We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.
The Guardian recently published this article by me about what the approach of Bauer Media’s new lifestyle magazine The Debrief can teach marketers. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.
If you’ve been thrown into a panic to publish a branded #bendgate or #royalbaby tweet, brace yourself. The Debrief, Bauer Media’s new lifestyle magazine for 20-something women, has raised the stakes from ‘real-time’ to ‘any time’ with a radical publishing model to mirror its readers’ 24/7 behaviours. In a time when use of online and social media means consumers are ‘always on’, here are the lessons marketers need to learn from the cutting edge of publishing.
Stop thinking 9-5 and start thinking 24/7
The Debrief has a 24-hour team, working out of offices in London and New York. That means it’s ready to jump on the conversations that matter to its audience, as they happen (and while their competitors are sleeping). Brands can learn from this approach.
Your brand might not need transatlantic cover, but deploying the right resource at the right time can give you the competitive edge – think about Oreo’s Super Bowl coup. We’ve seen fan tweets convert into a sale for everything from strappy sandals to the Jaguar XF – if they’re caught at the right moment. Opportunities for effective marketing don’t always fall within office hours; if you’re not part of the right conversations at the right time, you could be missing out.
— Brandon Pirie (@BrandonPirie) June 26, 2014
— Jaguar UK (@JaguarUK) June 26, 2014
— Jaguar UK (@JaguarUK) June 26, 2014
— Brandon Pirie (@BrandonPirie) July 5, 2014
Tailor your content to your audience’s behavior, habits and mood
If you’re a cider brand, you might find you have more impact tweeting to fans as they’re heading to the pub on a Saturday evening, than sending them an hilarious tweet at 10:30am on a Wednesday, when they’re probably at work without access to social media.
The Debrief looked at the lifestyle patterns of its 20-something female audience and designed content to suit them; so, long-form articles go live at lunchtime; news is aggregated, to make it easier for busy women to consume, quickly and the site gets a post-watershed refresh every night at ‘sex-o’clock’. Understand your customer’s routines and not only can you make your messaging more effective, you can make it a welcome addition to their day.
Use tools to jump on big stories before they break
The Debrief talked about using forecasting tools and trend-watching to anticipate important topics and inform its content. In the crowded territory of content marketing, if you want to be an authority, or even a valid voice in your customers’ online conversations, it pays to to be ahead of the game. Or to put it another way, by the time a story is trending, it’s already going cold. Think about where the stories that connect your brand to your audience might come from. Do you need to be reactive to news-stories? Do you need to be cutting-edge? And if you can’t predict the future – can you create it?
Use data to make your content hyper-relevant
Getting a feature live is just the beginning; The Debrief has explained how real-time data will be used to evolve the publication’s editorial and commercial offerings. Data analysis and a ‘test-and-learn’ mantra have long been weapons in the arsenal of excellent digital publishers; BBC Good Food dominates your recipe search results because it is a master of SEO and BuzzFeed’s director of data science, Ky Harlin has been described as the publisher’s ‘secret weapon’.
Every time you post, you have an opportunity to find out something about your audience, and how to communicate with them. Measuring the data around post performance lets you adjust the tone, content, format and length, even the time of day you publish your work, to help you get the right message to the right people at the right time.
Crew up properly – don’t leave it to the intern
Great writers, social influencers and brilliant editors handle every element of The Debrief content offering from features, tweets and snaps to advertising content via selected brand partnerships; (this last element proving controversial with the traditional editorial community). This commitment makes sure every interaction is consistent, high quality and delivered by skilled professionals.
Social media is a competitive and cluttered space; the most successful brands, the flag-wavers, like Burberry, Red Bull and adidas, invest in storytelling talent, and give them the time to create something tactically and creatively strong. The idea that ‘social media is free’ is painfully outdated. If you’re scrimping on skill, you’re wasting the opportunity to make every touchpoint you have with your consumers count. And that’s a fool’s economy.
A mixed financial week for Facebook
Imagine you’re a Facebook investor, and you hear that you’re about to be taken on a roller coaster. Great news, right? WRONG. This roller coaster means share price fluctuation throughout the week. First of all, the network announced impressive Q3 figures and share price hit an $81.16 high. MAUs have risen to 1.35 billion from 1.317 billion in Q2, while mobile MAUs have jumped from 1.07bn to 1.124bn in the same period.
Total revenue increased by over 50% for the sixth consecutive quarter, rising by 59% to $3.2bn.
Meanwhile, also for the sixth consecutive quarter, ad revenue increased by over 60%; this time, Facebook posted figures of $2.96bn, a 64% increase from Q2. Mobile accounted for 62% of ad revenue.
Investors saw the figures and everybody was happy. Hooray! Sadly, Facebook then announced that costs have risen dramatically in 2014, and revenue is expected to slow in Q4. Share prices dropped as a result, slumping by almost 10% before settling around the $73 mark. All in all, we’ll give the week a score of 6/10.
The first video ads hit Instagram
Who’s in the house? Instagram video ads are in the house! Well, on the network. Anyway, Instagram has launched its premium, 15-second autoplay spots with a selection of partners, including Banana Republic, Disney, CW Flash and Call of Duty.
Twitter’s revenue increases, even as user growth slows
If you liked the story about Facebook’s share prices, you’ll LOVE this. Twitter’s had a mixed week, too: its revenue continues to show strong growth, despite disappointing user figures. Q3 total revenue increased 114% year-on-year to $361m, of which ad revenue accounted for $320m (85% from mobile). In the same time, though, the platform added just 13 million monthly active users, compared with 16 million in Q2.
Investors weren’t impressed and the share price dropped by 10%, making Twitter’s week slightly worse than Facebook’s. 5/10.
Tumblr to roll out autoplay videos
It’s been a big old week for fans of autoplay video adverts. Hot on Instagram’s heels, Tumblr has announced that it will launch a similar service, starting tomorrow. It’s limited to a set of partners at the moment (isn’t it always?) but will be open to everyone by mid-November. So far, the lucky punters include Lexus, Universal Pictures, JC Penney and Hulu.
LinkedIn posts strong Q3 figures
We hope you’re enjoying these Q3 reports. LinkedIn is up next, and it’s been a good three months. Total revenue is at $568m, of which ad revenue accounts for $109m – a 45% year-on-year increase. Sponsored updates have been the biggest success story – they make up 31% of ad revenue, and have been described by CEO Jeff Weiner as the “fastest growing business in LinkedIn’s history”. We’re giving LinkedIn an 8/10, making it the proud recipient of the prestigious ‘We Are Social Q3 figures of the week award’.
Disqus to begin advertising
Disqus, which operates the comment sections on 3m websites, has started targeting adverts within its service. It’s mining data about what people post and where to target the ads, which will look like normal comments apart from the word ‘sponsored’.
Taco Bell is @totallynothere
Social media’s no stranger to the odd meltdown. Taco Bell went someway down that path last week, deleting all previous social content to create a ‘blackout’ and promote its new app.
— Taco Bell (@totallynothere) October 28, 2014
A risky strategy, but it seems to have paid off in the short term. After 24 hours, 75% of Taco Bell restaurants had processed at least one mobile order. We’ll see if that continues in the longer term, and keep an eye out for any return to social media.
Epix launches on Vine
TV network Epix is celebrating its fifth birthday (happy birthday). Don’t hold out for any cake, though, the party plan is to launch on a new channel: Vine. The network has partnered with 10 influencers to create Vines around different films. Each makes sense on its own and they join together to create a larger story, which will be shared on YouTube, TV and, most excitingly, THIS MASHUP.
We Are Social and HP Sauce celebrate Movember
Look around you. See those terrible, wispy things nestling on the upper lips of your friends/colleagues/loved ones? Yes, it can only be Movember. HP Sauce is a major partner of the charity and has teamed up with We Are Social to launch a campaign. Fans are asked to enter weekly photo challenges on Facebook for the chance to win sketches or Mo fund top ups – one overall winner will be selected as the face of next year’s HP Sauce bottle.
Samaritans Radar searches Twitter for suicide triggers
Samaritans has created an app to help Twitter users find out if anyone they know is posting potentially worrying tweets. The service, named Radar, automatically picks up certain phrases, including ‘depressed’ and ‘tired of being alone’. The charity plans to keep updating its algorithm as time goes on, with the hope of avoiding false positives. At the moment, it’s not the best at noticing when someone might be joking.
Brands get spooky on social for Halloween
Today, dressing up as a zombie and giving sweets to children would be seen as something of a faux pas. On Friday, though, everyone wanted a piece of the Halloween fun, and, as always, brands were no exception. Here are a few examples of social content – though we can’t promise that all of it quite hit the spot.
— Converse (@Converse) October 31, 2014
— Tesco (@Tesco) October 31, 2014
Even the clouds are in costume. Happy Halloween. pic.twitter.com/MEJrNGlJw0
— Delta (@Delta) October 31, 2014
— CENTURY 21 (@CENTURY21) October 31, 2014
Chevrolet shows how to deal with Twitter mocking
While trying to present a Chevrolet-sponsored baseball trophy, the company’s representative had something of an awkward moment. With lines like “It offers class-winning and -leading, um, you know, technology and stuff”, it was only a matter of time before he became the talk of Twitter. (He’s known as #ChevyGuy, if you must know.) That could have been pretty awkward for the automotive brand, but Chevy showed that it knows how social works. It embraced the awkward.
— Chevy Trucks (@ChevyTrucks) October 30, 2014
The digital world passed another huge milestone today, with InternetLiveStats reporting that the number of global internet users has just passed the 3 billion mark.
InternetLiveStats extrapolates its numbers from data provided by the ITU, the World Bank, and the United Nations, so the timing won’t be exact; however, the number remains a very useful guide to the continuing growth of the internet around the world.
Beyond this historic milestone, there are some more juicy numbers in this month’s Digital Statshot too, which you’ll find in the SlideShare above.
Read on for our analysis of those numbers, and what they mean for marketers.
2014 has seen steady growth in internet usage, with current trends suggesting that global users are increasing by more than 5% year-on-year.
Critically, Statista reports that roughly three-quarters of the world’s 3 billion users access the internet via mobile devices, and this ratio is steadily increasing as data connections become more accessible in developing nations.
Some of the world’s leading social networks released new user data in the past month too, with Facebook and Twitter both publishing updated user figures in October:
Facebook’s active user based showed growth of 2.3% in the past quarter, reaching 1.35 billion in time for the company’s latest quarterly report last week.
However, Facebook’s data also suggest that growth in some of the platform’s key countries – notably India and Indonesia – has slowed considerably in recent months, although our understanding is that this is likely due to Facebook ‘purging’ fake accounts, rather than an actual loss of interest in the world’s largest social network.
Twitter’s new numbers show that the platform now claims 284 million active users around the world, which, despite the stock market’s reaction, still demonstrates steady growth.
The on-going rise of mobile chat apps continues to be 2014′s hottest social media story, and with WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE all showing strong growth in recent months, this trend looks set to dominate well into 2015 too:
This trend is mirrored by the continuing rise of mobile social networking too, with data from Facebook, Tencent and VKontakte indicating that more than 80% of the world’s social media users now access via mobile devices.
Please note that, following Tencent’s announcement that it will no longer support its Tencent Weibo platform, we’ve removed this from our reporting, as we believe that this move indicates that Tencent believes marketers would be better to use one of the company’s other platforms (which include QQ, QZone and WeChat).
Also, despite registering more than 1 billion monthly active users, we have opted not to include YouTube data in this report, as social connectivity is not the site’s primary function.
Mobile continues to register impressive growth around the world too, with GSMA Intelligence registering almost 1 million new unique users every day since our last report – that’s more than 11 new users every second.
The total number of active subscriptions continues to grow too, and at 7.267 billion, the number of connections is rapidly approaching the same figure as the world’s total population, which today stands at 7.272 billion according to Worldometers.
However, it’s important to note that the average mobile user still maintains more than 2 active mobile subscriptions, and global mobile penetration still hovers around the 50% mark:
The Wall recently published this article by me on the growing popularity and potential of Pinterest. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:
Pinterest, the visually-led social network, is a self-expression engine, sophisticated visual search tool and virtual pin-board all rolled into one. It launched early 2010, has 57.9 million monthly users, women and 16-34 year olds are the dominant gender and age group active on the platform. It’s a mobile-popular platform, with three-quarters of sharing taking place on a mobile device.
Pinterest is considered a ‘happy’ platform; users have fun building up their digital scrapbook of colourful images, revealing personal likes and creating wishlists. Its popularity was reflected in it winning the best social media app in last year’s Webby awards, as voted for by users themselves, as well as the people’s voice award for best functioning visual design.
Recently, Pinterest has been working hard to make its community even happier with a range of new features. These include the ‘News’ feature on mobile, so users can receive updates about friends and accounts they follow; the Vevo video integration, for users to enjoy music on the platform, and a new messaging feature, so users can discuss and share interesting Pins without leaving the site.
There is a growing list of brands making good use of Pinterest’s features. Uniqlo created long vertical ads that worked well with Pinterest’s scrolling nature and Jetsetter worked with the digital scrapbook theme, asking users to create the “ultimate destination pinboard” in exchange of winning a free holiday trip – a campaign that raised the brand’s fanbase from 2,000 to 5,300 in just a few weeks. Sephora’s Beauty Board invited users to browse a gallery of beauty looks, generated by users, which were tagged with Sephora products used to create that look – creating a fun social shopping experience.
Pinterest is making a notable effort to attract even more brands to the platform. Its Promoted Pins and Rich Pins drive social commerce for retailers, presenting numerous opportunities for industries such as food, media and travel. Pinterest also recently launched its own analytics tool, bringing it up to speed with Facebook and Twitter’s offerings. The tool helps businesses measure the performance of their pins and provides them with insight into engaged users, and has been much anticipated by those using Pinterest in their marketing efforts.
Forming strong partnerships with the likes of Shopify, Pinterest has also highlighted its platform as an online shopping catalogue. It refers more traffic than Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. It’s second only to Facebook, and Pinterest’s traffic referrals increased 48% between the end of 2013 and March 2014. It is ahead of Facebook in spending – the average order value for a Pinterest conversion is $80.54 and Facebook is $71.26.
Reports also suggest Pinterest intends to boost its overall advertising offerings in 2015, and with a particular focus on mobile marketing. The latter is a huge growth area for Facebook and Twitter, so it’s not surprising Pinterest has a plan to get in on the action.
Something else that really sets Pinterest apart from the rest is the platform’s potential in becoming a user-curated visual search engine, allowing brands to showcase and sell products. The nature of pinning also holds a huge advantage for advertisers. Pinning creates user wish lists thus extending the shelf life for content – and users commonly buy products that others have pinned months ago.
Although, at the moment, Pinterest may not be capturing as many headlines as Facebook and Twitter, it is gradually now really making a serious bid to define itself as a powerful and popular visual platform for both marketers and consumers.
SHIFT recently published an infographic outlining the key figures in its Q3 global Facebook advertising insights report for the automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, financial services and telecommunications sectors.
The report found that automotive was the best performing sector in Q3 for click through rates on Facebook with 2.98%. Across all the sectors, click through rates have increased since Q3 last year, from 45% for entertainment to a huge 917% for auto. Likewise, the cost per 1,000 impressions has increased over the year, from 68% for entertainment to 183% for financial services.