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We have 10 offices across 5 continents and help brands like adidas, Beats by Dre, Tesco, Mondelēz, Intel, Heinz, Expedia, Netflix and HSBC.
If you’d like to chat about us helping you too, then give us a call on +44 20 3195 1700 or drop us an email.

A hat-trick of events at Social Media Week

by Sophie Fitzgerald in News

We’re excited to be hosting a trio of exciting events at this year’s Social Media Week London. Whether you’re a brand or agency side marketer, looking to learn or just have a bit of fun (or perhaps both), we’ve got something for you. Check out the descriptions below and click on the links to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

Live Tweeting 101

We’ll be delving into the world of live event coverage with Live Tweeting 101. Our Editorial team will be hosting a workshop focused around an area which has been particularly popular for our clients recently – how to use live event reporting to raise your brand’s profile on social.

The interactive workshop will be led by We Are Social Senior Editor, Sarah Hecks, previously a journalist at GQ, Men’s Health and the BBC, amongst others. Sarah will take your audience through how to spot live event opportunities relevant to your brand, whether it’s a press conference, a sporting event or a product launch, and how to activate a live event on social. Her workshop covers everything you need to consider, from choosing the right hashtag to getting the right team in place; from creating templates to spotting those ‘wow’ moments.

This is a must-attend event for any beginner to intermediate level social marketer, brand or agency. Click here to register.

Innovate or Die

We’ll be drawing Social Media Week London to a close with Innovate or Die, exclusive to Social Media Week passholders. In the fast-paced world of marketing, standing still is the same as going backwards. Innovation is a necessity, not a choice. Which is easier said than done.

This session will give you practical advice on how to innovate, or die (let’s shoot for the former). Come and see how We Are Social approaches innovation, what the greatest examples of innovative “social thinking”, taken from our monthly Curiosity Stop report, and Jeremy Basset from Unilever Foundry and Mark Adams from Vice talk about how innovation makes an impact in their businesses.

If you have a Social Media Week pass and would like to innovate with us please register here.

The Greatest Social Media Pub Quiz in the World, Ever

We’re also running an old favourite of ours. It trailblazed its way through the pub quiz scene last year, selling out in record time, and testing the social knowledge of the greatest in the business. We Are Social and Ticketmaster will join forces once again to host the famous, the incredible…. The Greatest Social Media Pub Quiz in the World, Ever.

We will once again draw inspiration from the weird and wonderful world of the internet, social media, GIFs and vines, it will test everything you think you know about cyberspace, whilst giving you brain food (beer and pizza) to boost your chance of being crowned champion.

The first round of tickets have sold out but there may be some more available nearer the time so keep an eye on our Twitter account.

SXSW: defining tomorrow’s leaders

by Mobbie Nazir in News

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I have a nephew and four nieces aged between four and eleven. Whenever I see them, I find it amazing to watch how they interact with technology – how things that often seem new and shiny to me are just normal and everyday to them.

Kids are growing up exposed to technology. That’s a fact, nothing we’re going to do now will change that – I think the debate about how much screen time is too much misses the point. What is really interesting to me is how increased screen time is shaping kids’ development and how that in turn will shape the future of society. In business in particular, I’m interested in how kids open access to technology and games such as minecraft is developing a whole new set of leadership and management skills – skills which we will look for in the business leaders of the future.

This is what inspired my SXSW Panel, Kids & Screen Time: Defining Tomorrow’s Leaders. Along with Dr Jim Taylor, an internationally recognized authority on the psychology of parenting, we’re looking to explore how kids and their increased access to online play is shaping the leadership skills of the future. Please vote and leave a comment – we’d love to know what you think.

The relationship between children and technology is explored in a handful of SXSW panels, many of which take a distinctly different approach to our own. When taking a look at the content on show, a number of sessions struck a chord with me – all taking very different angles and approaches, but all asking important questions. Here are my favourite three.

Changemaker Ed: Transforming How Kids Grow Up
We live in a world of uncertainty defined by rapid change. While we do not know what tomorrow’s problems will be, we know we will need everyone equipped to deal with them. Educators are uniquely positioned to empower students to be changemakers – able to collaborate, create, and act empathetically in ambiguous and changing environments. In this session, a panel of educators and youth groups draw on diverse experiences and approaches, discussing why we must transform the way in which kids grow up.

What Kids Want: The New Business of Youth Culture
Some of today’s most exciting innovations in technology, entertainment, and brand development are in products and services made for kids and teens. Beyond being digital natives, this generation of young people want interactive experiences that reflect who they are, not tell them who to be. They search out spaces to communicate with friends and celebrate passions, and there’s nothing more powerful than their enthusiasm. This panel from Fast Company, ToyTalk and more discusses how to listen to a young audience, how to address privacy and ethical issues, and how to authentically meet the expectations of the most creative and independent generation of consumers yet.

Gen Z: Why Today’s Kids Will Change Everything
Kids today are…different. We delve into the insights of Generation Z, kids today aged 6–17 and the technology that is driving them to new heights. Through the lens of the generations that came before them, Gen X and Millennials, we paint a picture of socio-economic and technology change that has culminated in an explosion of opportunity unlike any before it for our youth today. From 3D printing, to new forms of tech in the classroom, this session explores how our kids’ unprecedented access to technology and new worldview is setting the stage for what history may deem as the next Renaissance or Period of Modernity. This session will open your eyes to the power of kids, and the future they hold.

You can vote for Mobbie & Jim’s panel Kids & Screen Time: Defining Tomorrow’s Leaders on the SXSW PanelPicker site before the end of this week.

We Are Social’s Curiosity Stop #4

by Tom Ollerton in News

You know when you do something good for others, you put loads of effort in and it’s still not quite right? Well that’s how I feel. We’ve done three versions of the brilliant Curiosity Stop and the feedback was “there’s just too much amazing content”. Well, I am sorry.

So given that 50K views must all be wrong we’ve decided to slim it down. We’ll look at the categories of fitness, shopping, transport, art and fashion and lots more as usual, but this time we’ll delve into just one key social thinking example in that sector. For those of you who don’t know what social thinking is, I’ll tell you.

Social thinking is understanding how and why people communicate. It’s simple, but central to everything We Are Social does, and you will find abundant examples of social thinking innovations in our fourth marvellous Curiosity Stop.

Some examples of some of the social thinking innovations we have included in this edition include the newly launched Facebook’s ‘M’ digital assistant in Facebook Messenger. M was designed to go above and beyond communication, scheduling, and information retrieval, instead it actually allows users to make purchases through the interface. It can therefore buy items at your request, make hotel reservations, and even make suggestions about getaways, or what books to read.

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And meet Mr Gabriel, the pocket-sized guardian angel to help with personal safety. With just a tap of your smartwatch a text with your location is sent directly to pre-selected loved-ones. This provides a great example of how smartwatches are defining how people communicate.

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Lastly, we have MotorMood, turning road rage upside down, with an LED unit attached to rear vehicle windows. With a simple press of a button a smile of appreciation is sent to a courteous driver behind. A simple, yet effective technique to turn road rage behaviour on its head, by allowing drivers to easily communicate with others on the road in a positive way.

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So, if these examples have sent your mind into curiosity overdrive, and you fancy finding out what other innovative examples we have included to help inspire you, then have a read through our latest Curiosity Stop above.

We Are Social’s Tuesday Tweakup #24

by Laura Muldoon in News

Facebook sets new 1 billion logged in user record
It’s official: 1 in 7 people on earth logged into Facebook last Monday, a massive milestone for what started as a small exclusive network just for Harvard students back in 2004. Mark Zuckerberg posted this update to commemorate the occasion:

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Facebook introduces personal assistant ‘M’
Siri and Cortana better watch out, as Facebook has announced it’s acquiring the skills of MI6’s head, ‘M’ to help out with users’ day to day tasks. A bit of a down-step for the first lady of espionage but it can’t all be go go go, right? Only joking of course, but ‘M’ is the name of Facebook’s new personal assistant service, which will be a hybrid of human and computer assistance. ‘M’ is predicted to be able to help with gift buying, holiday booking and much much more.

This news is exciting for brands (less so for other Chat Apps), but our own Marketing Director, Tom Ollerton has a reservation, telling Marketing Week: “I imagine there will be sponsorship opportunities for certain categories or locations, but Facebook will need to be careful not to lose the authenticity of any recommendations,”. Now when do we get our exploding pen?

Facebook add ‘Donate Now’ buttons for nonprofits
In a move to benefit charities and nonprofit organisations, Facebook has made a ‘Donate Now’ button available for pages and link ads. It is well known that Facebook is often now used for online giving, the new addition also furthers Facebook’s case to marketers that its pages can drive conversions. Charity win, Facebook WIN.

Instagram stops being so square
Did you know, one in five Instagram photos is currently uploaded with… I’m not sure I can even bear to type it… white space around it?! Luckily Instagram has taken steps to fix this terrible plague that has gripped the planet by now allowing photos and videos to be uploaded which AREN’T square. You have read correctly, non-square images and videos are now allowed on Instagram. Great news for giraffes!

This brings pros and cons with it as brands will now more easily be able to incorporate Instagram into their campaigns but with horizontal space also brings fear of banner ads clogging up users feeds. Brands such as Victoria’s Secret and NBC’s Saturday Night Live have already tested the feature which enables more cinematic widescreen content.

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Make music videos with your photos using Facebook Moments
Facebook Moments, an app designed to ease photo sharing among friends, has released a new update which lets you create montages of your favourite pictures from Facebook set to music, and share the video back to Facebook again. Now if only you could pick ‘We’re On The Road To Nowhere’ by Talking Heads, I think it would go well with my recent birthday snaps. Moments is an app created by Facebook’s Creative Labs initiative and the new music video addition should hopefully entice uninitiated users to try it out.

Twitter is up to something and Taylor knows the secret
It looks like Twitter is about to up its photo and video editing offering after Taylor Swift, Pharrell and Big Sean all posted some new ‘funky’ (look at me, talking like a mum!) images and videos up during the recent MTV VMAs. It seems that users should soon be able to add a little more creativity to their Twitter images, yes that’s right, even YOU could be able to overlay zebras AND giraffes onto your posts (second giraffe mention of the day).

SlideShare rebranded as LinkedIn SlideShare, new clipping functionality
Three years after acquisition, SlideShare has made it official and changed its name to LinkedIn SlideShare. Along with this, it has a new ‘clipping’ option which means you can save your favourite slides from presentations and also group the slides together a la Pinterest for later perusal and inspiration.

LinkedIn revamps its messages by adding gif and emoji capabilities
In a bid to encourage people to use LinkedIn more for messaging, it has introduced what all people want when contacting potential future employees, gifs and emojis. LinkedIn has hinted that there may be further messaging updates coming, including voice and video features or perhaps debriefings post meetings but this is as of yet unconfirmed.

Snapchat creates ‘Back To School’ channel, helping marketers target 13-24s
Snapchat’s Back To School channel has been created for users to upload their experiences of returning to school and college. It also tackles a previous advertiser gripe which is that despite its famously high advertising costs, Snapchat offers little in way of guaranteed user targeting, similar to television. This makes the Back To School feed a brand sweet spot for those wishing to target the 13-24 year old audience and it has subsequently seen Pink, Coca-Cola and the movie “The Visit” all taking this rare opportunity.

Snapchat is charging brands for video ads viewed for less than a second
Not all brands are loving Snapchat it seems, as it has been revealed that it is charging advertisers 2 cents per video view, even when the views are zero seconds long. Snapchat has purported advertising benefits such as vertical video content only (which means users don’t have to rotate their phones to view) and also the fact that the videos take up the entire screen, meaning users can’t look at anything else simultaneously. I would also like to argue that zero seconds of video can stay with you *coughs* lemon party *coughs*.

Target encourages fans to Share The Force
In a partnership with Lucasfilm, Target is encouraging Star Wars fans to upload their favourite memories, be it light sabre fights, Chewbacca impression or good old-fashion Princess Leia sex fantasy (joke – DEFINITELY DON’T DO THAT). Users can upload their photos and videos from Facebook and Instagram to receive galactic coordinates as to where their memories will then be housed. This is all leading towards the hotly-anticipated December release.

Reynolds rides #FoodPorn hashtag with interactive cookbook
If you imagine Nigella’s Instagram feed as a food porn image hub, then Reynolds’ new Instagram cookbook is a multi-screened XXX back-street food porn cinema. The brand has created whole tables of interactive food on Instagram which lead to sub accounts with instructions on how to make the lovely-jubbly grub. Screen-Shot-2015-08-28-at-2.22.47-PM

What you need to know about the VMAs and also totally useless fun stuff
If the world thought they could get away with not see Miley’s nipple or Kanye announcing a presidential campaign in 2020 during MTV’s VMAs, they were wrong. With 26% of the 16.5 million tweets being positive, it seemed that the public even… liked it? But maybe that was just them enjoying Bieber crying. MTV also inserted a Moonman emoji into every tweet using the hashtag #VMAs or #VMA which people seemed to enjoy.

mileyfinaleM-Twerk-V Awards

Vine was crowned the winning content platform during the ceremony with the most social interactions of all social networks, and with content such as Kanye pretending to be asleep, we’re not surprised (read: we are very surprised as to how this has happened).

Finally, 24 advertisers also signed up to sponsor what MTV called, the ‘Millennial Super Bowl’, feeding their content to users where the most conversations around the event were taking place, Twitter and Snapchat. This was mainly via real-time tweets, ads and, for the first time, branded Periscopes.

38 new emoji submitted for consideration
Exciting news for emoji fans as the Unicode Consortium has released 38 new emoji that it’s considering for next summer’s Unicode 9 release. Highlights among them are an avocado, bacon, a selfie and a dancing man for the long-suffering singleton, dancing woman. Let’s hope there’s a giraffe also included!

Digital, Social & Mobile in India in 2015

by Simon Kemp in News

It’s been another year of bumper growth for all things digital in India, with the latest in We Are Social’s series of studies into Digital, Social & Mobile usage around the world revealing that over a quarter of the world’s second largest nation now uses the internet on a regular basis:

Digital In India, Aug 2015

Here are the key data headlines:

  • Internet Users: 350 million, up 44% since our last report in July 2014
  • Social Media Users: 134 million, up 26% in the past year
  • Unique Mobile Users: 590 million – a penetration rate of 46%
  • Mobile Internet Users: 159 million – 45% of all internet users
  • Mobile Social Media Users: 97 million, up 5% since July 2014

Read on for our analysis of what these numbers mean in context.

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Internet in India
The Internet and Mobile Association of India recently announced that internet users in India now exceed 350 million; a considerable jump since We Are Social’s previous report on digital use in India in July 2014, when the number was just 243 million.

This 44% growth is particularly encouraging, as it takes internet penetration past 25% for the first time. Our sense is that the impressive growth figure may be largely due to more accurate reporting, rather than a sudden surge in new internet users, but it’s clear that increasing mobile internet access has also contributed to an acceleration of internet adoption across the country:

Internet in India

Internet access in India still isn’t evenly distributed though, with rural users accounting for barely 17% of India’s internet community, despite representing more than 70% of the country’s population:

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This disparity is changing thanks to mobile, but in contrast to most other developing nations, mobile access still accounts for less than half of India’s internet connections:

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The balance will likely tip in the coming months though, with projections from the IAMAI and KPMG indicating that mobile internet will account for nearly two-thirds of all internet connections by 2017.

This shift is clear in terms of share of activity too; more than two-thirds of the web pages served in India in the past month went to desktops or laptops, but that figure is down 6% versus the same period last year:

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India’s connection speeds remain disappointingly slow, however, with barely 10% of the country’s fixed-line connections achieving broadband status. The picture is slightly better for mobile users, but India still sits well below the global average reported in Akamai’s most recent State of the Internet report:

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Despite these slow speeds – or perhaps because of them – Indian internet users spend more than their global peers using the internet, with the average internet user spending nearly 5 hours online every day.

Social media use accounts for more than half of that time, with social media users spending 26% more time engaging with their networks than watching television:

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Social Media in India
Social media use continues to grow in India, but barely 10% of the country is currently ‘socially active':

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The number of active users is increasing at a rate of roughly one every second, but even at that rate, it will take another 16 years before half the country’s population is using social media.

We suspect this will change quite considerably in the coming months though, largely due to a shift in behaviour related to mobile usage.

Facebook dominates today’s platform rankings in terms of monthly active users, but it’s worth highlighting that chat apps – and WhatsApp in particular – are already beginning to change the look of the social media landscape:

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As mobile-focused internet connections claim a greater share of the overall user-base, we predict that these chat platforms will gain a much more important role in users’ lives – and therefore in marketers’ strategies.

This is where the biggest opportunity lies for internet and mobile companies in India; the company that can claim a disproportionate share of the nation’s burgeoning chat app user-base will be best placed to shape broader consumer behaviour – and revenues – on the internet.

It’s worth noting that non-mobile use of social media accounted for the majority of new users in the past year though, which we found quite surprising. Facebook recorded 28 million new users in India in the past year, but just 5 million of these – 18% – used mobile devices to access the service.

Overall, however, 72% of India’s social media users log in via mobile devices, and we predict that this proportion will increase in the coming months as mobile internet access accelerates further.

It’s also worth noting that the average social media user in India is considerably younger than the global average, with more than half of the platform’s Indian user base aged 23 or younger:

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The numbers also show that men account for more than three-quarters of Facebook’s users – something we suspect is true of internet usage as a whole in India. This is something that we believe should be addressed urgently, whether that’s by government bodies or by the corporate world.

Providing women – everyone, for that matter – with better access to digital services has been shown to deliver significant societal benefits, so we believe that marketers should play a disproportionate role in helping to ensure that more women in India can access social and digital services.

In addition to the obvious benefits to the individual – better access to education, financial services and health information – such assistance should also help the marketer, providing a powerful, direct way to reach one of the world’s most untapped audiences.

Mobile in India
As is the case almost everywhere in the world today, mobile use is the big story in India’s digital scene, with 590 million people – almost half the country’s population – now owning a mobile device of some description.

Mobile subscriptions in India stand at 976 million, and with this figure climbing at a rate of roughly 3.5 new subscriptions every second, we fully expect that subscriptions will exceed 1 billion before the end of 2015:

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As with internet use, however, mobile use is very unevenly distributed across the country, with considerably less than half of India’s rural population using mobile:

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Even for those with a phone, the experience is still far from ideal. Smartphones are still very much in the minority, even when it comes to sales of new handsets:

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This ratio has significant importance, as it is closely tied to the adoption of internet services and social media. More than three-quarters of the handsets in use in India today are of the more basic ‘feature phone’ variety, yet smartphones account for five times as much Facebook usage as feature phones do:

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E-Commerce in India
Despite some great progress in recent months, e-commerce is still in its infancy in India. The value of online purchases in India totalled just US$12.5 billion in 2014 (INR 81,500 crore) – less than 3% of the value of China’s e-commerce market:

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Encouragingly, however, more and more people are using internet-powered services to research products and purchase online, so we expect to see this number explode as mobile internet access, faster connectivity, and increased familiarity with online shopping combine in the coming months.

Conclusions
So what does all this mean for marketers? Here are our three key tips:

  1. Go Mobile: at least in the short-term, design all internet experiences to work via mobile devices and via relatively slow connections. Online video is definitely rising in popularity, but make sure that downloading it and watching it are even a possibility for your target audience.
  2. Be The Change: internet and social media access in India are considerably behind the global average, and this impacts marketers’ abilities to reach and engage key audiences. We recommend that brands use some of their marketing budgets to enable more people to access (faster) internet services, whether that’s by subsidising data plans, providing free internet services like internet.org, or by working with government bodies to bring internet access for all a step closer.
  3. Get Involved In E-Commerce Now: India’s e-commerce market may still be nascent, but now is the time to get involved. There are still many opportunities for brands to gain early mover advantage, and brands that can help e-commerce platforms in their growth stand to forge powerful relationships will stand them in great stead when the e-commerce revolution gathers pace.

If you’re looking for more stats on Digital, Social and Mobile usage around the world, you might find our Global and APAC reports, and our latest Global Digital Statshot useful.

Indian marketers looking for more tailored insights may also like to note that I’ll be presenting at the upcoming International Advertising Association Whats Coming Next conference, which takes place in Kochi, India, between September 3rd and 5th. You can find full details here.

If you’d like tailored advice on what these tips mean specifically for your brand, get in touch with our team in one of our 10 offices around the world for more information.

We’d like to offer our special thanks to GlobalWebIndex for allowing us to use their data in this report. We’d also like to thank the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Ericsson, GSMA Intelligence, StatCounter and Akamai for the public data they share that makes these reports possible. For more details on data sources, please see the full report.

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