Hello, we are social. We’re a global conversation agency, with offices in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Sydney & São Paulo. We help brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations in social media.
We’re a new kind of agency, but conversations between people are nothing new. Neither is the idea that ‘markets are conversations’.
We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.
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.
Following on from their UK report, Socialbakers have just released their top Facebook Pages in the US May 2013 report. The report delivers the rankings of the most popular, engaging and responsive US brand and media pages on Facebook, along with the top 3 most engaging individual posts from US pages this month. They’ve included Global pages alongside local US pages, ranked by their US fan count.
Socialbakers have just released their top Facebook Pages in the UK May 2013 report. The report delivers the rankings of the most popular, engaging and responsive UK brand and media pages on Facebook, along with the top 3 most engaging individual posts from UK pages this month. They’ve included Global pages alongside local UK pages, ranked by their UK fan count.
Listening and responding in social media is vital to protect sales
According to McKinsey, an unnamed telecoms brand found that negative online buzz hurt signups by 8%, effectively off-setting any gains from their entire TV spend. It underscores a really important point: it is quite literally pointless to put money into TV advertising if you are not also listening and responding to consumer queries and complaints on social channels.
Fan-created content vital for brands on Youtube
Research from Cisco has found that by 2017, online video will be even more popular than social networking. Although brands have learnt from this somewhat by ensuring their content is top-notch, they also need to learn to appreciate their super-fans on Youtube – because as much as 99% of video views featuring a brand can come from user-submitted content.
Facebook would love to tap into the ‘real-time’ public conversation in the same way that Twitter does, but the challenge for Facebook is they have always been considered a private social network for people you actually know. This is in contrast to the very public nature of Twitter where you can more easily tap into the public consciousness through search and hashtags. Whether Facebook can credibly straddle the line between being a personal social network and a public platform is open for debate.
Twitter has successfully positioned itself as an important second screen platform, which makes it attractive for advertisers and agencies to integrate Twitter into campaign thinking, and therefore spending. Facebook may well be going after their ‘second screen’ dominance and the near ubiquity of using hashtags in advertising campaigns to drive conversations. Which is no doubt why they will allow advertisers to include hashtags in Facebook advertising as it’s rolled out.
Facebook to eliminate Sponsored Search results
As parts of its push to simplify its ad product range, Facebook is eliminating Sponsored Search results. According to Inside Facebook:
The reason why the sponsored results will be nixed is because the most common marketers for them were app and game developers, and Facebook feels that the mobile app install ads and page post link ads are more efficient ways to reach this goal.
Twitter opens up its analytics platform
Twitter has opened up its analytics platform, allowing casual users and brands an insight into the people that follow them, as well as the performance of their own tweets.
Myspace relaunches with $20 million ad campaign
Myspace has officially relaunched with a huge ad campaign, aimed less at re-recruiting former users and more as an attempt to re-position the site, aiming it at all creatives involved in the music industry. They’ve released a 90-second ad which they say represents what the new Myspace has to offer:
Google buys Waze for more than $1 billion
Google’s purchase of Waze for more than a billion dollars shows just how important maps and location data is to Google’s business model. Waze is a social map app with real-time traffic data provided by users, letting them flag bad road or weather conditions to other drivers. The acquisition of Waze is a sign that Google will be trying to make Google Maps even more social – with indicators that the next incarnation will include data from Google+ (such as restaurant recommendations) along your routes.
Google launches unified dashboard
In a move which will allow businesses and brands greater flexibility in managing their Google products, Google has launched a single dashboard that allows Google+ page owners to also manage their presence in Search, Maps and AdWords in one place.
For example, the new dashboard will allow businesses to update their info, including their website URLs, store hours and phone numbers, across Google Maps, Search and on Google+ right from the tools Overview tab.
Path to raise new funding at $1 billion valuation
Mobile-only social network Path is raising a new round of funding of between $75 and $100 million, valuing the company at over a billion dollars. It’s particularly impressive as their last round of funding in 2012 valued the company at around $250 million.
Twitter and Everyday Health join up to provide public health alerts
Twitter is partnering with health news publisher Everyday Health to deliver health alerts and potentially to sell ads. The publisher will be able to scour the 2 million health-related tweets in the US every day to see if anything is over-indexing in such a way as to suggest a potential outbreak. They say the HealthBeat program developed with Twitter could warn users to be vaccinated through Promoted Tweets and Trends. Although they’re yet to seek any advertisers, in time they will for broader health issues such as hayfever or flu.
Foursquare rolls out Samsung-sponsored visualisation of users’ check-ins
Foursquare has partnered with Samsung for The Foursquare Time Machine, a new feature that provides users with an animated infographic based on their check-in history. Although the campaign includes a play-pause button and specially-generated heat maps, the campaign is more interesting as an insight into Foursquare’s business model going forward: it has been criticised for a lack of revenue, but Samsung reportedly paid $1 million for this campaign.
Despicable Me 2 characters take over Mumsnet
In the first site takeover in Mumsnet’s history, minions from upcoming film Despicable Me 2 will take over Mumsnet for one week from next Monday, renaming the site Minionsnet to help promote its release. The campaign also includes advance screenings of the film for 400 Mumsnet users in Manchester and London, online competitions and on-site advertising.
Heinz Salad Cream launches new campaign with We Are Social
Heinz Salad Cream is looking to promote the product to a younger audience with a new £2m ‘Bring on the Zing’ campaign, including a Facebook challenge (created by We Are Social) challenging fans to add some Zing to sandwiches to try and become a Zing Master.
Kiss Me First’s Facebook Connect campaign
Lottie Mognach’s first book launch is being supported by a Facebook Connect campaign. Which you might be impressed by if you’d never seen a Facebook Connect campaign before.
Clever campaign for Tourette’s awareness
The Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada has launched ‘Surrender Your Say’, where consumers have their Twitter account taken over for a day by their app, and the consumer cannot control what is tweeted. It’s a great illustration of what life with Tourette’s must be like.
The ultimate anti-social app
Foursquare prides itself on giving you the location data of your friends – so that in theory it’s easy to meet up. But developer Scott Garner has re-used this data in his app ‘Hell is Other People’, which utilises the most recent check-ins of your friends to work out a position where you’re most likely to avoid them entirely. Scott has created a nice video about his experience using his own app:
How EE ended up embarrassed on Twitter
EE were left red-faced after a consumer’s complaint about them not upholding their T+Cs – and not giving him the Glastonbury tickets he had rightfully won – went viral. After an enormous amount of negative publicity, including O2 offering the consumer entry to all their events for a year, EE eventually caved in and offered Terry his Glastonbury tickets.
The best tweets from each debate will be collated and using micrography (using text to form an image, you learn something new every day), artists will spend up to eight hours a day hand-painting a giant 16m x 4m canvas located in the grounds of Le Grand Hotel, Cannes, the first time this has ever been done. There will also be a high-resolution projection on to a separate 18m x 5m canvas located on the roof of the hotel. The projection canvas has been built specifically for the festival and sits at the highest spot on the Croisette, a spot never before used for advertising or media at Cannes Lions.
After the festival, a searchable gigapixel photo of the canvas will be uploaded to the Clear Channel Outdoor website, allowing users to search for their own username on the canvas.
We’re incredibly interested to hear what people have to say about the future of creativity, and if you’re heading to Cannes, make sure to tweet-up with our team on the ground – Sarah, Tarryn or Graham.
The five creative topics debated next week will be:
Sun 16 June: Who owns the creative agenda? Mon 17 June: Is creativity an art or science? Tue 19 June: Is technology redefining creativity? Wed 20 June: Has globalisation diluted creativity? Thu 21 June: Should creativity be a bigger force for social good?
Join the conversation by following @CCOutdoor and #canvas from Sunday onwards – some of these questions get right to the crux of what the future holds for the industry, and the debates should provide plenty of insight, and perhaps, some argument too.
There have been various battles to try and win the short form video war over the last few years. We’ve seen a number of platforms have a stab at it; Viddy, Cinemagram, Socialcam, YouTube Capture, ptch, Threadlife, Klip… the list goes on. Despite some decent attempts, and the occasional celeb backing, no clear winner emerged.
Then along came Vine. Set up last year, and bought for an undisclosed sum from Twitter in October, it took the short video world by storm when it was launched this January. Because of the fact it was backed by Twitter, Vine was greeted with more fanfare than any of its predecessors. And it seems now as though this hype was justified.
Recent research from Unruly Media looking at the first 100 days of Vine showed that branded Vines are shared four times as often as branded internet videos, and that 4% of the top 100 shared Vines were made by brands compared to only 1% of top 100 viral online videos.
Matt Cooke, CTO and co-founder at Unruly said that Vine was being used in a very complementary way to Twitter, “with the 6-second video becoming the ‘ad’, much like the 140-character tweet”.
Vine is also the the number one free app in the app store in the US, Canada and Sweden and it’s showing no sign of slowing down, with five Vines are shared every second on Twitter.
These stats have to be taken with a pinch of salt – 100 days does not a long-term trend make and of course it’s going to be brands and agencies who are the first to jump on the new platform bandwagon. But it’s clear that there are a lot of people out there who are loving Vine – and here’s why.
Vine forces brands to be concise
For starters, in an age where there’s more content floating around than you can shake a stick at, it forces users to be concise. For the same reason that Twitter was successful in encroaching on the territory of more established platforms at the time like MySpace and Facebook – it requires you to edit on the fly. The Twitter limit meant you had to cut the waffle – if you couldn’t do it in 140 characters, then you couldn’t do it at all. Vine is similar in the sense that you have to nail it in six seconds, with no fancy editing process.
Its immediate nature has also changed the profile of social media in relation to big news events. Recently, we saw news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings trending on Vine – which isn’t surprising. What is though, is that one of the most retweeted videos came from a guy who made a Vine of the tragic event just by holding his phone in front of the evening news.
His footage even appeared on TV – it essentially became TV coverage of TV coverage. Confused? Don’t blame you. But it did prove Vine’s capability to be a real time news medium.
There are now tons of brand Vines flying around cybersphere, some good, some bad and some absolutely terrible. Starting with a goodie, The Times hit on a winner when they used Vine to push their coverage of the budget. The newspaper’s team knew that if they were quick then they could make an impact with Vine when it came to budget coverage. They were well prepared, and spoke to the editorial team about what the likely headlines would be and came up with a great creative concept to illustrate it.
Similarly simple but effective, USA Today’s Vine showing the day’s headlines worked really nicely, giving us an early indication of what’s possible from a content producer as well as providing a bit of exercise for the brain. Barnardo’s Vine also hit the right chords – charities are well practiced at making a heavy emotional impact in a short amount of time in a crowded media space, and this shows in their Vine, which didn’t pull any punches.
Not everyone is getting it right. Take Gillette – the history of razor blades was never going to be the most fascinating subject but with its Vine Gillette did nothing to try and make it sexier. There’s a difference between simplistic and just plain old cheap. Likewise, someone should tell Callaway that just because a Vine is short, it’s not an excuse to make poor footage. Imagine if you saw this Callaway video on Youtube? You wouldn’t because with this lack of quality it would never get that far. While it’s great that you can do a Vine with an iPhone, it shouldn’t look low rent and grainy.
When creating social content for brands, we often see that photos outperform video because videos take time to watch whereas pictures are instantaneous. Vine comfortably occupies a middle ground between the two. In these times of low-patience / high expectation from consumers, Vine is a sensible choice for a brand looking for a medium that can have high impact, high shareability at a low barrier to entry and low production costs.
We all know that content is device neutral – great content just wants to be found after all. But what’s less well known is just how quickly tablets and mobiles are becoming the go-to device of choice.
Our first-ever Stream Device Report, looking at mobile and tablet behaviour in Q1 has found that tablet adoption increased 282% between Q1 2011 and Q1 2013.
Curiously, and despite all the publicity for the iPad, the dominant platform for tablets is likely to become Android very soon. We estimate that while the two operating systems are currently level pegging in many markets, Android will take nearly 70% of the tablet market by 2016.
That would reflect its current dominance of the smartphone market, where it has 60% share now and is on course for an 80% share by 2016. Despite iOS’ lead in key markets—including its 53% share of the US smartphone market—Apple owns just 16% of the global smartphone market.
As the profile of tablet users broadens out from its current wealthy middle-aged, male archetype, the brand will continue to lose share.
In the app market, gaming remains the most popular category, with Google Maps and Facebook among the most used types of apps globally.
This research underlines how important it is for brands to have a multi-device strategy remains crucial. Many key digital tasks are now split between online, mobile and tablet and even as mobile and tablet take share, that split will remain.
Social media the most common use of smartphones and tablets Social media is the most common use of smartphones and tablets, according to Nielsen. Smartphone users spend on average 9 hours and 6 minutes on social networks per month, compared to 3 hours and 41 minutes on iPad. The next most common behaviour is watching video, on which smartphone users spend 1 hour and 15 minutes, with 1 hour and 11 minutes devoted to sport. iPad users spend slightly more time watching video: 1 hour and 48 minutes, with 50 minutes worth of sport. Apps are used far more than mobile internet: smartphone users claim to spend 87% of their app/web time using mobile apps.
1 in 3 Americans own a tablet Research by Pew has found that 1 in 3 Americans now own a tablet, in comparison with just 3% in May 2010. The devices are most popular amongst 35-44 year olds, of whom 49% own one, whilst tablet users are also more likely than the average citizen to live in suburbia and have relatively high levels of education and income. The growth of the US tablet market can be seen in the following graph:
The rise and rise of social TV The Council for Research Excellence, with the help of 3 Nielsen research groups and Bluefin Labs, has analysed the habits of 6,000 TV viewers and found that social TV seems to be on the rise. 1 in 10 use social media to discuss TV every day, whilst 37% do so at least once a week, with behaviours varying by the type of show. Sci-fi programmes were most popular on social, followed by sports and reality. While reality TV attracts most conversation during broadcast, scripted shows tend to do so after they are aired. Another dichotomy appears between drama and comedy; the former does best around the beginning of the series, whilst the later tends to peak at the season finale.
Facebook introduces highly-anticipated dock to Home Facebook Home received a few updates last week, the most important of which was a new dock that allows you to store your favourite apps for easier access, in response to criticisms that it was missing from the original launch. Previously, users were required to go through a series of taps to open even their most frequently-used app and Facebook hopes that the increased usability will encourage more Android users to take the system on board. Other updates include the ability to send multiple photos in a single message, stability & memory improvements and bug fixes.
Facebook to significantly simplify ads offering Facebook is going to make significant changes to its ads offering, attempting to simplify and streamline the number and types of adverts available. Facebook claims that its key goals are the elimination of redundancies, natural introduction of social context and a more consistent look and feel. The first of these means that products like Questions and Offers will no longer exist, as brands have found it is much more efficient to use a sponsored post, simply asking a question or adding a link to outperform the respective products. Social context will be naturally included in all posts and ‘Sponsored Stories’ removed as a result, as shown in the below diagram:
Finally, ads will ‘look more consistent’, making the ad creation process simpler for marketers and hopefully creating a more visually immersive experience for users. The changes, which will reduce the number of ad types from 27 to under half that amount, are expected to be introduced gradually over the next 6 months. The move is expected to contribute to the growth of Facebook’s ad revenues to $5.6 billion this year, with roughly $1.5 billion coming from mobile.
In addition, brand pages are being notified whenever a post performs well, allowing Facebook to push the option to promote. Once a post is promoted with media spend, a notification is also sent after the budget runs out, alerting admins of the extent to how well the post did and allowing them to better understand post performance.
Tumblr ad exchange ‘inevitable’ Since Yahoo purchased Tumblr for $1.1bn a few weeks back, we’ve been bringing you updates about any potential changes to advertising on the platform. Now, considering the cost of the deal and relatively low advertising revenue from last year ($12 million by most accounts, if not lower) industry professionals have claimed that it’s ‘inevitable’ that Tumblr will introduce an ad exchange. Given the success of Facebook’s FBX and Twitter’s plans to follow suit, this would come as little surprise; the question lies in how Tumblr’s audience are likely to react.
Vine launches on Android, growing faster than Instagram? Twitter-owned video app Vine launched for Android last week, boasting a number of features from the iOS version, including the same video-creation system, Explore and Find Friends, as well as ‘Zoom’, unique to Android. Users were also assured that other features, including front face camera, search, mentions and hashtags would be released in the coming weeks.
This has led to questions about the comparative growth rates of the two network. When it was launched on Android, Instagram already boasted 30 million monthly active users (MAUs), compared to 13 million for Vine. It only took Vine 5 months to release on Android, compared with 18 months for Instagram, while Vine racked up 10 million MAUs in 3 months, 9 months faster than its rival. Certainly, Vine seems to be flourishing much more rapidly than Instagram did; what remains to be seen is whether this will translate into continued success.
Keek surpasses 45 million users Vine isn’t the only social video app witnessing rapid growth. Keek has recently surpassed 45 million registered users compared to Vine’s 13 million, of whom 24 million have arrived since the launch of Vine. On top of this, the platform has seen 667 million total visits, 12 billion offered page views, 18 million uploaded videos and 2.2 billion video playbacks. Whilst Vine is currently only available on iPhone and Android, Keek also offers a desktop and Blackberry version, with a Windows phone app on the horizon. This multi-device integration, coupled with the celebrity endorsements that bring in 20% of all viewed Keeks, has surely contributed to the app’s current success.
Foursquare trialling small-business promotion Foursquare is trialling the ability for small businesses to promote themselves on the network with a “handful” of New York City vendors. The system, previously only available for large, national businesses, allows the promotion of a photo, review or listing, targeted by location and check-in history. Whilst this allegedly makes up ‘phase two’ of Foursquare’s magnetisation strategy, the cautious approach looks to ensure small businesses understand how to use the system, especially considering the relatively low proportion of their marketing budgets small businesses spend on digital: 3% according to a Boston Consulting Group survey.
Snapchat launches version 5.0 amid rumours of new funding Snapchat has vastly updated its user interface, whilst adding a few new features, with the launch of version 5.0. The new photography screen, shown below, also allows for swipe integration between different parts of the app, which now include in-app profiles along with double-tap to reply and better tools for adding friends.
Zeebox launches social ‘TV Rooms’ service Zeebox is launching a service called ‘TV Rooms’, which the company describes as “a Facebook to connect TV fans, creators and actors”. Essentially, it is a set of over 4,000 pages, on which fans can discuss TV in real time with those involved with the production of shows. The launch is set to coincide with the 100th episode of ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’, when the host of the show and three of its stars will take to the network to talk about the show with fans.
Channel 4 launching second-screen ’4Now’ UK TV provider Channel 4 is planning to beta test an app called 4Now in July. The iOS app will provide an always on, second-screen experience through which fans can unlock additional content while watching Channel 4 programmes. This will extend to programme information, social media activity and interactive content (polls, votes and quizzes in real time) as well as work with advertisers. After beta testing in July, the app will be rolled out in full later this year, still only on iOS.
Channel 4 recreate D-Day on Twitter In memory of the 69th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Channel 4 decided to recreate the events on Twitter, through a @DDay7 account, along with seven accounts telling the individual stories of survivors of the assault. Some sample tweets include:
I’ve been shot! I was retracing my steps along the beach when there was a rattle of automatic fire and a searing pain in my elbow!
Facebook fingerprint technology at Ibiza hotel The Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel are set to allow guests to access Facebook using fingerprint technology. A set of totems scattered around the resorts will recognise fingerprints of guests, who will then have instant access to Facebook through the totems themselves. The system is explained in the video below:
Pranksters poke holes in Durex campaign Condom manufacturer Durex recently asked fans to decide of the city most in need of an “emergency condom delivery service”, with the winner receiving a delivery of condoms from Durex staff. However, the voting was hijacked by pranksters, who voted for Batman, a very conservative Muslim city in Turkey, to receive the prize. Unsurprisingly, this was not taken well by the residents of the town and is reminiscent of other social media voting schemes gone wrong – for example, when Justin Bieber was told to play in North Korea and Taylor Swift at a school for the deaf.
Social media and the Turkish uprising The use of social media and Twitter in particular has soared in Turkey in line with the recent political upheaval. Indeed, there were 2 million tweets between 4pm and 12pm on Friday alone, with over 90% of the tweets on the topic coming from within the country. This is in contrast with Egypt’s use of Twitter during the Arab Spring, when it is estimated that only 30% came from inside the country. The reaction was such that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyib Erdogan decided to get involved; despite holding his own Twitter account with 2.5 million followers, which he updates daily, he is quoted as having said:
Right now, of course, there is this curse called Twitter, all forms of lies are there. This thing called social media is a curse on societies.
(RED) and Mashable team up to break Vine world record (RED) and Mashable have teamed up to attempt to break the world record for most Vines posted about a single issue. In total, there were over 1,100 original posts and 2,400 RTs, amounting to a total of 129 million potential impressions, as shown in the below graph. Indeed, celebrities such as Bill Gates, Paris Hilton and David Guetta all got involved, along with news sources such as MTV, Wired and VICE magazine.
Full length Rickroll on Vine The day that Vine was launched on Android, a 16 year old named Will Smidlein managed to deconstruct the app and bypass its 6-second rule and rickroll Vine by posting a full length video of Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. The post was eventually deleted by Twitter and Smidlein apologised to the engineers for wasting their time, saying the stunt was only intended for his friends and followers. Still, a 16 year old who’s heard of Rick Astley. Well done, internet.
Since 2012, London has been on a high. Social became the layman’s commentary box as the Jubilee and Olympics propelled London love to new heights. London is still riding on the wave, and brands are working out how to capitalize on it, particularly through social media.
London-born brands are keen to exploit their own stories of heritage and provenance, fitting comfortably into the Facebook timeline concept.
Brands like Penhaligons, Liberty of London and Tanqueray are posting vintage ads and archive footage to tell the story of where they’ve come from, presenting authenticity and gravitas which is hard to come by in a fast-moving world.
Global brands, too, recognize London as a symbol of modern life and culture, seeking to create their own branded lifestyle around the capital. “Insider knowledge” is a common proposition, through dedicated blogs promising to show you a side of London you might not already be acquainted with (Rimmel’s London Buzz blog, or Whistles’ neighbourhood guides). This week Topshop’s ‘Inside Out’ blog promoted an event with Caitlin Moran that sold out months ago. In fact, the very idea of insider knowledge has been blown apart by websites such as greatlittleplace.com, and Secret London, crowdsourcing that same ‘exclusive’ content that brands seek to provide.
Some brands have gone a step further, creating smartphone apps to guide individuals around London on the move (Nike True City and Hugo Boss’ mobile site are good examples). Louis Vuitton have created blogger-curated routes on their London ‘Amble’ app, selling the aspirational London lifestyle from real people who are living it.
The harsh reality of these activations, comes with the question of usage. On a crowded social platform or smartphone interface, why would you chose to spend your time with these brands? On social, traditional media is competing for the same attention as brands are. In this case Time Out or Londonist’s lightweight, individual tips provide a more tangible and actionable London more suited to social feeds and everyday interaction.
Perhaps it’s the overkill of tips and guides to London which has led to the success of blogs such as Shit London, or Twitter accounts such as Jon the Pigeon or Waterstones Oxford Circus. This cynicism gives a more accurate and entertaining portrayal of the spirit of London than yet another brand telling you what restaurant to visit this weekend.
Like opening a new stall on Portobello Road, brands must think about what value they’re adding in this crowded London marketplace. Aligning their own stories and associations with a genuine consumer need is the only way to create a unique and truly compelling offering.