatory Facebook Post Leads to $65,000 Damage Award

Defamatory Facebook Post Leads to $65,000 Damage Award

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, ordering a Defendant to pay $65,000 in damages following a defamatory Facebook post.

In today’s case (Pritchard v. Van Nes) were neighbors who had “tensions” between them.   The Defendant published some troubling posts on Facebook that “in their natural meaning and by innuendo, bore the meaning that the plaintiff was a paedophile“.   The court found that these suggestions “were completely false and unjustified“.

The Plaintiff successfully sued the Defendant for defamation.  In awarding $50,000 in general damages and a further $15,000 in punitive damages Mr. Justice Saunders provided the following reasons:

[122]     The seriousness of Ms. Van Nes’ defamatory Facebook post, her replies, and the comments of her “friends” cannot be overstated. An accusation of paedophilic behaviour must be the single most effective means of destroying a teacher’s reputation and career, not to mention the devastating effect on their life and individual dignity. The identity of Mr. Pritchard is especially relevant in this case. Through his engagement in extra-curricular activities he occupies a position of trust as a music teacher for children. Through hard work and dedication to his students, he had earned the community’s respect and admiration, as clearly established on the evidence. I find that he now faces the challenge of repairing the damage Ms. Van Nes has caused, if that is even possible at this point.

[123]     The vehicle through which Ms. Van Nes chose to publicize her defamatory accusations provided the court with further evidence of the damage to his reputation; that there were individual replies from 37 of Ms. Van Nes’ Facebook “friends” within less than 24 hours clearly documents the quick degradation of Mr. Pritchard’s estimation in the eyes of others..

[131]     I do not find that the claim of malice has been made out. Taken in its entirety, the evidence of the defendant’s actions – her self-centred, unneighbourly conduct; her failure to respond reasonably to the plaintiff’s various complaints, particularly regarding her dog; and her thoughtless Facebook posts – point just as much to narcissism as to animosity. Her belief that the decorative mirror hung on the exterior of the plaintiff’s house was some sort of surveillance device was simply ridiculous, speaking, to be blunt, more of stupidity than malice.

[132]     The defendant, as I see it, appears to have thoughtlessly taken to a social medium to give vent to her feelings, making reckless statements without any regard to the consequences. She certainly ought to have anticipated the potential impact of her remarks; whether she actually did so has not been proven.

[133]     The defendant’s subsequent actions bear none of the indicia of malice discussed at para. 191 of Hill: she removed the posts relatively quickly, probably when the gravity of the situation became apparent to her through the police presence at the plaintiff’s home; she did not seek to publicize the proceedings, giving rise to further dissemination of the defamation; she did not file a defence.

[134]     Aggravated damages are not in order, but given the seriousness of the allegations and the extent of the harm suffered, a significant award of general damages is. I award the plaintiff general damages for defamation of $50,000.

[135]     I further find this an appropriate case for an award of punitive damages, as a means of rebuking the plaintiff for her thoughtless, reckless behaviour. She acted without any consideration for the devastating nature of her remarks. With regard to the factors enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co., 2002 SCC 18, at para. 13, a punitive damages award must be proportionate to the defendant’s blameworthiness, which in this case is high; the defendant’s vulnerability, which is also high; the harm suffered by the plaintiff, which has been considerable; and the need to publically denounce the defendant and thus bring to the notice of the public the dangers of ill-considered remarks being made in social media and the serious consequences of such conduct.

[136]     I award the plaintiff additional punitive damages of $15,000.

Why you might soon text robots as often as your friends

By Brandon Bailey

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO _ The robots are coming … to help run your life, or sell you stuff, at an online texting service near you.

In coming months, people who use Facebook’s Messenger app, Microsoft’s Skype and Canada’s Kik for online chats can expect to find new automated assistants offering information and services at a variety of businesses. These messaging  “chatbots” are basically software that’s capable of human-like conversation and of doing some simple jobs once reserved for actual people. Google and other companies are reportedly working on similar ideas.

In Asia, such software butlers are already part of the landscape. When Washington, D.C., attorney Samantha Guo visited China recently, Guo said she was amazed at how extensively her friends used bots and similar technology on the texting service WeChat to pay for meals, order movie tickets and even send each other gifts.

“It was mind-blowing,” said Guo, 31. U.S. services lag way behind, she added.

Online messaging has become routine for most people, offering more immediacy than email or voice calls, said Michael Wolf, a media and technology consultant. Messaging services are now growing faster than traditional online social platforms like Facebook or Twitter, according to research by Wolf’s firm, Activate.

And experts say messaging bots can handle a wider range of tasks than apps offered by retailers and other consumer businesses. In part, that’s because bots can recognize a variety of spoken or typed phrases, where apps force you to choose from options on a drop-down menu. Reaching a chatbot can be as simple as clicking a link in an online ad or scanning a boxy bar code with a smartphone’s camera; a special-purpose app requires a download and often a new account sign-up.

“Bots are the new apps,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said last month. Microsoft has just announced created new programming tools for businesses to build bots that will interact with customers on Skype, the Internet voice, video and messaging service Microsoft owns.

Facebook is widely expected to unveil similar tools for its Messenger chat service at the company’s annual software conference starting Tuesday. It’s already partnered with a few online retailers and transportation companies so that consumers can use Messenger to check the status of a clothing purchase from online retailer Zulily, order car service from Uber or get a boarding pass from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

At those services, automated chatbots handle some interactions, with supervision from human operators. Similarly, Facebook has been testing a digital assistant called “M” sort of like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana that can answer questions or perform tasks like ordering flowers in response to commands on Messenger, using a combination of artificial intelligence and input from human overseers.

Another messaging service, Kik, which is popular among U.S. teenagers, opened a new  “bot shop” last week. Kik users can talk to bots that will answer questions about the weather, show funny videos or help with online shopping. Slack, a messaging service used by businesses, has partnered with Taco Bell to introduce a “Taco Bot” that helps Slack users order ahead for meals at a local outlet.

In Asia, many smartphone owners are used to playing games and buying items through messaging services like WeChat, which claims 700 million active users. One in five WeChat users have added bank or credit card information to their messaging account so they can check balances, pay bills or send money to friends, according to the Andreesen Horowitz venture capital firm.

Tech experts are particularly eager to see what Facebook does with Messenger, since its 900 million users make it the world’s second biggest chat platform after WhatsApp, which claims 1 billion users and which Facebook bought in 2014.

Both are free to users and don’t produce much revenue for Facebook. But if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given WhatsApp’s co-founders leeway with their service, executives have signaled they are increasingly looking for ways to make money from Messenger.

Although Facebook hasn’t ruled out advertising on Messenger, analyst Ken Sena of the Evercore investment firm says a more immediate revenue source could be fees from businesses, such as hotel and travel companies offering to provide reservations and other services through the chat app.

With the help of artificial intelligence programs that learn from interactions, Sena said in a recent report, chatbots “are becoming scarily good” at carrying on human-like conversations.

Or sometimes just scary. Microsoft last month shut down an experimental chatbot , known as Tay, after malicious Twitter users taught the program to repeat racist and sexist statements. Undeterred, the company has pledged to learn from the experience and build better software in the future.

canada-press

Page 4 of 8« First...23456...Last »

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest