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We Are Social launches in China

by Pete Lin in News

Pete Lin is the Managing Director of We Are Social’s new Shanghai office. He has 17 years’ experience in digital marketing, initially in the US where he helped build the digital practice at Grey in San Francisco, amongst others. In China, he has worked as business director at Grey Shanghai, client services director at Publicis, and head of digital at JWT.

Shanghai management

We Are Social was launched by its two founders, Robin Grant and Nathan McDonald, in 2008 and has grown pretty rapidly since – it now has a team of 550 in an international network spanning five continents. Having built such an impressive global footprint, the next major market for the agency to establish itself in was clearly China.

Today, I’m both delighted and honored to announce the launch of our first office in China. As you may have read in Ad AgeCampaign or Marketing Interactive, our Shanghai operation is officially up and running, and we are here with the mission of setting a new benchmark for marketing in China.

China has its own unique culture and, perhaps more importantly, a unique digital ecosystem. The social landscape in China is maturing; platforms are becoming more sophisticated and brands are increasingly seeing real benefits from a social presence. While there are obvious differences between social in China and social in the West, We Are Social’s focus on creativity and human insights, rather than platforms, can be a transformative force in this marketplace.

We’ve developed practices and technologies that are tailored for the China market. We’ve transposed We Are Social’s unique collaborative way of working to China and, with it, we’re attracting the type people that have been the driving force behind the success of the agency globally. Already, we’ve brought on board Cannes award-winning creative director Ying Chang to drive our creative offering to clients, as part of the 15-strong, talented local team that we have in place. We can also draw upon all of the BlueFocus group’s considerable resources and experience in China. With all of this, we believe that our offering to help brands execute socially-driven marketing strategies in China is compelling.

As the Chinese proverb goes, words alone are no proof (口说无凭). So, I’m happy to say that a number of global and local brands have already engaged us in China, including Liebherr and GMAC (owner of the MBA entrance exam, the GMAT). And our new team is set to grow fast – because of the high demand from local and global brands, we have five open roles at the moment (如果你是个数字广告人,快来加入刚登入上海,全球最大的social热店).

This is an exciting time for We Are Social, a significant marker in our global expansion, and another big step towards our mission of putting social thinking at the centre of marketing for all our clients, all over the world.

We Are Social’s Tuesday Tweakup #22

by Nick Mulligan in News

More US internet users are mobile-only than desktop-only
The number of US mobile-only internet users has overtaken its desktop equivalent for the first time ever. The former camp now sits at 11.3% to the latter’s 10.6%.

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Facebook brings video calls to Messenger
Facebook has added video calling to its standalone Messenger app. The feature, available in the UK, USA, Canada and 15 other countries, will work on mobile connections from 3G to LTE.

Buy promoted tweets and Google ads together
Twitter and Google have formed a partnership that will allow users of Google’s ‘Double Click Bid Manager’ to purchase promoted tweets along with Google ads. This marks yet further interaction between Twitter and Google, which has already given greater prominence to tweets in search results.

Twitter purchases TellApart
Twitter has bought ad retargeting company, TellApart, a move that comes with ‘cross-device’ expertise. This ability, combined with Twitter’s huge amount of login data, could prove lucrative, particularly when Twitter’s ‘buy’ button is thrown into the mix.

Meerkat distances itself from Twitter
Meerkat has added Facebook support in the latest version of its iPhone app. The move clearly shows an attempt to distance itself from Twitter, which has removed the app from its social graph since the launch of its rival streaming app, Periscope.

Absolutely Anything trailer to debut on Snapchat
Absolutely Anything, the British comedy that marks Robin Williams’s final on-screen performance, is set to debut its trailer on Snapchat’s Discover platform. Lionsgate, the company behind the film, has said that it will be looking at further Snapchat promotion closer to the film’s release.

Lego gets kids to invent the kronkiwongi
Lego has launched a Facebook campaign asking children to create an imaginary character called a ‘kronkiwongi’ and encouraging parents to upload their children’s creations. We’re not sure about you, but we think it looks exactly like this.

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#DoritosRoulette on Periscope
Doritos has launched its ‘Roulette’ bags, in which one of every six crisps is incredibly spicy, in the US. To celebrate, it has created #DoritosRoulette on Pericope; all viewers are eligible to win prizes, which will depend on where a roulette wheel lands in the live gameshow.

Watching boxing on Periscope
Mashable has released a piece about watching the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight on Periscope, in which it discusses how numerous streams were available, how many were shut down and how it created a unique watching experience. It raises a number of questions about both social viewing and piracy, which are well worth considering as we move into an increasingly mobile and digital world.

Facebook responds to Nepal earthquake
After the tragic news that an earthquake had hit Nepal last week, there was at least some comfort to be taken in the heartwarming worldwide response. Facebook was a part of this, adding a ‘donate’ button to the top of users’ News Feeds and promising to match donations up to $2m. In two days, it had raised $10m.

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Child is born
Last week, despite it being the 21st Century, a princess created another princess. Of course, brands were keen to get involved.

Analysing the ‘Social Election’

by Paul Greenwood in News

It’s just one week till polling day. With fairly disciplined campaigning from all parties so far, levels of excitement around this election have hardly been groundbreaking. In fact, a YouGov poll earlier this month found that most people thought the campaign so far had been boring. While there have, of course, been attacks and counterattacks, it hasn’t been marred with major blunders or scandals from senior or prominent members of the political parties (so far, at least).

The picture on Twitter is never an accurate representation of the way that the final vote will look due to a number of biases, such as the left-leaning nature of the platform and the average age of those using it. But it does show us some interesting overall trends as we approach polling day.

As you can see from the graph below, Labour continues to lead when it comes to conversation volumes on Twitter, but has seen its share of voice drop over the course of the campaign. Since the first day of the campaign (30th March) until yesterday, there have been 5.3million conversations around the key political parties. Labour has generated 29% of this total – but it’s a decline since its 35% – 40% share of voice in first week of the campaign.

The main beneficiaries of this drop are the Conservative, UKIP and SNP parties, who have all seen increases in conversation over past couple of weeks. Notably, the SNP has now overtaken UKIP in total conversation volumes over the last week – an indication of interest in the pivotal role it could play in the overall outcome of the election.

Twitter conversation volumes during the campaign
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Labour Love?
In terms of sentiment trends, Labour has stopped experiencing high peaks and troughs at it did earlier in April, to generating a steady number of positive conversations of around 2,700 per day. The good news for the party is that as the campaign has progressed, the number of negative conversations around it has shown a downward trend (from 12,500 negative tweets per day early on in the campaign to around 9,000 this week). It seems people’s perceptions of Ed Miliband are starting to soften and become more favourable as time goes on.

When examining net sentiment (the sum of positive conversations minus negative conversations) on Twitter of the two main parties, you can see that while neither of them have managed to break into an overall positive score, Labour is performing well in comparison. Earlier on in the campaign there was little gap between the two, now Labour has established a clear lead over the Conservatives, an indication that Labour’s campaign strategy – at least when it comes to the Twitter audience – is more effective.

Conservative and Labour Party Twitter net sentiment during the campaign
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#Milibrand
One event that has excited the social media audience was the leaked picture on Twitter of Ed Miliband leaving the house of comedian and political campaigner Russell Brand, leading to the revelation that Brand was interviewing the Labour leader.

While it’s not Frost/Nixon, in the last three days it has garnered 550,000 views of the YouTube trailer, 57,500 conversations on Twitter and 23,000 uses of the #Milibrand hashtag – and just wait for the memes to roll in. The full interview, posted last night, has already hit almost 600,000 views.

While there’s been some criticism of Brand’s dominance over Miliband and of the politician suddenly developing an estuary accent, the Twitterati has mostly supported Miliband’s efforts to try and do something different to attract young voters.

More importantly, the interview has also added an element of spontaneity and excitement to the election. It’s shown that “new” media (if people still view a distinction between traditional and new media – surely it’s simply media) can play a role in touching hard to reach voters. Expect a backlash in the press.

Time to think social 
All in all, with just one week to go, for the most part it’s been a disappointing election when it comes to social, a missed opportunity for pretty much all the parties. Only Labour has really shown that it’s willing to take the plunge and try something different; but it smacks of too little, too late. I hope that by the time this opportunity comes around again, the parties will have started to think socially. Political campaigns should have social thinking at their heart – really understanding what people want to talk about and share – rather than the broadcast-led approach we’ve seen this time around.

Helping the future of music: Hello Play

by Nicolas Souffleur

Last December, we launched Hello play! for Hello Bank!, BNP Paribas’ mobile bank. It’s a unique service that revolves around allowing users to fund music projects while listening to the music they love.

Hello play! has attracted a lot of attention, most recently at the Grand Prix Stratégies du Marketing Digital, picking up the accolade for ‘Innovative Digital Service’. It’s gained international recognition too, receiving an honorable mention in the Financial Services category at the Shorty Awards and is currently shortlisted in the Midem Marketing Awards, an international competition that rewards creative ideas driven by music.

Want to know more? The idea is straightforward: both Hello Bank!’s customers and non-customers alike can fund music projects, helping support the future of music.

To get involved, people can visit the Hello Play! platform and connect to their usual streaming service (Spotify, SoundCloud, Last FM etc.). Then, by listening to songs, users collect a virtual currency called Hello Coins, which they can redistribute to a choice of music projects. Hello Bank! then transforms the Hello Coins into real money to fund these projects.

hello bank

It’s really simple concept, and taps into a behaviour that people are already doing day in, day out to give something back to the world of music. It’s already created a lot of brand love for Hello Bank! and has been hugely successful in terms of results, too.

Since we created the case study, loads more Hello Coins have been earned. Now, 35 musical projects have been fully funded with more than 700,000 Hello Coins, all distributed by the users of the platform. And we’re still going!

So if you also feel like making difference to the future of music, visit Helloplay.fr

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #258

by Nick Mulligan in News

The nail in the coffin of organic Facebook reach?
Facebook has announced three key updates to its News Feed:

  1. It is relaxing the rule that stops users seeing multiple posts from the same source multiple times in a row.
  2. Content from friends that you care about (or regularly interact with) will appear higher.
  3. Stories about friends liking or commenting on content from outside your network will appear lower.

It’s the latest chapter in the story of declining organic reach on the platform and point three in particular may mean a further reduction; Facebook is continuing its metamorphosis into an entirely paid channel for brands. Indeed, analysis by Locowise has concluded that organic reach is as low as 2.27% for pages with over one million likes. Brands are attempting to counter this by posting more and post frequency has increased 31% year-on-year for Q1 2015, according to Adobe Digital Index, in a study that also states organic impressions are down 35% in the same period, while paid are up 8%.

Facebook reveals Q1 2015 figures
It might not come as a surprise, after a story about the importance of paid media on Facebook, to learn that the network’s ad income continues to skyrocket. In Q1 2015, Facebook announced total revenue of $3.54bn (a 42% year-on-year increase), of which $3.3bn came from ads (up 46%). Mobile ad revenue accounted for 73% of that, compared with 69% in Q4 2014. But this doesn’t mean we’re being served more ads. In fact, in the same period, the number of ads has decreased by 62% – it’s the cost per ad that’s gone up, by a huge 285%.

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None of this would be possible without an enormous user base, of course. In the first quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.44 billion monthly active users (up 13% year-on-year). Of the 1.44 billion, 65% use the platform every single day…

Facebook the clear leader for social logins
It’s been a really good week for Facebook stats-wise. The network retains its title as social login leader, according to two separate studies. Gigya said that Facebook accounted for 63% of all Q1 2015 social logins, with Google+ in second at 21%. LoginRadius put the figures at 72% and 20% for Facebook and G+ respectively.

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Facebook says ‘Hello’
So Facebook Home didn’t work out. That’s not stopping Zuckerberg trying to work his way into the smartphone market with Facebook Hello, a new replacement for the Android dialler. It’s not as all-encompassing as Home, but allows users to mine social data for contacts and caller ID details, make calls over WiFi and move conversations to the Facebook Messenger app, among other things.

Facebook Hello

WhatsApp voice calling comes to iPhone
iPhone users: WhatsApp voice calling is here. The feature, already available on Android, is included in the latest app version, which also adds improved sharing features and a quick camera button in chats.

Twitter shows off its new Highlights
Android users: your iPhone rivals may have caught up with WhatsApp voice calling, but there’s a brand new Twitter feature just for you. It’s called ‘Highlights’ and sends a twice-daily push notification with a roundup of the day’s best tweets.

Twitter allows users to opt-in to universal DMs
Not getting enough Twitter DMs? Fear not, you can now opt in to allow anybody to DM you, regardless of whether you follow one another or not. The feature will allow brands to receive DMs without having to follow customers first, useful for those who use Twitter for customer service or to exchange private information.

Pinterest to become more brand-friendly
Pinterest has created a new programme that allows certain marketing tech companies to offer account management tools to brands. It hopes that this will make it easier for brands to post to the platform organically and, subsequently, to promote these organic posts.

It’s 10 years since the first YouTube video
They grow up so fast! It’s been 10 whole years since YouTube co-founder, Jawed Karim, posted the first video to the site. Here it is, in all its glory.

Social apps on Apple Watch
Planning on buying an Apple Watch? Have a quick look at what your favourite apps look like first. Below we have Twitter, Instagram and Yelp.

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NHL bans Periscope and Meerkat
The National Hockey League (NHL) has banned Periscope and Meerkat from its arenas, to prevent users from live-streaming games to their friends elsewhere. It’s a move we may expect to see replicated elsewhere, especially by organisations that are particularly protective of live content.

Airbnb to use Instagram carousel ads
Airbnb has become one of the first brands to employ Instagram’s carousel ads, which allow advertisers to include multiple images and a link. It’s doing so as part of its ‘Never a stranger’ campaign, which includes the below video slot.

Instagram ad series for acne medication
Over-the-counter acne medicine Benzac has commissioned an Instagram ad campaign, which takes the form of a series. In 22 parts, it focuses on the lives of high-school friends and their struggles with acne.

Choose your own Instagram adventure
The Toronto Silent Film Festival has created a choose-your-own adventure out of Instagram videos. Starting with a fight scene, the film compiles clips from a number of the movies on show at the festival.

Age UK launches ‘no friends’ campaign
Age UK has responded to Facebook’s ‘friends’ poster campaign with ‘no friends’, which looks to highlight the problem of loneliness among old people.

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Hey hey hey hey, post tweets everyday
Brands dipped into stoner humour for 4/20, the annual celebration of cannabis that takes place on 20th April. Here are a couple of examples.

No action on Guinness tweet
Guinness escaped action last week after a complaint about one of its tweets, below, which was accused of implying that alcohol could improve your week. As the image included the brewery and no alcoholic drinks, it was deemed acceptable by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency.
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Political parties not yet nailing social
In case you haven’t heard, there’s an election coming up in the UK. Social media is a huge battleground for the hopeful parties, but their strategy leaves much to be desired, as We Are Social’s own Paul Greenwood discussed with Yahoo News.

I think it’s a huge missed opportunity. A huge proportion of the electorate are disillusioned and apathetic and don’t vote, and it’s mostly the young ones. They are all spending a lot of their time on social. If someone had one good idea about how to reach out to them and talk to them in a language they understand, how to make politics relevant to them on social, it would be huge. But I’m not seeing that.