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A GlobalWebIndex study looked into the popularity of blogging across 32 countries and found that over a third of internet users write personal blogs.
Popular culture dominates in terms of favourite topics, with discussions spanning across film, music and technology.
The study also shows that people are sharing opinions about brands online. It’s perhaps unsurprising to note that those with the most spending power are the most likely to write a product or brand review on a blog.
Germany were crowned champions of the world on Sunday night after facing Argentina in the World Cup Final in the Maracana. Unbeknownst to the football pundits and players there was a completely different World Cup going on at the same time – the social World Cup.
We’ve spoken to our scouts, done the post-match analysis and checked the sound bites from the last five weeks to find out who has raised their social profile ahead of a frantic summer transfer window.
A number of players at the tournament grew their communities by more than a million new followers: Neymar Jr by 2.1 million, David Luiz 1.6m, Cristiano Ronaldo 1.5m, Mesut Ozil 1.3m and James Rodriguez 1.3m.
Those are impressive figures that were helped by high-profile performances at the tournament. While these hard numbers are certainly powerful when you look at growth, in terms of a percentage we see a completely different result.
Paul Pogba – a man on the cusp of football superstardom and taking to the field for his first major tournament – grew his community by 584%. He added 959,067 new followers.
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) July 9, 2014
With France hosting the European Championships in 2016 he’s the one we are tipping as our social super star from this World Cup and for the future. Of course though there was another, less homo sapien, star of the World Cup: @Brazuca added over 2.98m followers during the tournament and grew 1,044%. Not bad for an inanimate object…
Back in the realm of the animate, our research shows that the biggest community growth of all wasn’t on Twitter at all. Neymar’s Instagram following grew by 3.8 million, significantly higher than even his increase on Twitter.
James Rodriguez added 2.3m on Instagram, again bigger than both his and Neymar’s growth on Twitter. The trophy-winning goalscorer, Mario Gotze, also grew his community more on Instagram than Twitter.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie, meanwhile, added more followers on Twitter than Instagram; are these up-and-coming youngsters more savvy when it comes to the platform du jour?
Judging by their World Cup content, the young players have a better grip on those fun, authentic, natural Instagram moments.
The ease and simplicity of photo sharing platforms mean that this World Cup has been inundated with player, pundit and celebrity selfies; from Angela Merkel to the Mexican national team everyone is having a go.
The best though were probably from the winning finalists:
It wasn’t all selfies and superstars though. The social landscape is awash with creators and the members of the public thrive on creating memes around key moments from the games.
We’ve picked out top three World Cup content pieces from the public:
— Panini Cheapskates (@CheapPanini) July 13, 2014
Whoever made this… You win. Game Over. pic.twitter.com/pvvU09nXsE
— Copa90 (@Copa90) July 5, 2014
This World Cup was a tough one for the UK commentators. They’ve been lambasted by the wider media and have faced some pretty harsh criticism from fans online.
In social they haven’t fared much better and a certain Bajan popstar completely outstripped Gary Lineker and co. That’s right Rude Boy, Rihanna was the go-to social commentator for this World Cup. She put out over 150 World Cup tweets. Prolific!
I touched the cup, held the cup, kissed the cup, took a selfie wit the cup!!! I meeeaan…… what is YO bucket list looking like bruh?
— Rihanna (@rihanna) July 14, 2014
— Rihanna (@rihanna) July 4, 2014
In this period she has been retweeted 2,277,348 times, more than the combined total of football pundits Lineker, Phil Neville, Ian Wright. A lot more.
What’s more embarrassing for the broadcast boys is that they have each tweeted more frequently than Rihanna. She’s certainly shown she can Talk That Talk when it comes to the World Cup…
So, there we have it. It’s been the first truly social World Cup and we’ve loved every moment. Roll on 2018.
Mobile social use is up, desktop slightly down
A new comScore report has explored the growth of mobile use in social, arguing that it does not come at the expense of desktop use. Between May 2013 and May 2014, the total number of minutes spent using mobile to access social media grew from 479bn to 687bn. You might expect to see a similar drop in desktop use, but you’d be mistaken: total desktop time did fall, but only from 477bn to 466bn.
Mobile and digital budgets are up
Digital advertising budgets will this year rise 16.7% to $140.15bn, according to eMarketer predictions. Spend on mobile/tablets will see the most signficant jump, up 84.7% to $32.71bn. By 2018, digital will account for a third of global ad spend, while mobile will be 70.4% of UK digital budgets, and 67.8% in the US.
Facebook adds ‘suggested videos’ to mobile
If you watch a friend’s video in your mobile News Feed, Facebook will show you a set of suggested videos, much like the ‘Related News’ feature. This is the latest Facebook update that seeks to encourage people to share and watch videos, and TechCrunch has accordingly likened it to a TV channel.
Facebook creates ‘Out-App Purchase’ ad
Facebook has launched a new ad type: the ‘Out-App Purchase’ ad, which allows those who develop Facebook games to sell virtual goods directly through the News Feed. Currently, the unit is only available for desktop, but, should it prove effective, we may well see a move in the lucrative mobile market.
Twitter goes all out on organic reach
Twitter is backing itself as the social destination for organic reach, telling brands that they can be seen by 30% of their followers for free by tweeting 2-3 times per day. Not only that, but it has released a set of organic tweet analytics, so that brands can now see how many users viewed or engaged with organic tweets.
Pinterest updates ‘Follow’ pin
Pinterest has developed a new, animated ‘Follow’ pin to be featured on websites outside of its network. Rather than simply linking to Pinterest, the button will launch a pop-up preview of the account, featuring a selection of its pins.
WeChat launches ad platfrom
WeChat, the Chinese messaging service, has created an ad platform for brands with over 100,000 followers. Ads will only appear when users click on full-page posts from officials accounts that they already follow. Even then, the ad is not full screen, but shows up at the bottom of the page. Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping an eye on how WeChat’s advertising strategy grows in the future.
The World Cup breaks social records
The World Cup is over too quickly, once again. According to Facebook, the final was the most talked-about sporting event in the network’s history, amassing a total of 280m mentions. One semi-final also managed to inspire a huge social response, as Germany trashed hosts Brazil 7-1. This was the most discussed sports game ever on Twitter, with 35.6m tweets in total. Germany’s fifth goal broke the record for global tweets-per-minute at 580,166.
— Visa (@Visa) July 8, 2014
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) July 8, 2014
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 9, 2014
— adidas (@adidas) July 8, 2014
Sour Patch Kids on Snapchat
Sour Patch Kids is to become the first Mondelez brand using Snapchat when it enlists the help of Logan Paul to run a week-long campaign. The social media star will send out Snaps from the brand’s account, detailing pranks that range from ‘sweet’ to ‘sour’.
Mercedes-Benz targets millenials on Instagram
Mercedez-Benz has launched a campaign on Instagram, dubbed #GLApacked, intending to target a younger audience. The brand has got Instagram influencers on board, each of whom has been loaned a GLA for a cross-country trip and asked to document it on the network.
4Music is searching for a vlogger
British channel 4Music is searching for its next vlogger through an online ‘Vlogstar’ microsite, sponsored by O2. Entrants need to submit a YouTube video for their chance to be the winner, who will be allowed behind-the-scenes on 4Music shoots and at gigs, producing several videos every week for the channel.
The CIA and Twitter
Last week, the CIA used the hashtag #twitterversary to answer some of the ‘top questions’ it had been asked since its launch on Twitter.
— CIA (@CIA) July 7, 2014
The above and other tweets like it have led to a debate over what the CIA’s strategy is. The humour may lead to a number of RTs, but questions have been raised about whether this helps the CIA’s chief objective: gaining trust. Indeed, this may be all the more relevant in the week when it has come to light that the activities of Twitter users were analysed by the US military in an attempt to understand how to influence people. News like this is likely to lead to increased debate about privacy, in which the CIA may want to be a major player.
Last week we paid host to We Are Social’s first ever book reading. The book in question was Meatspace, written by Nikesh Shukla. It’s a novel that tackles the often unfortunate, often hilarious repercussions of living in the social media age.
Our own creative whizzkidult Nick Hearne produced the cover. If you look closely you’ll notice that those little cubes aren’t pixels, but various meats of all sorts and colours. During the reading, the pair also regaled us with tales of their marketing and publicity antics, including sending a lamb chop into space because, well… ‘meat’… ‘space’… I’ll let you connect the dots on that one.
Nick was kind enough to sling a proof copy of the book my way to have a read. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the book was how aware the book’s protagonist, Kitab, was of the isolating and alienating effects of social media, coupled with his inability to let it go. I think this situation is fairly typical, although in most of our cases, not quite to the same extent. Eager for more info, I asked Nikesh why he thinks this is:
With the ability to look anything up, ask anyone a question and engage with everyone who shares your interests, profession etc – we’re losing our sense of curiosity. Often in storytelling we’re told that the journey is more important than the thing you’re looking for, especially in ‘quest’ stories. Now we can just google the answer, we lose the bravery to undergo a journey. Why don’t we sack it off? Because what is more attractive than the ability to look anything up, ask anyone a question or engage with anyone who shares our interests.
Don’t be fooled, however, the book isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s bloody funny in places and there is light at the end of the tunnel for Kitab. With this in mind, I wanted to find out if Nikesh thought that there was a similar hope for all of us – if somehow the digital world and ‘meatspace’ could be reconciled and integrated together in a meaningful way.
I think I’ve had to consign the internet to a ‘tool’ I use to research, engage and promote. I’ve spent ages working out who I am online, curating my online persona so that it isn’t just my offline one digitised. I know why I’m online and that helps me to know the best way to engage with it. I think the two mostly exist at the expense of each other, but the way they can accentuate each other is important. I don’t hate on the internet, I’m just waiting for the seachange to happen that allows us to use the internet more responsibly. Because it’s all new.
Remember when you first heard of your friends meeting boyfriends and girlfriends online and you saying, what if they’re a serial killer or you don’t know anything about them? That’s the norm now. Because it’s been integrated into our 360 experience. I think the integration will happen. We’re just ‘patient zeroes’ for future generations.
If this blog post has piqued your interest, then I encourage to grab a copy of the book. It’s a good read and a fresh take on the peculiarly modern problem of living with a whole world of distractions at our fingertips. As Matt Haig says, ‘Meatspace is funny. Damn funny. You should really switch off your computer and read it.’
Of all the social networking sites today, Facebook is without a doubt the one that continues to develop at a phenomenal rate. Yet, open discussions about how best to measure Facebook don’t seem to have evolved greatly.
Over the past couple of years there’s been much debate about the changes to Facebook’s content distribution engine. More brands are joining the social network, people are following more of these brands and competition to get a slot in people’s News feed is at a premium.
We all know that organic reach of Facebook posts has dropped. Depending on brand and industry our trackers put the organic reach of individual posts between 1% and 8% – with an average at ~3% for large pages (as a proportion of a page’s Facebook fan size).
As a result, if a brand wants to reach its community, and perhaps more importantly, if it wants to reach new audiences on Facebook, a paid media strategy is vital.
I’m not interested in fuelling the debate as to the reasons why Facebook organic reach has dropped. What I’m interested in is what this means from a measurement perspective.
Socialbakers has recently argued a shift away from the commonly used engagement rate methodology. It’s a pretty strong signal, considering this is what Socialbakers’ Analytics platform was built around. Also, with a large brand/agency client list (including We Are Social and our clients), it’s not unreasonable to suggest that this shift will influence how many marketers will be measuring their Facebook activity in the future.
To recap, the Socialbakers engagement methodology weighs post engagements (likes, comments & shares) by the number of fans of that page (they actually have two engagements rates; a post and a page engagement rate).
The rationale being that by dividing by the number of fans a page has to give you a percentage engagement figure, you are able to better compare pages of different fan sizes.
Now, Socialbakers is arguing that we should be concentrating on the raw number of engagements – i.e. no longer weighing these by the number of Facebook fans.
The reasoning? That with organic reach dropping and the rise of News Feed based advertising the playing field is no longer level, or to put it another way, that the number of Facebook fans isn’t a true reflection of the opportunity a post has to be engaged-upon. Therefore, from a measurement perspective, it’s no longer considered a good base to measure performance.
For people that rely heavily on this methodology, the concern might be the impact this change has when benchmarking pages of different sizes; i.e., a small page whose competitor has many more fans could move from a leading engagement rate position to a losing one.
For me, that’s the whole point. While I certainly subscribe to the view that your Facebook community is still very important, at the end of the day, any serious brand investing in Facebook isn’t there to only engage a small group of people, who let’s face it, are potentially already loyal advocates. In addition to engaging this loyal following, isn’t the Facebook opportunity also one of reaching and engaging new audiences?
So if your closest competitor is generating many more engagements than you, it’s fair to say they’re reaching more people with their content.
I’m not suggesting that it’s only about reach. Reach for reach’s sake isn’t the objective. We should be all aiming to reach the correct audience with great content. And a proxy for great content can be the engagements it receives.
- Engaging content often results in a lift in viral reach
- Engaging content is a signal that the reached audience had some form of emotional reaction to your content
- Engaging content can have higher recall thanks to the social context displayed (ie. seeing that your friends have engaged with that content / page)
So, where does this leave us from a measurement perspective?
Reach & frequency
At We Are Social, before talking engagement we’d suggest that Reach and Frequency (the average number of times people have been reached) are two of the most important metrics to be measuring on your page.
While individual post reach/frequency is useful, it’s the weekly or monthly reach & frequency that’s important, i.e. how many people are seeing your content and how often. While everyone is fixated on the 1-3% organic reach that individual posts have dropped to it’s the total reach you’re getting at the end of the week/month that you should be focusing on.
Instead of viewing reach as a sub-set of the number of fans you have, approach reach as a market-size opportunity. Use Facebook Insights to gauge your potential market size and plan a paid-media strategy that enables you to reach this audience.
Also, as social media shifts to a more paid approach, brands should invest in research into the impact of “viewed” content and not just “engaged” content.
This varies by industry / brand – but I’m talking things like click-throughs, conversions to sign-ups, conversions to sales etc. Sure – for many sectors Facebook is going to remain a top of the funnel marketing channel, but that’s no excuse to not track and optimise for business outcomes.
Engagement rates shouldn’t be an objective in itself. We should be focusing on the quality and outcome of those engagements. For example, is the engagement positive or negative? What are the key audience takeouts from the engagement? Ultimately, what is the brand or business impact of these engagements (linked to the above).
With this in mind you can measure the engagements that matter and optimise around that.
To do this, engagements should be weighted by Reach (or impressions) – i.e. as a proportion of people who actually saw your content, what was the engagement rate? There are a raft of metrics to use, but using Facebook’s own terminology, at a page level we’re talking about Engaged users / Reach or Consumers / Reach – at a post level Post Engaged users / Reach and Post Likes+Comments+Shares / Impressions etc. Depending on your Facebook objectives you may wish to give higher value to specific interactions (eg – video plays over 95%, post shares etc).
Reach data is of course not public, so this way of calculating engagement rates is only possible for page administrators and can’t be compared to competitor pages. In order to benchmark engagement rates in this way, look to other brand, product or country pages within your organisations portfolio.
Benchmarking engagement vis-a-vis your competitors is where a tool such as Socialbakers will help you. However, it’s vital to understand that the Socialbakers engagement rate methodology isn’t necessarily showing you how engaging content is – it’s showing you how many engagements it’s receiving – which can be highly influenced by paid media.
In reality the change in methodology from Socialbakers only changes one thing – how brands rank against each other. Either methodology (as a % of fans or raw metrics) will still enable you to identify peaks and troughs of engagements. If you’re intent on benchmarking public data I’d suggest that ranking your activity versus your competitors in raw metrics is probably a better indicator of your impact on Facebook.