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.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #250

by Nick Mulligan in News

The Mashup is 250! I know, we’re all feeling very nostalgic. As a special treat, here’s the first ever Mashup from back in 2009, when the retweet button was just being introduced. Now, for this week…

Digital to account for half of UK ad spend
Research by Strategy Analytics has concluded that half of all UK ad spend will go on digital in 2015, a total of £8bn to TV’s £3.8bn. The figure contrasts with the US, where it falls to just over a quarter. Of the increase in UK digital ad spend, 23% will come from mobile, closely followed by social media and video (both 18%).

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Product Ads are coming to Facebook
Facebook has launched a new ad format, ‘Product Ads’. They’re aimed at companies who have, you know, products. The clever thing? The products a user is shown will vary based on activity and interests, whether those be cups, cats or collages.

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Adweek published a piece which claims that Product Ads could compete with Google’s Shopping Ads, which appear at the top of search results with a retailer focus. The article cites Facebook’s unique targeting capabilities and dynamic visuals.

YouTube bans branding overlay
YouTube is clamping down on sponsors that add ‘graphical title cards’ to creators’ videos. The network now requires any overlaid branding or logos to come through Google’s sales team, thereby handing over a share of the revenue.

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YouTube kids is out today
YouTube has today released ‘YouTube Kids’ as an app for Android devices. It features family-friendly content and pre-vetted ads, as well as a set of parental controls, including time limits and search blocks.

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LinkedIn updates ad targeting capabilities
LinkedIn has launched its first tool that focuses on serving ads outside of its network, allowing marketers to target select subsets from LinkedIn’s user base and show them ads elsewhere on the net. It’s also introduced new business-to-business ad targeting, based on which parts of a website someone has visited, as part of its ‘LinkedIn Lead Accelerator’ feature. Samsung and Groupon are already involved, with the latter’s EMEA head of merchant marketing saying:

LinkedIn Lead Accelerator is helping us reposition Groupon as a marketing partner to the businesses we work with. From local restauranteurs to major national brands, we’re now able to better analyse our site traffic and identify the sectors that could provide the best leads for us to focus on.

Record Snapchat video and play music simultaneously
Big news for parties with bad sound systems: shooting Snapchat video will no longer pause your music, meaning that you can capture it in your films. The update came in the latest iPhone/iPad app; Android users will have to wait a little longer.

Snapchat and Pinterest in new funding rounds
Snapchat looks to be more valuable than Pinterest, according to two rumoured rounds of funding. Both are looking to raise around $500m, but Snapchat’s $19bn predicted valuation is significantly higher than Pinterest’s $11bn. Still, $11bn? Not bad, Pinterest. Not bad at all.

Michael Kors on Snapchat for NYFW
Michael Kors partnered with Snapchat during New York Fashion Week for 24 hours of exclusive, behind-the-scenes snaps in ‘Our Stories’. Look how happy he looks! As well he might.

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Two fashion brands create Twitter activations
Michael Kors wasn’t the only fashion brand making social news in the last week. Topshop is to use live Twitter data during London Fashion Week to create shoppable outdoor billboards, based on the latest trends from the shows.

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Meanwhile, Burberry added a Twitter-powered camera to its Autumn/Winter 2015 show. Any tweet using #Tweetcam and @Burberry would trigger the camera to take a photo of the catwalk.

#ChampionTheMatch with Heineken
Heineken is encouraging its Twitter followers to use #ChampionTheMatch when discussing the Champions League this week. In return, they’ll receive exclusive content, such as live commentary from players and celebs.

Under Armour plans to hijack Twitter conversations
Under Armour has recruited professional athletes, including Welsh rugby player Leigh Halfpenny, for its latest campaign. The brand says it will be “hijacking competitor social conversations in real-time” by posting videos and images that encourage fitness enthusiasts to push themselves further.

Dove creates #SpeakBeautiful Oscars campaign
Dove used the Oscars to locate negative Twitter conversations about body image and encourage women to be more positive, using the hashtag #SpeakBeautiful. You can get a taste of the campaign from the video below.

#WeWentSkiing 2015

by Rhoda Sell in News

Last month, on a quiet snowy evening in the idyllic Italian town of La Thuile, 225 We Are Social colleagues descended upon the slopes for the fourth annual #weareskiing winter conference. From the London, Paris, Munich and Milan offices, the troops were poised for what promised to be a weekend of extreme sports, extreme socialising and, of course, extreme creative thinking. This was my first ski trip since I embarked upon the #IamSocial grad scheme, and I was very excited.

Ski Picture Collage 1

Members of the senior team had flown out early to discuss the company’s exciting new positioning, so were already a full day of international bonding ahead of us. But, after an aperol spritz or two, we quickly caught up. This led to a memorable first evening at the local club involving dance mat dance-offs, air hockey tournaments and a few classic rounds of Time Crisis. We awoke to bad visibility and even worse hangovers, so it was time to hit the slopes to, in the words of Alex Hobhouse, “shred the gnar”.

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From skiing virgins to snowboarding pros, each day was spent learning new skills and making new friends on the slopes. From our hotel in Italy, it was just a few chairlifts and gentle pistes to cross the border into France. Although, as many madcap groups found out, the return journey wasn’t quite as simple and some deep-rooted button lift phobias had to be quickly overcome. Away from the skiing and partying, each evening all the European offices came together to voice some creative social thinking ideas and generally share in the great culture and values of We Are Social.

#weareskiing2015 group picture

All in all, it was an awesome weekend as perfectly summarised by one London attendee, George, who said “I had a really fun time and got to know so many new people”. So a huge thank you to Martina Marchesi, Charlotte Padfield, Stéphanie Barry and Stefanie Attenberger for organising such a brilliant trip, we can’t wait until next year! In the meantime, you can relive memories through our instagram pictures here.

Ski googles - next year

Rhoda joined We Are Social as part of its #IamSocial grad scheme. We are currently accepting applications for our 2015 edition. Visit the #IamSocial website for more information and details about how to apply.

Giving Zoella a run for her mummy

by Clem Hancox in News Google+

Channel Mum is the UK’s first mums’ YouTube network. In this post, Clem Hancox, Co-Founder and Director of Channel Mum, exclusively talks us through the growing popularity of mums vlogging and the top 15 UK mum channels to date.

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Channel Mum launched last month as the UK’s first mums’ YouTube network. The number of Multi Channel Networks – or MCNs – has swelled in recent years, with big, global players such as Fullscreen, Stylehaul and Maker Studios rushing to signup swathes of YouTube content creators into their networks.

But with 85% of babies in the UK now being born to millennials, and millennials spending 48% more time watching video online than the average population, we feel there’s a real need within the mum ‘category’ to nurture new creators; bring together existing talent; and to connect these creators with both mums and brands looking for great content. And the signs are that mums are rising to the opportunity of producing great content!

Today, we’re releasing our January Vlog 15 – a monthly roundup of the top 15 UK channels for mums. Unlike most YouTube indexes, which only factor in views or subscribers, the Vlog 15 combines a range of data points to produce two scores: one for reach of the creators’ content, and the second for engagement.

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The top 15 UK mum channels in January clocked nearly 11 million views between them, showing the sheer scale of the mum community on YouTube. It’s fair to say that the biggest creators can take credit for the majority of these views, with the top three – comprising YouTube stalwarts Sprinkle of Chatter, Anna Saccone and Bubz – generating 88% of the total views.

But looking beyond scale, what’s really interesting in January’s roundup is the diverse range of subjects covered within the Vlog 15. This month, new entries include a family crafts channel, a vlogger documenting her experiences as a surrogate mum and a young mum who took to YouTube to share the news that her baby would be receiving a life-changing operation.

Whilst daily vlogs about general family life continue to – and will always – have huge appeal for mums, this month we’re seeing that more niche or specialist content for parents is starting to find its place on YouTube. The UK family content category is clearly maturing, and it’s doing so relatively quickly.

For brands, this represents a big opportunity to tap into the interests of the many different types of mums and their audiences that are starting to establish themselves within the family content arena on the platform. It’s no longer about an amorphous group of mums – content can be tailored and targeted to reach the right audiences.

We’re also seeing a clear trend of bloggers crossing over into vlogging. Many have tried to make what is not necessarily the easiest leap from writing to presenting – some more successfully than others – and the majority of creators in our top 15 are bloggers as well, showing that social influence on this scale is very rarely limited to just one platform and YouTube shouldn’t be looked at in isolation from the rest of the social landscape.

Our research shows that the birth of a child is the biggest single trigger for Brits under 35 to post videos more frequently, with young parents being the most prolific ‘creators’ of online videos. So the growth of content creation and vlogging among mums looks set to continue at a rapid pace, giving brands an unparalleled opportunity to engage with their audiences.

Don’t watch the watch

by Tom Ollerton in News

The Wall recently published this article by me about virtual reality becoming the next significant shift in marketing. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.

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Image by Tom Bellamy

Marketing has moved from the radio to the TV, to the computer, from the Desktop to the mobile in the consumer’s pocket – each one a paradigm shift.

The most recent shift from desktop to mobile created a need for more intimate communications. It’s something that brands still struggle with – a mobile is a very personal space compared to a desktop screen.

Now, commentators are heralding the smartwatch as the new frontier. And in many ways, they’re right. The smartwatch will change the way we consume apps and therefore brand content on social. They offer the consumer more control over and access to certain apps, such as like health trackers. They will make using technology an even more natural and habitual than it is already.

But the leap to smart watches isn’t a paradigm shift in the same way that desktop to mobile was. While you don’t wear a phone in the traditional sense, it’s pretty much attached to you and it’s a small, personal space. Smart watches hold many of the same challenges for marketers that mobile does. Small screen, limited real estate, an intimate space; all the problems marketers have been tackling in recent years, but amplified.

In terms of marketing’s next revolution, my money is on the shift from personal computing to virtual reality, such as Oculus Rift, or augmented reality, like Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens.

This shift will happen with social thinking at the centre. Facebook’s VP of engineering, Cory Ondrejka, was also the CTO at Linden Labs, who created Second Life. He’s responsible for working with Oculus Rift’s CEO and Mark Zuckerberg to bring virtual reality to a billion people. They’ve got the time, the funds and the ambition to make this happen.

Virtual Reality offers the chance for us to share our real life experiences with the people we care about in a way that will make the viewer feel like they were there with us. In the future we won’t just record our lives with photo and video approximations but will invite our friends to be there with us in the moment, no matter where they are.

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Initially creating VR content will be an expensive business that only brands and publishers will be able to afford. This gives them the opportunity to pioneer on VR platforms as the medium develops. The NBA will be giving its fans a VR courtside seat next month, Marriott hotels used Oculus Rift to help consumers explore exotic destinations, O2 gave rugby fans the Wear the Rose experience and we’ve seen John Lewis take an early step into VR using the Google Cardboard model and many more will follow in 2015.

It comes down to choice. Would you, as a consumer, choose TV or Laptop? Laptop or Mobile? A small watch screen or immersive 3D world? When virtual reality goes mainstream we won’t be looking at social media – we’ll be standing inside it.

Social Networks Are Diversifying

by Jason Mander in News

The wonderful folks at GlobalWebIndex have been great partners to us over the years, most recently helping us to put together our report on digital stats from around the world. In this guest post, GWI’s Jason Mander shares his take on the rapidly evolving world of social media, and what it means for marketers.

Look through We Are Social’s comprehensive new Digital, Social and Mobile Worldwide in 2015 report, and it’s clear why fast-growth markets are now so important to digital and social trends: regions such as APAC and LatAm contain online populations which are not only vast in size but which are growing at phenomenal year-on-year rates.

What’s more, GlobalWebIndex’s data shows that digital consumers in these fast-growth/emerging markets are some of the most engaged when it comes to online behaviour. We’ve been tracking the daily time that people spend on various forms of media since 2012; by asking our 170,000 annual respondents how long they typically devote to the internet as well as online and offline forms of TV, press and radio, we can build a detailed profile of daily media behaviors. The results show that the internet is capturing more and more of our time each day – with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets growing from 5.55 in 2012 to 6.15 in 2014.

One of the drivers of this is still-increasing levels of engagement with social networks, which have climbed from a daily average of 1.61 to 1.72 hours over the period in question. This offers important food-for-thought given that some commentators still like to proclaim the “end of social networking”. In actual fact, we’re spending more time on networks now than in the earlier part of the decade – with the rise of the mobile internet, and the ability it affords us to connect to a still-widening range of networks at any time and from any location, being a major driver of this.

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Click image to enlarge: Average number of hours per day spent using social networks, by country. NB: GlobalWebIndex have calculated these average times using data for all internet users (including those who do not use social media at all), whereas the figures in We Are Social’s Digital, Social, & Mobile 2015 report are averages based on the same source data, but which do not include the data for non-social media users.

That said, engagement with social networking can vary significantly from country-to-country. Typically, it is highest in fast-growth/emerging nations where online populations are skewed towards young, urban and affluent demographics (all of these being characteristics which increase an individual’s likelihood of being a social networker).

The Philippines posts the highest figure of all (with a sizeable 3.42 hours), but LatAm countries follow very closely behind. It’s hardly a surprise that there’s a very strong correlation with usage of the mobile internet here; where the mobile web scores well, we typically see social networking accounting for large amounts of daily media time too.

At the other end of the spectrum, we find the lowest amounts of time being devoted to networks in a number of mature markets; here, internet penetration rates are normally very high, meaning the corresponding online populations have a much broader / higher age profile, and are more representative of the country’s total population.

In short, older segments are better represented in mature nations but are some of the least enthusiastic about social networking – something which has an obvious impact on national averages. Japan appears at the very bottom of the table, with just 0.30 hours spent on networking per day; the lack of enthusiasm for networks generally – and for Facebook in particular – are key local factors in this market. Behind this are other mature APAC markets such as Australia as well as most of the European countries tracked by GWI.

Given these geographic and demographic patterns, it’s hardly a surprise that internet users in fast-growth nations are also the biggest “multi-networkers” (those who maintain accounts on the highest number of social platforms). Indonesia tops the table here, with internet users typically being members of 7.39 networks, but it’s in China where people are most likely to actively use the greatest number of social networks (4.27 per internet user). That there are so many local platforms in China is a major contributor to this, as is the fact that leading global names such as Facebook are not as off-limits as is often assumed.

In some studies – especially those based on data from passively collected analytics – it’s still common to see Chinese usage of Facebook, Twitter and similar sites recorded as zero. This is a major mistake; there are in fact a number of ways that Chinese internet users are bypassing official restrictions on social networks, including accessing via apps (16% in China say that they have used the Facebook app in the last 30 days, and a look at the top apps being downloaded in China on a daily basis shows that Western social networks feature very prominently within the list).

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Click image to enlarge: Average number of active social media accounts maintained by internet users, broken down by age and by country.

Significantly, VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps are also being widely downloaded in China – with these tools representing the other major access route for those Chinese users looking to bypass official restrictions. Close to a fifth of online adults in China in fact say they’ve used a VPN in order to access restricted websites or social platforms.

Not only does this trend underline the potential limitations of using passively collected, geo-located data in isolation – which can over-estimate the size of social audiences in markets such as the USA, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden, where VPN and Proxy servers tend to be located – it also emphasizes the growing futility of attempting to prevent national audiences from accessing certain sites. Most clearly of all, though, it demonstrates why networking behaviors in China – as well as in many other fast-growth markets – are much more diversified and sophisticated than is often assumed.